Comprehensive, "cradle to grave" studies of electric versus gas and diesel-powered cars show that electric vehicles are better for the environment. As the technology gains acceptance, electric vehicles will likely become better and cheaper. More electric cars on the road means a number of benefits, but it is not without challenges.
Accidents in which pedestrians and bicycle riders are struck by electric cars that they never knew were coming are happening more frequently. Electric cars are often significantly quieter than their gas and diesel counterparts. That removes one cue used by pedestrians and bikers to beware of a vehicle approaching from behind. In response to this problem, Congress passed a law in 2010 to make the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issue a regulation forcing the makers of electric vehicles and other quiet cars to add sounds to their products. The NHTSA missed its deadline to issue that rule and is now estimating that the final rule won't be complete until April 2015. Automakers are asking that the compliance deadlines be delayed.