I have a new article in Salon, “The car of the future is here,” about plug-in hybrids. The two central points of the article are:
- Plug-in hybrids (and electric cars) are an essential climate strategy, enabling renewable power (even intermittent sources like wind) to become a major low-cost transportation fuel.
- Practical, affordable plug-in hybrids will be here in a few years — even if we don’t get a technology breakthrough in batteries.
[I am even more confident of these conclusions given the amazing joint announcement today by Renault-Nissan, Project Better Place, and Israel -- see below.]
If you read the Salon article, you’ll know more than billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who recently said:
The subject deserves a far more serious discussion. Transportation is the toughest sector in which to achieve deep carbon emissions reductions. Of the three major alternative fuels that could plausibly provide a low-carbon substitute for a significant amount of petroleum:
- I am excited about the near-term reality (next five years) of plug in hybrids and electric cars
- I am hopeful that cellulosic biofuels could be a medium-term strategy, rather than a long-term one, especially for long-distance travel by air, sea, and land (which batteries probably can’t handle).
- I am increasingly convinced hydrogen fuel cell cars are a dead end especially from the perspective of avoiding catastrophic climate change (which requires deep emissions reductions by 2050). I’ll have a long article on hydrogen in the near future.
I was especially impressed by AFS Trinity’s plug-in hybrid design, which I test drove last year (see “The Extreme (plug in) Hybrid — no breakthrough needed!“).
I am even more heartened about the prospects for pure electric vehicles (EVs) in other countries after seeing the following truly ground-breaking announcement today.
The private sector is stepping up to the plate with world-class ingenuity, and other countries are forming partnerships to begin deploying electric drive cars. Is the U.S. government going to join the game, or once again abandon the field to more forward-thinking countries?
- Why electricity is the only alternative fuel that can lead to energy independence
- Plug in Hybrids are Green (Duh!)
- Hybrid production costs may drop two-thirds within 10 years
- Chrysler to electrify entire product line!
- World’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid is from … China, for $22,000?
- The energy tax credits in the bailout bill, Part 1: Solar power and plug in hybrids win big
- Has GM overdesigned the Volt: Is a 40-mile all electric range too much?
- All things Chevy Volt, including the new House tax credit for plug ins
- Chrysler, Mazda, Hyundai, and Nissan announce plug-ins — Honda stands alone against PHEVs
- Why I don’t agree with James Kunstler about peak oil and the “end of suburbia”