Over the last few years, many of my colleagues have asked me questions about cars. Recently at NPR West in Culver City, Calif., we got two electric chargers. When my colleague Melissa Kuypers said she wanted an electric car, I thought: perfect guinea pig for a little test.
"I drive by myself 13 miles each way. I don't care about performance. I sit in a lot of traffic," says Kuypers, the mother of a toddler. Her family also has another car that can serve as primary vehicle. And since NPR recently installed an electric charging station, Melissa would have a place to charge a car.
"I thought, why not," she says.
Two electric cars meant for the masses are hitting the market this fall, the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt. And with India, France and Britain planning to ban the sale of gas-powered cars, electric vehicles seem to have a bright future.
Sales of electrics have increased, but they remain a tiny fraction of overall auto sales — about 160,000 out of over 17 million new cars sold in the U.S. last year. That means that many people have never even been in an electric vehicle, let alone driven one.