Stockholm Adds 123 New Ethanol (E95) Buses to its Fleet
OPEC: $80/Barrel Possible

Zakaria: 500 MPG with Plug-ins and Biofuels

Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria uses his current column to call for an immediate US policy focus on plug-ins and biofuels.

Beneath the din lies a little-noticed reality—the solution is already with us. Over the last five years, technology has matured in various fields, most importantly in semiconductors, to make possible cars that are as convenient and cheap as current ones, except that they run on a combination of electricity and fuel. Hybrid technology is the answer to the petroleum problem.

You can already buy a hybrid car that runs on a battery and petroleum. The next step is ”plug-in“ hybrids, with powerful batteries that are recharged at night like laptops, cell phones and iPods.

In many states in the American Middle West you can buy a car that can use any petroleum, or ethanol, or methanol—in any combination.

Put all this technology together and you get the car of the future, a plug-in hybrid with a flexible-fuel tank.

Some of his data and facts are a bit off, but the sentiment is right. Act now, with conviction and focus, and we can achieve what needs to be done.


Mikhail Capone

Sometimes I think that we're like computer buyers; always waiting for the next CPU or video card to come out, because we feel it's going to be so much better than what is currently available.. and we end up never doing anything and never using current technology because something better is always on the horizon.

Ted Inoue

And in the same issue, BW reviewed a new Land Rover that gets 14mpg.

I wrote them a letter to the editor, critical of such hypocricy. We'll see if it gets published.

Why is the American buying public so hung up on big, fast cars? Even the new Lexus Hybrid was designed to be more powerful than the existing options, and in the process, trades fuel efficiency, giving a mediocre rating of under 30mpg.

If the auto makers truly wanted to sell to a greener crowd, they would promote an SUV replacement - 4WD, moderately spacious, diesel-hybrid, and made with lightweight materials. Give it good low end torque (automatic with DC motors) and the safety features people want (front and side air bags etc).

Once you design a car that will appeal to the American Housewife as well as the outdoors green types, you've got a good market share locked up. Think Green Subaru.

f bealle

Which question is being debated? The feasibility of a 500 mpg car, or some lesser hybrid? Just altering the motivator to gee-whiz electronics doesnt answer the question of where the fuel comes from. Delivering electric power from a natural gas plant to a home and putting it into a battery adds losses in the plant, the power lines, the battery. Using liquid fuel right in the car is one solution. If we extrapolate from the long history of automobiles, from 5 mpg to 50 mpg, the 500 mpg car (on physical principles) will be a pretty puny specimen. More like a powered bicycle.
The transition to intelligent transportation choices will be painful for Americans. Meanwhile, we can sit back and chuckle at the Chinese and Indians who are feverishly building gas guzzlers to satisfy a ravenous demand from their new upper class.
Lots of smart people over there, and motivated. Why are they not building 80 and 100 mpg cars at least? Why are they not expanding rail facilities and subways in their enourmous traffic jammed cities? Because they are emulating the glories of America.
Americans should be passing laws that demand much more than CAFE. As a national security issue, gas mileage of passenger cars should be at least 80 mpg, and 10 percent better each production year. And goodbye SUVs.

The comments to this entry are closed.