America's Sad Love Affair With the Electric Car

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Electric cars started 2011 with a lot of hype and ended the year with a big face-plant. Combined sales for the plug-in electric movement's marquee names, General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, clocked in at fewer than 20,000 units. IDC Energy Insights predicted that half a million plug-ins would sell in 2011, which now seems downright silly.

Don't worry, IDC. You're far from the first to get burned by your love of the electric car.

Most have been wrong
Modern history is littered with lofty technological predictions that turned out to be ludicrously off-base, and the electric car has been a serial offender. In Power Hungry, Robert Bryce uncovered a long list of false optimism:

  • The New York Times declares that the electric car "has long been recognized as the ideal solution" because it "is cleaner and quieter" and "much more economical." -- 1911
  • The Washington Post writes that "prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family." -- 1915
  • The New York Times reports that the "old electric may be the car of tomorrow." The story said that electric cars were making a comeback because "gasoline is expensive today, principally because it is so heavily taxed, while electricity is far cheaper" than it was back in the 1920s. -- 1959
  • The Los Angeles Times says that American Motors Corp. is on the verge of producing an electric car, the Amitron, to be powered by lithium batteries capable of holding 330 watt-hours per kilogram. (That's more than two times the energy density of modern lithium-ion batteries.) Backers of the Amitron said, "We don't see a major obstacle in technology. It's just a matter of time." -- 1967
  • The Washington Post reports that General Motors has found "a breakthrough in batteries" that "now makes electric cars commercially practical." The new zinc-nickel oxide batteries will provide the "100-mile range that General Motors executives believe is necessary to successfully sell electric vehicles to the public." -- 1979
  • In an opinion piece, The Washington Post avers that "practical electric cars can be built in the near future." By 2000, the average family would own cars, predicted the Post, "tailored for the purpose for which they are most often used." It went on to say that "in this new kind of car fleet, the electric vehicle could play a big role -- especially as delivery trucks and two-passenger urban commuter cars. With an aggressive production effort, they might save 1 million barrels of oil a day by the turn of the century." -- 1980

Who holds back the electric car?
Hype will continue despite this long history of dashed electric hopes. The 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? places blame for the "murder" on the shoulders of oil companies and automakers, absolving plug-in electric's key technology: the batteries. But battery technology, though far from blameless, is merely one of three huge hurdles the electric car must leap past to attain widespread support.

Computer chips keep improving, and solar panels get more efficient, but electric car batteries seem stuck in a rut. The new Ford (NYSE: F  ) Focus electric's range? About 100 miles. GM's groundbreaking EV1 from 1999, featured in the film, maxed out at 160 miles -- but it took eight hours to fully charge.

One nano-engineered solution to both capacity and charging-time issues could make both 10 times more efficient, and might reach the market in three to five years. That would be a major leap toward popular adoption, but as you can see by the LA Times quote above, advanced battery technology has been around the corner for decades. If that long-standing hurdle is finally passed this time, the possibly maybe-inevitable electric car boom still finds itself (for now) beholden to China and its hoard of rare-earth elements.

Renewable crutch
A Prius' battery contains more than 20 pounds of lanthanum. China is the world's source for nearly all of this and most other rare-earth elements. Electric cars of many stripes make copious use of rare earths, and China -- through low export quotas -- has made it clear that it would rather use them in-house.

That works well for Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA  ) , but poorly for Molycorp (NYSE: MCP  ) . Tesla's vehicle design uses no rare-earth elements, leaving it free to push forward while other companies worry. Tesla's also providing Toyota a rare-earth-free motor for the electric RAV4, and tight supplies may well boost its partner list. On the other hand, Colorado-based Molycorp may never gain more than 15% of the rare-earth market, leaving it highly susceptible to price wars in the best of times. If you don't think China's willing to engage in price wars to gain market dominance in any industry, you haven't been paying attention.

Many rivers to cross
Let's say we're over those hurdles. Batteries have become good enough to support most American driving habits and the rare-earth supply crunch is out of the picture. The last obstacle is convenience. The most recent economic census found more than 118,000 gas stations in the United States, and at any given location you'll be able to fill your car up in less than five minutes. By comparison, Nissan's Leaf requires half an hour with so-called "fast" charging stations, and eight hours under normal conditions.

Of course, the electric car offers the advantage of charging at home, so every Leaf (all 9,300 of them) could have its own AeroVironment (Nasdaq: AVAV  ) charging station in the garage. What about people without a place for a charging station, or people who drive often, or college kids on a road trip? There are currently 1,894 publicly accessible electric charging stations in the country, with most (as you might expect) in California. That's not going to cut it.

