left biblioblography: PLUG AND PLAY: OF PETROLEUM, PANDERING, AND PURE PROPAGANDA

Friday, August 25, 2006

PLUG AND PLAY: OF PETROLEUM, PANDERING, AND PURE PROPAGANDA


Yeah, I’m terribly pissed off again. I’d forgotten about this.

I recall reading an article about this subject, about 3-4 years ago, in a free weekly (S.F Weekly? The Guardian?). It was so long ago, chances are strong I won’t be able to find a reproduction online, so you’ll just have to take my word (and my increasingly spotty memory) on it.

There was a general assembly in Sacramento, of major car manufacturers, about the electric car. The general consensus among them, was that the electric car was
  1. Far too slow

  2. Too cumbersome to maintain,

  3. Ran out of oomph after X amount of miles
And more similar ‘facts’.

A woman (whose name escapes me for the nonce, sorry) had driven all the way from San Francisco to Sacramento, to defend the electric automobile.

The catch? You guessed it: she drove up there in an electric car.

And, if memory serves (and again paraphrasing here), she was flabbergasted at how much drivel these clowns were spouting. All of which was false.

And I can give you a couple of pointers, as to why we believe this horse manure.


The Simpsons: yep, I’m dinging one of my all time favorite shows here (what’s my motto? Oh yeah: NOBODY GETS A FREE PASS).

Electric Car: "Hello, I'm an electric car. I don't drive very fast or go very far. And if you drive me, people will think you're GAAAY."*** Gay Robots at Efcot Center: "One of US! One of US!"

(Author’s note: while this may have been a tongue-in-cheek shot, one needs but remember how rumors get started.)

Has anyone seen this episode of ‘Grounded for Life?’

‘The electric car that Eddie drives in "Pay You Back with Interest" is a CVI CommutaCar. The CommutaCar was the most successful electric car ever put in production.’

Brief synopsis here: Eddie (the irresponsible brother, who I usually found the most entertaining) buys an electric car. Much was made of this. A woman he hit on was immediately repulsed by his transport, and he would have to recharge using an extension cord (no, none too convenient, ey?).

I’m sure there are others, but these are the two that spring to mind immediately.

So why aren’t we seeing these bad boys on the street? Simple. The oil companies. Those magnates of mass production, who lie to us to keep their money in their pockets.

There may be something to the notion that there’d be a lot of auto mechanics and/or auto part stores that would be put out of business, but let’s stick to the big boys for now.

This would solve so many problems in this world. We could change our economy, reduce pollution, stop wrecking the environment, and we could leave those nutjobs in the Middle East to their own devices.

And, as a ‘pre-emptive strike’, to those who would argue the technology isn’t evolved enough:

Does anyone recall the first ‘portable’ computer? I had one. It was anything but portable, weighing somewhere in the vicinity of twenty pounds, and was a pain to lug about.

Now we have laptops, notebooks, and PDA’s. I trust the point is not lost here.

How about the first cordless telephone? It was big enough, and bulky enough, to crack walnuts or someone’s skull. Now? We have phones that fit in the palm of our hands (and getting smaller every day).

Please read the supplied link for some interesting facts.

Here’s the main problem: technology improves with use. Between this culture of instant gratification, and the inherent laziness that the collective herd practices, well, once the novely wears off, it either gets shelved (due to lack of foresight, and/or a compilation of media echo chambering), or someone picks up the ball and runs with it.

So it’s about time that we bid farewell to this insane, high-maintenance love affair with the combustion engine – no matter how attached you may be to it, it’s still just a machine, and y’all are just going to have to choose between today’s convenience and your grandchildren wearing Hazmat suits and/or packing their own oxygen as they go out to play.

And, as always – the rational should prevail. So by no means am I advocating to my readers that they should dump their current mode of transport in the lake, and rush right out to purchase an electric car – rather that you and I should take specific steps and put in place mechanisms that won’t wreak havoc on our environment – just ‘cause I’m a tree-hugger, doesn’t mean I have sap-for-brains.

How’s that old ditty go? Oh yeah – “My momma told me – ya gotta shop around!”

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12 comments:

mxracer652 said...

Easy now RA, don't forget that a large portion of US electricity comes from natural gas, i.e. from the Middle East. Out here in the Appalachias, it's predominatly coal-fired plants. You're trading one vice for another, IMO.

