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Electric Car History And Some Arguments Challenged

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On: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 9:37AM | By: Benjamin Roussey


Electric Car History And Some Arguments Challenged

There has been a lot of debate between the electric, gas and hybrid operating vehicle insiders and outsiders. This debate will probably not subside any time soon. Some environmentalists support the electric car movement and are forever angry that the largest auto companies squashed the development of electric cars in the early part of the 20th century.

Two monumental events that occurred which were responsible for waylaying electric cars are:

· The discovery of Texas crude oil forced the cost of gasoline to plummet.

· In 1912, the electric starter was invented which undermined the requirement of the hand crank. It seems pretty ironic that the electric starter was a huge reason the electric engine was ousted to the garbage dumpster.

The oil embargo and crisis in the 1960s and the 1970s stimulated some electric car chatter, but soon dissipated. GM introduced the Impact which was a striking electric car prototype. In 1998, the California Air Resources Board chimed in and declared all vehicles that are sold in their state that same year must be emission-free and this number must rise to 10% in 5 years.

There were some powerful forces at play. Some environmentalists still claim that car companies do not want to promote this product. They say that the massive conglomerates in the oil and automobile industries want, and wanted, to maintain their standard business models, and electric cars is, and was, not part of their long-term company mission, respectively. This argument has flaws since electric cars need to recharge their batteries from a normal home power outlet, and coal is the largest contributor to our electric power grid. Thus, if you upset the oil companies in this regard, you offer a massive bone to the coal companies. Everything about coal is American. So that argument is laid to rest.

If GM and Ford wanted to see electric cars fail it was because Toyota was selling a lot of Prius automobiles while Ford and GM did not have an answer for Toyota’s winning product. Also, GM should not have been bailed out but that is another story. But I will add this: GM was bailed out because many politicians wanted to preserve thousands of plush union jobs. It would be much better for this country and the economy if GM was allowed to fold up shop in 2008 after so many business mistakes. But half of it is gone now, so they did face some consequences since they could not restructure fast enough. Furthermore, electric vehicles may not be the wave of the future since the hybrid offers the best of both worlds, and some say we can power cars with our garbage.

The most promising fuel for our cars is not electric because the range issue for electric cars will not be overcome any time soon. For instance, on a full charge they still cannot exceed that much more than 100 miles. The most promising cars that can take us off the reliance of Middle Eastern oil (and do not have any driving range drawbacks) are cars that are powered by two sources: switch grass and algae. But both these sources are years away from making a dent into the status quo, which is a shame because it does not have to be this way. But this is again another subject.

Another argument some environmentalists make is that we have not made enough progress into the electric car technology compared to the undeniable advancement of computers and cell phones. That is just a ridiculous claim since apparently we needed more innovation in those fields. America did not need to see that much renovation into the powering of a vehicle since for decades oil was cheap and plentiful. Environmentalists also do not want us to utilize our natural resources on both sides of the ball. When the private sector was one inch away from having a massive wind farm built off the coast of Massachusetts, Senator Ted Kennedy squashed it because it would block his view. He was supposedly an environmentalist. When most of the country wants to drill for oil off our coasts, environmental oppose this as well. We cannot win with them, so why even try?

Anyone who says we cannot treat the environment well and build a business is wrong. No one here is declaring that. Moreover, electric vehicles do have one thing going for them: you need not spend any time at a gas station. What a tedious chore. Having our car charge up while we sleep seems about as convenient as anything we have ever thought of.


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James Roberts | 11:05AM (Mon, Apr 19, 2010)

I often forget to plug in my cell phone at night and it will be typically dead when I wake up in the morning. You will be totally screwed if you forget to plug in your car.... I think I would rather misplace my keys, at least I alway know where the spare is!



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