The "Heard Around the West" note about the
introduction of the "Smart fortwo" car in the U.S. should, I
suppose, seem to be good news (HCN,
5/26/08). We should not be distracted, however, from the
fact that the sooner we convert to all-electric vehicles powered by
wind turbines or another solar source, the better it will be for
the planet. Toyota has plans for an all-electric vehicle, but no
plans to introduce it into the U.S. until sales of the Prius drop
off; think about that if you are thinking about buying a Prius.
Mitsubishi is introducing an all-electric vehicle in Japan in 2010.
This car will travel about 90 miles on a charge and is expected to
cost under $19,000 -- but it won't be sold in the U.S. "unless
there is consumer demand." Hybrids have satisfied most of the
demand for "environmentally friendly" vehicles -- ironic, given
that the latest generation of hybrids (in larger vehicles) is not
all that environmentally friendly.