MSNBC – the politics of electric cars

MSNBC, January 24, 2010 –  The Toyota Prius, introduced in 2001 in the United States, was the first mass-produced hybrid. Hybrids are common place today with more coming out every month.

When you talk to people about electric vehicles there is a range anxiety. People are concerned that they will run out of electricity on the highway.

It is for that reason that taking baby steps will be important for plug-in electric vehicles to succeed.

There are two types of electric vehicles I look forward to on the road: the E-flex extended range vehicle (E-REV)and the Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

There are a number of range extenders from Cadillac, Chrysler, Mercedes, and Fisker. Jaguar is testing a 4-door luxury sedan in a couple years that they say will get the equivalent of 60-70 miles to the gallon.

The Politics of Electric Cars

Let’s put aside the batteries, or anything to do with cars. Let’s assume the car companies are ready and the people will buy the cars.

There are questions that need to be answered by the city and country politicians about electricity.

Take me for example. I live in the country, with plenty of room to put a charger in my garage. But my electric lines were put up over 50 years ago, before air conditioning, hair dryers, flat screen TVs. How much would it cost to change out these old lines to accommodate the need for more energy? And who will pay for the upgrades?

What if I lived in the city?

Wouldn’t it be great to think that you park on the street, put some change in a parking meter and some more change in a charging unit?

There are companies that are working on stand alone unit’s to charge your car for a price.

The problem with that is the electric companies are franchised monopolies. As it stands right now, no one is allowed to resell electricity.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.