Neighborhood Nuisance: 1981 Vanguard Comutacar EV – $7,500

Jan 2021 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

While electric vehicles (“EVs”) continue to gain momentum in the new car market, the concept is hardly a new one.  Attempts to build a viable EV can be traced back as far as the early days of the automobile.  Unfortunately, battery and electric motor technology hampered that limited both range and speed hampered such efforts.  Prior to Telsa, the most successful EV produced was the Vanguard Comutacar such as the 1981 example here on Craigslist near Binghampton, New York with an asking price of $7,500 or best offer.  Vintage EVs are not tracked by any of our regular of our pricing guides, so unfortunately you are on your own determining whether the asking price is worth it.  If you are serious about buying this Comutacar, you can start the conversation by texting Bob at (607) 221-2233.  When you do, please remember to mention you saw his Comutacar featured here on

Inspired by Club Car’s golf cart design and partly in response to the 1970s fuel crisis, a company called Sebring-Vanguard produced its first electric vehicle, the Vanguard Coupe (sometimes referred to as the EV Coupe), in 1974. Company founder and President Robert G. Beaumont, working with designer Jim Muir, came up with the CitiCar after this earlier EV Coupe was not an immediate success. This second attempt was still based on a lot of the Club Car’s mechanical features, though.

Produced in its plant in Sebring, Florida, the CitiCar was a small wedge-shaped electric vehicle. Early versions were pretty much closed-roof golf carts. By 1976, however, Sebring-Vanguard produced enough CitiCars to become the sixth-largest domestic automaker.  Production of the CitiCar continued until 1977 with about 2,300 CitiCars produced. In 1978 Commuter Vehicles, Inc. purchased the CitiCar design and renamed the vehicle Comutacar. Production of this upgraded version began in 1979 and Commuter Vehicles, Inc. produced an estimated 2,144 Comuta-Cars and Vans.

The CitiCar came in three models. All three models had a flat diagonal front, a flat roof, and a flat nearly vertical back. Early coupes, designated as model SV-36, had a 2.5 HP motor and 36v battery pack. The second model coupes, designated as model SV-48, had a 3.5 HP motor and 48v battery pack, and some small improvements. During the last years of production, the third model variant of the Citicar, sometimes referred to as a Transitional CitiCar or 1976 1/2 model, had an improved drive train with a 6 HP motor, and the body was changed slightly to incorporate heater inlet vents on the side of the vehicle and some had the improved door style with better latches and permanently installed sliding windows.

The later ComutaCar, produced by Commuter Vehicles, Inc. retained all of the Transitional CitiCar changes including the larger 6 HP motor and drive train arrangement, but moved the batteries from under the seat to battery boxes behind the bumpers, making the vehicle about 16 inches (410 mm) longer than the 8-foot (2.4 m) long CitiCar. Comutacars also incorporated additional frame supports to meet the new DOT standards. One of these supports created the center console like rug covered-divider between the driver and passenger.

Unlike modern EVs, this video found on YouTube shows how slow and limited the Commutacar is and what a neighborhood nuisance it can be to pass one:

If you’re into EVs and understand all of the upgrades the seller mentions in their listing, it sounds like you will have an interesting, if very slow,  piece of EV history.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1981 Vanguard Comutacar- Approximately 1900 miles

Body in good shape, a couple of small cracks
New Batteries 2018 (Duracell GC2)
NEW Curtis Electronic Controller
New POT Box
New Main Contactor
New F\R contactor
New D&D motor (ES-40-56)
All New 2awg wiring
SEVCON 300w DC/DC Converter 36/48v to 12v DC (not Wired)
New brake shoes
Rebuilt and sleeved wheel cylinders (Spiders)
New Wheel Seals
Some new brake lines
New Batteries 2018
Battery watering kit
Delta Q Charger
New Tires and hub caps (Nankag 175/50R15)
12v Aux battery
Wireless Speedometer
FM Radio
Extra Original Parts (Original Contactors)
Restored Battery Tubs
New Rear Window Seal
Many Other New Parts
Several Files with info, specs and pictures

$7500 OBO

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