Electric Cars Take 'Baby Steps' in 2011
Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts already cruise the nation's highways, and Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors (TSLA) is on track to launch its all-electric Model S sedan in the coming year. Every major automaker has at least one electric vehicle in the pipeline, and public charging stations are becoming more common.
But while 2011 was widely heralded as the year the electric car finally entered the mainstream, the young industry has hit a lot of bumps in the road.
Customers who ordered Nissan Leafs had aggravatingly long waits for deliveries because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, where the car is built. General Motors has fallen short of its goal to sell 10,000 Chevy Volts this year, and federal safety officials are investigating the fire risk of the car's battery. Electric vehicle sales have been slowed by the lingering weakness of the economy. And many Americans still have lots of questions about electric vehicles, including concerns about range.
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