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AC Propulsion Delivers First eBox EV Conversion

The eBox.

AC Propulsion, the maker of the tzero electric sports car, has delivered its first eBox electric vehicle to actor Tom Hanks.

The eBox, a converted Toyota Scion xB, made its public debut in December 2006 and uses an AC Propulsion drive system combined with a 35 kWh li-ion battery pack to support an all-electric range of approximately 150 miles with a top speed of 90 mph and 0-60 acceleration of about 7 seconds. The eBox is also Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capable.

The drive system uses an AC induction motor that produces 120 kW of peak power, 50 kW continuous, with 220 Nm (162 lb-ft) of torque. The system supports regenerative braking.

A 35 kWh li-ion battery pack from AC Propulsion.

AC Propulsion built the 335 V nominal li-ion battery pack from 5,088 small cells. An on-board charger is rated from 1 to 20 kW with 100 to 250V input, and has a bi-directional grid interface. A fast full recharge takes 2 hours, a normal recharge takes 5 hours.

The eBox costs approximately $70,000—the base price of the Scion xB (around $15,000) plus the $55,000 conversion cost.



Fred Sands

I've driven one lately...

Nice car with great acceleration, but with a not-so-friendly $75K price tag!!! Hanks can easily buy 1000 of them and give them away as a charitable gesture to needy people who want to drive BEVs but cannot afford this kind of $$$.



Seems good apart from the range and the price.


The range shouldn't be much of a problem considering that you start every morning with a "full tank". I'm lucky if my car starts out the day with a quarter of a tank.

Kumar Barve


I agree that the price is awful, but what's wrong with the range? In my two car household, I'd love to have such a vehicle, provided, again, that the price is reasonable. I suspect the vast majority of the driving public would feel the same. I base this on what I have heard anecdotally.


Range would be fine with me.... the price....
sorry. Hey Tom, I sure would like one... :)


funny they could not find anything a little more aerodynamic , looks a little like a housebrick , seriously though 75k is a lot of money for this type of car , in mass prodution the price should come down dramaticaly , an electric car should be a lot cheapear than a modern ICE car to manufacture just think of all the things you get to throw away
1. injection system, costly and always going wrong
2. exhuast system , need a new one every few years
3. ICE motor , 200kilos of cast iron and alloys , costly and prone to failure
4. gearbox , another chunky piece of metal 75to 100 kilos
5. clutch and housing , cant remember how many I have changed in 25 years of driving
6. fuel tank and pumps
7. starter motor , very heavy in a diesel car
8. alternater , very expensive to replace

the list goes on , ok you need a whole bundle of electronics , for an electric car but these are so much more reliable than in an ICE beacause you dont have to interface to the mecanical parts of the ICE motor ,
the only real bugbear is that battery , but maybe the chinese will help us with that one , I am sure that once the ball starts rolling these huge prices will come down , but good on Tom Hanks he´s put his money where his mouth is , we need a few more politicans to take his lead !


The price is too high! Well what do we expect from a teeny company taking on this challenge by itself? What would happen to the price of vehicles like this if they were produced and promoted by one of the multinational auto manufacturers, or any giant multinational corporation? What would happen to the price of vehicles like this if a fraction of the tax breaks granted giant oil corporations were applied to a pipsqueak like AC propulsion?

Say the eBox cost $50,000, per unit. For 50 grand a pop, you could build 20 of these cars for one million dollars. For $200 million you could build 4000 of these cars. What do you think would happen to the $50,000 price of this car, if 4000 of them were built? Now, imagine that 4000 of these vehicles were rolling off the assembly line each and every day. 4000 eBoxs times 365 equals 1,460,000 vehicles per year. Does anyone think that, if sold in these volumes, the eBox would still cost $50,000 per unit?

$200 million per day is a conservative estimate of the current costs of funding one day's worth of the Iraqi liberation.

It's not about cost, it's about priorities.


The range and charge times are fine with me. My gas gauge reaches the half-way point at about 150 miles. This equates to about 5.5 days of driving for me. I have driven more than 150 miles in one day no more than 2 times the past year.

Thse celebrities need to get a clue. Instead of wasting energy in lambasting the government and the war in Iraq, they could educate the public on the possibilites of BEVs. Heck, with all the funding that Hanks, Clooney, Cruise and company could generate, why don't they start an electric car company?


150 miles is just fine with me as well.
I cant think of the last time I went that far in a day.

But the cost is prohibative.

I figure the batteries are the most expensive component. So how cheap can they be purchased for in bulk? Is there chart with volume -vs- cost?

Maybe someone can strike a deal with one of the big three since they are hurting for the car shells.

I think the hollywood crowd could get together and super fund it but how cheap can it be made?


