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As prices at the pump continue to rise, more and more people are becoming open to alternatives to gas-guzzling vehicles. A young man from the Seattle area wishes folks would try electric cars, but first he wants to get rid of their “glorified golf cart” image. He’d like others to see what he does: a high performance “muscle car” that’s good for the planet. Kim Riemland (reem land) reports. 

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(Locator: Seattle, Wash.)

Sitting behind the wheel is the most polluting thing most of us do – and we use a lot of gasoline doing it, too.

Stephen Johnsen/Electric Car Designer: “We’re going to drastically modify this one.”

United Methodist Stephen Johnsen is on a mission to make us all want to drive a vehicle that has no emissions, and uses no gas.

Stephen Johnsen/Electric Car Designer: “I want to make an electric vehicle that just knocks people out , and makes people say, ‘Huh, whoa, look at that!’ And then I hope that will raise the awareness that there are solutions out there that work.”

He and his friends have been building and testing electric cars and found they can be much faster and more powerful than those that use gas. The trick now is to make them look as good as they run.

Stephen Johnsen/Electric Car Designer: ‘My degree being in designing, I was like ‘ahhhh, this is my calling.’”

Designing desirable, yet environmentally responsible vehicles is this 24-year-old’s way of bringing together his lifelong passion for fast cars and his faith.

Stephen Johnsen/Electric Car Designer: “I believe that we have a responsibility to take care of the earth.”

Stephen figures if he can make us fall in love with looks, we’ll be more open to what’s on the inside. He’s already created at least one convert.

Stephen Johnsen/Electric Car Designer: “Simply plug in a paddle there that charges the vehicle.”

His dad bought this electric truck, and now has a commute that doesn’t pollute.

Stephen Johnsen/Electric Car Designer: “It works for him every day, and he does not use gas anymore.”

Stephen hopes eventually he might just change the world – simply by changing minds.


Stephen hopes to be commuting in his own electric car by this summer.

In addition to the car, he’s also building a website about his project: for “high performance electric vehicle.”