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Electric all-terrain vehicles, which have no gas engine and can be powered from a battery bank, can reduce costs and the carbon footprint, says Randy Brooks, owner of Brooks Solar, Inc., in Chelan, Washington.

Brooks is a dealer for Gorilla electric ATVs and bought one himself four years ago. There’s no maintenance required other than checking the water and batteries once in a while.

"You get on it in the morning and unplug it and away you go," he said. "There’s no maintenance at all."

The Gorilla can carry a load of up to 650 pounds, but there is a disadvantage. It only comes in two-wheel drive, which means it can lose traction going uphill, and as the brakes are only on the rear wheels, it’s easy to skid coming downhill. But on relatively flat ground, it works well, and the operating costs are far lower than for a gas vehicle, Brooks estimates.

He is converting a compact car to all-electric drive for his own use and estimates that it will cost about 1 cent a mile for power, compared with 10 to 15 cents for a gasoline-powered car.

With the combination of hydropower and other renewable energy sources, people in the Pacific Northwest have an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint tremendously and still have low-cost equipment to do the things they need to do, he added.