90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
The California Electric Car Push

California’s big push for cars to go electric. As the Gulf mess grows, we look at what it takes to get off oil.

A small electric car passes other electric vehicles parked at a rally in support of electric vehicles outside the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)

The oil keeps gushing in the Gulf of Mexico. The race is on, we’re told, to stop it. 

But there’s a bigger race, too:  to get off oil. It’s hard to do that when the gas station is the number one fueling point in the country. 

Electric vehicles could swing a big move to alternative energy. California is placing a big bet on the electric car future. 

Plowing in infrastructure – thousands of charging stations – to charge up the car while your at the movies, out to eat, out shopping.  It’s a get real effort on the alternative energy front.  

This Hour, On Point: After gas stations.  The electric car lessons out of California.


Darren Samuelsohn, senior energy and environment reporter for Politico.

Anthony Eggert, California Energy Commissioner. He’s the former associate research director at the University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies.

Matt Mattila, runs the Rocky Mountain Institute’s “Project Get Ready,” which works with cities and regions to prepare infrastructure for electric cars.

Paul Scott, vice president of “Plug In America,” and president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • jeffe

    Here’s a little fact, electric cars will not get us off of oil. Electric cars still use fossil fuels, coal and gas are used to create the energy for these cars.

    I’m not saying this is a bad idea but how this show’s lead in is worded is very misleading.

    Take a look around you, almost everything within your vision is plastic or has some plastic being used in or on it. We are not getting off of oil anytime soon and people need to understand the immense problems we face here.

  • Matthew

    The U.S. uses 71% of it’s oil consumption for transportation (http://www.eia.doe.gov/basics/quickoil.html), so moving toward an electric vehicle fleet can ameliorate our dependence there. However, you also introduce the potential problem of electrical load balancing, i.e. increasing the disparity between base load and peak load electricity consumption, the majority of which is currently being met by natural gas.

    In any case, as we hopefully move towards an energy portfolio more heavily reliant on renewable sources of energy, we must invest heavily in infrastructure (grid capacity, grid efficiency); there exists a dependency based relationship between the two.

  • Colbert Philippe

    Suggestion: Make show on the Detroit demolitions going on.

    Hi! A few years ago, you made a show on the Detroit exodus by middle and high class. Now there is a planned demolition of nearly 30% of the building in that city. It’s something special. I think that deserves a show. What will happen to Detroit? Is that the future of some American cities?

  • joshua

    jeffe: it may not mean we will be independent of oil–but it will mean less oil consumption, queiter, cleaner streets. Less pollution in the streets. And it will potentially act as a bridge to the clean-energy future as demand grows. Power could be generated by a pletheror of means other than fossil fuels, even bio and nuclear. reasearch shows it as at least possible, but skepticss, moneyied interests, and naysayers who cant think big and dont want to continue to ruin the planet, and live in the past and a material world. We need to change our lifestyle completely, including the markets..

  • joshua

    What i mean to say is a plethora of renewable energy sources other than bio and nuclear. Bio is a disaster. Nuclear may be as well. Uranium neds to be mined. Its rare. It will require destroying natural areas. It will requiere resource wars. We will trade one apocalypse for another. And not enough research has been done about the effects of radiation on the surrounding community or workers. I was on two ships in the Navy-one a conventional, the other a nuke. The conventional (oil-powered steam turbine) was infested by cockroaches. The nuke had no insect life whatsoever. The myth about cockroaches surving nuclear holocaust may not be true. If radiation effects cockroaches–even deters them–its safe to assume that there could be potential hazards to human beings–just being near a facility. In fact research has shown this to be true, but it is not mentioned in the media. Powerful interests…th eoverll footprint of solar, and/or wind is less than nuclear, considerably less. And I think the small amount of land used for wind and solar is well worth it. Also solar and wind could potentially be installed on every roof top eliminating much of the space needed to power cities and the grid. Combine that with Hydro–tidal, wave, steam, and geothermal,and the harmful impacts of our consumtion could be steeply decreased. Combine that with life changes, conservation, and green earth blue water market revolution and the solution presents itself. What it requieres is honor, commitment, courage, and serious jail time.

  • joshua

    Take our money out of the Pentagon and war and put it into a new gree infraastructure–we will solve a lot problems. Thats not going ot happen so we have to wait for Pax Americana to implode…brace for impact!

  • Marc

    What are the real energy savings from electric cars, and over what period of time? Intuitively, they should save on consumption of fossil fuels, but is it a significant net savings when you add up fuel consumption, manufacturing, distribution, etc? And can we estimate if savings will increase over time as battery and other technologies improve?

    I never hear people talking about this who have a real grasp of the data. I hear too much advocacy from one side or the other. For example, there was a program on recycling centers. It was a given that separating waste into glass, paper, etc. was a good thing. However, I remember in another NPR program (This American Life, I believe), they said it takes more energy to deal with the separated junk than simply dumping it into a landfill. The latter opinion was made somewhat informally and didn’t intend to include all the costs associated with just dumping stuff into landfill, so I didn’t make a lot of it. However, it left me wondering what was the net impact on the environment of recycling. So, I would love to hear data on the net impact of electric vehicles.

    Not that it matters to this discussion, but I still recycle and I own a Prius.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Very few are thinking their way through this so-called clean energy future. Now, apparently, it’s to be a rechargeable battery (or two or three, or more) in each and every vehicle now chugging its way on an ever increasing number of asphalt paving strips. How many batteries is this? … a billion? Where will the Lithium come from? Chile is already the Lithium capital of the world, and apparently Afghanistan is ripe for further picking. What happens when the Lithium runs out? What do we do when Lithium mining has left the entire landscape of a country like Afghanistan looking like the surface of the Moon?

    Do people really think that the electricity required to keep recharging this many Lithium batteries simply comes out of the wall? Would anyone think that the cost of electricity isn’t going to skyrocket?

    Can anyone picture what “charging stations” at malls and theaters will look like when 500 people want to use the service all at the same time? Can anyone imagine the cost of “plugging in” for two hours — again, when 500 people are doing it? The experts say electricity is cheap. Sure it is … for now.

    This is the stuff of bad science fiction. What it shows is that Americans are grasping at that final straw — the one that will keep private transportation and their dream of three cars in every garage alive and well.

