Chic or Geek: Is an Electric Car for You?

An electric car enthusiast gets behind the wheel of a Nissan Leaf.

ByABC News
October 29, 2010, 10:01 AM

Nov. 1, 2010— -- I have always wanted to own an electric car. It's a longing for something that until recently has been nearly unobtainable.

Just as there are some who hope for an election season without attack ads, or a professional football team in Los Angeles, I can always set aside the gloom and look toward the future, praying that just maybe the day will come.

Los Angeles is a city where what you choose to drive often defines your very existence. It's a place where solar panels on the roof – which I have – or driving a hybrid – which I do – is an act that could easily send you from borderline chic to borderline geek.

Maybe it is geeky to admit publicly that I have spent hours scouring eBay and Craigslist looking for an affordable used electric RAV4, or a cast-off electric pick-up truck. But the options are pretty slim if you want to drive an electric vehicle (or EV) that does not pollute.

My desire is to get away from combustion. I don't want to burn fossil fuel in my vehicle to obtain my propulsion. Most Americans drive less than 40 miles commuting to work. My drive to work is about 15 miles roundtrip.

Sometimes my work assignments will take me further afield, but most days are 50 miles or less, something which is well within the range of an electric car. So I'm still committed to finding that combustion-free ride. Does that mean I'm geek material?

One dictionary describes a Geek as "a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked."

Could it be that my longtime desire to drive an electric car will send me careening into a social class reserved for those in shirts with plastic pocket protectors? Not to mention those black rimmed glasses held together with strips of old tape.

While I would try not to obsess, I would scan the automotive websites, anxiously looking for production models that would be affordable with a mass market appeal.

GM's much-touted Chevrolet Volt is nearing production, but since it is a hybrid, it burns gasoline.