Are electric cars a failed experiment?

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How Formula E Will Work

Formula E is an all-electric racing series scheduled to begin in 2014. Learn more about Formula E at HowStuffWorks.


Author's Note: Are electric cars a failed experiment?

Even if the electric car could be conclusively deemed a failed experiment, it's hard to believe that it will ever really go away. It's too compelling of a concept, especially since we're told repeatedly that developing and adopting low-energy vehicles, juiced up with a clean, renewable energy source, is the only way future generations will be able to justify driving cars at all.

As we discussed in this article, there are multiple points of failure in electric vehicles -- available technology, car design, infrastructure, economy and public perception. But so much work has already been done that it seems like only a few things need to fall into place before the plan becomes plausible again. Maybe gas-electric hybrids will eventually become good enough that a mass conversion to fully electric vehicles won't be worth the effort. But until that happens, the drawbacks to electric vehicles only provide practical arguments ... not an emotional one.

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Sources

  • Demorro, Christopher. "Some Authorized Chevy Volt Dealers Cease Selling Hybrid Over $5,100 in Tools." Gas 2.org. Jan. 3, 2013. (Jan. 9, 2013) http://gas2.org/2013/01/03/some-authorized-chevy-volt-dealers-cease-selling-hybrid-over-5100-in-tools
  • Plumer, Brad. "CBO: Government will spend $7.5 billion on electric vehicles. What are we getting back?" The Washington Post. Sept. 21, 2012. (Jan. 9, 2013) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/09/21/cbo-government-will-spend-7-5-billion-on-electric-vehicles-what-are-we-getting-back/
  • Shahan, Zachary. "California Plug-In Car Owners Driving Less & Saving Serious Money." CleanTechnica. Aug. 26, 2012. (Jan. 9, 2013) http://cleantechnica.com/2012/08/26/california-plug-in-car-owners-driving-less-saving-serious-money/