Zapcar an option?
Do any of you residents think a Zapcar ( http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles/electric-cars) is a viable option for the island or is it more of a deathtrap with the crazy drivers/roads/etc? 🙂 I'm wondering from a safety point of view and drive ability. I figure STJ is out, maybe STT and Water and most likely STX might be options (depending on how it'd test drive on the hills where I currently live.)
The ones that intrigue me most would be solar zapcar or the solar zaptruck ( http://www.zapworld.com/files/zap-docs/xebra-xero.pdf). I have visions of free 'fill ups' for the life of the vehicle which would more than pay for the cost of shipping.
The Xebra, with a Max speed of forty, on flat ground, I'd say they'd be under-powered to get up the hills here...but the Alias would zip along, no problem....the Zap-Truck lists Max Speed as 25MPH, but it does have a payload of 770lbs...not sure what torque specs are on these, but if it maxes out at 25...probably goes REAL slowly up the hills...the Xebra Xero Truck, with the Solar Panel Option would probably be best for here..maxes out at 40, but it's going to be on continuous charge with the sun here...you might go 25 up Mafolie....
Heck, ya might wanna look into becoming a distributor for them down here...that'd be a nice little niche to fill...
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, artifact.
Yup, I'd like to see some test drive results for these little, low power vehicles:
- speed vs hills
- payload weight vs distance (on full charge)
- distance vs time (how far it goes on a charge, after 1 yr, 2 yr, 3 yrs, etc)
- crash test results (I'm cringing already)
This article about the zap car tells an interesting story. The last page (#7) of the article is not the one I would like to be a part of!
A friend tried to get a GEM registered as a legal on road vehicle on St Croix about two years ago. He was told that it did not meet the DMV requirements. In fact at that time, they considered it a golf cart. In most states it is registered as "low speed community vehicle" sometimes called a NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle). In the states a NEV can go on roads with a top speed of 35 mph. Many different electric carts are now road legal in places like California. To qualify a NEV must go at least 25 mph, have lights, turn signals and seat belts.
The GEM is manufactured by a Chrysler subsidiary in North Dakota. It has a top speed of around of around 25 mph with speed controls in place. It can be modified to go about 40mph. It climbs most hills at 25mph.
There are a lot of folks on Water Island that have golf carts. There are electric carts/cars that are "street legal" (seat belts, horn, turn signals, licensed, insured, etc.) and there are electric carts/cars that are not street legal. The government came over to Water Island and held a town meeting at the Pavillion some time ago - maybe a year ago...it's hard to remember. The govt representatives (I believe the reps from DMV) said that currently golf carts are not permitted on Territory roads. There was a somewhat of an uproar in the audience about that statement and follow-up was that "maybe a bill could be submitted to the legislature to get a special waiver for Water Island". This hasn't happened yet to my knowledge. However, as folks above have already suggested, there's more to think about than just registering and driving an electric car on the territory roads.
Water Island has very narrow roads and generally speaking no one can drive more than 15 / 20 mph. Even if they want to drive faster, there's so many potholes and boulders sticking part way in the roadway, poor visibility to oncoming traffic, and most are one-lane roads - - - and WHO is in in a hurry on WI anyway! So, Water Island may be better suited for electric cars/carts than say.....STT, STJ or STX. And then you've got the issue of water (not good for machines run by electricity) and very steep grades (you need a lot of poop to get up some of these roads). But, if you're careful about NOT driving through puddles (or small ponds in our case on the deep water marina road) and if you're good about charging your car/cart, then life is good on Water Island.....albeit, still illegal but we don't get a lot of enforcement on Water Island either. 😎 You can buy electric cars/carts that have a .....what's it called...."higher gear ratio"...or whatever that beefs up the power and could get you up those steep hills. Brakes on those electric cars & carts aren't known for their reliability but if you're going slow.....who needs good brakes?
Then, the price of gas versus electricity. That's a consideration. On WI there's no gas stations (tho a truck comes over every once in a while nowadays and there's a big gas pumping party) so electricity would be more convenient. And, of course, electric cars/carts are "greener".......though, I've seen those thick black coughs of tar coming out of the WAPA plant so not sure if electricity is that "green" in the long run. Electric cars/carts are definitely quieter as long as you don't put the thing in reverse (beep, beep, beep) while the Monday Night Movie on Honeymoon Beach is underway.
Lots to think about...........that's all I'm sayin'.
Was it Doug White who had an electric car he couldn't get registered? There was a story in the paper about it a few years ago but he may have finaly gotten it registered - I'm not sure. He used it to get around the east end of STT which isn't as hilly as the rest of STT.
I know he was fighting the DMV for quite a while but don't remember the outcome.