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Oct. 21, 2011

Electric Cars building momentum

by Carl Flatow

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A number of electric car stories, coming from several different directions have been in the news. The options, for consumers, are rapidly expanding.

This week I began to notice ads for the Mitsubushi i, an all electric 4-door 4-seater super-compact that appears will be available early next year. But speaking of super-compacts, although Smart is actively promoting their gasoline-powered Smart Fortwo, a very limited supply of Daimler’s Smart Fortwo Electric drive seem to be available from select dealers, now.

But the talk about China’s electric car position is also breaking through the clutter. Although some time back BYD generated some buzz when Warren Buffett bought into that company, there has been news from CODA rising to the surface. Also being written about are the relationships the Chinese are building with automakers outside China, and GM is getting knocked for the technology transfer it will have to make as part of their deal.

Two interesting twists in the China story are about the backpedaling on their plan to leapfrog the gasoline-powered and hybrid vehicle and go all-electric out of the blocks, and about how even all-electric vehicles have large carbon footprints in China because so much of China’s electricity is generated by coal.

But the bottom line, for me is, more clear than ever, 2012 will be a breakout year for electric cars in the US.

About Carl Flatow

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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