Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Electric-Car Owners Trade Tips, Mileage Tales

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Electric-Car Owners Trade Tips, Mileage Tales

Article excerpt

Fran and Larry Goldberg of Hillsdale can't help beaming when they talk about the car they got two weeks ago -- they say it's smooth, nimble, quiet and best of all, uses zero gas.

Their sparkling white BMW is an electric model they say can go about 80 miles before petering out. The Goldbergs plug it in at their house at night and it's raring to go in the morning.

As new converts, they had plenty of company Sunday morning at a "meet-up" of 30 electric cars from around New Jersey at a Montclair pizza parlor's parking lot. Dozens of passers-by checked them out, poking under hoods and asking about mileage.

The Goldbergs said they weren't zealots about living green, but cared deeply about helping America become less dependent on foreign fuels. As Fran Goldberg, a retired lawyer, put it, "I love the idea that even if it's from coal, the people getting the coal and making electricity happen are Americans."

Skeptics have questioned whether electric cars are truly better for the environment. They don't guzzle gas or spout pollution, but drivers often recharge their batteries by plugging into grids powered by coal-burning plants, which emit greenhouse gases.

What's better for the planet depends largely on where you live, according to a New York Times report on research to be released today by the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists. The study says electric cars and plug-in hybrids have great potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in places where the electric utility relies on natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric or renewable sources to power its generators. But in places that depend largely on burning coal, the scientists say, electric cars may not be as good as new gasoline models.

Sunday's gathering had Chevy Volts, Nissan LEAFs and Tesla Roadsters at Nauna's Bella Casa Italian Restaurant, but most of the electric cars were BMW ActiveE's, a model available only for lease while the company tests it. …

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