Sunday, October 02, 2005

Plug it In, Plug it In

When a former CIA director and hawk speaks out on our country's oil addiction and endorses plug-in hybrid vehicles, I tend to sit up and listen. James Woosley, CIA director from 1992-'94, has quite a resume. In 1963 he received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University (With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa) an M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar from 1963-'65, and an LL.B from Yale Law School where he was editor of the Yale Law Journal. So...we've established the guy is bright. He's "wicked smaat."

So what's he got to do with plug-in hybrid vehicles? Woosley endorses the PHEVs as "a here-and-now technology to answer the nation's needs." The CS Monitor points to a growing group of diverse individuals, corporations, public utilities, energy companies, non-profit organizations, environmentalists and local governments who are doing more than talking about what to do with the sudden energy crisis: they're pluggin' in.

Hybrids, after going through a quick modification (includes more batteries, a circuit board, a charger and a power cord) are plugged in at night which taps the cheap off-peak energy from power plants and allows the cars to be driven around 50-60 miles without using a drop of gasoline. At that rate, you wouldn't need to fill up but 3 times a year. Hows that for cheap gas?

Some concern from enviros say that using energy from coal power plants to power efficient vehicles is dangerous. I agree. The ultimate setup will be with individuals who have solar panels on their roofs and will be drawing from completely efficient energy source. Granted if you needed to drive 125 miles you'd have to gas up...but how often are we all driving 125 miles at a time?

James Woosley may be enocouraging this move for different reasons (getting us off foreign oil which he argues is what funds terrorism). But isn't that what makes this coming together of diverse groups and individuals that much more exciting? We're arriving at a common agreement of what the end result needs to look like, regardless of "why?" Kudos to Mr. Woosley and his guts in standing up for something not many would in his cadre of suits and shiny cufflinks.


Devon Reehl said...

Interesting news phit...what of these "hybrid SUVS"? I've heard that they do not improve the mileage of a typical SUV by much. Is this true, and if so, why?

Cameron said...

When is the cost of these hybrid cars going to come down so we poor-ass, less-smart granolas can afford them?

Japhet said...

Good questions:

First, the hybrid SUVs. The new SUVs that claim to be hybrids are in one sense of the word, but don't exactly represent what the environmental community had hoped for when the grand announcements came about SUV hybrids. Take for instance, the Ford Escape: an increase in 9 mpg (and an additional overall pricetag of $8,000) isn't all that amazing at 30 mpg. Thats still only half of Prius or iNsight from Honda. Plus, Ford is only going to make 20,000 Escapes in the next two years (approx. 0.5% of it's total fleet) with no guarantees that they'll make more if market responds positively to them. Seems like a real effort to placate the green community without really creating a vehicle that is serious on efficiency and light on greenwashing. So its a stumble in the right direction but mostly auto companies are just trying to take advantage of a marketing bonanza. Similar to "organic" a few years ago, "hybrid" has become the new catchphrase in the automotive industry for how to make something sell.

And when will the cost come down? Not for a little while. Albeit they aren't the most expensive vehicles on the market (tagged at an average price of $19K) they aren't the cheapest which is mostly due to the technology behind hybrid vehicles. I imagine that at some point soon something more efficient will bump hybrids off the market (like all-electric or even solar powered vehicles) for good. Hybrids are just a bridge to the next big technological jump. However, in the coming years people will be looking to sell their 4 and 5 year old Prius' and Insights to wanting customers. be on the look out for a used version of your favorite hybrid and you could get lucky.

windsfeather said...

Mr. Woosley's comments on three type casting of world dominance to social order is lacking structure. he fails to identify the students and what they have learned in their structural schools to the varied warring parties throughout the middle east. He fails to present the Oslo Peace accords and the design of the Nigerian bank scams that have continued to run through mail and email generations. This alone is a 90 billion dollar business in the USA alone. His falacy to oil production to the opecs control of prices to funnelling money into five main countries fails to state that other oil companies have also gained greatly. The war on terror is not about islam. the falacy that fascism has gained control throughout the warring parties control with regards to using clerics for self positioning. lets remember the fate of mussolini. national socialism can not be obtained without mass destruction and subpression of the main group to be controlled. The teachings are a common belief of imperalism from marxism-leninism to the varied leaders of these social killers world wide. All the main ones have been martars of marxism thoughts and theology. the clerics of the middle east have been told and are now addressing these issues. Had you really done your homework to find the thread behind the warring groups you would have seen this and would have informed our government of the brainwashing techniques taught in varied colleges in the middle east without regard to religion. naming a religion as facist is just too broad a rule and doesn't hold merrit. It just breeds fear.
We should have been listening when the maker of Diesel came up with an idea to burn peanut oil. We should have done more than allow money making oil companies make a lot more money. instead we found his body washed up on the ocean floor. Now they are retrofitting diesel pickup to run on restuarant waste oil.From this mans origional design. Fredrick Diesel. We need to research in the usa for oil. we need to use our own resources and yet as a global economy we need to get along with our neighbors. The worse thing we failed to deal with after world war 2. "Genocide"
There are no excuses for killing. The term "Terrorist" is a loose term for the real term Serial Killer. Terrorist is a belief that because Jeffery Damers can kill with regard to a belief that makes it justifiable. Perhaps These serial Smily killers are more sane than we thought. I think we just need to think more soundly and stop pointing fingers and start to accept responsibility where it belongs. It isn't nationalism that they are after but rather Federalism.