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T Boone Pickens
T Boone Pickens champions wind power, compressed natural gas trucks and now -- curiously -- a secretive car company that is assumed to be building an electric-drive automobile.

Electric Cars Are Taking Us Back to the Future

Seemingly random events are edging us towards an electric car future

By Robert Weller

Hundreds of billions have been spent on bailing out companies with incompetent executives with no vision other than enriching themselves and squelching their opposition. President Obama is talking about spending $2.4 billion to get more electric cars on the road.

Based on present auto sales that would mean less than 2 percent of cars would be electric cars, and that would be several years away.

Meanwhile, carbon emissions would continue to grow, threatening global warming. A much more immediate threat to our security is the dependence on foreign oil.

Do we constantly want to have to send hundreds of thousands of troops to the Middle East. Without the oil threat it might be possible to bring Israel and its enemies together in realistic settlement talks.

Wouldn’t the reduction in noise be nice in urban environments, as well as not choking on exhaust fumes?

Denmark offers tax exemptions for electric cars. That could be a powerful tool to erase consumer fears and resistance.

This week Obama seemed to be pinning his hopes on lessening our foreign oil dependence by requiring the auto industry to raise mileage standards that would allow them to build the cars of the 21st Century. Critics say that leaves us as the vassals of Arab dictatorships.

“A fool with a plan is better than a genius with no plan, and we look like fools without a plan,” oilman T. Boon Pickens has said. He urges electric cars for family and individual transport and diesel, natural gas for big trucks and rigs.

Around the world startup companies and some major auto manufacturers are building these vehicles. The ancient days of China sending silk to Europe have been replaced with it using its huge industrial capacity, and internal demand, to flood the U.S. with imports.

The demand for vehicles is growing both in China and India, and neither can afford the additional air pollution internal combustion engines would create. The vehicles already available, though not in nearly enough numbers and too pricy, would have the range most Chinese would need.

Batteries remain the big issue. Japan and other countries are ahead of us. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that some electric cars can just plug into an electric outlet through an extension cord if they start to run low.

It has already been demonstrated by several companies that electric cars can match even Ferraris and Porsches in speed and distance, though at price way beyond most consumers even in the wealthiest Western countries.

Like everything else, prices will come down as manufacturing is expanded throughout the world. It wouldn’t be the first time the country has switched from one major process to another one. Thomas Edison had every advantage over immigrant Nikola Tesla but the country now uses alternating current for most processes instead of direct.

What will OPEC do? This can put an end to profiteering in many areas, though the system is so complicated they certainly will find a way to gouge consumers. In theory, petroleum users could boycott producers.

Some of these producers, particularly the Arab ones, are one-industry based. To compete they will have to bring prices down, benefiting the rest of the world. The irony is that we had electric cars in 1832 and the motor-oil industry only gained control of the market in 1920. Most cities had trolleys. Many were ripped up and the train cars destroyed.

Then pollution became a big issue... before global warming. In the 1990s, under pressure from California regulators, GM began producing electric cars.

California, allegedly under pressure from the auto industry and oil industry, lowered its air standards. GM, which had leased most of the cars recalled them and destroyed them.

Calls are appearing on the Internet for drivers not to buy gasoline from stations that get their supply from OPEC members. There are many other suppliers. Perhaps they could be required to post where their oil comes from.

Times Article Viewed: 8835
Published: 20-Jun-2009

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