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Save money on gas, go electric

November 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
You've heard it before, one way to save money on gas, go electric. Now that option is becoming more and more viable.We're getting some relief right now at the gas pump, but memories of prices near $5.00 a gallon are still strong.

So interest is growing in cars that runs on electricity. Chrysler is among several automakers who will be highlighting electric vehicles or EVS at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show.

The time seems to be right for electric cars.

"Regulatory climate worldwide is certainly changing, so it's really mandating the need for electric vehicles. And probably most importantly is that the technology becomes more viable now than it has been in the last two decades," said Lou Rhodes, Chrysler.

Chrysler says one of these concept cars will be produced in a couple of years.

The Dodge EV is a quick, low-slung sports car. The Chrysler EV brings gas-free driving to a minivan, and the Jeep EV will be a true Jeep -- one that could still go off-road.

"Off road capability of crawling over rocks and going through streams is really comparable to what you'd get in a current Jeep product," said Rhodes.

The key to any of these is cost. The batteries are still expensive, but experts say that will change as the technology is refined.

While the Dodge EV sports car is pure electric, both the Chrysler EV and Jeep EV are called extended range vehicles. In other words once the battery runs down, you still have a gasoline engine to act as a generator so you won't get stranded.

They'll travel about 40 miles on battery power, then the small electric motor generates more electricity for longer distances.

Mitsubishi also has an EV to show off. They have a small car called the i MiEV. It's more of a commuter vehicle with a range of about 80 miles from its battery pack.

Gasoline may be on the inexpensive side now, but it is likely to go up again. It won't be long before electric cars will be available for sale as a way to fight high fuel prices.

Web Extra: See these cars in person

Schedule:
Cars and Coffee
Saturday, November 15th
7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
1 Premier Place, Irvine CA 92618

Huntington Beach Dodge
Saturday, November 15th
12 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
16555 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach CA 92647
(888) 895-7191

Big Valley Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge
Sunday, November 16th
12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
6110 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys CA 91401
(800) 973-3492


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