When gas prices continue to climb, many drivers are considering alternative means of transportation. While for some that means public transit, the subway, or carpooling, others are turning the idea of transportation upside down. They are flocking to small electric vehicles, motorbikes, and mini-cars that simply require a fill-up at the power outlet. There are many of these electric or electric and gas vehicles being introduced or already in production, which are excellent for short commutes. Depending on where you live and the severity of the weather in your area, you may have the luxury of taking advantage of the benefits of these vehicles year-round. Some do not provide adequate protection or safety for transporting you through rain, sleet, or snow. Even so, these mostly electric modes of transportation are an incredible substitute for a large gas-powered vehicle when traveling to a nearby shop, down to the post office, or a short commute to the office.
ZAP Xebra Electric Sedan
One of the newest electric cars on the market is the ZAP Xebra Electric Sedan. The Xebra seats up to four passengers and looks much like a European compact car. However, a modern twist is in place in the wheels only three of them. The wheelbase is set up much like a tricycle. But, the frame fully protects passengers from the wind blowing through their hair and seasonal showers. The Xebra will reach speeds up to 40 mph, so highway driving is not an option. Nonetheless, for those who live in the city and have short commutes, the Xebra is an environmentally friendly option. By using only electric power it simply plugs into any outlet 98% less pollutants are released into the air than in a gasoline-fueled vehicle. On city streets or residential avenues, the Xebra is operated like any other car, and it follows the same rules of the road. Three candy-coated colors are available in pink, green, and blue. Also, a fun zebra-striped paint scheme is offered. And at an affordable $11,700, the ZAP Xebra is cheaper than most new gasoline-fueled cars.
Urban Mover Electric Bicycle
For drivers that would prefer to get more exercise during their commute, the Urban Mover Electric Bicycle is an excellent choice. Powered by a Panasonic Lithium battery, the bicycle is both functional as a manual pedal bike and automatic power. Without recharging the battery, the Urban Mover can be consistently ridden in automatic mode for up to ten miles. No pedaling is necessary, just the ability to keep the bicycle upright. While the Urban Mover can only be ridden on bike paths or bicycle-friendly areas, those that live and work in a city or small town will find that the electric bike saves them both time and gasoline. By using a bicycle to get to work or a downtown shop, the rider has the capability to bypass traffic jams and find parking spots much easier. While a helmet is not required in some states, it is suggested for use to protect injury in the event of an accident. For a nice weather commute, the Urban Mover Electric Bicycle is incredibly inexpensive at between $1,199 $1,499.
Green E-Motor E-Ranger 160 Scooter
If a driver prefers less work and more options, the Green E-Motor E-Ranger 160 scooter is a popular choice. Powered by two 800 watt motors, the E-Ranger 160 also includes two incredible upgrades a keyless start system and audio components for an MP3 player. Priced at $2,399, it is not as affordable as an electric bicycle, but the options make up for the price difference as well as the ease of riding it. The E-Ranger can reach speeds of up to 35 mph and needs to be recharged around every 32 miles driven. The scooter follows the same rules of the road as a gas-powered motorcycle. A helmet and eye protection needs to be worn in most states. While the E-Ranger should not be driven in inclement weather, it provides a cheap and easy commute in fair weather.
Honda Nighthawk 250
When electric power does not provide enough oomph for a driver, the Honda Nighthawk 250 can be a gasoline-powered alternative. Basically a smaller motorcycle, the Nighthawk 250 gets around 70-75 mpg. Not only that, it is built tougher than an electric bicycle or scooter. It can reach speeds of up to 80 mph, so it is capable of highway driving. This motorcycle is perfect for those with a longer commute, but is not practical for driving in inclement weather. Normal motorcycle laws must be followed, and in many states proper outer protection is required as well.
Insuring your Small Urban Vehicle
The ZAP Zebra should be covered by the state required minimum auto insurance. However, many states and insurance companies offer incentives for electric vehicles. Scooters and motorcycles also need to be covered by at least state minimum insurance. Many companies that offer motorcycle insurance (most of the major insurance chains) also provide a slightly lesser insurance package for scooters. Electric bicycles do not require insurance coverage; however, bicycle insurance can be purchased from specialty insurance agencies. Not only that, some homeowner’s insurance will cover the electric bicycle when not in use. Overall, each vehicle is a great alternative to full-size gasoline-fueled vehicles. They will save money, sometimes time, and emit fewer pollutants into the environment.