Phil Chipman is living the good life. The 62-year-old retiree surfs almost daily, still plays in his college rock band, and he's got a set of wheels that run for a penny a mile.
Chipman drives a two-seater that he designed and built to run entirely on electricity, one which plugs into any standard socket.
"My mission was to prove that you could build an electric vehicle in your garage and that there are alternatives out there," the Costa Mesa resident said of gasoline-powered vehicles.
His three-wheeled vehicle is a hodgepodge of used and hand-crafted parts from different modes of transportation: motorcycle suspension, old airplane seatbelts, aeronautical metal tubing , and batteries typically used by boats, to name a few. He purchased the various pieces off the Internet and by scouring junkyards, spending less than $5,000 total.
But this project brought to life by electricity is no Frankenstein monster. Designed with a lifted tail-end (to show off the streamlined metal tubing underneath) and a sleek fiberglass body with a glossy coat of white paint, Chipman created a balance between aesthetics and efficiency.