I spoke at length with members of the Green Parking Council, various companies that want to supply green technology to parking operators, and attendees in general. One thing I did find was that people were reluctant to take a “non PC” line. Those who make their living selling Green technology are sold, body and soul. Those who aren’t are simply unwilling to take a stand.
One greenie put it this way: Kids, those under 25, have been told about the end of the world due to global warming, carbon foot prints, evil automobiles, and the like since they were born. They are already sold on the deal. Their parents want to set a good example. Older folks (like me, I guess) simply tolerate it.
As far as he was concerned, the deal is done. All he had to do was cash the check.
Another opinion, told to me quietly behind a curtain, was like this: My SUV is a dinosaur. Its history. Oh they will still make a few for the president and special uses, but its over. The future in the next 20 years is a hybrid of sorts. Vehicles large and small will be running on a combination of gasoline (or fossil fuel of some type) and electricity. The problem is, battery technology simply isn’t there. It really hasn’t changed much in the last 75 years. They don’t hold enough energy, they are very messy, they lose their capacity. We have those problems with our Ipods and Cell phones. Its no different with cars. If the government hadn’t stepped in and required auto companies to provide high mileage vehicles (CAFE) plus paid for most of the research, it would have been years because the business side of the car business knows that the vehicles are a money loser, and will be until people can drive them just as they do regular cars today.
Whew – those were great speeches, and I think fairly close to the point.
Think about it – Exxon/Mobile is the largest corporation in the US. They are in business to make money. Their research, on their own dime, is in the area of using moss/algae to produce power. These guys have looked at wind, solar, ethanol, and the rest, and have discounted them all. Why? Because they simply don’t make economic sense.
Ethanol was the rage a few years ago – its history. Drive up interstate 5 between LA and San Francisco and you will see wind farms with the huge windmill blades lying on the ground, rusting. Put Solar Cells on your roof and you will pay off the installation and start making money in 20 years.
There are fans of each, but they all have fatal flaws that can be “solved” as soon as someone spends enough money. Sorry, sometime things just don’t work.
A friend told me that this electric car push is just beginning, we are on the leading edge. Perhaps technology will be discovered that will “fix” the current problems with distribution and batteries. He doesn’t know. What he does know is that we are moving quickly, very quickly. He hopes all the money and technology that has been thrown at electric cars works. Until he sees it, he’s a skeptic.
A telling photo op for me was when the President visited GM to check out the Volt. There was an assembly line. He got in the car and sat in it. Then got out. No driving, not moving, nada. It would seem that if this vehicle was to be in production and for sale to the public in six months, they could at least have had something a person could drive around a track.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for driving a car and paying little or nothing for the fuel. And I love blue skies and clean air. But wishing it so doesn’t make it happen.