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Electric cars

June 25, 2008 - Rob Weaver
I can live with the fact that, although we're living in the 21st century, we still do not have flying cars. I've even come to grips with a future that likely won't include the roar of a V-8 engine ... or a V-Twin engine, for that matter.

I think I can adapt to driving an auto that goes “whirrr” when I step on the gas ... except  the accelerator would have a different name in an electric-powered vehicle. And I know I could learn to like a vehicle that could operate for pennies per mile.

But can a designer please work on the form of electric cars?

The electric car staff writer Kevin Risner perused for readers -- a Global Electric Motor Co. owned and operated by Randy Fitch -- isn't bad. At least it rolls about on a nice set of wheels. (Note to designers: Guys tend to notice tires and rims the way women take note of shoes).

But the Zap Xebra, recently given the green light for use on Ohio roads, resembles an enclosed Dodgem bumper car. In fairness to the company, the Alias expected as a 2009 model is much more sleek and sporty.

I've seen one electric car whose manufacturer hasn't ignored design. And the performance specs indicate that form follows function, or perhaps function reflects form. The 2008 Tesla Roadster is a sporty two-seater that goes from 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds, boasts a torque curve that doesn't curve, claims a top speed of 125 mph and a range of 220 miles (no word if having a lead foot reduces operating efficiency).

The car reportedly costs less than 2 cents per mile to operate, which may help offset its $109,000 MSRP.

Just one question: Is it available with wings?


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The Zap Xebra sedan