12 November 2006

the beauty and future of electric cars


i've been following with great interest Tesla Motors' advances with their electric sports car, which borrows heavily from the Lotus Elise. i'm hopeful their business plans work out well, and i can only assume they will, given the current energy climate.

i've been discussing the benefits of electric cars with hybrid owners, some of whom don't necessarily agree with my estimation of the superiority of the fully-electric car. my thinking stems partially from my knowledge and experience in software development, that has taught me that loose coupling is a good thing. keep in mind that the only means of inputting energy into a hybrid system is through the gas tank. as the doods at Tesla so correctly point out: "A world of 100% hybrids is still 100% addicted to oil."

by providing a means of decoupling energy consumption from energy generation, we can more effectively control environmental concerns. for example, electricity generated by a coal-fired power plant, while still polluting, is less of an environmental burden per kWh than your run-of-the-mill hybrid engine. but we can also more easily handle the pollution of a plant than we can thousands or millions of vehicles. it is green generation that we want to distribute. a plug-in hybrid would be a great intermediate step, if i could ever find one.

if we can focus on a greener future that harnesses more efficient versions of existing technologies (coal, solar, wind, geothermal) or even fusion--or as yet unknown techonolgies--one can see that burning carbon needn't be so universal. solar cells on every rooftop in the nation will not make us any less dependent on foreign oil unless we move away from oil-burning transportation.

so anyway, the Tesla plan is to start at the top of the automotive foodchain to gank dollars for creating ever-cheaper cars in order to bring electric vehicles to the masses. i can't wait until i can vote with my dollar.

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