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?
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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