Wired had an article about a mass produced electric sports car : http://www.wired.com/news/wiredmag/0,71414-0.html

Tesla motors, how cool is that?...anyway

While I 100% agree that electric is the next logical step for passenger vehicles, we (US) need a better electric source than using hydrdocarbons. Nuclear seems to be the most efficient way to go, but we're nuclear adverse.

Here's something to ponder, a manual transmission is 2-10% more efficient than the best automatic (basic mechanical inefficiency). Shitcan automatics, and watch the consumption drop. One other thing is that the Otto cycle efficiency is primarily driven by compression ratio. Since most cars are designed to run on shit gasoline, they have low compression, which equates low efficiency. Mandate all fuels to carry a 100 octane rating, and you can crank the compression up from the 9:1 average to 11-12:1. Efficiency goes up at least 5%. Nice thing is that high octane fuels take less refining to make, they are "heavier" & therfore cheaper.

None of this is a long term solution, but is completely practical to implement now.

Help, I'm an engineer & a racer & a mechanic & I can'tstoprambling aboutengines......

karen said...

I heard a conspiracy theory on some TV show on the Discovery channel or somesuch that said all the first electric cars have been turned back in and junked. That they were never actually sold, but leased, and when leases were up, they had to be turned in whether people wanted to do so or not.

Krystalline Apostate said...

mxracer:
Easy now RA, don't forget that a large portion of US electricity comes from natural gas, i.e. from the Middle East.
I never gave the natural gas source much thought. I assumed that it was local geographically.
Tesla motors, how cool is that?...anyway
I recall seeing that, I think it's in the link I provided? Or on the tube.
Here's something to ponder, a manual transmission is 2-10% more efficient than the best automatic (basic mechanical inefficiency).
Yeah, I've heard that. Probably why the manual trannies are cheaper.
Mandate all fuels to carry a 100 octane rating
Haven't seen an octane rating, but then I don't get out very much.
karen:
That they were never actually sold, but leased, and when leases were up, they had to be turned in whether people wanted to do so or not.
That's in the link I provided (I think).

mxracer652 said...

Natural gas is a byproduct of gasoline/diesel/oil refining. It has low energy density (compared to fuel oils) and used to be either released to the atmosphere or burned, until it became economically feasible to use. Most of the US outside of the east coast uses natural gas fired turbines to create electricity.

Krystalline Apostate said...

mxracer:
I knew some of that.
There's always going to be some problems w/the newer technologies. I was having a debate w/my Repub BIL, he pointed out that electricity pollutes too, & make a big deal out of the disposability of electric car batteries. Oddly enough, couldn't find a lot of info about the battery disposal.

Mikayla Starstuff said...

Humm, I always heard that electric cars wouldn't go very far before needing recharging. A lady drove cross country in an electric car? Interesting!
Even if the creation of electricity causes air pollution, it probably wouldn't cause near as much as all these gas cars running around though . . .

Mikayla Starstuff said...

LOL I misread. It was just from San Francisco to Sacramento that she drove? I dunno how far that is . . .

Krystalline Apostate said...

mikayla:
It's approx. 87 miles. Well over an hour's drive at 65 mph.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that in Sweden they have managed to produce electricity by buning garbage. They tell us here that incinertion causes pollutoin but in Sweden this burning produces no pollution.
remy

Krystalline Apostate said...

remy:
Did you know that in Sweden they have managed to produce electricity by buning garbage. They tell us here that incinertion causes pollutoin but in Sweden this burning produces no pollution.
No, I didn't know that. Intriguing. Got link?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no link. Saw it on a CBC doc. I'll try to find something.

say no to christ said...

Well heres my 2 cents...We can run the very same cars we drive now, with a few moderations, on corn oil and other natural food products. The first deisel engines were made to run on veggie oil. I find it a little strange that the guy who created the deisel(sp?brainfart)engine turned up dead before he could put it on the market as a vegan motor. From what I undrstand vegan fuels have way less harmful fuel emmissions.

You may need to do some research to get more accurate info about this, cuz I am not mechanicly inclined. I am just repeating what I've heard here and there and know more and more alturnative pumps are showing up at the gas stations. I would also be interested in learning more if anyone has more information about this alturnative fuel.