Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Here is Your Future Car

The future is now. The solution to solving foreign oil dependence and air pollution is not going to be corn based ethanol or fuel cells that mix oxygen and hydrogen to provide energy. The soultion is in advanced lithium battery technology. An American company, based in Watertown MA, is the leader in lithium battery technologies that provide power to automotive electric engines. This company, A123 Systems, already has a deal with GM to help produce the batteries for its much anticipated Volt. Now they have released an upgrade kit for a normal Toyota Prius at the price tag of $10k. Why isn't Toyota producing a Prius that allows it to be plugged into the wall already and has advanced batteries? Either A123 Systems is a technological leader far ahead of the world, including Japan, in battery technology or there is not enough profit in it for Toyota.


Cope said...

I'm a pretty big fan of A123, and I see their 150mpg Prius every day in the parking garage we share with them. I'm also a big fan of the Volt, which I hope to get my hands on once they are available.
Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that plug-ins are going to be the Next Big Thing to solve our oil dependence. Each car that is plugged in draws on the power grid, and there are parts of the country, like Metro Detroit and Southern California, where their power grid simply isn't equipped to handle thousands of cars recharging their batteries every day. The Detroit News mentioned a study that the Michigan Public Service Commission started last week to assess the impact on their state electricity grid.
Certainly you can find problems with any solution if you look hard enough, and this is one of the more promising alternatives to our current system, but it definitely isn't a magic bullet, nor will it have any major impact without significant upgrades to the national power grid. Considering the resistance encountered any time someone tries to build a new power plant (commonly they cost too much, pollute too much, are too ugly, etc.), that might not be an easy problem to fix.

Frank said...

Good point.

I think that solving the problems will be easier when its moved to the top level. The energy companies and the government can figure out how to get us more energy and pump it through our existing grid.

This would be much easier than trying to convince everyone do downsize their lifestyles, or forcing the issue by raising gasoline taxes.