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Alternative-Fuel Vehicle Recommendations?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the ditching-the-gas-guzzlers dept.

Technology 1080

Ellen Spertus asks: "My husband and I lease a pure electric GM EV-1, which we love, and need to replace our second car, a conventional Honda Accord, which recently died. We'd get a second EV-1, but GM has stopped making them. I haven't been able to find any available all-eletric car with the range (>=50 miles roundtrip) and speed (>=65 mph) that I need. Does the Slashdot community have any experience, wisdom, or advice on choosing an alternative fuel car?"

"I'm currently considering:

We test drove a Toyota Prius today, and it seems like a nice car. It's said to provide a quieter and more comfortable ride than the Honda Insight, and it uses pure electric power at low speeds. The Honda Insight, on the other hand, has better gas mileage. I could refuel either at regular gas stations. The Honda Civic GX would need to be refueled at special stations, but there are many where I live and work, the San Francisco Bay Area. The GX is the lowest in emissions, which would qualify me to drive alone in the carpool lane. All of the cars are about the same price, around $20,000 new. Used cars are also available."

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1080 comments

this one's (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850385)

for da CLIT!

fired (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850417)

i got fired yesterday morning.

i hate life

BIODIESEL (5, Insightful)

carlhirsch (87880) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850392)

Biodiesel [biodiesel.org] is one alternative energy means that I think has real potential. Apparently there's all sorts of new grants available for folks wanting to get involved.

Just don't try to start that french fry grease up on a cold morning.

Re:BIODIESEL (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850479)

Biodiesel [biodiesel.org] is one alternative energy means that I think has real potential.

Isn't there a fundamental problem with biomass fuels, that it would require a large increase in the amount of farmed land? Our machines generally require rather more fuel than we do.

Re:BIODIESEL (2, Funny)

Steev (5372) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850542)

This actually isn't the case, because biodiesel can be made from waste products, such as the oil from a deep fryer. How many fast food joints are there in North America again? Exactly. Our own retarded lifestyle will keep us going :)

Takara (5, Funny)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850396)

Has made this really cool 1 seater.
At about 10,000 US each it's a bargain.
http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/photojournal/index.htm l

Really Cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850422)

That's the ugliest thing I have ever seen!

Re:Takara (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850481)

One look at that car and the only think I could say was: Pow Pow Power Wheels!

I don't think it even qualifies with what the poster specified. That car only has a range of 80km, which isn't even 50 miles. I bet it doesn't do 65mph either (even if it did it looks like it'd be terrifying to do 65 in a kiddy car).

why don't you (-1)

TheBahxMan (249147) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850397)

wait a year for ford's fuel cell technology to come out in things like the escape.

oh right, and jamie@iliketheabuse.vg is a fag

1P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850399)

GameOver

first post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850400)

f1rst post!

Big fan of CNG (2, Informative)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850407)

CNG cars are popular in some places in Europe where gas in pretty damn expensive. I know that they have trouble starting in really cold weather, but you should be ok.

Re:Big fan of CNG (2)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850516)

I also "vote" for the CNG because of it's classic car look (even though it may be hard to make a 'statement' with it).

Being that it's the best for the planet (your words) that is you best choice.

However, I maybe the only one who thinks the Insight is 'cool'. I checked out the Apple VR images and I'm even more impressed.

Tough choice, but go for the most anti-oil... my 2% of a euro.

How about something not ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850411)

Up until every single one of the vehicles I have seen including those aforementioned have been hideous, no offense, but come on hiding the back wheel? Isnt that what they used to do on old cadillacs? Besides the Honda Civic Hybrid, they are all weird looking, make something more attractive and maybe people will buy!

aerodynamics, dumbass (2)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850521)



Yeah, hiding the back wheel well so it doesn't create turbulence. The only reason other cars expose the back wheels is for the ease of changing tires, which should be a rarity during the life of your vehicle. So perhaps those old caddy designers had a good idea, after all.


BTW, there's no shortage of people willing to buy hybrid cars. In fact, there are waiting lists [omnileonardo.com] at the dealers for hybrid cars.

