The Car of the Future

An Earth & Sky interview I did last year on plug-in hybrids is here.

One Response to The Car of the Future

  1. Tim Bousquet says:

    A couple of comments:

    1. Although I see discussion of renewable electric generation in reference to hydrogen powered cars, you don’t mention it when speaking of electric cars. Without it, and all other things being equal, you’re essentially arguing for a switch from gasoline-powered engines to engines powered with electricity generated by coal-powered plants.

    I’ve read enough of your work to know that you’re no fan of coal, so this isn’t criticism so much as a hope that you’ll continue to beat the drum for renewables while speaking of hybrid vehicles.

    2. I worry that the push for hybrids is driven in part by an aversion to people giving up their cars, or supporting mass transit. I takes away, I think, from the imperative that we build and rebuild our cities in compact form with lots of potential for walking and transit.

    Suburbanization itself is a huge generator of GHG emissions, as it gobbles up carbon sinks like farmland and forests, and as just normal everyday infrastructure (roads, pipelines, electric wires, delivery and emergency trucks, etc.) has to spread over great areas.

    Also, I’d point out that even the laughable improvements in gas milage in recent years have not caused a reduction in fuel use or GHG emissions from vehicles, as people have increased the size of their vehicles and the distances of their travel quicker than milage has increased.

    Likewise, won’t people use whatever dollar savings they get in their fuel bill by operating hybrids to simply drive farther distances for the same price? I fear that increased fuel efficiency in vehicles actually accelerates suburbanization.

    That’s not to argue against better milage or increased efficiency, of course, but rather to say that by itself, efficiency doesn’t get us much. It needs to be coupled with a real reduction in driving. And we only get that by regulatory control of suburban sprawl.