    Smooth high-speed rail and clean public transportation? … forget it. Spend less and simultaneously save the environment? … in your dreams. Real answers are on the way even though they’ve not been perfected and in all likelihood, not yet invented even. But they could be if human intelligence were put to proper use.

    We built one economy on oil, now we seem to think that we can simply shift the American consumptive habit over to some new form of ecclesiastical energy revivalism without having to go through the actual pain of withdrawal.

    America needs a real energy intervention, and it has very little to do with turning one form of automobile propulsion into another.

  • Ellen Dibble

    While we’re shifting away from oil-consumption and fossil-fuel-powered this and that, we can also shift from plastics — oil-based plastics. I was looking around the net for forward-looking materials, and point to this, where non-tree paper is coming down the pike (not that paper is plastic, but it is carbon):
    “Kenaf is a 4,000 year old NEW crop with roots in ancient Africa.
    “A member of the hibiscus family (Hibiscus cannabinus L), it is related to cotton and okra, and grows well in many parts of the U.S. It offers a way to make paper without cutting trees. Kenaf grows quickly, rising to heights of 12-14 feet in as little as 4 to 5 months. U.S. Department of Agriculture studies show that kenaf yields of 6 to 10 tons of dry fiber per acre per year are generally 3 to 5 times greater than the yield for Southern pine trees, which can take from 7 to 40 years to reach harvestable size.”
    Our local gazette had brought this up.

  • cory


    I agree whole heartedly with your 0750hrs comment.

  • cory

    I think nuclear is our best prospect.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of wind, solar, and even tidal and geothermal. To make these alternatives effective the average American must reduce their energy consumption. I can’t imagine this happening without some sort of catastrophe or government mandate.

    As far as paying for it all, reduce our military expenditures by 90% or so. We would still outspend every other country if we did. Bring’em home from Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan, Germany, all of the “‘Stans”. I am all for a devastating defense, but all this rigid projection of power around the world has left us quite flacid at home.

  • http://ibelieveinbutter.wordpress.com Soli

    and yet, still no one wants to talk of reimagining not being so dependent on cars.

  • jeffe

    Exactly William. It’s about cities and public transportation, given most of the population lives in urban areas. The problem is we have spent the last 50 years designing suburbs around the car. Public transportation was systematically taken apart starting in the 30′s and by the 50′s it was done.

    I’m not against getting off of oil. I’m just saying it;s going to harder than most people are aware. All plastic is made from oil. That’s a huge amount of oil.
    All our goods are shipped around the country using diesel fuel in trucks and on trains.

    Lets say we end up with 100 million electric cars, the disposal of this many batteries is going to be an interesting problem to solve. Plus Natural gas is a fossil fuel as well and it’s not without problems.
    It’s not clean and drilling for it has huge problems for ground water.

    I’m playing devils advocate here and just posing some questions about the electric car.

  • Lisa Z

    I *am* ready to go electric, in fact, I am one of thousands of people on the waiting list for the Nissan Leaf which will come out in December. I had an epiphany that an EV car has no tailpipe, no internal combustion engine, hence no oil changes. No gas station stops, ever — unless I want a bag of chips or a Coke. That realization made me see how we have entrenched institutions that will fight the EV transition on many levels of our economy.

    Here in Tennessee one of our leading Republican candidates for Governor made his family fortune from a chain of gas stations/convenience marts all across the state. My concern is that, as we’ve seen in the past, the politics will yet again interfere with the implementation of this much needed change. If they take away my EV Leaf and crush it, as they did with the electric cars in California, I will be heartbroken.

    My question: how can we be assured that politics will not once again corrupt this technological transition?

  • http://sobeale.blogspot.com/ Southern Beale

    F. William Bracy asks where the lithium will come from … apparently you haven’t heard that Afghanistan is now the Saudi Arabia of lithium.

  • http://sobeale.blogspot.com/ Southern Beale

    Nuclear is not efficient, affordable nor do we have a solution for waste issues. Imagine if the Gulf of Mexico disaster had been a nuclear power plant.

    On top of that, uranium ore is very dirty to mine.

  • John Thomas

    Combustion engines are more efficient than electric vehicles because the power is produced at source, and does not have to be transmitted over distances (then stored in batteries). Think of the efficiency of a gas stove versus an electric resistance stovetop.

  • http://www.fanswithoutfootprints.com harry groome

    80% of all emissions from large spectator events come from fans’ travel. so by taking public transportation and carpooling this # can be considerably reduced. also FWF allows fans to contribute to a local green project to balance their Fanprint.

  • jeffe

    F. William Bracy asks where the lithium will come from … apparently you haven’t heard that Afghanistan is now the Saudi Arabia of lithium.
    Posted by Southern Beale,

    Interesting situation, so now that the government has made a deal with Japan on this front it kind of makes us look like a bunch of suckers. Mind you makes sense as they are the ones building the electric cars.

    Lets get serious, does anyone really think that mining in Afghanistan will be a cost effective proposition?

  • BHA

    The only thing that keeps me from giving the Leaf a VERY serious look is that they will not be selling them in Vermont for some time.

    Even with the ‘average’ range of ‘only’ 100 miles, it would be a great second car. My wife might drive more than 25 miles in a given day perhaps 5 times a year. My daily use is generally 25 -30 miles. We don’t need 2 cars with a range of 550+ miles (our 2004 Prius and 2006 Prius)

  • http://sobeale.blogspot.com/ southern Beale

    Combustion engines are more efficient than electric vehicles because the power is produced at source

    Not really. You aren’t calculating the production and refining of the fuel, too. If combustion engines were so efficient we wouldn’t have choking smog and the roar of engine noise.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t think the current electric distribution system is adequate for distributing anything like the amount of energy represented by fossil fuels and gas stations. So a distribution infrastructure needs to be organized and executed.
    Then we can figure out how to get the best energy source into electric form: ease our way into bio-electricity or something we don’t yet know.
    Meanwhile, if we insist on going 60 miles an hour we are going to need vehicles built like tanks (and using equivalent energy). Most places we go, most people could be going 15 miles an hour. If you can “leave the driving to us” and do computer work along the way, all the better.