Fossil fuels are our nations worst addiction.

retro electric car (2, Interesting)

lo_fye (303245) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850416)

these babies are SLICK! they're in Toronto :) http://www.feelgoodcars.com/

Re:retro electric car (2)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850506)

Unfortunately it's maximum speed is 40km/h (25mph) - it seems that this is what you get when you cross-breed a sedan with a golf cart.

Re:retro electric car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850527)

No... look at the "Daphine" link...

well.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850424)

with Bush in office and all his connections to the oil industry (plus the fact he's a former oil company executive), dont expect many alternative fuel cars to hit the market anytime soon.

Unless of course, oil prices spike up wildly. oh wait, that happened about a year ago. nevermind.

Re:well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850470)

Thats funny, when he took office gas was $1.76 a gallon. Now its is $1.45 Boy I feel so gouged.

Re:well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850550)

Yeah but it took a slap in the face (err New York) for you to get em.

Re:well.... (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850536)

Yes, because car companies (especially forign car companies) check with the current US president before making any decision.

The President will likely neither help nor hinder this market, which is as it should be. Let the customers demand it, the companies will supply.

Finkployd

Have you considered?... (5, Informative)

redfieldp (549286) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850427)

The The Honda Civic Hybrid [honda.com] ? It uses gas and electric, and gets pretty sweet mileage, plus its battery is self charging....

Jetta TDI has better mileage (5, Insightful)

Coolfish (69926) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850579)

The Jetta TDI has better mileage than the Civic hybrid.. in fact i believe it has the best mileage for any vehicle that still uses a fossil fuel of any sort.

http://www.vw.com/engine/index.htm?locnav=jetta

Alternative energy source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850432)

My car is powered by burning VA Linux/Software/Moneypit stock. Who said that stock was worthless?!

You're definitely making the best choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850435)

Hybrids are more eco-friendly than pure electric cars in most regions of the country. Where does all that electricity come from, after all? A wall socket? No, a coal-burning plant. Ditch your coal-burning vehicle for an eco-friendly Honda Insight.

Re:You're definitely making the best choice (-1)

TheBahxMan (249147) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850447)

There were two honda's mentioned already you dipshit. Learn to fucking read you worthless whore.

jamie@imaworthlesswhoretoo.vg is a fag

The Troll Polka: UPDATED by poopbot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850436)

THE TROLL POLKA (ARSCHFICKEN MIT ZIEGEN)
By Serial Troller, 2002-06-25

Is das nicht ein early post? Ja! Das ist mein early post!
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Early post, Goatse ghost,
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Is das trolling so much fun? Ja! Das trolling is so fun!
Minus one, trolling fun, Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Slashdot sucks!

Is das nicht ein big crapflood? Ja! Das ist mein big crapflood!
Is it worthless Linux FUD? Ja! Das ist mein Linux FUD!
Big crapflood, Linux FUD, Minus one, trolling fun, Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Slashdot sucks!

Is das nicht der CowBoiKneel? Ja! Das ist der CowBoiKneel!
Is dis nicht his manchode meal? Ja! Das ist his manchode meal!
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Is das nicht ein WIPO Troll? Ja! Das ist der WIPO Troll!
Is das nicht ein Goatse hole? Ja! Das ist der Goatse hole!
WIPO Troll, Goatse hole, CowBoiKneel, manchode meal,
Big crapflood, Linux FUD, Minus one, trolling fun, Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Slashdot sucks!

Is das nicht Jon Katz' slave boys? Ja! Das ist Jon Katz' slave boys!
Und are they not Taco's sex toys? Ja! They are Taco's sex toys!
Katz' slave boys, Rob's sex toys, WIPO Troll, Goatse hole,
CowBoiKneel, manchode meal, Big crapflood, Linux FUD,
Minus one, trolling fun, Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Slashdot sucks!

Is das nicht ein trolltalk thread? Ja! Das ist ein trolltalk thread!
Is it nicht now FUCKING DEAD? Ja! Is really FUCKING DEAD!
Trolltalk thread, FUCKING DEAD! Katz' slave boys, Rob's sex toys,
WIPO Troll, Goatse hole, CowBoiKneel, manchode meal,
Big crapflood, Linux FUD, Minus one, trolling fun,
Early post, Goatse ghost,
Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene, Oh, du schoene,
Slashdot sucks!

