The Ergosphere
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
 

DRIVE THAT POINT HOME!

I'm noticing a bunch of people are picking up on the plug-in hybrid concept (which isn't mine, I just flog it heavily; "if I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.").  It really is the best ticket out of our current dilemma:

  1. Electricity delivers energy to the wheels much more cheaply than gasoline.
  2. Electricity comes from resources which cannot be embargoed by OPEC.
  3. You can generate electricity at home.
  4. Hybrid cars with extra batteries allow some operation on electricity alone.
  5. Recharging from a typical 20-mile commute would require only an extension cord.
  6. (most important) We could start building them TODAY.

Since there is some interest here in points for letters to editors, here are some sample ideas that you can re-write in your own words.  But keep it terse; newspapers like to edit verbiage, and anything too long may have its meaning butchered before it gets into print.

If your write a letter and it gets published, feel free to post the URL of your paper's letters page so we can all look.  Post the original if it's different.

 
Comments:
I think you need to be cautious about your point of generating electricity at home. The actual wording in your case is confusing and can be easily twisted in rebuttal. For the most part people aren't capable of powering their car with solar cells, wind turbines, etc. nor is that going to be a major selling point. I personally would say that particular point is superfluous to the core of your argument.

I would also be sorely tempted to measure the potential for higher biofuel fractions in plug-in hybrids but I doubt there's sufficient room in a newspaper letter format for such comments.
 
It was a quickie (and it shows).  If you've got a suggestion for better verbiage, post it!
 
The points well taken and I may just write such a letter soon. Cheers...
 
Great talking points. For the "generating at home" objection, you could just substitute "generate locally." That should cover all the relevant options.

I'm very interested in the question: What is the most cost-effective and efficient scale at which to provide energy services? Home power usually has a learning curve that's too steep, and maintenance and repair requirements that are too onerous. The continental scale at which our current system operates is too "brittle" (c.f. Lovins) and inefficient.

My educated guess is that the municipal/large community scale is best, but I'd like to see some quantitative support for that. You'd have to factor in labor costs, insurance, financing complications (or oportunities) and the political aspects of organizing a small-scale utility.
 
If I were an unsophisticated person, I'd brighten up at the idea of "generating at home" and then wonder "How do I do that?"

Explaining might be a good thing to do.
 
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