Friday, July 13, 2007

Strange Plug-in Bedfellows Rile Detroit

Big time neo-Con Frank Gaffney and Arnold supporter actor Rob Lowe took their advocacy for plug-in hybrids to Massachusetts liberal Democrat Ed Markey's House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming yesterday. Detroit and it's Congressional defenders are again suggesting that what's good for America will kill Big Auto. It is idiotic if conventional wisdom to suggest anti-corporate crusader Ralph Nader has it in for the automakers, but quite another to label Reaganaut and hardline conservative Gaffney anti-business. The Detroit Free Press story headline tells the tale:
House talk on plug-in cars erupts
Mich. lawmaker warns of demise of U.S. auto industry


Anonymous said...

HYDROGEN POLITICS: Here is how it works:

While all of the falsified points against hydrogen have been counter in numerous papers, such as:

It is important to consider the following:

The oil and auto industry consider the battery industry to be a failed technology that can never be made or delivered in the form factor, price point, range or efficiency that they care about. (It doesn't matter, for this argument, what YOU think.) So they got together and used "layered anti-evangelism" to manipulate the battery industry.

"Layered anti-evangelism" is an intelligence agency third world manipulation device that works like this:

1. Select the target: In this case it is hydrogen fuel cells, which have been demonstrated to beat batteries on every business front.
2. Select your internal agents. In this case lobbyists and "writers" that are paid by the oil and auto industry.
3. Have the agents contact and talk to the "sheep". In this case the sheep are the writers for battery industry trades and heads of battery lobby or support organizations.
4. Have the agents convince the sheep via skewed data provision. In this case selected reports were written and then shown to the sheep to convince the sheep that hydrogen fuels cells would steal their funding, put them out of business and that the only source of hydrogen was from the "evil oil companies".

So you have battery evangelists who are anti-hydrogen sheep:
Ulf Bossel of the European Fuel Cell Forum Alec Brooks- EV World Sam Thurber

Yet for every manipulated argument they come up with, they are shot down by hundreds of sites with facts, ie:

WHY? Because you can make hydrogen at home and the ability to do it fast, cheap and clean is coming 40 times faster than they thought.

This happened, using the same process, to:
1.) Electric light rail in America (US Vs. National City Lines, 334 US 573)
2.) The EV1 (Movie: Who killed the electric car) Etc.

The interventions of these 'doubters' fall into a number of clear categories which I'll summarise as:

1 "You can't succeed because no-one has ever succeeded at this (sports car making / battery-power / taking on the majors, etc etc) before". - May I commend to everyone Dava Sobel's wonderful (and short!) book, "Longitude", which offers a perfect map of the tendency of government and the scientific establishment collude to reject true innovation. This effect can only be overcome when a tipping-point of perceived popular utility is reached, at which point the establishment suddenly has a bout of collective amnesia about their earlier denials. (Same story many times over, historically, of course - from Gallileo onwards.)

2 "It's inefficient to carry around". Rather as it's inefficient to carry around a full tank of gas, perhaps? Or to carry around a SUV chassis which itself weighs a ton or more? (Come on, Detroit, you can find a better argument than that, surely?)

3 "This technology is not a solution and never will be." This very much reminds me of the IBM's famously short-sighted take on the prospect of home computing, back in the 70s. The language of these contributions, let alone their content, points to a thought-process rooted in volume-producers'
vested interests. Consider the successes of some other new-tech challengers of vested interests: Dyson taking on Hoover with a bagless vacuum-cleaner; Bayliss bringing clockwork (i.e. battery-less) radios and laptops to the third world; thin-film solar panels (sorry, can't remember who, but you know who I mean). On this point, it was deeply depressing, at a high-level environmental science conference of the UK Government last year, for me to witness a "leading and respected" Professor of Transport rejecting electric traction out-of-hand with the words "it will never be more than just power storage on a trolley". Given that this "expert" was advising ministers of state setting future national policy on alternative transport, my immediate thought was "Who pays this man's research grant?"

