Friday December 3, 2010 | Next Generation Electric Cars

December 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 6 Comments

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Pictured: The Electric Tesla Roadster. Mike tests drive one: Listen here.

The next generation of electric vehicles is here with the plug-in hybrids Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster hitting showrooms for the coming year. More traditional hybrids have been available for years but they don’t require the infrastructure plug-in hybrids would need to recharge for longer distance driving. We’ll look at the latest electric cars and talk about how feasible it will be to provide infrastructure. We’ll also test drive an Electric Tesla Roadster (pictured above.)

Mike Rowand
– Director of Technology and Development, Duke Energy
Stephanie Cox – Regional Manager, EV Project for ECOtality
Ron Cerven – Project Development Engineer, Li-ion Motors
Greg Efthimiou – Representative, Duke Energy

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  1. When fueling with gasoline, you are paying state, federal and local taxes that are used to maintain roads. How will electric cars pay for the use of roads?

  2. I love the idea of an electric car, but really is it any better for the enviornment considering the rare earth mining for the batteries and the coal burning for the electricity?

    • And disposal of the highly toxic batteries after when the car is eventually scrapped.

  3. I have three concerns before I would consider buying one of these vehicles:

    1. I keep hearing that these vehicles can reach “up to” 100 miles on a single charge. However, the fine print says that estimate only includes the engine’s power usage. When you have the air conditioner, radio, navigation system, phone charging, etc, then you may only get 40 to 50 miles per charge. I am much more interested in reality than best-case scenario.

    2. How are normal people supposed to afford these cars? I understand the Leaf costs $35k-$40k, the Volt costs $40k-$50k, and the Tesla costs +$100k. My current car payment is $450 on a $24k vehicle. How is saving at the gas pump going to offset a $650-$750 car payment per month?

    3. When are electric engines going to provide power comparable to large gasoline and diesel engines? I have a big pickup with a big v-8 that I use for towing. When will electric engines provide comparable power and acceptable range as a large gasoline engine.

    Thank you for your time,

    Tim Edwards

  4. People can only have what the larger infrastructure allows. In this society the means is owned by a wealthy minority whose interests are not compatible with innovation because they are deeply invested in oil, coal and nuclear fuel. Yet needed things worm their way to the surface. My household has two plug-in Priuses, and we are happy with them at this time. (though the newer one had a cooling pump recall this week) I don’t go far usually, and rarely burn any gas. You can make your hybrid almost all electric under circumstances like mine.

    Notice all the golf cart type vehicles (many electric) people are using? There are even some expensive electric motor assisted bicycles available. Electric would seem better applied to light vehicles for one or two people to commute short distances, but I don’t see such a vehicle being made available. Having said that, last night I was hauling pine needles in a farm truck about 8pm in North Belmont. I nearly hit two darkly clad people on a poorly lit gas scooter (tagless category) who pulled out in front of me. Then they went 15 to 20 mph and really held me up. I think this typifies the coming situation where “ox carts” will determine the efficiency of transportation in this country. Regular gas is rising in price above $3 right now. What does that tell me? My butt’s getting more cellulite and I should leave the Prius parked and walk whenever possible. Now where are those continuous sidewalks and trails the wealthy elite predicted? Anyway, $4 gas could sell some Leafs, to the minority of people with living-waged secure jobs, and that group is shrinking.

  5. what was the name of the guy who produced the electric trucks locally?

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