2011 Smart electric drive - first drive

2011 Smart electric drive - first drive

Electric vehicles, even plug-in hybrids are basically non-existent on our roads today. Of the millions of cars purchased and driven each year, a small fraction of them are powered by batteries and electric motors. Although the industry has been gradually developing the technology and prepping consumers, the EV has yet to threaten the century-long reign of the gas-powered automobile. Some members of the U.S. Government have begun taking steps to guarantee the plug-in a fighting chance by the year 2030.

A bill approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week could provide an abundance of funding required to make our country EV-friendly, and encourage shoppers to consider buying them. Specifically, $3.9billion would be available for the development of battery charging infrastructures and incentives for potential buyers. A well established charging network is absolutely necessary to give buyers confidence in the EV.

The Senate's goal is to replace about half of the cars in the U.S. with electric ones. It hopes the move toward battery-powered vehicles will cause a substantial decrease in our nation's oil consumption. The bill was approved in tandem with another plan to fund solar energy system integration into homes and businesses, further reducing the need for petroleum-based power sources.

Taking over half of the automotive market with EVs is certainly an ambitious goal, even in 20 years. The government can build all the charging stations and offer all the rebates it wants, but people still have to want to buy plug-in electric cars. A lot can happen in 20 years though. Conflict between nations, natural disasters, and economic turmoil can change our priorities in a matter of days. Imagine cars from 1990... do they seem that different from the ones for sale today? Can consumers handle a fundamental change in the way cars are built and driven? For Americans, it's all a matter of convenience. Make the EV do what they want, and they will drive it.

[Wall Street Journal]