Electric cars are coming

If you have any doubt that electric cars are the future of transportation, watch or listen to Shai Agassi’s TED talk.

Among his interesting points:

  • Hybrid cars are inherently too expensive, because you have two cars in one. “It’s the trouble with a mermaid – when you want a fish, you get a woman; and when you want a woman, you get a fish!”
  • The key to getting the electric car market going is to separate the battery from the car. Basically, treat it like gasoline. No upfront cost to the buyer, easy to swap in a freshly charged battery at a gas station, etc. This way, the battery only needs to have electric capacity for ~100 miles.
  • A similar “energy crisis” happened several hundred years ago. Britain was confronting the problem of whether it was moral to have slaves. The main argument against abolishing slavery was the worry that it would ruin the economy. Some suggested making a slow transition, freeing only the children of slaves. In the end, they decided to abolish it outright, and within a year, the industrial revolution was well under way, dramatically increasing standards of living.

“If we do not make this modern transition away from fossil fuels quickly and decisively, we will lose our economy right after we lose our morality.”

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