Les Hamasaki Staff Writer 2015-03-11 05:06:35
AccelerAting the DesperAtely neeDeD green Mobility evolution with the pvev- bAttery connection Can we create a sustainable global future, or even survive, with the exponential growth of two billion polluting cars on the world’s roads by 2030? According to Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon, authors of the book Two Billion Cars, “With China and India with over 2.5 billion people leading the way followed by Russia, Eastern Europe and South America following along, unless vehicle technology and fuel change, more vehicle use means more oil burned and more pollution.” A lot more pollution! Will Californians lead the race with their Evs-PVs-Battery cars to win our clean energy independence from Big Oil by 2030? When Elon Musk announced that he would release the Intellectual Property (IP) of over 1,400 patents held by Tesla Motors and would not challenge infringement of most the patents, in addition to building a $5 billion “giga battery” factory in Reno, Nevada, he accelerated the “Green Mobility Evolution” worldwide and, we hope, helped define the Second American Century. Elon Musk also is chairman of Solar City, a solar energy company that finances and installs solar photovoltaic energy systems for homes and businesses as well as quick charging stations for electric vehicles. Both the electric vehicle (EV) and the photovoltaic (PV) solar-electric cell, as well as advanced battery storage and quick charging technologies, are disruptive technologies that will change the future of mobility worldwide. Free solar energy powering our Evs will help the U. S. win our clean energy independence while reducing carbon emissions to help create a sustainable global future. Today’s electric vehicles are computers on four wheels that will change the dealer distribution and service model of the current auto industry. Tomorrow’s Evs will be Google’s driverless cars and fitted with Subaru’s crash-proof sensor technologies. And the highways of the future will be part of the power grid, and will be a lot safer. The Green Mobility ‘EVolution’ will transition America from the Gray Carbon Economy powered with oil and coal to a Green Electron Economy that will be largely powered by the two disruptive technologies, electric vehicles (EV) and photovoltaic (PV) solar power, and by the special relationship of this pair. The “EVPV Connection” will help win our energy independence from imported oil and so help ensure our national security, while helping create jobs to build a sustainable global future. We are at the end of the Industrial Revolution and at the beginning of the Third Wave, the demassification of our social and economic system as envisioned by futurists Heidi and Alvin Toffler, authors of the book Future Shock and Creating a New Civilization. The world’s economy is experiencing a massive shock to its economic system with its continued dependence on petroleum, the blood that powered the growth of nations -- none no more than America’s - - and that still flows through our economic arteries in the 21st century. Our addiction to “blood oil” has negatively impacted the social and economic fabric of many nations and the living physical fabric of our delicate natural environment - - our planet earth. We began the 20th Century, the first American Century, on the right path when Thomas Edison and Henry Ford pioneered the electric car in the early 1900s. Then ignorance and greed showed its face when John D. Rockefeller of the Standard Oil Trust saw a big business opportunity in producing gasoline for cars. In 1945, to further accelerate our addiction to petroleum, the Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railway Company was sold to National City Lines, a business consortium of General Motors, Standard Oil, Firestone Tire and Rubber, Philips Petroleum, and the Mack Truck Manufacturing Company. Soon afterward, National City Lines began dismantling the 1,164 miles of track that linked more than 50 Southern California communities, and performed a similar disservice to communities throughout the U.S. West and Midwest. These relatively clean energy modes of public transportation were then replaced with buses that used diesel fossil fuel and rubber tires produced by members of the consortium. Los Angeles became known as “Smog City,” notable for the worst air pollution in the nation. The long U.S. addiction to oil thus began in the first half of the last century. Cheap oil and the internal combustion engine propelled America as it became the world’s 20th-century economic superpower. The “super” today is the scale of the perfect economic storm America and the developed world find themselves in, a global financial disaster of which dirty, depleting, obsolete fossil fuel is the root cause. A global meltdown of the vast and complex economic network built on oil to transport our goods and services unfolds before us, creating many massive shocks to our economy: * Global warming’s massive climate changes (mostly yet to manifest in their complete horror); * Global Al Qaeda terrorism, largely financed by oil; * World oil, with China’s and India’s fast-growing middle classes consuming the world’s oil reserves, and the end of cheap oil (don’t be fooled by the current low for a barrel of oil which reached $60 from the high of $140 in 2008), straining the economic systems of industrialized and emerging countries; * The once massive U.S. trade deficit from imported oil (accounting for over 40%, or $254 billion, in 2010) and the massive U.S. national debt of over $7 trillion, accelerating the demise of America’s middle class; * The continuing resource wars that trade American blood for oil, this year featuring the threat of war with Iran and saber-rattling over the Strait of Hormuz oil-supply chokepoint; * The half-billion U.S. gas-burning and air-polluting vehicles that choke our children and seniors with asthma, cancer, and heart attacks; and * The global food crisis of ever costlier petroleum-powered agriculture, resulting in the yearly starvation of tens of millions. These problems of oil and the internal combustion engine, while not a news flash - - we’ve been able to see them coming for decades -- are a wake-up call. We must develop a game plan for what can still be the Second American Century and win our energy and climate independence from oil and coal by embracing the newly nearly-perfected electric vehicle -- along with a new systematically developed network of solar-photovoltaic EV charging stations throughout the United States and eventually throughout the cities, towns, and villages of the world. President Obama earlier set an ambitious goal of one million Evs in America by 2015. We have not reached that goal, but policy at the federal level (unfortunately threatened by the Republican takeover of Congress) and in the country’s more progressive states offers reasons for optimism. Currently, the purchase of a new electric vehicle comes with a $7,500 tax credit, in addition to a California $2,500 rebate for drivers in the Golden State. President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposes a larger $10,000 tax credit to further speed the EV evolution in the U.S. The “Green Mobility Evolution” will become a big part of America’s 21st century that will put us on the path to a sustainable future. And the same needs to happen in the other countries of the world! Thomas Edison was prescient when he said “I’d put my money on solar energy . . . I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that” in a conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone in March 1931, some 84 years ago. Elon Musk has a vision and a plan to transition our gray carbon economy to a green electron economy. The rest of America -- especially its political establishment -- also needs to envision and plan for the national and global future. The Green Mobility Evolution and the EV-PV Connection that will power it are America’s green roadmap to the sustainable future we must create. The late Steve Jobs of Apple, who helped power the Information Revolution, and Elon Musk are the Green Renaissance Men of the 21st century. Both are corporate icons who have understood the danger of atmospheric carbon and the global climate change, ocean acidification, agricultural disruption, species extinction, and human conflict that our carbon-intensive way of life is creating. All of us need to figure out how to change the current trajectory propelling us into a world of two billion cars and trucks in 15 years -- a doubling from the current one billion vehicles. Just as Los Angeles in its lifestyle and Hollywood in its movies promoted the automobile culture (the region even created the first freeway, the Pasadena freeway, back in 1939) and just as America created suburban communities across the land, many of them now just the parts of a megalopolis, Southern Californians must lead the way in accelerating the Green Mobility Evolution to the Green Mobility Revolution! Les Hamasaki is a sustainable development planner and a former city planner for the city of Los Angeles and the Executive Director of GIVE that launched the Green Valley Initiative in the Inland Empire.
Published by Moreno Valley Business Journal. View All Articles.
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