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Roger Dougal aboard his 1972 MGB, which is being equipped with an electrical engine
Roger Dougal aboard his 1972 MGB, which is being equipped with an electrical engine.

Continued: Electric MG

And they have. The “Electric MG,” as it’s called, is a reality.

“It can go really fast for short distances,” said Dougal, who estimates that about $10,000 has been spent in making the changes.

About 15 students have worked on the car since Dougal began the great experiment, which has left some MGB fans aghast. But the professor was determined to create an electric vehicle in the machine shop of the College of Engineering and Computing.

“I said, ‘We can do this before GM can,’ ” said Dougal, who estimates that he and several groups of students have worked on the project for about 18 months. “It didn’t move along quite as fast as I’d planned. When you think about how many people are working at the major auto manufacturers, we’ve probably made pretty good progress.”

But much of the student ingenuity and labor was volunteered. Some students have received course credit for their work. A few have received payment.

Tyler Price, a senior from Lexington, is one of the students working on the car, which has had the convertible top removed and a roll bar added.

The original engine is in Dougal’s garage and has been replaced by an AC motor with a custom driveshaft. In its place is a bank of more than 100 supercapacitors, resembling soft drink cans that have been encased in a plastic box and loaded into the trunk for the power source. A lithium battery will be added later and coupled with the supercapacitor bank to improve range and efficiency.

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The "converted" convertible

  • Who: Roger Dougal, professor of electrical engineering, and some of his students
  • What: Upfitting his 1972 MGB with an electric engine.

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