Re: shared electric vehicles etc
From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2007 12:13:41 -0800 (PST)
I am the owner of a Chrysler GEM (Global Electric Motors) car. Type of vehicle sometimes called an NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) or LSV (low speed vehicle). Glorified golf cart. Comes in 2 seat, 4 seat, and a mini-pickup truck; options of no sides, canvas and clear plastic snap-on, zip-up sides, or hard-door sides. Caps at 25 mph (28 downhill, but then the governor kicks in). Up a moderate hill it slows to around 16 mph, steepest hills 11 mph. Street legal where speed limit is 35 mph or less, so no highway. Plugs in to household extension cord, recharges fairly quickly. I drive around and do all my local errands, and it goes from 100% charge to around 65%. About an hour and it's full again. Runs on 6 batteries. They need replacing every couple years, about. I forget what that costs, but it's hundreds of dollars. Mine is 4 years old and has about 5000 miles on it. Batteries were replaced by the previous owner 15 months ago at about 3500 miles. New, a two seater w hard doors would probably run you about $11K. Less with soft doors. Less used. Everything is simple and manual: OFF/ON, FORWARD/REVERSE, wipers or signals off/on. Nothing automatic. Mine is a two seater with hard doors. For the past couple years I often borrowed my neighbor's 4 seater with zip-up doors. I like them for local errands (Port Townsend WA is a town of 8000, with several definite shopping areas). The two seater is easier to turn, like when doing a 3 pt turn, as it is shorter. How is it to drive? If you are used to a "real" car, it's pretty rattledy-bang. Needs battery water checked every month or two. Takes adjusted expectations. I don't know how it would do with more intensive driving, as when shared by many people. We had wanted to own my neighbor's, 6 of us, but the insurance company could figure no way we could all be owners or equally involved in insuring it. This may be the case with any car, but the pool of insurers who have a category for NEV cars is already limited (though it includes Allstate and State Farm). Before committing to any purchase, research your insurance options. The PT EcoVillage near here shares an electric ZAP car, three wheeler. I think it's fancier than a GEM. (Makes me think of an airplane nose cone!) Maybe Kees will chime in with their experience. Another kind of electric is called a ZEN.
Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA
http://www.rosewind.org
Sunny and clear, 50 degrees. Recent rains have grass greening up.

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