Not only does the gasoline burned by our cars and trucks produce nearly 30% of our greenhouse gas emissions, but we are almost completely dependent on oil to keep our transportation sector – and our economy – moving. Fueling cars with electricity – even dirty electricity – is cleaner than powering the same vehicle with oil, and as we get more and more of our electricity from clean energy sources we’re cleaning our cars as well.
All over the country, people are coming together to make the new generation of vehicles work – and to see these vehicles work. One more example: We’re just back from The Business of Plugging In conference in Detroit MI, sponsored by DTE Energy and General Motors. The three day event brought together hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers, alternative energy producers, battery developers and manufacturers, government agencies, venture capitalists, educators, researchers, and nonprofits to talk through the details of getting these vehicles out smoothly and rapidly.
The underlying message was clear: the electric car is alive and kicking. Especially kickin’ was the test drive. Conference attendees could drive three electric vehicles that are already in production: the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the 2011 Nissan LEAF, and the AMP Chevy Equinox– a conversion vehicle. Also there were the BMW Mini Electric, Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, Ford Focus Electric, and Smart fortwo Electric which are expected to hit dealerships sometime in 2012.
It was great to test out such a variety electric vehicles designed to appeal to a wide range of American drivers, and electrics overall are peppy and quick off the start. But I couldn’t help putting at the top of my list the Tesla Roadster Sport. Not only does this baby get 250 miles of range when fully charged, but it can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Most of us won’t be springing for a high-end luxury sports car tomorrow, but it’s great to see – and even better to drive—an all-electric roadster that’s just as sexy as any internal combustion engine muscle car.