By Craig Hastings
Let’s talk about hybrid electric vehicles. These are vehicles powered by both an internal combustion engine, like you probably drive now, and also an electric motor that uses stored energy from batteries. I’ve resisted the green movement that urges all of us to one day dump our gasoline powered vehicles in favor of those powered by only electricity. The way to gradually move those skeptical of this newest technology is to do exactly what our government is doing now. Initiate us by allowing us to have vehicles powered by our preferred gas and oil engines but also an electric motor that will get us used to battery power. Before last week I had only one experience behind the wheel of a dual powered vehicle. The police vehicle market has introduced us to the Hybrid Ford Explorer and Tuscola has purchased one. It will take some getting used to. Any speed under twenty mph and the electric motor powers the vehicle unless the lithium battery pack loses a predetermined charge point. When this happens the conventional gasoline motor fires up, all on it’s own, and powers the vehicle until the lithium battery pack regains its charge and then off you go all electric. All and any of this activity will take place seamlessly. You as the driver will never notice anything other than a slight vibration you can feel from the good ol’ combustion engine taking over. And for me that slight vibration of knowing I’m in control of an oil and gas engine again is reassuring.
All of this new technology is being sold to us under the guise of saving our environment. I’m an average Joe so I can’t make a scientific argument that it won’t help out some. Of course I do have my opinion even though I don’t have an education that backs up my opinion. For sure the pollutants generated from combustion engines would stop, at least from automobiles. Remember, many industrial plants also cough their own chemical waste combinations into the air we breathe. The chemical process of making gasoline and it’s partner in crime, motor oil, would also decrease and also probably keep some of our air cleaner. All of this could be wonderful if…it’s true. What I just told you is all true but, is there a pollution trade off by powering our cars and trucks with lithium batteries? I wonder. One might argue that much of the electricity our country produces is generated from fossil fuels. Will the manufacturing of all of these enormous lithium battery packs contribute to soil and air contamination? Of course they will. The question is, how much more or less than fossil fuel manufacturing. Both products without question are dangerous and poisonous. As these enormous lithium battery packs fail and need replaced, what’s the process for safely disposing of an ever growing junk lithium battery stockpile? Are they completely recyclable? How about any of the dangerous by-products of manufacturing millions and millions of lithium battery packs? What are they and how are the by-products safely stored forever? I don’t know either, I’m just asking the question. I’m not being critical but skeptical. I always wonder who stands to cash in big from someone’s big and better idea.
Finally I wonder, what will the rest of the world do while Americans are being forced to go green and at a huge financial burden? Will China and Russia continue to favor gas and oil power in their vehicles? Will the price of gasoline sink to an all time low because we Americans are no longer in need of as much leaving the rest of the world to reap the benefit? Will America continue to allow China to take advantage of our new found green solution by importing all off the lithium battery packs manufactured in China to America for the cars only we Americans are being forced by our own government to drive? Another concern of mine; how in the world will below average income drivers afford to replace the $8000 and up lithium battery packs when they fail? How many people will be seriously injured or even killed by accidentally making contact with the 400-800 volts these lithium battery packs are capable of generating. Let’s not even get into the high heat and fire danger of lithium batteries. Fire and Rescue personnel beware and be trained!
I think two things as I delve into this topic. First I think our government needs to take a step back, take in a little fresh air, and pause this rush to all electric right where it is; hybrid only for now. Let America see what the rest of the world is going to do. Instead of trying to lead here let’s just try to stay even. Let’s weigh the pollution savings, gas vs. electric, with some independent studies for a few years. Let’s hear the plan of safe and realistic disposal of all these worn out lithium batteries. Secondly, we Americans sometimes are sheep to easily lead to the slaughter by our own government. In this case we are being told about all the damage to our air quality we are doing in this country by driving all of our murderous cars and trucks. We are lead to believe by our own government that the emissions from our own vehicles we drive is the biggest threat to the air we breathe. Go electric, get much cleaner air. Well, if Americans lived under our very own glass dome and only breathed the air inside our dome, I might agree but we don’t and we won’t. At least not in our lifetimes. Do the elected con men and con women that make up most of who we send to Washington DC believe that the fresh air supply we breathe in America stays within our own borders!? LOL! Of course they don’t but they don’t and won’t tell you this! The truth? The truth is that if all of the biggest countries on the planet all don’t do the very same thing, take all the same protective measures, the quality of our air in America will suck regardless of how hard we try if just Americans are making the effort! Raise your hand if in any of the news you watch, listen to, or read, talks about the cooperation our go green gang in Washington is getting from China, Russia, India, Iran, Iraq, etc. etc.! You want to know why? Because these countries will not cooperate regardless of what that hypocrite John Kerry and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scream at us about global warming and how our cars and trucks are the root cause!
So what needs to happen to save the air and ultimately the world? One; we need a third alternative that uses the sun by a tremendously smaller format that today’s solar panels. (One day these solar panels we use today will be as laughable as tube televisions) Or, we could hurry our little butts to another planet and start all over before someone does that for us. Remember, history tells us most definitively that at least a couple of times mother earth was wiped clean and started over fresh. I don’t want to be here for that action!
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)