No one can know, with absolute certainty, how electric vehicles' batteries will perform over the long haul. But manufacturers like Chevy, whose Volt hits streets soon, subject their power cells to all manner of torture to find out.
Like everyone else, the design field braced for the fallout from the financial meltdown. At the time, some of us argued that good things could come from a period of constraint and reexamination. The consumer culture of design had become overwrought, with limited edition candleholders that sell for $2,700.
Many of our most promising electric cars have parts—or entire assemblies—being built in China. But when it comes to the most important (and most expensive) component, EV companies may turn to American manufacturers.