Former race car driver Morris Clement is all set to develop his own electric car. He will be building a low-speed, battery-operated vehicle: a less-exciting, greener approach than the toys he used to play with. In 1998, the National Traffic Safety Administration classified the cars as neighborhood electric vehicles, or NEVs, and they are certified “eco-friendly”.
As for specifications, Clement said that the car would offer speeds up to 25 miles per hour, therefore making these 4-wheel NEVs not suitable for highways. He stated that the vehicle could drive for 40 miles without recharging and that the battery should be replaced after 5 or 6 years. Interestingly, he asserted that the electric car can be used to drive up a mountain and on snow-clad roads.
Morris Clement was a National Championship race car driver with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). In fact, in May 2008, he built the Cobra 427 SC, which was the first ever COBRA that could travel well over 200 miles per hour. For this, he was featured in the popular Kit Car Magazine. One year later his 25 mph golf-cart helps earn him a feature on Plug-In.com.
These days, Mr. Clement is the owner of Fastlane Lube Masters at 6280 Grand Avenue, at Gurnee Mills. He said that he was inspired to build electric cars for the general masses so that they could save money and enjoy driving at the same time. According to his wife Mary, the NEVs would be apt for picking up kids from school, buying groceries and are great for short trips.
It was only recently that he received his township’s Special Use Permit allowing him to service and sell these electric cars. Mr. Clement informed the media that states such as Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, California, Florida and Arizona already permit these cars on the roads. By 2010, the state of Illinois would also allow it. However, like most vehicles, users must first acquire registration plates, licenses, certificates of title, insurance, and stickers.
Regarding the issue of cost, Morris Clement quoted $20,000 for new cars and $3,500 for used ones. Thanks to the economic stimulus bill passed in February, owners of his electric NEVs could qualify for a federal tax rebate up to several thousand dollars.
Mr. Clement is fast developing the 1st prototype, which is called the ‘Orange Crate Special’. He is utilizing an E-Z GO frame by the Textron Company, which is the largest producer of utility vehicles and golf carts. Moreover, just like he did with his record-breaking Cobra, Morris is using race car components in this model. He asserts that the car would be sturdy, safe, and offer superior quality, stating “I’m very picky because I’ve built my own race cars.”
The chances, however, of everyday drivers switching to these NEVs are slim. They are suitable for only a narrow range of activities and really expose the plug-in’s liability of constantly having to recharge. Even if the price were brought down to a level where people in 3rd world countries, who require small cars without fast speeds, could afford it, the infrastructure for electricity just does not exist. It seems that the production of these types of EVs are heavily dependent on the stimulus package to make them enticing.
In all types of vehicles and situations, it is important to remember to drive safely and keep your eyes on the road at all times. If you are involved in a car accident you can get the legal help you need at CarAccidentLawyer.org.