Mark Kandutsch's 1972 Electric Saab 96 Project

Posted on 17. Mar, 2010 by in 2010-2019

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Photo Credit: M Kandutsch

Saab History has recently had the great opportunity to speak with Mark Kandutsch of Bar Harbor, Maine, who has recently completed a 1972 Saab 96 Electric Vehicle Project.

This project itself, was triggered by the Doctor’s interest in creating an EV project after reading an inspiring article in a do-it-yourself magazine a few years ago where Electric Vehicle’s (EV) were featured. The project looked easy enough on paper, so the brainstorming began.

Choosing The Vehicle

Mark had previously owned Saab 99’s and 900’s over the years. His previous experience, coupled with specific needs for a vehicle that was streamlined, had no power steering and was lightweight, and without knowing about other Saab 96 EV projects like Brandon’s or Christen’s 96, he chose a 1972 Saab 96 that was for sale in the local classifieds.

Restoring & Converting The Saab 96

The 1972 Saab 96 that was chosen needed a lot of body work, so Mark spent most of his time and energy restoring the body of the vehicle complete with a new paint job and fitting “lightening bolt” on the rear trunk symbolizing the electrical energy driving this vehicle. The project began in September of 2008 and was completed in March of 2009. Mark indicates that at least four to five out of the seven months were devoted towards the body work where 2 to 3 were spent on the actual EV conversion process. He believes that if he were doing another project, he’d be able to do the conversion in about half that time being 1.5 months.

Daily Operation Of The Saab 96 EV

Since the restoration was completed in March, Mark has used the vehicle as his daily driver to and from work which is 10 miles round-trip. He does not drive the vehicle in the winter as the salt roads cause serious rust and he was not interested in reversing the restoration of his beautiful Saab 96 EV. In a given week, he can go up to 40 miles on a single charge with his current battery setup. Mark admits that he feels more comfortable charging the vehicle daily or every few days just in case he needs to make the unexpected errands going either to or from work.

Charging of the Saab 96 EV

The current charging device used to power all batteries at the same time, is powered 100% by the grid. While Mark does have solar panels on his house, they are not the latest in Photovoltaic technology and therefore aren’t capable of providing the necessary electricity needed for the charge. A typical daily charge would be about 2 hours after work, and if the batteries are fully discharged it would be about 3.5 hours max.

Another Saab EV Success Story In The Making

Today, Mark has driven the vehicle approximately 5,000 miles and has never had to walk home due his use of electrical power guages that he’s currently upgrading which will soon include the ability to monitor miles per kWh.

For more details on Mark’s 1972 Saab 96 EV project, please check out more photos and details on EV Maine.

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