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Electric Cars Drive Silently Into Reality TV Shows


Cars have been mainstays of reality television for years, but until now, not electric cars.

Tracking their growing sales numbers, it may be that their increasing popularity is reflected in some new appearances on U.S. television.

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Last week, the Discovery Channel's Rods N' Wheels--a show centered on a California custom-car shop--featured a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle converted to electric power.

In one episode, the characters from Da Rod Shop found a beat-up Beetle emitting plumes of smoke in a local parking lot.

They pitched the electric conversion to the car's owner as a way to clean it up--literally--and boost its anemic performance. However, he had reservations about trading his flat-four engine for a "weak" electric motor.

The conversion was performed by electric-car parts supplier EV West which, among other things, has built an electric BMW M3 for the Pikes Peak hill climb.

The completed Beetle was entered in a drag race, which it handily won--answering the owner's concerns about lack of power and then some.

Sebring Vanguard CitiCar on Counting Cars.

Sebring Vanguard CitiCar on Counting Cars.

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Meanwhile, on the History Channel's Counting Cars, a 1970s Sebring Vanguard CitiCar got its 15 minutes of fame.

The show follows Danny "The Count" Coker and his team of mechanics, who cruise the streets of Las Vegas to find projects for his shop, Count's Kustoms.

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Their projects are usually vintage muscle cars or hot rods, but on a recent episode Roli--the shop's "resident detailer"--fell in love with a derelict CitiCar and decided to rebuild it.

The CitiCar was created by Bob Beaumont, and was launched in 1974. Around 4,400 cars were sold by both Sebring Vanguard and Commuter Vehicles.

Until well into 2011, that made the CitiCar the best-selling postwar U.S. electric car in history.

Courtesy of the show, we can count one more that has returned to the road to provide more years of zero-emission travel--not to mention a whole lot of questions from onlookers.

[hat tip: Rick Feibusch]

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