Thursday, 18 December 2008

Yesterday's Technology

Yesterday's Financal Times included a story about increased pressure to develop and build clean electric vehicles. These cars emit no pollutants from the tailpipe (in fact, there is no tailpipe), and have a potentially important role to play as we transition to a low-carbon future.

Most people think of electric cars as either boring, tiny golf carts or racy space-age vehicles like the Tesla pictured here. But the most interesting point in the FT article was the observation that this technology is nothing new.

The first electric carriage was invented between 1832 and 1839, and electric vehicles were widely used in Europe and the U.S. in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, they held many land speed records during this period, and the wives of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford drove electric vehicles. Here's a photo of Thomas Edison with an electric car in 1913:

Sixty-seven years later, an electric car built in 1980 could travel up to 70 miles per hour for 70 miles without recharging. A widespread switch to electric vehicles could drastically reduce our dependence on petroleum, and lead to a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. And there's no technical reason we can't achieve this goal. As one of the people interviewed in the FT story notes, "They could make these yesterday. They could stamp them out if they had to."

The same goes for many other low-carbon solutions. Reducing emissions is not rocket science. At Carbon Clear we're committed to helping companies identify proven, practical emissions reduction approaches, and then rolling them out in a cost-effective way.