The next 12 months will be a big test for electric cars. After years of hype, several prominent auto manufacturers are finally releasing new electric vehicle models for sale to the general public. The Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are just two of several new EVs that you’ll soon see driving along streets and highway.
Or will you?
There has been quite some debate over the question of can electric cars go mainstream? After the famous documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car, there are many that still believe that their batteries are too expensive, the travel ranges are too small, and plug-in/recharging too inconvenient.
At the recent Washington Post Energy Conference, an expert panel on electric vehicles addressed some of the questions and concerns on the minds of consumers considering this new way of commuting.
Tony Posawatz, vehicle line director, Chevrolet Volt:
“The first electric plug-in cars will be plugged in overnight. So when you talk about the relationship between the auto sector and the utility sector, its a good thing for both. … Its an enjoyable experience in my pajamas to plug in the car and then go to bed and wake up in the morning and its fully charged.”
Carlos Tavares, executive vice president, Nissan Motor Co.:
“No tailpipe, no gas, plus zero emission. … When you go for zero emissions, when you have one single power source and you have one-third of the cost per mile as a conventional car, then you can demonstrate that it makes economical sense.”
David Vieau, president and CEO, A123 Systems:
“I think that although there’s still reason for skepticism until we’ve run 10 years of continuous service, there’s enough data in the lab, but also enough field data now over the course of the last three or four years, to give us some comfort in the fact that the batteries are real.”
David Crane, president and CEO, NRG Energy:
“Our view is that for at least the next few years, even when you go from early adopters to pragmatists, almost every electric vehicle sold is going to be a second or a third car. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I think there are 60 million families in the United States that own more than one car, so that’s still a big market.”
Alan Crane, senior program director, National Research Council:
“We’re clearly going to have a lot of electric vehicles on the road, but whether it’s in 20 years, a few million or several tens of millions, I just don’t know. It could be either one of those extremes or in between. There will be a fair number of them, though – but there are several things that could hold them back. The cost has to come way down from what it is now.”
So now you’ve read what the experts are saying… what are your thoughts? Can electric cars go mainstream?