Op-Ed

For Cars, Will it be Fashionable to Plug-in or Fill-up?

LOS ANGELES, Jul 29, 2008 / FW/ — Living in southern California where freeways and cars are very much part of the culture, the effect of high gasoline prices in our daily lives is immense. So, the news of electric cars coming of age in the automobile market is welcome news.

Using electricity to power vehicles, was once a distant dream. Seen only in sci-fi movies, these revolutionary vehicles are now fast becoming a reality as the world in general look into reducing dependence on petroleum and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, while also dramatically lowering the cost per mile to the driver.

With General Motors, the world’s largest automaker, announcing that it will collaborate with the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), consisting of 30 of the top electric utilities in the U.S. and Canada, to accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles, ‘plugging-in’ might be the next fashion craze, and filling-up will be ‘so last season’.

According to the announcement GM will work with the companies on everything from codes and standards to grid capability. This will ensure that when plug-ins like the Chevrolet Volt hit the market, they are ready to realize their full potential.

Among the issues the coalition will address include ensuring safe and convenient vehicle charging, raising public awareness and understanding of plug-in electric vehicles, and working with public policy leaders to enable a transition from petroleum to electricity as a fuel source. The overall goal is to create affordable, desired vehicles that will take advantage of the grid and provide accessible, reliable, low cost energy.