- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Electric car estimated to reach 180 mph

Hybrid Technologies Inc. said last week it will start taking U.S. orders for its lithium-powered supercar in April, Kyodo news reported..

The electric vehicle is expected to sell for $124,900, the company said.

The Lithium Carbon Fiber Supercar, with a single six-hour charge, is capable of a top speed of nearly 180 mph, the company said. The two-seater, which is emissions-free, can go from zero to 60 mph in just over 3 seconds. It will be introduced to the public at the New York International Auto Show in April.

Major Japanese companies, including Nissan Motor Co., are showing interest in the supercar, Hybrid Technologies said.

Ray Charles’ bus goes to Morehouse

Morehouse College in Atlanta has been given a unique attraction on wheels: The midnight-blue tour bus used by Ray Charles and his musical troupe.

The bus was donated to the historically black college by the Ray Charles Foundation.

It will be displayed and used for student trips. The vehicle is outfitted with 35 custom seats, four TVs and a kitchen. The legendary R&B; singer, who died in 2004, received an honorary degree from Morehouse in 2001.

The bus will be displayed outside the college’s arts center, which will house a collection of Ray Charles memorabilia.

Alexandria to host St. Pat’s show, parade

Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Invitational Classic Car Show will be held March 4 in the 100 block of North Pitt Street.

Registration already has closed for this annual event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Judging starts at 10. The field will consist of 50 pre-approved entries.

Only those car owners chauffeuring dignitaries will be allowed to drive in the parade after the judging. This year’s grand marshal is John T. Dunleavy, chairman of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

More information, call 703/237-2199, mailbox No. 2, or send e-mail to www.ballyshaners.org.

Honda hybrid Fit to challenge Toyota

Japan’s Honda Motor Co. reportedly will begin selling a hybrid version of its Fit subcompact worldwide by early 2008 in an effort to undercut Toyota, the world leader in gas-electric vehicles.

Honda plans on a suggested price of $11,800, according to a story published by Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Japan.

The subcompact will be exported to North America and Europe in March 2008 and may also be sold in China and other Asian countries, the newspaper reported. Honda declined to comment on the story.

Model T plant gets historical recognition

The former Ford Motor Co. Piquette Plant in Michigan, the birthplace of auto pioneer Henry Ford’s Model T, has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

The plant is listed among 2,500 U.S. sites that have received such recognition, according to the Associated Press.

Ford sold more than 15 million Model Ts before production of the car ended in 1927. It became the symbol of low-cost, reliable transportation.The 66,000-square-foot Piquette Plant was built in 1904. An estimated 12,000 Model Ts were manufactured there between 1908 and 1910, when production was shifted to a bigger complex in Highland Park near Detroit.

Messy vehicles eat into resale value

Motorists who like to eat in the car should first think about maintaining resale value, according to a national survey done by Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research and Taco Bell Corp.

The survey found that nearly 60 percent of all vehicle owners eat or allow someone to eat in their vehicles, and only 34 percent rank a clean interior as “the most important attribute to the long-term value of their vehicle,” versus 66 percent for the exterior. Those attitudes could be costly.

“Our research highlights a huge misperception among customers that the interior condition of a car has less importance than the exterior appearance in terms of retail value,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Cars in excellent condition and appearance, both inside and outside, can be valued thousands of dollars higher than those in [just] good or fair condition.”

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