What is next for Electric Cars

Automotive execs from Tesla and GM discuss why now is the time for an electric car revolution.

PAMELA FLETCHER: I think the time for electric vehicles is now.

JEROME GUILLEN: First of all, if you like to drive and you like to have fun with a car, you will get more fun with electric car than with an internal combustion engine.

FLETCHER: The car with all electric driving capability can provide no compromises not only no compromises, but a great driving experience GUILLEN: There is instantaneous torque, so you just can beat any car at a red light. Another reason is by and large, it is a lot cleaner for the planet to drive electric vehicle than to drive internal combustion engine, even if the electricity is purely generating using coal because the power plants are so much more efficient due to their large scales than internal combustion engine that everybody's carrying with their own fuel and their own car.

FRANZ VON HOLZHAUSEN: You get electric energy from more than one source. You get gasoline from only one source and the jury's out as to when it runs out or when it becomes depleted, but I think the idea of clean energy is something that we all need to embrace.

GUILLEN: People, as in California, install solar panels on their roof and they're driving using the sun and it's hard to beat that. And if it's properly dimensioned and provides enough energy for you to drive all day long and I think driving using the sun is pretty cool. FLETCHER: I think there's greater and greater appreciation of needing to be self-sufficient as a country and not relying on y'know imported sources of energy and we're a growing world. And so the idea of being emissions free, reducing our use of petroleum, I think are nothing but good.

GUILLEN: Some of the challenges for the electric vehicle is to break free from the conception of what a vehicle is. So coming around with a electric vehicles includes y'know, educating people about something that they have not been using in the past so we get a lot of questions about how the car drives, how it feels. We get numerous, numerous questions about range. People are concerned that they might get stranded.

FLETCHER: There are a wide range of charging options to make charging possible. DC fast charging, I think will become more and more important as we get more pure battery electric vehicles on the road. DC fast charging will offer almost like a filling station for electricity instead of a filling station for gas. There could be a filling station of electricity every 100 miles or so at which point, a driver could pull-in, get a fast charge, spend that 20 minutes to charge their battery and keep going and ultimately taking a battery electric vehicle and making it more practical for longer distance. However, we know that most customers in the US commute 40 miles or less per day, so a range of today's battery electric vehicles well surpasses most commuters needs. The idea of DC fast charging is to now allow for more extended use of that battery electric vehicle.

FLETCHER: We've had more than 100 years of cars being propelled by internal combustion engines, so y'know most people know something about that. Most people don't know something about an electric vehicle or a hybrid vehicle, so just over time the education—and if we can accelerate that education, I think people would understand the broad choices that are available and make the right one for them. GUILLEN: I think in the end, the best education will come by the examples that our early customers are setting who already have the cars and today they are already crossing the country and going on long road-trips or using the cars for daily commutes, short or long and prove every day that this is a great car to have and there is no issue with having electric vehicles. So there is a huge education challenge.

We're trying to educate the people in terms of how easy and how great it is to drive an electric vehicle.

HOLZHAUSEN: It started with a couple guys, y'know, innovating this idea of battery technology and that quickly escalated into kind of a proof of concept in vehicles that ultimately turned into as what people know as the Tesla Roadster, which really was the first legitimate long range, sports car electric vehicle and really prove that the concept worked.

GUILLEN: Ultra-high performance, much more than anybody thought an electric vehicle could achieve. Tesla decided that the next steps needed to be y'know, a more practical usable car and that we needed to develop that car ourselves—design, engineering, manufacturing, hence the Model S.

What is next for Electric Cars
What is next for Electric Cars

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