I want to ask readers of this blog and also those in power this question: Why do we want to promote electric car technology?
Is it because we are Star Wars/Star trek fans and like the electric sounding buzz from their transport pods?
Is it because we think electric cars are cool?
Or maybe because we think electric cars will save the planet?
Perhaps because we are jsut caught up in the future-tech hype but do not really know why electric cars are important?
It’s great that Proton has the foresight to partner with Detroit Electric for the production of noiseless cars but that joint-venture will die a slow death if the country is unclear why electric-drive technology is important, why it MAY be one of the solution for the future of transportation.
The truth is we do not really know which way things will move in the future. What most scientists agree is that fossil fuel is a finite resource so we will ahve to find an alternative energy source.
The most abundant element in nature is Hydrogen, it fuels the universe. The sun runs on hydrogen and so do all the stars.
So scientists are saying the the future is hydrogen.
So how are we going to power our world on this light and highly flammable gas?
Well, one could burn it inside a normal internal combustion engine like petrol. Companies like BMW are hedging their future with this option.
You can also run the gas through a series of special membranes in a fuel cell and generate electricity to drive motors for a car. Mercedes-Benz and GM are looking at this possibility with Ballard Technologies.
In the second option, the primary drive of the car is electric and the motor can be supplied with current in many different ways – fuel cells, batteries, wireless transmission, or maybe we will see a future where our roads are magnetised to interact as linear induction motors with vehicles running over it.
The future is far from clear so ti is just as well that we start understanding the eelctric drive technology a little better because it is one of the major possibility junction for the future.
In the meantime we, as a country needs and energy policy and by that we need a set of goals and a roadmap on how to get there.
We need the Government to work out the national energy needs for the next 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years and once we figure out how much we need, then the experts need to agree where the energy is going to come from.
Finally we need a roadmap onhow to achieve those goals.
Many countries are now looking at a long range goal that is totally free of fossil fuel. In the medium term many developed economies want to achieve significant reduction in their fossil fuel reliance.
Since we all know that oil is going to run dry one day, it is every Government’s responsibility to predict when it is going to happen and how we are going to prepare ourselves before things become critical.
We need to know now whether the country should focus on solar energy, wind power, wave power, hydroelectric, nuclear technology or maybe we want to just rely on magic.
At the same time we need to actively promote energy efficient technologies and sadly we do not see this happening in any serious or concerted effort outside of Northern Europe, Japan and California.
While we congratulate Proton, we must push our Government to formulate a national energy policy to make sure that we are not caught out.