Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Few Of My Favorite Things I Don't Have

In my last post, I wrote about a few of my favorite things I have. I've been admiring a few other things on the road too. These are just a few of them.

Honda Insight - These little two seat hybrids are no longer made by Honda but get over 60 mpg without even hypermiling. It is still the best fuel economy hybrid made to date and resale value of these is very high. There aren't very many on the roads but they're very well made. Those batteries that people insisted would need to be replaced at like $7000 a pop after 100,000 miles have proven to go much further than that without failure. Toyota's hybrid batteries have also far outlasted the critics.

Smart Smartfourtwo - These little two passenger cars are fun to drive. If you ever find yourself near the Lindon/Orem Mercedes Benz dealer, I recommend swinging by and test driving one. They look tiny on the outside but are so roomy inside it is amazing. The "automanualmatic" transmission (automated clutchless manual transmission) is quirky and takes some getting used to but you can drive it as either a manual (with no clutch) or an automatic. And the price is competitive with other new economy cars.

Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris Liftback - Both of these cars are the "new" Geo Metros and Ford Aspires on the roads today. Great fuel economy at low prices. The Yaris is very cute but the Fit's five door setup is more practical than the Yaris's three door. I'd be happy with either.

Zero Motorcycles, Zero X - An all electric dirtbike with equivelent power of 250 cc combustion engined motorcycles but with less weight. It gets 60 miles to the charge, can be outfitted with proper lights to be street legal and better performance than gas dirt bikes due to low mass and high torque at all rpms (even 0 rpm). Lean, clean, green, and fun.

Tesla Motors, Tesla Roadster - This is one expensive but nice ride. 100% electric and 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. It uses a BMS (Battery Management System) that can take many small cells and balance their charge and discharge rates to preserve the life each cell. In most battery packs, if one cell goes bad, it can force other cells to pick up the slack causing them to wear out prematurely too. The BMS solves that. This is a production electric car that can outperform many gas sports cars. They're rolling off the factory floor into actual drivers' garages as we speak. The electric car is here.

Subaru Baja - This little gem bucks the trend of my passion for fuel economy but I can't let it be forgotten. At first I called it the Subaru El Camino but over time I grew to like the little micro truck. It has four doors like the Forester or Outback and Subaru's signature all wheel drive. Unlike most SUVs, which I find lacking in sensibility, the Baja has a tiny but actual truck bed. There is enough room for bicycles or a single large appliance like a refrigerator or washing machine. And it's smaller size makes it easier to move around tight parking lots than a gas guzzling Ford F350 would. Like the Honda Insight, this one is out of production so it may be harder to find.

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