Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Electric Cars...

Had an interesting opportunity the other day - had driven past a dealership (MC Electric) that, not surprisingly, offered electric vehicles rather than internal combustion sorts - which piqued my interest.

Given fuel prices and the fact that Mom's car is aging (and at 79, she's given up freeway driving), I stopped in after a relatively upbeat visit to the medical guru, and chatted with a staffer - ended up even going for a test drive of a Miles Electric vehicle, a rather boxxy 4.5 seat affair, speed-governed to 35mph (a new highway legal model governed at 80mph expected in early '09).

In terms of drive-ability, pickup was good and braking was acceptable. I was put off a bit by the dull hum rather than the usual engine noise - nothing huge, but the absence was strange when I'm used to the engine noise as part of the environment cluing me in on what's going on with a vehicle at any given point. A note, batteries need replacing roughly every 5 years at a cost of about $400 a whirl.

Regenerative brakes (a brake that generates electricity when employed), and the ability to plug in to any normal 110v AC socket at a home or business are pretty darned handy. Three point seat belts are in place, but no airbags in the current models.

At 22k for a new car with air conditioning and all the standard features on board, it's not a bad deal - and for someone with a short to moderate commute or in errand mode, it's ideal. Seventy-five cents for a full charge, lower maintenance costs, reduced insurance (due to the governed 35mph top speed) tot out to saving around 3k a year according to dealership figures - and the quiet satisfaction of knowing you're not paying any fuel taxes to support government programs you disagree with.

I'm recommending it to Mom, and suggest for folks who need a new vehicle and are tired of gas prices (and with the coming election, more than likely no hope of improvement for four years..) that electric is coming of age.

No comments: