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Discussion Starter #1
Many problems exist to keep people from EVs: awareness is one of the big ones. People just don't know what is possible. Also, how do you finance a conversion? Either you have the cash or take out a personal loan. Much easier to go to a dealer and finance or lease a car with them.
 

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There are also some real problems with current EVs, and people pick up on them pretty fast. Namely, range and recharging time. You can buy a GEM neighborhood EV from your local Dodge dealer, so easy access, financing, supports, etc. are not the problem. They just don't do what people want.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, it's all about buying a car that suits your needs. If I had a 50 mile commute I wouldn't buy a GEM. Still, with new battery technology the range issue will disappear. EVs aren't for everyone but you'd be surprised how many people drive less than 30 miles/day, and own multiple vehicles.
 

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I agree with you Ron,I own a City El which is a three wheel full electric Made in Germany that I use for local commuting. As a single seater plus small child minimalist type transporter its ideal for its designed purpose.
I look upon it as a substitute for a moped/scooter but with its enclosed airplane cockpit design and heater it provides year round weather protection.
Because of its unique design parimenters (single seat not car based)and construction(light weight plastic foam filled sandwich ,630 lbs) it only requires three 12 volt L/acid batteries giving a range around 35 miles with a top speed of 40mph.
Even the NEVs in the states are over weight or designed to carry as many as a normal car which is asking for more batteries which adds more weight still.
By installing L/Ion I could reduce my cars weight by 154lbs increasing its performance which is another good thing about the electric, they can be upgraded as new battery technology comes on line.
I think the problem is most people look upon the electric as a direct replacement for their normal car.
They should be asking if an electric could supplement it for local runs where the range is within the EVs operating window.If prospective buyers would do this and US manufacturers would produce the goods it would help get the EV widely accepted.This would help toward the developement of a future single use EV.


DGate
 

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... II think the problem is most people look upon the electric as a direct replacement for their normal car.
If for one do believe you're right there but you might want to keep in mind that most people can only afford one car, due in part to the cost of the vehicle as well as the mandatory insurance that goes with it.

Fred / Proud Owner of "The Silver Bullet"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good points DGate and Fred. I agree totally.

DGate, the City El is a very unique vehicle. I guess you got one of the 50 or so before the company gave up trying to meet US safety regulations. I would love something like that.
 

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On the GEM, very few people are going to spend nearly $8,000 for an unsafe looking, 25mph EV. I have a short 12 mile commute, but I could never drive a GEM. I'd get run over by some idiot in a truck. Most of my commute is at 35mph, and when I'm noodling along in my Insight at 38mph I'm getting tailgated, honked at and passed. Daily. I'd be absolutely murdered in a 25mph GEM. Even if I could make it work for that second of the commute, the area where I live makes it impossible to get anywhere without getting on a 70mph posted freeway for at least a couple of miles. You could not take a GEM there. You should not take a GEM there. Anyone taking a GEM there should have their head examined. I have to eat into my green eggs and ham--- I mean batteries a good bit just to feel safe with my Insight there.

In this day and age, if you want to sell an EV to more than six people, it had better be able to do 90mph, have a 60+ mile range, and look strong enough to withstand a beating by an SUV. Oh, and it has to be cheap enough that we can buy it as a second or third vehicle. Otherwise, people won't bite. I wouldn't, and I love the idea of an EV.

I do think plug-in hybrids will bring people around to EVs. It's truly a novel idea and I find it funny that the industry initially concentrated on and bragged about the fact that hybrids didn't have to be plugged in. As if consumers wanted nothing to do with a plug-in car. That should never have been a selling feature. Anyway, here you get an EV capable of freeway speeds that will never use a drop of gas in town (assuming they get the 40+ mile range being discussed). The beauty, though, is it's also a perfectly useful car for out of town trips thanks to the on-board gas (I pray for a diesel) generator.

Thanks to the "unlimited" range provided by said generator, people will be happy to pay normal car prices for such a vehicle. Get it under 30 grand and I'll bet they will sell boatloads of 'em.

It goes back to the question of why people buy SUVs: So they can "do everything" with them. It doesn't matter that they rarely do those things, they just want the ability to. It's a security / peace of mind thing. Same with EVs: It doesn't matter that most of us only go out of town twice a year: We want to be able to go any time we please and we don't want the hassle and expense of renting a car. So a pure EV, unless it's exceptionally affordable, won't cut it for most. Throw a generator in there, though, and everyone will get on board.

That's my two bucks worth...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
EVFan: a guy I know in Ottawa converted a Mazda Miata to run as a series hybrid with a biodiesel generator int he trunk. Have a look at http://www.thezerocarboncar.com/. I actually got a ride in it. He (Bill Kemp, the owner of the vehicle) is making the plans available for anyone to use.

Really neat car. The conversion was done by Richard Lane (revconsultants.com) and others did an in-dash touchscreen control panel.

Ron
 

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EVFan you are correct in your comments but its amazing how quickly things can change and will change in the coming years,all it takes is a shortage of the prime energy source fueling these fast overweight multipurpose machines.
Eventually people will be thankfull in being able to move at lower speeds or not at all,and its all down to the energy available.
If anyone doubts this look at how things have changed with practicalities replacing desires where supersonic travel once was available.
We had a service in use for decades that no longer exists due to economics,part fuel cost part upkeep.People now use the internet for shopping and working from home for the same reason reducing the need for commuting plus convience.
In the forties after world war two Europeans who previously had luxury cars rode bikes and drove isettas due to lack of steel and petrol even after the factorys had been rebuilt.
We will eventually have to realize our transport system is evolving due to outside forces and may all have to accept that traveling the planet as and when and how we wish was something the last generation did.
Study the past for insight into the future nothing we do today is sustainable forever.

DGate
 

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"I pray for a diesel"

Why? With a vehicle like that, use a Stirling engine, which is more efficient, has less emissions, and should run on just about any burnable liquid. They're very slow to accelerate, but if you have an electric system that drives the car, and just run the engine to provide constant power when charge gets low, you solve both problems.
 

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That zero carbon car looks neat. Too bad there isn't much information on the web site - looks like he wants to sell me a book instead.

DGate, I agree with all of your comments. Things may well change and we may all find ourselves lucky to be driving Corbin Sparrows. I hope not. Though, I think it would be neat if little bitty low speed electric cars became standard in cities, I don't want to give up my RV for out of town trips - and there's the real catch, everyone has some fuel hungry vehicle they don't want to give up. Economics may force it. Again, I hope not - I hope, instead, that we can develop some long term sustainable fuel & engine combination that is better for the environment.

James: We won't get a Stirling engine out of GM any time soon. Given the choice between gasoline and diesel, the only two engines they're likely to put into the car, I highly prefer diesel. Sure, I'd take a Stirling engine with a big grin on my face, but it's not going to happen. :(
 

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EVFan wrote: I hope, instead, that we can develop some long term sustainable fuel & engine combination that is better for the environment.

This is the priority for now and the future but being clean and efficient doe,s not mean they will perform the same as we have come to expect of present technology,therein lies the dilemma.

Regarding sterling engines are they any better than internal combustion since they still need a heat source to run. Stationary units can operate from clean solar but mobile one's will have the same emissions as diesel.

For mobility the future is electric and at present there are only five ways of producing it (electricity) cleanly and forever.There are of course other methods of extracting energy being developed and the future looks bright if only humans embrace it rather than holding on to the past.

DGate
 
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