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Where EVs have hit the exurbs

My parents live 90 miles north of San Francisco in what used to be mostly dominated by gas stations when Highway 101 used to run right through town. Today, Cloverdale, California is no longer cut in half by the highway and while this sleepy town is not a hotbed of early adopters, somehow they have found EVs.

During my month-long visit here, I’ve seen several Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) pass me along the road. These are all electric cars that are limited to 35 miles per hour with a range of about 40 or 50 miles.

Some NEVs (aka LSVs- Low Speed Vehicles) are small, open air vehicles- more like modified golf carts (fitting for my parents’ retirement community)- and others are simply small, and slower, cars. For more, see our report on Road midgets: DIY NEVs and solar golf carts.

Today, while out for a run, I heard the whirr of an electric engine behind me while out for a run. I happened to have my flip camera with me and caught a few teenage boys in their Miles EV. In this video, they tell me about why they like being electric and why range isn’t a problem.

Below are the car’s specs from the Miles website:

  • Maximum speed: 25 mph
  • Estimated range: 40-50 miles
  • Acceleration: 0-20 mph in 5.95 seconds

And here’s a calculation they’ve done to determine annual cost of their EV versus a gas-powered car:

Average miles driven per charge: 15 miles
Cost per kilowatt hour of electricity: US average $0.1107
Miles/Gallon: 11
Cost of gasoline per gallon: $4
Cost of oil change every 3000 miles: $30

Total number of battery cycles: 1700
Battery pack life in miles driven: 25500
Time to recharge to 80%: 4 hours
Cost of electricity per mile: $0.0295

Total cost per mile using electricity:  $0.0295
Total cost per mile using gasoline:     $0.3726

Total annual cost using electricity:   $161
Total annual cost using gasoline:   $2045