Good Enough!

A blog about "good enough" things - for those who don't need, can't afford, or don't care about the "very best".

Monday, August 09, 2004

"Good Enough" transportation?

Can electric vehicles ever be "good enough" for daily transportation? I ask myself this whenever I'm considering how often I am driving to work, a solo driver in a car with an internal combustion engine. I know there are electric cars which can cover the distance to and from work, with some lunchtime errands thrown in - but is that only in flat terrain, not up and down hill like my trip to work? Can they keep up with the local traffic which averages 35 MPH the entire way (the speed limit is 35 MPH, but in my town at least most of the traffic is going 5-10 MPH over that)?

If I could find a car that would meet those criteria, then I'd still have to deal with the cost - most electric cars are somewhat expensive (I am not referring to the hybrids, which are priced close to the price of their gas-powered counterparts). I don't know why that is, whether it's low demand or something else. The problem is that with current technology you'd have to have two cars - one (the electric) for daily commuting, and another (gasoline, diesel, or hybrid) for distance travelling.For that to be "good enough" the electric has to be fairly inexpensive.

When I was learning to drive, and gasoline was 25 cents a gallon, Volkswagen Bugs sold inexpensively ($2995 I believe, it could have been slightly more). They got good gas mileage for the times ($2.00 drove me to work for at least a week, sometimes more). They were easy to work on, too (low maintenance cost). Those factors all combined to make the VW Bug one of the most popular vehicles for young people.

What we need now is an electric version of the VW Bug, accessible to first-time car buyers, with the same ease of maintenance. That would be "good enough" to start a change in commuter habits, I think. But - is it possible? That, I don't know.


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