____________________

Change Log:

* Subtle changes to most verses. It sounded really gay before.
* Removed all references to Taco's pud. May have been high at time. Will investigate further.
* Finally think I have goat sex written correctly in German. I think. Arschficken?

(C) 2002 Serial Troller. Permission to reproduce this document is granted provided that you send all the bukkake porn you can find to serialtroller@hotmail.com.

- poopbot: lovely snot! wonderful snot!

Convert a car (2, Interesting)

shepd (155729) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850439)

Many cars can be converted to run on Natural Gas. Ask someone locally with a car that runs on it where they got theirs done.

Just note that you'll probably lose a lot of trunk space unless you want to risk running out of Natural Gas between trips.

I too want a CNG car, but almost no CNG stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850441)

I would buy a CNG car tomorrow. But I live in NYC and pretty much all the CNG stations are owned by Brooklyn Union Gas and they do not resell to individuals.

I would go with the Toyota.. I see many of them in NYC being used by the NYC MTA and other utilities

masturbation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850443)

wank wank

Honda Insight (1)

EverlastingPhelps (568113) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850444)

My business partner bought a Honda Insight a couple of years ago, so I am fairly familiar with his experiences. He enjoy driving it; he says that it takes some practice to learn the light touch you need to get it from 50 mpg to the mid 60s, but not hard.

The car routinely gets heads to turn, and he says that the resale value is high enough that even with only 2 years paid on the car he has equity (rather than being upside down.) I have no first-hand knowledge of the other vehicles.

You Forgot (1)

roelbj (95481) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850445)

... the Honda Civic Hybrid. See this link [honda.com] for details. Honda took their success with the Insight, which lost its backseat entirely to the battery pack, and built on it. They compressed the battery pack to the shelf below the back-seat and put out this fantastic 4-seater that gets 46/51 mpg.

I don't know of any one car... (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850448)

but the honda bybrid is a smooth ride and very fuel efficient. I'd buy one if i could afford it.

Ethanol (3, Insightful)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850450)

If you live in the Midwest, it's very feasable to use a conventional gasoline car, just fill it up with ethanol [ethanol.org] . It burns cleaner, hotter, and more effeciently than traditional gas. More importantly, you will be supporting a fuel source that can be grown out of the earth, and unlike oil, you won't be giving your money to a foreign dictator or Texas oil-baron.

Re:Ethanol (2)

medcalf (68293) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850474)

More importantly, you will be supporting a fuel source that can be grown out of the earth, and unlike oil, you won't be giving your money to a foreign dictator or Texas oil-baron.

As a Texan (not, sadly, an oil baron) and an ADM stockholder, I'd appreciate y'all taking his advice. More ethanol is better for all of us, or at least for me as the ADM stock price rises.

Re:Ethanol (0)

schematix (533634) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850502)

Not only will you be supporting the highly subsidized ethanol industry, but you will also be supporting the oil companies since energy is needed to make ethanol, which comes from oil. So either way you're helping big oil...not that its a bad thing.

Re:Ethanol (2)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850534)

As I recall, most car manufacturers will quickly void your engine warrantee if you use fuel with too high an ethanol content. I don't have my manual available at this moment, but I distinctly recall such a line in my new lawnmower manual (obviously a lawnmower engine is not equivalent to a car engine).

As for the ethical bit -- didn't know Canada was ruled by a dictator, but I do know they're where the US gets the majority of its foreign oil from.

Direct links to car info (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850451)

This link [hondacars.com] bypasses the stupid registration form to read the brochure on the Honda Civic GX.
  • Why would Honda think that anyone would give them their name and address, just for the priveledge of window shopping?
  • Don't follow this link if you live in Denmark, because it is illegal! [slashdot.org]

skip the civic.... (1)

JayAndSilentBob (517888) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850458)

If you were to move to say.... Indiana (where I live), you would never see one of those newfangled stations, nor would you see a carpool lane. And you would see the efficency of your pure electric car drop like a rock in the winter. The hybrids should be decent, but always consider that you may move unexpectedly. Electric cars don't fare well in the states that get cold. And there are no carpool lanes or silly emissions regulations. only savings in gas and the knowledge that you reduced fossil fuel consumption. Unless you charge your electric car from fossil-fuel generated electricity. Then you're just fooling yourself. Electricity takes energy to store and transmit. Sorry for my semi-coherent rant, but those are my views after working a 12 hour shift in a factory that makes parts for conventional american cars.

