Predicting the Car (and Fuel) of the Future

23:52 minutes

In 1992, following energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s, and pressured by new zero-emission air standards in California and growing anxiety about energy security, Ford, Chrysler, GM, and other automakers were in the midst of developing battery-powered electric vehicles for consumer sales. The country seemed poised for the rise of electric and other alternative fuel vehicle development—including hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels, and more.

An electric car, charging, from Shutterstock
An electric car, charging, from Shutterstock

Science Friday asked several experts what to expect from electric cars, and how soon an ordinary commuter might be able to drive one. Two of those guests were University of California-Davis engineer Dan Sperling and James Worden, Solectria Solar CEO and the man behind the battery-powered Solectria Force. Twenty-four years later, they return to Science Friday to look back on the progress of electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles, and to try again at predicting the future.

Segment Guests

James Worden

James Worden is co-founder and CEO of Yaskawa – Solectria Solar in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Daniel Sperling

Daniel Sperling is professor of civil and environmental engineering & the founding director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis in Sacramento, California.

Meet the Producer

About Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor was a producer for Science Friday. Her days involved diligent research, too many phone calls for an introvert, and asking scientists if they have any audio of that narwhal heartbeat.