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The Passion Behind GoElectric
GoElectric began as a crazy idea hatched in the mind of a laid-off Engineer: To convert gas-guzzling Classic Cars into smooth-driving, powerful, modern, electric cars! He still wants to build them, and with the help of others the idea has grown. Listen to an April, 2016 CBC radio interview at the link below. For about three months after that interview Jim had a steady stream of folks come-by who could also see electric vehicles (“EVs”) are the future; who thought converting was a great idea, wanted to know more, wanted to help, wanted to build their own. One of these was David Lloyd – a retired Electrical Engineer and technical wizard.
While continuing on Jim’s first project – the “EVolvo” – Jim and David became fast friends and partners – working together until midnight (or later) most nights. But… for all the interest in what they were doing, they came to realize the best way to drive an electric vehicle was not to build, but to buy one. Due to incentives, a two year-old electric car imported from California can cost less than half the price of a new one, while retaining the benefits of ultra-low operational costs and almost zero maintenance. Converting a car (to say nothing of paying someone to do it) is an expensive proposition. They decided to open a business, and GoElectricCalgary was born: Its mission: to spur-on the adoption of EVs – whether to buy or build.
We make buying electric vehicles easy. We know electric cars. We will help you decide if an EV suits your lifestyle, help you choose one, help you get set-up, and answer questions after delivering your car. If we don’t have the exact vehicle you want, we will find it and bring it in for you. Our Salespeople are Facilitators, not Sharks. Chosen from the community, they are dedicated to EVs and what they stand for: a smart choice for the consumer – a responsible choice for the environment. To make it easy on our customers and staff alike, we have a No-Haggle Policy: in essence, we consider ourselves a Social Enterprise; the price we ask is the price we need to continue our Vision.
Still, we haven’t lost our passion for converting Classic Cars. Taking an old car – be it a Model T, a Ferrari, or even a motorbike – and turning it into an EV still is and will continue to be a great idea. GoElectric has an ideal facility: close to downtown, full mechanical shop, car sales, auto-body, and a 7,000 sq-ft basement (wow). Soon we will open the EV Underground Maker-Space: a workshop where we will continue to build our own cars to a high-standard, convert them for those who can afford it, and offer our space, tools, parts, equipment and expertise for the DIY crowd to convert their own.
Come visit us soon!
Jim Steil, David Lloyd and the rest of the GoElectric Group.
Here is CBC’s interview:
Meet the Team
James (Jim) Steil was born in Saskatchewan and raised in Alberta. He showed promise early-on when he opened his own bicycle-repair shop at 15, and graduated High School at the top of his Class in all subjects (except English and Religion – failing the latter 2 times). He recalls they told him his IQ was “one-fifty-something” when he graduated and later when he tried the MENSA exam, scored in the top 0.02 percentile.
Funnily-enough, Jim hated Engineering School (Electrical) – preferring people to numbers – and has since racked-up three more Degrees, but never finished his PhD (in Developmental Psychology) and says he “probably should have been a Geologist.” He hasn’t worked much in his life, unless you call 10 years travelling around the world teaching High School Physics and Chemistry a “Job.”
Jim sang with his students every morning, and basically taught The History of Science in every class, “because kids like stories.” Demonstrations and experiments were his specialty. To list only a few, in Ireland he made is own x-ray machine and x-rayed his students. In Vancouver, his students made and distilled alcohol (94%), transformed it into herbal medicines and sold them. In Australia, they electroplated spiders (gold) and manufactured their own no-chemicals sun-screen. In Hawaii, his students made computers out of telephone relays. In Pennsylvania, he launched bowling balls off the school roof. Etc…. His students NEVER cracked a textbook in 10 years (but they did write their own).
Jim has had several successful small businesses, and building electric cars “seemed like a good idea at the time,” and it still seems like one. In his spare time, Jim fly-fishes, spends time with his girlfriend Gail, and “likes to make things.”
David Lloyd was born in England and from an early age demonstrated his need to build things. He was fortunate enough to have a Meccano set (Erector set in Canada) and kept busy making motorized gadgets and go-karts.
He emmigrated to Canada (Toronto) at 12 years old and after a year went to Junior High school where he very much enjoyed a Machine Shop course and after achieving 100% in that course it was suggested that he take the Electronics course (another 100%). It was in these early years that he decided Engineering would be the most enjoyable/attractive career path.
After completing an Electrical Engineering degree at U of Waterloo he moved to Calgary in 1979.
David was employed by Spartan Controls for the next 3 decades as a Control Systems Specialist and travelled most of Alberta’s Oil patch and some extended work in Italy and Germany.
During this time he married and had 3 children, 1 boy and 2 girls. Growing up, his soccer star kids enjoyed many laps of driving around the cul-de-sac in a couple of fast home-built electric go-karts.
Having a house was an excuse to acquire more electrical devices, so he collected things like a battery electric snowblower, battery electric riding mower, electric bicycles and all other battery-powered gardening appliances. His home-built, remote-control garden Tug-Bot routinely pulls various sweepers and tillers around his large NW Calgary lot.
The Lloyd kids all went to UofA and graduated in Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering respectively and are currently enjoying successful careers.
After retirement from Spartan Controls he was ready for the next phase of his life; pursuit of electric vehicles. He currently lives in Calgary with his retired Endocrinologist physician wife Sandra and along with gardening support, spends lots of time building things in his recently built shop.