A hippie van (3, Funny)

Paraplegic Vigilante (590364) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850459)

Why don't you get one of those old Volkswagen hippie vans? You can plaster it with stickers like "Earth First!" and drive around sneering at SUV drivers all self-righteous like, even though you're polluting more than them. Don't forget the weed though. ;)

Re:A hippie van (2)

yakfacts (201409) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850537)

Boy, is that true! I own a small SUV as I am also trained as an Anthropologist and I am an amatuer geologist, so I do a lot of driving on bad "roads".

But I can only afford the one vehicle. And after 12 years of owning identical vehicles, I suddenly have had two people make rude comments to me about it as it is an SUV.

When I am behind a beat-up old Volkswagon or other "cool" car and it is burning oil and belching smoke to the point that I am having a hard time breathing, I can't understand how my modern car with pollution controls and similar gas mileage is worse just because it is 4WD.

Whatever you do, don't go with the Prius (1)

tono (38883) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850461)

Seriously, there are many non-hybrid cars that get better gas mileage than the Prius. It's for people who want to feel like they're making a difference without making a difference.

I'd recommend either the Insight, the Civic GX or the Civic Hybrid.

Re:Whatever you do, don't go with the Prius (1, Insightful)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850567)

There are non-hybrids that do as well as the Prius on the highway (45mpg.)

But the Prius also does that well in city driving. No non-hybrid does that.

Honda Insight = uncomfortable (1, Informative)

prisen (578061) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850463)

I test drove a Honda Insight (2001 model year). It was very quiet, but very uncomfortable. I am 6'0"/145lbs and barely fit my legs into the car - I couldn't imagine being in the thing for more than 20 minutes. It only seats two, as you may know. Cargo space and weight is also very limited. Overall performance of the car was not good either; I was disappointed in the acceleration, however, the top speed was somewhat admirable for a hybrid car. I briefly looked (but didn't drive) the Toyota hybrid, and just looking at it made me feel better about it than I did the Honda. Both Honda and Toyota make wonderful, reliable cars, but check Consumer Reports for a more in-depth and usually trustworthy review.

YMMV and all that, this was all IMO, etc. Good luck with your car buy.

Simple. Don't (2, Insightful)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850465)

Okay, first let me state a few points.

1. For any given task, a certain amount of energy is needed.
2. Batteries are highly inefficient as stores of energy.
3. Admittedly, gasoline isn't much better, but it is somewhat more efficient.
4. Highly efficient fueled cars such as the VW Jetta TDI (4 cylinder diesel) can get upwards of 50MPG on the highway, and 40-45 city.
5. The vast majority of electric power comes from...wait for it.. fossil fuel plants.

So thus, in the context of a car, you ARE going to consuming fossil fuels directly or indirectly. Given that, to minimize environmental impact, find the most fuel efficient car you can.

How about biodiesel? (1)

rtm1 (560452) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850466)

Have you thought about just getting a regular diesel powered car and then checking to see if you can buy biodiesel [biodiesel.org] in your area? It's supposed to be much more environmentally friendly than conventional fuel, though it's not particularly cheap..

Honda Insight... (2)

Tranvisor (250175) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850472)

Along with the best gas milage you get convienince of not driving 100 miles to find a natural gas station.

Oil is a limited resource, but hopefully sometime soon (crosses fingers) we won't have to rely on it so heavily. GM has a timeline for a fuel cell car in 10 years, the Honda should last you till then.

The reason I think GM might make it is because unlike most other car companies, they are redesigning everything from the ground up. Most other companies are trying to just plop a fuel cell next to a electric engine and expect it to work. Tho a more complete article is in the new issue of Wired, here is a brief article about it, at Wired.com [wired.com] .

