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Electric Cars For Enlightened Stars

Actors like George Clooney have made high-performance, zero-carbon vehicles a new fashion accessory

3 min read

It’s been all the rage in the last couple of years for Hollywood celebrities to flaunt ownership of hybrid cars like Toyota’s modest Prius. But even better than a hybrid--which, after all, still gets all its energy from gasoline and therefore also emits carbon dioxide--would be an all-electric, zero-emissions car. Fortunately, for the pure-of-mind and very rich Hollywood god or goddess, just such cars are available--and some of them provide performance matching the best sports cars.

Take the Tesla Roadster. Created by a start-up, Tesla Motors, in Silicon Valley’s San Carlos, Calif., the Roadster is powered by lithium-ion batteries--6831 of them to be exact--and costs US $100 000. If you put down $75 000 and wait until the middle of next year for your car, you and Oscar winner George Clooney can have something in common. He bought one of the sold-out first 100 Signature series, sight unseen, as did actor Dennis Haysbert (perhaps best known for playing the president in Fox’s TV drama ”24”).

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images
Green

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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