High Gas Prices Are Driving Interest in Electric Cars

There are about 30 members in the Florida chapter, and many own several of the vehicles.

Published: 23-Apr-2006

Delray Beach ยท Running almost on empty, Charles Whalen bypasses the brightly lit gas stations and their $3 a gallon prices and confidently glides his Toyota RAV4-EV into his driveway. Popping the hood, he reaches for a giant extension cord and plugs his car into the wall.

Whalen is the proud owner of two battery-powered electric vehicles, and he is one of a group of South Floridians who are evading record-breaking fuel prices with their alternative modes of transportation. The motorists, mostly members of the Florida Electric Auto Association, will showcase their cars at two Earth Day events this week, a solar-power exhibit today in Deerfield Beach and an expo next weekend in Miami Beach.

I try to convince you, it's the beginning of something big and you should want to be a part of it," said Steve Clunn, president of Grassroots Electric Vehicles and who converts gas-powered cars into battery-operated machines in Fort Pierce.


Cleaner cars were the focus of the 2005 Tokyo Auto show, but for this reporter, the Eliica -- pictured below -- was the highlight.

Eight-wheeled, all electric Eliica may be build in small numbers, say designers.

The wheel robots, complete with their own suspension, remove the need for a drive shaft and even the engine block, freeing up designers to make new use of the space in the car.


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