Saturday, April 02, 2011

Breaking News

President Obama. Because if you walk past an electric vehicle often
enough, eventually it will go more than 40 miles on a full charge.

See, this is what a president should be doing. President Obama was in Landover Maryland yesterday to celebrate the National Clean Fleets Partnership. And to highlight the news that: batteries are still the problem, ethanol is not an environmental positive, big companies are happy to work with the government to save fuel because it is something they were doing anyway.

Did I mention that I used to be excited about electric cars? Thirty-five years ago. In fact, I got into electronic vehicle controls because I figured it would be a leg up in the coming electric car boom. And over time there have been many improvements in the electronics. But the physics remain the same. Which is why no matter how many shiny new CNG, LPG, or electric vehicles Obama poses with, the problem is still how to get two thousand pounds of metal up and down hills, around corners, a hundred miles down the road. There is a minimum amount of energy required no matter how efficient your power plant.

"But look, surely this one will go further. Look how shiny it is." No, it won't.

The magic of capitalism is that when the solution to a problem appears, it flourishes without mandates, promotion, or urgings from a pretend messiah. The magic battery, or fuel cell, might be out there, but motivated capitalists will find it. Maybe government grants for research will even play a part. But building fleets of bad ideas in the meantime, won't contribute to the solution.

Hate to sound like a broken record.