GARY KRYSZTOPIK: San Antonio, Texas
Started his own EV company after seeing "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
"I worked for a Navy science lab as an electrical engineer for 23 years, until my wife and I moved to San Antonio, TX. For my new career path I knew I wanted to do something involving alternative energy opportunities. My wife took me to see Who Killed the Electric Car? and as I walked out of the theater I told her I was going to build an electric car and start a company to get electric cars on the road. That was 3 1/2 years ago and I haven't waivered a moment since.
I started my own EV company because I've always loved the outdoors and hated the air pollution from cars, especially while running or bicycling alongside a long line of idling cars with one person per (very large) vehicle. I remember watching National Geographic as a kid and seeing some of the horrible wastelands of the oil industry like the Exxon Valdez and then the last straw for me: the invasion of Iraq. I also always loved gas-powered motorcycles and motorsports in general which was a big internal conflict ... until I saw Who Killed the Electric Car?, when I realized I could have my cake and eat it too!
My company [www.zwheelz.com] is focused on designing very simple EV kits that people can build at home by themselves, and eventually at franchised "build assist centers." Many kit cars take years to complete, which is fine for a craftsman project but not acceptable to get EV's on the road fast. I want something that can be bolted together and made street legal in one week.
I am now contracting to VS Technology Corp [srmdrives.com] and helping to bring switched reluctance motors and drives to market, along with NiZn batteries. We are also designing a few new electric cars and an electric motorcycle. With another partner, I will soon be converting the first five of the City of San Antonio's fleet of 181 Priuses to plug-in hyrbrids using the Hymotion kits. We also do custom conversions for others, consult, speak and give classes and workshops on EV.
My best project was my first one - my ZW2-C trike, followed by a 1999 Porsche 911 with an 11" motor and Z2K (2000 amp) controller. There are only a handful of EV's that fast (other than the now prolific Tesla). But my most recent project was the most satisfying: our EAA chapter [www.aceaa.org] built an EV dune buggy for the American Cancer Society and Camp Discovery, which benefits children with cancer."