Santa Monica inventor decries “boring” electric vehicles, makes his own

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Santa Monica (CA) – Electric cars are usually pretty boring vehicles, but a Santa Monica inventor is trying to change all that with his Lola-EV custom car.  At first glance, the car looks sporty, almost Tesla-ish, but if you want to drive this thing, you have to build it.  The car is sold as a kit and you have to supply your own batteries, but what you get in the end is a pretty nice machine that can go 75 MPH for 100 miles on a single charge.




We talked with Paul Pearson, founder of Wild Custom Cars in Santa Monica, at the Alternative Car Expo in Santa Monica.  Next to him was the brand new Lola-EV which was completed the night before at approximately 8 PM.  “We only have 15 miles on it,” he said.

The car is aimed at environmentally conscious drivers who also want a quick car and this fiberglass-bodied baby can do 0 to 60 MPH in 6.5 seconds.  It also looks good.

“I built this car because most electric cars are so boring,” Pearson told us.

Pearson sells the car as a kit with body panels and plans.  You can also order the car at various states of completion.  Buyers will need to supply their own batteries.

Pearson isn’t a stranger to electric cars or the bureaucratic nightmare of the California Highway Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles.  He’s been driving a home-built electric dune buggy for a few years in Santa Monica and he told us that it took him six month to get a license plate.  “They said I came two years two early,” he said as he explained how automobile regulations are skewed against electric vehicles. 

For two of the six months, Pearson fought with CHP inspectors over the catalytic converter requirement.  Since the car has no exhaust, the converter isn’t necessary, but California regulations required that piece of equipment.  The inspectors relented after Pearson told them, “Where would you like me to weld it?  How about the roof?”

California law also requires two windshield wipers, but Pearson told inspectors that he doesn’t drive the car in the rain because of the exposed batteries.  Fortunately, for buyers of the Lola-EV kit, Pearson will help them get the car certified.  “I’ll even go with them to the highway patrol,” he added.

The plans and body panels cost $8000 dollars and Pearson estimates it will take approximately 600-800 hours to complete.  Final cost will be in the neighborhood of $45,000 without batteries.