Look at how far we have come in the last hundred years of innovations inventions. We have super fast computers, space flight has become so common place we hardly even notice when there’s a mission going on. The Hubble space telescope has seen billions of years into the universes past. Yet as far as we have come, is not even close to where we should be. Look at your car for example. From 1980 to 2006 fuel economy has grown slightly. For the year 2007 the average passenger vehicle in the US was 22.5 MPG. The problem with this is, an industry that for a very long time employed tens of millions of people world wide, did not do much in the lines of advancing its technology, In fact the only thing the Conventional car has done in one hundred years, is get more stylish and more complex, but not more advanced. The reason is this, its called the cafe standard (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) it was enacted in 1975 as a means to combat oil shortages as seen in 1973. And this is where it gets interesting, in 1970 there was no cafe standard and the average mpg was around 10 mpg, the year the standard went into effect the average MPG rose to 19. So in one year efficiency increased by nine gallons a mile, yet from then till now the standard has only been increased by 11 gallons, to a total of 27.5 mpg. The problem isn’t that the automakers cant make more efficient cars, they just don’t have to. In a time when 100+mpg should be common place we are struggling to get 40mpg, and thats with the new flavor of the month, Hybrids. That just calls into question why has that industry, In a lot of ways the most important industry of the 20th century, grown at a snails pace when the rest of the world just flew by you? Is this gross incompetence or just plain ole American greed? And why do we continue to subsidize the auto industry when it refuses to grow? Well the answer I thought was simple, we are addicted to oil. But is it an addiction or an only option? Lately there has been a lot of claimer about electric cars. And starting in 2011 and 2012 most major auto manufactures are going to be rolling out electric production models. And the Smart car is available in the U.S. now. However can we be absolutely sure about the auto makers sincerity this time around? Look at what they did to the first generation Ev’s in California. After devouring its own product and laying blame on consumers, all the first generation Ev’s were pulled off the streets and crushed. So excuse me if I find it hard to believe this time around will be any different. So what will convince me? Well for starters, the cars have to be available for sale, if its once again a lease only option then its going to end up much like the first time around. 2 The price of the electric car must be comparable to similar ICE models. 3 with in 2 years Electric drive trains are option on all makes and models. Only then can we trust them again. But if your like me and skeptical, or your like me and driving is just more than a means of transportation, it means freedom. And for many of us the car we drive is intimately connected to who we are. And really outside of the mini electric, the electric car just doesn’t speak to us. The one thing Detroit was particularly good at was designing cars with personality. The electric car seems to lack that personality. If you haven’t seen the smart car check it out here. I love the concept of the Smart Car, as its intended to be affordable to the largest consumer market in America, the working stiff barely able to make ends meet. And given an average sticker price of around $12,000 many working Americans can afford it. But will they buy it? Some will, but most wont. For numerous reasons, mostly because of the sabotage campaign against the first generation Ev’s has left the electric car in a negative light. Smart Cars are the first step to the right solution, and thats putting the electric car in a market where it can have the most impact on our way life. But I have been focusing my energies down a different train of thought. Instead of buying a new electric car in limited variety, convert your car to electric. Its not as easy as it sounds, but its not so difficult that it takes a degree in mechanical and electrical engineering to accomplish. You tube is all abuzz about the DIY conversions. Lets look at some hard numbers. For every gallon of gas consumed, it produces 19 pounds of Co2 gas. So given the fact that we Americans consume 400,000,000 gallons of gas every day, we are putting 7,600,000,000 pounds of Co2 in the atmosphere every day. Thats 7.6 billion pounds of co2 emitted every day From us alone, thats not even factoring in the rest of the world. Now given that on average a tree will consume between 16-27lbs of co2 in a year, it takes an acre of trees to absorb the co2 emitted by one car that drove a total of 26,000 miles in a year. Now figure that there are at least 600,000,000 cars on the roads through out the world. And its predicted that we will go over the billion car mark very near future. So we need a clean dependable alternative. And we needed it 50 years ago. But the electric car as a rich mans toy does nothing to address the current problems. The only way the electric car is going to have an impact is if we get them in the hands of the masses. And unless you consigned yourself to driving a smart car, conversion is the answer. Nearly all makes and models can be converted to electric. Most DIY projects can be completed for under $6,000 dollars. And you choose the car you want to drive. And with most DIY conversions your usually saving a decent car from the crusher. For my DIY Project I chose a 1996 Ford Probe GT. The car was days from being sent to the crusher, No motor or trans, but the body is in near mint condition. The goal is to convert the car over to a 72 volt system with in a budget of $4,000 dollars. By this the electric car will make a difference, not only in our environment but also in our over all quality of life.
And What have we Learned?