RAY: Wow, you are a committed environmentalist, Michelle.
It’s not all the biking and e-biking that convinced me. It’s that you’d actually consider a GEM, which is essentially a golf cart. That’s commitment! I’d take that off your list. That’s about the only thing you can buy that would be a downgrade from your ’92 Saturn.
A real car will be much safer and more comfortable. Oh, and drier in the rain. I don’t think I’d hesitate to buy an actual electric car (EV) if I were you, Michelle. I’m not aware of any issues with EV battery life diminishing from lack of use. Like most vehicles, they get worn out through use. So, generally speaking, the less you use it, the longer it should last.
And if your maximum trip is really 50 miles, you’re a candidate for the least expensive EVs; the ones that have limited range. For instance, Mini makes a Cooper that only goes about 100 miles on a charge. That’s a nonstarter for most people. But for you, that’s more than enough. And it’s not only fun to drive (and cute!), but it’s reasonably priced. It starts at about $30,000, before the $7,500 federal rebate and any state rebates you’re entitled to.
Or you can look at a Kia Niro, Chevy Bolt, a Nissan Leaf or VW ID4 -- all very nice, compact EVs that have more range than you’ll typically need. And don’t forget the best part of owning an electric vehicle. You can always plug it into your neighbor’s outdoor outlet.
Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.