Sure the range is fine for everyday driving but in a few weeks I'm off to see my mate in London. That's over 150 miles away and when I'm driving that much I don't want a two to five hour break in my journey for recharging.
And I don't want to pay that much money for a car that can't do relativly short road trip.


For the occasional long trip you can tow the optional genset, making it a hybrid of sorts. The cost is high, but just like anything that's built in very small numbers by hand, that cost is sure to drop if the same were to be built in larger numbers by a mostly automated assembly line.


Where does it say anything about a genset?

Michael McMillan

I know it looks like a flying brick, but I know someone who has one. He says that he gets 30 miles per gallon driving sporty.

The aerodynamics of the overall shape sort of suck, but the doors seal flush with a little flap so that there is negligible disruption in airflow. The vehicle rides very close to the ground minimizing airflow under the car.

The total vehicle weight is low, minimizing rolling resistance, especially when combined with low rolling resistance tires.

So it is not as bad as it seams. The low total weight greatly increase acceleration and regenerative deceleration.

Harvey D.

Where and when will a 5-passenger BEV sedan, with 200+ miles range, be mass produced for $25 000 +/- $5 000?

In C.... or K.... in 2009/11?


Li-on batteries are already a mass produced item for the laptop and electronic goods market. Therefore, it is not a given that economies of scale will have much of an impact on the cost of converting vehicles to electricity;nor is it a given that they will have sufficient longevity to ever be economical for us mere mortals. We are still clearly in the toys for the rich category.

Fred Sands

Yes; AC Prop. is a tiny company but they hold a great e-drive. I would do it differently... since they already been succesful in showing us that their drive system is top-notch, I would team up with a [BEV] car manufacturer and co-produce fair priced vehicles rather than be content with selling a $70K modified Scion.
Sure they are making some money doing so, sure they make some money by licesning their drive system know-how, but what about the future? What about the ability to do large numbers?

Good luck to you AC Prop...



another future bankrupcy, but Tom's charitable contibution will give them a few days of operating capital.


another future bankrupcy, but Tom's charitable contibution will give them a few days of operating capital.



I am not sure about bankruptcy for AC Propulsion...
They have a lot of e-Box sold [100?] and money from licensing their tech to Tesla plus royalties.

Maybe they'll make it!


hampden wireless

This is a pretty raw deal when compared to what Tesla is going to offer. I would hope to see them make these for at most $45000. The range is not bad, it would be usuable for a delivery vehicle or a commuter. I just cant get past that price for a Scion Xb.

Ben W

The American public is going to LOVE BEV's. There are just too many benefits for them not too. Simple drivetrains mean lower maintenance costs and longer lives. They have great driving traits. Their electrical systems lend themselves nicely to modern niceties like audio/video systems, navigation systems, etc. They smell better, sound better, drive better, have the potential to look better, and are easier to live with. Not to mention that whole Saving The Planet thing.

You have three basic components: Motor, controller, and batteries. Batteries are the only questionable factor right now. But progress is made every year. Best of all, a well designed BEV should be easy to upgrade. So you buy the car today with a 100 mile/charge pack that takes all night to charge, and recycle the batteries in 10 years for a 200 mile/charge pack that charges in half an hour. There is absolutely no reason this can't happen.

And remember, oil prices will only go up. There is no single alternative that could do for us what oil has done. Not hydrogen or ethanol or biodiesel. Electric cars are fuel agnostic. They don't care HOW you run your power plants.



Your weight estimates are too high. A LS6 5.7L V-8 weighs 200kilos. A Toyota 1.5L with DOHC is likely to be closer to 125kilos.

My transmission weighs 45kilos without fluids. 2.5qts of fluid is negligible weight (3 kilos maybe?) [this is for a 5spd mitsubishi transmission]

110,000 miles on the clutch so far with no slipping.

Part of the high cost is the labor of stripping out the old and putting in the new. If this were a factory built vehicle it would not have such a high price tag as the assembly line procedures for building a car from the ground up are far more efficient than replacing components in a fully assembled vehicle. Only the $20,000 or so from the price of the batteries is unlikely to scale down.


If we find enough people willing to invest some money, we could arrange our own battery production facility, or am I dreaming!

kent beuchert

If Tom Hanks were any more politically correct, I think I'd throw up. Why doesn't he show at least a little sense and buy a practical electric or plug-in when available?Does he really think the public is gullible enough to waste their money on this nonsensical contraption? People aren't THAT stupid and don't generally like throwing their momey away purely for image.


Hey Andrichrose,

I have an 11 year old Honda Civic with over 220,000 miles on it. Still has the original exhaust (including muffler), the original clutch, alternator, starter motor, transmission etc. Only the usual maintainance items (spark plugs, air filter, timing belt etc.).

But I agree with you that ICE's have a lot of parts and electronics. The more I work on ICE's, the more I look forward to the simplicity of a BEV.

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