Vespas have gone mainstream. For hipsters like yourself, that's a problem. Rocking a scooter was an easy way to show you were one of the coolest of the cool. But now that the Starbucks-swigging masses are riding them, their image has been forever soiled. Desperate times call for desperate measures. You need to throw money at the problem — $8,995, in fact, for a three-wheeled MP3.
Sure, that will set you back a couple of grand more than most scooters with similar engines, but you'll get two wheels rather than one upfront, which gives the vehicle more stability. Push a button on the MP3 when stationary, and it stays perfectly balanced, avoiding the need to put your feet on the road at traffic lights. Filling its gas tank will cost about $9 and you're good for a planet-saving 250 kilometres. But here's why you really need an MP3: very few people own one. Piaggio started selling the trike nationwide in April, but they're in tight supply. Attaining hipper-than-thou status was never easier.
So you want to save Mother Earth from the evils of global warming? Fine. Just don't say that's the sole reason you plan to roll in a Silence T1, a three-wheeled electric car under development in Plessisville, Que. Quite frankly, you'd be lying. Yes, the vehicle will be able to squeeze as much as 400 kilometres out of a six-hour charge, but it will also rocket from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in under six seconds. The TI's electric motor is expected to pump out the equivalent of 400 horsepower in a regular car. And, thanks to its road-hugging chassis and extra-wide tires, the T1 should pull off sharp turns with ease — although you might toss your tofu in the process. Unfortunately and despite its name, the Silence will make a lot of noise — think electric blender. A deeper, heavier roar seems more appropriate given the T1's expected performance.
Silence Inc. hopes to ship its first T1 in spring 2008, but you can test drive a prototype this summer. The T1's price tag starts at $60,000. Living a carbon-neutral lifestyle sure ain't cheap.
Lexus LS 600h L
If you're at all interested in the sticker price of the 2008 Lexus LS 600h L, then be advised, my pedestrian pal, this luxury sedan wasn't designed for your driveway. Like the LS 460, Toyota's current flagship, the LS 600h L is aimed at the wealthy. New money. Old money. Doesn't matter. What matters is attracting consumers who enjoy keeping up with the Jetsons — technology lovers willing to buy something they may never use (read: Lexus's self-parking technology) so they can deflate the egos living next door.
My wife, normally a Euro-car snob, thought the massaging back-seat recliner and ottoman available with the executive package on LS sedans was a lame idea. Then she found the Shiatsu button. “We're cooking with oil now,” she exclaimed to my two-year-old, who was awestruck watching the Ice Age DVD on what might just be the greatest entertainment system ever on four wheels.
Like the LS 460, the LS 600h L offers a private jet–like experience with too many bells and whistles to list. What's new? The 2008 model can actually watch you watch the road. If you're not, it'll even attempt to stop itself if necessary. It's also a full hybrid V8, promising V12 performance with “70% fewer emissions than the cleanest of its competitors.” That means you can hide the inconvenient truth, and claim you bought it for the environment. Oh yeah, prices start at $132,000, and the executive package is $158,000.