Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Electric Cars That Actually Work

"When it comes to electric cars, one size does not fit all"
Consumer Reports (November 2, 2010)

"Car shoppers looking to buy an electrified vehicle will soon be able to select from several kinds, each with its own distinct advantages. But with choices can come hard decisions. (See our Honda Insight vs. Toyota Prius video.)

A spectrum of vehicles that use electricity partially or fully is around the corner, with choices to include EVs, “extended-range EVs,” plug-in hybrids, and regular hybrids. Potential buyers will need to consider how they use the car in terms of routine driving cycles and the occasional road trip needs.

Most pure electric vehicles, for example, have a typical range of about 100 miles between charges. And each charging session typically takes about eight hours. While government studies show that 100-mile range will be enough for most people, it certainly imposes some restrictions, real or perceived, compared to gasoline-fueled cars. Plus, if you live in an area where winters are cold, your range could fall to as little as 40 or 50 miles....

This video is embedded in the article.

"Chevy Volt: Car of the Future?"

consumerreports, YouTube (June 25, 2010)

"Consumer Reports auto engineers take a pre-production Chevrolet Volt for a ride at the test track to see how the electric car measures up...."

The Lemming remembers when electric cars were both an antique technology appearing in the occasional Loony Tune cartoon and the last, best hope for poor helpless little Mother Nature. A half-century after the dawn of grooviness and ecological angst, we're still here. And new technologies are producing electric cars that someone with a full bag of marbles might actually pay good money for.

The CR article discusses some of the options. And the Lemming has no plans to buy an electric vehicle just yet. After a few years, when there's a van available as a used vehicle - maybe.

Hybrid vehicles, discussed in the article, seem a common-sense approach to combining a yen for being 'green' with practical needs - like not getting stuck somewhere, miles from an outlet.

Which brings up another point that's important for the Lemming: not one of the articles about electric cars that I've run into - gushingly fulsome or not - have specifically stated that the things work during a Minnesota winter.

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