Friday, December 11, 2009

Electric Car Dealership X-mas TV Commercial

While stumbling through some posts over on the forums, I ran across this video of a television commercial for Electric Cars you can buy right now.

Was it a Volt? A Leaf? A Tesla?

Nope, no, and hell no.

It was for a small dealer who carries Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs).
If you aren't familiar with NEVs, they are electric vehicles regulated by law to low speeds (typically 25 mph max).

Styles vary from golf-carts to European microcars converted to electric.

NEVs are the mopeds of the EV world. They work for many people. They make fantastic grocery-getters and errand mobiles.

I do howerever, have a bit of a beef with NEVs:
1) Stupid Laws:
There is no standardization of laws about NEVs nationally, state-wide, and sometimes even locally! For example, in the state of Wisconsin, the state DMN allows and licenses NEVs in a time and pricing similar to motorcycles, but each individual TOWN, VILLAGE, or CITY that you want to drive in needs to pass a law ALLOWING NEVs, including stating which roads you CAN and CAN'T drive it on! Where I live, I would have the battery capacity to drive through no less than a dozen different municipalities.
In addition, you may not CROSS most state roads! You can walk across the road, ride your bicycle across, but may not cross in your NEV.

2) Cost:
Many NEVs cost more than you might think. Basic golf-cart style NEVs start around $8000 and nicer machines can go for as much as a typical entry-level new car. On the other hand, I can buy a used electric golf-cart on Craigslist for $800. Can I just add headlights and turn-signals to it to become street legal? Nope!

3) Confusing the Public:
For many members of the public, the only electric vehicle they have ever seen is an NEV. It's pretty easy to assume that since the only electric cars they see can only go 25 mph, that ALL electric cars can only go 25 mph. Why bother having electric cars at all if they can't even go faster than a bicycle!?!?

That rant aside, NEVs can be great vehicles. Last time I was in California, I saw quite a few zipping about. Heck, I even almost got run over by both a GEM and an electric bicycle in the same afternoon!

I guess the main thing that saddens me is that NEVs are really the only current alternative to typical gasoline vehicles. For many of us, public transportation is not available, and winter weather and long nights don't work well for bicycles either.

I look forward to seeing television commercials for the Volt, the Leaf, and other clean and efficient motor vehicles.

For now, we can all just laugh about how Santa doesn't like taxes.....

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