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Chicago Auto Show Blog

When is enough enough?

Posted by: Mark Bilek

$4.18. That's the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Chicago today. It's the sixth highest average per-gallon cost for a metro area in the nation. Those prices are expected to go to perhaps $5 by mid summer.

Makes you cringe, doesn't it?

Here's another thought to ponder. The United States makes up five percent of the worlds' population and we have only two percent of the worlds' oil. Yet we use 25 percent of the worlds' oil by volume. That accounts for $500,000,000 dollars a year spent on foreign oil.

I know, happy Friday to you too!

While automakers are pushing hard to provide alternative-energy vehicles, it's hard to price an electric- or diesel-powered vehicle competitively. Electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt and the compressed-natural gas Honda Civic come at with a $10,000 or more price premium compared to similar gasoline-powered offerings--and that doesn't include the extra infrastructure to charge the battery or top off the tank.

One company is trying to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and trim the price premium for an electric vehicle. AMP Electric Vehicles was founded in 2007 is currently producing an electric version of the popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV for fleet service. With its 37 kWh LiFePO battery and twin AC motors, the AMP-powered Equinox can run from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds and has a practical range of 125-150 miles.

Using a 240-volt charging system you can go from dead-battery to fully charged in about 5 hours. Because the electric Equinox starts out life as a gas Equinox, it has all of the safety systems and the standard GM 3-year/36,000-mile warranty (for the non-powertrain components). AMP covers the powertrain for the same period and adds an 8-year warranty on the battery.

Though you can't buy the vehicle right now, orders are being taken at www.ampelectricvehicles.com. The price? About $40,000.

AMP Equinox 1

AMP Equinox 2

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