The folks over at gas2.org recently did a nice piece on six teenagers who have built their very own alternative-fuel vehicles. The vehicles run on electricity, solar power, soybeans… you get the idea.
Not long ago I would have hailed these achievements as incredible feats sure to embarrass the world’s automakers.
Now I realize that’s just silly.
Sure, the kids referenced in the story are ambitious young people I applaud for their passion, talent, and forward thinking. But converting your old pickup into an EV really isn’t anything new.
I did a little research on the topic and found this Web site dedicated to posting pictures of EVs that people have built over the years. There’s even a page here that answers some commonly asked questions about converting a car into an EV.
So creating an electric car that can go 40 miles on a charge isn’t that big of a deal. Creating one with an extended range, a quick recharge, reliable batteries, and a reasonable price is another story. Some MIT students have come close, succeeding on all but the low price side of the equation.
So will the kids of today ultimately solve the problem of alternative-fuel vehicles? They’re smart enough – just check out this guy, who at 18 has already converted two cars into EVs.
It’s kids like him who will solve the problem… just not while they’re kids. Let them experiment with EV technology, let them graduate from college, and wait for them to be hired by General Motors or Nissan. Once these brilliant kids are working for a company with the means to fund the research, I have no doubt they’ll be the ones who eventually break our oil habit.
We’ll just have to wait a little while longer.
I wouldn’t buy an electric vehicle that I couldn’t take on a cross-country road trip. Would you?