Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Green Technodustrial Revolution

What will 2010 bring?  Recent announcements from GM and Chrysler seem to hint towards the long-awaited transition of vehicles from petroleum powered to electric, there is movement in the alternative energy production industry not seen since the Carter administration, and technology like V2Grid is becoming a household term (well almost).  We are seeing a rethinking of our energy production and consumption dynamics in a way that could radically reshape our country.

As I see the financial meltdown consuming the headlines I can't help but look towards the impending revolution in how we apply technology, specifically green technology, to our industrial output.  I love development in green technology because it alone can reshape the character of the US in the global marketplace.  We have been shipping jobs and off-shoring work for thirty years at an increasing pace as the technologies that we have developed have become commonplace and trivial to replicate around the world.  

Investing deeply in alternative energy gives the US the opportunity to develop new technologies that cannot easily be mimicked, that will lead to new science and technology research, and to the creation of the types of jobs and industry that are desirable and not easily transferred halfway around the world.  However, the world moves fast, and if we are caught flat footed we'll miss our chance to have the world look to us for these technologies, and instead we'll be picking up the leftover scraps from under the table.  Let's make a commitment to lead this revolution, I don't think it is an opportunity that our country can afford to miss.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Closing in on 9000 E-miles

Well, so much for the promise of a post per week.  That definitely didn't happen, maybe I'll schedule a reminder on my calendar to post and I'll be more diligent about it.  Well, the big news is that I've made it past 8,500 all-electric miles on the ELECTRC and am closing in on 9000 miles.  I figure that once I hit 9,000 miles sometime towards the end of September I will have not burned 9,000/25 MPG = 360 gallons of gas.  Wow, that's a lot of gas that WASN'T used. 

Life isn't all peachy though, a couple of weeks ago I barely made it home from my 30 mile round trip.  It wasn't a normal trip home - I hadn't run the car for several days so the battery charge was low, I had gone to a going away party for a vanpool buddy that was a couple of miles out of the way, and I was in a hurry.  Long story short, I had to limp home at a very slow speed the last several miles and couldn't pull in to the driveway.  So, I parked it on the street and waited a half hour until the batteries self-charged and I could drive in the driveway.  

 As a result of this final beating of my batteries my cars range seems to be down to around 20 miles now.  So, I'm driving up to Federal Way every day, and plugging in at one of my two vanpool buddies houses.  It's added a little bit of time to my commute, but it really feels better than the alternative of driving my gas powered van while I get new batteries.  The day after my ELECTRC batteries emptied out, I contemplated driving the van, until I filled it up at Fred Meyer and felt the wind being knocked out of me as I watched the meter tick up to $56.00 to fill the tank. I could hear Texaco, Exxon, etc laughing as the meter went up, saying "we've got you back on the petroleum drugs, we knew you'd give in eventually..ha ha ha" in their evilest voice.  So, I'm still driving ELECTRC, and still feeling good about my daily commute and looking forward to watching the odometer tick over 9,000 miles in the next couple of weeks.