HAVE ELECTRIC CARS FINALLY COME OF AGE?Going to buy an electric car? Thinking it's about time you did the right thing for the environment? But you haven't even heard of any electric car brands yet alone if they are any good? You're not alone. There are surprisingly many different brands and types of electric vehicles out there, but it's just that the major car makers like Ford, Mercedes Benz etc are not selling them. You have to go to the smaller providers, brands you have never heard of
SHOULD I BUY AN ELECTRIC CAR OR WAIT UNTIL THE TECHNOLOGY HAS CAUGHT UP?It's true that electric vehicles lack power and the infrastructure i.e. lack of charging stations in the city. But when you look at the new electric cars coming onto the market, the technology is catching up fast. I mean, have you see the Tesla Roadster electric vehicle? With zero emissions, 80-95% energy efficiency and only 17 moving parts and all in a sexy, Tesla body, the electric car is starting to look like a very attractive choice.
Things You Will NeedWhen preparing to buy an electric car, here are the things you need to consider:
WHY DO I WANT TO BUY AN ELECTRIC CAR?Is it to save money? Is it to save the planet? Is it for the novelty factor? Is it for a quick trip down to the local store and back? For all the reasons above? You need to consider the reasons you want an electric car before looking into the options available. A recent consumer report suggested that one in four people are interested in buying an electric car (or EV) but if you look on the roads around you, you might not see a single electric vehicle all day.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO I WANT TO SPEND?Electric cars can range from $5,000 to $25,000 plus. If you don't want to spend that much, a far cheaper option is to convert a car you already have into an electric car. Basically all the engine and gasoline parts of the car are stripped out and an electric system is put in its place. An electric car conversion can cost around $5,000. It is possible to do this a lot more cheaply if you're willing to strip out every single part of the car you don't need and sell them off as parts to offset the cost. For example, if you have a manual transmission car and you are converting it to an electric car, you no longer need a clutch so it may be removed and sold for parts. There are websites who teach you how to do electric vehicle conversions step-by-step.
HOW MUCH MONEY AM I EXPECTING TO SAVE?It's difficult to give a precise figure on how much money you can save if you quit your gas-guzzler and switch to electric. It depends on the electricity rate in your area. You could save around $200 a month if you are someone who uses your gasoline-run car a lot.
HOW MUCH MILEAGE AM I EXPECTING TO USE A WEEK/A MONTH?Electric cars haven't taken off in popularity mainly due to the current limitation and cost of the batteries which power them. Electric cars don't go as far as gasoline powered vehicles on a full charge and if you want an electric vehicle with power they might cost $25,000 upwards.
However there is a very good electric car option you can think about if you are simply using your EV as a short-distance runaround e.g. to do the school run, or nip to the local store and back. There is a class of electric car called the NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLE or NEV. The neighborhood electric vehicle is lightweight and perfect for short distances. They have a top speed of 25 miles per hour and are a little closer to a golf buggy than a car in terms of performance. NEVs typically have a range of 30 to 60 miles before a recharge is required. They are definitely worth thinking about and if you are only making short trips, you save a lot of money as gasoline vehicles use up a lot of gas and emit pollutants when they are first being started up.
WHERE and HOW AM I GOING TO CHARGE THE BATTERY?So, if your electric vehicle is only good for a 30 to 60 mile range, you have to consider where it can get you before you need to re-charge the battery and if you'll make it in time! Perhaps you are lucky enough to work in a place that will allow you to charge it up. Some cities, like Dublin in Ireland, are launching charging points for electric vehicles, rolling out to a nation-wide program in the upcoming years.
The most popular choice: GEM electric carsIf you have heard of a brand of electric car at all, it's likely that it's the GEM electric car which stands for GLOBAL ELECTRIC MOTORCARS. These have become the most established NEV as they are owned by the Chrysler company. The GEM comes with a long list of options: fro two passenger, six passenger, truck beds, open design, hard or canvas doors and many more. They have been used in gated communities, on farms, by delivery companies and lots more. They are nicely priced, starting at a mere $6,795 and going up to $12,495. GEM electric cars are an excellent place to start your search for an electric car.
Other popular brands and models include the Columbia Parcar, the Miles Electric Vehicles and the Zenn range (Zero Emissions, Zero Noise). They are all more pricier than the GEM which probably explains the GEM's popularity.
Electric Hybrid Cars
If you are still on the fence, you could consider an electric hybrid car. These are part battery and part gasoline driven. They achieve better fuel economy than conventional cars and reduce idle emissions when the car is at rest. The most famous hybrid-electric vehicle is the Toyota Prius.
With gas prices headed up and up, and the advances in battery technology making electric powered transportation more affordable and practical, the electric vehicle is starting to become a truly viable alternative to the pollutant-filled gasoline car.
If you already have a car but still are dreaming of a green, clean machine:
Either: consider electric vehicle conversions to turn your gas-filled car into an electric car. Electric car kits are available online for a reasonable price.
Or: think about an electric hybrid car for the best of both worlds.