Mass adoption of electric cars

Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, explains how to get countries to change from oil to electric en masse in this TED talk:

The only thing I recall taking issue with in the video is his use of the term zero carbon. Sure, the resulting vehicle may not create any emissions as it’s used, but the invisible elephant is still in the room. The steel, plastic and batteries for that vehicle still have to be manufactured, and the plant they are manufactured in likely still uses coal power.

(For what it’s worth, when I toured a coal fired power plant in grade school I was told that, if it it was operating properly, no smoke ever floated out of the premises. What we see coming out the stacks should be steam. If this is true — and a lot of people seem to think it isn’t — the problem with coal power isn’t that it pollutes, it’s that it’s a finite fossil fuel.)

And even if we get those factories switched over to sustainable power such as wind and solar, zero impact on the environment is not a reality. Ever. Which I’ve pointed out before. We’ll still mine the earth for raw materials to create turbines and solar panels out of. We’ll still need to dispose of turbines, batteries and solar panels when they wear out. There will still be detractors who point out the environmental impact of these new energy sources, such as how wind power apparently desertifies surrounding landscapes.

I’ve said this already and I’ll say it again. Subduing the earth, as we humans were instructed to do, will always have some kind of result that some person will see as negative. Our goal, thus, is to always strive to be better stewards of the planet.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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