  • Mike

    electric cars are a start, but there should also be an emphasis on the development and enhancement of public transportation, especially light and metro rail that don’t require lithium ion batteries and use an infrastructure that is already in place.

  • BHA

    The average car at #.00/gallon costs about 12.5 cents per mile. The Leaf will be about 3 cents per mile for electricity.

    And without all the combustion engine parts, annual maintenance on an EV will be close to zero. Rotate your own tires and it is zero :)

  • http://sobeale.blogspot.com/ Southern Beale

    Ran across this excellent TED talk by Shai Agassi about how to transition to EV:


  • BHA

    Oops! That would be $3.00/gallon

  • davidk

    The US dependence on foreign oil does not imply countries that hate us or the Middle East as most everyone believes, including one of your guests. The data for March imports (excluding US territories): #1 Canada, #2 Saudi Arabia, #3 Mexico.


  • Tom in DC

    I agree with Soli, why not reimagine our world with LESS cars as opposed to just trying to keep up our current lifestyle but with a different form of energy. One person in one car is such a waste of energy and space.

  • BHA

    Tom – think parking meters combined with charging stations. As with all batteries, the bulk of the charging can be done in a relatively short time, the last 20% is the ‘hill’ to climb.

  • Pedal Mike

    @ Soli, 10:09am.

    I agree mate, nobody questions our use. It’s like we’re a bunch of piglets sucking at the collective sows teat, but now the teat we had been nursing on is running dry so we push a sibling away from the next teat, without considering whether it’s time to wean ourselves.

    Electric cars are advantageous if the power plant produces less pollution than the engine – it’s a translocation of power generation. If the power is translocated from gasoline combustion engine to coal/oil/natural-gas power plant, not much net gain I see. Electric grids also have inefficiency in transmission, so lots of lost energy there.

    We don’t need more invention, innovation, or creation. We need to let go of, simplify, move more slowly.

    Where are the folks getting off their rotund butts, onto their bicycles, and planting gardens?

  • Ellen Dibble

    I had asked the local public garage (which rents spaces by the month) to wire it to recharge a little vehicle (the energy estimate was very low, by the way), and the parking czar said he could do that, but apparently the mayor clipped off that plan.

  • kathy

    How much will the electricity cost to charge the car?

    I have a rechargable cordless lawnmower. It’s great. Easy to turn on with a push of a button, not loud, no bad smells, no purchasing and loading gasoline. I’ll never go back.

  • john meadows

    What hasn’t been mentioned is that 1, lithium is still really dirty. Mining, and recycling is still far worse for the environment than the status quo. Then once the lithium is extracted it still needs to be shipped, on big ships which burn more fuel an hour than my big old chevy suburban burns in a year.

    2, When asked if powering electric cars from power stations is cleaner than running internal combustion engines the expert from colorado said, “It can be”… well no it can’t. In order for it to be cleaner, the nation would have to switch it’s power production from the minuscule amount of renewable resources being used to a far greater amount.

    I see this an attack on people who are in the working class who need to drive large vehicles. The working class that supports the infastructure of the US and can’t afford expensive changes to their life style.

  • donna

    Can you compare electric cars being mentioned vs natural gas vehicles? Is one more efficient than the other? NGV’s have some natural gas stations set up already.

    donna, acton, ma

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    The guest says people will be charging their cars during “off peak” hours … when electricity is cheap. Wait a minute. When 100 million or so people are doing it? I think not. Folks will be charging during times when electricity USED TO BE cheap. Good luck.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I believe in London you are allowed to have your fee waived if you drive an electric car, and you can recharge for free while you park. (OnPoint year or so ago.)
    It seems to me the paying for charging would be another bridge to cross for landlords. Very small vehicles are one issue, and might be provided free, with a space for a group of little vehicles.
    But for larger electrics, it seems you’d want to be recharging simultaneously wherever you park. Why not? You pay for the time, and it keeps track of the energy dispensed, and you can be fully charged more often.

  • BHA

    Leaf added bonus – you can warm or cool the cabin while the car is plugged in. Contrast that to the people with their remote starters who start their cars to warm or cool while wasting gas and polluting with a ‘cold’ engine.

  • BHA

    The number of Leaf ‘hand raisers’ would be vastly greater if they were available across the country rather than only 3 select areas.

  • Michael

    In regards to the range of cars, it’s important to take electric cars in the context of other events. As we expand our rail network, especially high-speed rail, you won’t need to drive over 100 miles anymore. Take Spain, for instance, where people commute between Barcelona and Madrid on high-speed rail happily! There’s also renewed urbanization and an anti-suburban movement.

  • Anthony

    I may have missed it but has the calculation of how much oil to be saved by switching to electric vehicles been discussed? There will still be oil consumed to generate the electricity for these vehicles.

  • AE Broadus

    To what it would take for me to get onto the electric bandwagon.
    *the wishlist*
    Faster Charge time (7 hours would be best, really)
    400+ mile range
    and at least some payload (hatchback, short SWagon)
    $35k price MSRP

    If electrics want to replace internal combustion, they’ve got to be able to do the same job.

  • http://wksu.org Mark Snyder

    No one mentions the problems with cold weather. Batteries work great in warm weather climates, but a laptop (lithium) battery will suddenly dump all of it’s charge when it gets cold. Having to have a second car for winter eliminates a lot of the benefit.

  • Mackenzie

    Can you talk about advances in redox flow batteries. Particularly the advances in Australia about the Vanadium flow batteries?
    Those are attractive due to their ability to function like an internal combustion engine in terms of “filling up.”

    Also, what about BetterPlace and their initiative to have battery CHANGING stations, thus eliminating the need to wait and charge.

    Again, there’s the chicken or the egg predicament in terms of infrastructure vs user and which one to establish first…

  • Mr. Trees

    It’s going to take at least a generation for any change to really happen here. A good first step would be battery design standards; if every car would use a battery with a common footprint then you would have the opportunity to pull up and switch out batteries instead of charging up. This would lead to less down time and would, therefore, make the experience more enjoyable. If I can do the same basic steps to “recharge” my battery powered screwdriver with a new battery, why couldn’t you do it with a car. Again, the solution is a common battery.

  • JP

    At 13K Nissan Leaf’s sold in the US they are no where near breaking even or even making the vehicle viable. the Automakers usually need to build at least 30K vehicles a year and prefer to get the quantity to 100k/ year in order to keep quality up and make money.

