JEFFERSON CITY - A new wave of technology allowing cars to run completely gas free is finally hitting mid-Missouri roads. Electric cars are now being mass produced by several companies with a promise of availability by the end of the year.
Popular models include the Nissan Leaf, the Mercedes Blue Zero, the Chevy Volt, the Mini-E, and the Ford Focus Electric.
The Ford Focus Electric has been on tour for test drives throughout the U.S., including in Jefferson City this month.
The company promotes the car's silent engine, high amount of torque, and relatively maintenance-free operation. Ford claims the car can get the electric cost equivalent of 110 miles per gallon when driving in the city.
The car can be charged with a unit purchased at Best Buy. It also includes a portable charger for charging on the go. The car's navigation system can also locate nearby charging stations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the country currently has 5,507 charging stations.
The car takes about four hours to charge, and must be charged after every 80 or so miles driven. Critics claim this isn't enough range for commuters.
Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R- Cape Girardeau) took a test drive at the capitol and said, "If you just live in town it's a great car, but if you're driving up from Cape Girardeau County like me, it doesn't work."
The Ford Focus Electric is expected to hit Missouri car lots by December 2012.