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The higher gas prices go, the Smarter I feel

Last post 05-16-2008 10:24 AM by Altair. 2 replies.
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  • 05-15-2008 6:27 PM

    The higher gas prices go, the Smarter I feel

    Like most Americans, we are a two-car family. Most of our driving is done in a 2002 Volvo V70 station wagon that gets about 19.5 mpg during city driving; 30 mpg highway.

    Unlike most Americans, my husband rides a bike to work three or four days a week, but after work he rides home and hops into a 1992 Volvo 940 to pick up our son across town. We’ve loved this car, but we're just about ready to sell it to someone else who is welcome to love it for another 100,000 miles.

    We've been considering replacing this dinosaur with an electric car. No gas. No emissions. No noise. What's not to love? How about, no interior space, no availability, no affordability, and none of the safety we're used to in our Volvos. Many of the electric cars have to be recharged every few hours, or every 50 to 150 miles. Many of them are one- or two-seaters. I have solar power at home, and live about 5 miles from work, so I think the recharging thing will work out. The size of most of these cars means their utility is going to be limited.

    Then there's the price. Some of them are available for as little as $12,000, but those are too small and minimalist for me. In Florida, AC is an essential, not an option. I've seen ads for cars that include wipers, headlights, taillights, horns, windows and heat as options! These are also the cars that max out at 25 mph.

    The car that I've been following most closely for the past couple years is the Th!nk car. Th!nk used to be a Ford product, but is now being manufactured by Think Global out of Norway. Unfortunately, every time I look at this car, the date of availability and price are getting pushed further out of my range. Because the batteries for this car are so extremely expensive, the plan now is that the owner will buy the car, but lease the battery--at a price of about $300 a month. And that's on top of the $20,000 purchase price. Some older reports say this includes Wi-Fi, insurance, an OnStar equivalent, and battery replacement; more recent reports say it will include only battery replacement and maybe insurance. In my family, we like to keep our car payments at around $300 a month, so I think I've fallen out of love with Th!ink.

    But now I'm thinking Smart. There's a new lithium ion battery version of the Smart Car that is supposed to be available later this year. Purchase price is about $27,250 including stereo CD player and AC. Now we're talking! I can live with 40 mph. I can live with the two-seater limitations. And, as a Volvo driver, I can live with the new test crash results…literally.

    I don’t think our new Smart Car is going to give me the feeling of pampered luxury I initially enjoyed when I bought the V70—you can’t have everything. But I think I’m going to enjoy driving again. And I think my six-year-old son will grow up knowing his parents tried very hard to protect the world he’ll live in long after we’re gone.


  • 05-16-2008 9:28 AM In reply to

    • kurt
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-23-2007
    • Tallahassee FL
    • Posts 176

    Re: The higher gas prices go, the Smarter I feel

    Can you find some info on this car including pictures and post it? Also have you called the people selling it yet? It's very exciting!
    George Kurt Artecona
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  • 05-16-2008 10:24 AM In reply to

    Re: The higher gas prices go, the Smarter I feel

    We may not have electric cars quite up to speed with the rest of the industry, but this model looks like it's making some major strides in the right direction. It sounds like you have a really good solution and a game plan to make it work. I can't wait to see your new car in person.

    I'm going to be in the market for my first new car in the near future. I'm really hoping to get something that won't have to deal with the gas crisis when everything goes under.

    Are there any projections as to when we can expect these cars to be just as affordable, reliable, and functional as their gas guzzling counterparts? 

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