1979 Solargen Electric Car
edited by David Barth, 10 January 2009.
Courtesy The Forney Museum of Transportation at 4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver,
Colorado. Photos were taken in January 2009.
In 1979, Steven J. Romer got a 3 million dollar grant from the US government to build electric cars. The city of
Cortland, New York gave him incentives and buildings left vacant after a local car dealer, Brockway Motors, closed.
Romer started the Solargen Electric Motor Car Company and began retooling American Motors Corporation (AMC) Concord
station wagons to run on lead-acid car batteries. He installed his wife as secretary and hired one
Solargen became mired in scandal following its brief production run. Romer launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against
AMC and General Motors. Allegedly, in 1991 he went to Africa with $25 million of Solargen investor's money. Romer was
convicted of bilking investors of $7 million and received a 22 year sentence.
Only a few of the Solargen Concords still exist. Solargen cars may turn out to be valuable just because of the bizarre
story. It is believed that the cars have a 32-mile range on a single charge.