Electric cars are not a new-innovative concept; our nation has seen or heard about electric cars since 1909. However, it hasn’t been until recently that automakers and the general public are taking the “rebirth” of electric cars seriously.
Earlier this year we have seen the 100% electric Nissan Leaf and the extended range electric Chevy Volt, which runs on electricity for 35 miles and then a small gas powered motor recharges the battery to last hundreds of miles longer. Both cars have put electric cars into the limelight and now all automakers seem to be all in. At the end of this year Ford Motor Company will launch the all-new Focus Electric, which is a 100% electric vehicle that is rumored to have a 100 mile range on one charge. Ford has also announced that they will be launching a Plug-In Hybrid and two next-generation hybrids for people who have longer daily commutes.
Aside from Ford, Nissan and Chevy (GM,) Mitsubishi has announced they will be launching the i-MiEV and Toyota has announced that they will be releasing a new Rav 4 EV.
If you look in the news, every automaker is gearing up for an electrical arms race that has been spurred by high gas prices and climate change concerns. Everyone wants to be able to drive more at a less substantial cost to themselves and the environment. General Motors recent partnership with LG shows that the world of cars in the near and distant future will be heavily dominated by electrification and possibly Compressed Natural Gas vehicles.
Should we be happy about this transformation? Only time will tell; there have been numerous reports citing possible unintended consequences by switching to electric vehicles. One recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office suggests that while electric vehicles will ultimately cut down on greenhouse gases on the road, it may not be cutting down completely on greenhouse gases because the need for power plants will increase as more electric vehicles are sold and electric charging stations are built.
Whether or not this warning by the GAO is valid, I think we should be open minded moving forward. Everywhere I read there are either people against electric vehicles, for electric vehicles, or they think natural gas is the solution. We need to be open minded about everything moving forward or we will make no progress as a society and will ultimately damage ourselves even more. We need electric vehicles, we need natural gas vehicles, and we need more fuel efficient gas vehicles. Our infrastructure cannot sustain using one solution, we need to use all solutions and consider all possible consequences, so we can move forward in the most efficient and responsible way.
Let’s stop the bickering and start finding the solutions, as the auto industry seems to be doing.