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Consumer

All-electric cars ready to take the road

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WASHINGTON (4/8/09)--Looking for some good economic news? Affordable all-electric cars are being developed for distribution in the U.S. faster than you can say “green energy” (Associated Press via Washington Post March 30). Two family-friendly all-electric cars lead the pack:
* Proton, Malaysia’s national carmaker, is targeting the U.S. and Europe to release an affordable, practical sedan in 2009. Two models are priced between $23,000 (range of 150 miles) and $33,000 (range of 200 miles) (Fast Company March 30). * Th!nk North America has plans to build cars in the U.S. by 2010. Th!nk City has a range of about 110 miles and will be priced less than $25,000. This car will be suitable only for city driving, but sedans are on the way (Gas 2.0 March 16).
The government, manufacturers, and many financial institutions are helping to make all-electric car prices even more attractive with:
* State and federal rebates. Look for individual state government rebates of about $1,000, and federal government rebates for all-electric cars of up to $7,500. But choose your model carefully--the rebate depends on how many of any particular model were sold in the previous year (HybridMile Feb. 5). * State sales tax deduction. The sales tax for any new car, truck, motor home, or motorcycle purchased between Feb. 16, 2009, and Jan. 1, 2010, can be deducted on your 2009 taxes (The Consumerist March 30). * Manufacturer and dealer rebates. Manufacturers and dealers are offering incentives and rebates to stimulate sales (Contra Costa Times March 23). * Competitive financing. Cooperative Center FCU in Berkeley, Calif., is financing 100% of the purchase price of electric cars with fixed interest rates as low as 5%.
When you look at the cost of the car, remember the fuel savings. If gas climbs back to $4 a gallon in the coming years, you could save $15,000 over the life of the car. And that’s after taking into consideration the cost to keep the battery charged (Associated Press via The Columbus Dispatch March 29). For more information, read “Hybrid Vehicles: Benefits Beyond Gas Savings” in Home & Family Finance Resource Center.