Any input about electric cars?
June 11, 2004 11:10 PM   Subscribe

I drive a truck which is great for long distance, car camping and off-roading and hauling stuff but I estimate about %70 of the miles are done within a 30-mile range of home. As I recently switched home electricity to a Wind Powered utility provider (delivered via Pepco the incumbant local utility) I could now theoretically charge an electric car and be %100 pollution free. But I know nothing about electric cars reliability, maintaince, cold weather, etc... Does anyone have any experience or suggestions to offer? Ideally I'd like a car that can go 50+ mph for 40+ miles and cost under $10,000.
posted by stbalbach to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
"Ideally I'd like a car that can go 50+ mph for 40+ miles and cost under $10,000."

I think this is impossible with current technology. You either get speed or cheap, but not both.
posted by falconred at 11:53 PM on June 11, 2004

Response by poster: It's possible. I don't know anything about the practical issues of owning one anyone with some experience who has owned one.
posted by stbalbach at 12:18 AM on June 12, 2004

Pure electic has receded from the consumer arena, as far as I know, following the disatrous EV-1 debut and the relative success of hybrids. It's kinda sad that hybrids are making a selling point out of mid-30s mileage nowadays, but just look what their competition is in the US. I admire your pollution-free campaign.

Hopefully, someone here will have the resource you need. Check with the gearheads at openCortex if you get stuck. Those bastards build cars that run on nothing.

Have you considered commuting on two wheels? There seem to be quite a few more electric bike options out there.
posted by scarabic at 12:19 AM on June 12, 2004

Electric scooter maybe?
posted by rudyfink at 2:05 AM on June 12, 2004 might help. And kudos on the wind power!
posted by yoga at 4:18 AM on June 12, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the Zap link they have an interesting used car section I'll call them up.

Converting to wind power is somthing a lot of people can do very easily at very little money or effort. Most utility companies buy power from multiple source providers like coal, nuclear, wind, bio etc.. and you the customer have the right to designate which source your watts will come from. Of course, once electricity is on the grid where it actually comes from doesnt matter. But the utility company has to pay for its electricity to the producers, so your monthly electric bill will be redirected to the Wind Power producer. This is part of the deregulation of electric companies. It costs about an extra $20 a month for a typical household. Considering the cost of home power like solar this is a much cheaper and easier way to go %100 renewable and saves tons and tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere.

For anyone in the Washington DC, Baltimore, Norther VA area you can sign up for wind power here.
posted by stbalbach at 10:27 AM on June 12, 2004

The problem with purely electrical cars is battery technology still isn't up to par with other technology (and by that, I mean battery technology has remained relatively stagnant over the years). Right now, a hybrid car is a good idea because it still has gasoline to fall back upon. A purely electric car is asking for trouble with power failures.
posted by jmd82 at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2004

Battery technology has been improving hugely over the years --- the problem is that it has a long way to go before it can match the energy density of chemical fuel. Hybrid cars are a win because we have much better technology for manipulating electrical power than we do for mechanical or chemical power, but the gasoline can still be used as a way to store energy densely.
posted by hattifattener at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2004

How about 25 mph for 30 miles? Starting at $7000 for a base model two-seater, and legal in 30 states, but restricted to slower roads, the GEM is only suitable for really local use as it is a bit like a glorified golf cart. But they are affordable and they are really making and selling them. There was a feature on them in last weeks NYT Escapes section which made it seem like their owners really love them.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 11:11 PM on June 12, 2004

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