Ramblin' Man: Electric cars pushing gas hogs off the road

January 18, 2014
photo - Plug-in electric cars, like this 2011 Chevrolet Volt, nearly doubled in sales from 2012 to 2013.    (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Plug-in electric cars, like this 2011 Chevrolet Volt, nearly doubled in sales from 2012 to 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) 

So how long do you think before electric cars take over?

Might be a lot sooner than you imagined.

For many Americans, gas-guzzling mega vehicles seem to be an addiction.

It's as if we all live in Texas.

Bigger is better, damn the cost and impact on environment.

Fumes. Give me fumes. And lots of noise.

I want to hear the roar of an eight-cylinder engine, the boom of the muffler puffing out smoke from the revved up engine.

Things are changing, though, with some studies predicting that the days of behemoth trucks and SUVs the size of dinosaurs are going the same direction: extinction.

In their stead, smaller, lighter more efficient vehicles powered by electricity.

Consider, the big car makers such as Ford and Chevrolet are getting into the electric car business. They aren't heading that direction without plenty of analysis.

They are driven by one thing, profit. And if the money is leaning that way, so are they.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, predicts that in about three years the company will mass produce an electric car with a price tag of about $35,000.

Right now, electric car maker Tesla Motors makes the Model S with a hefty $70,000 price.

Even at that price, though, people are buying them.

Tesla's fourth quarter sales were up 25 percent to 6,900 vehicles. And the company's shares soared more than 15 percent on the announcement. Investors liked the news.

In the wings for Tesla is a mass-produced pick-up, similar to Ford's ever popular F-150.

Plug-in electric car sales in 2013 were almost double the previous year in the United States, according to Green Car Reports, which tracks the industry.

About 96,000 of them were sold, compared with the 2012 total of 53,000. In all, there were 16 plug in car models and the prediction is for more sales gains in 2014.

The Chevrolet Volt was the leader at 23,094 for plug in sales.

Cadillac is making them. So is Porsche.

Says Ford: "The future is electric. Reduce your carbon footprint."

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