March 11th, 2010
By Bill Sullivan
Green Right Now
The electric car is almost here. Hybrids abound. Diesel has cleaned up its act. Even conventional internal combustion engines can be tweaked to do a bit less harm to the environment.
A brighter, cleaner future is a mantra at the auto shows this year. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and a different sort of impression emerges: Change may be coming to the automobile industry, but progress is slow — even grudging — and the message can be murky.
Chevy has been hyping the much-discussed Volt, for example. The manufacturerâ€™s new electric car â€“ due later this year â€“ can go up to 40 miles on a single charge before a gasoline engine kicks in to keep passengers from becoming stranded.