Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Defining the True Value of Electric Mobility

As consumers, we tend to make our car buying decisions looking through the lens of personal economics. How much does it cost, how much will it save, what will it cost to replace. A dollar to dollar comparison.

As a preface to the discussion of the value of electric mobility let me suggest to you three names, Donald Trump. John Muir, Martin Luther King.

Who’s the most successful? Who has more value? Answer quickly. Now read on.

Clearly, the heft, the longevity, and the enormousness of the accomplishments of John Muir and Martin Luther King, one with the National Park system as his legacy, one with a National Holiday in his honor, are of far greater value and successfulness as measured by our collective history. If we measure by a “snapshot” of life today, in individual terms, one perhaps could conclude that Donald Trump is the most successful due to his omni-presence and personal wealth.

This exercise brings to light two key points on balancing our choices at this critical juncture in the history of transportation.

1. We define value first on individual influences and secondarily on societal goals.
2. We define value first on “current snapshots” and secondarily on long term benefit.

We simply need to change.

The principles of balance must equally apply to our individual desires and our national desires. It must apply equally as a long term remedy and in our daily lives.

If we are to have a successful transportation revolution to electric mobility we must not prioritize the immediacy and the individuality of a decision over societal impacts and long term benefit. We must concern ourselves with the future, and future generations, we must plan with a long lens in balance with our personal desire and day to day living.

The True Value of Electric Mobility. Consider these facts:

From our Military,

Fossil fuel is the No. 1 thing we import to Afghanistan, Fossil fuel accounts for 30 percent to 80 percent of the load in convoys into Afghanistan, bringing costs as well as death. While the military buys gas for just over $1 a gallon, getting that gallon to some forward operating bases costs $400 a gallon.

“Studies are establishing a strong relationship between fuel consumption and casualty rates due to fuel convoy protection." Source: Army Environmental Policy Institute.

How do we put a value on the cost of a soldier’s life transporting or protecting a fuel convoy struck by an improvised explosive devise? Our military is leading the way in solar energy deployment and the purchase and research of electric mobility.

The value is not monetary, it is soldiers lives and a more mobile fighting force.

Our Nation,

In 2010. America is sad to say, a very dependent nation, importing nearly 70% of its transportation fuel to quench our super sized insatiable thirst for gasoline.

The United State of America is far afield from our founding fathers vision and declaration of Independence. Far afield from our founding fathers vision of an active and informed populace, self reliant, self governing, self aware and mutually involved for a greater union. We are today sadly a very apathetic and uninformed “Dependent Nation.”

We can shed this dependency without war. We can regain independence. We can wean ourselves of the imported drug, oil, that is slowly wounding the health of our nation and exporting the wealth of our nation. We observe the obscene wealth of oil producing nations fed by our consumption and purchase of their oil, while we willingly weaken our own country.

This is not a dependency forced on us by an oppressive nation or king. It is a dependency of our own choices and our consumption.

We can recover, we can prosper. We can do this if we can comprehend the value of Electric Mobility and domestic production of the battery, car, electricity, and yes, in the near term oil and natural gas required during the transition. If we can understand and participate in free trade not dependent trade.

The value is not monetary, it is our national independence and prosperity as a nation.

Our Health,

Burning oil in a combustion chamber and then exhausting that oil out of a tailpipe causes 60% of particulate pollution and almost 70% of the CO2 emmissions in our major urban cities. Our transportation fleet is our gross polluter.

According to the American Lung Association The State of the Air 2010 report shows that over 175 million people—roughly 58 percent of America suffer pollution levels that are too often dangerous to breathe. Unhealthy air remains a threat to the lives and health of millions of people in the United States, despite great progress. Even as the nation explores the complex challenges of global warming and energy, air pollution lingers as a widespread and dangerous reality.

In our County of San Diego 3,001,072 population. 70,082 suffer from Pediatric Asthma. 188,661 from Adult Asthma, 95,863 from Bronchitis, 34,760 from Emphysema, all at great risk due to and in part because of particulate pollution.

The American Lung association goes on to identify living next to a freeway as a health risk. Long term exposure to air pollution—especially from highway traffic—harms women, even while in their 50s. Exposure to particle pollution appears to increase women’s risk of lower lung function, developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and dying prematurely.

Busy highways are high risk zones. Pollution from heavy highway traffic contributes to higher risks for heart attack, allergies, premature births and the death of infants around the time they are born. New studies looking at the impact of traffic pollution, even in cities with generally “cleaner” air, expanded the concern over the health effects of chronic exposure to exhaust from heavy traffic.

Now if you don’t believe the American Lung Association, try porting the exhaust of your car to the inside of your cabin and then you can have direct first hand knowledge of the health risk of particulate and Co2 pollution. (please don’t try this as it may result in injury or death, I was just making a second hand pollution point)

The value is not monetary, it is our own health and health of our loved ones and our community.

As Americans, we love our automobiles and I am no different. I’m not suggesting that you forego personal economics or the desirability or attractiveness of a car that gets your blood racing, I am suggesting that you factor in the true cost and the true value of Electric Mobility. A transportation option that offers many values that go far beyond the cost and the basic economics of an auto purchase decision.

Electric mobility can be less expensive, cleaner, healthier, and provide independence for a person and a nation.

That certainly is the case for our family.

Peder Norby
Mini-E # 183. 20,250 miles of sunshine powered electric driving

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