Monday, June 30, 2008

Electric Cars Rock!

Gas prices got you down?
Dallas residents Arlen Wheeler and his son Dennis Wheeler are poised to have the first car dealership in Texas to exclusively sell NEVs -Neighborhood Electric Vehicles.

“It’s amazing how useful it is. The cars are like a golf cart on steroids,” states Carole Doyle who has has a model from Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) parked in her driveway on Alderson. “It is a perfect second car. At a top speed of 25 mph it is great for running neighborhood errands.”

NEVs are street legal in nearly all 50 states on public roads posted at 35 mph or less. Cars and drivers must be licensed. With a top speed of 25 mph, GEM cars can get up to 42 miles on a charge. Just plug into any 110-volt outlet and in 6-8 hours you are ready to go. A comparison of owning a GEM vs. a gas powered vehicle states a savings of about $9,000. It costs from 1 to 3 cents a mile to operate them, depending on the price of electricity per kilowatt-hour. A GEM 2 seater starts at $6,795 or you can opt for the top of the line 6 seater E6 special edition starting at $17,495. The GEM car also has tons of features you can add; hard or soft doors, audio system and dash mounted fans.

The GEM drives like a dream. Arlen Wheeler and I took a spin around my hood in his four seater model. I turned the key, didn’t hear anything and automatically assumed that I broken the car. Nope, that is just the first thing you need to get used to, electric cars are quiet. A three way button on the dash gives you the option of slow speed, high speed and reverse. I pulled out of the drive and headed for Abrams to see how fast I could go. Zipping along at 25 mph I did get passed a lot but everyone needs to slow down on Abrams anyway. I turned into the neighborhood and found out that you need to manually turn off your turn signal, no big deal. Another thing GEM drivers need to know is that you are going to get a lot of stares along the way and questions when you come to a red light. The drive was smoother than I thought it would be and it was definitely a great time.

If you want a hard bodied electric car then the Zenn is for you. Starting at $15,995.00, it only comes in a 2 seater but also has standard features like remote entry, power locks & windows, heat & defroster and boasts 13 cubic feet of storage space. It also has the add-on option all Texans will want –air conditioning. With the add-ons, a/c, power sunroof and CD/MP3 player CD, the Zenn still comes in under a cool $20K. It has an average of 40+ miles per charge and a top speed of 25 mph

Zenn is projected to bring to market in '09 a 4 door, five passenger highway electric car that will get 245 miles to a 10 minute charge. “When that technology arrives it will change the way many of us commute,” predicts Dennis Wheeler.
What about safety? Sequoia meets NEV doesn’t sound like a great thing, but it has happened with no injuries. A gentleman in Santa Cruz was T-boned by a Sequoia and never felt as if his NEV would roll over due to the fact that his car has a quarter ton of battery on the floor. Since most fatalities occur when a car rolls, the NEV stuck to the ground and basically bounced off the larger car. It is also advisable to get all the safety options available for your NEV.

The most exciting news on the horizon is the further development of the Smart car. These two seaters are incredibly popular in Europe and are poised to make their mark here in the US. The Smart car is currently powered by unleaded gas and gets about 33 city 41 highway mpg. But a hydrogen-electric drive train is in the works. Simply charge the car and when the battery has 40% charge left the hydrogen generator kicks in. What does it take to fill the hydrogen generator? One gallon of distilled water. No kidding. The idea of getting 600 miles on a charge and going green with water exhaust would make Al Gore proud. Spending about $4 a week to run your car, a 5 star safety rating and the ability to zip along at 75 mph is too good to pass up. These Smart cars will be approximately $31,000 for the coup and $36,000 for the convertible model. Need a bigger car? Full size SUV’s are in the prototype stage. Mr. Wheeler will be the exclusive dealer for this version of the Smart Car

“For most commuters, 90% of driving is within 20 mile of our homes,” says Dennis Wheeler. “We want to see the day where every family has a neighborhood commuter car and a highway vehicle. And both will be electric.”

Arlen and Dennis Wheeler, the earth thanks you.

For more information, call James Gleason at 214-821-1417, Dennis Wheeler at 214-821-1400 or log on to

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