[extropy-chat] Car of the (near) future

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Thu May 26 02:14:17 UTC 2005

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
> >  But there is enormous
> > potential to waaaay downsize, if we assume that we can
> > accept vehicles that can only carry one, and that have
> > no heater, no air conditioner, no radio, no gears, that
> > top out around 40 mph.
> People have tried making and selling cars that violate that hypothesis.
> They sell, but not very well.  This is widely taken as proof of said
> hypothesis.

Ja but of course we still have oil so eager to come out of
the ground it spews forth in great black geysers in some 
parts of the world. 

> (A few theoretical reasons why: no heater + no AC = a drive that
> commuters won't accept, and if they won't accept it then you won't get
> them driving it period; 40 mph = dangerously slow on highways and some
> city streets, to the level of "safety hazard" even if you say it's
> theoretically only for streets it is safe on; 40 mph = extra hours
> added to commute time, to the point where the gas savings don't make
> up for the productive time lost, making this even more of a waste of
> money than buying a SUV purely for commuting purposes.)...

Adrian, all you have said is true, and I agree, under current
conditions.  The radical downsizing and downspeeding I described 
would happen only in a world in which we are operating mostly or 
entirely on renewable fuels.  Those will be expensive, which will 
motivate many to give up the commute style to which we have all 
become so fondly accustomed.

The biggest driver in this direction will not be reduced oil
coming out of the ground, but rather greatly increasing demand
for motor fuels from China and India.  Those two outfits alone 
have over 2e9 right feet, eager for a gas pedal under them, eager
for the freedom of mobility that we have enjoyed in the west.

My notion is that driving will not change all that much in
the next 10 to 20 years, but that eventually we will do some
of that radical downsizing.  It will not happen to a great extent 
until we burn up all the easy oil, all the stuff that can be pumped
cheaply.  Until all of that is gone, government efforts to curb 
our thirst for oil is a waste of time.

The sitch is not desperate however.  I can imagine some plug-in
hybrids on very small frames, so that our one-seaters will run 
partly on corn-derived alcohol and partly on the coal that the 
local power plant burns.  It won't be that bad, really.  A bit
less comfortable, somewhat more dangerous and slower, but life
as we have known it will go on.



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