Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The electric car's slow shift from fantasy to fact

Picture yourself behind the wheel, cruising silently down the road, thumbing your nose at the gas station where you used to spend so much to fuel up.

Daydream? Today, yes. Tomorrow? Maybe not. The financial and political consequences of America's dependence on foreign oil has made the design and production of a dependable and affordable electric car once again the topic of much news copy. And several developers, including General Motors and Tesla Motors, are making progress on prototypes that show promise but still may be years away form mass production.

Pictured, at left, GM's Volt concept car which gets its juice from a high-voltage battery pack that can store enough energy to drive the car up to 40 miles in standard driving conditions. That battery pack is recharged by plugging the car into your standard home 110 volt wall outlet, just like you do your iPod or cell phone. It will take 6 hours to charge but overnight rates are lower, so you could do it while you snooze.

And to really get your motor revving, check out the Tesla Roadster which goes from 0 to 60 in about 4 seconds and can reach a top speed of over 130 mph. Its manufacturer claims the car will be able to travel more than 200 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery system.

Subscribe here to view all our YouTube videos

Repost this article