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USA: RIVERSIDE: PEVs have got the juice


Fida Hossain, of the American Institute of Renewable Energy in Corona, was one of the guests at an electric vehicle workshop at Riverside City Hall on Saturday. Standing next to a Chevrolet Volt electric-powered vehicle, Hossain said the U.S. manufacturers need to take the lead on producing electric vehicles.

Mary Casem gets a real charge out of the new car she leased in December. It’s a Nissan LEAF, one of those plug-in electric vehicles, dubbed PEVs by aficionados.

She juices it up every day and zips past gas stations, delighted to kiss goodbye $300 to $400 monthly gas receipts.

“It’s quiet, fun to drive and only adds about $30 to my monthly electric bill,” said Casem, 51, who commutes from Riverside to Cal State Fullerton where she teaches biology. “The only thing I don’t like is the cup holder. It’s too small for really big drinks.”

Casem rhapsodized about her PEV with three other local owners at a free workshop Saturday at Riverside City Hall. About 60 guests listened to Colin Santulli, a PEV expert with the California Center for Sustainable Energy in Diego, discuss the financial and environmental benefits and clean vehicle incentives.

Santulli said when consumers switch to PEVs, they cut gas consumption and help create cleaner air. Currently available PEVs include the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi MiEV, the Ford Focus Electric and Toyota Plug-in Hybrid.

However, some critics say these cars are too small, too complicated and too expensive. Starting at $40,000, they dismiss them as primarily the toys of affluent buyers who are subsidized by taxpayers through rebates.
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