Fleets have many hybrids, HEV, plug-in hybrids, PHEV and electric cars, EVs at their disposal and some of them are offering free public test rides. AAA offered such a chance in Tampa, Florida last week. This makes perfect sense, as it raises public awareness and is a win-win situation for both AAA and its electric cars and plug-in hybrids makers.
From EV to PHEV to Conversions. AAA gave the public a wide taste of what 6 alternative energy cars have to offer. The Nissan Leaf was present, as well as the Mitsubishi i, the Chevy Volt, a Porsche converted to electricity, as well as a Nissan Altima and Sentra, also converted to electricity.
The event came at the perfect time when the petroleum consortium batters the public by raising prices again in a show of will, despite high profits and record. Showing electric cars to weary consumers right now is the best moment to drive the idea home.
Why Should I Drive An Electric Car? To this question, the answer is still the same, because they cost less to maintain and will run you single digit cents to drive per mile than gas cars. Electric car for your shorter commutes makes much more sense than a gas car, since gas cars are not optimized for them. In city driving, electric cars excel in stop and go traffic, something a gas car is not well equipped to do.
Longer Range? We now know this is less a problem then some car manufacturers led on consumers to believe. If you need longer trips on weekends, there are plenty of choices. You can keep a gas car in the garage or rent one to visit family or go on holidays.
Need Space And Hauling Cargo. This is probably the biggest fallacy but short of professionals, not too many really need SUVs and pick up trucks for cargo space. The occasional trip top Home Depot or the over-grown hypermarkets to do your groceries for the week can also easily be handled by a weekend rental.
Plug In The Hybrid! If you have the budget, then the next best bet is to get a plug-in hybrid, such as the Chevy Volt or if your wallet allows, the stunning Fisker Karma. Now you can have the best of both world, a vehicle that will let you drive on electricity alone for a few miles, usually enough to go to work and still have the peace of mind of an gas onboard generator. PHEVs are the best of both worlds, accommodating short trips on their battery packs and longer range with their internal combustion engine.
Some People Still Don’t Get It. If you need to be convinced of the lack of sustainability in the petroleum industry, then a few simple numbers will do. Up until the 60s, the US produced enough oil for its consumption. By that time, the world consumed 6 barrels of petroleum for every one used. Today, we consume anywhere from 3 to 6 for every pumped barrel. In 2008 two thirds of our oil came from Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq and Angola. You might notice some of these countries are highly unstable and have dubious ties to groups that threaten global security. (Numbers taken from the movie; There’s No Tomorrow.)
Range Anxiety Phooey. There will always be people who run out of electricity as much as we see people running out of gas on our roads. Thankfully, AAA started a road-recharge pilot program in six cities, Knoxville, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa. EV-driving AAA members can use the truck’s level 2 or 3 charging capacity to fully recharge a Nissan Leaf in just 30 minutes.
In other words, there are more answers than perceived problems in the new world of electric cars. While the move away from gas cars to pure electricity is not completely ready yet, there are ways to help you curb your budget, drive intelligently, stop bleeding money on gas and become a responsible, contentious citizen.
In the end it boils to we have more answers than problems. When car rental companies offer electric cars, it helps raise awareness with the general public. With events such as AAA opening its doors to the electric car and plug-in hybrids, it helps consumers see that both are highly practical and brings it into general awareness.