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Consumer Reports October 1975

MagazineConsumer Reports
DateOctober 1975
TitleTwo Electric Cars
AuthorConsumers Union on United States
Preview of full article along four pages in October 1975 issue of Consumer Reports

In this article, two electric cars are evaluated. Consumers Union tested the only two electric cars that were “being sold in in any volume“. They tested the Elcar 2000 ($3,475) and CitiCar SV-48 ($2,946).

The article went over the importance of safety standards as well as their concerns over the potential outcome of a low-speed collision.

The Elcar was quickly disabled as its suspension collapsed while they were testing the breaks.

We rate both of them Not Acceptable.

Consumer Reports, October 1975, page 596

The capitalization of “Not Acceptable” expresses their strong disdain with the vehicles.

They go over the details of each car. Specifically, the CitiCar included the options for a propane heater for $90 along with a spare tire and wheel for $36.

They compared electricity costs to an ICE vehicle. Electric was about 9 cents in New York City at the time. It took 14 kWh to charge the CitiCar after 33.6 miles, bringing the cost to 3.7 cents a mile, but could fluctuate in price depending on energy costs in different areas.

Gas was at 60 cents a gallon, and a Honda Civic could get 21 miles to the gallon in city traffic, bringing the costs to roughly 3 cents a gallon.

Additional notes was comparing the additional costs that a gasoline car requires such as oil changes and tune-ups. However, it was noted that the CitiCar batteries would need to be replaced after 400-600 charges, or roughly 11,000 to 16,000 miles for roughly $320 plus labor.

Thus, where electricity is relatively expensive, neither electric car would be cheaper to run than the most economical of standard subcompacts.

Consumer Reports, October 1975, page 597

The consumers union team were not pleased with how various things affected the range such as weather, traveling at full speed (32.5), hilly country.

The cars were not comfortable, and it was difficult to put groceries into the cargo area on both vehicles. Both vehicles motors were noisy while traveling.

They had a defect similar to one that an acquaintance and myself have been experiencing.

After about 125 miles, the warning light for motor overheating went on even though the motor was only normally warm.

Consumer Reports, October 1975, page 598

They also had problems with the volt meter flickering, horn failing, steering wheel being loose, and loose spring fasteners in the suspension.

Of special notes is an extra page outlining an unfortunate day starting out with dew on the glass. The glass kept fogging repeatedly, even while driving. The car had a difficult time on a gradual grade that wasn’t noticeable before when driving a gas powered car. Other motorists give them nasty looks for being so slow. The car attracted a few cat calls. A trip is made in the dark where lights begin to dim and battery runs out. Police stop them at one moment. Afterwards, the car goes another mile before running out again. This is repeated a few times with smaller distances covered, until the driver and the car arrive home, drained.

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