By Francesca Leonard and Craig Bosman (graphics) and Laurel Moorhead (text)
Electric vehicles are at the center of one of the most heated political discussions of this century. An entire industry fueled by gasoline is at stake. But with $1/gallon gas prices long since a thing of the past, finding a different way to power their cars is on many people’s mind. And these people also want the alternate energy source to be clean.
But for the everyday consumer, shopping for a car boils down to one major consideration: cost. Only 38,000 plug-in electric vehicles were sold this year — that’s a mere 0.3 percent of total U.S. car sales. Why such a small percentage? Sticker shock could be part of it. The new Chevy Volt, for example, costs $32,000 (that’s after a $7,500 tax break), whereas a comparable Chevy Cruze costs about $17,000.
Even though the amount of money the consumer saves will eventually outweigh the initial cost, the up-front investment that’s required might be a serious deterrent. (Not to mention the culture around EVs … “Aren’t granola-crunching hippies the only ones driving those things anyway?”)
Here’s a look at what those savings look like and a breakdown of why people love and hate electric cars:
Also, despite the low percentage of EV vehicle sales, when compared with sales from previous years, EVs are more popular than ever. Check it out:
Tonight on Current TV at 10E/7P, “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm” looks at the future of the electronic vehicle. Seth Fletcher of Popular Science will discuss the economics of EV battery technology. And David Shepardson, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for The Detroit News, and Amy Harder, energy and environment reporter for NationalJournal, will dive into the issues facing the growth of the EV market.
Also, Donnie Fowler from Dogpatch Strategies will discuss the politics of electric vehicles, and Lisa Margonelli, a senior research fellow for the New America Foundation, will talk about what’s at stake.