Although recent polls suggest that most Americans see electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids as "the way of the future" when it comes to personal transportation, two rather prominent naysayers (from Forbes and Ward’s Auto) have written that EVs are a risky business proposition that will likely fail. Before you cancel your deposit on that Nissan Leaf, do yourself a favor and read this point-by-point rebuttal from Gas 2.0's Nick Chambers, who argues that to underestimate the viability of electric vehicles is to miss the big picture.
Noting that we absolutely need to ween ourselves off oil before it's too late, he responds to each of the major concerns. On limited range: Most Americans rarely need to go farther than 100 miles in a day and have access to more than one car. On "long" refueling times: They aren't actually long, and charging at home is far more convenient than driving to a gas station. And on a small potential market share: Although hybrids have taken a decade to carve out a 3-percent U.S. market share, they will soon reach 20 percent and EV demand will grow faster. Chambers's bit on the perceived lack of speed is particularly sharp:
And the argument that EVs aren’t as fast as gas cars … please. When people usually are talking about “speed” they really mean “acceleration.” Nobody needs to go any faster than 80 mph, but they want to be able to get there quickly if needed. And in this realm EVs whip gas powered cars in droves: with 100% torque available from 0 rpm, getting up to speed is easy.It's true, you almost never need to go faster than 80, and you're definitely never allowed to. Clearly our transportation future needs to involve more innovation than hybrids and EVs, but to suggest that they won't play a major role is ludicrous.