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1980 Commutacar Electric

1980 Commutacar Electric 1980 Commutacar Electric Sold for $11,000 at 2008 Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey by RM Auctions.
Citicar was built by Sebring Vanguard in Florida and was spawned by the first energy crisis of the early 1970s. Production totaled to around 2,500 vehicles before the company entered bankruptcy. A successor company soon emerged, named Commuter Vehicles Inc., also of Sebring, and produced the CommutaCar. It is believed that around 4,000 examples were produced before production ceased in the early 1980s.

The Commutacar's were built atop of a tubular chassis and powered by 8 six-volt lead-acid batteries capable of producing 5 horsepower. There is direct drive via differential. The styling is very wedge-shaped with two doors and seating for two on an upright bench.

The batteries are capable of carrying the car 30 to 40 miles on a full change and top speed is believed to be around 40 mph.

This 1980 Commutacar Electric Vehicle was originally sold to Commuter Vehicles of Dover, Pennsylvania for $6,495. In 2007, all of the batteries were replaced and various other mechanical work performed.

In 2008, this vehicle was brought to the 2nd Annual Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $8,000-$12,000. It was offered without reserve. Those estimates were proven accurate as a high bid of $11,000 including buyer's premium was enough to secure new ownership. The lot was sold.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008
Introduced in 1978, the ComutaCar was constructed in Seabring, Florida. Utilizing many of the same body and mechanical parts as the Vanguard CitiCar, the ComutaCar was produced at the orginal CitiCar factory. The CitiCar was designed by Robert Beaumont and introduced in 1974 and produced until 1976. After production ceased the factory was sold piece by piece at an auction in 1977. Frank Flowers of NJ purchased most of the parts of the factory and the majority of the production line. Flowers was a mobile home produced, along with founding Electric Mobility; a well-know electric wheelchair company.

Using the same factory that had been used for CitiCar, Flowers began to produce the ComutaCar. He didn't have the copyright for the original name, so instead he named the vehicle CommuttaCar. A total of 2000 vehicles were produced and sold during its production run until 1981. Sales were encouraging since at the time America was just emerging from the second major oil crises caused by the Middle Eastern political situation. People were searching for a more efficient vehicles. The first year was fantastic for sales, and more than 4,000 vehicles were sold in 1978. The average price for the ComutaCara was $6,500, which was still high considering the average price of vehicles in 1978.

Though the all-new ComutaCar looked very similar to the CitiCar, numerous advancements and improvements set the vehicles apart. These included roll down windows, a hatchback, updated seats and an electronic control system. Since 1974, the required safety and bumper crash standards had increased, so Flowers had to redesign the bumpers and other safety systems on the vehicle in order for it to be certified by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The electric ComutaCar featured an aircraft-grade aluminum roll-cage with ABS (plastic) body panels. Rated at 6 HP, the ComutaCar is motored by a direct current electric motor. With a top speed of 50 miles an hour, the vehicle is powered by a string of 8 -6Volt deep cycle high-output batteries. The ComutaCar has a total of 48 volts when fully charged. Weighing 1400lbs (curb weight), the batteries inside total approximately 600 lbs of the vehicles weight.

The ComutaCar was constructed very basically with very few bells and whistles. Though equipped with AM/FM radio, AC was not available while heat was created by running a fan across the electric motor which would get warm during operation. Though only equipped with the most basic of features, the ComutaCar was considered to be of leading-edge technology for 1980 due to its tubular aluminum frame and plastic body.

Unfortunately things had changed by 1980 as people were no longer interested in fuel economy. Flowers decided to sell the Comuta-Car Company in 1986. He ran an advertisement in the NY Times with an asking price of $200,000 with his top concern being that his employees would be well taken care of.

By Jessica Donaldson



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Commutacar
1985Chevrolet (1,418,098)Renault (1,322,887)Oldsmobile (1,192,549)
1984Chevrolet (1,655,151)Renault (1,429,138)Ford (1,180,708)
1983Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,175,200)Toyota (1,068,321)
1982Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,297,357)Toyota (1,068,321)
1981Chevrolet (1,673,093)Renault (1,295,713)Toyota (1,068,321)
1980Chevrolet (2,288,745)Renault (1,492,339)Ford (1,162,275)
1979Chevrolet (2,284,749)Ford (1,835,937)Renault (1,405,330)
1978Chevrolet (2,375,436)Ford (1,923,655)Renault (1,240,941)
1977Chevrolet (2,543,153)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,840,427)
1976Chevrolet (2,103,862)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,861,537)
1975Chevrolet (1,755,773)Toyota (1,714,836)Ford (1,569,608)

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