The other day I had the opportunity to sit a corner downtown for a while. I got to see many diverse things. Not just eclectic people, though there were plenty of those, but many varied forms of transportation. From bicycles to land boats to SUVs, delivery trucks, and hybrids. At one point, I saw a man pull up in a very nice truck – a Chevy half-ton, extra-cab, short bed. Just a beautiful “man-truck”. And he was obviously proud of his truck and proud to be sitting high above other traffic. I started thinking about a global transportation solution. Should this guy, or any other person, have to give up their dream of driving a large vehicle simply because driving a hybrid or electric vehicle is better for the environment? Part of me says yes. But the part of me that identifies with that man, says no – we worked hard to reach those dreams, we shouldn’t have to give up anything that we dream for and work for. There should be a way to have our cake and eat it too. The problem, of course, is that most hybrid vehicles and all known electric vehicles don’t have the torque necessary to build big vehicles. Of course, if we really wanted to, we could overcome that obstacle. After all, many people said man would never fly or land on the moon. We put our efforts towards that and we accomplished both of them. But, have we already accomplished this? It turns out we have. Take a look: http://www.gizmag.com/go/1720/ and http://www.rockcrawler.com/features/newsshorts/03january/gm_combatt.asp. Though these articles aren’t dated, one mentions that this vehicle will be ready for delivery in late 2003. So, if GM can build a powerful diesel-electric-fuel cell tri-brid for the military 7 years ago, why can’t anyone build a decent large hybrid truck? After all, the train industry has been using diesel-electric hybrids for decades.
It’s facts like this that just jump all over my “annoyance” button. GM tells consumers they can’t build a decent hybrid or electric or fuel cell vehicle while they are actually building that very same thing. Before the internet, they could have successfully hidden those facts. They can’t now.
But back to the point of this post…
What would I do if I was given the task of creating/building the next new vehicle for the consumers of this era? First, I would take a “moon shot” approach. I wouldn’t hire anyone that didn’t fully buy into the concept and that ever said no. Anyone that did that at NASA in the 60s found themselves unemployed. I would hire radicals. I’d hire the man that developed the 6-stroke engine, the guy that developed aerodynamic improvements that increased mileage to 90mpg – aerocivic.com, designers from Apple, the guys from Tesla and a few others. We would start the concept of building a large, fun vehicle for the masses that was efficient, environmentally friendly and high in torque. And our goal would be to have this vehicle designed and built in a year. After that, the next goal would be to make it cost comparable with the gas guzzlers of the world.
Is this bold? Absolutely. Is it doable? Of course it is. So why isn’t it being done? No one is asking for it. The consumers vote with their wallets. When we start demanding a better product, the manufacturers have no choice but to give it to us. Start demanding today.