Running out of juice

Electric cars are here, but is there a market for them?

Last month, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson unveiled two new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations—part of a plan to prepare the green-friendly city for the era of battery-propelled cars. In the United States, meanwhile, AAA announced it will deploy fast-charging trucks to rescue electric car drivers whose batteries have run down. “We know electric vehicles are coming,” a spokeswoman told Bloomberg, “and we’ve got to be ready for them.”

Electric cars may be coming, but not quite as fast as expected, it turns out. Lower gas prices and fast progress on fuel efficiency are slowing down the pace of electric cars’ market penetration, according to Boston Consulting Group, which downgraded its estimates of electric car adoption by 2020 to three per cent from five per cent of the U.S. market. Another drag on EVs comes from a recent British study warning that electric cars aren’t as green as commonly perceived, once emissions from manufacturing are taken into account. An electric car owner would have to drive 129,000 km before making up for the CO2 released while producing the vehicle’s battery, noted the Times, reporting on the study. At least in the near term, petrol may still be a better option than plug-ins.




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