Every crisis provides opportunities. For a long time the electric car suffered a lingering existence, but now this sustainable user of the road is steadily increasing its popularity. Several car manufacturers even have exchanged their SUV for more efficient alternatives, because that is what the consumer wants. An important step towards a sustainable future, but there are so much more possibilities. It is up to the market to determine the way forward...
The electric car seems to be a new development, but in fact it is not. Its foundations can be traced back to 19th century (!). The Dutch inventor Sibrandus Stratingh developed the first electric vehicle in the world. During the same century also the fuel engine was developed and gained popularity fast. Nevertheless, small scale tinkering with the electric car continued, especially in times of crisis. WWII and energy crises in the 70s were key drivers to further develop the electric car.
During the late 90s a breakthrough seemed imminent, but the car manufacturers have a powerful lobby. Backed by the White House they were able to bring the development of 'Electronic Vehicles' to a standstill and destroyed promising test models. This led to a storm of protest, among which Hollywood stars like George Clooney, Danny DeVito and Leonardo DiCaprio. But a public outrage proved insufficient: only after the credit crisis in 2008 the momentum was able to grow exponentially.
The spirit of the age is also helping out: sustainability is slowly increasing popularity. Not only in terms of support, but also with regard to policy. For example, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in the ambitious Vision 2050 report explicitly mentioned the need for universal access to safe and low-impact mobility. The development of the electric car aligns with that very well.
In 2014, we are technically able to provide every car worldwide with electrical propulsion. Gasoline and diesel are actually unnecessary fuels for cars. This does not only apply to road transport but also for air transport. Airplanes consume huge amounts of fuel and seriously damage the environment. Through 'MagLev Technology’ transport can be organized far more efficiently. By using trains that move on an aerial magnetic railway speeds of around 500 kilometres per hour can be achieved. Travel for lunch from San Francisco to New York?
Hard to believe? That is understandable, because the oil, automotive and transport industries continuously carry a powerful lobby. We can do it, because the knowledge is available. The industry will not change by itself, it is up to the market to change the direction. And everyone can contribute to that.
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