Alternative car fuels up at home

Leslie Arntz

Myers Motors, a Tallmadge based company, designed an all-electric car. The car can go up to 70 mph and can drive up to 30 miles before a recharge. LESLEY KATZENMEYER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

Filling up Myers Motors’ electric car won’t cost any more than filling up at the pump – gas would just need to drop to 42 cents a gallon.

Rob Dobson, quality control manager at Myers Motors in Tallmadge, brought one of the company’s electric vehicles to the College of Technology open house Saturday.

“This isn’t about doing less, about conservation,” said assistant professor Don Coates, who gave a presentation on alternative energy for automobiles Saturday. “It’s about doing more – be proactive. We need to shift from classical energy power to alternative areas.”

Coates mentioned ethanol-based fuels and hydrogen as other alternatives, but Dobson thinks electricity is the best option.

“Making electricity is not some high-in-the-sky utility to figure out,” he said.

Dana Myers, president of Myers Motors, said it is the economical source of energy to use.

“For hydrogen, we’d need to build an infrastructure that would cost trillions,” he said. “And ethanol, if you took all the crops in the United States, it still wouldn’t be enough, and then food prices would go up. We already have an electric distribution system you can go plug into your wall.”

And that’s exactly how Myers’ NmG, or No More Gas Personal Electric Vehicle, works. Simply plug it into a 110 volt outlet and six to eight hours later, the 13 batteries are fully charged.

Though this seems like a long time to refuel, Dobson said things need to be put into perspective.

“If you had to fill your car with a straw, how long would it take you?” he said.

The time can be cut in half if a 220 volt outlet is used. Most homes already have these for electric stoves, dryers and other large appliances, Dobson said. In California there are electric vehicle fueling stations where the batteries can be fully charged in 15 minutes. It all depends on the amount of electricity the outlet provides.

A full charge on an NmG will take the single passenger about 30 miles. In warmer climates, batteries perform better.

“We’d rather under-promise and over-deliver,” Dobson said. NmG owners in Southern California and Arizona have reported traveling up to 50 miles on a charge.

“If you look at how people drive, how many people do you see in cars going down the road?” Myers asked. “Just one. Plus, 50 percent of cars never go more than 30 miles in a day.”

According to the Bureau of Transportation in a 2004 study, 90 percent of commuters drive 30 miles or fewer to work one way, and 86 percent drive alone.

The NmG accelerates up to speeds of 70 mph and “is made to be an around-the-town commuter with the capability to jump on the expressway and you still feel comfortable,” Dobson said.

The NmG is classified, parked and insured as a motorcycle in Ohio, though no special license is required. The trunk can hold the equivalent of one grocery cart.

“This is the SUV of motorcycles,” Dobson said.

Myers is clear that this cannot be the only vehicle in a household, but he said it’s the best option for commutes and running errands.

He hopes to streamline production of the NmG and increase output from the current two per month. Each is hand assembled and costs $25,000. He said there is a demand for these vehicles. They are being ordered faster than they can be assembled.

He said he is encouraged by the interest in alternative forms of energy.

“It is socially responsible, socially intelligent to drive an electric car,” Myers said. It answers two of the biggest problems facing America: a source of domestic energy and global warming.

“The thing about electricity is it’s not hard to find,” Dobson said. “We know where to get it. We don’t have to go to Iran or Iraq or fight a war for it.”

Contact College of Technology reporter Leslie Arntz at [email protected].