  • Mary Wampler

    I am concerned about the source of all the electricity we would be using to charge electric car batteries. Don’t we burn a lot of coal to produce electricity?

    We need to break our addiction to driving cars everywhere and support more public transportation and walking/bicycling.

  • Scott

    I have a reservation for a Leaf, anxious to see what infrastructure, if any, is put in place in Nashville. I’ll be trading in a 2003 civic hybrid – I like to push adoption of new technology.

  • Loren

    We could address the issue of range and charge time if we incorporate this with a rail transportation system that can on & offload these vehicles for longer distance use. When the cars are on the trains, the cars could be charging.

    It is more cost effective and responsible to expand the rail and only use cars for short trip use. The costs are less per person for rail maintenance than for road maintenance. When making these calculations, make sure you consider space costs required for ever-expanding roads.

  • Linda

    I’ve reserved a Nissan Leaf. Sounds perfect for a 2nd car and also for seniors tooling around town. I work from home so I have no commute. Currently, this car is for people that can do it. Not everyone.

  • http://WBUR Paul

    How am I going to charge my electric car if I live, for example, on Beacon St. in Boston? I might need an extension cord half a mile long.

    It seems the existing technology pretty much excludes city dwellers.

  • Ferial

    I live in a highrise and park in an underground garage, so could *never* plug my car into the grid.

    Why don’t we develop a replaceable chargeable battery. Some gas stations could convert to battery recharging stations, and you could drive in and have a technician take out your spent battery and replace it with a charged battery and off you go. Kinda like “filling up.”

    Will save gas stations, will allow people like me to drive an electric car.

  • RM Brown

    Is there any effort into combining this technology with public transportation initiatives? That way, people could drive shorter distances with electric cars, and connect with a more efficient public transport system.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Working class people “need large cars”? What? Have you been watching TV advertisements for the last 50 years or something like that?
    I’ve noticed you can rent cars by the hour (a soaring business currently), be a member of the network and drop it off, pick it up. It costs less than owning. So why drive a dinosaur if you’re going to be carrying a couple bags of groceries or carrying only one person? Now, a carpooling soccer mom, that’s different. But that’s not exactly working class.

  • Dan Doughtie

    I live in the south. Air conditioning is my main concern. It gets hot as the dickens in the summer. Will electric cars have enough power for air conditioning,

  • Sam

    I am sold. Where do I sign up? Is Honda coming out with EV anytime soon?

    I cannot take a car seat on a bike with me, nor fit it into a Smart car. The public transportation runs so inefficiently that even if its overhauled, it would take years for commuters to trust it.

  • JP

    I feel sorry for anyone in an accident in an electric car that catches fire. On top of the toxic chemicals you now have a major shock hazard when trying to put out fires with water.

  • Sam
  • Mikel

    I thought the Bush Family put an end to Electric cars at the end of the last century. Didn’t GM Destroy some 40 functioning E1 automobiles?

  • Gil Swire

    It has been mentioned that the electrical grid won’t be able to handle the extra load. When I drive home in the summer now I have to think twice about turning on my AC because of the possibility of a brownout. That only gets worse if I plug in my car, too.
    Flip the coin over and look at the other side. I live in New England. How do you heat this rolling refrigerator of an electric car in winter, with electricity? Now tell me what that will do to my cruising range.

  • Don Piper

    For the folks that feel they need the range – since most homes have two (or more cars), buy an electric car for daily use and have a gas or hybrid for the long trips. Also try to car pool, bus or bike. Many companies offer reduce cost for busing or incentitives to take alternate transportation. Change your habits if you want to get off the oil!!

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Ever hear of electric grid “brownouts? California has them WITHOUT electric cars. The population is increasing each and every day! This means more air conditioners … more TV’s … more refrigerators. So the guests then mention the ongoing “improvements” in the energy grid. Sure. The same way we were improving the grid system back when ENRON was in control of things. These guests are LOOKING for ways to hype their favorite theories and it’s not even HALF baked. It’s raw day dreaming.

  • Erica

    I would buy an electric car if it cost about the same my car and equally easy to use. I live in Springfield, MA and drive to Boston, MA (about 90 miles one way) once or twice a week.

    I live in an urban area with no outdoor electric, so I’d need a convenient charging station, too.

    I have a 2002 Hyundai Accent that I bought used for $7000. It gets 30+ miles in town and close to 40 on the highway. I spend around $25 a week on gas; my excise tax is $25 per year, and my insurance is around $700 per year. And it never dies due to cold weather (as I know a Prius does here in New England when not driven for a few days).

    My mind set is totally ready, it just has to be equally convenient and cost about the same — maybe in ten more years?

  • http://www.cambridgevalleysolar.com Tom Lampros

    I converted an ’84 VW Rabbit to electric in 2000 using a $6500 kit. I’ve gone through two sets of lead acid batteries at ~$2000 each. I converted because I was tired of waiting for Detroit or others to come out with hybrids (Honda and Toyota presented their hybrids later that year). EVs displace tailpipe emissions to the smokestack, which are easier to regulate and control. When coupled with solar electric systems (e.g. over the workplace parking lot) they represent a clean way to power our ride. What’s needed is a commitment, as with renewable energy portfolios, to policies that favor sustainable energy over fossil energy. Battery technology is improving so EV ranges will be extended from 40 miles to >200 miles. The government needs to make a commitment to purchasing (preferably American made) Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) for federal and state fleets. Go Solar! Go Electric!

  • No One

    Isn’t it unfair that the rich, who are able to afford purchasing plug-in electric cars are being given free electricity at public charging stations which is subsidised by the whole economy, including the poor, who are unable to afford such vehicles?

  • john Thomas

    1. what is the resale value of an electric car?
    2. I heard that it can cost 3 thousand dollars to replace a battery, and that batteries only last about 3 years. Is this true?

  • JP

    Does anyone remember the massive power outage of the east coast last summer or the summer before that took down the grid for several days. Good luck driving the electric vehicle on those days.

    Since we haven’t built a Nuclear power plant in decades and environmentalists won’t allow new coal powered power plants. Just wait for the rolling power outages we will start having in the next 5 years.

