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PHOTO CAPTION: smart electric car being recharged in Berlin

Electric Cars Are No 'Magic Bullet'

Aggressive driving and air conditioning could cut range of plug-in hybrids and electric cars in half, says Argonne researcher. Pictured is electric version of smart being 'charged' in this publicity photo at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

Published: 17-Sep-2008

ONNE, Ill. - A future of all-electric cars coasting along streets and highways may be illusory, given that their range may be cut in half by aggressive drivers speeding along with the air conditioning blasting, U.S. scientists said on Monday.

That may not be a bad thing, as it will persuade consumers to choose the best blend of electric- and gas-powered hybrid vehicle to suit the type of driving they do.

"Ideally, everybody wants an electric vehicle. Realistically, from a cost point of view, what is the solution that allows you to go mass market? How can the customers save money?" said Aymeric Rousseau, who analyses such problems at Argonne National Laboratory, a government-funded research center hosting a conference on lithium battery technology.

Rousseau is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to offer realistic appraisals of the likely range of the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles like General Motors' Volt.

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