Ever since the Who Killed the Electric Car? documentary, people have thought electric cars were dead. Well, not only are they still alive, they appear to be doing some real "kicking" to boot! There's one out there that'll even go 130 mph.
All 800 of GM's EV1 were pulled off the road and crushed back in 2004. Since then, things have been humming alone just fine, as private and small developers have gotten into the act, spurred on partly by California's Zero Emission Mandate and tax incentives and sometimes just plain desire to prove it can be done.
Interest in electric cars seems to go up and down with a direct link to the price of gas, but some interest always seems to be there. Even foreign countries have electric cars, like the Reva in Bangalore (where in the world is that place? It's India's Silicon Valley). There are even companies out there that will provide you with electric car conversion kits, if you really want to tackle this kind of project yourself (now that's a stupid idea).
Hollywood celebrities have been buying up electric cars, like George Clooney, who bought the first Tango electric sports car from Commuter Cars Corporation. That passenger car will go an incredible 130 mph.
Another high-speed electric demon is the Tesla Roadster, from a Silicon Valley start up company. This Lotus-like sports car will scream its way up to 60 mph in only 4 seconds but you may have to hold on for dear life if you don't get your foot off the pedal. This is not your father's Oldsmobile, folks.
Best of all, these cars are predicted to have low maintenance costs since there's no clutch, no oil, no muffler, no fluid to top off and no filters to change. You'll also never stop at a gas station unless you just want to pick up a Coke or Pepsi while you're cruising along. How electric cars work is really quite remarkable. Not to be left out, even Chrysler has its corporate finger in the electric "pie" with its Global Electric Motorcars, although (perhaps because of the corporate bohemith's mentality that is behind them) their cars just don't look as cool.
Okay, so you want something a little tamer, or maybe you just don't have an extra hundred grand laying around, well then there's plenty of less expensive electric cars to be had. Take the Xebra, a funky 3 wheeled four seater from ZAP, a 12 year old publicly traded California company that started out making electric scooters and just kept right on going. Zap doesn't stop there, though. They have available electric cars, electric trucks, electric atv's, electric scooters and even an electric powered "sea-scooter." They even have an electric version of the Smart Car that is the rage of Europe's younger set.
Then there's the 100 mph Porsche-looking electric car from World Class Exotics in West Palm Beach, Florida. They take the chassis and body of the car you want and convert it to an electric car, except without all the gasoline engine parts that wear and tear their way back into the repair shop. These guys will even take a Rolls Royce and turn it into an electric car, if you want to pay the price!
Electric cars don't have to be sluggish, dumb looking cars. The ones above are only some of them that aren't. Let's hope their trade organization (the Electric Auto Association) gets heard in Congress and their products become more well known. I know one thing for sure. If I had an extra hundred grand around, I'd gladly pop for one of those Clooney-mobiles!
With fewer moving parts to wear out or be manufactured wrong in the first place, these electric cars aren't likely to be sour Lemons and for that reason alone, Detroit ought to be very, very interested in them!