The future of electric cars is looking brighter
Electric-car technology is improving rapidly while internal-combustion engines are as good as they're ever going to get.
If you believe Bob Lutz, one of the auto industry's best-known executives, come midcentury we'll all be driving around in lightweight electric cars that can go hundreds of miles between charges.
Electric-car technology is improving rapidly, he said, while internal-combustion engines are as good as they're ever going to get.
Lutz, developer of the Chevy Volt, was in town for a conference at Seattle Center on Friday called "Beyond Oil" - an event that showcases green and high-tech transportation advances. Sponsored by local think-tank Cascadia Center, the city of Seattle, VIA Motors and others, the conference drew transportation execs, state officials and electric-car enthusiasts.
They showed off or peered inside an assortment of energy-efficient vehicles on display - everything from plug-in Nissan Leafs to an aerodynamic Viking X car built by students at Western Washington University, and something called a Firefly, for use by parking enforcers and security patrols.
For now, electric cars remain a niche market, with price being a huge factor - typically $35,000 to $40,000 for a basic passenger car.
Lutz guessed that unless electric cars can be priced as cheaply as gasoline-powered cars, only about 5 percent of the public will pay extra for green cars.
For now, he said, the most cost-effective use for electric motors is in trucks and delivery fleets that burn lots of gas.