Monday, December 29, 2008

Even More Electric Cars?

ZENN Electric CarOn my previous posts of electric vehicles I listed 6 internationally available electric vehicles. Who says there is not enough choice out there? I am still coming across additional manufacturers churning out these zero impact people movers.

The Zenn Motor Company based out of Canada produces the Zenn electric car. It is a full electric model that has a regulated top speed of 25 MPH and claims to have a range of 35 - 50 miles on a single charge. They are sold in North America. I am unable to find a price for this vehicle. I'll have to see if I can contact a dealer to get a base price.

Mini-EMini-E is a product from BMW's Mini Division. The Mini-E is relatively new in the electric car field and looking for 500 buyers to be the "guinea pigs". The car is supposed to have a range of 150 miles and is capable of keeping up with it's gasoline brothers on any street or highway. We'll have to see how far the Mini takes this project. The cost of the Mini is similar to the gasoline versions, about $28,000.
If gas prices stay as low as they are today in the US, these electric options will be a tougher sell. I'm hoping that the Electric Vehicle market really keeps at it for the sake of Carbon reduction. It would be nice to have electric cars be a viable means of transportation, making it more mainstream than side show.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Not Just the Tire Pressure, but Type of Tire Also

Did you know that different types of tires can give you better fuel economy.
Back in the day of the bias ply tire your did not care about fuel efficiency as gas was rather cheap.
Radial tires came on the scene back in the early 70's and gave vehicles better handling. Radial tires also gave you better fuel economy due to a better design and less road resistance.

Of course now, unless you own a classic car that looks better with the original bias ply tire, most vehicles come with a set of radials. And they come in different shapes and sizes. From high profile to low profile. All season to winter tire. And each will affect your fuel economy.

Tires that have the least rolling resistance also get the best mileage. Independent non-profit organization rates tires according to it's fuel friendlyness. They performed indendent testing of multiple tires on rolling resistance using a dynamometer. These tires also have better treadwear, which means they last longer. This efficiency does come at a cost: braking distance is longer.

So what tires do I recommend? I would leave that up to you to check out consumer reports
or the Automobile Protection Agency of Canada.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More on Electric Vehicles

This is a follow up on electric vehicles that are currently in production. These are not concept vehicles and are being sold somewhere in the world. Unfortunately not all electric cars made can pass the rigid DOT and IIHS standards here in the U.S.

One electric car that can be found on the nation's highways is the Myers Motors It looks like a fun vehicle that is equipped with Lithium Batteries. With a top speed of 76 MPH and a range of 60 miles it is a strong contender to make a dent in the automotive market. Then the $29,995 price tag stops most people dead in their tracks. This, I believe, is not in the budget for your average driver. They would have to bring the cost down below $20,000 to get me to own one.

Then there is the ZAP company, which sells the ZAP Xebra Sedan. In addition from the same platform they also have a truck model:the ZAP Xebra truck. The sedan and the truck have a top speed of 40MPH with a range of 25 miles. Their cargo truck, the ZAP Truck XL can carry a payload of about 770 lbs. But there are no specs available on their web page.
The ZAP sedan retails for $11,700 making it a viable solution for many local consumer trips. (including this writer) Its truck model sells for $12,500. (Another good candidate) ZAP does have an upper scale model in the concept stage, the ZAP Alias, due out in late 2009. Its MSRP of $35,000 will show them few and far on the road.

Last but not least in this series is the REVA. They are made in India and are sold in India, UK and Malta. REVA is also being test marketed in US, Nepal, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Israel, Japan, Norway and China, according to their web site. The Reva has a top speed of 80KPH and a range of 80 Kilometers. I was not able to find a price for this vehicle.

This is a very promising list. There might just be an electric vehicle in my future. Of course I think the toughest part is selling people on the speed and range. An electric vehicle with a 100 mile range and average highway speeds is not within the budget of your average Joe. I guess I'll have to take a look at the subcompacts for now.