Electric Car Article

Much has been said about the beleaguered auto industry- from industry insiders and pundits who predict doom and gloom to the more optimistic bunch who say that the industry is just going through hard times. The truth is, the automobile is here to stay and 100 years from now people will be driving cars.
In all areas of industry and commerce, times are tough and this is especially apparent in the auto industry. The financial woes of the big three have been regular fodder for both local and international news and foreign imports, long considered to be a safe and better option, who are now facing intense scrutiny due to the continuing troubles of Toyota. If that werent enough, the rapidly advancing green movement is changing the future of the industry.
Automakers have a lot to answer for - the gas guzzling SUVs of recent times have been seen as major culprits in pollution, as gas emissions from motor vehicles are widely seen as the main source of carbon emissions. Financial trouble and the green movement have posed significant problems for automakers on one hand but on the other, automakers know exactly what consumers want. If they can deliver it will be a win-win situation for all.
In an effort to redeem itself and to cater to the rapidly growing base of environmentally friendly consumers, the major auto makers (along with a few notable upstarts) are all looking to be the first to unveil cars, notably electric ones, which promise zero emissions and that are stylish, have great gas mileage and that wont require ones entire life savings to purchase - in other words an ecologically friendly car that has mass appeal.
This sentiment was clearly evident at the Chicago Auto Show of 2010, judging by the slew of alternative energy and electric vehicles on offer by automobile manufacturers. Cars are becoming more environmentally friendly and to develop the most environmentally friendly vehicles, manufacturers are looking past the hybrid and towards developing zero emissions electric cars. Many of these cars are slated to be available to the public by the end of this year or in the first half of next year.  Nissan has debuted the 2011 Leaf electric car, which will debut in the Unites States in late 2010. Also of note are the Tesla Roadster, Fisker Automotives Karma 2010 and the Chevy Volt.
In areas where the green culture is vibrant and thriving, the release of these eco-friendly vehicles is being met with much anticipation and excitement. Californian cities such as San Francisco and San Diego have partnered with automakers to make the transition to electric cars as easy as possible. San Francisco has adopted building codes requiring new homes to come equipped with charging stations for electric cars. San Francisco officials have also installed charging stations throughout the city.
It may be the worst of times for the auto industry but it is also could become the best of times. Consumers clearly want a green car that reflects their lifestyles and philosophies. Automakers can remake their image, comply with government standards for lower emissions and make profits if they can make good on their promise and deliver the goods. Like all new technologies however, there will be challenges ahead.
There are some legitimate concerns associated with the use of electric cars. Cost and performance are two that come to mind. The electric cars slated for release this year will be the first of their kind for many manufacturers and thus they are likely to be very expensive. These first generation cars are likely to have unforeseen issues which will also add to the price tag. Lithiumion batteries is the technology which runs the first generation electric cars and there is some worry about their battery life and performance despite automakers efforts to reassure consumers. There is also some concern over the increased demands on our electrical supply. Officials are worried about power outages and overload on the system.
The issue of cost is not only on the minds of consumers but also on those of lawmakers. Although electric cars are being unveiled in a few US cities, there is a tremendous cost factor associated with outfitting our current infrastructure with amenities to make this transition as painlessly and quickly as possible. In times of economic stress where many Americans are out of jobs and are struggling to make ends meet- billions of dollars spent to outfit cities with green cars may not go over so well.
Article written by Rochelle Cools, Santa Monica, February 2010
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