  • BHA

    “There will still be oil consumed to generate the electricity for these vehicles.”
    Posted by Anthony

    Nope, only about 2% of the electricity we generate comes from oil.

  • JP

    What about propane powered vehicles like they have in Europe? With propane you wouldn’t have range issues or charge issues.

  • Keith Mullinar

    Unless I have been missing something, on all the discussions about electric cars I am aware of (being absolutely in favor of energy saving), I have heard very little on the back story on the costs associated with the production of the electricity needed to charge the vehicles.

  • Ryan Maas

    If it hasn’t yet been addressed, I really would appreciate your panel discuss the envronmental mpact of the mining and construction of the required battery, as well as the disposal of the batteries when their useful life has been consumed. This was my hesitation (and ultimate declinaiion) with buying a hybrid.


  • BHA

    john Thomas:

    Battery replacement in 3 years is a bad urban legend lie.

    The cost of the replacement battery depends on the size of the battery. For a Prius (non plugin) it is under $3K but the ‘early’ failures have gone over 200K miles before replacement. The battery for the Leaf or Volt will be much more. But again, the average owner would be unlikely to ever need to replace it.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    These people are SUCH visionaries! A guest relays his experiences TODAY as though in the future — with everyone in the pool at once — there won’t displacement of all the water! This is absolutely nothing more than adolescent wishful thinking.

  • Tom

    My following comment is not menat to be skeptical or optimistic, merely a statement based on realism. When gas went above $2′s a gallon and then $3 and even $4 a gallon, there were some who began riding those small motor scooters, they were everywhere. Now that gas has slipped well under $3 a gallon, where did the scooters go? You see, this country doesn’t want to save the planet, only save itsself. This society has a need for speed, i.e. the motorsports industry. Please no that I do not support this industry. They race cars, boats, motorcycles, airplanes, snowmobiles, dragsters, tractors, go carts, are you ready for this, they even race lawn mowers. How pathetic. Does anybody believe it would be possible to go to the Daytona 500 and see the parking lot filled with green automobiles, while those 1000 hp bohemiths, are circling the track burning fuel at a rate of two miles per gallon? I can’t believe this would be possible, in fact I’m not even sure it would make since. Not to mention the drivers make 5 million per year to blow through gas at such a rate.
    Why not start with lowering the speed limit on the interstates to 60 mph. If driving a distance of 60 miles in ine hour isn’t enough for a person, then that person is asking for to much.
    Imagine, a solar powered car in the parking lot of the Daytone 500. It just doesn’t seem possible.

  • Les Wetmore

    What about distributied production of electricity? If every house wind/solar/water, what ever was the most productive for that location. Then the houses are grid tied and they all become little power plants.

  • JP


    How much did your guest pay to get the 3KW power generating system installed at his house?

  • David Mawby

    I recently heard a story onn NPR about an American company in Japan that is working with a Tokyo Taxi company to develop a system where ann elecreic car can pull into a service station to have the discharged batteries removed and replaced with a charged battery pack in about the same amount of time that it takes to fill up the tank of conventional gas vehicle. The stations would then charge the depleted battery packs to be installed in cars later. Could this be a possible solution to the EV range issue?

    I understand that this solution would require standardised battery packs to work.

  • Jon Koppenhaver

    An electric vehicle need not provide all our transportation needs. Just as a farmer doesn’t just have a single tractor that handles all his needs. Use the electric vehicle for the range it provides. Then, use the other vehicles (Gas, Natural Gas, etc.) for longer trips or trips needing more power hauling heavy loads.

  • Sarah Baker

    My husband and were inspired by “Who Killed the Electric Car” and did everything we could to make our next car not fuel dependent (we even considered Greasecars – run entirely on vegetable fuel!). The only cars we found were prohibitively expensive, if we could find them on the continent at all.

    The documentary made it clear: these cars — at least the early versions — can be manufactured quite inexpensively. I hope that will be the case when electric cars are finally made available to American consumers.

  • BobF

    Would there be a net benefit to installing a “windmill” generator ahead of the radiator?

    Or how about a turbine that could capture the slipstream’s energy as the car moves forward?


  • Susan

    Gas engines allowed for suburban expansion, which resulted in large single family houses widely spaced. Electric cars used by individuals or individual families will only facilitate the continuation of this. Residences use as much fuel as cars, if not more. We need to encourage a major demographic shift toward more densely populated areas, not continued sprawl.

  • BHA

    To caller Rick – Electric motors DO NOT CARE if it is -40F or 100F!! There are no fluids to get thick. You don’t need to crank a starter motor with a small 12V lead acid battery that suffers in the cold.

  • BHA

    bobF: “slipstream’s energy”

    I think it would be a net loss. Capturing that energy would cause more drag meaning more electricity would be needed to keep the car moving at that speed.

  • Ellen Dibble

    There is a newspaper columnist Neil Pierce who writes fairly often about the future of cities. I mention this because of the comment above about nobody trusting public transportation. Whether you go by small electric vehicle or public transportation, you’ll want to live in a nuclear community, not a sprawl. And apparently city planners are taking this into consideration. At least I do hope so.
    Right now, if you want to take the train, first you need a car (or a $50 taxi ride) to get to the train station. For that matter, to get to the car rental place you need a car.
    In short, the arrangement of housing developments since the advent of the automobile has tended more and more toward arrangements that require automobiles. Where once there were trolleys or canals (or horses), slowly they disappeared. Now there are not a broad selection of places to reside that are livable without a car. Thank you, Detroit.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Petroleum looked good too — in 1905 … back when no one, but no one, had any dreaming idea that in just one lifetime there would be 400 million gas guzzlers on the American highway.

  • BHA

    “I understand that this solution would require standardized battery packs to work.”
    Posted by David Mawby

    Tesla is proposing this for their Model S (to come out in 2012) but the part of your post I lifted states it all. ‘Fast as filling the tank’ quick replacement would only work if ALL manufacturers agreed on a a common system. There can only be very few ‘packages’ and they would need to be the same voltage. The only difference would be the capacity of the package. There is no way the local ‘battery swap’ stations could afford to keep thousands of batteries of various designs ‘at the ready’. Can you imagine the signs out front showing which batteries they had available at any point in time?

