The idea of the electric car has long captured the imaginations of innovators, including even Henry Ford and Thomas Edison more than a century ago. Celebrities, pundits, and political leaders alike have cast these vehicles as the apotheosis of an environmentally responsible future. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proclaimed that there will be 1 million electric cars on the Autobahn by 2020. President Barack Obama has likewise promised 1 million electric cars in the United States, but five years sooner.
Someday, the electric car will, indeed, be a great product—just not now. It costs too much; it is inconvenient; and its environmental benefits are negligible (and, in some cases, nonexistent).