Thursday, July 3

Cars After The Age Of Oil - If You Have The Time Or Money

If money is no object:

Tesla Roadster
220 miles per charge
135 mph top speed
Seats 2
All hail the Rolls Royce of EV's, grown from scratch in California, and the first one out of the gate - available now! Many kudos to Tesla for this huge achievement! There's even a Tesla store, where you can get service like a regular car company, and where they sold 3 in the first 3 days. Tell your rich friends to pick up a few Roadsters because that will fund the next price down, the WhiteStar sedan and in ten years the $15,000 model that will change the world.

If goofiness is no object:

NMG (No More Gas)
40 - 70 miles per charge (40 in snow, 70 summer)
116 mph top speed
Seats 1
This car from Myers Motors which they bought from Corbin has real fans. It apparently feels like driving in a racecar with the car being like a helmet. It is fine in the snows of Ohio, and rebounds fine in crashes. I have concerns with its silly looks, but thats just me and many owners like this fellow SFEVA member really love this car. I feel it is so important to get people into carbon neutral cars, and this one could be perfect (116 mph top speed!) if it looked less like it just escaped from the circus.
This Spark-EV Comet designed by Gianpaolo Alvino turned out to be vaporware from Spark-EV and Michael Papp was just arrested for fraud, and so this designer was not paid but his is a more dignified design for a 3 wheeler. Maybe a good designer like this will be hired by Myers... I know the CEO was looking for a second design after the Sparrow (they bought from Corbin that was renamed the NMG), and I know from my conversations with them that they have their hearts in the right place at Myers.

If time is no object: NEVs.

30 miles per charge
25 mph top speed
Seats 4
I test drove this ZENN last year in Santa Cruz. It is a perky and responsive normal-feeling car - if somewhat bare bones: about like my daughters 1985 Civic. It gets up to speed fast and brakes fast. It really is just like a 1980's lightweight car, but a model we didn't have: it is roomy inside. I would recommend this and recommend talking to ZENN about unlocking the speed control a bit. It can go faster with its EESTOR battery, and the enforced 25 mph just feels like it slows you too soon.

60 miles per charge
25 mph top speed
Seats 2
Miles is now rolling 200 a month of these sturdy truck NEVs off the assemblyline. They also make an SUV like the ZENN, per their site. These are regular 4 wheeled NEVs, unlike the ZAP truck.

50 miles per charge
25 mph top speed
Seats 2

GEM makes the quintessential golf carty NEVs. I didn't include one in my first diary because I thought it was too flimsy and ridiculous looking on their site. But that was before someone who shops the same farmers market as me leftthis model parked there every Saturday, and I kept seeing a mini bus version at Kaiser. In real life GEMs have more solidity and dignity than you would expect and can look pretty hip and Green. The pictures on their site seem strangely determined to kill sales by making it look like a feeble old ladies cart, but this famous environmentalist Simran Sethi of shows how it can look cool and as sturdy as it really is in real life.

25 miles per charge
40 mph top speed
Seats 2 (car version seats 4)
I test drove a ZAP (the car, similar to the truck, but shorter) in Alameda, and it had a wobbly mirror. It was too slow to brake which felt unsafe. If someone suddenly ran out in front of me: too bad. The brakes are slow. They make it 3 wheeled like a motorbike so it does not need to meet crash test ratings of 4 wheeled vehicles - thats why this can go go 40 mph, is not speed slowed like the other NEVs. But I see them driving here in town now and if you are as careful as you are on a mototrbike, this is certainly an option. One thing to watch with ZAP is their eye is bigger than their stomach as my mom used to say: lots of vaporware at their site. But that can be a good thing too. If ZAP hadn't tried (though failed) to import the SMART car, Mercedes-Benz would never have realized there was a market here, and we would not have the SMART.

This is Part III of a series:
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs Go Back To The Rickshaw
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs Coming To The US By 2010
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs Now If You Have The Time Or Money
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs In A Mad Max World