This grandma converted an old Honda into an electric car & we’re obsessed


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A New Zealand grandma has found a way to be the change she wants to see in the world.


Sixty-three-year-old Rosemary Penwarden converted an old Honda into an electric vehicle that she charges with home solar panels.


“I suppose I should thank the oil companies, like Anadarko, NZ oil and gas, Shell, OMV, Beach Energy. … These are all companies that me and my group Oil Free Otago have been opposing for many years,” Penwarden told “It motivated me to become independent of oil and show them they’re not needed here.”


Penwarden purchased the 1993 car from a wrecker’s inventory, removed the combustion engine and installed a new gearbox and electric engine in its place, The Guardian reported. She also added 24 batteries to the front of the car and 56 to the trunk. The car can travel 120 kilometers (approximately 75 miles) before it has to be charged, according to While Penwarden did the work herself, she also had help from other members of the Valley Workshop cooperative that she helped found.


“It [the car] sat in the workspace for close to two years, but once we got going on it, it took probably 8 to 10 months of pretty solid work,” she told


The entire project cost her $24,000. For comparison, the average price for a new electric vehicle as of February 2022 was $64,685, according to Kelley Blue Book. In New Zealand, however, electric vehicle prices tend to be even higher. The average price for an electric vehicle in the country in mid-2021 was around $70,000, The Spinoff reported, not counting pricier sports cars. The Hyundai Kona electric went for about $79,990 in New Zealand and $45,000 in Canada, for example.


Penwarden said she expected her self-made car to pay for itself eventually, since she used to spend as much as $100 a week on gas, according to The Guardian. However, she said that she did not convert the car in order to save money and understood that not everyone has the funds and time to follow her example.


“Just to be able to show that it can be done is a priceless thing,” she said, as The Guardian reported. “The biggest thing is to help stop the biggest polluters as soon as possible, and nothing that we can do as individuals I think matters quite as much as that.”


Penwarden isn’t the only one in her community converting conventional cars into electric vehicles. Fellow Valley Workshop member James Hardisty owns a car conversion business called EV-lution, according to He said that he had converted around 15 cars, and the Toyota RAV4 he turned into an electric vehicle around 2010 still drives on the same battery.


“It’s great for the environment. … You don’t have to worry about what’s happening in the world, if there is a war… if all the oil was to dry up tomorrow, we’d keep going,” he told


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Seniors, these 10 things will make your life so much easier


We’ve all seen infomercials advertising the “latest and greatest” in tech. However, that electronic pill grinder that the happy-go-lucky senior from the commercial loved so much too often turns out to be overpriced, hard-to-clean garbage.


Still, whether you’re a senior yourself or caring for one, any device that can save you time and make everyday tasks easier is a win. So we’ve found some fairly inexpensive inventions on Amazon that get great reviews and won’t require a masters degree in engineering to use. The plus? These inventions would make great holiday gifts, even if it’s for yourself!


Note that prices and availability are accurate as of publication.


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For $42.47, you can get this large-buttoned landline phone with a large-font digital display and a built-in messaging machine. This is the perfect phone for anyone who struggles with seeing who’s calling them or often dials the wrong number because they can’t see their phone keypad.





This remote controlled ceiling fan kit is perfect for seniors who have older ceiling fan models with manual on-and-off switches only. At just $12.98, it’s a great little gadget that helps you control your ceiling fan without having to pull a chain, turn it on or change the speed. Note, however, that you will need to wire the device to your fan to make the remote work.





While there are a ton of tools like this online, this particular device finder is fantastic because you can find up to four devices with this pack. For $19.98, you’ll get four device locators about the size of a car key fob. Each one has a unique color that you can put on pet collars, phones, keys, remotes and more by either attaching the fob with an included sticky mount or using it like a keychain. Then, if you lose one of the devices you’re tracking, you just hit the corresponding color button on the locator device and follow the beeping sound to find it!





Are regular keyboards too hard to read? For $25.39, you can upgrade to this large print keyboard featuring a big black font that stands out against the yellow keys.





This large font alarm clock is great not only for seeing clearer, but also for all its other added features. At $52.99, it comes with a large snooze button on the top of the device, a self-dimming screen, the ability to create multiple alarms, and can be mounted to a wall or propped up using its kickstand on your table.





For $17.99, you can get these motion sensor light bulbs that work both indoors and outdoors. The light bulbs will automatically turn off about a minute after it no longer senses any motion.


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At $159.99, the WiFi-enabled pill dispenser is one of the most expensive items on our list. However, this device can hold up to four weeks’ worth of pills and automatically dispenses them at certain times or can be unlocked any time using your smartphone. It comes with an alarm to let you know when pills are ready to be taken, and it has a built-in four-hour battery life in case of a Wi-Fi outage.





Need a little help hearing the TV or waiter? These Bluetooth hearing amplifiers, priced at $119.99,  look and work like any other set of Bluetooth headphones. The battery lasts for up to 36 hours, and the volume can be adjusted discretely by simply turning the knob on each earphone.





These voice activated blinds are also on the expensive side, with a price of $178.99. However, they work with smart devices like Alexa, which makes set up even easier for those who already have smart home gadgets. Simply say, “Alexa, open the shades,” and you can get a bit of sun without having to do it yourself, making them perfect for anyone with limited mobility or vision.





This tricked-out LED-Illuminated cane only costs $27.99. Some notable features include anti-slip grips, FM radio, LED guide light, USB charger and an S.O.S. alarm button that activates a loud noise to attract attention in an emergency, such as a slip-and-fall.





Can’t pull the garage door open or shut? Don’t remember if you shut the garage before you left? Want some extra security and peace of mind? This Smart garage door opener & alarm set may cost $274.97, but it includes everything you need to make your garage door operable from anywhere using your phone, and it also includes a security alarm. You can also opt to get just the garage smart control for $24.99.




This Smart smoke detector is a must for anyone who is hard of hearing or deaf. You can get one for $39.99 or a set of three for $107.99. No matter which set you get, the detector can be controlled from your phone, including turning it off if you accidentally set it off while cooking! It has an extra-loud volume setting for those who are hard of hearing, and it also sends a notification to your phone telling you when your alarm is going off.





At $45.89, this Govee WiFi Water Sensor packs quite the punch! This comes with three small sensors you can place virtually anywhere. Any time one of the three sensors gets wet, it’ll start beeping, just like a smoke alarm would. It also sends you a phone notification telling you which sensor is going off, thus helping you easily locate the problem. You can place a sensor in the basement if you can’t climb the stairs to check for flooding after a flood, under the sink to check for water leaks, or even keep one near a window so it’ll beep if it rains and you left the window open.



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Featured Image Credit: Rosemary Penwarden / Ecowatch.