June 12, 2008

Electric car zips along at 1 cent per mile

Electric car zips along at 1 cent per mile

Posted: Jun. 11 10:38 p.m. Updated: Jun. 11 10:52 p.m.
Angier, N.C. — A Harnett County man is paying about a penny to drive a mile, although Triangle gas prices set a new record high, a cent short of $4 a gallon, on Wednesday.
Mack Toler, 53, a retired computer engineer, converted his 1989 Geo Metro to electric power in 2001. The Metro's new, simple set up with 14 Club Car batteries under the hood – with no belts, hoses or oil changes – has saved him plenty of gas money, Toler said.
"The energy that is coming out of my wall costs me about the equivalent of 20 cents per gallon," Toler said.
Toller estimates that charging his electric car costs about 1 cent per mile and adds about $10 a month to his electric bill. He said he takes advantage of cheaper electricity on nights and weekends to keep his bill lower.
The Geo plugs into a standard wall outlet and takes about six hours to get fully juiced. The full charge can take the Geo about 40 miles at speeds over 70 mph, though Toller said he usually keeps around 45 mph.
Toller said he wonders why America doesn't join him for the ride.
"It's a matter of national security," he said. "If we had something to shift to besides oil, we wouldn't be dependent on foreign nations."
Toller scoffed at claims from U.S. automakers that there isn't enough demand for electric cars to mass produce them.
"If General Motors puts electric cars out on the car lot and nobody buys them, I'll buy that there's no demand," Toller said. "But when I want to buy one and you won't sell me one, I can't see how there's no demand."
It costs between $5,000 and $8,000 to convert a gasoline-powered car to electric. The smaller the car is, the better candidate it is for conversion.
Toller is one of about 100 members of the Triangle Electric Auto Association, but thinks only about a dozen other members have electric cars themselves.
He admits to one vice himself: a Ford Expedition, which gets 14 miles to the gallon.
"Yeah, that's my gas-guzzler," Toller said laughingly. "And I drive it now a lot less now than I did last year."
Toller said it's a shame alternative-fuel technology has not been exploited as much as it could have been in America.
"We had a 10-year head start on the rest of the world, and we threw it away. And I'm very sad about that," he said.


Mommylion said...

And to think I sold my 1990 Geo Metro for $300 a few years back... bummer. Though I can't even imagine the process of converting an engine. I used to joke that my Metro was powered by a lawnmower, there just wasn't much to it. So maybe it isn't as daunting as it sounds.

Anonymous said...

One of these days an environmentalists might actually tell the truth: that they blocked nuclear energy from maintaining its 50% share of electrical production and forced coal power plants to be constructed as base load generators. Now we find EV jockeys lying thru their teeth about the cost of an electric car, and what's worse, claiming that the crappy EV-1 was "10 years ahead of the world." This joker
is repeating the transparent lie that EVs cost one cent per mile and, further, that they were available years before. The cost of the EV-1 in terms of battery replacement costs alone was $4,000 per year, which works out to 33 cents per mile. Electricity ran about 1.7 cents per mile, making the per mile costs of that EV
34.7 cents per mile. We are you repeating such obvious lies? If you don't know anything about a subject, just shut yout mouth,
please, you're making a fool of yourself and destroying any credibility you might have.
I might add that the EV-1 cost 4 to 5 times more than the Honda,
required 8 hours to recharge and had a driving radius of under 35 miles. Are you claiming that this vehicle is a viable alternative to a gas powered car? Are you claiming that an electric car has zero emissions? If, so, why is there no place on the grid where I can obtain zero emission electricity to fill the batteries with? I'm waiting for an answer.
Please respond, if you have the honesty to do so.

Katherine said...

Dig it! My very first negative feedback.

Dear Anonymous,

Get a name and maybe we can have an honest conversation.

Love, Katherine

MOM #1 said...

OMG! That PP was really rude to you.

But now I'm sure you feel like you've really "made it" in the blog world, LOL. You have to really be someone important to have a stranger come and blast you on your own blog. Heck, I can't even get half of my friends to comment on mine, LOL.

Anyway, I'm all for it, bring on the electric cars, hydrogen generators, and whatever else will save me some hard earned cash. Shoot! I had a Geo back in the day! I should have held onto it and had it converted.

Oh well, hindsight and all that jazz!

Heather said...

Ah, but this post was not even about the EV-1, Mr/Ms. Anonymous Poster, it's about a converted Geo Metro running on golf cart batteries. Big difference. Had the EV-1 been tweaked and improved upon, as good technological ideas generally are, we would have surely had a head start on the rest of the world.

Katherine, that very statement was what stood out for me - having a 10 year head start and throwing it away. In a country that so arrogantly describes itself as the rulers of the world, going out of our way to make sure everyone else knows it, how can something like this happen? Somehow we have changed from patriotic competetors into bullies that demand recognition of our superiority without any follow-through. It's beyond sad; it's reprehensible.