Plugging Plug-Ins Part I The Greenius Guide to EVs, Hybrids & Plug-In Hybrids That Will Rock Your World




Damn I want a plug-in electric car.  I want to end my relationship with the internal combustion engine and the gasoline industry.  I want to stop polluting every time I drive.  I don’t want to buy another quart of oil or ever pay for another smog check or tune up.  The tipping point for me has now arrived.  You’ll be there soon enough if you’re not already.


Everyone in my enlightened social circle already wants the details of when they can buy their electric car or their plug-in hybrid.  The people I know are ready to ditch gasoline powered vehicles today.  And the good news for them is their new cars are on the way.  Especially if they live where I do, in California.



I don’t know whether to convert my 1997 Honda Del Sol like Larry Allen did in Riverside California did, or wait for one of the new electric cars coming out in the next few years.



But I do know that I want an electric car I can recharge at night by plugging it into the outlet in my garage. 


And I want that outlet powered by my very own solar panels so I can plug into free fuel forever that’s clean and under my control.  


Within the next 12 months I’ll have my solar panels installed and generating clean electricity.  It no longer makes sense to wait.  Not when we’re already in the red zone.


It’s my job to know what’s coming next and I can smell the rapid demise of the gas powered car coming quicker than an excited adolescent at a Victoria Secrets sleep over.  They’re going to be too expensive to compete with electric cars and plug-in hybrids.  The price we pay in climate change is already unacceptable even if most people don’t get that yet.  But they will.  


The price of gas is already close to five bucks a gallon here in California so you can forget all about that $4 a gallon gas they keep talking about in the media.  That $4 a gallon gas is all gone now.  But soon it will be $6 and then $7. Count on that.  You can make believe that’s not true but you’ll just be fooling yourself the same way more than a few folks do about someday winning the lottery and solving all their financial problems.  


Meanwhile your electric rates will no doubt be going up too, but nowhere near the astronomical, uncontrollable way oil is and will continue to – and the bigger difference is you can make your own electricity right now with solar panels or wind turbines.  



In fact, between solar, wind and geothermal resources in the USA we have more power than we can ever use in this country and it’s time to build a new power grid to connect us all to clean renewable power.


If the ultimate carbon collaborators weren’t controlling the White House and we had any  effective opposition leaders we would have been building that new grid for the last 7 years – instead of diverting those funds to Iraq in order to seize the oil assets from Saddam Hussein regime on behalf of the US oil companies.  


But if “ifs” and “buts” were raisins and nuts we’d all be eating Waldorf salads right now instead of the big steaming pile of C02 we’ve been force-fed.



So electric power for cars is the obvious solution to fighting climate change, making our air far less polluted, stopping crazy oil prices, criminal profiteers, and more importantly it’s the quickest, smartest way for the USA to become energy independent.


But even if all that wasn’t true I could STILL sell you on switching to an electric car in about five minutes.  The first minute you got behind the wheel and put your foot down on the accelerator pedal the torque and power off the line would impress the hell out of you.  But that’s just the start…no pun intended.



Wait till the time comes for your first tune up.  

You can just skip it, and the one after that too because electric cars never need a tune up.  

They don’t use spark plugs or valves or fan belts so you’ll never pay to have those replaced.  

No transmission either, so forget about having that rebuilt, replaced or repaired.  

No transmission fluids either.

Speaking of toxic fluids – electric cars don’t use oil so they don’t need oil changes or oil filters.  




No air filters either cause the air under your hood and coming out of your tailpipe is clean.  Forget about needing a catalytic converter. You’ll never need to get a smog check or worry about emission control sensors or exhaust system computer components because electric cars don’t have them or need them.


It should be no surprise that the folks who have killed the electric car up to now include the auto dealers with their high profit service centers, independent mechanics and oil change stations and the industries that make all the dirty parts that go into vehicles that run on oil and spew a mix people like to inhale when they decide to commit suicide in their garage. 


Their argument is easy to understand – it is worth putting you and your children at risk by continuing to use their toxic, antiquated products because it keeps their economy healthy and thriving. 


Not anymore.  Now even those sellouts cannot stop the plug-in revolution that’s going to sweep the world over the next five years.  The price of oil and gasoline is their BOHICA moment.  



“So what’s the catch?” you’re asking me.  Why won’t EVERYONE want to either convert their current car or buy a new electric car?




The average American drives less than 30 miles per day.  The average commute is 12 miles.  But if you’re in the small minority of American drivers who needs to drive more than 150-200 miles a day, then the range of the current generation of electric cars will be too short for you.  That makes you a better candidate for a plug-in hybrid car (PHEV) that will get you 100-200 miles per gallon using a combination of electric engine and gasoline engine – more about those later in this post.


