Slowly but surely, it's happeningComputers and smartphones have spoiled us: The rate of progress in electric car technology might not seem very fast in comparison, but it's steadily pushing us toward EVs that are affordable and have enough range for the vast majority of drivers. And while it's always going to be better to walk, bike, or take transit than drive, as long as there are cars out there, they might as well be electric and powered by clean electricity sources (cleaning up the grid is also a priority!).
The latest bit of promising news comes from Dan Akerson, GM's CEO. During his speech at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference, he said that his company is developing a car that could have a range of 200 miles (322 kilometers).
“There will be breakthroughs in battery technology, they’re on the horizon,” Akerson said today during a presentation at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference broadcast on CNBC.com. “We’re actually developing a car today which is really anathema to the way the auto industry works: We’re running a dual play on the technology to see which one will succeed. One will result in” a 100-mile range, “the other will be a 200-mile range.” (source)
200 miles by itself isn't so special - after all, the Tesla Model S with the biggest battery pack can do over 300 miles - but what is implied by Akerson (hopefully I'm not reading too much into it!) is that this 200 miles EV would be priced competitively with what is on the market today. It would be an increase in range by improving battery technology and building a lighter, more efficient vehicle, not simply by doubling the size (and thus cost) of the battery.
Akerson also said that GM plans to have about 500,000 vehicles on the road by 2017 with some form of electrification, (so that includes plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt and 100% electric vehicles).
GM's first 100% electric vehicle since the EV1 will be the Spark EV (follow link for more details). Hopefully the "200 miles" EV will come out relatively rapidly after that.