This Classic 1968 Mars II Electric Vehicle Must Ride Again (And It’s For Sale)
With a 60 mph top speed and between 70 and 120 miles of range, this sixties car is on par with some cheaper modern-day EVs.
If you've ever wanted to own a true, usable piece of electric vehicle history, now is your chance. Meet the 1968 Mars II: a vintage electric vehicle with specs that rival some modern-day EVs and a current for-sale ad up on Craigslist.
The Mars II was based on an Renault R-10 sedan body and had some respectable specs for an electric city car, even though it's over half a century old. Its 120-volt system can go between 70 and 120 miles on a single charge, and the car has a maximum speed of 60 mph, per the Society of Automotive Engineers. It can also charge up to 80% of its capacity in just 48 minutes.
Mind you, the brand-new
Kandi K27 only has an advertised range of 100 miles and a top speed of 63 mph. The recent adorable Microlino has just 62 mph for a top speed and 62 to 75 miles of range. Sure, there are more expensive small EVs out now like the Nissan Leaf that pack considerably more range and a top speed that can keep up on the freeway, but we're getting way out of our price range there. This Mars II is just $5,800.
Like the K27, the Mars II's specs are adequate for most city commutes. It's still small—I wouldn't want to stick anyone tall in the backseat—but if you really need to, you've got more seats than a Renault Twizy.
Unlike a Twizy or a Leaf, this is a rare piece of EV history. Only 47 Mars IIs were made, according to Craig Huber, who owned the same car before this seller. (The Craigslist ad says this number of Mars IIs built was between 42 and 47, but Huber claims that this Mars II was one of a series of 42 cars built.)
The Mars II featured a mechanical controller board that pre-dated the electronic controllers of later EVs, Huber notes.
This particular car was purchased by the Eugene, Oregon, electric company EWEB. All of its original running gear appears to be intact.
The only problem is that it doesn't run right now. There's some tears in the front seat that needs attention as well, but maybe a Renault fan can help you out.
Yet this is such a cool piece of automotive history that it deserves to be fixed. It's too cool, and it also comes with all of its paperwork, including technical diagrams. The SAE even has a technical paper on the Mars II from when it came out. Someone with a decent knowledge of electronics could probably get it going again for sure. That could be you!
Go here on Craigslist if you're the hero this rad retro EV needs.
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