Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fast Company: Go Diesel!

Haven't stumped for Fast Company in a while, and the recent cover on the "Motorhead Messiah" Jonathan Goodwin, he of Kansas, the mechanic-turned-master of alternative engines (from Electric to military grade Turbines to Diesel) whose $28k conversions to diesel are not only good for MPG but also a celebrity fad, delved into a fascinating side bar: the critical role that Diesel can play in moving us all away from gas. Diesel engines are already more fuel efficient, but more importantly, they are a likelier stepping stone, since they are more accommodating of alternative fuels- an idea that seems to becoming a necessity, since few large corporations seem willing to take the lead on rolling out purely alternative vehicles until the alternative power source is ubiquitous, and vice versa (author Clive Thompson's chicken/egg analogy, not mine)

Not one to typically paraphrase a brilliant story, I'll nonetheless sum up Goodwin's three-step program:

  • Aggressively roll out diesel vehicles (already available at most gas stations, instant 40% MPG gain!)
  • Release diesel-electric hybrids- again potentially doubling MPG
  • Moving on to "dual fuel" hybrids that can use diesel OR another low-emissions gas (hydrogen, ethanol)
Even if you're in the microchip business and the word "double" doesn't impress your Moore's-Law-Loving appetite for innovation, this has to stimulate some thought. Now we wait for the devil's advocates, who already in full form in the comments below the article!

No comments: