When it comes to cars, I rarely find myself asking how something works, or what kind of motor is under the hood. But after searching for the latest in green technologies I came across ecogeek.org, the site that will call you an EcoGeek if you’ve got the brains to clean up the eco-mess we’re in now. What caught my attention, though, was a post on Mercedes-Benz plan to ditch petroleum-powered vehicles from its lineup by 2015!
If the German automotive industry follows through on their as-usual promise of excellent engineering then this could potentially be a trail-blazing innovation. If Mercedes goes green then General Motors and other titans in the industry are sure to do the same, or else they’ll be left in the dust. With the Green movement becoming something of a badge to proudly wear as a sign of social conscience and wealth, car companies are sure to follow with their brands of smart cars, hybrids and prius’.
Ironically, though, making the jump over to biodiesel isn’t that far. Companies have been doing it for years, pouring biodiesel into harvest combines, semi-trucks and locomotives with minimal retrofitting. The arguments against biodiesel are pretty well known and can be found here as well. But even with the caveats, biodiesel is still a good idea.
As for engineering cars that run on electricity, John commented on EcoGeek:
“A widespread adoption of electric vehicles will only result in more electricity needing to be generated, which simply transfers the pollution from your tailpipe to a utility company’s smokestack.”
But…as William noted:
“That’s assuming that power stations will continue to burn coal as their primary fuel source….The infrastructure of getting electricity to customers is already in place, and by moving all cars to electric, the work in technology and efficiency moves from the individual car to the power company….It would be more cost efficient to improve the emissions of the smokestack than it would to improve the emissions of a million cars that would get their energy from that power station.”
Of course, both reasoning has merit, but the second offers an important solution that the first overlooks: In the future, power stations may generate all of its energy from wind, hydro, or other sustainable sources, making the entire process practically emission free, which is certainly ecogeek enough for me.