Science: Volts Wagon Does It, Again

Electric cars look sharp, run cheap, but will they sell?

When Walter Reuther, the late president of the United Auto Workers, spoke of the automobile as the "Fifth Freedom," he was not referring to the electric car. Dowdy, slow, limited in range and sometimes adorned—in its first incarnation around the turn of the century—with crystal vases and plush cushions, Grandma's old electric had all the sex appeal of a limp handshake. Henry Ford's flivvers and gushers of cheap Texas oil eventually drove electric vehicles off the American road and onto the American golf course,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!