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It Runs On The Sun
Electric car powered by its own sonar panel! Owned by the Patricia Faure Gallery at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station. There's really no reason for us to keep guzzling gas -- I mean, if we don't want to guzzle gas. This isn't exactly cold fusion, coming up with cars that run on something other than Osama's oil.

Posted by aalkon at July 9, 2006 10:50 AM

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I noticed several things.

First, no brand name. M'doubts it's "cute little car". Hard to look up information.

Second, only one person. Kinda hard to take the wife or kids anywhere.

Third, size. I doubt I (at over six feet and 205) could fit in, from the looks of it.

Fourth, safety. Doesn't look like it would survive an impact with a large dog or person.

Fifth, cloudy days.

Sixth, no information (see above). What is the milage per charge? What is the elapse time of the charge? Not worth a shit if it only gets thirty miles on a full day's charge for a one hundred pound load.

Yes, it is very much like cold fusion. Said cars must be utilitarian or it's all show for fuzzy feelings.

Posted by: Oligonicella at July 9, 2006 8:20 AM

Oligonicella's comments and questions echo those of many people. Car marketing in this country is focused on bigness and [bogus] safety, not on cleanness and efficiency. American consumers are "educated" to think that bigger is better -- not that it wastes increasingly scarce resources and busts our planet.

We saw "Who killed the electric car?" yesterday. It was shocking to watch how such a valid proposition got crushed, despite its viability and ultimate indispensability. The suits made sure that information and branding would suck, and that environmental laws would be reversed. Looking at it from a quarterly result viewpoint, promoting the electric car was corporate suicide. But not promoting alternatives to gas power means ultimate death for the car/oil companies when the unavoidable shortage of oil creeps in [I'm not even talking about environmental, political, economical or human consequences]. Basically, we're heading for the wall at high speed.

The way out is consumer education and consumer pressure. You can get consumers to buy anything, so long as you market it right. And the market for small, economical, clean cars exists [it won't autmatically turn you into a European untermensch*]. Some people need big, powerful cars for their specific personal/professional needs, but the vast majority don't. Yet, as long as their "bigger is better" wiring is not challenged, they won't see the need for change.

On a related note, I almost had my "Amy moment" this past week. I witnessed a heated argument between two women about a parking spot. One of them was driving a huge GMC pick-up barge with "Proud U.S. Army Mom" plate frames, and shouted at the other "My son is serving in Iraq" [like it's a justification for priority parking?!] I almost joined in to say "If you weren't driving such a gas-guzzling barge, he wouldn't have to risk his life in Iraq", but I just fled the harpy.

[* There was a hilarious comment in the movie: "When you tell people about being energy efficient, they think, I'll have to drive a small car and live in a cold house -- basically i'll have to live like a European."]

Posted by: LA Frog at July 9, 2006 10:04 AM

> Car marketing in this country is focused
> on bigness and [bogus] safety, not on cleanness
> and efficiency.

Maybe, but that doesn't mean it's wrong.

People want what they want. We should all get over the idea that others are being deceived by the oppressive Man. Folks _like_ their big, comfy cars.

Posted by: Crid at July 9, 2006 5:53 PM

Posted by: Crid at July 9, 2006 10:49 PM

Meanwhile, try to figure out how to recycle your hybrid's propulsion battery. You'll have to eventually. Ask your dealer.

Posted by: Radwaste at July 10, 2006 2:20 AM

As someone who's built and designed a solar car, there are tons of issues with it. Basically, it's useless unless you live in Southern California or a similar environment, the solar power you get isn't enough to run the car all year. Solar cells are either highly inefficient (10% conversion of sun to electricity) and relatively expensive or relatively inefficient (50% conversion) and highly expensive.

Regarding the EV1. GM lost $2 billion on the project (or $2 million a car). Volume wouldn't have reduced their losses. The range of 130 miles was false unless driven in ideal conditions (flat ground, no stop and go, low acceleration, etc). Usually, you get closer to 50 - 75 miles. The AC reduced range by 50% and the headlights took as much as 10% off of it. Not to mention, unless you had a special recharge station at home, it took 8 hours to rejuice the thing. Disposing of the batteries, which needs to be done every 5 years, is an environmental nightmare.

However, out of all the points, range is the key. I can get 60 miles in 2 gallons on my car. I don't need to recharge or park my car for 3-8 hours while it charges up. Electric cars won't be viable until there is a quantum leap in batteries. Of course, ask cell phone and laptop makers how that one is going.

Considering electric car technology is as old as the automobile itself, if a viable alternative existed, someone would be all over that idea in a heartbeat. If you have an idea for a profitable electric car, then start a company that does it. If you're right and the market is aching for one, you'll make a ton of money. My guess is you'll learn what GM and Toyota learned, a very expensive lesson.

Electric car advocates are just as irrational and illogical as religious fundamentalists.

Posted by: Mo at July 10, 2006 6:09 AM

LA Frog:

I notice you addressed none of my points. The first is that I can't even look up the specs of the car. The second is not about luxury, but about getting more than one person around -- unless you advocate four cars for a four person family -- and the children drive. The third means I can't even get in the damn thing, much less feel comfortable. The fourth is, well, safety. You have to live through an impact. Does it go fast enough to kill you? The fifth means it won't be worth a shit in Oregon, Missouri or anywhere else with a significant number of cloudy days. The sixth and last is actually pretty important. If a full day's charge only gets you thirty miles, the car is only of use to those living in a city and wishing to stay within a short radius of home.

This means, by and large, your 'response' was non-existant.

Any responses to my actual points?

Posted by: Oligonicella at July 10, 2006 6:54 AM

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