‘A bit mad’ New Zealand woman builds solar panel-powered EV for just £12,500

Rosemary Penwarden has been driving the self-converted electric car for the past three years and says that building the vehicle is one of the “best things I’ve ever done”.

The project took around eight months and £12,500 to complete.

A New Zealand native, Ms Penwarden bought a 1993 wreck to act as the basis for the EV and enlisted the help of a friend, Hagen Bruggemann, a refrigeration engineer who assisted Penwarden in converting her automobile to electric power.

They removed the original combustion engine herself and replaced it with an electric motor and gearbox.

She then placed batteries into the front and back of the car — 24 under the bonnet and 56 in the boot.

The car is now fully road legal.

Ms Penwarden said: “You do have to be a little bit mad. I want to thank the oil companies for the motivation.”

She originally had the idea when some people taunted her about using a petrol car when she joined protests against deep-sea drilling in the Southern Ocean.

She said: “I got kind of sick of that, it was kind of a funny thing that they were trying to say. I thought ‘well, actually I know someone who has just made an electric car’.

She has now travelled some 23,000km (14 miles) in the car.