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December 13, 2004

My daily driver is pure electric
My husband and I rented a Ford Th!nk city car for 9 months and loved it! When Hertz discontinued the program, I did not want to go back to driving my gas car. I looked around at every "production" electric vehicle I could find, and decided on the EVT 4000e electric scooter. It's a full-sized scooter, like a Vespa, but it is registered as a moped and only goes 30 mph. It has a range of 25 +/- miles per charge. I drive it for my 25 mile round trip commute and on most of my errands. Now I only use my car for out-of-town trips or taking the dog to the vet. I have logged over 6,000 miles on the scooter and wouldn't trade it for anything that uses gasoline! Plus, I power it from the PV panels I added to the roof of my home a few years ago.

— Jenn, Santa Clara, CA

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November 28, 2004

I have been toying with this idea for a few months. How about a car with really high torque, (only achievable with a electric MOTOR), and 21 or more gears? Kind of like a mountain bike up a very steep hill. A really high gear to get you going. Just a thought that I have no resources to explore.

— Chris, Corinth, ME

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November 3, 2004

As soon as...
my current car dies, I plan to go to a hybrid. Unfortunately, I can't afford to just sell my car and buy a new one at the moment. However, I am very much in favor of Hybrids and plan to do my part to support that technology in the future. I really don't want to pay $50 to fill up my tank anymore.

— Chris, Los Angeles, CA

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October 26, 2004

Proud Prius owner
I purchased my 2004 Prius at the end of February this year. It is fantastic! I have over 8,000 miles on the car now and have averaged over 52 miles per gallon since I had the car. The Prius is a dream to drive. It has plenty of power, and is incredibly quiet, especially at stop lights, when the gas engine shuts off. When I am in a "normal" car now, it seems really odd that the engine continues to run when the car is stopped. What a waste of gas. For me, my Prius is the perfect car.

— Jeff, West Hills, CA

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September 29, 2004

Hybrid Alternative
My husband and I recently purchased a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. These vehicles have a diesel engine rather than the traditional gasoline, and a fuel economy of around 50mpg. The turbo component of the engine ensures that it is in contrast to most sluggish diesel vehicles, and because of Volkswagen's high torque, it has incredible pick-up that helps it beat most any car off the line. Although the technology for the new hybrid vehicles is wonderful, it will take time before all of the kinks are worked out. So, if you're in the market for a very fuel-efficient vehicle, but don't want to try out a hybrid just yet, you may consider swining by a VW lot, as the fuel-efficient TDI engines are available in many different models.

— Brenessa, Louisville, KY

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August 16, 2004

Driving a 2001 Honda Insight
I've got over 40 thousand miles racked up on my hybrid and I still enjoy it. With moderate driving it is possible to get 700 miles out of a tank (10.5 gallons). And no, to get that kind of mileage you CAN use the climate control (AKA temperature-controlled air conditioning) and still participate in an occasional stoplight race. Sure you can't cruise at 100 mph without exhausting the battery charge, but realistically who really needs to go that fast for any duration?

— Bill, Nashua, NH

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July 8, 2004

Early Intervention
In 1990 a family friend of mine purchased a popular little car called the Honda CRX. Her particular version was not the zippy little pocket rocket but rather the HF (High Fuel Economy). With an EPA rating of 49city/52hw this little car is just another example of many economical cars automakers have introduced. I recently acquired this car and am excited by the prospect of low fuel costs and lower environmental impact. Hopefully the numbers of individuals implementing their interest in fuel economy via buying habits will continue and spur on a change in priority from automakers and state/federal government regulations.

— Garth, Mayville, NY

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June 30, 2004

Making Another Choice
After looking long and hard at my driving habits, I have chosen to to ride my 200cc Vespa for 90% of my driving needs. It's quick, fun, cheap to operate and makes a very low impact on the environment. I reserve my car for long trips and bad weather driving. I mean, do we REALLY NEED to drive a SUV in bumper to bumper traffic 7 blocks down the street to pick up a video from Blockbuster?

