Plug-ins and electric cars are a core climate solution, since electric drives are more efficient, easily powered by carbon-free energy and indeed far cheaper to operate per mile than gasoline, even when running on renewable power. And they are the key alt-fuel strategy needed to deal with the energy/economic security threat of rising dependence on imported oil and the inevitably grim impacts of peak oil (see “Why electricity is the only alternative fuel that can lead to energy independence“). Since no one is going to build a serious hydrogen infrastructure in your lifetime, it’s great to the growing efforts to build an EV charging infrastructure, as discussed in this CAP repost. The photo is of a group looking inside a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s gas tank parked on display outside San Francisco’s City Hall after a $1 billion network of electric car recharging stations that will dot the Bay area highways was announced on November 20, 2008.
Last year, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said he wanted to see 1 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the United States by 2015. General Motors responded by unveiling the Chevrolet Volt last week, a plug-in electric/gas hybrid that’s set to be available to the public in 2010. According to GM, the new Volt can achieve a city fuel economy of 230 miles per gallon based on unofficial development testing of “pre-production prototypes,” and it can function solely on electric mode “without having to use any gas.” Nissan also created a new prototype called the “Leaf.” The company says the car is 100 percent electric and reaches the equivalent of 367 mpg.
The companies claim the cars’ batteries can be recharged using electrical outlets at home, but if you’re in the city and need to power up, you’ll need to recharge somewhere. As a result, on-street recharging stations in cities are becoming more popular as electric car production takes off.