CC Capsule: 1981 Ford Fairmont Electric – EVs Sure Have Come A Long Way

It’s easy to forget just what a huge leap EVs made starting in the first few years of the 21st century, with the groundbreaking AC Propulsion T-Zero and some other early lithium ion battery EVs. Meanwhile in the early 1980s, when there was a quite a boomlet in EV conversions due to the second energy crisis, the best one could hope accomplish is something like this Fairmont wagon conversion, with a heavy load of lead acid batteries and probably about a 35-45 mile range, when the batteries were fresh, which didn’t typically last long.

Finding this one was a bit of a surprise, as I just assumed it was a plain old Fairmont wagon until I got closer and saw the badge on the grille.

Here it is, and that piqued my interest more than another Falcon six powered Fairmont. Time to raise the hood.

No Falcon six here. More like seven 12V batteries, at least visible. Are there more under the middle three? The electronics (controller) sit behind them, and the motor is under them, attached to the the bell housing of the original transmission.

Which was of course the manual four speed stick, as an automatic wouldn’t exactly be wanted here. So this Fairmont must have started out life as 2.3L four powered, as I’m pretty sure the six only came with the automatic. One could use all four gears, but typically only used two or so, given the torque of the electric motor. Which was none too great, as we’re not talking about a Tesla S with Ludicrous Mode. These conversions were slow, and barely freeway usable, with a top speed commonly about 55-60, and a drastically shortened range at those speeds.

Of course those handful of batteries wouldn’t have been enough to get any decent range or speed out of them, so I’m pretty sure this is another battery compartment where the gas tank was. it seems to hang lower than the tank w would, and that was the typical arrangement: some batteries in the front, and more in the rear.

And what’s in the back seat? A battery charger; what else?

Yes, it’s electric. Assuming the batteries are still holding a charge and not totally fried. Lead acid batteries are great in some applications, but not in cars, as they hate to be discharged too deeply or quickly. Just a few overly deep discharges can fry them. And that happened all-too often back then.

What? As-Is and no dealer warranty? I wonder why?