Electric car charging stations, like this one, will have to become more commonplace if electric cars are going to catch on.

Adventures of Pam & Frank via Flickr/Creative Commons

This post, part of a series we're running all about electric cars, was written by Akweli Parker from HowStuffWorks.com.

So if electric cars are so great for the environment, why haven't they caught on yet? There are lots of political reasons for this, and a few technical ones.

One of the major technical ones is that electric cars have been plagued for a long time with a peculiar "chicken-and-egg" question: people won't buy them unless they have a reliable network of places to recharge them when they happen to be a long way from home. But no one wants to take the financial risk of building recharging stations if there isn't a built-up market of customers to serve.

That said, a number of companies, public agencies, and organizations are working to solve the recharging riddle. Here are a few proposals for recharging electric cars: