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The electric car’s time has come

Alex Forbess
Staff Writer

The U.S. thought it was dead, but Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Jay Jones assured 15 people that the electric car is back with a vengeance, Friday in La Fetra Auditorium.

Jones explained the benefits of the electric car and showed, “In Context: Revenge of the Electric Car,” a movie that explains how this once dead technology has finally been embraced by the majority of Americans.

This vehicle is making a strong comeback because people are realizing combustion engines are becoming a burden to drivers, Jones said.

“There is no doubt that fossil fuels are limited,” Jones said. “When people look at the benefits of the electric vehicle, they think ‘we have got to switch.’”

The movie starts where “Who Killed the Electric Car” ended, a movie summarizing how General Motors released its first electric car, the EV1, but quickly took it back from customers.

Bob Lutz, vice president of GM, believed people would not embrace this technology in the future – he made a big mistake.

Despite his personal beliefs of the environment, Lutz saw that his competitors were embracing the idea of giving their customers a vehicle that is an alternative from gas guzzlers.

Competition ranged at every spectrum, from Nissan, Telsa, even to the underground scene. Innovators such as Greg “Gadget” Abbott recycled classic cars like the Triumph Spitfire 4 and modified the engine to run on a lithium-ion battery.

Michele Henson, sales manager of Richard Hibbard Auto Center, sees an increase in sales to their latest addition, the 2011 Wheego LiFe.

She said consumers are buying this for one reason: common sense.

“People want to put their global footprint, stating they did something to take care of the environment,” Henson said. “Fuel cars will not go away, but the electric car is convenient for the commuter.”

Before Jones began the lecture, Henson showed spectators the Wheego LiFe and described its features. A representative of Nissan was also present to display another vehicle that is making a name for itself: the 2012 Nissan Leaf.

Spectators were amazed from learning about their features, whether it was being able to drive 100 miles per charge with the lithium-ion battery or its easy access to charge on household outlets.

Alvin Banman, retired truck driver, said he bought the Nissan Leaf so he would not be dependent on imported oil.

“We cannot continue to ship money to the petroleum dictatorship,” Banman said. “I am glad Nissan is pushing the initiative.”

When Banman bought this vehicle a year ago, he had his license plate display his excitement: IGOTMYEV.

Jones purchased a Nissan Leaf in December and said he enjoys every minute of it.

“It is convenient,” Jones said. “It is a car people can live with.”

Along with voice recognition and an electric parking gear, the Nissan Leaf is easy to maintain, since there is no air filter, no radiator and no spark plugs to change.

Another feature Jones loves is the lithium-ion battery delivers 100 percent torque, allowing the vehicle to accelerate smoothly when he steps on the pedal.

Despite the perks, Jones purchased this vehicle for a larger cause.

“The American Lung Association stated 8,000 people in southern California died due to air quality,” Jones said. “It just came down to the bottom line and I thought, ‘what part of that am I responsible for?’”

Alex Forbess can be reached at

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