To reach a broad audience, electric cars need a refueling infrastructure that takes into account the diverse living, working, and driving situations of the populace. Not only that, they need it to be efficient -- spending half an hour waiting for the car to charge while heading from Point A to Point B is not any driver's idea of a quick fill-up.

Charged-up final thoughts
Anyone proposing a glorious plug-in future needs to understand both the troubled past and fitful present of the electric car. Moving the world toward a new technology is never easy, especially when so many diverse components are needed to make it a part of people's lives. Battery technology must improve, and it must be met with manufacturing that avoids reliance on scarce elements and a robust and rapid infrastructure. Only then can America's love affair with the electric car have -- after a century of waiting -- a happy ending.

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Fool contributor Alex Planes holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter for more news and insights. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford Motor, General Motors, AeroVironment, and Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (30) | Recommend This Article (26)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 12:28 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    Good, if sad, analysis.

    The solution to the automobile is not an electric automobile. It is a genuine public transit network.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 12:56 PM, ejazz2095 wrote:

    It's not a public transit system either. The last thing we need is more gov't intervention.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 1:49 PM, AdvanderMeer wrote:

    Your quotes are nice, but the rest of your article is sad in depth and accuracy. You show no in depth knowledge of electric cars whatsoever.

    Also, a free report is only really free when you want nothing in return even if it's "only" information. Unfortunately, after filling out the information there is no "free" report to found also.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 1:54 PM, hejhejfool wrote:

    I agree that electric cars have been over-hyped. Although I can't figure out why there's so much emotion over these cars. They're hardly a threat to anyone's precious SUV-love (except mine).

    I bought one last year (Nissan LEAF) as a daily commuter car and really didn't expect much. It's a bit of an econobox compared to what I'm used to. After a year and 13k miles I'm starting to love the thing. It's quiet, accelerates from stop like a sling-shot and has been zero trouble. The $7500 tax credit is a nice perk. Not as good as the $16k break I got on the 2003 SUV this car has sidelined. Saved about $2400 in gas after including the modest additional electric bill. I love not swiping a credit card at the gas pump every month. That $ just goes right out of the country to the tune of almost $0.5Trillion every year. I'm just surprised how nice it is to drive compared to my turbo-charged gas burner. Not sure I'll buy another new car that doesn't have a plug.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 4:46 PM, SonicFoolAz wrote:

    The writer clearly doesn't have an electric car. Your usage patterns change significantly. Folks charge at home or at work and many major employers offer an electric car charger or plugs one can plug into.

    The quick charge stations, yes, can take 15 minutes or so to get to an 85% charge, but, in reality, they are rarely needed. For longer trips they provide that extra juice to get to your primary charging location and for long haul trips a 15 minute stop to pick up a coke every 100 miles isn't really all that different than the rest stop folks make in a gas car.

    I still go to gas stations, but, for food, stamps, etc.

    I have a much higher end vehicle I almost never drive now. The electric is more quiet and a crisper drive. I plug in every couple nights, it takes less than two seconds, and I'm ready to go. Its a huge time safer over the dirty inconvienient gas station visit each week. Not to mention now I pay about 1$5/20 bucks a month in electricity versus the $240+ a month in gas.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 5:57 PM, mhonarvar wrote:

    decrease the size of the battery pack, standardize it so it fits in every vehicle and make it removable.

    drive to a charging station...drop off your empty battery...pick up a new one (pay charging fee etc) off.

    You can do it with a propane tank...why not a battery.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 6:07 PM, DrK1295 wrote:

    Sadly you all, and the article, miss the biggest negative about electric cars. There is substantially more electricity produced with coal then all other sources combined. What does this mean? Your electric car is no cleaner to drive then a combustion engine. Ironically the same people who support electric vehicles are the people that are opponents of coal and nuclear power, so where is the electricty supposed to come from for this supposed transitiion to electric cars...oh now I remember, a kite with a key on it.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 7:40 PM, sdjaffe wrote:


    Please provide your source for IDC predicting that 500,000 EV's would sell in 2011. As IDC Energy Insights EV analyst, I should know what our predictions are and our EV forecast for 2011 was an order of magnitude smaller than that. Please contact me with your source (I sent you an email to your address), or just pull the faulty reference.--Sam Jaffe, IDC Energy Insights

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 7:56 PM, SunDriver wrote:

    Nissan said BEFORE the Leaf came out that it would produce 20,000 units, the maximum possible out of one factory. 10,000 of those for the US.

