Electric cars on a budget

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From an article by Ken Paulman in Midwest Energy News:

A electric car for $6,000? Yes, but there's a catch...

Yesterday, we told you about an Ohio company that offers electric Mercedes SUV conversions for $75,000. That’s more than most people in the U.S. make in a year.

Even the compact EV options aren’t cheap. The 2012 Nissan Leaf starts at about $35,000. Tax credits and incentives can push that price down into the low-20s depending on where you live and assuming you make enough money to actually take advantage of the credit. But that’s still not going to be an option for a lot of people.

So what about used electric cars?

EVs are rare enough that you’re unlikely to spot one at your neighborhood car dealer. But there’s always the internet.

Ebay, for instance, allows you to search by “fuel type” and select “electric.” Just navigate to the Ebay cars-and-trucks page, and scroll down the left column to refine the search. As of this writing, there were 25 EVs for sale on the site.

Another source is the EV Tradin’ Post, which, despite its dated design is updated regularly and features another two dozen or so cars from around the country.

The offerings are limited, but diverse. There are a handful of modestly priced, ready-to-drive conversions, like a 1994 Prizm in California for $10,000 that has new batteries and promises a range of 35-40 miles. Or a 2003 S-10 in Ohio for $8,500.

If you’re handy, there are also some interesting “as-is” conversions that need some work. In Newton, Kansas, there’s a 1976 VW Beetle for $6,000 that runs but could use new batteries. Or this 1981 Ford Escort in Ohio that needs a new controller (bidding currently at $206.50).