Auto manufacturers are much more supportive of the technology today because of heightened consumer interest, environmental mandates for automobiles and federal funding and tax incentives to produce electric vehicles. In addition, technology has improved greatly since the EVs of the 90s.
Today's consumers are looking for vehicles that are more efficient and cost-effective to drive; plus, state and federal incentives make purchasing an electric vehicle attractive to consumers.
Variety is a key factor. With all the different makes and models of electric and hybrid vehicles on the market — ranging in size, price and options — the electric vehicle-buying experience is expected to be similar to the traditional car-buying experience.
Another great feature of today's electric vehicle is the ability to charge the vehicle on a standard 120-volt outlet, which every home has. Consumers will have the option of purchasing higher-powered chargers for quicker charges. There will also be chargers available at some commercial locations for 10- to 20-minute charges.
Officials in heavily populated areas are also interested in the success of the technology today. Many of these areas, including Atlanta and Birmingham, are considered non-attainment zones by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Moving from traditional fuels to electricity would help these areas meet air quality standards.
Clean Cities Atlanta received a DOE PEV-readiness grant to address the issues surrounding the deployment of electric vehicles in Atlanta. Partnering with Georgia Power, Plug-in Georgia, the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and a coalition of stakeholders, the task force is working on infrastructure planning and education. So there are many more interest groups supporting electric vehicle technology today. We also believe the technology has caught up with consumer expectations and that many consumers will now be able to purchase a product they'll be happy with.