So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Thursday, April 7, 2016
Game changers in electric transportation
In many instances alternative energy can replace fossil fuels. The one big area where renewables fell short was transportation. Liquid fossil fuels pack an awful lot energy into a pretty compact package. Combined with the fact that gas stations exist in great abundance all over the world, it's a tough nut to crack. Electric cars had poor performance and recharging took forever.
There are a number of factors coming together that will change all that -and relatively quickly too. The first factor is the huge expansion in cheap renewables. Wind and solar generation are getting cheaper and more abundant every year. It makes little sense to have an electric car that gets its electricity from a plant burning dirty coal.
Battery technology is finally producing batteries with enough energy density that electric cars can travel over 200 miles on a charge. There are also quick charge stations starting to pop up that charge batteries in minutes instead of hours.
Of course, Elon Musk's Tesla company is in the news. People lined up to throw money at him for a car that won't be on the road until sometime next year. That's huge. It's not so much that Tesla is making electric cars. Tesla is making really cool cars that are fun to drive and own -they just happen to be electric too.
All eyes are on Musk's Model 3 as if it will make or break the market for electric vehicles. It won't. The really big news is not from the West but from the East. China is making a huge push for electric cars. They will turn them out in the millions, and they will be pretty cheap too. They won't be Teslas, but they will be good enough to get the job done. Expect China to try to flood the world market.
It makes perfect sense for China to invest heavily into electric cars. Their urban pollution is horrific. Replacing gas with electric will help. China has another problem: they aren't a huge producer of oil. Going heavily into electric vehicles will reduce their reliance on imports.
Also under the radar is the quiet invasion of electric buses and delivery vehicles. They make sense in an urban setting where speeds are low and distances between stops are short. Quick charging stations can keep even fairly short range vehicles on the road all day long.
I've had my eye on electrics for years. The idea of electrics powered by alternative energy was a powerful one, but the numbers just never came together. Now they have.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.