The following article appeared in the Orange County Register Wednesday, April 2, 2008.
This is my reply:
Most of the EV community sees this as a defeat because the numbers are down from the 25,000 or so originally in the mandate. I believe the CARB responded to public opinion. I believe Auto Manufacturers can be inspired by legislation to introduce improvements in vehicles. Seat belts and air bags are examples of this.
The CARB has failed, not because Government can't influence the Auto Industry, not because we don't have the technology and that can't be legislated into existence, but because there is more at stake than seat belts or air bags. There is a power struggle going on over the future role of Oil in this country and around the world.
You may have seen "Who Killed the Electric Car". It has a great deal of information on this power struggle. There is a lot to absorb there. The key points are that we have the technology to build Battery Electric Vehicles that work and last. The Toyota RAV4 EV is extant evidence of this. The EV1s were called back and crushed by GM. They would be further evidence if they had not been crushed and would belie claims by GM that their Volt is waiting for battery technology.
The EV1 and the RAV4 EV were powered by NiMH batteries (nickel Metal Hydride batteries). You have these same batteries, in a smaller form factor, in your hybrid. They work and they last. They hold twice the energy of lead acid batteries in half the weight. The fact is the state of California can not legislate technology into existence. But they don't need to. We have the technology. There are hundreds of RAV4 EVs on the road today with their original batteries traveling over a hundred miles on a charge.
For $13,000 dollars, your Hybrid car can be modified today, to do what the Volt promises to do. If it was mass produced as a Plug-in Hybrid, it would be much cheaper.
Ironically, GM held the patent for those batteries, the ones in your Hybrid car, and they sold it to Chevron. Why?
I guess I don't agree with the article in its conclusion, although much of what it says is true. They are buying into GM and Chevrons spin that says we don't have the technology and it is not economically feasible.
Imagine a world with only Battery Electric Vehicles. How much would it cost to build 400 Gasoline Vehicles. Custom conversion of Battery Electric Vehicles to Gasoline would be very complicated and very expensive.
Imagine how many cell phones we would have today if Verizon decided to wait for customer demand before they put up the first Cell tower. They created the demand by offering affordable technology. The first phones were not for everyone because they were expensive. But there was enough demand to justify the investment in the technology. Today they are cheaper and everyone has one.
No, I don't agree with the article. I believe we have the technology and we have the latent demand. Further, I believe it is a national security issue. Our presence in Iraq is, I believe, because of our interest in region stability, to the end that Oil keeps flowing.
Here is a link to my web site.
If you are really interested in this subject, checkout "Letters Written" at the bottom of the page. "Why Electric" may also be of interest.