What's Next For The Electric Car?

Oct 20, 2014

With charging stations expanding across New England, including a new super-charger coming to Portsmouth, this niche automobile market is growing.  We’ll dig into the science of electric cars: how they work, new technology to expand their range, and why – depending on where you live – they may not be as green as you might think.

Watson Collins with his Chevy Volt
Credit James Pouliot / NHPR

(originally broadcast August 4, 2014)



  • Michael Mercer - service manager at Banks Chevrolet and primary salesperson for the Chevy Volt, an “extended range electric” car.

*We're covering electric cars in partnership with Science Cafe New Hampshire, which has four independent monthly events around the state at which researchers and experts gather in bars to discuss their work with the general public.


  • Dave Brooks' Granite Geek column about January's Science Cafe on electric cars: '“A regular consumer who says I’m looking for a car that has great gas mileage, they tend to be scared of it, because they don’t know much about it, don’t have a neighbor that drives the same car. ... The engineers have calculated it down to a penny, how much it’s going to cost. They know everything about it,” he said.'
  • Listen to some proposed 'warning sounds' for otherwise quiet electric vehicles: "We rely heavily upon our hearing to stay safe from moving vehicles. Combustion-powered vehicles make plenty of noise, of course. But electric vehicles (EVs) are so quiet at slow speeds that pedestrians and bicyclists can't hear them coming. As a solution, manufacturers are adding artificial sound options to EVs, but how can they be sure those sounds will be the best choices for alerting passers-by?"