    Thus, sadly, I don’t see ‘swap stations’ coming any time soon. Current EV owners who charge away from home already have to find a recharge station that supports their kind of connector/car. The evchargernews web site lists these types:
    Types of Chargers: LP means Large Paddle Inductive.
    # SP means Small Paddle Inductive.
    # AV means Avcon connector, conductive.
    # TS means Tesla connector, conductive.
    # OC means another kind of conductive charging station or receptacle.

  • BHA

    Ellen: “Right now, if you want to take the train, first you need a car (or a $50 taxi ride) ”

    This is so true. The Greyhound station in Burlington, VT recently moved out to the airport. Many people could walk to the old station downtown. Very few people can walk to the airport and those who can likely have cars – not necessarily true of those who live close to downtown.

    They had their reasons, some good, some of questionable value but in the end, it is less convenient for the ‘locals’ who may want to take a long haul bus trip.

  • DavidC

    How excited would we be about the advent of coal-fired cars? Well, that’s exactly what plug-in vehicles are. Over 50% of our nation’s electricity is produced from the burning of coal which is then distributed over our outmoded, inefficient electric grid. Our gasoline dependence is well overshadowed by our coal dependence. We don’t need or want more plug-in vehicles until we are willing to rid ourselves of coal, the cheapest and most plentiful energy source around. Don’t hold your breath, but in the meantime don’t kid yourself by thinking that electric plug-in vehicles are any kind of solution.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. Willaim Bracy

    Boy, David C., you really got it right. When the demand for electricity skyrockets the way it will (assumedly) with EV’s, the Laissez-Faire free market capitalist system will dig all the way to China if it must in search of the cheapest, dirtiest energy source available. And who will stand in the way? … politicians?

  • BHA

    “dies due to cold weather (as I know a Prius does here in New England when not driven for a few days). ”

    Posted by Erica, on June 21st, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    You *KNOW* this?? Based on this statement I seriously doubt you know anything about the Prius other than the name.

    I will pit the overnight starting ease of my Prius (either one) against ANY Internal Combustion Engine vehicle you care to show up with at ANY temperature. Make it -20F. Plan a week ahead. I’ll not drive my car during that time. My car will be moving down the road on electric power 3 seconds after I push the power button. It will be starting the ICE and letting it warm under light load while the electric motor does most of the work. You will still be cranking your car and waiting for it to idle smoothly enough to even consider driving it.

    Want a real challenge? Make it -40F, your car probably won’t even start unless you have a block heater in it and even then it will be running rough after multiple attempts to crank it. My car will still be on the move in 3 seconds.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    And you know what else, BHA? You’ll be running a heater (what? … propane, I guess) which will only heat the interior, and at -40 you’ll be out pushing the thing within 25 minutes. I’ve been reading what you’ve been saying about cold weather electrical problems, or the lack thereof. Read about NASA’s problems with electrical systems under frigid conditions. I also know something about the coefficient of conduction and it’s fluctuation under temperature extremes. Let it go. You’re not adding to the conversation.

  • Matty Park

    Re: Electric Cars
    I don’t hear any discussion about Shai Agassi’s concept of stations to switch out batteries rather than having to sit while waiting for the battery to charge. This is being done in Isreal, Hawaii, Australia, and apparently also California.
    From a Hawaii website: Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, was also on hand at the plan unveiling in Hawaii on December 2. According to Agassi, Hawaii is the second state in the U.S., and the fifth place in the world, to adopt the Better Place electric-car infrastructure. Better Place stations have already been implemented in Denmark and Israel, with Australia and California recently announcing intentions to add them.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    Now what would you rather do? … switch batteries every 150 miles on a cross country trip, or be whisked in luxury from L.A. to New York on a monorail system in about the same time as flying?

    Oh, well, maybe the 19th Century rugged individualist still lives within the American psyche.

  • David

    Great Topic
    I’m all for Electric Cars, but while we are changing over I have a great idea to remove cars from the roadway.

    Its called Car Harmony. Its just a simple computer matching system. Imagine I live in Zip Code 93063 and I drive to UCLA every work day. And I have a neighbor just a block or a mile away from where I live that drives to the same general location where I work. We go on-line to a site lets call it (CarHarmony) put in some general information. And bim bam boom we are matched up and car poolling.

  • Lon C Ponschock

    It took reading through the whole thread to get to a few good ones after all the ‘gee whiz, I’ll get one of those first’ crowd.

    Thanks to one of the writers here at On Point comments I found the link to The London School of Economics lectures. It turns out that LSoE is part of a larger network of academic sources.


    Here you will find a speech by Douglas Farr.


    This is so good a friend recommended it to the local assembly representative for our state.

    Farr who is an architect starts out by saying that what most people think of when the ‘green tomorrow’ is mentioned is ‘the light bulb, the Prius and the green building.’ The speech is about how shallow this thinking is. Recommended with 5 stars.

    Thank you Peter N.

  • Michael Reid

    I think there are two parts to the question of electric cars. I live in Central Ohio and drive to work 25 miles each way; an electric car would be perfect. I also drive throughout the state for work and for that, an electric car wouldn’t work because there are no batteries with sufficient storage. A hybrid still works with an internal combustion engine. Two vehicles is the answer in this scenario, but that would be way too costly. Ideas?

  • Bernard Webb

    Does the adoption of electric vehicles mean that if a power failure lasts long enough we will use our personal transportation due to the inability to recharge? We already lose our cell phones in a power failure (landlines still work), not to mention our electric ranges and ovens (gas types still work). In a power failure, internal combustion engines still run as before. Will we lose this?

  • Loren Bettridge

    I just got back from a trip from Fairbanks Alaska, there it is a common sight to see outlets in the parking lots. They plug there cars in to keep them warm enough in the winter time. The infrastructure is already there and it seems it would be easily replicated for other cities to accommodate for electric cars.

  • Michael

    Hi Onpoint,
    I’m curious if there a connection with today’s show and the finding of large deposits in Afghanistan of Lithium? 1 Trillion i was quoted along with other metals.

  • Michael

    “1 Trillion dollars worth it was quoted along with other metals.”

