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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

September 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

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Electrifying use of a used car

jefffinnvoltrunner-m.jpg

Sketched Sept. 18, 2012

The odometer on my 1999 Chevrolet Prizm is nearing 100,000 miles, so it may be time to get a new and more fuel-efficient model. If money were no object, I'd buy one of those nifty Chevy Volts.

Or, if I were more car savvy, I could follow Jeff Finn's example.

The 71-year-old Bellevue resident saved a 2000 Chevy Metro from the junk yard, stripped out all the gas motors' pieces and turned it into a one-of-a-kind zero-emissions vehicle he named the "Volt Runner."

His bill: $250 for the car, which had 190,000+ miles, $8,000 in parts, $800 for the paint job and $5,000 in labor he paid a local electric-vehicle builder he met through the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA).

"I'm not spending money on gas; I don't have any repair bills," Finn told me at a plug-in station in South Lake Union. And the Volt Runner is fun to drive, he said, because of "the elegant simplicity of it all."

jefffinninsidecar-m.jpg

The fuel and temperature indicators inside Finn's car have become decoration. He has labeled the gauges with bright green labels that say "obsolete."

National Plug In Day: Jeff Finn and other local electric-vehicle owners are showing their vehicles this Sunday at events in Snoqualmie Falls and the Seattle Center from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information visit: pluginday.org

What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!


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