Friday, March 27, 2009
As a trend watcher and prejudiced by the desire to continue having access to individualized transportation, I have been watching the fast moving trends in automobiles. Originally, I was betting upon sun powered hydrogen, but that hasn't come about yet and then I found out that a rare element was needed to make the system work. Anything that is rare implies exclusivity, only the rich will be able to afford it, and insures the status of those who control it. There is still hope for hydrogen, but as one of several solutions to the zero emissions problem. Here is how the hydrogen project is looking in Europe and Scandinavia. The European hydrogen highway is a network is of partners in various countries who are developing refueling stations from Norway and Sweden and south as far south as Italy. Germany has the largest number, with 26 refueling stations.
Batteries were a problem but the lithium batteries written about in 2004 and 2005 were to utilize nano-technology which can affect the size and durability of the batteries. As I wrote in an earlier “Signs of the Times”: "The three reasons that electric cars have not had larger success has to do with the batteries being too heavy, shorter driving distances, long charging times and expense of electricity. This battery seems to solve all those problems."
In October 2007, I wrote about electrical vehicles, EV’s, which were tested around the United States and then taken away and destroyed, thus following an earlier scheme from the 1920’s to get electric cars off the roads when gasoline became cheaper.
The West with its Better Place is an example of a social economic company. It’s goal is to reintroduce electric cars and a workable infrastructure to governments around the world. They are working to get people paying by the mile not by the tank. Currently, they have projects with the Northern California Bay area region, the governments of Israel, Canada, Australia and Denmark. More are joining every day. Two car manufactures have committed to building electric cars. In this project economic growth and environmental growth are connected.
The infrastructure will provide work in production (building cars, maintaining batteries, charging stations, and in digital and battery design and development and in service). Instead of gas stations there will need to be places for cars to charge their batteries, places to exchange their batteries when taking longer trips and software instead of a gas meter. Battery chargers will be located at workplaces, homes, shops and parking lots. For longer trips over 161 kilometers battery switching will be available. Most of the time one will be able to charge at home. In countries with an abundance of sun, an over production of electricity will be stored in car batteries. We never know which solution for zero emissions will take hold and neither do we know the contribution of electric cars to magnetic fields to which some individuals have physiological reactions or other unhealthy responses that may arise. Personally, I look forward to the quiet and fresh air!