Call me ignorant if you like... (0)

Ignorant Cocksucker (584160) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850473)

But doesn't driving an electric / hybrid vehicle take all the fun out of driving ? Wouldn't you be much better off with a high performance European sports sedan such as this one [yahoo.com] ?

You could feel just as smug in one of those as you do in an electric car, just for different reasons, and you could still burn people off at the lights !!!

The problem with all these cars... (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850476)

...is that they all look like ass.

I actually semi-considered getting an Insight until I saw the fucking thing. It's hideous! It looks like a squashed milk carton. The one I saw was barf-green, too, which didn't help matters much.

I ended up getting a 3-series instead, which not only doesn't look like ass, but also has no problem going over 65. (I guess I'm a Bad Person for using a gasoline-powered car though.)

- A.P.

Re:The problem with all these cars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850569)

You're the ass..

My Honda Insight has no problem getting me to work at ~80MPH every day and I consistently get >55MPG. Certainly not the 60-70 advertised, but hey, I'm going 80. I just bought the Civic Hybrid for my wife. It's fantastic. Not as easy to get the MPG up with the way she drives, but it's still pretty good.

They're both gasoline powered. The only difference is that by driving the "3-series" you have about 50000 other cars on the road that look exactly like yours. Congratulations, you're an idiot.

I remember a cool alt-fuel car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850477)

If I recall correctly, the modified delorean in BTTF2 ran on trash courtesy a device called Mr. Fusion.

You may want to look into that.

My experiences with the Prius (5, Informative)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850487)

I'm a very happy owner of the Toyota Prius... I've actually gotten about 55 MPG in city driving, assuming I'm not in a hurry, above even the manufacturer's figures. It has been 100% reliable thus far.

I was considering the Insight, but it's only two seats, and two doors as you mentioned, so I decided to go with the Prius, as it's basically the same size as any other compact sedan.

I was looking into pure electric and gas cars, but decided not to at this time, because sometimes I like to take long-distance trips (eg, between the Bay Area, and LA, or to Nevada/Las Vegas) and there are no electric or gas refueling stations for long stretches outside urban areas, making long-distance road trips impossible with these vehicles' current range.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/toyota-prius/ It might be useful for you as well, although it's geared more towards current owners.

As for the car itself, It's proven to be 100% reliable thus far in the 14 months that I've had it, and I've been averaging 50 MPG or so. It definitely is worth it, at least for me, since I commute about 45 miles a day round trip.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me. If you want an independent assessment, john1701a.com [john1701a.com] has a lot of info on it from a owner. The group groups.yahoo.com/group/toyota-prius/ [yahoo.com] has a lot to offer as well with many helpful people.

Finally, since this is /. after all, there's a growing subculture dedicated to "hacking" the prius (eg, installing MP3 players that integrate with the onboard touchscreen system, or even wiring video input into the screen, installing cameras for seeing when you back up, etc... :-) )

I'd agree hybrid is the way to go (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850558)

Also, the new Civic Hybrid [honda.com] is a full five-passenger hybrid sedan, which really means that there's no reason anyone (who doesn't need a minivan) can't get a hybrid vehicles these days. The Prius and Insight, due to their smaller size, get better mileage, but at 45 mpg city and 50 mpg highway the Civic isn't bad either.

how about an electric porsche convertible? (4, Interesting)

avi33 (116048) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850496)

This one seems to fit the bill, but it just blows away the others in the style department. Too bad that breathy carburated engine sound is replaced with, well, nothing...

http://www.renewables.com/ElectricSpyder.htm

I suggest getting a hybrid (2)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850503)

If you are willing to buy a hybrid car, get either the Honda Civic Hybrid or the Toyota Prius.

The nice thing about a hybrid car is that not only do you get extremely low emissions (both cars I mentioned meet the world's toughest standard for gas-powered automobile engines, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Super-Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standard), but you can refuel from any gasoline station and get way over 400 miles between fillups.