But what if you’re like me and you want your electric car as your next vehicle?  Well the first thing you do is go to the root sources, the places where I’m learning the things that have got me excited..



Plug In America grew out of the “Who Killed The Electric Car” movement.  Their leadership is superb and they’re doing a great job lobbying, informing, building awareness and appeal as well as a movement.  I’m proud to say I’m a member and I invite you to join me.  Paul Scott is one of the founding fathers of Plug-In America and I’ve been lucky enough to meet him and receive his private newsletter on Plug-Ins. founder Felix Cramer is a bonafide legend in the plug-in field.  One of the godfathers of the Prius conversion to a plug-in hybrid, Felix is a testament to what one determined and very sharp guy can do.  

After founding, running and selling a small Internet company, beginning in 2001 he volunteered his time to CalCars. In April 2006 he became the world’s first non-technical consumer owner of a plug-in hybrid.  Now thanks to his efforts you can get your Prius converted into a plug-in today.


Climate Progress is an outstanding insiders view of climate science, politics and solutions that includes a strong advocacy for electric cars and plug in hybrids that will give you all the facts you need to make a car buying decision and to quickly shut the pie holes of pro oil carbon collaborators when they try to scam you into buying another gasoline powered car or drilling for more oil


EV World is another great source of info on electric vehicles of all kinds.  And I also like AutoGreen Blog.  


One of my real favorites is Stefano Paris’ Plug-in Alternative Vehicles site.  Stefano is a tremendous resource and a creative talent who I admire.  He shoots and provides video of key events throughout the plug-in world, including his comprehensive coverage of the recent Google Brookings Institute and Washington DC Plug In Conference

and his web links are some of the best available.





TESLA Motors is taking orders on their high profile Roadster at over $100,000 but they’ve only delivered a handful and they have a healthy waiting list of rich and famous folks ahead of you.  If you’ve got the dough-ray-me and the patience it might be worth it.  Paul Scott reports today that “Tesla is delivering their Roadster at a rate of four a week now. Soon to ramp up to 100/month.”  You’ll get yourself a car that seats 2, has a range of 220 miles per charge and can go as fast as 135 mph.  Read what Fortune magazine has to say about Tesla in their latest issue, “Tesla’s Wild Ride.



USED ELECTRIC CARS like the Toyota EV RAV 4 or the EV Ford Ranger are out there, few and far between and selling for numbers like the $89,200 paid in May for a 2001 Toyota EV RAV4.  There’s currently another RAV 4 electric on EBay with bidding at $45,100 and three days left in the auction.


That’s Arnold de Leon, of Cupertino, CA with his 2002 electric Rav4 which he purchased in March of 02. He plugs into free power for his car through his 10.9 kW solar PV system.



MEYERS MOTORS NMG – That’s a whole fleet of the one seat all-electric, No More Gas NMG vehicle that will cost you $29,000, go 40-70 miles per charge and a top speed over 100 mile per hour.  It’s a great little funky looking neighborhood vehicle and to me a viable alternative to a motorcycle that will never cost you a dime in gasoline.  They’re freeway legal but you can park them like a bike in town.




eBox by AC Propulsion is what you get when you bring AC Propulsion a Toyota Scion xB 5-speed and $55,000.  They’ll convert your Scion into a electric vehicle that goes 120-150 miles per charge, fully charges in fast mode in 2 h\ours and in normal mode at 5 hours.  Top speed 95 miles an hour and you’ll go from 0-60 in 7 seconds.  I rode in one of these in November and it took off like a rocket.





THE three-wheel Zap comes in car and truck form and each can go 40 mph.  



This model comes with the optional 150 watt solar panel.


There are some questions about Zap’s ability to deliver everything they promise, but I’d still keep an eye on them if I were you.







The 4 wheel Zenn is restricted to 25 miles per hour.  They’re both sold locally in Southern California at Environmental Motors in Glendale.  They’re both too limited to be considered replacement cars for what you have now.  But they both promise better cars to come in 09 and 10.  We’ll see, but we’ll hope so.





This might be your most sustainable option.  If you’ve got a car you like and it’s a good candidate (A light car – 2000-3000 lbs. curb weight – with a manual transmission) this would be your fastest, easiest and least expensive way to go. 



The Porsche above cost $18,000 to convert.  It gets about 60 miles per charge and has a top speed of 90 mph.  


In L.A. Left Coast Electric is legendary for their Dr. Gadget who runs the place and for being hard to get a hold of, but the consensus is that he’s worth it.  

There are many places on line where you can learn to do your own conversion using the abundance of parts and kits available.



If you’ve got a VW bug you should check out Hank and Joe’s instructional videos on how to convert it to an EV.










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