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Tales from the Road…

It Takes Two to Tango - Tango by Commuter Cars

By Laurel B. Miranda
Rainbow of Tangos in Burlingame

Knowing that his wife wanted a “greener” lifestyle and looking to find her a special birthday present, Val Vaden researched various environmentally friendly car options on the Internet. He was impressed with the unique look of the electric Tango, as well as its "over-engineered" performance and safety features.

Unlike many electric cars that are based on sport car styling, the Tango is designed to be narrower than many of the wider motorcycles, allowing two Tangos to drive side-by-side on the freeway in the same lane. Like the Smart car, a Tango accommodates two passengers, but instead of sitting next to each other like in the Smart Fortwo, they sit one behind the other, more along the lines of an enclosed motorcycle.

While built to allow more cars on the freeway at once, do not be fooled…the Tango is not just a commuter car. It uses two electric motors to go zero to sixty in four seconds, putting it in the sports car performance category. Moreover, it uses many of the same safety innovations as race cars, including a stainless steel chassis with a chromium molybdenum roll cage.

But what finally sold Val on the Tango was its appearance on the cover of the Christmas Hammacher Schlemmer catalog in 2006. Val figured this meant the Tango would be ready for delivery in just a few weeks.

Val contacted Commuter Cars in Spokane, Washington and put down a deposit on the Tango. In terms of ordering the car, his only decisions were the type of battery and the color of the car (green – of course!). But as with other early adopters of green car technology, Val, and his wife Lilli Rey, would have to learn to be patient.

As of the writing of this article, Lilli is just days away from receiving her birthday present after two years on the waitlist. The car will be shipped as a kit and will be assembled at Mechanically Speaking in Burlingame. To register her car with the DMV, Lilli is planning to work with a firm that specializes in registering hand-built cars.

While Lilli anticipates having a lot of fun maneuvering around town and parking in her new car, she confesses to being a little bit nervous about receiving too much attention from crowds of onlookers. Lilli would probably do well to follow the advice of fellow early adopter Jon Mittelhauser and avoid driving the Tango to Fry’s Electronics, unless she has a lot of extra time on her hands to answer questions from the many admirers her car is sure to attract.

Special Article Series on Environmentally Friendly "Green Cars"

Compliments of Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance