Merced man's electric car trouble

MERCED, Calif.

It's powered by a one hundred horsepower electric engine that runs on batteries. "It's a lot less expensive to run and it doesn't pollute."

Mark decided he wanted an electric car a couple of years ago, but couldn't find one. General Motors, and Ford briefly made electric cars and pickups a decade ago, but pulled them off the market and scrapped most of them. Tesla does make a $100 thousand roadster, but Mark couldn't afford one. "I didn't want to mortgage my house to buy an electric car."

Mark learned folks have been building their own electrics for years. So, he spent about 15 thousand dollars on an electric conversion kit and bought an old fiberglass kit car.

The car cruises at 65. It has a 60 mile range around town ... about 30 miles on the freeway. Just enough to get him to his job as a nurse at the County Jail, 26 miles away. He made the commute a few times, before the county pulled the plug.

"I can get to work but I have to plug the car in to get back, and I'm running into a problem where the county is telling me that I can't plug my car in down there for various reasons." Mark explained.

Tom Mackenzie, of the Merced County Sheriff's Office says letting Bush use county electricity to power his car is like letting the taxpayers buy his gas. "Even though it's an insignificant amount of money it's still basically incurred by the county at taxpayers' expense." Mackenzie said.

Mark figures his car uses less than a dollar's worth of juice every day. He would be happy to pay, but there's no process in place for him to do that. He figures things will have to change. "This is bigger than just me getting a parking spot, this is a national issue we are all going to have to eventually embrace."

General Motors, Nissan and Toyota will have all electric, and plug in gas electric hybrids on the market by the end of the year and Mark may not be the only one needing a place to plug in.

The state of California is anticipating an electric car boom, and building 12 hundred charging stations but they will be in LA, San Francisco ... and Sacramento. Employers and businesses in the Central Valley may have to start thinking ahead.

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