if you could promote peace in the middle-east, protect the
environment, and save money, while driving your car? That
sounds like a revolution which will shake everything from
the air you breeth to international geopolitcs.
Dozens of green cars, trucks, and SUVs were
showcasted at this year's Tour de Sol, a green transportation
festival and competition organized by the Northeast Sustainable
Energy Association since 1988.
Big car makers such as Toyota, Honda, Ford,
and GM were present with their new models aimed at mass consumers.
The new 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid was definitively one of the
highlights on that side of the festival. It is a fairly good
looking SUV running on gasoline energy, electrical battery
power, or both together.
The reason that car makes so much sense is
that the 330-volt electrical battery is regenarative, meaning
that you don't have to plug it to the grid to recharge your
electrical motor. Of course, the electrical motor saves gas
consumption as the engine turns on and off automatically,
depending on the driving conditions, so a tank of fuel goes
further. It seems to us that it is just a matter of time for
electrical motors as a complement to the regular gas engine
to become standard on every cars. It just makes so much more
sense, and obviously not only from an environmental point
of view, since using less gas also means spending less.
The main drawback, we heard, is that we don't
know yet how much time the electrical motor can run, because
as car drivers know batteries run off after a while.Toyota,
however, has not had to change any battery yet on any of their
Prius model which came out 6 years ago. Still that seems to
be a area worth researching. Big car makers are no doubts
investing much into that. Another issue is that there are
not that many electrical car mechanics around yet. That is
a niche still open for green entrepreneurs. You will face
But at Tour de Sol, the real action is with
the cars made by mad inventors, high schools and colleges.
If you tought the Delorian from Back to the Future was cool,
wait til you see the prototypes that this year's copetitors
came up with.
This is what we have learned: you can start
driving green today if you own a Diesel car. It will run on
ethanol or vegetable oil. Sterling College students came up
with their own special biofuel mix, which is better for your
car's engine than the old oil you can recycle from your corner
Chinese restaurant (although that also works). What's good
news is that is smells good, a little like French Fries.
Other schools created hybrid cars, a little
like the Ford and Toyota mentioned above but better because
instead of being running on gas, they are running on vegetable
oil or ethanol. The Toyota representative explained me why
big car makers haven't put a non-gas based car on the US market
yet: Gas in the US is much cheaper than, say, in Europe where
the price of diesel and regular gas are close. And Americans
are not ready to pay more for diesel. That's what he said,
and we are not sure whether we should believe him or not.