Most people don’t think about the connection between driving and pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. But in fact, nitrogen oxide air pollution that rises from car tailpipes falls into the estuary when it rains, spurring algal blooms and low-oxygen “dead zones.” Roughly a third of the nitrogen pollution in the Bay comes from air pollution.
Driving cleaner helps to make a cleaner Bay. And in terms of direct air emissions, few cars are more Bay friendly than plug-in electric vehicles.
Sales of electric cars in the United States have more than doubled so far this year, compared to last, and tripled last year, compared to the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The boom in sales of “green” rides is driven in part by cheaper, more powerful batteries, federal tax incentives, and tightening fuel efficiency standards for vehicle manufacturers.
But how practical are electric cars, really?
To find out, I headed out to the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland and took a test drive in one of the hottest sellers: A Tesla. This California-based electric car company has 10,000 customers on a waiting list and is producing 500 zero-emissions, plug-in vehicles a month. I checked out a sleek black Tesla Model S sedan with a sales manager.