    Even after earthquakes, Tsunamis, nuclear leaks, Thai floods, they delivered 9,764. Volt always was targeted at 10,000 first year. They did a mid-year factory retool that closed the doors for two months, and ended up at around 7,000 units.

    In other words, sales have been constrained by supply.

    Unfortunately, the obviously organized anti-EV and solar power pundits could have an effect on potential EV buyers with factually flawed article after article with an ant-EV and solar bias. Most of these pundits have never stepped within 100' of an EV.

    At 3.5 cents per mile in fuel costs for a Nissan Leaf, there is no more efficient way to drive. Especially if powered by solar.

    Tesla Roadster does 200 miles, Model S up to 300 miles. We're finally seeing some development despite the many special interests that are against EV's. Imagine our space program without NASA, that's where EV development has been for decades.

    It will be a slow ramp up with stumbles, but the genie is well and truly out of the bottle this time.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 8:17 PM, sdjaffe wrote:


    Thanks for the quick email reply. My apologies for the error in our press release. Our forecast actually called for 110,000 global PEV's in 2011, which is actually pretty close to published sales numbers (we included Neighborhood Electric Vehicles in our forecast, which account for somewhere between 40K and 60K sales globally). 2012 will tell whether you are correct that EV's are stinkers. But I disagree that we can draw that conclusion already based on only a few months of limited availability.--SJ

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 9:09 PM, MHolt9 wrote:

    There are still many challenges to be overcome in order to further develop electrification of automobiles, and expectations regarding these developments often overly optimistic. However, the technology that already exists today allows the Chevy Volt, for example, to be driven approximately 40 miles entirely on electricity stored in its battery that can be charged by plugging the car into an electrical outlet at home each evening. This 40 mile range is enough to satisfy the commuting needs of most individuals. Plug in the car at work and that range doubles.

    This is enough to greatly diminish the strategic importance of oil, since it immediately eliminates our dependence on oil for our most critical transportation needs. This is of great importance, but is still overlooked by a surprisingly large number of people.

    To eliminate range anxiety, Volt drivers can rely upon an on board generator to provide electrical power for an added range of about 300 miles, and still enjoy the convenience of quickly filling up their tanks with gasoline at the many existing gas stations. The fact that the Volt needs gasoline for infrequent trips that are often of a discretionary nature is a relatively insignificant issue in terms of measuring its effectiveness in reducing the strategic importance of oil.

    Moreover, the Volt's plug-and-play design would permit another type of generator, possibly even a fuel cell, to be easily substituted in the future for the Volt's existing gasoline powered backup generator. In the meantime, it is not necessary to completely eliminate our dependence on oil for 100% of our transportation needs. It is sufficient to essentially eliminate our reliance on oil for our critical daily driving needs.

    To illustrate, salt was once a strategic commodity. Wars were fought over salt because it was so vital to the preservation of food. Then electricity and refrigeration came along and changed all that. We still use a lot of salt, but because its strategic significance has been so greatly reduced, few people even know who the world's major salt producers are. We have the ability, today, to turn oil into salt. All we need is for people to begin to adopt this technology, and for the rest of us to open our minds.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2012, at 10:49 PM, eagle752 wrote:

    I recently purchased a Chevy VOLT (Supposedly the first retail customer in Wisconsin to do so). I loved my GEO Metro getting 53 mpg, but it finally died of rust (darn salt). Driving the VOLT is like driving a spacecraft! And it's fun! All you do is plug it in to a 110 or 220 volt outlet and "fill-er-up". Granted the miles travelled on a charge aren't great, I don't have to worry about getting stranded if my batteries are exhausted (like the Leaf). The VOLT just switches over to the gas powered generator to power the drive motors and also charge the batteries. What do the Leaf owners do when their batteries die out in the country?? With the 3 modes of driving (Normal, Sport and Mountain) it handles any terrain or "stop-light sporting event". In Sport mode, it accelerates to 60 in about 5 seconds. Almost as good as the Tango.....which I really wanted, but not for $120,000.00 for a 2 passenger car. (See Tango at . My final word: when Chevy improves the batteries and therefore the miles travelled, they've got something -- especially with the gas generator feature. Oh, and by the way.....I'm not worried about catching fire in an accident == if you do your homework, you'll see that it has to be horrific crash and then it won't "burst into flame" immediately. I doubt if anybody would drive their "totalled" VOLT. Well, back to quiet ELECTRIC ride!

