Forget petroleum, biodiesel, hydrogen or any other fuel that people have been working on getting to market lately. As much as I really like the thought of using biodiesel (and I hope to one day), the only way we are going to become both fully independent of foreign countries AND clean our air is by driving electric cars. And these future electric cars will be powered by solar panels on the roof of your house, office, or apartment building. Presto – no more emissions from our cars!
It is painfully obvious that people are not willing to give up their private transportation…sure, there are small amounts of people who have given up their cars (myself included) and taken advantage of public transportation in their town. There are a lot more in the cities that could also do so, but there are also millions of people who do not live in the city, and they do not have any public transportation to speak of. So there really is no way for them to give up their own cars, so we have to figure out a better way to make them run.
We may be a ways off on electric cars taking off into the mainstream…the issue for most people is that they currently only have a limited range and take a long time to recharge. That and the batteries are toxic, which needs to be resolved as well. People are worried that they will be out in the middle of nowhere and their car will run out of power; however, that can happen with a gas-powered car as well, and we never worry about that. So that problem can be easily fixed by both making quick-charge batteries that take, say, 20 minutes to recharge at a “filling” station, and by creating batteries that have a longer range. Imagine getting in your electric car that was powered up overnight using the electricity stored in batteries that were charged by the sun. You head out on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and every 200 miles or so you have to stop at a charging station and top off the battery. It would add an additional 40 minutes to your trip – well worth the emissions cut and gas savings
I would say!
In my opinion, we need to get started on this right away. Major corporations need to get involved so there is real money behind this kind of development – it is great that backyard engineers are building electric cars, but if we want to get this up to speed and working we need to have money invested in research and development. Just inventing yet another fuel to burn in a combustion engine is not really going to help in the long run; we are still emitting pollution and burning through a natural (even if it is renewable) resource. By creating electric cars that run for 200 miles or so and charge up in 20 minutes using the power of the sun, we could completely remove ourselves from both foreign oil (i.e. funding both sides of every war fought over oil) and every other fuel we could possibly come up with.
There is no time like the present, and if I had the money or the resources, this is where I would be putting my dollars. Let’s come up with a solution that REALLY solves a problem, not takes us from one problem into another.
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