Many of you are tired of being held hostage by oil companies. For those of you with commutes of twenty miles or less an electric vehicle might be an excellent alternative that will allow you to drive at a fraction of the cost and without emitting pollution. To be sure there are some vehicles with significantly longer range but these tend to be expensive. Also, the deeper batteries are discharged, the shorter their lifespan, so it is best to choose a vehicle that has significantly more range than you need.
I have added a new Electric Vehicles section to the side bar above the general sustainable living resources section. I have included only vehicles currently in production and available somewhere. Some may not yet be available in the United States. I have also included Plug-In hybrids since they can, within limited range, be operated exclusively on electricity.
Generally, electric vehicles come in three categories, NEV or Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, these feature limited range of around 20-40 miles, are generally very lightweight, and are limited to a top-speed of 25 MPH, and generally are very inexpensive. For someone who just needs to make the occasional 2 mile drive to the post office or grocery store and has no need for highway driving these may be ideal.
Then there is a category that is geared towards the daily commute. These generally offer greater range, anywhere from 40-150 miles, are capable of highway road speeds, are generally safer featuring roll cages and other safety features common to gasoline cars, and generally weigh about as much as a compact gasoline car. These tend to be more expensive than NEV’s owing to the higher speeds, range, and safety.
And then there are a handful of high performance electric sports cars which tend to have tremendous acceleration, top speeds, and even longer ranges, but they also tend to have price tags that put them out of reach of the average Joe. These have ranges from 130-220 miles.
The Neighborhood Electric Vehicles are by far the most common currently but probably also by far the least usable for most people. Their low price makes them attractive to those whose needs they do meet.
There are relatively few manufacturers of normal commuter electric cars today which are available in the United States. In the United States we have “safety” laws that tend to favor thirsty vehicles and prevent the import of many foreign electric vehicles and more efficient gasoline and diesel vehicles. People living in Japan, China, France, and other parts of the world have more choices when it comes to ultra efficient vehicles.
If you are aware of any currently available electric vehicles, I’m not talking concept cars like the GM Volt which probably will not be manufactured in this lifetime, but vehicles you can actually go buy and drive today, please let me know so that I can add them to the list.