The car of the future finally rolled out at this year’s TED conference, and wow, it looks like the future has arrived. For those of us who are looking to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and lower our carbon footprints, the Aptera may likely become our new standard. It was launched from the business incubator Idealab and has received quite a bit of attention due to its fuel efficiency, affordability, and design.
The Aptera concept car (actually it’s not a concept anymore, it’s real) gets 200+ miles per gallon using a hybrid diesel/electric engine. It also has the option of the latest appointments, such as side airbags, “solar assisted” climate control system, reverse camera, GPS tracking system, and other modern gadgets. And Aptera has made a commitment to keep the price low enough that these cars will be affordable – about $25K-$30K. You can even reserve one now for $500, with the first models due to roll out in about 12 months.
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If I haven’t told you lately… I love my ’03 Toyota Prius. Let me count the ways: 39mpg / 385 miles to the tank, $30 to fill up, drive solo in the carpool lane and free meter parking. What’s not to love?
But my life has changed. As a retired commercial actor, I no longer drive all over L.A. on auditions. My job’s at G Living. My car sits at home and I bike to work. Perfect reason to get rid of my car! BTW, my lease is up, too, which means it’s time to either give it back or buy it outright.
So, come with me as I explore my options and get into something totally “G”.
The greenest thing to do would be give it back. I know plenty of people who’d jump at a used hybrid with those kinds of perks. I looked at buying it and then selling it on eBay, but I’ve never done that before and it seemed like too much hassle.
The wife’s ride is a 2001 Prius with high miles, so we had a family meeting and came up with a solution: find something “G” and trade them both in: two for one. Brilliant? We’ll shall see…
– $20,000-30,000 ride
– 2006 or newer; used is okay
– electric or hybrid a must
– a body style we like
– a dealer who will accept both of our cars as trade-ins
The Tesla Roadster At $100,000 it’s way out of our price range. Although the future is all electric engines (0-60 in 4 seconds) with 2 person sports car bodies made of carbon fiber, this is not meant to be. Even if I were rich and had the $50,000 deposit, I can’t wait until 2008. My lease is up August 30th. (Tesla Motors/ More info)
Second Option: The Phoenix Motor Car Electric SUT (sport utility truck) 100+ miles per charge, 95mph, 95% charge in 10 minutes. Sweet. Also comes in an SUV that seats 5. Rumored at $45,000 with only 6,000 vehicles available for 2008 — out of our price range, too much competition for limited quantity and not available now. (Phoenix Motorcars / More info)
Third Option: The NmG Myers Motor Car I’ve had my eye on this since it was the Sparrow at the 2000 L.A. auto show. It’s a three-wheeled hard top motorcycle and it goes 75mph. $25,000, gets 30+ miles in distance and takes 4-6 hours to charge. Sounds sweet, but that leaves no room for the wife (or me, depending on who gets in first). Great idea, but a one passenger vehicle simply doesn’t get it done for a two person family. (Myers Site / More info)
Fourth Option: The Prius Which takes us back to where we started… to the Toyota line of hybrid vehicles. We researched used hybrids and found a low mileage Highlander SUV at a local dealership. I test-drove the Luxury Limited, but it was out of our price range ($38,000) and a bit too much vehicle (third row seating?). We don’t want the Corolla sedan, nor do we want another other make and model (like a Ford Escape or Nissan).
So, back where we started: the Prius. You may wonder why we didn’t just start there and stay there. Well, call us old school, but we like the pre-2004 body style. It’s compact and has the same interior space as the new Prius, but it’s not so big on the outside. Unfortunately, the pre-2004 body style is just that… pre-2004. So, we looked at a 2007 Prius Touring Edition, which gets gets 50+ mpg with upgraded features for less than $30,000!
We called the dealership where my wife bought her Prius in ‘04 and was told they’ll gladly take our older models. That puts them back on the road replacing non-hybrids and gives us a great deal on a 2007 model before the 2008s hit the lot in a few months. On Friday, we’re going into the dealership with the cars that have been so good to us, some cash in hand (if needed) and our best kept secret: we’ll call him Justin. He’s the Winston Wolfe of car shopping (“Pulp Fiction” reference). We will drive to the largest Toyota dealership in the nation and get ourselves a 2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition. At least that’s the plan.
The search has taken the better part of a month and we had to act fast. While it has not resulted in us getting a cool, futuristic, modern electric vehicle with amazing fuel to miles savings… the only difference: we are back in a hybrid vs. an all-electric vehicle. My memo to Tesla, Phoenix and Myers Motor Car Companies: mass produce a $20-30,000 electric vehicle and give me a call. I’ll put one in my driveway and power it on solar energy. Until then, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I love my Toyota Prius. Again.