by Bob Kennon, President
Auto Quest Investment Cars, Inc.
The gasoline shortage of the early 1970's created several small high tech companies which designed, developed and produced electric vehicles. One of the more advanced of these companies was Sebring Vanguard, Inc. of Sebring, Florida.
The company produced a limited number of these cars during the mid seventies. However, by the time these cars were in production, the oil crisis was temporally over and people were not as acutely aware of the problem. This translated into a drop in demand which resulted in the collapse of the new companies.
The car was called the "CITICAR" and was technologically advanced for its time and the performance rivals some of the experimental electric cars today.
The CitiCar is powered by 8 six volt deep cycle, high density batteries wired in parallel and in series. The batteries are divided into two packs of four, providing 24 volts in each pack. The car uses 24 volts from each pack in parallel for the first two speeds and 48 volts in series for the top speed. The speeds are changed by changing the voltage through the use of an accelerator switch that operates three micro switches mounted on a cam.
As the accelerator is depressed, current will flow from the two packs of batteries wired in parallel which produce 24 volts. In the first speed the current passes through a nichrome ribbon resister which cuts the amperage load and permits a fairly smooth take off. The first position has a top speed of 11 mph. Depressing the accelerator further will activate a solenoid in the contactor box which bypasses the resistor and increases the speed 23 mph. The car remains in a parallel circuit mode using 24 volts from each pack of batteries. The third speed changes the current from 24 volts in a parallel circuit to 48 volts in a series circuit. To reverse the car a toggle switch on the dash is used to change the current flow to the opposite direction.
The motor is a series wound DC 6 hp. motor which drives the car up to 40 MPH with a 50 mile range. The car has built in charger and recharges in about 8 hours on standard house current.
The "people-mover" is constructed of an all-aircraft aluminum frame an ABS Cycolac plastic body and weighs 1300 lbs with batteries. It carries tow people and has 12cu. ft. of storage.
These vehicles are relatively rare, but some are still in daily operation, conserving the oil supply. These cars are still reasonably priced in spite of being rare, innovative and somewhat of a landmark car. The price when you can find one, ranges between $3,500 and $6,500. This novelty people-mover will conserve energy, will not pollute the air, is quite and creates interest wherever it goes.