Archive for the ‘ General ’ Category

My Zapino electric scooter

Here at All Things Renewable we have some terrific and downright fun alternatives for relatively short commutes.  Why start up the car for a trip around your area of town or to make a run to your favorite market or cafe when you could hop on an electric scooter or electric bicycle?

zapino_red

I’ve had my Zapino electric scooter for about a year now, and I really love it! I had wanted a scooter since high school, and when I found out about electric scooters coming on the market, I did some research and settled on the Zapino. My long wait was over. It is a great way to save gasoline (I try to drive my car as little as possible now). Zapinos can go up to around 30 miles per charge and can zip around at up to 40 mph (depending on terrain and rider weight).  Another good thing is that, since they are fully electric, the horsepower and wattage is such that they do not require a motocycle license to ride. Zapinos can be registered in Colorado for $5.25 for three years at a time.

I have great fun toolin’ around and being able to do 0-30 in 4 seconds! Since the electric scooter has a sealed lead-acid battery, it is best to keep it charged after every single use, even if I go a short distance. Their battery life is longest (around 5 years) when they are kept charged or “topped-off” religiously. That is just about the only maintenance required…take care of the battery by keeping it charged when not in use. Other than keeping a few bolts tightened and maybe the occasional brake adjustment, there isn’t much else to worry about.   To fully appreciate the enjoyable experience you gotta ride one of these things.  Everyone who comes back from a test ride has a big smile on their face.

Feel free to stop by All Things Renewable, located in Northfield Shopping Center in Stapleton, for a complimentary test ride so you can find out for yourself how enjoyable the Zapino is.

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Old Car + (re)New(able) Fuel = Great Idea!

Who says you can’t teach an old dog a new trick?  Ok, so it’s a car, not a dog, but you get my drift.  Recently I installed a kit on my 1997 Subaru Outback to convert it to run on E85.  So far, so good.  In fact, I think the ole Subie likes it, as it seems to have a renewed sense of vigor and runs a little smoother and quicker, IMHO.  Perhaps that’s because E85 is 100 octane, as opposed to the 85 octane level of the regular gas it had been running on for years. 

The process is a fairly simple one, and the kit took about 10-15 minutes to install.  Probably better to have someone install it who knows at least a little bit about cars and engines and such, but I probably could have done it myself had there been a shortage of mechanical talent in my house.  Fortunately that’s not an issue!  The kits can be found on the Internet, and I paid about $365.00 for mine.  It will pay for itself eventually, how long will depend upon the price difference between gas and E85 and how long it takes me to drive the required number of miles.

I made this change for several reasons, the primary reason being using a renewable fuel source rather than petroleum-based gas.  Along with that goes the whole ideal of supporting our local economy rather than a foreign economy.  I also hope that supporting the growing (no pun intended) biofuels industry will help it continue to invest in research and come up with the best way to make it.  I’ve heard of biofuel being made from some interesting non-food sources, two of my favorites being algae and used coffee grounds.

Using E85 rather than gas has some positive environmental effects as well.  The following is quoted from change2e85.com:

“Because E85 is cleaner than conventional gasoline, it emits less hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. E85 reduces carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 70 percent — and less carbon monoxide helps reduce ozone formation and greenhouse gas levels. According to EPA, gasoline is the largest source of manmade carcinogens. Ethanol reduces overall toxic pollution by diluting harmful compounds found in gasoline such as benzene and other aromatics.”

Overall, this has been a decision I feel good about, and I would definitely recommend making the switch to anyone who is considering it.