Electric Car Ever Produced"
the Frank Didik article of 1993.
Approximately 2,000 of these small, wedge-fronted 2-seaters
were built in Sebring, Florida from late 1974 till early 1976 by the
Sebring-Vanguard Company. They were ultimately marketed under two names,
"Citicar'" & Comuta-Car". There was also a
very limited edition Postal Van which was a few feet longer
and had a sliding side door.
were powered by a General Electric motor drawing
energy from eight 6-volt lead-acid, golf-cart type batteries and
controlled by contactors and large resistors. The early models
did not have a solid state full range controller so they had a
jerky 3 speeds. The original models had large relays to
configure three different voltages and basically deliver 3
speeds. The low speed operates at approx 12 volts, middle
speed 24 volts and high speed uses all 8 batteries wired in
series yielding 48 volts. The motor is mounted directly to the
differential and there is no transmission. The vehicle
weighs in at
850 pounds without batteries or about 1,350 pounds with the 8
batteries installed. The vehicle boasted a reliable range of 40-50
miles in warm weather and had a top speed in excess of 35 mph.
The car made a brief appearance in the science fiction movie
THX-1138 starring Robert Duvall. The entire car is built of ABS
plastic which meant the
bodies were not subject to rust or corrosion.
The cars came with
three different wheel and tire combinations, 480 X 12,
125/80R12, and 135/80R13. The original Citicar's came with 480
X 12 trailer tires and 4-inch wide wheels. Later versions of
the Citicar's and some Comuta-car's came with the 125/80R12
tires. Late model Comuta-cars came with 135/80R13 tires and
4.5-inch wide wheels.
company that produced them went bankrupt in 1977. The
remaining inventory, parts and designs were sold at auction to
a mobile home manufacturer from New Jersey. He purchased
most of the company in-tact but did not purchase the original
"Citicar" name. In 1978 he attempted to build a new
version of the car using both new and existing parts. Since
there was a shortage of the older GE 3.8HP motors and car
axles, he incorporated a higher 5HP GE motor and also made
several electrical improvements.
By this time,
people were no longer interested in fuel economy and sales
were very sluggish. The final death blow for the company occurred
when the National Transportation Safety Board increased the
safety requirements for all passenger vehicles.
They now required better bumpers, and impact resistance from
other cars. Since the original Citicar's were made mostly from
plastic, they could not conform to the new safety standards.
The company continued to sell used parts and a few vehicles
for non-road uses such as airports and warehouses for several
Our yellow car has
been modified by installing several electronic components as
well as a separate 12 volt gel-cell, deep discharge battery
for the onboard electronics. We also added an onboard
automatic charging unit so the lights, strobes, lasers, video
and sound system can be operated while on display at various
Electric Vehicles Have Been On TV - Click for Info