Last year, I introduced you to my brother René, and his billiards paintings. Now I'm featuring my other brother, Cliff, and his interesting car, the Corbin Sparrow. Cliff will be today's guest blogger, and I'll turn the reins over to him now ...
Thanks, Mark! My fascination with electric cars began in October 2003, while on vacation at our son’s home in Newburg, New York. I spotted a Comutacar on Ebay at what I considered a reasonable price and made an impulse bid. Much to my surprise (and my wife’s dismay) I won the auction and we trailered the car home from Staten Island, NY to St. Petersburg, Florida. I owned that car, Sparky, for about 5 years, and enjoyed driving it around town and displaying it at auto shows.
|Sparky the Comutacar|
In January 2008, I was at Beach Battery Burnout, an electric car gathering in Florida, and got a chance to drive a Corbin Sparrow. I immediately fell in lust with this vehicle and bought one from a gentlemen in Eugene, Oregon. I’ve enjoyed the car ever since.
The Corbin Sparrow was the brainchild of Mike Corbin, and was born in Hollister, California in 1999. The first model of this vehicle (the one that I own) was nicknamed the “Jellybean” because of its bright jellybean colors.
100 of these vehicles were made before the body style was changed to the “Pizza Butt,” so named because a number of that model were bought by Dominoes Pizza to be used as delivery vehicles. 200 of the second-edition vehicles were manufactured before Corbin filed for bankruptcy and ceased manufacturing electric cars.
|The power used to recharge the car is equivalent to keeping a radio turned on all night.|
The Sparrow is an all-electric, single-passenger vehicle with a top speed of 70 mph and a driving range of 30-50 miles, depending on the terrain and how it is driven. It has 13 twelve volt batteries (156 volt system) and weighs a total of 1400 pounds. The rights to the car and all parts and equipment were sold to Myers Motors and the car renamed the NMG (No More Gas).
The Sparrow has interesting aesthetic details, from the dimpled fender to the elegant brake pedal, which Mark likes to point out.
I bought my car in non-running condition for about $7000. I turned it over to my friend Ron Anderson of Black Sheep Technologies (http://www.black-sheep.us/index.php). He installed a new battery pack, upgraded the entire wiring system, and redesigned and rebuilt the controller. Because of these improvements I am able to enjoy carefree driving around our city.
Speaking of driving around the city, the Sparrow draws attention wherever it goes. It’s rare not to be approached about this car when I stop at coffee shops or the grocery store. The car is so unique that it creates a segue to discuss the future of transportation in the United States. A typical conversation about electric cars would run something like this:
Bystander: “How far will it go?”
Me: “I don’t know because I’ve never run out of electricity”.
Bystander: “What’s the farthest you've ever gone?”
Me: “Let’s see, out to the beach and back is about 18 miles.”
Bystander: “What would you do if you did run out of electricity?”
Me: “What would you do if you ran out of gas?”
Bystander: “I’ll never run out of gas because I keep the tank full.”
Me: “I’ll never run out of electricity because I only drive around town and I keep the batteries charged. I’ve never gotten low, but if I did, I could charge at the Dunkin Donuts on 4th Street, and very soon there will be charging stations at the malls.”
Bystander: “Um, well what would happen if you wanted to drive over the bay to Tampa?”
Me: “I’d take my KIA van.”
Bystander: “Oh. Where did you say you got this?”
More information can be found about Sparrows