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Publication Title | An EV Of your very Own

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Shari Prange ©1999 Shari Prange

Above: The Honda EV Plus is a very popular EV available for lease in many cities.

Y ou’re past the initial stage of curiosity. You’ve read about

electric vehicles, maybe even driven one. Now it gets personal. How can you put an EV into your garage?

Define Your Goals

Before you start shopping, take a minute to examine your needs. This involves asking yourself a lot of questions. It’s a good idea to write down your answers, to clarify the picture.

Will this be your only car, or one of two or more vehicles? Will you need a back seat for the kids? Do you need trunk space for groceries or golf clubs? Do you crave a sports car or convertible? How far do you need to drive in a typical day? What’s the longest drive that must be done by this car? Is it possible to charge during the day at work? What top speed do you need? Will you be driving at night, in wet or cold weather? Is air conditioning essential to survival where you live? Are your roads hilly, bumpy, unpaved? And, last but not least, what’s your budget for acquiring the car?

That’s a lot of questions. But if you take the time to answer them all, and add anything that’s important to you but not on that list, you’ll have a pretty good profile of the car you want and need. Be sure you do a little research on any tax breaks or other incentives available in your area (see HP68). Then adjust your vehicle budget accordingly.

Now you’re ready to start sorting through options. We’ll start with the “easiest” options, the ones where you just put down your money and drive away. We’ll work our way down to the ones that include skinned knuckles and jack stands. You will notice that there is generally an inverse relationship between the amount of money you spend getting the car, and the amount of time you spend.

Step Right Up!

Yes, you can get a ready-to-drive electric car with full factory support. Every major manufacturer has at least one electric vehicle in the lineup. There are, however, a few restrictions which may put some of these cars out of the running for you.

Below: Many of the new EVs from the major manufacturers are only available as fleet vehicles at this time.

66 Home Power #69 • February / March 1999

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