While the City Council plans for a wave of mass-produced electric cars expected to zap Bellevue soon, an employee with the Parks & Community Services Department already commutes to City Hall in one. Jim Bennett has been driving to work in an electric car ever since sockets for them were installed in the parking garage in January. Video
"I love it," said Bennett, forest management supervisor for Parks. "I like the simplicity, not having to get gas. It's fun to drive, and I like that I'm doing my part for the environment. I'll never go back to gas."
Bennett and his wife, who live in Issaquah, actually own three electric cars made by Toronto, Canada-based ZENN (Zero Emission No Noise) Motor Co. The newest, a 2009 model, cost just $11,000 after a federal tax rebate, a dealer incentive and state sales tax exemption.
Two-seater, two-door ZENNs top out at 40 mph and can go just 40 miles on a charge, but Bennett's rig has a sunroof, is extremely quiet and never needs gasoline. Starting with Nissan's Leaf, which can go up to 90 mph and travel 100 miles between charges, mass-produced electric cars are expected to hit the market in December.
"You can use (electric vehicles) and not have to change your lifestyle," said Sheida Sahandy, policy advisor with the City Manager's Office. City officials are working to facilitate installation of charging stations throughout the city.
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