A clue to the viability of electric cars was found in "Chrysler Plans Electric Version of Minivan" (May 6).
Chrysler announced that they will build battery-powered vehicles to meet California's 1998 zero-emissions standards, but their vice president for engineering said that this fact will not necessarily produce customers.
The reality is that a mandate by the government does not ensure the sale of a product in our market-driven economy. When the public realizes the initial cost of an electric vehicle, the short distance of from 50 to 100 miles to be driven before fill-up (recharging), the time required for a fill-up (20 minutes to an hour) and the acceleration of the vehicle, any manufacturer will be fortunate to achieve the required 2% sales by 1998. Profit may be a dirty word to some people, but not to manufacturers. And there will certainly be no profit on such small-scale production.
PAUL S. McCAIG