Note that the Prius does take some getting used to though. The instrument panel is located on the center of the dashboard, the acceleration and braking on the Prius feels a bit different than a regular car in many ways. Mind you, the Prius has excellent interior room and a surprisingly roomy trunk, not a mean feat with space needed to hold the batteries.

EV1 == very interesting ride (3, Insightful)

jamesmartinluther (267743) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850504)

I took a test drive at the local Saturn dealership and, well, I was amazed at the smooth (and very powerful) acceleration. I had expected anemic performance and what I got was a rather wild drive through the city. While the need to recharge the battery and small size may be serious drawbacks, the sheer joy of taking this car for a spin really made me think about applying for one.

It is disappointing that electric cars are not yet economically viable. Just take one for a test drive and you will see that there is a lot more work to be done in improving personal transportation.

get a hybrid (1)

asavage (548758) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850505)

they are very fuel efficient. Here [doe.gov] is a good site
from this site:

HEVs have several advantages over conventional vehicles:

  • Regenerative braking [slashdot.org] capability helps minimize energy loss [slashdot.org] and recover the energy used to slow down or stop a vehicle.
  • Engines can be sized to accommodate average load, not peak load, which reduces the engine's weight.
  • Fuel efficiency is greatly increased (hybrids consume significantly less fuel than vehicles powered by gasoline alone).
  • Emissions are greatly decreased.
  • HEVs can reduce dependency on fossil fuels because they can run on alternative fuels.
  • Special lightweight materials are used to reduce the overall vehicle weight of HEVs.

Just get a horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850508)

Unlimited range, abundant cheap fuel, eco-friendly "exhaust," low maintenence, and a really expansive sunroof!

motorcycle or tiny diesel (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850510)

Get a motorcycle with a hack. A used GoldWing with a sidecar will set you back less than $20,000. It runs on regular fuel, and will likely get between 35-40 mpg. You can use the carpool lane solo. You should get almost 200 miles to the fillup and hitting 65 is no problem. Breaking the ton with a hack should be doable.

An electric car is not an alternative fuel unless all of the power from your grid is via solar or wind (I don't count hydro, as this usually comes from a dam that disrupted local flora/fauna).

You may also want to consider one of the many turbo-diesel cars available. Gas mileage comparable to the motorcycle with more crash-worthiness.

In addition, there are many other CNG vehicles available than the Honda. At least there were. Two that I know of are the Ford Crown Vic. and the Ford Taurus. It's possible these are only available for fleet sales.

Check out corbin motors [corbinmotors.com] for an interesting vehicle called the sparrow. It looks like there are TEN dealers in your area.

Finally, being in San Fran. with only ~50 mile round trips, what prevents you from using mass transit?

Re:motorcycle or tiny diesel (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850572)

An electric car is not an alternative fuel unless all of the power from your grid is via solar or wind (I don't count hydro, as this usually comes from a dam that disrupted local flora/fauna).

Wind/solar farms are just as disruptive as hydro power. To get the generating capacity of something like Hoover Dam you need many large wind/solar installations, plus the eco impact of manufacturing tremendous amounts of related equipment. People often forget that wind/solar are pretty 'low density' energy sources.

Cross country (1)

ELCarlsson (570500) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850514)

I would imagine that you might run into some problems if you try to drive cross country in a CNG car. In the big cities I'm sure that you wouldn't have too much of a problem finding the special gas stations but in you are running low on fuel in the middle of nowhere in the mid west it might be a challange.

Prius (4, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850520)

My mom had her Prius for a year and loves it. Recently, they took a trip to Minnesota and the cost for gas during the trip was insignificant. While highway driving consumes more fuel due to aerodynamics, I have often been able to get more than 80mpg through the city. If you trick the accelerator pedal, you can get it to run off batteries for several minutes before the engine starts charging and giving a boost.

The only problem she had with the car so far was running over accident debris that slashed a rear tire. Other than that, its supposed to have an incredible warranty. Something like 10 years. Toyota knows this is an experimental car, so they want to know what kinds of problems we have. None so far.

Try the Civic Hybrid (1)

gadwhite (539406) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850523)

Honda has a Civic Hybrid (new for 2003). This gives you more room and is more comfortable than the Prius

How does a Honda die? (3, Informative)

gelfling (6534) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850528)

What did you do drive it into the Pacific? I leased 3 of them and they were Russian Trucks. Indestructible.