  • Ellen Dibble

    If each building is part of the grid, GIVING energy from solar, wind, geothermal, what have you, then in a general grid malfunction, an outage, you could clip yourself off from the grid, and carry on with your own supply.
    I don’t know if anyone has been listening to T. Boone Pickens advertising natural gas on TV, or whether that is being promoted, but today’s Here and Now program focused on that. The power that goes to making natural gas makes its use equally as bad for global warming as coal, and uses — uses UP — water as it goes. Chemicals into the earth, with exemptions worked out by Cheney et al in 2005. People being given trucked-in water when the wells go bad, and property values going south, and legally sworn to keep quiet or lose their trucked-in water.
    Go to ProPublica and “search” natural gas, Abrahm Lustgarten, FRAC Act (hydraulic fractioning 8,000 feet below your house, whoopee, $$$$ for you), 5/26/09 and 6/9/09, etc, where 1 in 12 of us will have polluted water supplies, and Mead Lake (Hoover Dam’s Lake), the Colorado River, good-bye southwest. Goodbye New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. “Global companies including Halliburton and Schlumberger have fought hard to shield from public view the chemical recipes they use to drill, saying that the formulas are valuable trade secrets. Scientists say that is precisely the information they need to determine if drilling caused the water pollution that has been reported in Colorado and elsewhere.”
    I am thinking Garden of Eden, the snake offering not an apple but Natural Gas. At least spare us that.

  • jean

    We have a Jetta deisel. We get 40-45 mpg around town, over 50 on road trips. No idea why deisel is higher than reg gas. I don’t think it should be.

    Friends were crowing about their new “efficient” car getting 33 mpg on their last road trip. We were tactfuly quiet.

    If people are afraid of electric, deisel is a good option.

  • Kathy

    Just heard a story on WLRN, Miami, Tropical Currents. The guest pointed out that out power grid is ancient and would not be able to handle a large increase of electric cars plugging in. Is this issue being considered by your guests? (Just listening now at 7:30 PM) and have not heard this issue mentioned.

  • Christian Otrakji

    What about methanol as a fuel. The 3 problems with electricity are storage, range and recharge time. If electricity was used instead to create methanol via methane from CO2 taken from ambient air, then it would solve all three problems without adding CO2 in the air since it recirculates the CO2 that has already been released.

  • Robert Calloway

    Has no one seen the documentary “Who killed the Electric Car”? No one who participated in that program in the early 1990s wanted to give their vehicle up. When GM decided to go with the Hummer they voided the leases on the EVs, shredded them and buried what was left out in the desert. GM realized their vehicles were virtually maintenance free and had little or no after market value, unlike the Hummer which was a servicing, gas guzzling gold mine. So GM, and the oil companies conspired to “kill” the electric car. They argued it didn’t meet the needs of all the public (like the Hummer did!) only 90% of them!

  • Ali Merchant

    The cost calculations for gas vs. electric should take into account the local electric rates which can vary widely. In addition, is the increased cost of power grid maintanence, and the power grid inefficiency taken into account in the cost of driving an EV.

  • http://gptsllc.com Gavin Perry

    I ride my electric bike. I find I don’t need to take 2 tons of metal with me every where I go. Talk about saving power… 5 cents a week in energy costs.

  • david

    A few facts I found about Nissan leaf and electric cars:
    * MSRP $32,780 start off price, expect a little higher.
    * You get $7500 credit that taxpayers will foot.
    * takes 220 circuit, full charge 8 hrs.
    * In home charging station around $2000 installed.
    * If you install solar panels to charge, recovery cost is in years.
    * Batteries weigh around 1000 lbs.
    * Mileage, up to 100 miles under lab conditions.
    * Climatic conditions will lower mileage.
    * Number of passengers will effect mileage.
    * Inner city driving may lower mileage, due to electric motors consume more energy to get up to speed. Constant speed is where the savings come.
    * Power pack, lithium-ion, cost $10,000 each.
    * life of batteries, 3-4 years, some resale value.
    * maintenance is more expensive due to being high voltage systems.
    * Gradual loss in battery capacity over time.
    * Life of battery is when battery will not recharge but to 80% capacity.
    * Insurance may be higher.
    Still, with time maybe better tech. will improve.
    Natural gas is a good option because we sit on bunches of that gas.
    I drive a 2006 Ford Ranger, it got 32 mpg on a 200 mile trip. At $2.58, that is around $8 per 100 miles.
    For starts, if all veh. got 30+ that would help until other sources become more economical.
    Tinkered with hydrogen, very explosive!!
    I am afraid that we may move to quickly,that we may change the “BIG” from oil companies and put it in front of Electric companies!

  • http://aol mike whitson

    hey i have been driving battery powered forklifts for over 30 years. i know its not the same application compared to people movers; but why couldnt we have the same concept with cars? have standard size batteries for cars and charging stations that would be able to change them out for a fee. make it easy and quick to do. go back to your service stations; let attendents do the work; employ people to do normal maitenance and swap in a fully charged battery and away you go! americans will never give up their freedom to roam when and where they want; but they may give up the internal combustion engine for their cars if it means freedom from pollution and countries that hate us when we buy their oil.we need to kick our addiction to the earths gunk and get going into the 21st century.

  • http://aol mike whitson

    also the handwriting has been on the wall for a long time now that we dont have an infinate supply of oil; its getting harder to find; countries are holding other countries hostage for it; we are ruining our planet; and worse of all we are now esentially killing ourselves over it. you cant tell me if our great inovaters were working on this since the 70s we wouldnt have a working alternative by now? greed has been the great motivator thats got us all in the catastrofy we are in now. i hope its not too late

  • jeffe

    For those who think that natural gas is the answer you might want to think about the real cost of drilling for gas is. One technique used is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which millions of gallons of water and chemicals are pumped underground to extract natural gas trapped in the shale. There is a film on this called ‘Gasland’ by the filmmaker Josh Fox who makes some interesting claims but fails to back them up with good investigative journalism. One thing is for sure the amount of water and chemicals used in this method of drilling is astounding and I don’t think I would want this in my backyard.





  • Anthony

    We are a family of 7 soon to be 8. We have been waiting for an EV that would accomidate our growing family size. The typical EV car being offered only allows for 2-4 people. We like the potential of the strictly commercial fleet diesel-electric hybrid Dodge Sprinter but don’t know when or if it will be made available in a passanger model. When will the EV market go beyond the economy style vehicles and build something that is usable for more than just a commuter?

