The coming onslaught of electric cars?

I’ve been somewhat skeptical in the past about the widespread use of electric cars, but I also tend to trust people who make big bets on that prospect.

Dominion Power is the latest company to start preparing for a potential onslaught of electric cars on American roadways. Dominion, which is the largest utility in Virginia and not often found on the same side of a debate as environmentalists, started a program on Monday that will allow electric car users to recharge overnight for less than half the cost of standard utility rates. According to the Washington Post,

“This pilot program provides electric-vehicle users an option to help them manage their vehicle charging costs,” Kenneth D. Barker, vice president of Customer Solutions and Energy Conservation, said in a statement. “Knowing that customers will charge their vehicles at night when power demand is at its lowest will enable us to plan accordingly.”

What’s remarkable about the program is that Dominion is predicting an extraordinary number of electric cars in Virginia in the coming years:

In its application, Dominion estimated that more than 5,000 electric vehicles will be on the roads in its service area by 2013, growing to more than 86,000 by 2020.

In this increasingly expanding industry, BMW is proceeding with the development of its BMW-i electric car line, and the new Tesla Model S all-electric sedan has drawn rave reviews. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has helped start a company producing electric cars, although he’s received a very skeptical reception from automotive insiders.

As the LA Auto Show boasted,

Green has gone mainstream. Virtually every automaker exhibiting at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show has a solution for making vehicles run cleaner and use less fuel.

Image Credit: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

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