Seattle’s Electric Car, Built in Washington State!

Category: Feature, New Cars. Written by Cameron Wong 

You can’t help but stare at the white on white low profile car at the Seattle Auto Show. It just looks a little different than the other vehicles on the showroom floor. And it is different, vastly different. It’s called the Electric Composite Hatchback(ECH for short). The creator is Bob Fraik of Bainbridge Island. Frustrated with the rollercoaster economy and his concerns about the environment, led to this plug-in creation.

The ECH is unique even compared to other electric cars out in the market today. Fraik’s company Evergreen Electromotive designed it specifically not to go on highways or freeways. The ECH’s top speed is just over 35 mph (fast for electric vehicles). That extra power means the ECH can climb hills easier than other electric cars.

“I was tired of the gas guzzlers just like everyone else,” explains Fraik. “But the electric cars out on the market were kind of weak too. I’m a car guy and I like to drive. This (ECH) offers it all. You can do a lot at 35 miles per hour.”

Washington State’s House Bill 1820 back in 2007 made all the difference for Fraik and his electric car. The bill allowed zero emission vehicles to travel city and county roads up to 35 MPH without having to undergo federal highway crash testing.

“It costs a fortune to do federal crash testing,” Fraik says. “For the major car makers out there, the Fords, and Chevy’s of the world, they can pay millions for just the testing. It just wouldn’t be cost effective to build anything faster. That’s why it doesn’t go faster than 35 miles per hour.”

Along with the legislation and the possibility of reducing the national speed limits as a way to conserve, led to the creation of the ECH. But with a top speed at just over 35 MPH, how many people would want to buy?

“It’s the perfect Seattle car,” tells Fraik, getting into salesman mode. “I can get on the ferry with it, drive through downtown and get anywhere I want on the streets. Yeah there are other electric cars out there built in France and China, places like that . But this one, is built right here. It’s not just American built, it’s Washington built.”

As of right now, there’s only one ECH, the prototype seen at the Seattle Auto Show. Fraick’s goal is to have them in production in the early part of 2009, and he has eyes on making his ECH vehicles for the city and state.

Electric Composite Hatchback Stats
• Plugs into 110v Outlet
• Option of 80-10,000 miles per charge
• Top speed at 35MPH
• Can Seat 2 in front/2 in back
• Zero Emissions
• Estimated 2 cents per mile

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3 Responses to “Seattle’s Electric Car, Built in Washington State!”

  1. Robert on December 4th, 2008 3:54 pm

    Why not build your own electric car? A lot of information on how to build an electric car, including cost cutting measures and design tips, can be found on Frank Didik’s website at: In particular, check out the section entitled “How to Build an Electric Car”, “Didik Turtle or How to build a two person electric vehicle in 14 hours” and “Critical and accurate assessment of electric vehicles”. He is the first to truly mention the pro’s and con’s of electric cars and an excellent history directory of electric cars, starting in the 1800’s. Many years ago, Didik was the found of the Electric Car Society.

  2. Grant on December 12th, 2008 1:35 am

    Thanks for the informative comment Robert. Didik has some interesting designs on his site.

    I think the biggest problem is that most people don’t have the tools, time or capacity to build their own EV cars. I’d guess less than 10% of car owners change their own gas, let alone know how, so building a drive train mights be a bit difficult :) It would be cool though if it were modular enough that anyone with basic tools could do it though, wouldn’t it?

  3. donald r glore on March 9th, 2012 7:00 pm

    i live on prince of wales island in alaska your car would be perfect here, my only worry would be ground clearance in ice & snow, do you have a body style for all terrian, we don’t care much for looks or style, actually a model ” T ” style would be perfect. don

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