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Alternatives to expensive electric vehicles are becoming more popular as gas price skyrockets

Electric Motorcycle
Posted at 10:02 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 11:10:08-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — When someone complains about soaring gas prices, it can be quite patronizing for someone to suggest they go buy an electric vehicle that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

James Katzen, however, believes he's cracked the code on EV ownership.

"This is the first Tesla," Katzen said while gesturing to the battery-filled "engine" compartment of an old ford.

Katzen, a Las Vegas Electric Vehicle Association board member, has two EV conversion vehicles in his old car boneyard of a yard.

The second, a 1981 Mitsubishi pick-up truck, has served as his daily driver around town for years.

"Like everyone else, I wanted to buy a Tesla," he said. "I still want to buy one."

The EV enthusiast has lived on a budget, however, and was reluctant to drop the kind of cash necessary to buy a new high-end electric vehicle so he looked toward cars converted with batteries, controllers, and several other odds and ends to operate as an EV as a cheaper alternative.

The pick-up conversion cost him around $6,000, and he said as Nevada approached and then passed an average gas price of $5 a gallon.

"It costs perhaps 80 cents to charge it overnight," he said. "Plug it in whenever you go to bed, wake up, it's fully charged."

Another option for frugal fans of not getting gouged at the pump could think about buying an electric motorcycle like Edward Malkiewicz.

"These come out of the factory with a top speed around 100 miles an hour," Malkieqwicz said pointing to one of two bikes sitting in his driveway.

He said the one he pointed to, a Zero DS-R, came new at around $18,000, admitting they can be pricey, but he noted electric bicycles or electric conversion kits for regular bikes can be bought for as little as $500.

"Anybody that gets involved with an electric vehicle pretty much doesn't go back to gasoline," he said.

Katzen said he would be willing to meet one-on-one with anyone interested in getting into the conversion business to show them the ropes, and several members of the Las Vegas Electric Automobile Association are available to help as well.

Katzen said he could be contacted through the LVEVA website.