The downside of electric cars

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What are the down sides to plug-in hybrid cars? Why are people not buying them?

First off, plug-ins and hybrids are two completely different beasts. Plug-ins (such as the now-defunct EV1) operate strictly off a battery. Hybrids (such as Honda Insight or Toyota Prius) have a half-size internal combustion engine that feeds the battery, which in turn powers the electric engine.

Plug-ins have somewhat low range and depend on the network of charging stations. Additionally, charging the battery is a much longer process that filling up a gas tank. All in all, plug-ins are extremely inconvenient.

Hybrids are much more attractive, but the fear is that better fuel economy won’t pay for (potentially) higher maintenance costs. Electric drivetrain is a new technology in mass-market automobiles, so if you buy a hybrid, you are tied to your dealership for maintenance and repair; there isn’t a whole lot of independent mechanics trained in this line of work…

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