ChargeCar is based at the Electric Garage -- appropriately enough, a repurposed former Exxon station on Forbes Avenue, near CMU's campus. On a rainy July afternoon, Nourbakhsh backs the car from a service bay. Motoring up rain-slick Forbes in rush-hour traffic, then through campus into Schenley Park, Nourbakhsh demonstrates various ChargeCar features.
It has "regenerative braking," to capture energy conventional cars lose when you hit the brakes. It's dead quiet, except for the hissing of tires on asphalt and the whirring of a brake pump. And though this prototype's top speed is just 45 mph, the fixed-gear ChargeCar accelerates well, easily beating other vehicles off the line as a traffic light turns green...
...ChargeCars wouldn't meet all our transportation needs, of course, or solve all our car-related problems. Like all electric cars, they'd take longer to "refuel" than a gas tank -- a couple hours plugged in to get any range at all, and overnight for a full charge. But even if people kept second cars (which most households have anyway) for long trips, or used rentals, we'd have air a bit cleaner, streets a bit quieter. And we'd have less need of the stuff that's been spewing from a hole in the Gulf of Mexico.
Read more at - 'Who (Re)Built the Electric Car?'