The New Hot Wheels
Weingarten, Tara, Newsweek
Byline: Tara Weingarten
Plug-in cars. Prius killers. Diesels that don't stink. Automakers are in a race to earn their green stripes.
The electric car has traveled a long and bumpy road. Remember the EV1, which General Motors rolled out in the mid-'90s and literally scrapped a few years later? Well, the electric car has been resuscitated--and is here to stay. You can thank Uncle Sam for that: the government mandated that carmakers cut tailpipe emissions by 5 percent each year from 2012 to 2016, and boost fuel economy fleetwide by an average of seven miles per gallon. In other words, auto companies can't wiggle out of it this time.
And so, this month early adopters will begin plugging in a new generation of electric wheels and thumbing their noses as they zoom by the corner gas station. These babies aren't just for vegans who compost and watch reruns of An Inconvenient Truth. Anyone who grumbles at $3.25-a-gallon gas will be impressed by the fuel cost: as little as $1.50 to $2.75 to fully juice up an electric car, depending on the size of the battery. …