As experts from the automotive industry and government discuss how to determine efficiency ratings for electric vehicles (EVs), they have quickly come to a conclusion that nobody will be happy to hear: it can't be done.

Here's the problem: Beginning in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will affix new mileage ratings window stickers to vehicles. The sticker makeover will include efficiency numbers for electrified vehicles, provided a solution is found to rate them, which means a testing method must be agreed upon. To confirm a test procedure, a nearly unanimous agreement must be met between automakers and government groups. How hard could that be? Hmmm, it's becoming clearer now. Maybe this will be impossible. Further hampering discussions is a term called miles-per-gallon-equivalent. As several industry experts note, the general buying public will have no clue what this means. Why? Electric vehicles don't use gallons, hence a reference to this unit of measurement is at least confusing, if not invalid.

However daunting the task appears to be, overcoming the impossible is something that has to happen soon. One universal standard for rating electric vehicles will be included on window stickers two years from now and times ticking away. Let's hope that deciding on a unified rating system doesn't prove to be as difficult as reforming health care.

[Source: Ward's Auto]

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