Power Plays


En­trepreneurs have been try­ing to sell elec­tric ve­hi­cles since 1898, with­out much suc­cess. Will the lat­est crop change his­tory?

to build AS TESLA STRUG­GLES enough cars to fill or­ders, other, in­de­pen­dently funded com­pa­nies, such as Karma, are gain­ing trac­tion; and the re­vived Volvo is com­mit­ted to pro­duc­ing only elec­tric ve­hi­cles and hy­brids be­gin­ning in 2019. BMW, Nis­san, GM, and Toy­ota con­tinue to launch EVs. De­spite low gas prices, the logic and in­evitabil­ity of EVs are be­com­ing more ap­par­ent. EVs first hit the road in the 19th cen­tury but lost the power strug­gle to in­ter­nal com­bus­tion. Firms founded in the 21st cen­tury (far right) con­tinue to ad­vance the argument. To­day, EV firms are mak­ing cars, vans, buses, and trucks—Tesla is launch­ing a semi—as they re­wire the auto in­dus­try. But which ones can gen­er­ate enough juice for the long run?

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