At any rate the Civic HX is a gas only and gets about 80-85% of the mileage of the Civic electric hybrid. The insight is more of a concept car - only two seats no back at all no storage really. The Prius is an Echo with a different powerplant to give you a sense of the bigger size.

Toyota is supposed to be delivering a hybrid next year if I remember correctly. Probably based on a Corolla floorpan.

a couplet of ideas (5, Interesting)

Pauly (382) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850529)

First, the Corbin Sparrow [corbinmotors.com] really seems to taking hold in places like Los Angeles and to a lessor degree Atlanta.

However, the lowest emissions vehicle around is a bicycle [ceejbot.com] . I mean this in all seriousness. The Bay area has a uniquely nice bicycling climate, and since you already have one car, you don't have to give up the occasional hauling-of-big-stuff cars are good at. And don't underestimate the health benefits of such daily exercise. I love it since you don't have to take extra time out of your day just to go to the gym.

In the Bay Area, there's even a service to shuttle bicycles over the Bay bridge for $1 [transitinfo.org] .

Still delighted with my Prius (3, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850531)

After a year of driving it (on the rare occasions when I can get it away from my wife) it's still an utterly satisfying car, with super-ultra-low emissions (SULEV) and high gas milesage as icing on the cake.

Society of Automotive Engineers voted it best engineered car of 2001. I think it's the car Dilbert would drive.

The Honda Civic hybrid is the most direct competition. The Prius transmission is more elegant and *may* last longer, and the availability of pure-electric drive means the engine never needs to do destructive low-speed operation once it's warmed up. You may prefer the feel of the brakes on the Civic, and in ten years I bet it's easier to find Civic parts than Prius parts.

Ford Think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850532)

A friend of mine just saw a Ford Think [thinkmobility.com] in LA the other night. Looks like something you should consider with those others.

P

Bah! Buy a used LS1 TransAm (-1, Troll)

Win-Developer (316016) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850535)

Electric cars are for hippies who care about "mother earth". Tell your husband to grow some balls and buy a real car.

20mpg city + 28mph highway

Ebay! (2)

chill (34294) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850538)

Check out the auto part of Ebay. Just last month I saw a CNG converted 2000 Ford Aerostar with 10,000 miles sell for $6,500. Sale was in California.

Just make sure you can get CNG where you are going. Other than that, BioDiesel is a good alternative.

Alternate Fuel (1)

Kalkin (199527) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850539)

http://www.acpropulsion.com/

Alternate Fuel (especially for cars) is dominated by the industries that already sell the "regular" mode of .

Let's say there ARE grants available to research new technologies...who do you think picks them up? Who hires more lobbyists? Who buys/gets more time at alternate fuel seminars?

This all sounds like a 'no-duh' scenario, and this isn't another argument for open source, but grants by the government need to belong to the public. In addition, those grants need to be publicly accountable - no, we don't want you dusting off research done during the 70's oil crisis, and suggesting that the grant paid for that.

VW diesel engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850540)

have you looked into diesel engines? these go get very high MPG and will go well over 65mph

its not electric but you might wanna have a look at it

B.T.T.F. (1)

eli173 (125690) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850543)

How about a DeLorian? Just get the Mr. Fusion model.
I don't know your speed requirements, but you'd probably want to keep under 88mph.

Eli ;)

On a side note... (3, Insightful)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850545)

...but GM has stopped making them.

GM stopped making electric vehicles, but they will probably spend $10 Billion over the next several years advertising how green they are.

The fastest electric car on the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850551)

I haven't been able to find any available all-eletric car with the range (>=50 miles roundtrip) and speed (>=65 mph) that I need. Not sure about the range, but there's an electric car for sale at Radio Shack that has "scale speeds of up to 200 mph".

VW TDIs (1)

Kowgod (323669) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850554)

I recommend you look into VW's TDI engine powered cars. The turbo diesel Golfs and Jettas get 40 - 50+ miles per gallon, have more than enough power to maintain 100+ mile per hour speeds on the highway, have loads of torque to keep that 0-60 time below a minute ;) and are damn nice cars, amenities and luxury wise.

