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bikes/transportation | energy & nuclear | environment

Electric cars - NOW!

With global warming and immenent oil shortages, we need to convince car companies to develop and bring to market electric cars right now!
I want to be part of a group that would target specific companies, such as Subaru and Mitsubishi (the two companies that have announced they are working on EVs), to acceleratetheir development schedules, and to release their cars in the US. I believe if we organized, and allowed people around the country to weigh in through the web, we could show these companies what I believe to be a tremendous market for EVs. The battery technology barriers that were part of the problem in the 90s EVs, have largely been solved.

If you like this idea, I'd like to start a group to develop bot ha website and a campaign. The basic idea of the group would be to figure out the best way to lobby car companies to develop and sell EVs in this country ASAP. But I can't do it on my own. If you are willing and able to help, please drop me an email. I am not that proficient at web programming (though I'm not totally clueless, either), so I definitely need a web expert.

Thanks!
not the best solution 09.Sep.2005 13:56

a cyclist

whether powered by petroleum or electricity...cars will still kill cyclists.
ride free.

Being pragmatic 09.Sep.2005 14:28

DanC

People are not going to switch from petroleum to bicycling exclusively. Not gonna happen, at least not in the timeframe required to avoid catastrophic global warming.

matching a solution to the problem 09.Sep.2005 14:45

ct

I agree that getting EV's in the US would be a good thing, but mostly because they tend to be smaller, lighters, and more efficient in design. In terms of global warming and other problems associated with cars (like the large number of deaths they cause every year), this switch will probably not help much, and may even hurt the environment. The reason is that a switch to EV's will increase the demand for electricity which in this country is largely supplied through the burning of coal. For people that perceive global warming to be a problem they wish to address, the best solution is to move people to the numerous forms of transportation that do not have the enormous energy demands of a car.

the elecrtricity would come from what? 09.Sep.2005 15:30

CaptainPlanet

I totally support this effort, though part of the solution would be to also overhaul the electrical generation system. More wind and geothermal power should accompany increased use of electric autos.

If the same amount of development went into sustainable electricity as goes into weapons of war, I'll bet we'd have solar panels that last a person's lifetime and aren't manufactured with gallons of toxic waste per square foot of panel as a byproduct.

What about demanding of industry/government to accelerate development of sustainable power?

EVs replace petroleum, not replace the need for mass transit 09.Sep.2005 15:32

DanC

I completely agree mass transit is desperately needed in this country, and one of the best solutions to our coming energy crisis. But I also think EVs are good and necessary. Well to wheel studies of pollution generated show EVs to be better/lower than petroleum, even for coal-generated electricity. Also, electricity can be and is made from renewable sources, and these renewable resources are increasing every day. I predict in the future, there will much greater use of personal solar and micro wind turbines. I certainly plan on trying to use renewable resources to charge the car. All of this points to electric cars being the best interim solution to our transition from a petroleum-based society to a renewable energy based society. Is it the "perfect" solution? No. But in my opinion, it's far and away the best feasible solution, and much better than sticking with petroleum. Also, charging at night, as most people would do, would use spare power that's going unused otherwise, so it wouldn't not be adding substantially to CO2 emissions. Electric cars might even generate more creation of renewable power sources.

Absolutely 09.Sep.2005 15:40

DanC

"What about demanding of industry/government to accelerate development of sustainable power?"

I totally agree that's necessary and extremely important. Demanding anything of this government would probably be utterly useless with, but trying to work with industry might not be as hopeless. However, I'm not sure if that fits within the scope of what I had envisioned for this effort. It would be worth discussing if this thing gets off the ground, though.

4000 pound steel box 09.Sep.2005 16:28

red suspenders

I intend to "build" an electric vehicle within the next couple years- (with an onboard diesel generator) But it has more to do with building a toy to show off than giving a rats ass about the "environment"

That being said- The big problem with cars goes deeper than what goes in the gas can and out the tailpipe. You see you are moving a 4000 pound box on wheels to get a single 170 pound human being to "work" (ok 300 pounds if he's a well fed republican)

Imagine having to carry 4000 pounds of rocks up to council crest in a wheelbarrow. That's a lot of energy you could use for something else.

Also, 50% of the space in a modern city is dedicated to the automobile. The roads and parking lots are covered with rock mixed with heavy oil- leftover from making gasoline and diesel from crude oil.

You want to save the world- carpool, ride the bus or your bicycle. Think about where you live and work.

Every SUV ought to be recalled for "faulty gas mileage likely to lead to world war three" A modern passenger car ought to go 30 miles on a gallon of gas.

The oil companies paid to have the trolley tracks torn out. Anybody out there old enough to remember electric busses with "pandographs" And we ought to have high speed rail all over the place, rather than a bunch of damn airports. All that energy going to battle gravity.

I'd like to see some effort put into having a nice subway system here.

To red suspenders 09.Sep.2005 19:44

DanC

I agree with the gist of your comments. Cars are stupid, and waste energy. But knowing that, and knowing what the best solution would be, doesn't get you anything. I drive a car that's a little over 2000 lbs. Some of the electric cars that are proposed are in this weight range or even lower. Yes, it's still a lot of mass to move around for one human being. But until we can build utopia, there's no sense in not moving to something that's better than what we have. And I think EVs are a lot better than what we have. They'll buy us time until, hopefully, we become a much smarter, energy-wise, society and world.

By the way, I posted a few comments about my comments not showing up, but they finally did - hours later. I love indymedia, but am confused why it is so incredibly slow showing posts. Yes, I realize it's free. It just seems strange that it could be so quick to render pages but the database updates could be so slow.

