Thursday, May 25, 2006
So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert?
"Who Killed the Electric Car?" from Sony Pictures Classics, opens in New York and L.A. on June 28 --- here's a little background fropm previous posts:
Electric Car Blogging
Steinmetz, Electric Cars and Peak Oil
It was among the fastest, most efficient production cars ever built. It ran on electricity, produced no emissions and catapulted American technology to the forefront of the automotive industry. The lucky few who drove it never wanted to give it up. So why did General Motors crush its fleet of EV1 electric vehicles in the Arizona desert?—Who Killed The Electric Car?
I think GM made a serious serious SEE-REE-US error in abandoning electric vehicle technology, and they (and America) are going to dearly pay... indeed, General Motors execs crushed their own future when they crushed the EV1.
The film presupposes that this was a conspiracy concocted by the oil companies, the government, and the car companies to keep us all sucking at the slick-black oil teat.
As the documentary tells it, the story of the EV-1, General Motors’ all-electric car, is short and bittersweet. Steve Curwood talks with movie reviewer Dan Bree about the film “Who Killed the Electric Car,” and who done it.
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Monday, January 23, 2006
Steinmetz, Electric Cars and Peak Oil
He was a socialist, a scientist and an inventor. He worked in Schenectady and had ties to Brooklyn and Yonkers.
Charles Steinmetz drove an electric car back and forth to work every day. I often wonder how far the technology might have evolved, had it been allowed to do so. Everyone, it seemed, was against electric powered transportation. That's why all the trolley cars in America vanished, to be replaced by busses. Oil. Now that "Peak Oil" is in the public ear and eye, and the threat that Iran might turn off the spigot, people are looking for alternatives. There have been a few electric cars around. (Picture accompanying this post is an early 1900's US-made electric car). I don't mean nonsenical alternatives, like those idiot "hybrid" Toyotas and Hondas that aren't helping the environment one bit, and may take 10 years or more to pay for themselves (that is, pay for the extra charge tacked on because it's a hybrid vehicle.) Oh, and wait until it's time to pay for repairs! Goodbye $$$!
The time is now to consider the changes that are coming. I found two posts on other blogs that I hope you will find helpful.
Mad Max in the New American CenturyI went to a local library to watch The End of Suburbia. I'd never seen it although I am quite aware of Peak Oil implications it's based on and what it means for the future for America and the world in general. (See the "Mad Max" trilogy of films for a few signposts.) The question after accepting the near-future inevitability of these events is: What sort of actions can be taken to ameliorate the impact of a declining oil supply?
While developing alternative sources of energy will help, such sources will probably never be able to keep pace with our voracious modern industrial appetite for energy. Biodiesel? My understanding is we would have to devote over 90% of the US's arable land to such crops to supply our current automotive needs, much less our increasing demands. Wind, solar, tidal, hydro, and nuclear all have similar limitations. Currently, hydrogen production takes more energy, gallon for gallon, to produce than it (hydrogen) gives off in released energy. [I can't completely vouch for these figures but I believe they are generally true.]
Besides implementing commonsense personal energy conservation measures, we also need to develop different economic strategies. The whole "buy locally made products and services" approach is good but limited. We've had decades of systemic dismantling of local businesses and manufacturing capabilities and moving these functions far away from our communities.
The End of Suburbia used an example which stuck with me: The 3,000 mile Cesar Salad. To me, this cuts to the core of the problem. On the East Coast of the US where I live, we are used to being able to have fresh vegetables year 'round. What happens when it becomes profoundly uneconomical to ship lettuce or any food across the country? Or, to use another example, when it becomes impossible to get new clothes or shoes from China, 12,000 miles away? (continues on DemiOrator)