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Some Fine Man Built His Own Electric Saab 99

This makes a strong case for American, er, Finnish ingenuity.

Swapping cars from gasoline to electricity is all the rage these days. People are doing it with their Exocets and even their Subarus, but one key point has been missing in the homebuilt Electric Vehicle market—a Saab 99. Enter this dude. Finnish electrical engineer, Mika Leppälahti, took on the challenge to transform his beloved Swede from a gas-sipping cruiser to an all-electrified machine three years ago.

The quirky charm of this 99 seems to pair nicely with its new powertrain, and really, they have more in common than you’d think. After all, Saab built these things to withstand 20-foot drops from helicopters, which seems like overkill to me. But, by the same token, Mr. Leppälahti built this all on his own just because he wanted to. That’s a statement of capability if you ask us.

Starting in 2014, Mika began work on this one-off project that he concocted with a few things in mind: eliminate emissions and give it enough range to drive to and from work every day. With hard work and skill came both of those results as the Saab can reportedly drive more than 195 kilometers–or 121 miles–on a charge. As a matter of fact, it’s traveled 5,200 miles since the swap without issue, making the case that this homebrew project is more reliable than some exotics who wish to remain anonymous.

Mika claims that, in theory, the electric drivetrain is enough to push his 99 to 245 kph, which is roughly 152 miles per hour. Whether or not the rest of the car can hold up to that is something else, though. 

Watch the videos below to see how he did it, and if you want more in-depth information on the car, click on Mika’s build thread here.