Electrics Inherit The Earth

Banter turned to debate at a recent luncheon in Nashville hosted by Nissan touting its stylish and fuel efficient new Altima mid-sized sedan. The topic: would the electrics inherit the earth?

The inevitability of the electric solution was popular – a view shared by Ferdinand Porsche in 1901 when he introduced a Hybrid. We all know where Porsche went from there.

The less appreciated view — we should live so long. Even with record sales in recent months, 13 years since the Honda Insight Hybrid ingloriously landed on American soil, hybrid and electric sales for 2012 might top a scant 3 percent.

Current sales numbers are skewed by the newest Toyota Prius C and new V Wagon, hybrid Camry, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, a tough act to follow. Questions abound over the environmental risks and real costs of an all electric-car world. That’s a lot of batteries!

Where there is no question, a new whole class of small cars has arisen that could keep the electric revolution at bay for decades. Take the critically acclaimed 2012 Kia Rio – loaded with premium options, a kickin’ Direct Injection 138 horsepower 4-cylinder, with EPA mpg stats of 30 city and 40 highway for about $18,000.

Photo: Tesla Motors Roadster