We live in a funny society! We seem to want our cake and eat it too. Since 9/11, the big east coast blackout and Hurricane Katrina there is a big push on to have emergency mobile electricity available. Somehow this has caused confusion because mobile generators also need a fuel source as do electric utility vehicles.
Internal Combustion Problems
I’ve said before that internal combustion engines have lots of problems - with fuel requirements, environmental pollution and noise for starters.
We bought into internal combustion early on when oil was found in large supply and relatively cheap. Twentieth century development centered around this technology – with big engines, lots of available power and junkyards full of big hunks of rusted metal formerly known as cars. It was logical at the time because the newfound reserves of oil were plentiful and the United States still had thousands of miles of undeveloped land.
Back to the problem, we like that raw power, especially when converted to automotive force. Obviously we became a very mobile society and Detroit auto makers paved the way with every sort of internal combustion vehicle. Now, with all the mega-mergers, add American ingenuity, German precision and Japanese dedication. Voilá, what we’re now seeing is an endless stream of new products. The reasoning (besides abundant greed) seems to be ‘just because we can’.
Not Done With Internal Combustion Yet
The lawn mower and chain saw markets are huge. Now there are electric models and if you’ve ever used one you know they are like dangerous toys intended for light duty only. Electric utility vehicles are the latest in this class of products and yes, they’ll be made in China. Isn’t the global economy beautiful?
We don’t really care about all the back office and production stuff. What can our electric utility vehicle do? Can I go off-road and can I lift two thousand pounds with it? Can I plug it in or pour used cooking oil in it to make it run? You see, we were spoiled by internal combustion. We just want to know that when we press on the gas pedal the vehicle will respond with immediate movement down the highway.
Our demands on an electric utility vehicle are no different, whether it be a yard trolley or pedestrian vehicle or lunar module – people still expect raw internal combustion power. People don’t really care that the whole engine design is different – with an electric utility vehicle we’re actually talking about a motor.
If we want to help Americans make the leap to electric utility vehicles, we’re going to have to help them turn concept into understanding. The real value and common sense of quiet, clean and practical electric utility vehicles will eventually be experienced. That time’s coming.