New Technology Ready for the American Car Market

These Electrics All Have Drawbacks, But All Increase Efficiency

by Jason Lee, age 13

Three new electric cars are about to hit the market: the Tesla Roadster Sport, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Volt.

The Tesla Roadster Sport drives like a racecar, going from zero to sixty miles-per-hour in under four seconds. Manufactured by Tesla Motors, the Roadster Sport features a carbon fiber body and is completely electric. Although the carbon fiber body is five times stronger than steel, it is also very light, which increases fuel efficiency. However, during a test drive the Tesla Roadster produced wind noise and rattled and shook if it hit a pothole. The Tesla Roadster Sport costs around $128,500.

The Nissan Leaf is also completely electric, but this is more of a family car. It takes eight hours to charge the battery and can be driven approximately 100 miles per charge. Critics worry that the Leaf will run out of juice on a trip and leave drivers stranded. The Nissan Leaf is priced only slightly higher than most average family sedans at around $40,000.

The Chevy Volt is a hybrid vehicle, so it can run longer than the Leaf, but it still features higher fuel efficiency than any average car. Even though it has lithium-ion batteries that run for only 40 miles, it also is equipped with a small gas engine that recharges the batteries while in use. With Volt’s gas engine, this car can travel 300 miles further than a purely electric car. The Volt, manufactured by General Motors, is also in the $40,000 price range.

Manufacturers know that people are interested in electric cars. These vehicles are green, fuel-efficient, and save owners money over time. However, the technology developed to date isn’t perfect and the cost of these cars is too high for the average consumer.

[Sources: CNET news; The Wall Street Journal; Discover]