At this time America is seeking massive public works projects with the potential to create large scale employment while returning universal and tangible benefits to all citizens. We also seek to find an alternative to the internal combustion engine and to end our dependence on gasoline to power automotive transportation.
Our infrastructure as a whole and our highways in particular are in need of repair and expansion to meet current and future demands. The best hopes for a practical alternative to the internal combustion engine are focused on the all electric vehicle.
The electric car has for decades awaited the invention of a low cost battery to provide the necessary mileage range for vehicles of a practical capacity and structure. We are still waiting.
To have an updated electric grid across this country which would allow the distribution of abundant electricity from multiple and efficient sources such as natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind solar and possibly some form of clean coal, is already universally recognized as an immediate necessity.
I contend that the technology to achieve all the goals enumerated above is readily at hand. The answer lays primarily in the revision and more extensive expansion our electric grid.
Not only must we expand the delivery and conveyance of electricity between all areas of the country but we should deliver eclectic power directly to battery driven vehicles while they travel our nation?s highways and wherever they may park ?at their home or at any public or private parking area.
In place of the elusive low cost, long range, automotive battery we have been unable to develop for decades, we can simply increase the availability of electric power to every highway and every parking area. It would then be possible to have adequately sized vehicles which can be used to commute daily or to drive non-stop across the entire country using presently affordable battery technology.
Direct powering of these all electric vehicles would be done while the car is on the highway. A trailing arm descending from the vehicle could make direct contact with the roadway or current could be transferred by electrical induction.
To limit innovation to the above revision would already achieve numerous goals, but should budgeting allow, at the same time that we electrify our highways we can also computerize our highway traffic movement.
Again the technology appears to be available. Drive your car onto the number one lane of the highway, input your destination, not only will electric power from the roadway power your car and charge your batteries but a computerized program will move your vehicle to the appropriate lane corresponding to your destination and control the movement and placement of your vehicle relative to all others.
Within a couple miles of your exit, your vehicle is returned to the number one lane, you are alerted, and when you signal, you again control driving as you exit on to surface streets.
Numerous benefits of this system allow far greater highway capacity, much improved safety, and an opportunity for all auto occupants to be at leisure or productive for extended trips.
As clarification it should be noted that the actual cost to build and maintain an electric vehicle, without the highly sophisticated and expensive battery system such as seen in the Telsa auto, is significantly less than the currently much more complex gasoline powered cars. Telsa does a fine job of explaining why their simple car with few moving parts must cost $109,000. It is the battery.
As electricity to both directly power and charge the batteries is provided to every highway and every parking area throughout the country, the electric bill to the vehicle owner will be made based on consumption. The car itself will be computerized and with each hook-up to the power grid it will give a cumulative report, allowing periodic billing.
In conclusion, I believe the above proposals represent the most practical solutions for auto and highway redesign. They are based on cost effective technology which is currently available.
We Had Such A System In Place
We had this system where I live. We had vehicles that generated their own elctricity while traveling special highways. Riders experienced “much improved safety, and an opportunity for all auto occupants to be at leisure or productive for extended trips.” These vehicles provided a very economical means to move people and materials. People worked or relaxed while commuting to and from work.
Today, people use these “highways” for riding bikes and snowmobiles, now that the rails have been torn out.
“At this time America is seeking massive public works projects with the potential to create large scale employment while returning universal and tangible benefits to all citizens.”
Government isn’t the answer to our problems. Government is the problem.
The only unknown remaining regarding the electric car itself is the longevity of the battery packs. Tesla has solved the other technical issues and is now wrestling with the challanges of mass manufacturing. Their roadster has the mileage range and performance to satisfy even the most demanding sports car enthusiasts and larger versions are in development.
Your second idea, a national grid of “charging” stations, is, I agree, critical to large scale acceptance of electric vehicles.
Your third idea, roadways that cherge the battery as the car drives, is technically feisable but cost prohibitive…and IMHO not necessary if a “recharging grid” is developed.
Yes, the technology for all of this exists. Including charging by some unit of measure at recharging stations. I hope Tesla succeeds in their goal to become a mass manufacturer of electric cars. I hope Washington uses some of that “infrastructure investment” to support the development of a nationsl grid. I’m optimistic about Tesla. I’m not optimistic about Washington.
I had this idea that, in order for fully electric cars to become widely accepted, the recharge time has to be on par with what we have today for refueling.
Imagine a system where the battery is very easy to replace. Not unlike a propane tank exchange service, the “gas” station takes your empty battery pack and replaces it with a fully charged pack.
You don’t own the battery pack, you essentially rent it just like the propane tank example. This approach has a number of benefits- you are relieved of the expense of having your pack replaced since it is amoritized over the life of usage and number of users (kinda like group health insurance) and you don’t have to wait 4 hours to be on your way again.
I love your idea!
Standardized interchangeable battery packs available at the service station just like a tank of gasoline. No waiting -exchange, pay, and go.
Now this sounds doable.
And the cost of a simple electric car without a gas driven generator or sophisticated hybrid system should be much less than even a conventional gasoline powered auto.
We would not be limited to small 2 seaters like the Telsa. If battery exchange only takes minutes a range less than 200 miles is fine.
I too like the idea.
Perhaps we could make development of it a requirement of the “bailout” moneys?
Too bad they’re planning to use that money to fund business as usual for these clueless morons.
Technology is a beginning. We have several different technologies that could work – separately and in combinations. The problems are in selection, development, infrastructure, actual building and maintaining.
As far as things electric, who says electric cars have to have batteries, at all?
The hydrogen powered car has an “internal combustion” engine, doesn’t it?
There are loses in all of these technologies. Some aren’t known. Some are know; but, not publicized. The future is not a straight line.
At the beginning of the Internet boom some people said the Internet servers would overtax our electrical grid. Those claims been thoroughly debunked. Maybe the same will be said about electrical cars.
[i] We had this system where I live. …
Government isn’t the answer to our problems. Government is the problem. [/i]
Who was behind the building of those highways?