Late last month, at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan Motor Co. showed off a concept car with a literally dizzying array of features. The passenger cab in the Pivo 2 electric car can swivel 360 degrees to face any direction. Why would you want to do that? Well, for starters, there’s never any need to back the car up: simply swivel the cab 180 degrees and drive what is now forward. But wait, it gets weirder. The main improvement from the 2005 Pivo 1, which had similar Tiltâ''a-Whirl action, is that the new car’s wheels can all turn 90 degrees. So now you could drive sideways while facing diagonally�if you really wanted to.

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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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