Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 50759
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2018/05/26 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2008/8/1-5 [Transportation/Car/Hybrid, Transportation/Car/RoadHogs] UID:50759 Activity:nil
7/31    "You Know Gas Prices Are High When Texans Start Driving Golf Carts"
        '"You wouldn't think it, but it's a chick-magnet," says the unmarried,
        40-year-old chemical engineer,'
        'The Peterses' cars get about 30 miles from a full charge, ...... or
        two cents a mile. Compare that with 20 cents a mile for a car that
        goes 20 miles on one $4 gallon of gasoline.'
2018/05/26 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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MORE PAGE ONE You Know Gas Prices Are High When Texans Start Driving Golf Carts Low-Speed Electric Vehicles Catch On; Peters Family Jaunts in the Land of Giants By ANA CAMPOY July 31, 2008; Page A1 HOUSTON -- In the garage where chiropractor Rick Peters once parked his Dodge pickup, two tiny electric cars now sit back-to-back next to his wife's small SUV. Peters, 43 years old, and his wife, Kris, hop into the munchkin-size cars while their old gas guzzlers gather dust. Admittedly, it's cramped inside the miniautos, which move along city streets at just 25 miles per hour. But the Peterses are converts to their low-speed vehicles. It's a sure sign electric cars have a future when they're catching on in Texas. Others here, too, are abandoning the family car and driving to the office in what appear to be fancy little golf carts. Small battery-powered vehicles have been on the market for years but have mainly been used by workers driving around factories and university campuses. The small cars are powered by batteries charged by plugging them into regular 110-volt house current. Though they do look like golf carts, they have heftier frames and more powerful engines. Now, with high gasoline prices driving booming sales, many are going to ordinary folks like the Peterses, who have fallen in love with gasoline-free transportation. Shipments at Chrysler LLC's Global Electric Motorcars, or GEM, which made the Peterses' cars, have jumped 30% from last year's second quarter, with some of its 150 dealerships around the country tripling their sales. Switching to tiny electric cars requires some big adjustments. With three children, the Peterses must use both their little cars when they take family outings. Every trip is an adventure into the land of the giants where they're dwarfed in traffic by SUVs and trucks. They've had to learn how far -- about 30 miles -- they can go on a single charge. The night they got their first car, they rousted a friend dressed in his pajamas for a test drive and he wound up having to help them push the car home. On average, Andrew Kunev, also of Houston, can go about 25 miles on one charge in his Tic Tac-shaped three-wheeled electric car, which is technically a motorcycle and goes up to 40 mph. He sometimes plugs in his car at friends' homes for a refresher charge while he visits. To fit his 6-foot-2 frame into the tiny driver's compartment so that he can see properly out the windshield, Mr Kunev has to recline in his seat. It's a price he doesn't mind paying considering the gas savings -- more than $100 a month -- and the unexpected bonuses. "You wouldn't think it, but it's a chick-magnet," says the unmarried, 40-year-old chemical engineer, adding that women -- and pretty much everybody else, too -- approach him to talk about his unusual car. Local Sensation Owners now for two years, Elaine Triplett and her husband are pioneers in their small East Texas hometown of Palestine, where their tiny electric pickup is a local sensation and has inspired two other people they know to buy electric cars. At the request of her supermarket, she drove the gasoline-free vehicle into the store and parked it next to the produce section for Earth Day. The Tripletts decided it made financial sense to buy the electric truck even when gasoline was costing them less than $2 a gallon. Their 9-foot-long truck is big enough for all their needs, including hauling lumber for a renovation project, and bringing home a 9-foot Christmas tree. The Peterses have experienced their own neighborhood celebrity in the two months they've owned their GEM electric cars. On a recent trip to the doughnut shop, they met up with people snapping pictures with cellphones. "Everybody looks at you and waves," marveled 8-year-old Alex Peters. Other drivers have jumped out of their big cars at stoplights to run over and ask them about their vehicles. Laws governing the roadworthiness of the little autos vary by state. In Texas, they're legal to drive only on streets with speed limits no higher than 35. Bicycle Review: OHM Cycle's Man-Machine Hybrid But some owners modify engines so the cars can travel much faster, and a few audacious drivers take them out on the highway. The Texas Department of Transportation recently got a call from a flabbergasted policeman who had stopped a "golf cart" on the freeway, says Kim Sue Lia Perkes, a spokeswoman for the agency. The Peterses' cars get about 30 miles from a full charge, which at about 15 cents per kilowatt hour, amounts to a 60-cent fill-up, or two cents a mile. Compare that with 20 cents a mile for a car that goes 20 miles on one $4 gallon of gasoline. Peters's chiropractic practice is just a few miles from his home, so he has no problem taking neighborhood streets to get there. Enjoying the Breeze Electric cars like the Peterses' can cost from about $7,000 to more than $18,000, depending on the model and accessories, though they paid about $10,000 altogether for the two cars, which they bought used off the Internet. Although the cars share many features with their bigger, gasoline-powered brethren, including blinkers and windshield wipers, they are decidedly more basic. The Peterses' cars don't have air conditioning or even doors -- something that at first made Mrs Peters particularly nervous when transporting the children. With the kids safely belted in, now she sees the extra breeze as an advantage in the Houston summer heat. The cars make for a bouncy ride along rough streets, and emit a whirring noise that seems to attract barking dogs. Sharing the road with bigger cars requires extra caution and alertness, say owners. And drivers of normal-size cars sometimes get impatient with the slower, tinier vehicles. Peters recalls one driver who screamed an expletive-laced version of "get that thing off the road." Peters says, he usually catches up to them at the next light.