This year may just go down in history as the year of the electric vehicle as the nation’s first mass-produced EVs come to market. One of the new electric vehicles coming out this year is the Nissan Leaf. With a 100-mile driving range, many Americans are asking themselves if an electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf will be a viable alternative to a hybrid or gasoline powered car. Unfortunately some may be scared off by the limited driving range, but consumers may be surprised that a 100-mile range is more than sufficient to meet their daily commuting needs.

GE has created a new tool to help Americans better understand their driving needs. After entering your ZIP code, you’re asked to enter how many miles per day you think you drive. You will then be brought to a map where you mark your home, your place of business, the gym, the grocery store, and any other locations that you drive to on an average day. The GE So Near, So Good tool will then map out your day and determine how many miles you travel during your typical daily commute. 

The results may be surprising as the average American drives less than 30 miles in a typical day. This means that an electric vehicle with a 100-mile driving range is more than sufficient to meet your daily commuting needs.

Current studies predict that there could by 14 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. If this prediction comes true, owners of the new EVs will save a combined $14 billion on fuel and maintenance costs each year. The reduced driving costs of an electric vehicle are just one of the many benefits of switching from a traditional gasoline-powered internal combustion engine to an electric vehicle.

Another significant benefit of EVs is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. If 14 million electric vehicles are on the roads of America in 2020, this could lead to a reduction of 65 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Cleaner air creates a healthier environment and that can lead to healthier Americans.

Automakers and associated suppliers are preparing for the quiet revolution. Advanced electric vehicle batteries are being built right here in the United States, automakers from around the world are preparing to roll out new electric vehicles over the next several years, utility companies are preparing the grid with new smart grid technologies, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure improvements are being planned and implemented across the country.

There's a lot to learn about electric vehicles and how American drivers are embracing this options. Watch the complete episode about electric vehicles and come back for more episodes of the GE Show

Also on MNN: 5 myths about electric cars