Hey! Where Is My Electric Car?

By: Michael Dappert

Man invents 100 mpg carburetor! Disapperats down black hole!
Electric Cars Work! There just aren't any.
Big automakers are looking out for your future!

Which of the above statements is false? Are any of them false? Well maybe number one is false. For years there have been stories of inventors that came up with a carbuerator that would get 100 miles per gallon but the thing never came to market. I know number three is false because look at our problem, air pollution. Look at our choices for transportation, a bunch of big gas guzzling cars and trucks.

Well, number two statement is true, mostly. In the 1990's the State of California mandated a small percentage of vehicles sold in the state must release no emissions into the air. Some of the vehicles were leased and some were sold outright. GM had the EV1 which were leased. They canceled the leases and took the cars and crushed them. Perfectly good cars were destroyed.

There was a Ford EV Ranger pickup truck. Most of these were leased vehicles and Ford took most of them back but, I guess some of them are still around and there is a web site for EV Ranger drivers. Also, Toyota made a RAV4 EV which was discontinued in 2003. There are still some of these around and some websites about driving them. And there was a Honda EV car. All of these cars ran on electricity alone. Their range in miles varied but they were more than adequate for commuting, running errands, or just getting about on a daily basis.

I have never seen one of these vehicles. From my reading online about them it seems like they drove and performed about like any other gas powered car. Sure you had to plug them in, but, you have to put gas in a regular car also. What's the big deal? GM has made lots of claims about why an electric car is not feasible. Since they produced a very capable electric car in the 1990's and then destroyed them all you would think they know what they are talking about. Now they say they are going to produce an all electric car called the Volt. Well, probably someone else will do it before they do.

It is rumored that Big Oil destroyed the electric car and it was Big Oil that opened the black hole where the 100 mpg carburetor went. It probably is not that simple. But, the electric car threatened lots of entrenched interests. For one thing, the cars required very little in the way of servicing. No oil change, no anti-freeze, no air cleaner, just brakes and tires. So that whole service industry goes out the window with an electric fleet.

In 2006 the ZAP Xebra began importing from China. There is a sedan and a pickup truck. It is a 3 wheeled vehicle that looks like a toy car. In my opinion this is the kind of attempt that will turn the US public off to the whole idea. They do have some interesting features though, like a solar panel on the roof or over the bed of the truck to trickle charge the battery while running. Still, this is not what the American public will spring for in any kind of numbers.

A viable electric car will first of all have to look like a regular car. I would say the range would have to be at least 100 miles before charging. Top speed will have to be at Interstate Highway speeds or probably at least 70 mph. Also, there will have to be reasonable pickup from a dead stop. It seems like we have already had all these features in several of the vehicles listed above but for what ever reason they are no longer available. Contact your local car dealer and complain.

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