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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

EV on Ebay

Air Date: Week of

Sanat Kumara poses next to his winning item, a 2003 all-electric RAV-4. (Photo courtesy of Sanat Kumara)

Auction closed. A 2003 Toyota RAV4 Electric Vehicle just sold on eBay for $67,300, a record price for a secondhand electric vehicle. And it's also double what the original owners paid when they bought it new - three years and 59,000 miles ago. Host Steve Curwood talks with winning bidder Sanat Kumara.


CURWOOD: EBay is the place where you might pick up a mounted Russian boar – “Wild boar closed-mouth shoulder collectible mount” –for the low-low price of 100 bucks.

But, hey, if that's not your style, you might be intrigued by a "2003 Toyota RAV4 EV" - Electric Car. Imagine: No emissions. No gas stations. No tailpipes. It's secondhand, but the sellers say they love it. Ah, but you are too late!

The RAV4 EV just sold on eBay for $67,300, a record price for a secondhand electric vehicle and double what the original owners paid for it new. Sanat Kumara was the winning bidder and he joins me now. Welcome.

KUMARA: Thank you.

CURWOOD: So talk me through the economics of this decision. This car is three years old, it has almost 60,000 miles on it. Why is it worth twice the original price?

Sanat Kumara poses next to his winning item, a 2003 all-electric RAV-4. (Photo courtesy of Sanat Kumara)

KUMARA: Well, I work in the area of ecology, I have a solar home, and I really wanted a RAV4. And this particular RAV4 has the new batteries and it’s in very new condition, and I only saw it just a day and a half before it was sold. And then in the process it went up to the price that it did, but in my research it was worth that value so I went ahead and bought it.

CURWOOD: Tell me a bit about this auction. What was that scene like in the final moments of the auction? Are your palms sweating?

KUMARA: They were very much sweating. I was in shock. Even after the fact, after I had bought it, I just sat there in shock over the fact that I paid this much money for a car.

CURWOOD: So what does this tell us about the times we live in when a secondhand electric vehicle goes for twice its original price?

KUMARA: I think the reason why this went up to $67,000 is because I have a major interest in it. Somebody else also had a major interest in it – I don’t know what it was – but mine was because it’s so hard to get a good electric car that will serve the purpose that I want.

CURWOOD: Wait a second. $60,000 I could buy, let’s see, I see an ad here for a 2003 Hummer2. Now it sold for a deal, it was only $26,100. That’s about a third what you paid for that RAV4, and nobody will mess with you in traffic when you drive something that big.

KUMARA: Yeah, but I’m an ecologist. You know, when you’re an ecologist you really get off on being an ecologist rather than driving this great big Hummer. I mean, I just pass by those gas stations and I just go to where I want to go. And I come right back home and I have my own little gas station here at home that I plug into this solar system that I have hooked up for electricity, which costs me absolutely nothing to drive this car.

CURWOOD: So now you work at a Tibetan center there. You teach Buddhist philosophy?

KUMARA: That’s right.

CURWOOD: So how does this purchase tie in with those teachings?

KUMARA: Harmlessness. Complete environmental harmlessness and proper attitude toward economy.

CURWOOD: Sanat Kumara was the winning bidder of the electric RAV4. Thank you so much.

KUMARA: You’re welcome. Thank you.



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