We love seeing eco-upgrades that increase the efficiency of existing vehicles, but a select few are taking their customization to a whole other level. These cars and trucks may have slick paint jobs and fancy rims, but they also have some experimental features that are a far cry from your typical hybrid or biodiesel. Read on for our list of the Top 5 Pimped Out Eco Rides, featuring the most incredible souped-up vehicles that serve to promote alternative fuels!
5. Sparky the electric Bug
Sparky, the retrofitted 1973 Volsvagen, is cool not just because of its flashy paint job, but also because of its unique ownership. This electric four-seater is owned by Manitou High School in Colorado Springs, and is used for driver’s education training. Sparky is a 4-speed manual and runs on a system of 12 volt batteries. We have to say it – this ride is almost too cool for school.
4. Chevy Solar Black Bear
Although this converted 1985 Chevy pickup is not a stylish hot rod, this solar powered truck has been highly awarded for its performance and ingenuity. The truck was converted to a solar-powered battery system by a team at the University of Maine. The truck can drive for approximately 100 miles on a full charge, can seat thee people, and has a fully-functional flat bed. In 1999 the Solar Black Bear traveled a total of 2446 miles on $75.60 worth of electricity (based on the utility rate of $.14 per kilowatt. Over the past few years, the Solar Black Bear was given six awards by the NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) in their Tour de Sol event.
3. Green H1 Hummer
This retrofit could be the equivalent of making lemonade out of lemons, because it was conducted on one of least efficient vehicles around – the Hummer. Used for an Eco-Trek across the United States by Australian explorer Shaun Murphy, this H1 limo runs on biofuel and energy generated by its roof-top array of solar panels. The Hummer was mainly powered on Ethanol and soybean oil, but the owner and engineer Russel Gehrke also developed a “gasifier” that allowed the vehicle to capture hydrocarbon gasses from solid matter such as dog food, beans, stale cookies and left-over sandwiches. An added feature is that heat from the exhaust is used to power the “gasifier”, creating what Gehrke calls a “closed loop” system.
2. Grass covered Cars
Combining the nostalgia of the chia pet and the technology of biodiesel engines, we think this grass-covered VW is a real attention getter. But why cover your car in sod? The folks at the Cool Fuel TV Series wanted to promote renewable energy vehicles by taking a cross-country trek using only eco vehicles. This 1982 Jetta mod is covered in recycled astroturf, and has a 10.5 gallon tank that allows the car to run 472 miles.
1. Bio Impala
Featured on MTV’s Pimp My Ride, this 1965 Impala Super Sport got a major eco-overhaul. The team installed a biodiesel engine and refitted the interior with hemp-upholstered seats and EcoSpun flooring made from recycled soda bottles. It has the power of a race car and can go from 0 to 60 in under three seconds. To give the car extra style, they hooked it up with Asanti rims and trunk has five Exonic monitors trimmed in reclaimed wood. We heard you liked.