Let Them Eat Cake - Where Are All The Diesel-Hybrids? (Originally Published 2/7/2008)
First Bob's Note: November 17, 2011 - As I sit here in the 2011 LA Auto Show media room surrounded by 100's of writers exclaiming the virtues of the just unveiled cars, I remember that it's been almost 4 years since I wrote the rant below, 4 years and now there finaly seems to be the start of a movement in Washington DC that recognizes the effects of the poison that is oil on our society our economy and on our children's well being...yea! I say.
With that in mind I thought that it might be interesting for you to reread what we had to say about eliminating gasoline as our primary mobility fuel back then, and although our thoughts on the particulars may have changed the theme remains the same - no more American children need to die for another country's enrichment or a CEO bonus or a State Department policy - no more!
So I welcome the coming tide of "let's stop using oil as soon as possible", and pray that this is the last time I have to reach into our million article news archives and dust off this article to help make our point.
By Bob Gordon
policy Co-publisher and Co-owner
The Auto Channel
What's The Problem Here?
Chicago February 7, 2008; Well here I am in the terminal of Midway Airport in Chicago awaiting a tan and orange winged steed to whisk me (I hope) back to home base in Louisville, Kentucky.
I have just left big and beautiful McCormick place where for the past two days at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show I looked at cars and listened to car execs and mooched free food and drink.
Boy there were a lot of great looking Cars, SUV’s Pick-up Trucks, and Delivery Vans at the show.
But for all the shine and glitter, for all the leather and chrome, for all the power this, and automatic that…and all the car execs pontifications on their visions, both forward and backwards… through and surrounding it all I heard a Sirens song that kept repeating over and over again for anyone who would listen…LET THEM AT CAKE
Let them eat cake, because it seemed to me from the new cars displayed there, that the direction the world is taking will lead us into a swiftly moving current that will soon become almost impossible for us to steer out of.
Here we are starving for a realistic, timely and actionable answer for our reliance on oil…both good guy’s oil and bad guy’s oil…a reliance so insidious that it shapes our great country’s diplomatic and foreign policy…an addiction so terrible that in one way or another it has forced our lawmakers to send our most precious assets, our children, into harms way to ensure that we are able to continue to feed this voracious appetite for oil...so industry can, matter-of-factly, build and we can, zombie-like, buy bigger and faster cars, trucks, and SUV, without regard for the environment, economy or our collective well-being.
What's The Problem Here?
We all know the problem and most of us who look for it can see that a solution… is right here under our collective noses…right here in virtually everyone’s home, office, and every venue we work or play in…in fact my laptop is now directly connected to the solution to our collective problem…electric...ubiquitous, reliable, cheap, renewable and ours.
There are other choices you say some you may think better...but I probably know more than most of you about Hydrogen, Fuel Cells (a next step NOT the first step), Hydrogen, Flux Capacitors, Solar Cars, Hybrids, Compressed Air Engines, Breakthrough Configurations for Internal Combustion Engines… and I know about the myriad directions and choices and decisions we can make to break our addiction…but today's bombastic debating, deciding, studying and agonizing over our many choices, are counter productive and result in no choice (a successful strategy by some to divide and conquer)…not now, not ever.
So why aren’t the smart guys and gals in our government leading the auto industry to what works, taking what has been proven and quickly combining it to solve our hideous problem now!
What's The Problem Here?
Are there so many companies, institutions, government entities (don't worry, we also have an answer for lost gasoline taxes) and individuals who benefit both economically and emotionally from a future in which a miniscule average increase of MPG is hailed as a win, (LET THEM AT CAKE) when in reality we keep losing…losing our hard fought-for stature in the world, losing our jobs and dreams, and losing our hopes for a better world to come…it’s now time for all of us to get together and say enough, enough of this stupidity or greed or agendas that are counter to the principals that made our country great and loved and admired not hated by others around the world.
No I am not a Pollyanna (ok maybe I am) but I am knowledgeable and realistic enough to know and to recognize a real solution to our sickening problem…a solution that can be instituted now, and improved upon later, a solution that uses technology and infrastructure that is already here, already proven, home grown and ready to be rolled out right now this year not this decade!.
But, until there is a collective voice in our great land to stop losing; a collective will nurtured by a common wisdom and true understanding, a will to demand that our government help/force the auto industry to utilize resources that they already know about and own, assets that have already been invested in, assets that are truly abundant and economically viable…until then, those who pontificate, those who benefit, those who are big men on campus, those who are too greedy or too selfish or to entrenched in their beliefs to help solve the problem now, will stonewall it until it's too late…
The immediate solution comes from our past…electric and diesel power can and will solve our problem…not electric and diesel individually but together, married to create clean, efficient, renewable, reliable Electric-Diesel Hybrid power for our cars, our trucks and our SUV’s, to extricate ourselves from the morass now, right now!
I have grown to believe that our answer, our touchstone, our nirvana, lies at the end of a plug and in the chemistry of converting renewable substances into bio-diesel fuel or some day in the future using hydrogen or whatever to supplement battery power on Electric-Hybrid vehicles.
Electric-Hybrid cars are the solution…they can be driven using non- polluting, non-carbon based power 100% of the time for the majority of daily driving in most parts of the world...giving the owners unlimited MPG.
Electric-Hybrid vehicles equipped with new generation batteries today will allow 40 or 50 or 60 miles of automotive operation on an initial charge, without a boost from a supplementary on board engine…and when you need to use the Diesel or Fuel Cell or Hydrogen engine, so what…it will be powered by fuel made from algae, or wood chips, or grass, or garbage, or coal, or old tires (and we have plenty of them), or aluminum cans or whatever the future holds…not expensive, depleting, demoralizing and monopolizing petroleum products, not natural gas, not food stuff…just plentiful renewable fuel.
Wow it sure took me a long time to get here, but hey I’m an owner of this place and can take as long as I want to make my point…
These past two days, after being surrounded by shiny manifestations of the problem and hearing old Marie hissing her “Let them eat cake’ dirge, it finally got to me ….hundreds of new cars at the largest car show in America and I was shown only ONE PLUG-IN HYBRID (Toyota) and NO Electric-Diesel Hybrids and NO Immediate Solution to a problem that must have one now!
Please remember that these thoughts are coming from a car-guy who believes that the Electric-Hybrid solution will allow us all to continue to own big and fast and great cars without the baggage of big oil. I want my kids and grandkids to be able to buy a car that can go from 0-60 in 5 seconds, or a van that holds 8, or go four-wheeling without having to feel that they are un-American. It's not a vehicle's size or speed it's the fuel it uses, only the fuel, so...
What's The Problem Here?
If anyone knows, really knows what the problem is, please e me at firstname.lastname@example.org