Even though I don't own a car anymore, and love the freedom of not having to park one in brownstone Brooklyn, I still have a nostalgic regard for the automobile industry. In spite of knowing that the private automobile, while giving us an illusion of unending freedom, has also been responsible for so much destruction and debilitation of the built environment.
I look at a site called Autoblog Green a lot, and they're constantly pushing electric cars. Of course, they also had recently an entry on the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, a $78,000 6.0 litre behemoth that qualifies as "green" only in the wet dreams of an auto executive.
Electric cars...are supposed to be "pollution free", but like a free lunch, it obviously ain't so. The electricity has to be produced somehow, and, unless it's from solar, wind power or other non-carbon-spewing methodology, you're just pushing the issue out of sight. No tailpipe emissions, but they're back there somewhere. Which is a good marketing ploy.
The French are promoting electrics for local delivery vehicles and Post Office vans, a better overall solution.
But there are plenty of electrics in the pipleine:
Of course, the vaunted EV-1 from GM...originally promised in early '09, now slated for '10, but better late than never from the largest US manufacturer of cars.
The mitsubishi iMiEV debuting in California in 2008...the earliest EV from a large manufacturer.
The Triac shown above, from Green Vehicles, scheduled later this year.
The REVA made in India, at right:
The exotics and the expensive: the $100,000+ Tesla Motors sports car (being delivered to your neighbor as we speak) and Hybrid Technologies' LiX-75, two seaters for the male menopause set.
All in all, plenty of choice.
But to what end? Certainly not to materially reduce the damage that automobiles do, these are band-aids as best.