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 3:41 AM, BBLBBD wrote:

    Doesn't the electricty come from a power plant somewhere ? So, unless it is a natural gas burning, or hydroelectric plant, then there really is no such thing as an "electric" car. It's coal, oil, or gas car.

    The ultimate solution is not a modification of the engine of the car (or something even more retrograde like trains or such), but an entirely different transportation method.

    We went from two legs, to four legs (horses/animals), to two wheel (bikes), to four wheels (then up to 18 wheels), and now we need the next step.

    Government won't figure it out. The guys who figured out the steps before will do it. In order for them to do it, government must get the heck out of the way.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 12:27 PM, StarWitchDoctor wrote:

    chevy made a car in the eighties which was a fairly good and very much more economically attractive alternative to gasoline. They were offered much money to keep it available but due to liability (and the apparent lack of plan to mitigate such liability) the car was scuttled.

    Now we get an inefficient car, and we get to pay for the liability program. We get the worst of both worlds. The car is by no means more mechanically safe than its predesesor, however impact safety is much better.

    Detroit has not figured out how to contain batteries nor CNG.

    Shame on them.


  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 1:06 PM, ETFsRule wrote:


    Is IDC still predicting 2.7 million EV's on the roads (globally) by 2015? A quick google search finds several articles that cite this prediction.

    For instance:

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 1:29 PM, StarWitchDoctor wrote:

    DrK1295 nailed it.

    this is all folly. Your electric cars are no more ecological than the coal they burn.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 1:36 PM, StarWitchDoctor wrote:

    that tango looks ridiculous.

    at least the volt looks like it can be taken seriously.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 2:00 PM, SunDriver wrote:

    Every gallon of gasoline requires 12Kwh of electric power for the refining process, so one could say that gas engine cars are electric vehicles, except in the wrong way.

    The US power grid gets cleaner and cleaner every year, gas engines still burn gas no matter what.

    Many states use a very small percentage of coal for electricity, such as California, the number one EV market currently.

    Those of us who have solar power for our EV's have the most efficient means of fueling. Another option not available to gasoline cars.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2012, at 7:49 PM, soessex wrote:


    January 3, 2012

    Reference: US Patent 7,931,107 B2


    This recent patent enables the reduction of fuel consumption in motor vehicles by the storage of kinetic energy for reuse. This technology incorporates an infinitely variable transmission (IVT) in the form of an eddy current induction device (called a Modulator) coupled to a gear system to conquer the torque flow management problem caused by infinitely varying bi-directional energy flow between a moving vehicle mass and an associated rotating flywheel mass created by the fact that the respective mass velocities move in an inverse acceleration relationship.

    To illustrate this phenomenon, observe that as kinetic energy passes from the moving vehicle to, and is captured by, the flywheel it is caused to accelerate, however the vehicle is consequently caused to slow; but to function efficiently, the flywheel requires an ever increasing input-speed factor from a source which is ever slowing. This always changing speed dichotomy can only be effectively managed by an infinitely variable transmission, and, other than that offered by the above patent, none have been successful for the subject purpose.

    The technology reflected in this patent involves very few parts, and is therefore economical to manufacture. It is in addition, long lived, requires little maintenance, and is very durable. Importantly, this system is suitable not only for passenger car use, but also for delivery vans, trucks, and buses.

    The conservation of kinetic energy through the use of battery energy-storage technology is exceedingly inefficient while such a mechanical approach is well known to be very high in efficiency. As may be realized, existing battery hybrid technology was developed because it was a way around this, now solved, torque-management problem. As these complicated and costly battery-related electric energy arrangements only avoid, and do not solve this problem, the penalty for this has been the great loss of efficiency as compared to a mechanical storage system such as that proposed by the subject patent.

    Thank you,

    South Essex Engineering

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 11:24 AM, TMFDarwood11 wrote:


    The source of electricity is one of the issues. Currently, about 66% of all electricity generated east of the Mississipi is from coal fired power plants, per statistics I have seen at government sources. Total for coal is about 51%. So the hype about "clean" electric cars is a bit overblown.


    The electrical range of the Volt decreases substantially in onboard environmental systems are used. Heating that vehicle in the winter, as well as defrosting the windshield will severely limit the mileage. This is the primary reason I decided against such a vehicle at this time. That and my fond memories in a VW beetle in nasty winter weather in Chicago, with a fogged windshield on the expressway; I no longer crave such white-knuckle experiences; there are better ways to die.

