Is an all-electric car a bad investment?

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Author's Note: Is an all-electric car a bad investment?

After you crunch all the relevant numbers, the purchase or non-purchase of an all-electric car will be a highly personal one. From what I gather, much of the enthusiasm for electrics (OK, let's just call it "hype") needs to be tempered with a bit more patience -- newer technologies are going to experience setbacks. They'll require an education curve before potential adopters embrace them in large numbers. Likewise, a good amount of the naysaying about electrics is mere sensationalism or uninformed punditry.

In writing this article, I looked to the not-so-distant past for guidance. If you want a really good picture of how BEVs might play out in the marketplace, look no further than the Toyota Prius. The first-generation Prius was by most accounts underpowered and awkward to behold. When it came to the United States in 2000, sales were sluggish. As Toyota revamped, refined and repositioned the Prius, it began to carve out its own category and dominate it. Critics of hybrid gasoline-electric technology went from outright dismissal to opposition, to finally, a grudging respect. I think going completely electric is the next logical step from hybrids like the Prius. Will all-electric cars be the ultimate heirs to the internal combustion engine? Nothing's a sure thing until it's done, but I think it would be shortsighted (and foolish, really) to bet against the long-term success of the all-electric vehicle.

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