When Should We Declare Fossil Fuels Dead?

Tesla Supercharger

Kimbal Musk is the brother of Elon, the billionaire founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. He serves on the board of Tesla and is an advocate for finding new ways of powering, and feeding, our world.

My wife and I had the opportunity this weekend to meet with Kimbal in Las Vegas along with Bill Nye, the famous science guy.

Both were adamant that the time has come to change the world and move away from fossil fuels. I’ve been slow to get on board with that idea, but I finally think that they are correct. Automakers and consumers are starting to realize it, too.

As anyone who has been to Vegas knows, all kinds of cars roam The Strip. On this trip, Lamborghinis and Ferraris roared down the famous road, as did the occasional silent Tesla. The old me would have lusted after the supercars, but the new me only wanted the Tesla.

On the way back to the airport, my wife and I talked about the logistics of owning a Tesla. We were inspired by Musk and Nye to really look into ways to save our planet and wondered if spending upward of $80,000 on a car would really make a difference.

I told her about the supercharging network of stations across the U.S. that are available only to Tesla owners. These stations make it possible to take extended road trips without buying a drop of fuel, which is a major selling point of buying a Model S over a competing EV. It also helps justify the decision to splurge on the car.

Later the next day I read that Elon Musk has opened the possibility of making that supercharging network available to other automakers. He said a non-German European automaker (Jaguar, maybe?) has opened talks about using the network, an idea which Tesla will consider as long as the automaker pays a fair price. The network would still be free to use for consumers, and demand will only grow with more people able to access the fast, free charging.

I mention this because it’s one of the signs that people are moving toward acceptance of alternative-powered vehicles. This is especially true, I think, after Volkswagen’s diesel scandal.

When Elon Musk was asked if he thinks the scandal will hurt the alternative fuel movement, he said,

Well, I think it’s more the opposite. What Volkswagen is really showing is that we’ve reached the limit of what’s possible with diesel and gasoline. The time has come to move to a new generation of technology.

I think there’s still some room for fossil-fuel technology to advance, but it can’t go much further. On the other hand, electric and other fuel sources have unlimited potential for growth.

Is it time to leave the old fossil-fuel technology in the past?


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  1. @
    It was an inspiring visit, Terry. We have the technology to free ourselves from fossil-fuels, but as of yet we have been unable to break our addiction to them. In time, I think we will. Might as well embrace new technology now!

  2. Jealous that you spent the weekend bumping elbows with some pretty influential guys. The truth is, this may we the way of the future. And why not? We’ve transitioned from horses, to steam and coal, to diesel and gasoline. But history tends to repeat itself, and it seems that we are at the forefront of a major change. Rather than pushing back against it, its best to get on board with the changing dynamic of the auto world.

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