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FAQs

How far is the average American commute? Americans, on average, face a roundtrip commute distance of 32 miles each day. That means an electric car would serve the needs of most Americans as a daily commuter car, saving money, pollution, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. (Source: ABC News)
Where can I get an electric car?
Unfortunately there are limited options for purchasing electric highway automobiles in the US.

Several EV manufacturers, like GEM, ZAP, and Zenn, make NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) which are limited by law to a top speed of 35mph. Other manufacturers (Myers Motors) make vehicles which are approved for highway use but have three wheels and are licensed as a motorcycle.

Subaru is testing its R1e microcar involving a pilot program of ten vehicles in New York City (Summer 2008) but there are no plans to market it in the US until 2010.

You can do a conversion yourself, although it is a significant investment of time and money.

Finally, you can contact auto manufacturers. Tell them you're tired of waiting, and that an EV is not only environmentally-friendly but would fulfull your driving needs!
Subaru | Ford | GM | Chrysler | Toyota | Nissan | Honda

Yes, electric cars have no tailpipe emissions. They produce no local pollution or carbon dioxide, but they aren't entirely pollution-free, especially if they are recharged from an electric power grid that burns significant quantities of fossil fuels like coal. So, are they any better than a normal gasoline car? Absolutely. For starters, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, they generate a fraction that expelled by a normal gasoline engine car. For every gallon of gasoline burned, approximately 22 pounds of CO2, an important global warming gas, are created. If a car gets 25 miles a gallon it will emit 22 pounds of carbon dioxide over that distance, as well as other pollutants. By comparison, an electric car may travel the same distance consuming 5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electric power at a rate of 200 watt hours/mile. Assuming the local grid is 100% coal-fired, roughly 5 lbs of coal would be consumed to create that 5kWh. Depending on the grade and carbon content of the coal, one kilowatt hour creates approximately 1.4 pounds of CO2. That's 7 pounds of CO2 vs. 22 pounds to travel the same 25 miles. But recall that the power grid isn't entirely coal-fired; it includes hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear and a small, but growing segment of renewables.
But what about other pollutants, aren't today's cars significantly cleaner? Yes they are, and getting more so all the time. But so is the power grid, at least in terms of many criteria pollutants, if not CO2. And as more wind and solar electric power is added to the grid, and older, more polluting power plants are decommissioned, the grid can get cleaner, though it will still take citizen awareness and pressure, especially in the light of the fact that hundreds of coal-fired plants plan to be built around the world in the come decades, to ensure the very best technology is used, including carbon sequestration if we plan to continue to utilize coal.

If you can travel 25 miles on 5kWh of electric power, that means it cost you something like 40 cents to cover the same distance (@ 8 cents/kWh) it takes a gallon of gasoline at $2 and $3 a gallon at current (2006) prices. And if you recharge your electric car from solar panels, like many EV owners in California do, your per mile costs are even less and the payback period on your solar panels dramatically shorter because now you're replacing not relatively cheap grid power, but increasingly expensive gasoline. In the process, you're helping the environment and saving yourself a lot of money for decades to come.
But what about all those batteries and the pollution they cause, especially when the cars are recycled? Well, it turns out that if the batteries are NiMH, the nickel has economic value, like the lead in conventional starter batteries. They can and are being recycled, but even before they reach that point, there is a strong probability that EV batteries will find a second life as electric power storage for the grid. While they're useful life in cars may end at 100,00 or 150,000 miles, they still can perform useful roles in providing businesses and homes with electric back-up or peak-shaving services. Only after that will they end up being recycled.

Lithium ion batteries don't currently appear to have the same commodity metal value as nickel, but they too can find useful second lives and their manufacturers contend that they when properly disposed of they will not present any environmental hazard, certainly not like that associated with older, heavy metal chemistries like lead and cadnium. (Source: EVWorld.com)
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