by Michael dEstries
Categories: Transport.

tom.jpgTom Hanks is a big fan of electric cars. Back in the day, he was one of the first celebrities driving around in GM’s ill-fated EV1. ( You can check out a clip of him exalting the virtues of this electric car on Letterman here.)  He also owns a hybrid and has invested in a company that takes hybrid cars and converts them to all-electric.

So, it comes as no surprise that Hanks was one of the first people to drive away (quietly) in a brand-new all-electric Scion XB. Unfortunately, you won’t find these down at your local dealer. Hanks had his specially made from a company called AC Propulsion that converts the Scion XB model using a system called the Ebox. From the article,

“The eBox is a conversion by AC Propulsion costing $55,000 not including tax or the Scion XB that is required. The vehicle uses an AC motor driving the front wheels, and uses 625 pounds of lithium-ion batteries that enable the vehicle to run for 140-180 miles between charges. The top speed of the vehicle is 95 mph, and charging the 355 volt pack takes between 2 and 5 hours depending on the mode you choose and the available voltage to charge from. The vehicle also supports vehicle-to-grid power sharing”

Before leaving the dealership, Hanks (who is a space buff) had this to say,

“There are three electric cars sitting on the moon, and now another one in my garage. The eBox makes even more sense in Los Angeles than in the Taurus-Littrow Valley of the moon. I can drive all weekend, hauling dogs and helping my friends move, and the only reason I’ll need to stop at a gas station is for beef jerky and lottery tickets.”

Yea, and unless I grab a winning lottery ticket, you won’t see me driving around in one of these anytime soon! That range is nice, but for more than $70K, I’m almost in the Tesla Roadster price bracket.  I still believe we’re about 3-5 years from affordable electric vehicles with decent range and charge-time. Till then, I applaud people like Hanks for taking the first steps in supporting the industry. After watching ‘Who Killed The Electric Car‘, the whole thing seems a little like déjà vu.

via hugg via autobloggreen 

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • kent beuchert

    Don’t you just love how Hollywood’s massively overpaid and untalented elite can encourage those
    who must earn a living to spend $55,000 (plus a car) in order to transform a practical gasoline vehicle into an inconvenient electric car that contains $20,000 of batteries that won’t last more than 5 years. He has spent at least $12,000 per year to avoid a $1200 gasoline bill and is BRAAGGING about not having to buy gasoline. Is Tom Hanks really as stupid as all that? He could buy a E85 car and
    actually do the environment some good – using electricity merely pumps more smoke up the chimneys of the powerplants. Is Tom really such an environmental moron?

  • http://teslamotorsclub.com/ Tony Belding

    Such negativity disappoints me. Let’s put E85 to rest right up front, as there’s nothing helpful about it from an economical *or* ecological standpoint.

    Next, I’m quite sure Tom Hanks is able to do simple math and didn’t buy this vehicle thinking he was going to save a lot of money on gasoline. He can afford any car he wants. He wanted this one. He shouldn’t have to justify that any more than the guys who bought an Enzo or Veyron or even a Hummer should have to justify their choices.

    However, the way I see it. . . Basically there are two reasons to buy an electric car today. Reason number one is because you want to promote and support the technology and push it toward the mainstream and mass production where it could eventually make a real difference. As a celebrity, Mr. Hanks is well qualified for this role. Reason number two is because you *want* an electric car. You want the smooth and quiet operation, the torque curve that grabs hold at 0 RPM and doesn’t let go, and the convenience of starting every morning with a full charge. And if you’ve got the money and the desire, then why not?

    Using electricity does not merely pump more smoke up the chimneys of power plants. (Why does this myth get repeated endlessly?) The USA could support millions of electric cars with the electrical power that is being wasted every night from idling power plants. Furthermore, electric cars are so efficient that even electricity from a coal-fired plant produces less pollution per mile than gasoline. As you factor in energy from cleaner sources, it only gets better.

  • David Lassiter

    Kent Beuchert lives in McLean, VA and works for the an oil antil global warming lobby hired to discredit global warming. He has various email addresses listed in Florida also. He can be seen listing comments on literally hundreds of global warming / electric car articles as one of the first or second listers. I am working on a story to track him down and the number of fake reviews he lists on behalf of the lobbying industry for a news article. If you have any information, please forward it to me. Regards – David Lassiter.

  • Kevin

    The point of not stopping at a gas station for a VIP is that he won’t be photographed, stalked and/or otherwise hassled. Also, he isn’t encouraging low wage earners like Kent to buy now. He is subsidizing people like Kent’s purchase a few years from now. You should be thanking him, not criticizing him. In essence, he is spending large wads of money as a form of charity which underwrites oil-free car choices of the hopefully near future.

    Toyota already has the ability to bring a PHEV (plug=in hybrid electric vehicle) to market, but they are very smart and won’t do so out of charity. They will wait until regular hybrids lose their pizzazz, in a year or perhaps 2 years. Then, they will come out with a splash, maybe when the Tesla’s are out and working well. And say “hey, here’s a prius that gets 100mpg and costs $22k.” They could do it tomorrow, but it’s not smart to cannibalize a market that is still strong, although has waned of late.

    Incidentally, I am on the 2008 waiting list for a Tesla. I’ll pay $100k for the car, not because it’s inherently worth it (I already have a Ferrari 360) but also because it will finance the less expensive electric cars they intend to develop down the line.

    So, criticize Hanks all you want. At least he isn’t Leno, stockiling gas guzzling american muscle cars and bikes that would get smoked by a Tesla any day.

    PS- I’ve ridden in a Tesla and yes, the 0-60 is 4 seconds, as fast as a Ferrari, with no shifting. It will beat just about any car Leno has and handle better as well. (Except for Leno’s Ariel Atom, but that doesn’t even have a roof.)

  • http://ecorazzi Michael

    GM “buried” the 100 mpg carburetor, now Toyota “hides” the plug-in Hybrid. Ah, the power of the uninformed and technically innocent. Yes, Toyota has acknowledged what they can do, but it is at the cost of the current battery life and technology. It is not a compelling business case to sell a product that will not meet industry and consumer standards of acceptable recharge-cycle life and vehicle mileage range. Do you want to sit in a Denny’s in Barstow while you wait to recharge? It is longer than filling a gas tank. Sorry, but to impugn Toyota’s motives is neither accurate, fair or even economically feasible, given existing battery technology. But then the Left was never given to reason, nor logic – just the power of emotion.

  • http://scionevolution.org Lawrence Sartore

    already seen it in person….the guy also said it has a wicked 0-60 time too!

  • Brian Schend

    Michael doesn’t understand what a Plug in hybrid is, clearly. All the posts about Toyota are about plug in hybrids, not pure electrics, and there is a big difference. Plugin hybrids can be plugged in AND gassed up. So if you’re at a restaurant in Barstow on a road trip, you can bring it to any gas station, but if you’re commuting from home, you can charge overnight and not use gasoline. The plugging in is a lot cheaper (3 times cheaper, or even cheaper than that) and cleaner, but the gasoline motor is there to recharge the battery if it runs out.

  • Ted

    Man-made global warming is a myth. I believe that you are an misinformed if you bellieve that man is causing Global Warming. BTW…what about the disposal of the batteries after they wear out? How “eco-friendly” is that?

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