As I walked down Electric Avenue in Portland, Oregon today, I realized that the smile on my face was because I suddenly didn't feel like an oddball. I had driven my Zap electric truck to National Plug-in Day, and I was surrounded by about three dozen electric vehicles (EVs), including two other Zaps. It's always a good feeling to be among people like yourself.
Everyone there is interested in EVs. Many brought their EV to display and talk about. The vehicles ranged from mass-produced Nissan Leafs, Chevy Volts, and Toyota plug-in electric models to home-made conversions (converting a brand name gasoline vehicle to electric) and everything in between. The common denominator is a conviction that the gasoline-centric transportation in the USA is not sustainable, and EVs offer kind of a no-brainer solution.
Here are a few examples of the EVs at the event today.
Of course I'll start with a picture of my Zap Xebra PK truck next to a TWIKE pedal-assist EV (http://www.evalbum.com/1886). There was another Zap PK at the event, and a zebra-striped Zap 4-door sedan. The TWIKE brand, now being built in Germany, gets about 40 miles to a charge, configured like this one at 336 volts, compared to the 18 miles I get on the 72 volt Zap PK.
http://www.arcimoto.com/products). Range will vary from 40 to 80 miles, depending on the type of battery pack, and the cost will be under $20,000. These EVs seat two people in tandem position. Cool machines!
Something that impressed me at the event was talking with people who are very knowledgeable about EVs and their technoology. I have a lot to learn from these folks!
And if you get the bug for EVs, how about an EV Beetle? There were two conversion companies represented at the event who were showing converted 1970s VeeDubs. These are really sweet. I talked with Ernest from Voltwagen EPC (Electric People Car http://voltwagenepc.com/ ) who converted the red one, and found out that it has a decent range (40-100 miles per charge, depending on battery pack), and you can even shift gears if needed. I didn't see the owner of the green Bug, but it's by Green Scene in Milwaukie, Oregon (http://www.thegreensceneev.com/contact.html).
There's a paradigm shift starting to build in this country. More and more people are looking for alternatives to petroleum-fueled vehicles, and electric vehicle technology has made tremendous strides in the past few years. I'm a proponent of small, medium-range EVs for urban use - commuting to work, going shopping, taking the kids to soccer practice, etc. A vehicle with a range of 30-40 mpc (miles per charge) would work for most folks. I'm encouraged by what I saw today. Thanks EV community!