— Prescott, Atlanta, GA

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June 25, 2004

Hybrid Envy
I've been trying to buy a Prius for 6 months now with no luck. I've even called dealers in all states that border TX and then some! I'm thrilled that it is so popular, thanks in small part to celebrity endorsements, but for the love of pete, can't a regular guy buy one too?

The two largest impacts an individual makes on the environment is the vehicle he drives and the electricity he purchases (the generation of electricity is the most polluting industry in America). If everyone chose the cleanest options available, the decrease in air pollution would be staggering. It IS possible. It is only a matter of choice!

— Tony, Austin, TN

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June 13, 2004

Larger Hybrid Vehicles
I am glad to say that Ford is coming out with a hybrid SUV, for those who can not part with their SUV's. The company I work for is purchasing hybrid buses which will help in cleaning up the environment as well as saving money for fuel. Hybrid technology is the way to go in the near future.

— Loren, Lathrop, CA

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June 12, 2004

The Insight and Some Other Changes
Ever since we purchased our 2000 Insight, I've been geniunely puzzled about why more people don't own hybrids. Ours is reliable, zippy, comfortable, and really cool. And I go to the gas station to fill my 10-gallon tank just once a month.

We became a one-car household, found housing near public transportation, and sought out jobs within a 5-mile radius so that I could bus or bike to work. We're saving at least $350/month in car payments and insurance. I feel better when I get home from work, because I haven't spent time driving in traffic. I'm in better shape and have more free time. I walk around and see my neighbors more often. And when public transportation is unavailable or impractical, or when the Minnesota cold is just too much to face, we can drive in a car that produces 90% less smog than most.

— Jen, Minneapolis, MN 

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June 10, 2004

Arnold's Plan
As hybrid cars are truly becoming an answer to our consumption woes, it's good and timely news that Governor Schwarzenegger is pushing through a law that will give hybrid car drivers access to the carpool lanes as single occupancy drivers. Anyone who's been stuck on the 405 freeway in and around LA, like myself, and who has no other way to get to work but to drive, I am now on a wait list to buy the latest Toyota Prius and I'll be trading in my Tacoma for good. There will be a cap on how many hybrid cars owners will be issued diamond lane pass — I believe around 50,000 — but it's a tremendous incentive for commuters like myself to buy a hybrid. It saves me money on gas, and should cut my commute time down by 45 minutes.

— Thomas, Century City, CA

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June 9, 2004

No EV to purchase? We bought CNG
When our 1990 Honda Accord went to our daughter in 1998, we wanted to replace it with an electric vehicle. We always buy our cars (never lease) and drive them 10 years or longer. There were absolutely ZERO EVs available for purchase. The RAV4/EV came out later, but we always considered it a poor platform for something supposed to be efficient.

What did we end up purchasing? We bought a Honda Civic GX; a compressed natural gas vehicle and still drive it today (50K miles later). It is the cleanest internal combustion engine in the world and finished second in ACEE's green car ratings behind the EV-1. No, it isn't an EV, but it was as close as we could come without converting our own.

I drove the Impact in the PrEView days, but could never consider leasing one. I dreamed of Solectria finding someone with deep pockets to manufacture and market the Sunrise, but that never occurred. We both ride our bikes, but many cyclists have been hit, injured, or killed recently (??due to radio shock jocks telling listeners to run them down??).

Some thoughts: Hybrids are an improvement over standard gasoline fueled vehicles, but they are still dirty in comparison to pure EVs and our CNG Civic. Hydrogen is an expensive energy inefficient fairy tale. Will the growth of EVs in China result in a resurgence in the US? We can only hope.

Until then, we refuel our Honda at PG&E stations in northern California (eventually with Phill, a home refueling unit from FuelMaker), to become nearly self-sufficient (except for gas delivery to our home). Eventually, methane will be extracted efficiently from waste or the ocean floor (without environmental damages?), but we still yearn for a quality EV.

— David, Elk Grove, CA

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June 8, 2004

Need a new technology jump
Sorry folks but at least for now SUVs are here to stay (and I am not ashamed to say I love our Jeep Liberty) unless gas probably doubles in price. I don't think people understand the risks car companies do take in promoting new choices. I like the concept of hybrid cars and it seems to be gaining some ground - and I really hope it does. But please remember cars are much more efficient today compared to 30 yrs ago (lighter materials, catalytic converter, cleaner gas, etc.) - that is probably due to a mix of environmental regulation and the need for car companies to improve in order to compete. We just need to make a new leap in making our bigger SUVs more efficient too.

— Chris, Ashburn, VA

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June 4, 2004

The South, The Disabled, Etc.
If you live in a town where public transport is poor, bike lanes are non existent, and SUVs and huge trucks run rampant down the streets and people drive drunk frequently (yes, I'm talking about most Southern cities), you are AFRAID to drive a car that is lightweight and under medium-sized. Maybe a heavy hybrid or electric vehicle that is AFFORDABLE is an interim solution (until we get better public transport) for those of us whose bodies are already damaged from auto wrecks.

— Adam, New Orleans, LA

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June 1, 2004

I'm So Bored With Cars
I lived in Norway for a few months and never had to drive a car while travelling all over the country and the rest of Europe. Plus it's a lot more fun to take the train or bus and meet new people, read a book, or relax and watch the scenery. Why doesn't Amtrak make a comeback in the US? I would be much more likely to travel and not feel forced to drive, although hybrids are definitely the way to go if you have to drive.

— Charles, Minneapolis, MN

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May 30, 2004

Save the American way of life
The fuel we buy from overseas is the big part of what we use for vehicles. To save this money and reinvest it in our country may be the only option we have to pay off our large national deficit. The nice thing is that we don't have to give up traveling or our culture as alternate vehicles can permit this more efficiently and just as before. We do have to "change" and this seems a small "sacrifice" relative to that made by soldiers in the mid east risking their lives that solves only part of the problem. Also Hybrids can be made much more efficient with better design and if you need to haul remember trailers. How about a new industry making this to attach to vehicles

— Daniel, Bowling Green, OH

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May 14, 2004

Driving Electric Every Day
Some people get boats, others get mountain retreats, some people golf as a hobby, I like driving electric cars. You can see mine at www.getmsm.com/ev

EV's are elegant in design, and save money, and I am very frugal. EV's work, can be used for daily errands, and the general perception is on their weaknesses, not their strengths. Perhaps I can make a small change in this perception when I talk with people.

Small disruptions in the flow of gasoline (real or perceived) cause near panic and huge lines in my town. This does not bode well for real problems, and I have realized it is good to be prepared for interruptions in supplies.

Primarily, I am of the belief that the global trading of Oil and it's refined products is volatile and fraught with problems and trouble. Other energy sources seem to make much more sense and could be implemented with some effort, as our country has overcome bigger problems than this one.

— Brad, Carlsbad, CA

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May 13, 2004

Electrifying Times magazine
Electrifying Times has been on newsstands since 1993 and on the web since 1997 covering electric vehicle news: http://www.electrifyingtimes.com - I also recommend the May 14 - 20, 2004 issue of the LA Weekly, a special on green automobiles: http://www.laweekly.com - If you have a cool photo of you and your EV, send it to us! We'll publish it.

— Remy, Weston, CT

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May 7, 2004

Can Do
Americans have always had a "can do" attitude. When we finally decide we need to live our lives for our descendants, instead of only for ourselves, then we'll all have hybrid cars,and our world and our children will be better for it. Can do? YOU BET!

— Carlos, Laredo, TX

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April 28, 2004

Transport me to another planet, please!
I personally look forward to Japanese manufacturers cleaning the clocks of US car makers with their hybrid car rollouts. The US automakers have stalled and stalled with the launch of their hybrid vehicles. I hear the SUV Ford Escape has been delayed yet again and that other US hybrids planned for the market only offer fuel savings of around 15%. Talk about dragging their feet and offering half-hearted solutions. Beam me up Scottie!

— Ally, Santa Monica, CA

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