The Lancia Montecarlo web registry   www.lanciabetamontecarlo.nl

History 137AS0100719, www.plugzen.com

The Classified listing had no photos and little information, but I knew these cars and became immediately excited. Not only had I fallen in love with these cars years before, my friend Anthony Rossano has one in great condition. He also has a beautiful Ferrari 308 GT4 that sings through itís tuned exhaust. Ironically, we had talked about his desire to electrify his Scorp when the engine crapped out. I could wait to tell him about my find. The ad was placed by a gentleman named Steven Yoast in California. We exchanged many emails and he sent some photos of the car. It looked fairly rough but I was more excited than ever. When we finally got together on the phone, we had a great chat about the Scorpion, EVs in general and our common interest in alternative transportation. He admitted that he really didnít want to sell the Lancia, but itís range was too limited for his commute and he wanted to find someone who could give it a good home. I assured him that I could do exactly that, but would still have to figure out how to pay for and transport the car to Seattle. So I found my dream EV, but still didnít know how I could afford to buy it and pay the small fortune it would cost to transport it. Then life payed back some of the karmic credit I had established. At the SIFF premiere of Who killed the Electric Car, I happened to stand in line with and sit next to many of the SEVA members. After the film they were all joining director Chris Paine, Chelsea Sexton and Wally Rippel for drinks and invited me to follow along. I got to buy Chris a drink and congratulated him on his incredibly informative and motivational film. I asked how he manage to get all of the incredible EV1 footage if the cars were all gone. He said he said he borrowed Peter Hortonís for the final week he had it before turning it in. While sitting at the bar, I struck up a conversation with another EVer. That person turned out to be Roderick Wilde, who is a legend in the EV community. He is the proprietor behind EVParts.com and the mad genius builder behind the insanely powerful drag-van Gone Postal. He was suggesting ways I could get into EVs and I told him all about the Scorpion. When I told him it was in California and I had no way to transport it, the stars aligned. He and another EV legend, Don ĒFather TimeĒ Crabtree, were organizing a trip to Cali to show Gone Postal at the official premiere of Who killed the Electric Car. On their way back they were going to have half of a two-car trailer empty. So we struck a deal to help them mitigate their fuel cost and I soon had two of the most-expert opinions in the EV community picking-up and transporting the Lancia. Iím eternally grateful for the generosity these guys shared. The fabric of life has an amazing weave. When Father Time made it back to Seattle with the car, he picked an ironically suitable location to drop the car, the 76 gas station just down from my house. After thanking him (not nearly enough) for his efforts, I stopped in the gas station just long enough to top-off the air in the tire. With my wife and daughter follow in the Subaru behind, I drove the topless Scorpion home through Seattleís beautiful Interlaken Park. This was the first time I had ever driven an EV and Iím sure my wife could see my EV grin wrapping around the back-side of my head.

Steve was actually the second owner of the EV, having bought it from the estate of itís creator, a man named Karl Morin. When he bought it, he had limited info about the pack life, the conversion or any other vehicle history. Just a small cardboard box with the relevant paperwork. There were no formal plans or schematics in there, but several hand written notes laid out different parts and pricing scenarios. Karl was mindful of keeping the weight distribution as close to stock as possible. 18 of the carís 24 batteries are packed tightly behind the seats (and the firewall), keeping the weight low and centered to the car. The remaining 6 are in the front compartment with the 12v system battery. The batteries are Hawker 12v Sealed Lead Acid and weigh about 20lbs apiece making the pack weigh-in at approximately 500lbs. The batteries are run in a series of parallel pairs to give a system total of 144v. Each pair has a WildeEvolution resistor and pair of light-gauge wires running off towards the dash and ending in a long terminal block. From this terminal block you can check the level at each pair, which has come in very handy for identifying the weak cells in the pack. The pack runs to a 500amp Curtis 1231C controller mounted on a heat sink above the motor. If youíre familiar with these controllers, youíll know about the high pitch whine they emit when you first step on the accelerator.  It has something to do with a frequency shift that protects the motor at low voltage. It definitely draws the attention nearby pedestrians.  A discussion of this noise on the EV maillist suggested the control causes the motor to make this noise. Wherever it comes from, I donít think my dog Oliver is fond of it. The motor is a Kostov 14404, which I believe is a 10.7Ē series-wound 30hp motor. There is a receipt in the box dated 1997 for this item, but he rest of the EV components were purchased in the fall of í98. There is also vehicle registration in í99 recognizing the vehicles conversion to electric, so it was about a two year project I would guess. The earliest ownership record was to Karl in Jan í85 as a renewal. I have no idea if he was the original owner of the car, but he obviously enjoyed it for years as a gasser and wanted to keep it alive after itís combustion days were through, much like my friend Anthony. Well, enough with the words already. You can get a better idea of what this Lancia Scorpion Elettrico is about by checking out the photos and the journal. Please be sure to leave comments or mail me directly with any questions or suggestions you might have, especially if you have past knowledge of this car or the man who created it.

Shot the same day as the exterior photos, hereís a quick look under the hood. I kept getting distracted by people asking questions about the Lancia and itís conversion, so this set is incomplete. It does show the EV system state when I received the car, but doesnít show much detail of the battery pack. You can barely glimpse a few of the 18 batteries crammed in behind the seats and it completely lacks photos of the six batteries (plus 1 aux 12v) mounted in the front storage. Iíll try to get a more comprehensive set up soon.

The stock 5 speed w/ the Kostov DC motor mounted via custom adapter plate. Above are a few of the Hawker SLA batteries. They are really crammed in.

Kostov motor below w/ Curtis 1231c controller mounted to heat-sink above. Top right corner is a vacuum pump for the brake assist (currently disconnected).

The main contactor is mounted just in front of the controller. To the right is the vacuum chamber for the brake assist.

A shot under the controller shows more of the inaccessible battery pack. Top-left is the throttle potentiometer. Bottom is the DC motor.