  • jean

    Anthony, there was a French car powered by compressed air that allowed you to choose from several style options which fit onto a standard base – everything from a minivan to a 2-seater sprts mobel. Lots of lawsuits over patents, last time I heard, tho. The website has been removed, so who knows when that will be available?


  • Ellen Dibble

    Democracy Now! on Tuesday has the president of the United Auto Workers, a Mr. King, talking about unions, and as to the future of the auto industry, he says the UAW has to take a long view, and the long view is to push for vehicles that run on clean energy. I’m not sure if he is the only one in the UAW voicing that perspective, but there it is.

  • Pam Rav

    One caller brought up an question about the possibility of solar collecting on parking lot surfaces, asking if that technology was being used or available.

    FYI, road-surface heat collecting technology (presumably for generation into electrical energy)was presented in 2008 by a professor from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (and the patent was held at that time by a company in Acton, MA: Novotech).

  • Richard

    As I mentally replayed this program I remembered a joke that circulated in the early 1970s.

    A reporter was interviewing the head of LEASA (Lower Elbonian Aeronautics and Space Agency) about LEASA’s poopooing of the Apollo Moon landings.

    Reporter: The Moon landing was a great achievement by a rich nation. How can Lower Elbonia possibly compete?
    Administrator: Ha! Moon landing is easy. LEASA has a much bigger plan; we will land on the Sun.
    Reporter: Land on the Sun? But your spaceship and astronauts will all burn up!
    Administrator: We have that under control. We will land at night,

    What does that have to do with electric cars? Well, every time someone asks about the effect on the grid of charging them the standard reply is “We’ll do it at night, ‘off peak’.” If you charge fifty cars at night the grid won’t even notice. Depending on the size of the city, charging five thousand might show up as an unusual nighttime load. Even in a Los Angeles, if you started charging five hundred thousand or a million cars at night nighttime will be the new definition of “peak” as those hundreds of thousands of cars soak up power for the next day.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I think electric cars are “sexy”; they just aren’t convenient, yet. I also worry that we will expend a great deal of effort (and money) developing the infrastructure for them and about that time the much more convenient hydrogen fuel-cell technology will mature. When its infrastructure is also deployed we will have twice in twenty years made massive changes to the infrastructure at great expense both in money and lost opportunity.

  • Richard

    One of the guest believers on the program was denigrating the efficiency of the gas/diesel IC engine. I recall he placed that figure at about 22%, which he compared with an electric motor efficiency of 80% (his figure, a really good motor can do better than that but will be more expensive).

    Here are the figures for a plug-in electric:

    1) A fuel-steam cycle power plant, whether nuclear or fired with coal, gas, oil or dried buffalo dung achieves 30 to 35% efficiency. Of course L.A. gets a lot of its electricity from Boulder Dam. The efficiency of a hydroelectric plant is problematic. But environmentalists HATE dams.

    2) What you take off the grid in your home does not equal what was put on at the plant. We’ll assign the transmission lines 95% efficiency, although I’ve heard MUCH lower figures. It does depend on the length of the line and how much copper you’re willing to pay for.

    3) Charging a battery is not 100% efficient. Pick up your cell phone after it’s been charging and notice that it’s hot. Tesla’s manuals don’t say how much juice it takes to charge their batteries. I’ll say 80%, although I suspect it’s actually lower.

    4) The motor itself. The guest said 80%, so we’ll use that figure. Although we shouldn’t, we’ll ignore the discharge efficiency of the battery because I don’t have a good figure for it.

    Total efficiency = 0.35 x 0.95 x 0.80 x 0.80 = 0.2128 or 21.28%, not that much “better” than the IC engine. And in the winter you get to use the “waste” heat from the IC engine for cabin heat instead of sucking additional power from the battery for the heater.

  • Richard

    Something I’d like to see is a change in how vehicle efficiency is rated. Instead of Miles per Gallon, they should use BTU per mile. That would allow direct comparisons of vehicles with various power systems.

    For Mr. Ashbrook, a link to a map of Death Valley:

    Note that if you go from Santa Monica to Los Vegas via Death Valley you’ve gone a couple hundred miles out of your way, not exactly an energy-saving technique.

  • Richard

    BTW: It takes about one and a half million windmills (2 MW, 50% availability factor) to produce the energy equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil per day. Consider that it took Cape Wind several years to get even a preliminary approval for construction of, what, 40 windmills? And the nimbys aren’t done yet. Look for another ten years for them to go online. In another case, a company dropped plans for a large-scale solar generation plant in California after environmentalists sued over the alleged endangerment of a particular species of flea that lives only on mice native to the proposed site.

  • Brett

    Richard, I enjoyed your comments. I remember hearing the joke about landing on the sun at night, somewhere, a long time ago!

    I like the idea of using the BTU per mile as a standard of measurement instead of M.P.G. for vehicle efficiency. I also followed your formula to determine the efficiency of an electric vehicle; okay, makes sense.

    I also followed your way of getting the reader to imagine how much alternative energy (in this case windmills) it would take to replace oil consumption that produces similar amounts of energy.

    I also agree that electric cars–not only with problems as they currently exist but with problems mass future consumption would produce in terms of efficiency, cost, environmental issues, etc.–may present certain problems proponents often either don’t talk about or try to minimize.

    It seems if our country were to embrace the electric car as a viable solution on a grand scale (the problems of range, recharging accessibility, etc., notwithstanding), we would need to generate power in very distinctly different ways than we do now. Considering our current rate of exploring alternative ways of producing energy seems to be going, how long would it take to work out all of the kinks with electric cars for consumption on a grand scale???

    I, too, became annoyed at Tom’s repetitive “Death Valley trip” scenario!

  • tomjsmadau

    My idea would cause some problems but after achieving this electric cars could goe coast to coast without pluging in

Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

Sep 12, 2014
In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

#WhyIStayed. We’re looking at women in and out of relationships of domestic violence.

Sep 12, 2014
President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, to discuss options for combating the Islamic State. (AP/Evan Vucci)

The President’s ISIS strategy. The Ray Rice video. Congress is back. Apple’s new watch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

More »
1 Comment
Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

More »