Here's a peek at what we're missing across the pond. While us Yanks are frantically searching for new places to stick our petroleum feeding tube, car buyers in Britain are snapping up the new G-Wiz, an electric microcar that sells for the equivalent of about $10,000.
Made by a company called GoinGreen, the G-Wiz is billed as "the car that doesn't cost the earth." It can reach up to 40 mph and runs for 40 miles on a single charge. Its batteries can achieve an 80 percent recharge in 2.5 hours — just right for restoring power after that lunchtime dash to In-N-Out Burger.
The car's body panels are made of ABS plastic, which can be recycled. You can get the Wiz-mobile fully optioned with leather seats, CD player, and a trick prewarming feature that heats the interior up before you have to climb aboard on a winter day.
Is it ugly? Emphatically, yes. But not as bad as many of the electric car designs we saw at the dawn of this technology.
Is it practical? Certainly not for everyone. But it would work great as a commuter ride for somebody who lives in the suburbs and plants themselves in a downtown cubicle during the week. In other words, most of us.
Will we ever get them here in the U.S.? Doubtful. Instead, we are gleefully waiting 10 years for hydrogen fuel cell cars, and hoping desperately that we'll have somewhere to refuel them when that happens.