Imagine a perfect world, or a world close to perfect: one without noxious CO2 emissions and a rapidly declining ozone layer caused by millions of gas-guzzling vehicles crowding the streets of the world. The possibility is closer than ever, when automakers plan to have as many as 30 different electric cars driving down U.S. avenues by 2015! (Although visionaries have always planned for electric cars, as seen in the 1905 version, above!)
Unlike hybrid cars, which are still powered by a battery and a gasoline engine, electric cars today are powered exclusively by electricity. What’s changed? Battery technology has improved, meaning that batteries stay charged for longer distances, and auto makers are better able to respond to consumer demand.
Electric cars reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Drivers of EV’s (Electric Vehicles) charge their cars at home, never go to gas stations, and never have to schedule oil changes or emission tests. Some, like the Chevrolet Volt, retain their hybrid status, giving drivers the option of using gas for longer journeys. With an MSRP of $31,645., the Volt is typical of the new brand of affordable EVs, very different from the six figure Tesla. (Even they have a new Model S rolling out this fall, with prices beginning at $49,999.)
Today, you can buy a Chevrolet Volt, a Nissan Leaf, or a Mitsubishi i-MIEV, all for under $50,000. There’s also a $7,500. federal tax credit available Take a look:
Chevrolet Volt owners only go to the gas station once a month, according to the manufacturer. Launched in 2011, new models have an extended range and the option of electricity or gas. MSRP: $31,645.
There are already 36,000 Nissan Leafs on the road, With no tailpipe and no emissions and no gas station fill ups, the starting MSRP of $35,200. has become affordable to more environmentally-minded consumers.
The Mitsubishi i-MIEV claims to be the most affordable electric car available. The starting MSRP of $29,975. gets you a car with a markedly different appearance: the company says it’s their “eco-status symbol,” designed to get people thinking about creating a different world.
Charging your car on the electric grid means that the environmental cost is transferred to the utility company rather than OPEC oil dealers. Although that’s still not a perfect solution, it maintains a stronger local economy in our own country, rather than paying for high priced oil. At a cost to operate of 2 cents per mile, versus a gasoline powered cost of 9 cents a mile, and no emissions, it clearly seems as if we should support the new technology. The more electric cars we purchase, the faster the solutions will be developed.
The future belongs to us and to the decisions we make about how to live. I believe in the Power of One to make a difference in the world. My next car? I’m not sure which I’ll buy, but it’s going to be electric.