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Friday, May 30, 2008

An Electric Car You Can Buy Today: The $20K TRIAC EV


TRIAC Electric Car. Range: 60-100 Miles. Cost: 2 cents per mile

This little number has been getting some good press lately (see EcoGeek and Inhabit), and for good reason: it’s the first commercially available electric vehicle with a price tag and functionality that could meet the needs of the average city driver (assuming you can afford it).

OK, you aren’t going to fit a family of 5 in there, but that’s not what it’s made for. Green Vehicles, manufacturer of the 3-wheeled TRIAC EV, calls it a “modern freeway commuter,” because the zero-emissions vehicle can reach 80 mph and will get you into the carpool lane with a single driver. Safety-wise, it has a structural steel cage the company says is the “same metal skeleton used in race cars” and a low center of gravity to maintain balance (but surprisingly has no airbags).

Back at home, it takes about 6 hours to charge the car’s lithium-ion batteries at an estimated cost of about 2 cents per mile. Not a bad deal if you can afford the $20,000 price tag. The company website says the TRIAC EV is currently available at dealerships in San Jose and Mill Valley, California, and should be more widely available in the future..

Final thoughts: to me, it looks like they added an extra wheel to a racing bike and built a canopy around it, which makes it a powerful ride but a lot safer (and a lot greener). Generous State/Federal tax credits would put this car within reach for many more drivers, like the $4,000 Federal credit for electric vehicles that ended in 2006.

Want one of these? Check out the Green Vehicles website.

See more pictures below.

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