News. Here’s the latest news from Life Mobility and the world of transportation:
- Fuel Efficient Automobile Technology. An open letter to the U.S. Congress. (20071207fr1006)
- Review of Easton Flatboy Platform Pedals by Gregory Johnson (20070627we0118)
- Review of New Balance 767 Shoes by Gregory Johnson. (20070627we0117)
- Interview with Bruce Wood of ePowerSynergies.com electric car company. (20070616sa1334)
- Photos of the GEM Vehicle by Global Electric Motorcars. (20070613we0031)
- The Reason You’re Broke by Liz Pulliam Weston. “If you’re constantly broke and can’t figure out why, the answer may be sitting in your driveway. Americans are spending more on their vehicles than ever before — more than $8,000 a year on average — and it’s driving some to the breaking point. Credit counselor Bill Thompson of Jacksonville, Fla., estimates that one out of every four clients his agency sees has overspent — sometimes dramatically — on a car. ‘They may be spending 15% to 20% of their (take-home) pay on just the car payment,’ said Thompson, who supervises credit counseling for the nonprofit Family Foundations, ‘and that doesn’t include insurance, gas, maintenance and all the other costs of owning a vehicle.’ And sometimes there’s more than one whopping payment. Sandra McGeary, a counselor at Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Western Pennsylvania, says she regularly sees middle-class families struggling with two payments in the $400 to $500 range. The burdens are so big that it doesn’t take a major disaster, like a job loss, to send them over the edge.” Read more…
- The Daily Iowan covered our recent Green Festival. Click here for the story online.
- Resources for Life Green Festival features electric ZENN cars from Feel Good Cars. Click here to visit the Environmental Resource Group for more details. (20060703mo)
- Who Killed the Electric Car? This documentary examines the challenges that the electric car industry faced in its early years. Is there no future for the electic car? In theaters 28 June 2006. [ Preview | Official Site ] (20060528su1750)
Shoes. One of the healthiest and most efficient ways to get around is to walk. Many people relocate to live so that errands and the daily commute can be done on foot. We recommend the New Balance 766 running shoes. To our knowledge, this series of running shoe is manufactured in California without animal products or exploitative sweatshop labor. Click here for more information.
Bicycles. Here are some useful links to bicycle related resources:
- 21Wheels.com. Bikes and accessories.
- Accessories & Supplies: | Bike Parts USA | Headland | Performance | PlanetBike |
- Advocacy: | Feet First | International Mountain Bicycling Association | League of American Bicyclists | PlanetBike | Rails to Trails | Thunderhead Alliance |
- Articles: Yoga Journal |
- Bike Friendly Communities. This is a great website that addresses the issue of urban planning for healthier living and a better environment. http://www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org/
- Environmental Resource Group
- GreenSpeed – electric bikes
- Manufacturers: | Bianchi | Bike Friday | Cannondale | Diamondback | Fuji | Gary Fisher | Giant | Jamis | Klein | Lemond | Litespeed | Raleigh | Schwinn | Specialized | Trek |
- Seattle family lives without cars and survives to tell about it! (20060604su1412)
Bike Trailers. To enhance the capacity and usefulness of your bicycle, consider purchasing a quality bike trailer. A bike trailer makes it possible to run errands such as grocery shopping or going to the laundromat – even further reducing your dependency upon automobile transportation. Here are some respected providers of bike trailers:
- BicycleR Evolution – http://www.bikerev.com/
- Bikes at Work – http://www.bikesatwork.com/
- Burley – http://www.burley.com/
- Bykaboose – http://www.bykaboose.com/
- CycleTote – http://www.cycletote.com
Clothing. Poor weather is probably the greatest deterrent to commuting by bicycle or on foot. All-season outdoor mobility requires specialized outer wear. Rain suits by FroggTogg are typically under $100. They are lightweight and breathable. 2 Rainwear by RainShield is also an excellent option as well.
Electric Cars. Vehicles that are partially or entirely powered by gasoline, require oil, antifreeze, and other consumables along with the associated maintenance. Vehicles that are powered entirely by electricity offer quiet and relatively maintenance free transportation.
- Commuter Cars Corporation. The Tango electric car goes from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds.
- eBox. AC Propulsion has converted a Scion xB vehicle into an electric powered vehicle they call the eBox. The eBox can go from 0 to 60 in under 7 seconds, has a top range of 90 miles per hour, and offers a range of 140 to 180 miles.
- Feel Good Cars offers the ZENN, pictured above, for Zero Emission No Noise.
- Global Electric Motorcars – GEM vehicle. Click here for photos.
- GoingGreen offers a new vehicle called the G-Wiz
- Yahoo Green Cars Page – Alternate fuel and environmentally-friendly cars.
- ZAP!, located in Santa Rosa, California, is a world leader in electronic transportation. ZAP stands for Zero Air Pollution. More information is available on their website: http://www.zapworld.com/
Electric Vehicle Concerns and Solutions. Here are some common concerns regarding electric vehicles.
- Distance. “My workplace is about 25 miles away. An electric vehicle won’t accommodate round trip commuting. What can I do? Should I consider purchasing a hybrid vehicle?” Because the purchase cost and operating cost is significantly lower on Electric Vehicles compared to fossil fuel vehicles, it isn’t unreasonable to consider purchasing two vehicles. Leave one at work and one at home. When you drive to work, plug in. Your car at work will be fully charged. Use that for any additional mileage or for driving home at the end of the day. This solution works well for people who drive about 25 miles to work and then need transportation once they get there. It is similar to having two batteries for your notebook computer or video camera. You always have one charging. Another benefit of this approach is that you’ll put half the miles on the vehicle.
