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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Electric Cars

I could buy an electric car if I wanted to now. A new electric car dealership opened in my home town last week ...

ZAP Electric Car, Truck Arrive in Florida
Xebra, an electric four-door compact car or two-seat pickup that transforms into a flat-bed or a dump truck. The vehicle was designed for gas-free, city driving up to 40 MPH and plugs into any normal household outlet. The vehicles are priced a little over $11,000 and are estimated to cost between one and three cents per mile.

However, that speed limit is likely to get me killed on South Florida's busy roads. Alternately, I could buy a Prius and convert it to plug-in electric. However, the conversion kit costs $9,999. That's too much coin for me.

So my choices now are between "not enough oomph" and "too expensive." I think I'll be better off waiting until next year ... when the real bargains arrive. I'm talking about low-cost, factory-line-produced electric runabouts that you plug into your house socket at night and drive all day. It's called the TH!NK City.

The manufacturer says the "City" reaches a top speed of 100 km (65 miles) per hour and can drive up to 180 km (110 miles) on a single charge.

At current prices, you should be able to run that car for about 3 cents a mile, and no expensive tune-ups, either.

And new battery technology (and here's another one) that is coming next year could really extend the City's range, though naturally it would raise the price of the car.

For now, maybe I'll just buy an electric bicycle. That sounds cool, too. But not cheap -- Electric bikes range in price from $2,100 to $2,900 and have a top speed of about 20 miles per hour -- maybe less when hauling my big American ass around.

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