February 24, 2009
Vintage EV Watch: JMJ Dodge Omni!
By Jen Dunnaway
I’ve always had this silly crush on Dodge Omnis and I’m also totally into EVs, so imagine the love when I ran over to ogle this Omni that I spotted in a Safeway parking lot, only to find that it was a fully electric vehicle. Luckily the owner Bruce and his little daughter Rachel were just finishing up their grocery shopping and offered to drive me around the block. How cool to ride in a vintage EV! Just like in the movies, it runs completely silent except for a bit of tire noise and a futuristic-sounding whirrrr of the traction motor. Being one of the typical 80s EVs, the Omni is packed with several pallets of lead-acid batteries (adding 1000 lbs to the car’s weight, Bruce said–hope it’s running some bigger brakes). It was converted to electric when new by JMJ Electric Corporation–one of the many conversion companies that churned out plug-in electrics in the wake of the last oil crisis (check out my previous blogs on Jet’s Escort and Omni conversions, the ‘Lectric Leopard, and Solargen’s AMCs). Bruce’s Omni is mint, and in the two years he’s owned it, he said it’s never required more than the expected wear-and-tear maintenance–and of course, he hasn’t paid for a drop of gas. Go below the jump for a peek under the hood.
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