Plus, they are very reasonably priced, considering the fuel savings.

Take a look, you'll be surprised how many misconceptions you had about diesels once you ride in one.

VW diesel engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850562)

have you looked into diesel engines? they get very high mpg and will go well over the 65mph limit

its not electric but you might wanna have a look at them

Must be a lot of us thinking about this (1)

cDarwin (161053) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850563)

How about a used ev1? Since you like the car, you might try finding a used one.

I'm gearing up to convert an gasoline powered car to run on ethanol. I plan to make my own fuel, too. But that might be more of a project than you're up for.

You might also consider leasing something for a few years until the first crop of fuel cell vehicles [evworld.com] becomes available. Things are moving very quickly now. Peugeot may have something ready for market by 2005.

No, you be the grease spot this time... (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850566)

I'd drive one of them tiny cars - on a closed course, or maybe a big parking lot. On the expressway though, I want some mass on my side. I don't want to be a speedbump for some retard in a Ford Behemoth. So you drive the nice little car - I'll be in the minivan.

My Honda Insight (1)

cagolfer (591473) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850568)

I have had a honda insight for about 4 months, gets great gas mileage ~65 mpg driving 100 miles per day in the Bay Area. The street noise is a little worse than most cars but it really isn't that bad. It's great getting close to 700 miles on one 10 gallon tank of gas. Saves lots of money.

New VW Diesel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850573)

A new VW Beetle Diesel running on biodiesel would be very enviro friendly. There are bio diesel pumps in San Fran and the new diesels are cleaner burning and warrentied for use with biodiesel.

other ideas (4, Informative)

dmcmaine (591469) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850574)

I've done a bit of research in my quest to find my next car and here's what I found:
-The current hybrid vehicles, IMO, offer a false ecomony due to their higher sticker price and uncertain disposal/replacement cost for the batteries +/- 8 years down the road.
-Looking at the Honda lineup it would make more sense economically to purchase the Civic HX Coupe or any other of the other non-hybrid Civics (or 4 cylinder Accords for that matter).
-Take a look at Intellichoice.com and fueleconomy.gov and do some calculations to determine the real, long term cost of a number of other vehicles (Ford Focus, Honda, Toyota, Saturn, etc)and see how it stacks up to the hybrids.
-The one caveat is that you need to know what happens what it is time to replace the batteries on a hybrid car.
-Lastly, check local rebates for buying a hybrid vehicle in your area, that might make up the initial cost difference in buying a hybrid vehicle.
Good luck!

Prius (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850575)

My sister's car went to that great front yard in the sky after receiving enough damage for the insurace company to total it. She's had a Prius for a couple months and loves it. She lives in Grand Rapids, MI, so winter may be another matter (how well battery operation works in extreme cold) so far she's only having to put gas in about every three weeks (i'm pretty jealous, my Dakota needs feeding at least once a week, I live in the Santa Cruz area and know well the price of gas of which the author writes) and she figures a trip across the state, to Midland, once in a while into that. Pretty impressive.

Why Electric? (2)

stuffman64 (208233) | more than 11 years ago | (#3850577)

Many people who drive electric vehicles do so because they believe that since they are zero-emission, they do not pollute. However, that is not the case. Remember, the power company that supplies your power to charge the car most likey does so by consuming natural resources (coal, oil, natural gas) or using nuclear power (which has concerns of its own). In fact, you may actually end up polluting more that a convensional vehicle. While the Insight, Prius, and Civic Hybrid are quite nice, I would recomment the Nissan Sentra CA [nissandriven.com] . It is PZLEV (partial zero-emissions vehicle) and is the only SULEV vehicle on the road. The only caveat is that it is only sold in California. Nissan claims that this car pollutes less driving 20 miles than a regular car just sitting in the garage. Definately worth checking out.

Alternative Fuel Transportation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850578)

Simple.... get a horse.

Expensive Flower Vase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3850581)

you actually feel safe in these little contraptions? Ride on hippies...
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