Wednesday, October 1, 2008

21st Century Life

Apparently, the future is much more futuristic than we previously imagined! If only because of gas prices this year, we are all aware of how important it is to find alternative sources of fuel and other types of renewable energy. And there is no better place than Los Angeles to see the future of fuel technology actually on the street. Truthfully, San Francisco is just as prescient as we are, but SF is much more a pedestrian city that LA. It’s one thing to say that you have an awesome new hybrid that you only use once a week to go to the grocery store (and that is phenomenal, let’s remember) but it’s another thing to see these cars as a major mode of transportation in the 36,000 miles in three years kind of way. Those so-called Smart cars are everywhere, though to be honest with you I’m not sure why they’re so popular – because they’re so easy to park? I know they’re super small, but the numbers indicate that they burn just as much gas as a Honda Accord. Not even the Accord hybrid! We see those electric cars that were “discontinued,” and of course the Toyota Prius is everywhere. And as annoying as it is to see the same car all over the place, I am thankful that I do.

Speaking of Toyota, they should be freaking out because Honda (brilliantly) just released specs for their new fuel cell vehicle, and it is an obvious rip of the traditional Prius’ body style! Many people may not know what a fuel cell vehicle is, and that’s understandable. Fuel Cells mean Hydrogen Fuel Cells. Yep, that’s right, Hydrogen! In LA, these vehicles can fill up at many gas stations that also carry hydrogen. The best part is that these cars have emissions that are only water. WATER! If you pay close attention, you notice that you’re hearing this stuff on new car commercials, even Chevrolet (the OG gas burner) has fuel cell vehicles on the market and so do other car companies. I’m only pointing out Honda because they are clearly after a market that has adopted the Prius as a way of life, and made a better car! The best part about competition like this is that when they compete, we win!

A few years ago I was told of a car that was meant to run on compressed air for fuel. P’shaw, I said! Compressed air, does it also make popcorn? Luckily, and much to my chagrin there will be a car that will run on compressed air debuting sometime in the next two years. Motor Development International is the company that’s bringing us this technology and they’re based in Nice, France (as if we need another reason to think that southeastern France is cool) and is partnering with Tata motors in India. What’s cool about the updated model from MDI is that it also carries an onboard heater that kicks in at 35 mph, and will burn ethanol, vegetable oil or other fuel to heat the compressed air so that it has a longer driving range on one “tank.” Pretty Fucking cool, if you ask me.

On paper, this all sounds super cool, but for this to be helpful people have to buy these vehicles. And not just in California, it has to be all over the world and especially in every state in the US. Signs are pointing to the fact that the general populus in America might actually be ready for this kind of change, and that’s saying something. In a few short years, we’ve come a long, long way. And I for one, am thankful for that.

© 2008 MD TOTAL all rights reserved.
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