Thank FSM for Nerdz

Earlier today, I came across a Reuters article, by way of ThinkProgress, where someone at General Motors had some interesting comments about global warming:
General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a "total crock of shit," saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.

Lutz, GM's outspoken product development chief, has been under fire from Internet bloggers since last month when he was quoted as making the remark to reporters in Texas.
On his company's blog, Bob Lutz responded to his critics by trying to show them what the big picture is, according to him:
Instead of simply assailing me for expressing what I think, they should be looking at the big picture. What they should be doing, in earnest, is forming opinions not about me but about GM, and what this company is doing that is — and will continue to be — hugely beneficial to the very causes they so enthusiastically claim to support.

General Motors is dedicated to the removal of cars and trucks from the environmental equation, period. And, believe it or don’t: So am I! It’s the right thing to do, for us, for you and, yes, for the planet. My goal is to take the automotive industry out of the debate entirely. GM is working on just that – and we’re going to keep working on it — via E85, hybrids, hydrogen and fuel cells, and the electrification of the automobile.
I'm not going to go so far as to say, "too little too late," because we really do need this research to continue. However, I will go so far as to say that we should have, and could have, reached some of these goals well before 2008. I flat out refuse to believe otherwise.

But, the fact of the matter is that we were simply let down by people who cared more about the greed-green than the enviro-green. Radix malorum est cupiditas, baby.

As you might recall, an energy bill was passed recently to, among other things, increase fuel efficiency standards to 35 mpg by the year 2020. As you might also recall, my underwhelmed response was something along the lines of:

Big. Fucking. Deal.

Since the government, car companies, and oil companies could give a rat's ass about fuel efficiency and alternative energy, it's left to the nerds to take us into new territory, and FSM bless 'em for it. There are two cars that caught my attention recently: The Tesla all-electric car and the gas-electric hybrid Gattica-like contraption from Aptera.

The Tesla Roadster is a sports car that is fully electric. Among its claims to fame are the ability to drive about 200-300 miles between charges, and an insane amount of torque to achieve 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds (yikes!). And just where does the Roadster store all of that charged energy? In a shitload of batteries:
In place of an internal combustion engine, the Tesla Roadster sports a bank of batteries -- the Energy Storage System (ESS). In developing a power source befitting such a high-performance car, Tesla went with technology proven in the laptop computer field -- rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The Roadster contains 6,831 of them. They weigh about 1,000 pounds in total, and Tesla claims that they provide "four to five times the energy-density stores of other batteries" [ref]. The batteries fit into 11 sectors with 621 batteries each. A separate computer processor controls each sector to make sure all of the charging and discharging is handled smoothly.
The Aptera is a vehicle that I already want, based on its looks alone. The only way it could look cooler is with a custom paint job of the Dark Side of the Moon cover. Having only 3 wheels, the Aptera is classified as a motorcycle. So far, there are two prototypes being worked on: one that is all electric and another that is a plug-in hybrid which uses diesel fuel. Initially, the vehicles will be marketed only in California. With the impressive mileage efficiency that it can achieve, I imagine it wouldn't take long for the rest of the nation to take a look:
The initial prototype of the Aptera achieved 230 mpg, a number that is 195 mpg over the projected standard outlined in President Bush's recent energy bill. As of now, the developers still have more time to work out the kinks and improve its efficiency -- AC expects the Aptera to be ready for Californians in late 2008.
So, while Bush and his company cronies hash out the details on how to get 35 mpg by the year 2020, we already have individuals who have taken it upon themselves to help nudge the country forward in the year 2008 - people who actually did something about our oil dependence instead of just standing at a podium once a year to remind everyone about it.

Imagine that.

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