For those of you who don’t care for the regular LeCar powertrain, or those of you who lament anyone “ruining” a perfectly good car to turn it into a battery-powered car, this one is for you! This unusual ride is a 1980 Lectric Leopard and it’s a battery-powered Renault LeCar. I say, it’s a battery-powered Renault LeCar! (why is there an echo in here?) Or, a Renault 5, as some folks around the world know them. This unique and silent ride is on craigslist with an asking price of $3,000 and it’s located in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Given the updated lithium technology here, this is a good buy.
A company called US Electracar Corporation in Massachusetts imported vehicles without drivetrains and turned them into battery-powered cars and they called them the Lectric Leopard. I’m not sure if they meant to evoke the quickness of a leopard but I’m guessing that’s the case, based on some of their early advertising. Here’s a YouTube video of a young man who got a Lectric Leopard up and running again as a high school project. If he can do it, you certainly can. He just found it interesting, nothing more, nothing less. That’s how I see electric cars, as interesting and unusual. In case you were wondering, I’m not a “tree hugger” or someone who looks down on fuel-burning vehicles what so ever, quite the opposite, I love them! 8 out of our 10 vehicles (cars and motorcycles) burn gas like everyone else’s vehicles do, I just like the unusual/oddball factor with EVs.
This Lectric Leopard is a bit rusty, as you can see. Hopefully it isn’t structural but it was originally a New Hampshire car and then went to California, but the damage was already done it looks like. It has passed the Pennsylvania inspection so that’s nothing to sneeze at. Luckily it’s white paint so it’ll be easy to match once the rust is fixed. Technology-wise, this car has been updated with lithium batteries and that cut down about 600 pounds in weight, down to 2,060! That’s not an insignificant amount of weight. It also upped the range to 50-60 miles from 35-40. The Lectric Leopard originally came with 16 6-volt batteries and some owners put in 14-15 12-volt batteries, and going to lithium is the way to go but it’s not cheap. There are no photos of this car’s front or rear hood/trunk open, but here’s a similar car showing the batteries in back. This always comes up, and I would hope that by now we all know that these cars were never intended for cross-country travel, they were made for city commuters who drive short distances.
The interior of this car looks good, the seats were just redone and they look perfect. The seller has a specific webpage on this car with a lot of info if anyone is interested. He has included a couple of extra photos, too. He even added regenerative braking so this car is, at least in spirit, as close to a modern EV as it gets, and for $3,000 it’s a bargain. Now, about that rust, that’s the only thing that worries me about this car. Have any of you seen a Lectric Leopard before?