Electric vehicles are hitting the streets in larger numbers, led by models like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. By one estimate, there could be more than 600,000 EVs on U.S. roads by 2014, but that's a speck in the rear-view mirror compared to the roughly 140 million passenger cars Americans already drive.
This week, energyNOW! explores the state of electric vehicles in America today: are they accelerating into the fast lane, or could they run out of juice in the race against internal-combustion cars?
energyNOW! Spotlight: Growing Pains for Electric Vehicle Manufacturers
Electric vehicles hold the promise of reducing both emissions and our dependence on foreign oil. EV supporters say the electric car is a business opportunity unrivaled since we got off the horse. But many potential EV owners are concerned about the higher price of electric cars and their limited range, compared to gasoline-fueled models.
Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan looks at the independent carmakers and big auto companies trying to charge up the transition to EVs and convince American drivers that going electric is really worth it.
Revenge of the Electric Car
Virtually all of the electric vehicle industry's history has been documented by environmentalist filmmaker Chris Paine. His 2006 documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car" accused U.S. automakers of crushing EV development in the 1990s. Now, his new film, "The Revenge of the Electric Car," says the industry has turned a corner and brought EVs back from the dead.
Anchor Thalia Assuras talks to Paine about how the auto industry has shifted gears to view EVs as a business opportunity instead of a threat. And Paine provided a private look at his home and his electric cars to show how he lives an environmentally responsible and EV-powered life.
Leading the Charge: Next-Generation EV Batteries Zap Range Anxiety
Range anxiety, or the concern about how far electric vehicles will travel on a single charge, is one of the biggest limitations on the EV industry. In fact, a recent survey said only 20 percent of American drivers would consider buying an EV with a 100-mile range. But what if EVs could drive 500 miles on a single charge?
Correspondent Josh Zepps goes under the hood of a next generation battery design, being developed by IBM, that uses nanotechnology to try and make EVs more powerful than ever.