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Honey? Don’t Forget to Plug the Car In

Infinite Energy customers use electricity in all kinds of useful ways in their homes and workplaces. But now there’s a strong push underway to bring electric power to the American road.

Automobiles aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, at least in terms of availability. But incredible strides are being made in various models of cars run entirely on AC-current-charged batteries. No gasoline. No hybrid engine. Not even the sound of pistons. Just a quiet rolling pod with charging stations as close as your own garage.

If Google has any say in the matter, it’ll even take out the accelerator, brakes and steering wheel. ExtremeTech.com has profiled the mega-retailer’s driverless car: fully electric, constructed of plastic and made in Detroit. Nothing but an on-off switch. Program its destination, and off you go.

Is this the wave of the future? It’s hard to say at the moment. Google plans to put about 200 test models onto California roads starting next year to test the navigation hardware and software’s reliability and safety in tricky scenarios. ExtremeTech.com poses some good questions: Is the human factor being overlooked too much? Would efforts be better spent to improve mass transportation? Will the car work as well in rural areas as in cities?

According to the car’s Wikipedia entry, the test cars have logged about 700,000 miles as of 2014. Less than a dozen minor accidents have been reported, none attributed to the cars themselves, but to drivers of human-operated vehicles.

As petroleum’s practical applications continue to be challenged by electric power, it’s not hard to imagine simply getting in one of these self-driving cars, telling it where to go, and making use of what used to be down time for home- or work-related tasks. Time is the average American’s most precious commodity, and here comes yet another electric machine designed to save it.

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