    For large scale adaptation of electric vehicles, it would also seem that improved energy infrastructure (transmission) systems are required. Earlier this year, a bottleneck in transmission capacity prevented the normal operation of hydro and wind power systems in the Northwest.

    Personally, I think the design of longer lasting vehicles which are lighter in weight and thereby reduce fuel consumption per mile and the carbon footprint of manufacture, should be seriously considered. Possibilities include carbon fiber bodies with drop in systems, including power plants, electronics and drive components as a way to go. This will, however, require a huge change in the way vehicles are manufactured. Currently, the automobile manufacturers have hundreds of $billions invested in existing plants, technology and staffs.

    I had once suggested that the government promote such an initiative for the US post office, which boasts a fleet of over "215, the Postal Service fleet — the largest civilian fleet in the world." There was no reply. Congress didn't seem interested, either.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 11:27 AM, TMFDarwood11 wrote:

    Oops. Make that 215,625 in the Post Office fleet of vehicles, per the official US Post Office Website

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 2:26 PM, JGBFool wrote:

    The point about most electricity east of the Mississippi being produced by the burning of coal is a valid one. However, I have yet to see an emissions comparison in an "apples to apples" per KWH for a gasoline combustion engine and a coal-burning power plant. That would seem to be necessary in order to properly make a comparison over whether electric cars are responsible for similar emissions or not.

    The cost comparison seems to be solidly in favor of the electric vehicles, based on the above comments.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 4:13 PM, spectechinvest wrote:

    EV's are all about range. Once the range meets peoples expectations, they would rather have an EV they can charge in their home rather than stopping at the gas station once or twice a week.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 4:43 PM, wordjunkie wrote:

    Investors should check out Kandi (KNDI), a chinese company currently developing a car where the batteries are changed, not charged. They have joined with State Grid (the government-owned power company) to build battery-changing stations throughout China, making it easy to quickly have your battery changed and keep going. This alleviates many of the problems the article alluded to, and makes KNDI, with its government partnership, a very interesting stock.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 5:17 PM, jrj90620 wrote:

    I saw a PBS program where the CEO of Tesla said they will have a vehicle with a range of 250 miles this year.Said it would retail,starting at $50K.Not cheap,but I think the first internal combustion vehicles were only driven by the rich.About the energy coming from power plants making electric cars no more green than internal combustion cars.That's not correct,since it's a lot easier to monitor,control and reduce pollution from a small number of energy producers than from millions of cars.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2012, at 5:47 PM, neamakri wrote:

    I would still be riding my Vectrix electric motorcycle except it developed a couple of weak cells, so had to sell it. It was an absolute thrill to ride. Took it to work. Charged it at work. The round trip of 38 miles cost me about 25 cents. Also, the only maintenance was the tires!

    As for the discussion about coal-fired electricity: a generating plant is many, many times cleaner than a gasoline engine because it is monitored 24 hours by trained engineers to keep it running efficiently and cleanly. Just as jrj90620 said above...

  • Report this Comment On January 09, 2012, at 6:43 PM, Zutronic wrote:

    It's so sad that the government and oil companies killed the electric car. So many people wanted them and they were forbidden to buy them. However, at least greener alternatives are becoming more and more available.

  • Report this Comment On January 09, 2012, at 9:39 PM, EcoMouse wrote:

    People trying to downplay EV's by stating their power source as being less than green are missing the bigger picture. Here's one simple fact... our power grid does not save it's excess power to be used later. Once it's created and sent on down the transmission lines, it's gone whether it's consumed or not. Would it not be better to have cars plugged into the grid siphoning off the excess power rather than it going to waste? Reduces the carbon output of a coal fired plant when more of it's product is being used by more people.

    Secondly, there are over 200 refuse powered plants and growing. All of them burn at over 2500 degrees for a complete combustion and recirculate the fumes/emissions back into the furnace. And the remaining exhaust is scrubbed in a kind of catalytic convert before it's expelled into the air. Many older coal fired plants are being retrofitted to this emissions cleaning process, if not replaced all together.