So let's be vigilant for any who claim, in a smooth way, that invention can't possibly have the answers. From a position of some expertise in this field, may I remind readers that the "you-don't-understand-how-our-industry-works" argument has been the policy instrument of choice for numerous corporate fraudsters and protectionists down the ages (Enron, anyone?). New York's energetic DA, Mr Spitzer, has made a fine career out of challenging such thinking in the finance sector (with the simple rejoinder: "WHY does your industry work like that? Against customer choice?"). And then of course there's the entire consumer movement (remember Flaming Fords? remember "Unsafe at Any Speed"?). We can and should ask the same questions of the conventional auto industry.

The good news is that genuine innovation will out - as long as ordinary consumers are able to find it and buy it. One of the early lessons of the twentyfirst century, thank goodness, is that the old-school, browbeating style of corporate communication - terrorising one's customers into rejecting alternatives - increasingly fails as people wise up to making decisions based on their own independently-gathered information about benefits and risks. (Interestingly, a popular reaction against "selling by fear" is also now happening in the political field. Now why might that be?) As a consumer, one doesn't have to agree with the in-ya-face techniques of anticorporate critics like Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock to still subscribe to the view that we can buy what we want to buy. We no longer want to be told by old-tech that new-tech is inherently suspect. Isn't it old-tech that brought us dependency on oil, climate change, wars over energy sources?

So c'mon people, how about a reward system for "spot the spoiler"? I'm all for free debate on the issues, but some of these blogs smell rather like the work of paid old-tech corporatists trying to sabotage your success.
Challenge such interventions with the greatest possible vigour, and let consumers decide for themselves!

1.) Battery companies are spending millions of dollars to knock H2
because it works longer, better, faster and cheaper than batteries! Most of the people writing these screaming anti-H2 articles are battery company shills or have investments there. H2 does beat batteries on every front so the should be SCARED!

2.) The steel unions hate H2 because H2 cars don't use steel. Steel is
too hard to afford any more so nobody will use it in any case.

3.) Activists hate H2 because they think it can only be made by the oil
companies and they hate the oil companies. This is a falsehood created by the battery and steel guys.

4.) Oil companies hate H2 because it is so much better than oil but they
only get to hate it unto 2030 when the affordable oil runs out. Then they know they must love it because H2 energy will be all that is left. The Oil industry is dismayed that H2 is coming on so fast and they are trying to slow it down even more.

5.) Other alternative energy interests hate it because it is getting all
of the funding because the polita-nomics are better with H2 than ANYTHING ELSE ON EARTH.

We have made hydrogen at home with free energy. If the gasoline in your car blows up it will do a VAST AMOUNT more death and damage than H2 ever will.
You are driving a MOLOTOV COCKTAIL. In 2030 oil is GONE and there is NO OTHER OPTION that can be delivered world-wide in time but H2!

Marc Geller said...

I don't know what free hydrogen you've got, or what car you're putting it in, but I make electricity on my roof now and I put it in my RAV4 EV and have driven it and my previous electric car over 50,000 miles.

Good luck with your free hydrogen and I hope you've got a spare million bucks to get an H2 car to put it in. I'll stick with today's technologies - solar PV and a battery electric car.

TimothyB said...

Righto Mark.

I am constantly amazed at how folks say H2 will be the energy carrier of choice when it is so darned inefficient to make. Sure I can make it in my kitchen.. but I lose 70% of that energy!

I'm with you. PV/Wind etc and Electric cars. End Game. Set. Match.

Marc Geller said...

Thanks timothyb. what's your private blog about? how does one get invited in?

TimothyB said...

I don't actually have one setup here :) I haven't done a blog, although I realize it's all the rage.. and I probably should! I've been tooting around with electrons since I was a wee lad and TRS-80s were state of the art, so I'm a bit slow to adopt new time sinks ;-)

If you are on Facebook though, I'll probably be using that for blogging. Let me know if you'd like to commisserate there.

saltwind at gmail dot com


TimothyB said...

Oh.. sorry.. Dystopia is a research tool I am using to look at Neural Nets! I don't have a -regular- blog ;)