Solar-charged electric cars are no panacea

zgeditors-blog-entry3So, I haven’t posted anything to SolarChargedDriving.Com in about a week. I’ll confess part of this is the fact that I’ve lost some of my solar-charged ‘mojo’ after 3 1/2 years of doing this site and still having only home solar but no EV.

I don’t have an EV to add to our 5.59 kW worth of solar PV here in sunny Aurora, Colo., because we’re likely going to be in Germany from August 2013 to August 2014, and it made no sense to buy, or lease, an EV (which have been available for a bit over a year in Colorado) when we knew we were going to be away for awhile.

But simply because I’ve lost some of my mojo here on SolarChargedDriving.Com — in my own defense, there are more than 1,200 entries and stories on the site, many of which are still completely timely, relevant and helpful to those still discovering solar-charged driving — doesn’t mean I’m still not surfing about on the Internet, spreading my own brand of environmental and EV + PV activism 😉

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Look at the parking ratios
In fact, I just posted the following comment (see end of this entry) below an interesting article on Treehugger.Com (‘Let’s stop calling the new headquarters for Apple, Facebook and Google “Green”: Look at the parking ratios’) in which the author discusses and critiques some of the efforts on the part of giant high-tech companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, to “greenify” their workplaces.

His basic point — one I agree with –> It’s all well and good to green the workplace, but our biggest environmental, and, I would add, mental and social health and well-being issue, is not our workplaces per se. It’s our single-car-single-occupant-everyone-goes-to-work-at-the-same-time-so-that-we-can-all-sit-and-stew-in-nightmarish-unproductive-inefficient-polluting-traffic-jams commuter culture.

Sure, as I concede in the comment I wrote below the Treehugger article, it’s not necessarily Google’s job to make the huge social and living changes that our society really needs to make, meaning, for instance, creating and building a society in which we have way fewer individual cars, way less traffic, people living way closer to where they work, and, finally, real communities, not faceless cookie cutter suburbs where, in 95 percent of cases, you only know your neighbors on the most superficial of levels.

Radical change needed
However that doesn’t mean in the long run that, solar-charged EVs or not, we don’t need radical change. Call me a dreamer (or a ‘dirty socialist’ if you’d like) but, ideally, I’d like to see a world with computer-driven EVs powered by renewables which are collectively shared by large numbers of people; it’s just plain inefficient, and, frankly, ridiculous, that we all have one, two, three, or more, vehicles, which sit, unused, 22 to 23 hours per day.

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To get an idea of just how “radical” my views are on the social changes we need to see to create a healthier society, take a look at Peter Charles’ latest documentary, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward.

In the end, I see solar-charged driving as an important mini-step forward, albeit one far more people will be willing to take than a shift to a Peter Charles’ type future, one that will help move us forward in what I hope will ultimately be an escape from the smog-choked, traffic-jam ridden, atomized, isolating and, in my view, largely alienating social organization model we’ve built up to this point. If this makes me “radical”, “out there”, “weird”, a “commie utopianist”, so be it 😉

So, here it is, finally, the comment I posted below the Treehugger.Com story ‘Let’s stop calling the new headquarters for Apple, Facebook and Google “Green”: Look at the parking ratios’ that inspired my admittedly meandering blog entry.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Treehugger article, and my own utopian vision for a future with far fewer vehicles, including solar-charged EVs, far less driving, and far more community than what our individualist, consumerist, car culture has delivered so far  –>


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