Provo/Orem Energy Source

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Electric Vehicle Test Drive



5/31 - Yesterday, May 30th, I test drove a Xebra, a 100% electric car. We were down visiting family and very nearby, to Little Radio EV just east of Venice Beach in LA. They are a dealer for ZAP (http://www.zapworld.com/). I had emailed "V" (Vivine Tahapehi) prior to our trip to make sure that they had a car onsite that I could test drive. When we arrived V explained many things about the car while I test drove it. Eryn and Anya rode in back as it seats four. Anya thought they were really cool and Eryn even admitted that she could see us getting one sometime. I thoroughly enjoyed it and though I could see getting the sedan version, the pickup version seemed vastly more useful. Especially as a shared neighborhood use vehicle for trips to the hardware store, nursery, school, etc.


Maintanance:
  • Brakes and brake fluid (the only fluids required)
  • Batteries - sealed lead gell (replace every 3 yrs was what V said, but I'm not certain of the # of charges)
  • Tires
  • Simple suspension (The ride was a bit bumpy)
  • Cabin heater and radio
  • Price $9,900 + ~ $500 shipping to Utah, for a total of ~ $10,400.

Farmers will write insurance for it (V said ~ $340 for full coverage for a year). Not sure what the registration/license/etc would be in Utah for it. Need to check. They register as a motorcycle but don't need an motorcycle endorsement because its a three-wheeler.


Very simple set up mechanically. Onboard charger, batteries which connect to the controller, and controller to the motor. Motor connected to the back wheels by a drive chain, inside a housing. Truck has steel frame and skin, sedan has steel frame with a fiberglass skin. Walls of the truck bed fold down to make a flat bed. Truck has 500 lbs cargo capacity

Many components can be upgraded to meet varied circumstances. Neither model has any storage space. The whole system is completely accessible on the truck by raising the truck bed which pivots up at the back.


The steering took a bit to get used to as it is not power assisted. The braking was easy enough though. All the controls are easy to use and understand. The acceleration from standstill seemed to match a normal compact car's acceleration and I didn't feel uncomfortable entering/exiting traffic. My immediate impression of the acceleration was that it was similar to a bumper car at an amusement park. That impression changed as I drove more and got used to accelerating more smoothly.


Little Radio EV
600 Venice Blvd, Venice CA
310-467-0650


- This took me a while to post as I've been busy with other things. :)

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