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Do-It-Yourself: Kailua Man Converts Porsche to an All-Electric Vehicle

Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

A Kailua-man spent two years converting his gas-guzzling Porsche to an all-electric vehicle. HPR’s Ku?uwehi Hiraishi has this story.

61-year-old Mark Bush pulls up in his 1973 Porsche 914 and it is this bright green, maybe a lime green?

Credit Ku'uwehi Hiraishi
Under the hood. Bush replaced his gas tank with a 12-battery box.

“It’s actually called lime squeeze,” says Bush.

The color is quite the eye catcher, but its what’s under the hood that’s fascinating.

“It runs off of 36, 180-amp hour lithium ferrous phosphate batteries,” says Bush. 

Bush gets 100 miles off of one charge.

“The gas tank used to be right here…” says Bush.

We’re under the hood. I see 12 batteries snug in a battery box he designed himself and had a friend fabricate for him. It’s made mostly out of plastic with aluminum brackets and runs about three feet across the width of the car. He pops the trunk and…

Credit Kuuwehi Hiraishi
Bush designed the battery boxes himself.

“That is the same area where the motor was originally, it had a great big Volkswagen bus motor in it,” says Bush.

In its place, he’s mounted another two battery boxes with 12 batteries in each box saddled on each side of the newly-installed electric motor.

The retired nurse and part-time actor moved to Kailua from California two years ago. It took him two years to convert the Porsche – a task that was initially daunting.

“I knew that somehow I was going to put a motor and some batteries in there,” says Bush, “And I had an idea of what I wanted to do but I had no idea how I was going to go about it but it kind of just came together.”

He did his research and started tinkering.

“Once you get your motor, your controller, and your brackets and all that stuff, and you design where your batteries are going to go, it?s pretty much that simple,” says Bush.

Bush says a basic knowledge of electricity and auto mechanics would help, but is not absolutely necessary.

“I think any garage mechanic, any guy who works on his own car can build an electric car quite easily, and there are so many less moving parts,” says Bush.

The Porsche 914 is a popular choice for conversions – its lightweight and relatively cheap. Bush bought this for one for less than $2,500.

We hop into his car for a spin around the block.

“The acceleration on them is pretty quick,” says Bush, “And the fact that you can drive a vehicle and not be part of the problem.”

“People can realize you don?t have to have a Tesla or Leaf. You can have any vehicle and make it an electric vehicle,” says Bush.

A step-by-step documentation of Bush’ electric Porsche conversion can be found on his website 

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at
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