Inventing our way out of oil

General Motors in Detroit has at last seriously committed itself to developing a car that greatly reduces our dependency on oil to fill our gas tanks.  The car is called the Chevrolet Volt, and will have a range of about 40 miles before it needs to call on its gas reserves or be plugged into a wall socket for an overnight boost.  40 miles doesn’t sound like much, but it is about 5 times longer than the Prius and would cover the average daily drive of about 80% of Americans who drive to work.  So it has serious potential if they can get it right.

It’s not quite perfected yet, though.  Right now its state-of-the-art battery packs would give the Volt a sticker price of close to $40,000.  GM thinks it can get the price lowered to reasonable levels by 2010.

In the meantime, Miroslav Miljevic in London is looking for a manufacturer for his solar-assisted bicycle.  It operates like a normal cycle but has a canopy lined with solar cells that charge a battery whenever the cycle exposed to sunshine.  It can also be charged from a wall socket on rainy days.

It will take a lot more ingenuity than the Volt and a solar cycle to eliminate our destructive dependence on oil.  But they are both examples of what we need more of.

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About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
This entry was posted in saving our home - thoughts about global warming and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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