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AMP Motors Saturn Sky conversion

Discussion in 'Electric Conversions' started by AmpedSaturn, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. AmpedSaturn

    AmpedSaturn New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2017
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    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Hi All,
    Thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of EV history from our collection. I manage a small group of cars here in Cincinnati that includes this Saturn, an early Tesla Model S and an '08 Roadster. The rest are all gas burners. We are downsizing a couple of our less frequently used cars and this one will be available for sale shortly.

    AMP was a local company whose goal was to convert GM vehicles to battery electric. They competed in the first Automotive X prize in 2007 with their prototype, a black Saturn convertible. Our silver car is the second Sky conversion and the first released to the public. AMP built a handful of the Sky/Solstice cars as proof of concept, then moved onto the GM Equinox. From my impression, the program would've been more successful except for issues with GM dealers servicing the converted vehicles. By design, buyers would purchase a vehicle from a local dealer or the secondary market and send it to AMP for conversion. In theory the factory warranty would still apply by prior agreement with GM, which would make service a breeze. But although the electric integration is pretty seamless with existing GM systems, there were some dealers that just didn't want to service what was essentially a new car that had been drastically altered.

    AMP later partnered with Mercedes on some EV technology and developed a fleet of EV work trucks for the European market. In the US, they are now building battery electric trucks under the Workhorse brand.

    This "AMP'd" Sky features a Li-Po battery pack rated at 37kWh, a Delphi inverter and Remy motor equivalent to about 210hp. Range is around 150 miles. All this is combined in a package weighing under 3000lbs. To better suit the new weight distribution resulting from motor and battery pack, special Koni coilover shocks replace the stock suspension. Electric power steering is substituted. Stock wheels, tires and interior are retained, save for a unique 3-button panel where the shifter once resided. Charges on 120v or 220v through a J1772 plug.

    All in all, its a great car that feels like a factory built EV. Unfortunately since it debuted at nearly the same time as the Tesla Roadster, AMP never really completed the circuit with potential buyers, so to speak. In comparison, the Saturn feels more substantial and heavier than the Roadster, with much better ride quality and ergonomics. Its also a little easier for the average person to hop into - and out of - the Sky. Since brakes, tires and other hard parts are GM, they're still readily available.

    If anyone is interested in learning more about the car, don't hesitate to ask here or message me. Thank you.

    IMG_2042.JPG IMG_2039.JPG
     

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  2. swaltner

    swaltner Member

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    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Looks like a nice setup. I hope that gets out on the road some and isn't just a garage queen that is part of a car collection.

    It unfortunate that one of these companies doing conversions, particularly on brand new vehicles, didn't really take off. It really is a stop-gap measure until the OEMs start making their own EVs, but it was a nice idea that would have been nice to see happen. Drive down the cost of these conversions by changing from one-off installations to cookie-cutter conversions. I had been looking at a couple of these options back when the Tesla Roadster first hit the market.
     
  3. AmpedSaturn

    AmpedSaturn New Member

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    Sep 13, 2017
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    Location:
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    It does see some use, but not as much as I'd like to see. The S quickly became the owner's favorite and is now a daily driver.

    What other conversions caught your eye back then? The Roadster was my first EV experience, aside from a 1900's Baker electric and 1930s Detroit Electric that I saw as a kid. I never thought we'd have batteries as good as today's.
     
  4. macguitar

    macguitar Member

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    Jun 19, 2014
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    Location:
    New York
    A little bit of trivia... did you know Franz von Holzhausen (Tesla's Chief Designer) designed the Saturn Sky? That makes this quite appropriate! :)

    Saturn Sky - Wikipedia
     
  5. swaltner

    swaltner Member

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    Location:
    Kansas, USA


    Looking in my web browser for some of the bookmarks I made in the 2007 timeframe, many of which now point off to dead web sites, I see a few of these:

    - Wrightspeed X1 - one-off electric conversion of an Ariel Atom completed by a former Tesla engineer. I'm pretty sure he used a drivetrain from AC Propulsion. Unfortunately, this never made it past the prototype stage, but Wrightspeed still exists and is working on other projects. It did set in motion me purchasing a gas-powered Ariel Atom in late 2010. I learned about the AtomFest gathering in late 2007 in Hallett, OK (only 150 miles away) where just under 40 Atoms attended a 4 day track event, I got a ride in an Atom that was driven on the highway from California to Oklahoma, and started my eBay search for the perfect Atom for me. It's kind of ironic that my searches for an electric car led to me eventually purchasing one of the most impractical gas cars available. I still laugh at the contrast that is currently in my garage: an Ariel Atom and a Nissan Leaf. :)

    - eBox by AC Propulsion - Conversion of new Scion xB to an electric drivetrain. AC Propulsion, so had decent range (~150 miles) and good performance (150 kW, 200 hp). At over $50k for the conversion alone, this wasn't something that my wallet could support.

    - A couple companies were replacing the HV battery in the Prius with a much larger battery, making some of the first plug-in hybrid vehicles on the market.
     

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