Jim Motavalli is a contributor to the New York Times
, Car Talk on National Public Radio, Mother Nature Network and PlugInCars.com. His most recent book is High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug in the Auto Industry
More from Jim Motavalli
The big electric car launches of 2011 failed to generate the consumer excitement that some had predicted. But as new battery technologies emerge and tougher mileage standards kick in, automakers and analysts still believe that electric vehicles have a bright future.
For years, the promise and hype surrounding electric cars failed to materialize. But as this year’s Detroit auto show demonstrated, major car companies and well-funded startups — fueled by federal clean-energy funding and rapid improvement in lithium-ion batteries — are now producing electric vehicles that will soon be in showrooms.
Even as they debut the next generation of hybrids and battery-powered cars, auto company executives are not confident that the American public will buy them.
The potential for electric vehicles has been talked about for decades. But a former Israeli software entrepreneur is developing a game-changing infrastructure that could finally make them feasible — a standardized network of charging stations where drivers can plug right in.
Any federal assistance package for U.S. automakers must require that they finally commit to retooling their industry to produce cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars.
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Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
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Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
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In a Yale Environment 360
video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.