Electric car maker targets college students

Miles Electric Vehicles is hoping to create buzz around its little-known company by launching a green-themed Web site and video contest aimed at college students.

The average person has probably never heard of Miles electric cars. The fledgling Miles Automotive Group, originally based in Malibu and now located in a renovated building at the Santa Monica airport in Southern California, currently makes small, low-speed electric vehicles used primarily by universities, government and the military.

Miles ZX40 low-speed car Miles Automotive Group

But as it gears up to launch its first freeway-speed consumer car, Miles is hoping to raise its profile by urging college students to create and upload their own videos about how electric cars can help clean up the environment. Miles will post the videos on YouTube and will award each of the five students with the most traffic a $1,000 scholarship and a Miles electric car for their school. (Click here to see more photos of Miles' electric cars.)

The contest Web site, No Gas Required, attempts to educate students about global warming and includes links to green blogs, a glossary of terms, and information on how to contact government representatives.

Miles claims that "based on typical fleet driving," a university can eliminate about 12,000 pounds of carbon emissions a year for each gas-powered vehicle it replaces with an all-electric car or truck. Of course, the true environmental impact of driving an electric car shouldn't be measured solely by the absence of a tailpipe. How the electricity is generated also helps to determine just how eco-friendly we're being. How and where the cars are made, along with the battery material and life, are other considerations.

Miles plans on launching its midsize sedan, the Miles XS500, sometime in 2008.

About the author

    Laura Burstein is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. She covers car news and events for a variety of companies including CNET, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz. Laura is a member of the Motor Press Guild and the BMW Car Club of America, and spends much of her spare time at high-performance driving schools, car control clinics, and motorsports events. She's also an avid Formula 1 fan. When she's not at the track, Laura's rubbing elbows with car cognoscenti at auto shows, auctions, design events, and various social gatherings. Disclosure.

     

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