Q Now that the Prius has become the best-selling car in California, and particularly since the standard version is no longer allowed in the carpool lane, I think it's time for Mr. Roadshow to get some new wheels.
A Such as ...
Q I would propose an electric car. It has to be something that is allowed in the HOV lane. I'll bet that would get the flaming emails rolling again. I would spot you the down payment for a Tesla S, but I'm a little short on cash this week. Maybe a Leaf or Volt would do.
A Mrs. Roadshow and I do miss those carpool stickers. But our trusted Prius hybrid is going strong at 111,000 miles and we are not ready to take the electric-car or plug-in plunge -- unless you make good on the down payment! But other readers are ready to do it.
Q It seems there are many misconceptions out there regarding electric vehicles, so I say "Move over Prius. Time for some Smart talk."
My husband has long wanted to buy a Tesla and ponied up his $5,000 deposit to get in line for one. However, when his turn finally came we had to ask ourselves if we could really justify spending close to $70,000 for a car to drive around town.
I had been looking for a green vehicle to replace my 1998 BMW hatchback and came across the new 2013 electric drive Smart car. Now that the kids are grown, we thought, "Why not get a 2-person electric car for around town?" So I put my $500 down in February and waited for the August delivery of my new car.
A Six months later ...
Q I could not be more thrilled, and I am amazed more people aren't scrambling for this car. The Smart ED is all electric, goes about 78 miles to a charge and can be plugged into your home 110-volt outlet.
Research shows that most car trips are within 25 miles of home and with only one driver, so why isn't everyone buying a Smart ED as their primary or secondary car? With a $25,000 list price, it cost us only $15,000 after state and federal rebates. With the money we save not buying gas, (not to mention lower insurance rates and eliminating all oil changes, smog checks, engine repairs and tuneups) the car will pay for itself in a few years.
Another important consideration was the very roomy seating for two people. It is the only electric car, other than the Tesla, that comfortably fits my husband's tall frame. It is also fun to drive with a retro red interior and a turbo boost when needed, it easily goes 65 to 70 on the highway and you get those coveted carpool lane stickers to boot!
For those wondering why I would put myself at risk driving such a small car, check out the safety ratings at safercar.gov. The 2013 Smart car has the same safety ratings as the 2014 Prius and most other small cars (4 stars front, 5 stars sides). So, why am I not seeing Smart EVs all over town? Please shed some light, oh, Mr. Roadshow!
A A study by Indiana University found that potential buyers were not aware of the hefty rebates and the savings in everyday use compared to gas-powered cars. With your car, its small size may also drive away interest, don't you think?