Haven't any of you heard about "The Air Car"? 09.Sep.2005 22:26

It's built and it's ready

Please see it at:

www.theaircar.com

Of course it only goes 68 mph, but hey, the model-t did what--30 or 40 mph. In addition, the developer of the Air Car had radical plans for mass transit!

All they need now is American investors. Yea, lots-o-luck. They project these cars, trucks and vans will run from $8,000 to $11,000 per vehicle.

Spread the word.

LCR

Air Car is basically an electric car with compressed air as the battery 10.Sep.2005 01:05

DanC

Since the air is compressed using electricity, it's an electric-fueled, if not electric-powered, car. Definitely intriguing, and compressed air may be cheaper than batteries, I'd have to look into it.

catastrophic global warming seems imminent 10.Sep.2005 13:13

a cyclist

i still would like to point out a few things that should matter to anyone reading this...even though it seems that no one so far cares that many, many people die as a direct or indirect result of automobiles. automobile corporations are capitilist ventures and are in competition with each other. therefore lobbying a few select companies that you feel may be more closely alligned with your ideologies doesn't seem very pragmatic to me. these corps. are profit driven, and especially in the age of peak oil, petroleum fueled cars are going to continue. especially since an EV car sounds to be less expensive, what benefit is in that for these companies? i really don't think that subaru or mitsubishi care much about your moderate environmental politics, that if enacted would have a minimal impact. these auto corps are loaded by both their profits abd government hand-outs, which means they already have and agenda and alligence. i agree much more with the carpooling, public transit, and cycling alternatives, in terms of lessening energy consumption. however, i am trying to point out something else as well. there needs to be a great level of compassion between individuals for anything to ever congeal into something slightly ressembling a "movement". and i really don't sense much of a presence of this lately. as an avid cyclist, riding daily, over much of this city, what i see are deteriorating conditions on the road for those who choose to be zero emmissions. already this month two cyclists have been killed in the portland metro area. both instances were hit-and-run situations. in addition, i'm sure that the number of cyclists that have been hit and survived is double or triple that number. so thats an estimate of 6-8 people hit by cars in 9 days. imagine living with that fear whenever you leave you house to go somewhere. and these incidents don't only occur in outer portland or suburbs or at night. these incidents are not only perpetrated by right-wingers, SUV's, or people on cell phones. i can personally tell you that the BUS and people with "no blood for oil" or "share the road" stickers regularily drive just as absent minded and dangerously as anyone else. often times in broad daylight. this is a HUGE issue for the people being hit by and killed by these vehicles. this is something to think about. next time you are driving your car past a cyclist, try not to look at them as an obsticle in "your" way. most cyclists aren't just out riding aimlessly, they have destinations just as you do. they are a living, breathing, human being, with a heart that beats just as yours does. think about the compassion that is lacking from our everyday lives and how truely...any new type of vehicle that uses exhaustible resources won't change much until we change how we are to each other, our rate of consumption, and how much we are willing to change. i don't have much faith in any chance of a successful revolution, but we all must do as much as possible to not give up.

It doesn't matter what the companies' motives are 10.Sep.2005 16:16

DanC

If there are enough of us that want EVs, they will sell them. They don't have to care about the environment for them to sell responsible vehicles. EVs are responsible vehicles. They can be run from clean power. Here in the real world, most people are not going to switch from petroleum-based cars to bicycles. That is simply a fact. Some will, and I hope a lot do, but a lot won't. They will simply drive their petro vehicles less often. EVs would offer them the choice to drive something that doesn't dump CO2 into the atmosphere, that doesn't take them an hour to get where they want to go instead of 20 minutes, and that doesn't require them to brave the elements on rainy or snowy days. I'm not trying to create utopia with pixie dust, I'm trying to create an intermediate solution with a workable stategy.

bicycles demystified 10.Sep.2005 20:11

a cyclist

i doubt that i will make a break through with you danc...so i'll discuss the things that i know and am not assuming. as i stated before, i ride my bike everywhere, and i find that through some of your comments you have not, or at least not very recently. i will admit that for a trip from the suburbs into the city, a car is quite faster...however, the combination of riding part of the way by bicylce and the rest by public transit is comparible to the time by car. and within a city...even portland...but especially more compact, dense, urban cities, bicycles are actually faster much of the time, almost always in trips under 5 miles. these are things that i know, and if others knew, might be more inclined tomake the switch toward being more sustainable, taking up cycling.

To a bicyclist 10.Sep.2005 22:23

DanC

To get downtown from where I live in SW Portland, still in Multnomah County, by bus, takes about an hour. By bike, it takes about 20-30 minutes. During the winter, I will not ride my bike on a regular basis because the rain makes it miserable - I've tried. I am sympathetic to what you're saying. If we had better mass transit, i.e. more light rail coverage, I probably would ride my bike a lot more. But we don't, and we won't, for a good long while. In the meantime, you have people like me who are actually sympathetic to bicycles and mass transit, saying I will not use either in many cases because they don't meet my expectations of either comfort (referring to bicycling in the rain) or speed efficiency (bus service - an hour downtown is not acceptable). And if I'm saying that, I guarantee you there are a huge number of people that also feel that way. As I said, I view electric cars as a good, if interim, solution. There are plenty of places that have much worse mass transit infrastructure than Portland does - are they going to grow it overnight when the price of oil gets too expensive? There's more than just global warming and not supporting big oil here: there is a very real chance peak oil and/or demand exceeding supply, is going to cause economic havoc on an unprecedented scale. If we can move over to EVs now, we can save for another day that we're not in such economic dire straits to have the discussion on how we want to restructure our future societies.