- Seating. “Sometimes we need to travel with four people. Many of the Electric Vehicles are two seaters. Should I just give in and get an SUV or HUMMER?” Because the purchase cost and operating cost is significantly lower on Electric Vehicles compared to fossil fuel vehicles, it isn’t unreasonable to consider purchasing two vehicles. This is a great solution for families. Once you reach your destination, you’ll have twice the mobility options. You can go in different directions and then meet up again later on. You’ll get twice as much accomplished. You can’t do this with a single vehicle.
- Storage. “Sometimes we want to load the vehicle up with bags of groceries and other things. Most Electric Vehicles are small. Should I just give in and get an SUV or HUMMER?” Because the purchase cost and operating cost is significantly lower on Electric Vehicles compared to fossil fuel vehicles, it isn’t unreasonable to consider purchasing two vehicles. This will allow two people to run an errand and utilize the full storage capacity of the Electric Vehicle.
- Communications. “Because the purchase cost and operating cost is significantly lower on Electric Vehicles compared to fossil fuel vehicles, many smart people consider purchasing two vehicles. Doesn’t this make it hard to visit since you’re driving in different vehicles?” It is now possible to purchase very nice two-way radios that operate at high frequency. These radios make it possible to chat back and forth between vehicles. Many cell phone plans offer unlimited phone-to-phone communications for free.
- Hybrid. “Hybrid vehicles are now available that use gasoline and electric motors to achieve 40 to 50 miles per gallon and can travel hundreds of miles. Why shouldn’t a person consider one of these?” The development of hybrid vehicles is an admirable effort in the right direction. However, hybrid vehicles still need gasoline, they pollute, they need to have oil changes, they need muffler repairs and radiator maintenance. Hybrid cars are noisy when running on gasoline. So, the hybrid vehicles have many of the headaches of standard gasoline powered vehicles. Consider that a used gasoline powered compact car such as the 3 cylinder Geo Metro can achieve 35 to 40 miles per gallon and such a vehicle can cost $15,000 to $20,000 less than the hybrid vehicle. So the used efficiency car burns the same amount of fuel per mile as the expensive hybrid vehicle. Electric powered vehicles are typically less expensive to purchase and operate than hybrids. Generally speaking, vehicles that are powered by electric only are a better transportation solution.
Air Car. Moteur Developpment International of France (MDI) offers a car powered by Compressed Air Technology (CAT). The central factory is in Nice, France where the company president and inventor Mr. Guy Négre resides. The MDI Barcelona office serves as the principal sales office and works on commercial expansion of the project around the world – specifically in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, The United Kingdom, and Canada. For more information, visit: TheAirCar.com
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV). ZAP! presents the ATV Heavy-Duty – the formidable All-Terrain vehicle. Powerful and silent, the ATV Heavy-Duty is the off-road vehicle without all the noise and pollution and climbs hills with ease. The ATV Heavy-Duty is great for working around the ranch or just for having fun with family. The Zap Heavy Duty ATV offers speeds of up to 20 miles per hour and a range of 30 miles. Click here for a brochure in PDF format.
Scooters. Based on the simplicity of walking, the Segway personal transport system is a quick and easy way to get around town. The Segway is able to travel at 12.5 miles per hour – about the speed of a bicycle – and can travel from 11 miles to 17 miles on a single charge depending on the terrain and usage. Another world leader in electric scooters is ZAP! Sometimes three-wheel scooters are a more practical solution to going long distances around a larger office complex or downtown area. Some can travel up to 5.7 miles per hour for a distance of 25 miles or more on a single charge. For more information, visit Discount Scooters at http://www.discountscooters.com/ or visit the product page [click here].
Public Transit. One of the most economical solutions is public transportation.
Car Sharing. Rather than own a car, share a car:
- AustinCarShare.org (Austin, TX)
- AutoShare.com (Toronto, Canada)
- CarShare.com (UK car sharing locations)
- CarShare.org (Boulder, CO)
- CityCarShare.org (San Francisco Bay Area)
- FlexCar.com (available in several major US cities)
- IthicaCarShare.org (Ithica, NY)
- LiftShare.org (over 150,000 people sharing cars in the UK)
- PhillyCarShare.org (Philadelphia, PA)
- ZipCar.com (available in several major US cities)
Rental Cars. Enjoy the benefits of using a car occasionally without the costs and hassles of ownership.
Bus. Need to go further than an electric vehicle can take you? Check out Greyhound for some reasonable rates to numerous destinations in the continental U.S. For more information, visit Greyhound at http://www.greyhound.com/
Train. When you need to get there quickly, Amtrak delivers. Their nation-wide train service offers world-class accommodations from coast to coast. For more information, visit Amtrak at http://www.amtrak.com/
Air Travel. Making use of traditional air travel can be time consuming and stressful, but sometimes for remote destinations there’s no practical alternative. Here are a few online air travel resources:
Mobile Housing. The Mobile Hermitage is an ideal solution for those who’d like to take everything with them, including the kitchen sink. The Mobile Hermitage is a small all-season residential solution for minimalists who want to reduce their living costs while having more options for where they can live. Built of residential-grade quality materials, this diminutive dwelling is rugged and able to take all kinds of weather. Click here for more information about the Mobile Hermitage.
Resources. Here are some resources for Alternatives in Transportation.
- 21 Wheels (provider of information about various transportation alternatives)
- Bio Tour – read about an amazing bus that runs on vegetable oil!
- E85 – 85% Ethanol Fuel
- Feel Good Cars
- Fuel Economy Reform Act – Barack Obama
- Life Mobility at Resources for Life
- Seattle family lives without cars and survives to tell about it! (20060604su1412)
- US Department of Energy Locator of Alternative Fuel Providers