Electric cars make a shocking resurgence

by Amy Devito

Sam Sparhawk / Staff Photographer
Sam Sparhawk / Staff Photographer

Only a few short years ago, the idea of electric cars returning to the automobile market was almost laughable. In years prior, these cars had some traction and were becoming somewhat popular, but their production was abruptly brought to a halt more than a decade ago.

Lower oil prices, a stable economy and a surreptitious fatwah on electronic car technology issued by the automobile industry led to the cars’ clandestine disappearance.

The rebirth of the electric car is making headway in the revolution of sustainability, remodeled and reengineered for the environmentally friendly future.

The documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” sought to educate America on the brief lifespan of electric cars. The film followed the cars’ journey and documented drivers’ satisfaction. When the car companies repossessed all of the remaining cars, the filmmakers attempted to investigate why, but that question is still left unanswered.

Now, companies such as Nissan and Chevrolet are promoting the new and improved electric car. The same documentary production crew is seeking the source for the cars’ resurgence in their newest documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car.”

“GM took the EV1s off the road in hopes that we consumers would forget and go back to our gas guzzling ways,” a junior electrical engineering student at University of San Diego, Colby Trudeau, said. “We did not forget. In 2006, after most of the
U.S.’s fleet of electric vehicles was destroyed, Plug In America was founded. Our mission is to educate the public on how electric vehicles can make a substantial impact on national security and our global environment.”

It’s a race between the leading franchises to see who can make the greatest profits while garnering the increasingly popular eco-friendly badge. Chevrolet’s Volt is an electric car with a range extending gas generator. This dual-type engine enables the driver to choose between both charging the car and filling the tank.

Challenging the Volt is Nissan’s Leaf, the completely electric powered vehicle that can drive up to 100 miles on a full charge.
General Electric Co. is at the forefront of this movement, inventing ways to power electric vehicles via renewable resources such as solar and wind energy. It is establishing charging stations that will be available on city streets, retail destinations and other parking facilities. Every car’s charging time varies, but it takes anywhere from seven to 20 hours to fully charge.

Electric cars are much less expensive to operate than a standard gas-powered car. If it were put in gas price terms, it would be equivalent to about 80 cents per gallon. Electric cars are also at the technological forefront, packing in four times the computing power of a computer.

The possibilities seem endless, and breakthroughs are possible in the world’s financial, technology and environmental markets. America’s carbon footprint dwarfs that of other nations, and with increasing conflicts about the matter occurring at home and overseas, electric cars may be the first step toward sustainable, environmentally friendly transportation and a positive global image.