Electric cars and windmills are the most complementary products in the green world. Windmills generate a lot more energy at night, as wind picks up when the air cools down. Unfortunately, when you get a lot of wind most people are asleep and the electricity needs to be rerouted elsewhere. Cars are parked at night waiting to get electricity into the batteries - which is a perfect match to the electricity profile of wind generation.
Photo Credit: Quin Garcia, Project Better Place
You can find out a lot more at Project Better Place (I’d recommend viewing the video on the main page, then poking around). Basically they appear to already be beginning implementation in Israel and are starting the process in Denmark.
As stated in this article in Technology Review, there are many more hurdles that have to be overcome in the U.S. as opposed to Israel or Denmark. But, assuming for a moment (and, yes, that’s a huge assumption) that this is actually viable in countries like Israel, Denmark, and many others around the world that have much higher gasoline costs than the U.S. and are much more geographically compact, what does that look like ten or twenty years from now when it’s built out? Is it possible that it’s another shift – that countries that take a longer view than the next election cycle might, just might, find themselves ahead of the game?
I don’t know enough to evaluate the science or the economics of this, but there are a lot of smart folks (and at least a couple of countries) putting a lot of money behind this, and Renault-Nissan already has a prototype car using the technology, so I think it’s perhaps not as far-fetched as it seems to be at first glance. And you gotta love a company that is talking about selling cars on a subscription model (you contract to pay for a set number of miles over a period of time) – conceivably with a six-year agreement the car could be free.
Yes, this is mostly off-topic for this blog, but sometimes you just need a little hope.
Update 4-1-08: Interesting, the main page of the Project Better Place website has a "latest news" feature that links to stories on the web about their project. I assumed that their webmaster chose articles of interest to place there, but as of this writing this post is linked from that page. That makes me think it's being automatically generated from a search set up to look for links to their site. If so, that's pretty gutsy, since there would be no control over whether the article was favorable or even interesting. If it's not automatic, then I guess I should say thanks. In either case (but particularly the first one), it raises my opinion of them that they are being that transparent.