The way that public transportation is set up here in the US, it’s no wonder to me that not as many people utilize it outside of the cities. In major cities, like New York, subways and buses are well-suited for commuters and people who need to get from place to place within the city.
Outside the city, not so much, and so one has to rely more on personal transportation. If you’re not close to a bus line or a train station, then, seemingly, the best route is to drive yourself to work.
If it means sitting in rush-hour traffic in your four-passenger car with only one passenger, excluding you from the high occupancy vehicle [HOV] lane, then what a waste of fuel and time! In some states, motorcycles are allowed in the HOV lane if they’re carrying a passenger, but what if it rains?
It’s a risk that many are prepared to take if it means getting to work on time as well as saving on gas. Hybrid electric vehicles are also, in some states, permitted in the HOV lanes, even if they are carrying no passengers.
Myers Motors currently sells a single passenger electric vehicle, a single-seat three-wheel electric vehicle [EV], and is currently developing a four-wheel version, as well as a two-seater three-wheel EV. Could the public at large benefit from such an invention if mass marketed? Speaking as a driver and rider, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be any less safe than vehicles on the road today. I don’t think people are ready for a three-wheel EV yet, but a four-wheel version could easily fit into people’s minds.
Smaller and lighter, The Myers would be way more efficient than any passenger vehicle on the road today. It has a 70 mile range, and goes up to 80 mph. The efficiency realized by the smaller structure could put fuel costs at less than $2,000 the the 100,000 mile life of the vehicle. Starting at just over $15,000, a Myers would definitely be a more affordable and attractive option than say, a Chevy Volt or a Nissan Leaf.
Is modern driver ready for a single passenger electric vehicle? Personally speaking, I think we still need to see the range become more competitive with current vehicles, at least 300 miles. Other features of the vehicle – small, fun, efficient, affordable – will fit right in with the American psyche, but range jitters are still keeping EVs on the back shelf. Until we get decent range and price in the same package, I don’t see EVs of any kind hitting the main stream.