Posts tagged “public transportation”
The Electric Highway
The New York Times reporter John Broder recently published his account of an East Coast road trip he took with the Tesla Model S electric vehicle (EV). It marked an important development: Tesla has opened two new public “supercharging” stations some 200 miles apart in Delaware and Connecticut that can fully replenish the Model S battery in an hour and potentially provide consumers the ability to drive the well-traveled Interstate 95 corridor at near-zero carbon emissions. Unfortunately, Broder’s test results came up short, showing the limitations of existing EV technology, the need for more innovation, and the division of opinions on how the United States should decarbonize transportation.
The set-up was simple: Broder was to travel from Washington D.C. to Milford, Connecticut in the souped-up Model S. But according to Broder, he faced a host of inconveniences as the Model S fell short of its projected 300 mile range, resulting in the car losing charge mid-drive and the need to re-route to find additional charging stations. Since then, he and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have traded accusatory statements, (Musk, Broder, Musk, Broder), with even the New York Times Public Editor chiming in with an investigation.
The back and forth ignited a mini-Internet firestorm. The Atlantic Wire, for example, heavily scrutinized Musk’s rebuttal while Chelsea Sexton at Wired defended Tesla by characterizing EVs as being different from gas cars and thus deserving of different expectations. “The day-to-day experience EVs offer is so much better than gas cars for 95% of driving. Long-distance road trips are among the last 5% of usage scenarios,” Sexton writes, before concluding that “it’s ridiculous to expect EVs to deliver the same experience as the incumbent product.”
Because of my interest in energy, I have a long-standing interest in different modes of transportation. One of the reasons that I am not overly pessimistic about a future in which I foresee even higher long-term oil prices is that I believe we can make a shift from modes of transportation requiring a lot of energy to move people around to modes that require much less energy to move people. Within the U.S., there are cities in which a large fraction of the population walks to work, cities in which almost everyone drives alone to work, and cities in which more than half of the working population takes public transportation to work. A reader recently called my attention to a… Continue»
Here are just a few tidbits from a new national poll conducted by Transportation for America, Public Opinion Strategies, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates: An overwhelming majority (82%) of Americans believe the country would benefit from improved public transportation. Most Americans (57% “strongly”) would like to spend less time in their cars. An overwhelming majority of Americans find current public transportation either not available at all (47%) or not convenient (35%) in their communities. A strong majority (59%) see public transportation as the best strategy for reducing traffic congestion. There is much more. Here is an excellent slideshow summary of the poll results: Future Of Transportation Poll Summary (032910) Read more detail about the poll here, and federal… Continue»
Commuters in Ireland are being encouraged to begin commuting to work by bicycle, in an effort to conserve energy and free up the gridlocked capital of Dublin.