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Alaska EV company seeking crowd-funding for low-volume production AWD electric roadster

Ethos Electric Vehicles, a small, Alaska-based company building custom electric motorcycles and automobiles, has launched a $100,000 crowd-funding campaign for reworking an existing internal combustion engine kit car—the Graber Cars’ La Bala—into a low-volume production, all-wheel drive (AWD) electric roadster. Target pricing is $48,000 for the base AWD unit, $60,000 for a deluxe version, and $28,000 for a two-wheel drive unit.

Alt Car Expo Santa Monica Sept 2008 030
Top: The La Bala. Source: Graber Cars.

Bottom: This would not be the first time a La Bala kit was used as the basis for an EV. Shown is a conversion by Paul Pearson in 2008. Source: Steve Graber. Click to enlarge.

The La Bala is an open cockpit vehicle. In addition to designing the AWD electric powertrain, Ethos is making the cabin weather-tight and adding storage space and functioning doors and windows as well as a few other needed items. The crowdfunding is to raise money for this and for tooling and jigs.

From the crowd funding pitch:

For many many years I have been following a small company that puts out a kit car called the La Bala (translating as “the bullet” in Spanish). I drove one of their completed vehicles and with an ICE engine it was fast and handled like a slot car. But I was not content with their level of body finish at the time. I have been waiting for them to take it to the next level of finish (doors, windows, roof, etc.), but their low unit production volume has not allowed them to focus completely on the needed upgrades. I had spoken with the original designer/owner 6-7 years ago about an electric version, but we could not seem to come to an agreement that would make this venture affordable, but I decided to continue watching the company. With our new direction, I approached the new company owner about working together to take it to the next level and offering it in a turn key all wheel drive electric version and pending a successful conversion to full electric, we have come to a licensing agreement to allow this to come to fruition.

Our goal is to take the La Bala and make it a fun, sexy, reliable and safe all-season electric vehicle at an affordable cost to the end user. To do this we will refine the design in Solidworks and produce as a turn key in three configurations two wheel drive, all wheel drive base and high performance.

—Jim Berry

Design modifications will start with:

  • Re-designing the rear suspension from a De-Dion to a full IRS and IFS of Ethos’ design to be AWD with its electric automatic transmission and motor combination.

  • Full roll protection to FIA standards

  • Enclosing the cockpit and providing functional doors with roll-up windows.

  • Adding front and rear storage space.

  • Designing in the battery pack (preliminarily 68 kWh).

  • Adding air conditioning and heat.

Contributions to the project will be utilized for:

  • Solidworks design time.

  • Prototype(s) construction and testing.

  • Construction of frame and body jigs.



That's very nearly the specs of the Tesla Roadster.


EP, couldn't agree more. Why would anyone want to set off down that same road again with such a long way to go to catch up, and with a design which is nowhere near as attractive ? I hope the "Crowd" thinks twice before plunging in on this one.


Because the Tesla Roadster isn't being built any more and there's a niche for an electric roadster?  Especially one with AWD?

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