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Don’t Worry, We’re Fine Just Driving The Way We Are

Yesterday’s post on my drive to Beit Shemesh elicited the following comment from “Morris the Katz”:

Let me know when I can drive 500km without recharging, and recharging takes the same or less time as filling the tank, including using the rest room.

The price of oil is falling, supplies are rapidly increasing (despite the sanctions on Iran), and this trend is likely to continue for many, many years, what with an increase of “tight” oil production in the USA and Canada, huge increases in Iraq, and huge offshore discoveries off the coast of Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico. And did I forget Israel?

The USA imports 40% of its oil, down from 60% in 2005. That percentage will likely drop to 20% by 2020 or sooner, because of increased discoveries and IMPROVEMENTS TO THE GOOD ‘OL INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE. That’s the percentage of oil the US imported in 1970.

You won’t be hearing “Gentlemen, start your motors” anytime soon on a big scale.

I agree, the US isn’t going to have any significant uptake or impact on EVs in the next 5 or 10 years. The US, as a producer of EVs will once again be eclipsed by the rest of the world. The benefits of clean air in cities will pass the US by. The benefits of combined overnight storage of excess renewable energy will pass the US by. The internal combustion engine has improved in an evolutionary way but call me when it stops getting hot. That’s where most of the abundant energy from your gas goes. The extra safety equipment and weight we’ve put into our cars has more than eaten all those gains.

It doesn’t actually matter where the US gets its oil as (unlike natural gas) there is a proper global market. It helps a bit if you don’t transfer your wealth direct to the Saudis but it gets there all the same.

And just as Americans are coming to terms with driving high revving, small turbo engines with bizarre torque/power characteristics, I’m driving a car that feels like a supper smooth V8 and delivers more torque from standing than a Mustang. You won’t be driving a car smoother and quieter than a $200,000 Merc, BMW or Lexus for less than the cost of a normal family car any time soon if you’re waiting for a fuel efficient 1.2l 3 cylinder engine to help you out.

The need for a 500km range is an illusion. If you fill your petrol car once a week or once a month it makes little difference to you. Plugging in at home takes less thought or effort than a weekly or even monthly trip to fill up. Switching my battery does take the same time (and arguably less effort) than filling up with gas: it’s full service, I drive in, switch and go. Better Place also has nice clean rest rooms.

But all w really need is enough for our normal daily drive +20% and some way to make occasional long journeys (if you don’t have another car). If that includes charge spots at home and work, that’s very cheap to organise because we pump the fuel for electric vehicles to every building in our world already!

Focus on this: I’ve driven 903 miles till last night and the only fuel I needed was delivered slowly via a wire at home or in public parking lots. The switches I’ve made were all (it turns out) for fun.

Only my switch on the way to Jerusalem was slightly different because I had not seen with my own eyes the charging points at the shopping mall. Tonight I’m driving to the same destination in Jerusalem with my whole family and an aunt but this time I wont stop to switch (unless the kids demand it) because I know I’ll be parked long enough in Jerusalem not to need it.

No matter what happens with the global oil market, every step we take to reduce the power of OPEC (which I agree is diminishing for other reasons) is a good step. I also greatly look forward to the point where significant numbers of electric cars have a visible effect on the air pollution that I and my kids breath. Here in Israel it’s a no-brainer to do this.

About the author

Picture of Brian of London

Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.
Picture of Brian of London

Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.
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