Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Electric Car, Why it makes sense.

Currently We are burning 150 Billion gallons of gasoline* per year in the United States. We are noticing a significant changes in our weather patterns, which most reputable scientists think is being caused by greenhouse gases (Carbon-Dioxide.)

In California and Europe, individuals and several small companies have been experimenting with electric cars for commuting. Some of the high end vehicles rival sports cars in performance and still have a range of 150 miles. Mostly these vehicles though have ranges of 40 – 65 miles with a top speed somewhere in the area of 50 – 65mph. The ones I have read about the most are former gas powered vehicles that have been converted to electric. Apparently the favorite vehicle to convert is the Ford Ranger Pickup (plenty of room for batteries and a heavy duty suspension system to take the weight of the batteries.)

Currently, most driving involves short drives to and from work, mostly under 50 miles per day. According to a recent Internet Story (Seen on MSN News, Yahoo News and CNN) the average commute in this country is 16 miles, unfortunately they didn’t provide a standard deviation which would have made the information more valuable.

Therefore, I suggest that the following strategy should be followed:

1. Pressure GM & Ford to manufacture a commuting vehicle powered by electricity. They should go for a design that would minimize it original cost, while maximizing the range and shoot for cruising speed somewhere in the range of 50 – 65 mph.
2. Upgrade the electric grid, so that it can handle the extra stress of recharging all of these cars on a nightly basis.
3. Start a long term project to downsize the current coal and oil generation of electricity and replace it with a combination of renewable and nuclear generating plants. It will do very little good to replace gasoline in our cars with coal or oil in our energy plants. Be aware that we will need considerably more electricity under these situations then we are using now.

Long Term benefits:

1. The Environment, even though it will probably take a long time to repair the current damage.
2. The trade deficit would be wiped clean and we would probably have a trade surplus.
3. The oil that we need for other uses will probably drop in price.
4. Al Qaida funding will drop. Most of their income is coming out of the oil we are buying from the Middle East and this could very likely put them out of business. It would also shut up both Iran and Venezuela, which are both causing us all kinds of foreign policy problems. I might add the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah was funded by Iran, which got all of those Petro Dollars from us the Industrialized World.


1. Convenience. Right now we can jump in our cars and drive anywhere we want within reason. I believe most consumers would settle on owning an Electric for most of their personal needs and then rent a gas powered vehicle for longer trips.
2. For certain consumers, the Electric will never be an economically feasible vehicle. Take for example the agriculture industry, who have a constant need to haul heavy loads. Also salesman, who are on the road for several hundred miles every work day.

*** Warning, Warning *** You are now entering the Rant Zone!

Probability of this happening: Nil!

Unfortunately, the Republican Party is in bed with the Oil Companies (Who will fight this Foot, tooth and nail,) and the Democrats are in bed with the Environmentalists. The Environmentalists will fight using Nuclear Energy Foot, tooth and nail. To the Environmentalists, let me point out a simple fact. If we keep going as we are today, our environment will implode. 100% guarantee! The risks of using nuclear energy are far less (10% at the worst.) And the American Public will not accept going back to 19th century as a life style.

Our current politicians are doing what is best for their party over what is best for the country (and YES, I mean BOTH parties.) We desperately need a third party, a pragmatic and centrist party with limited ties to big business, to make these tough decisions.

* Scientific American, 9/2006, page 60.

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