September 26, 2008

The Alternative Car Show

. . . is in Santa Monica today and tomorrow. It looks like I'll probably be going tomorrow, since I have an energy conference today, and then I have to to to court to fix a "fixit" ticket.

The alt-car people don't list flex-fuel vehicles; I hope that was just an error, since I still think that alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol and methanol could play some role in the future of energy—and no one in his/her right mind would buy a vehicle that only ran on methanol/ethanol right now. (Unless they lived near a race track, and could get methanol locally: race-car drivers use methanol, of course.)

It could be that we will be transitioning to increased use of electric in the future, which would also work, if we can start transporting it more effectively.

Glenn Reynolds points out that the performance is so excellent on the VW diesel that the next step might be a diesel/electric hybrid.

I like those neighborhood electric vehicles that look like futuristic golf carts (the Chrysler GEM being the most popular) though since most of them are open on the side one wouldn't want to use 'em on a chilly evening. Also, they don't go over 25 mph, because they don't have airbags. Their virtues: street-legal in a lot of communities, and they're available with either a bit of cargo space or a second row of seats, so you can take your friends with you on your errands.

Of course, the SmartForTwo is closed-up and will go freeway speeds. Unlike NEWs, however, one is limited to two seats.

GEM has a new NEV that is closed-up an looks very, very cool. I do not know whether it meets the "Joy psuedo-golf cart" minimum speed, however: I'd need one that goes 35-40 mph, even to go to the grocery store five blocks away. Because, um, I can't drive 25.

The perfect NEV-related beast? I vote for the Zap Xebra, which

• Is closed-in, for rainy days;
• Does meet the Little Miss Attila 40 mph threshold;
• Is available as a four-seater;
• Functions as a plug-in, and uses solar panels (these can either be detached, and gather energy while you zip around town, or can stay on top of the vehicle, where they create a slight wind drag, but nonetheless extend your range before you need to charge up again);
• Is legally classified as a motorcycle, but can be driven with a regular car driver's license;
• Has only three wheels, and hovers around the same cuteness level as the Smart Car;
• Is available with a zebra-stripe paint job right from the factory. Who can resist that?

Posted by Attila Girl at September 26, 2008 05:01 AM | TrackBack

Did you say diesel-electric hybrid?

I own a set of these plans. Now I just need a) the necessary work space b) the necessary skill set, and c) a bunch of money for parts to get started.

Posted by: Desert Cat at September 28, 2008 09:25 PM

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