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Comment : Governor’s Stall on Electric Car Fuels Fellow Republican’s Ire

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Electric cars are seen the best bet to meet California’s 1998 deadline for a “zero-emission” vehicle to cut air pollution. But Gov. Pete Wilson has called for a review of electric car technology after being pressured by Republican governors in Midwestern states key to the next year’s GOP presidential primary. Here is one consumer’s view of the situation. I was one of 79 people who had the opportunity to drive the GM Impact electric vehicle. People usually associate love affairs with cars with the male half of the species, but for this 52-year-old female, the experience was the thrill of my lifetime.

This vehicle was designed from the start to be electric. The dash and controls are all new and make for part of the car’s appeal. It’s like driving a computer.

In two week’s time, I drove it 1,220 miles. Every Monday and Friday, I drove from my home in LaHabra to my daughter’s in Mission Viejo. I used the portable charger in the trunk one time as I was not going directly back home. I plugged it into a regular 110-volt outlet in her garage. I drove it to Long Beach, Huntington Harbor and back home. I drove it to Burbank Airport and plugged into a hotel outlet while attending a meeting. I have no doubt battery technology will improve. We went to the moon, remember?

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This is an ideal car for the those who just drive around town. Think of how many senior citizens, homemakers and students make many short trips in a day. What about pizza delivery? These short trips are very hard on internal combustion (gasoline) engines, not to mention the fact that 90% of your pollution comes in the first two miles that you drive your car. But not the electric car, which also offers the benefit of no major components under the hood to deteriorate from sitting.

My husband is an auto technician and shop owner. He is excited about this vehicle and is willing to purchase one, which would be our first new car in 32 years of marriage.

Those of us who drove this car have no doubt there is a market for it. But if the state changes the 1998 zero-emission requirement for 2% of the cars offered for sale in California by major car makers, the average-income Californian will not be able to afford this vehicle.

There are those who are putting political pressure on our elected officials to deny us the freedom to choose a truly clean vehicle. I am a right wing, Rush Limbaugh ditto head, Reagan/Goldwater Republican who wants this car--now!

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