    Third, there is considerable amounts of clean power being generated by nuclear, hydroelectric, wave generators, solar/wind farms and geothermal. All of those I just mentioned are growing and replacing coal fired plants. Arguing against electric vehicles because one thinks they are not entirely green is very myopic. Electric generation technology is always growing and changing. Internal combustion technology isn't changing at the same rate. Electricity will continue to be easier and greener to produce while burning fossil fuels will still generate the same kinds of pollutants. No more disguising it through smog regulations and installing 5 cat converters on every new vehicle.

    Cars in the late 70s were getting 45 mpg. (I've got the sales brochures to prove it) And they were inexpensive. We called them econo-boxes, and that was ok, you knew what you were getting for $3995 or less. That's what people want again today. Unfortunately the mpg's haven't incrementally gone up as technology progressed. It's gotten worse. And the sad part is, to get a vehicle today that gets 45 mpg or better now it's a premium price of over $40k! What happened between then and now?

    Finally, the most taboo topic NOT talked about when it comes to pollution. THE REST OF THE DEVELOPING INDUSTRIAL WORLD!! We have this attitude here in the U.S. that states, "As long as it's not in my backyard, then I don't care." We continue to pass laws and more and more stringent regulations of emissions, transportation, commerce, trade etc., for the sake of our "Clean Air". Which is fine and all, we should care about our environment and be global leaders and trend setters. But who keeps China and India (et al) from freely polluting? Their carbon emissions effect us too... just because we can't see them directly, doesn't mean that they aren't pumping trillions of tons of greenhouse gases into the air. We turn a blind eye to their shabby industrial practices for the sake of our mass consumerism. As long as the shelves of Wally World are stocked with useless goodies from China, we don't ask and don't want to know.

    We need to be setting the trends for the future. If that means more electric cars, then let's start developing an infrastructure to support it. China is already making inroads to this approach. And if they end up setting the standards for the rest of the world to follow (instead of the U.S.) then who would be able to stand up and tell them to cut down their pollution? Why would they listen to anyone who isn't out front anymore? When their status quo is working just fine AND they have more EV cars on the road they won't have to take crap from anybody.

    Support EV cars here in the states. Support greener power production here at home. Go Team USA!!

  • Report this Comment On January 10, 2012, at 3:24 AM, earlyadopter1 wrote:

    Wow!! You know if you do not like EV's, just don't buy one. Instead you write an opinionated based, inaccurate, biased piece here on a subject you yourself appear to know nothing about. Have you driven an electric vehicle? Or even a hybrid? I will not answer that for you have you have here for everyone else in your piece. You state here: "To reach a broad audience, electric cars need a refueling infrastructure that takes into account the diverse living, working, and driving situations of the populace." If you had done your homework you would know that there are 3 different timeframes to charge your EV. 110V which is about 12 hours, 240V which is 4-6 and the Quick Charger you mention with is 15-30 minutes. Is this not diverse enough for you. There are charging stations in cities, workplaces, & at shopping centers. Still not diverse enough for you!! Because the current autos give you only one refueling option: Gasoline and you come to us only.

    You state that "the EV1 took 8 hours to fully charge." Let me ask you, what are the two places you spend the most time at? Home & Work, right?! Well, you usual spend 8 hours at those locations and that is how you would charge your EV. You may or may not understand that the world keeps changing and that technology tries to keep pace. However, we still have telephones, TV's, etc.. The electric car was around before the gasoline car and would still be the car of choice if there wasn't a need for people to make money off of every little thing that they make. Gasoline was the by product of Oil refinering and they wanted to sell this product. They knew that engines worked off this product and they saw their opportunity. I firmly believe that if they could have seen what the future would be like, they would have developed better battery technology.

    Imagine if they had not bowed to the greed of money and instead did the smarter option. We would be opening up our glove compartments and pulling out our battery to propel us for the next weeks worth of travel.

    So, next time you feel the need to bow to Ford's needs and write another article on EV's. Drive an EV first for 30 days and then see if we need to make more Taurus'. Because the next time you need to buy a car, they may just ask you if want to buy the 2 gallon model, the 6 gallon model, or the 14 gallon model. Because that is how they are spoon feeding the EV's that they are serving up now.

    Finally, I think you should read Chris Balish's book "How to Live Well Without Owning a Car." You just might learn something. Because I don't think they have an App for you yet.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2012, at 11:26 AM, Npard23 wrote:

    Historically, the author is correct. However, with the release on the Tesla Model S, Tesla has built an electric car with a 300 mile range (Philadelphia to Boston distance) that is price comparable to current luxury cars. They have already sold out the first line of production and Tesla's car lineup (into lower price levels) and battery technology will only improve.

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