OK, after reading the headline, you’re probably now looking for “the catch”. There isn’t one. I drive a 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV. It costs about $1.80 to go 100 miles, and I commute daily at about 75 miles per hour without any problems. And if you think I baby it, I don’t. Ask the bureaucracy over at the emission place when they made me bring it in, despite my explanations over the phone. They have an electric-vehicle burnout to show for it. (They loved it)
(Picture of the RAV4EV at right, in line at the Emissions Testing Facility. The funny parts were when they tried to pressure-test the gas cap (it doesn’t have one), and when the computer wouldn’t read the engine’s RPM sensor (no engine, no RPM’s)…eventually they just had me sign a form and I was on my way with an audience of 10 emissions-testing personnel)
Now that we have that out of the way…
OK, so maybe there is one catch after all. It doesn’t use gas. At all. It’s not a hybrid, it’s an electric vehicle. The ‘mpg’ I’m listing here (166) is how far I can go on $3 of electricity, so it is a “mpg-cost-equivalent. You’ve probably never heard of this car, because there is a long list of people who don’t want you to have one, including the manufacturers and oil cartels. In fact, these same people were successful in getting rid of the RAV4 EV back in 2003, via their lobbyists and marketing departments.
- The manufacturer’s excuse? No-one wants a usable car that requires little, if any maintenance, and gets the cost equivalent of 166mpg. Of course, the “lack of demand” was no surprise, considering the car was never advertised too strongly.
- The oil cartel’s excuse? Well, you can imagine.
I’ve worked pretty hard on the Wikipedia entry for the RAV4EV , along with other RAV4 EV owners and fans, so check it out. I’m not the most knowledgeable person about electric vehicles, but I tried to post everything I could personally verify. The RAV4 EV community filled in the rest, and they’ve been doing a great job! (as most uninhibited collaborative communities do).
I had planned on writing more about the RAV4 EV here, but the wikipedia article does such a great job, I decided to let you read it for yourselves… Go ahead and read it a second, then come back, I’m not done yet…
Now that you’re back, you probably want to know what you can do to get an Electric Vehicle, since they’re easy on you wallet and the earth (including your own health!). We all need you to voice our opinion about the blocking of the electric vehicle in the United States. As we’ve seen time and time again, companies who have their own sales channels usually try to stifle progress and force people into adopting their business model (*cough*RIAA*cough*) Not only does this end up being unsuccessful in the end (*cough*bittorrent*cough*), but it’s also not fair to all of those Geeks out there trying to use technology for the betterment of everyone, instead of the profit of a few. In this case, the manufacturers even went to the extreme of buying the cars back, just to crush them out of existence.
Given our present involvement in the oil-rich middle east, it seems to make sense get our resource dependence out of there. We can see every night what our money is doing to our own soldiers. I have a hard time dealing with the feeling that every tank of gas might be funding a clip-full of AK47 7.62mm bullets, or maybe a rocket-propelled grenade. Despite this, oil lobbyists seem do anything possible to preserve their current fuel delivery channels and revenue, choosing instead to work on profits for the right-now, instead of planning for the near future.
You might be saying ‘whatever, I don’t know anything about the oil companies of the world, so who cares.’ To illustrate this point to a Geek, this makes about as much sense as if AMD/Intel would block the development of any processor over 1Ghz, in order to keep a grid computing business alive. Except that people don’t die from slow processors… Well, it doesn’t make any sense in that hypothetical situation, and it doesn’t make any sense in the real world.
The car companies claim that there is no demand for these vehicles. You can find them selling used on eBay for $20,000 more than they originally sold for. That sounds like demand to me.
Geeks, we need to create the demand. Your wallet and earth will be better off for it.
In addition, if any of you want to know anything/want pictures/want youtube videos, let me know. I think I’m one of, if not the only electric car in Chicago (they were generally sold in southern California), so if anyone is in Chicago and wants to check the car out for yourselves, let me know.
Here are some other resources:
Check out these groups who have been fighting tirelessly on your behalf get you the technology you deserve, and most likely want. These are the EFF’s of the electric vehicle world:
Think electric cars are too nerdy for you? Image how dumb the driver of a $440,000 Porsche feels after being beat 0-60 and in the quarter-mile by a new $100,000 electric roadster.
Some more detail on the RAV4 EV and Electric Vehicles in general:
Think I’m some crackpot? Sorry, the coverup is real news. In fact, there’s a movie coming out this summer about it. Your local theater will get it for you if you ask. Lucky you – you can say ‘I already heard about that 2 months ago at GeekLimit.com…’ to your friends. So Geeky…
Feature coming June 28: Who Killed The Electric Car
And the next X-Prize is coing to be based on a high-efficiency vehicle ! (Maybe I should show up in a stock RAV4EV…)
Want to complain to someone who can make a difference? You can’t match the money “donated to them”, but you can write your congressman/woman and be very noisy. Maybe a newspaper or two will notice… (One of them might write back, mine did – Henry Hyde is my new penpal… OK, not really, but cool anyway…)
Oh, and I’m not the only one who is a fan of the RAV4 EV. See if you recognize this guy:
(jungle and famous image from dontcrush)