A History of City Els in the USA

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A History of City Els in the USA

Postby aminorjourney » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:30 am

Hi everyone,

I thought you'd like to read the following:

[quote]CityEL Electric Vehicles in the U.S.
By C. Childers


Henning Bitsch of Denmark visited the US in ~1991 with a blue CityEL to investigate the possibilities of selling them in the U.S.. He had consulted on the Los Angeles LA301 electric vehicle project, and was intrigued by the potential market for EVs in California. Henning was one of the early organizers of the Solar Cup Denmark, and had previously consulted with the manufacturer of the CityEL, CityCom AS, of Randers, Denmark. This particular CityEL was imported through the port of LA as a golf car (for off-road use). Initially unsuccessful at finding interested sponsors in the Los Angeles area, Henning was introduced to staff at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) by Clinton Cochran of Davis, CA whom he had met at a Swiss Tour de Sol event.

SMUD was in the early stages of developing an electric drive program under General Manager & EV advocate S. David Freeman, and was exploring various types of personal transportation products that might use electricity as a fuel. SMUD purchased and imported one container of 16 CityEL vehicles in late 1992. These were drawn from inventory at CityCom, where steady mass production was being attempted. These first 16 were European specification cabriolets with soft tops. SMUD began conducting market outreach and studies in the Sacramento area with this first batch of CityELs and was also considering the possibility of helping set up a manufacturing site in Sacramento, CA. These first 16 vehicles were not constructed or certified to meet US DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), however permission to import them for testing was later obtained under a DOT experimental waiver.


In May 1993 Dwight MacCurdy & Winston Ashizawa from SMUD, and Bill Warf & Barry Pearson of Pacific Electric Vehicles (PEV) visited CityCom in Denmark to investigate the possibility of an even larger CityEL demonstration program in California. The acquisition of 120 vehicles was negotiated. The idea was to have a large demonstration fleet in Sacramento to stimulate interest and U.S. sales. At this meeting, PEV was identified as the sole U.S. distributor for the CityEL. Over the summer, PEV worked with engineers at CityCom to develop US FMVSS compliance strategies, making the CityEL meet US DOT FMVSS standards for motorcycles. This involved developing modifications to lights, brake systems, and other parts in order to meet all requirements necessary for the vehicles to achieve DOT compliance.

In August 1993, SMUD awarded a grant to PEV that provided for the acquisition of 120 US-specification vehicles, including FMVSS certification by CityCom AS. The initial release was a shipment of four containers of 16 vehicles each (64 total). On September 17, 1993 one of these first 16 European specification SMUD test vehicles was involved in a rollover accident. This particular SMUD CityEL was on loan from Drive Electric, an electric vehicle dealer in Sacramento, CA. This prospective customer was also a motorcycle race enthusiast and was, apparently, "testing" this loaner City-EL at it's cornering limits at the time he rolled it over. Although he was not seriously injured (broken arm) he immediately sued the “deepest pocketâ€Â
Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

EVangelist and Media Relations Coordinator, www.ZeroCarbonWorld.org
Host, www.transportevolved.com


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Postby EVguru » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:53 am

Ruth McDougall! Now there's a name from the past. I worked with Ruth on Clare Bell's Porsche 914 EV race car (#13) at least two of the years we ran the car.

I seem to Recall Gary Flo of Mendomotive had a two wheel front end conversion kit. That would probably have made me feel safer when I drove Peter Senkowski's upgraded 108volt version!


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