How a teenager made his own electric car from a junked Toyota Celica

You don’t have to be Elon Musk to think outside the box. At age 12, Adam Lansing decided to convert a gasoline car to electric power after watching his older brother ask their parents for gas money. Six years later, Lansing cruises around in his own homemade electric car, but getting to this point took a lot of work.

The project got started when the father of one of Lansing’s friends overhead him talking about an electric-car conversion, and offered up an engineless 1980 Toyota Celica that was sitting outside his garage with a tree branch growing through the rear bumper. Not the most glamorous of starts, then.

It took Lansing two years to acquire all of the parts he needed for the electric conversion, and two more years to get the car running. He said he rebuilt the Celica 52 times, working up to 20 hours a day on the car to fix problems.

“Part way around 35 to 40ish was when it got the most frustrating,” Lansing said in a Toyota press release. “But the support from my family, friends, and girlfriend kept me going. You have to keep in mind the end goal.”

Now 18 and recently graduated from Plano East High School in Texas, Lansing has a fully functional electric vehicle with a 130-mile range. He didn’t have to do everything alone, acquiring sponsorships from Core IV and Plasma Boy Racing. They supplied the 30-kilowatt-hour lithium iron phosphate battery pack that currently powers the Celica. It’s mounted in the trunk.

Toyota-Celica-Adam-Lansing-The-Electric-Kid-EV
Toyota
Toyota

Plasma Boy Racing founder John Wayland was one of the original inspirations for the project. While researching electric cars, Lansing found YouTube videos of the “White Zombie,” a 1972 Datsun 1200 Wayland converted to electric power for drag racing. The little Datsun showed Lansing that electric cars can be fast as well as frugal.

Lansing has started his own company, Hawkeye Innovations LLC, and hopes to make a living doing to gasoline-to-electric conversions. That’s becoming a burgeoning business, with companies like Genovation and Kreisel Electric converting familiar sports cars into high-performance electric cars. After all, who said new electric cars can only come from Detroit or Silicon Valley?

Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Outdoors

The Naseka electric snowmobile is built for kids, but you’ll likely want one too

The Naseka electric snowmobile is a vehicle built for kids, allowing them to have a safe and efficient ride on snow, with the ability to trade out the ski for a wheel for use in the summer too.
Cars

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.
Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.