Last fall the Village Board approved an ordinance which provides for free electric vehicle parking in Oak Park throughout 2011 and 2012. Last week one of our forward thinking residents took advantage of our mini-incentive. Our very first free EV Parking permit was issued to Oak Park resident Glenn Hunter, of North Elmwood Street, on Valentine’s Day. Appropriate timing for those who love clean air!
Glenn was kind enough to take a few of us for a spin around town on this cold, snowy, Tuesday morning.
Glenn’s E-Car was brought to the US market by the Electric Car Company, based in Missouri. It retails for $18,900. E-vehicles are eligible for a 10% federal tax credit which reduces the retail price of the car to $17,010.
Glenn’s E-car is built on a chassis made in China, adopted from the gas vehicle world. 14 million vehicles around the world use the same chassis as the E-car.
I have to say the ride was comfortable. Glenn’s E-car also has all the basic amenities including heat, air conditioning, and am/fm/cd player. The car comes with a one year warranty for parts and labor and a 3 year warranty for parts including all the electronics.
Glenn has been engaged in using, promoting, and selling clean energy (solar) since the 1970s. He remains passionate about our climate, and believes his E-car is the best, most affordable, “urban commuter / neighborhood” E-car the market has seen to date.
Glenn intends to use his E-car for his vehicular travel needs around town and around Chicagoland. The manufacturer claims a range of 59 miles but Glenn plans on a 40 mile range until he proves otherwise. The recharge cord is always in the car.
With gas prices rising once again, it’s increasingly relevant to know that the E-car costs about $1.20 in electricity to “fill up”. The E-car batteries can be 50% re-charged in just two hours from a standard 120 volt plug. The regenerative breaking system also helps charge the batteries while traveling.
Converting to miles per gallon, Glenn’s E-car gets an eye popping, money saving, 168 miles per gallon. Wow! If that’s not enough, Glenn is working on ways to integrate his new E-car recharging set-up with solar panels to take a shot at making his new e-wheels carbon neutral. That would be truly amazing.
The 4-door, standard transmission, front wheel drive E-Car has far fewer parts than a gas car. The ride, which reminds me of a fun FIAT I had in the 1980’s, uses 10 conventional lead acid batteries to run off, with two under the hood and eight under the back seats and in the trunk. Glenn expects to replace the batteries at 25,000 miles. Replacing all 10 batteries today could be done anywhere in the country, and would cost about $1,200.
Glenn is confident that cost effective lead acid batteries will continue to do the job until the higher priced lithium battery technologies are perfected. A lithium battery is available for the Electric Car but bumps the price up by $7,000.
The E-car is street legal, equipped with seat belts, and is fully licensed as a low speed vehicle under Illinois law. Although the vehicle can go faster than 35 mph, as a low speed vehicle, state law limits its top speed to 35 mph. So the vehicle is legal on any road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph and can legally cross roads with higher speeds.
This low speed vehicle category and new system here in Illinois, means the vehicle does not need to be equipped with air bags. Slowing things down sounds like a pretty good idea, even beyond vehicles.
Glenn will be mixing economics with his environmental passion. He has not only bought Oak Park’s first known E-car, he will also be selling them. To contact Glenn Hunter visit Ecological Products online. You can call him at 708.445.0341 or email Glenn.
With the reality of climate change and the prospects of ever increasing gas prices, the E-car, or cars like them, could be a big hit in communities like Oak Park. With so many services, shopping, and jobs available within a relatively short geographical range, the E-car fits in perfectly with the notion of sustainable living and conducting as much commerce as possible locally. With an easy 40 mile range, you can go as far as 15 to 20 miles to a job, store, medical appointment, or cultural venue and return easily without having a recharge concern.
In metro regions like Chicago, with two big airports, commuter trains, CTA and PACE busses, taxi cabs galore, increasing numbers of shared cars, and an abundance of auto rentals for longer hauls, a short to mid-range commuter E-car is all one may need for day to day living.
One final note, anyone who has an electric vehicle is eligible for a free E-vehicle parking permit for 2011 and 2012. Chicagoland E-vehicle owners who want to take in a bit of Oak Parks flavor, just stop in at our Parking Services counter at 123 Madison, with your E-vehicle documentation, and the staff will be glad to help you.
So congratulations to Glenn Hunter for being a pioneer and making a little Oak Park history. Who will be #2?