Energy and the environment

The car of the future ?



What new Californian laws have made GM develop the Impact ?

The laws state that at least 10% of each car producer´s sales in the state must be "zero-emission" vehicles.


Roughly how many new cars per year will be ZEV from 2003 ?

200,000 cars should be ZEV from 2003.


Electric cars seem cheap to run. What makes them as expensive to operate as a large, conventional car ?

Firstly the car has to be recharged every 240 kilometres and secondly the very expensive batteries have to be changed every 40,000 kilometres.


Why does sentence one in the last paragraph (lines 38-48) emphasize the world real ?

Because the main problem - the power supply - is not solved. The extra power stations needed for all those new ZEVs will be generated in someone else´s back yard.



Sum up the things that may stop people from buying the Impact.

They don´t by the Impact, because the expensive batteries don´t last very long and often must be recharged. The range is too limited.


Form nouns from the following

6. to state - statement

7. to develop - development

8. electric - electricity

9. to construct - construction

Find words in the text to match these definitions

10. the first example of something produced - prototype

11. pices charged for electricity at night - overnight rates

12. put back power into a battery - recharge

13. oil, coal and gas - fossile fuels

Paraphrase the underlined words.


...10% of each car maker´s sales ... must be "zero-emission" ...

...have to be environmentally friendly and are not allowed to have any exhaust fumes...

15. one has so far come up with an answer to the problem...

Nobody has found an answer yet.


...California hopes that the power stations ... will be constructed in someone else`s back yard. another country, where Californian people don´t feel disturbed.

Rewrite the following starting with "Several years ago ..."


California has brougt in some tough new laws.

Several years ago California brought in some tough new laws.


Companies are pouring money into developing an electric car.

For several years companies have poured money into developing an electric car.



Many Californians are now against the many tough environmental laws. They say that these laws are adding costs to many things and damaging the state economy.

Argue for or against this point of view.

The fear of the people is understandable, because they have to carry the costs. The state should support conservation-conscious firms.



Translate paragraph 2 (lines 12-28)

Amerikanische, europäische und japanische Firmen investieren Geld in die Entwicklung eines erfolgreichen elektrischen Autos. Es gibt bereits ca. 20 Prototypen und Produktionsmodelle auf den Strassen. Bis jetzt ist jedoch noch niemand auf eine Lösung des Problems der Batterien gekommen. Die 400 Kilo der Blei-Säure-Akkus des "Impacts" von GM beinhalten die Energie von nur 5,7 Liter Benzin. Das bedeutet, dass elektrische Autos klein, leicht und stromlinienförmiger sein müssen. Trotzdem ist die Reichweite von "Impact" begrenzt - lediglich 240 Kilometer zwischen jedem Aufladen, was jeweils mehrere Stunden dauert. Dies sind große Nachteile für den potentiellen Verbraucher, der ein größeres Auto und Langzeitfahren gewohnt ist.