Urban Fold

The Future Of The Car Is The Present

GM will soon unveil its SUV of the future – the 'plug-in' hybrid known as the Volt. Mitsubishi's new mini, all-electric car will soon go to market in Japan. The days of the gas-powered car are numbered- or are they?

"With all the glitzy ads, media chatter and Internet buzz about plug-in hybrids that draw power from the electric grid or cars fueled with hydrogen, it's easy to get lulled into thinking that gasoline stations soon will be as rare as drive-in theaters. The idea that auto makers can quickly execute a revolutionary transition from oil to electricity is now a touchstone for both major presidential candidates.

Ditching the internal-combustion engine could mean ditching the way of life that goes with it, and returning to an era in which more travel revolves around train and bus schedules, and more people live in smaller homes in dense urban neighborhoods.

That's the dream. Now the reality: This revolution will take years to pull off -- and that's assuming it isn't derailed by a return to cheap oil. Anyone who goes to sleep today and wakes up in five years will find that most cars for sale in the U.S. will still run on regular gas -- with a few more than today taking diesel fuel."

Thanks to Robert Piper

Full Story: Why the gasoline engine isn't going away any time soon



Electric cars run on coal.

Electric cars, even if available today are no solution. They run on coal, and they encourage sprawl.

But there is a solution available right now: free public transit. Bangkok has it. Changning China has it. Hasselt has it. Commerce, California has it. It is doable, usually for 1/2 cent sales tax.


They're still traffic

As long our preferred mode of travel is SOV (single occupant vehicle), we will still have traffic degrading our neighborhoods, a need for an expanding infrastructure of paved, non-permeable surfaces, traffic deaths, space that could house people given to storing cars, particulate rubber pollution, and a ton of scrap metal and plastic at the end of the vehicle's life, not to mention toxic batteries to dispose of.
Electric (or other non-local-polluting vehicles) solve few of the problems endemic to the culture of the automobile. They are an aspirin treating the symptoms of a cancer.
The shift that needs to happen is a total lifestyle change into more dense, walkable communities. Driving an electric or hybrid vehicle to your mcmansion in the sprawling edge suburbs in far from sustainable.
rob bregoff

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