Everybody knows that electric cars make sense. They consume fewer resources, produce fewer emissions, and often have excellent acceleration. They're quiet, getting cheaper to buy, and -- given current gas prices -- cost less to use. At the risk of making hard-to-substantiate predictions, it looks like they could very easily be the wave of the future.
So why aren't you driving one?
Sure, there's the range issue. Depending on where you live, it can be a long drive between charging stations. For example, California has 1,413 stations, Florida has 395, and Idaho has only five. So if you don't live in California, you might be doing a lot of math as you calculate the distances that you'll need to travel between recharges.
Then there's the emissions issue: As I wrote recently, depending on where power plants in your state get their fuel, electric cars may not be as green as you thought. Still, even in the worst states, an electric car has about the same emissions as a Honda.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%But the biggie might be price -- which really comes down to a battery issue. Forget that $100 Sears Die Hard: electric cars' battery arrays routinely cost $12,000 or more, which makes them a huge factor in determining the overall price of the car. On the bright side, analysts predict that their price will drop by half within the next seven years or so. On the down side, we're not there yet.
Bottom line, as Lydia DePillis seemed to suggest in The Washington Post's Wonkblog earlier this week, there needs to be a concentrated, sustained push for electric cars. Right now, their growth is largely dependent upon fluctuating factors, like the rise and fall of gas prices, or the periodic surges and declines in government incentives to the alternative energy industries. Consistent support for infrastructure and development could cut electric car prices, increase their useability, and generally speed up their adoption by the general public.
Who knows? Maybe it could even put you behind the wheel of one.
What Would It Take to Get You Behind the Wheel of an Electric Car?
By Michael Zak | AOL Autos
A recent Interest.com study looked at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to see which median-income households in those respective areas can afford to purchase a new car, the average price of which was $30,550 in 2012, according to TrueCar. The study found that in only one city can residents actually afford a car with this sticker price -- Washington, D.C.
Households with an average income in Washington, D.C. can afford a payment of up to $628, which would allow for purchase of a $31,940 vehicle. The next closest city, San Francisco, can only afford $537 per month, equating to a $26,786.
While it's not news that Americans like to buy things that they can't afford, the data is a little surprising given how many great cars there are out there for well under $30,000. Solid hybrids, CUVs, sedans and sports cars can all be had for less than this.
We've racked our brains and come up with 5 of the best cars that are cheaper than the average car's purchase price. These are affordable, versatile, fun and fuel efficient. Of course, there are some stinkers in this price range, as well, so we've included 5 vehicles we think you should avoid.
The Subaru BRZ proves that driving bliss doesn't have to cost a fortune. The rear-wheel drive sports coupe is one of the most engaging vehicles on the road today, with utterly superb dynamics and looks. The best part? You can have one for $25,495.
Although the redesigned 2014 version of this handsome hatch will be on sale in the near future, the current generation is still worth buying. It's fuel efficient, fun and surprisingly versatile. Starting at less than $20,000, the Golf is also quite affordable.
The Toyota Pirus v is essentially a bigger version of the popular Prius hybrid. This hatchback acheives stellar fuel economy while allowing for transport of numerous people and all of their stuff. Starting at $26,650, you can have all the benefits of a versatile hybrid for an agreeable price.
The Mazda CX-5 is one of our favorite crossovers here at AOL Autos even when taking more expensive ones into account. Remarkably fun to drive, fuel efficient and starting at a low price, there's a lot to love about this agile utility vehicle.
This small sedan continue to be the darling of both critics and consumers nationwide. Available with tons of standard features, great looks and sweet fuel economy, the Elantra is one of the best cars on the planet right now.
The 200 is a holdover from when Chrysler was owned by Daimler and then private equity-firm Cerberus Capital. It's not that this car is awful, especially since the new Chrysler, managed by Fiat, made a series of improvements. It's that the other cars in this category are so good, and much better designed and engineered.
The Scion tC is intended to be a sporty coupe. The problem? It's not sporty. At all. In fact, the tC finds itself on the Consumer Reports list of the least fun cars to drive and we're inclined to agree with that assessment.
Don't be fooled by the badge. This is not really a luxury car. With uninspired driving dynamics and a lackluster interior, you should pass on the ILX even though its low sticker price seems very tempting.
The idea of the smart fortwo is great. It's the execution that's the problem. The fortwo is loud, terrible to drive and really isn't all that fuel efficient, considering its size. There are way better options between $10,000 and $20,000.