As gas prices remain unpredictable and other environmental issues become a greater concern, there has been much more talk about electric cars. Yes, the electric car is real! Innovations in lithium ion batteries and the materials used to make them have increased the range of electric cars and decreased the amount of time needed to recharge them.

Various municipal and university fleets now have electric cars in use, however, the problem of recharging them still remains a valid concern. What is needed is an infrastructure for recharging them on the go. The problem with this is that many investors are hesitant in investing a huge amount of money in building a widespread system of recharging units for electric cars without being sure that it would pay off. On the other hand, consumers are reluctant about buying electric cars when there is a lack of places to “fill them up." At least there is a lot more talk about electric cars now than there was a decade ago. Analysts warn though that profits are years off. They give hybrid cars as an example - hybrids have been around for years but are still not profitable.

The only path to adoption and profitability is to gradually build recharging networks. A number of European cities are trying this approach. Crowded and polluted cities are the best places to try launching electric cars. London has been used as a test city and soon Berlin will be too.

Furthermore, Palo Alto (Calif.) is willing to create something like a subscription plan for electric cars. Customers will buy a monthly mileage plan and in turn they will get recharge points installed in their homes. This is known as Project Better Place. The goal of this project is to have 100,000 exchange stations and half a million recharge units up and running by 2011. Project Better Place has already signed agreements with Israel and Denmark to build networks.

It is hard to predict when electric cars will be a mass-market business but the auto industry is definitely going to face some major changes.More details can be found in an article from BunessWeek: Electric Cars: What’s Needed Now.

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