Mobility To Nowhere

Ah, the paradigm shift from horse & buggy was long and prosperous for cars, governments and, most importantly, oil. This paradigm has served well. Or? Enter Tesla and its founder Elon Musk. The more I hear about him and the more I dream of buying a Tesla S the more confused I get. Is Elon Musk a genius or showman that can’t come up with a paradigm shift? Musk definitely fits well in his suit of über-inventor and spender of well-earned riches. Someone compared him to Tony Stark from the Iron Man movies. I’m kinda confused with that comparison. Is Musk, like Stark, a great inventor? If that’s the case, did he invent the electric car? Nomatter. Excitement clouds the mind. The reality is, Tesla is not even a car company. What it is is a battery company. And so I must ask. Has Musk re-invented the battery? Has he changed the paradigm set by the Baghdad Battery? Can it even be changed? Now here’s a real worst-question for ya. When energy is not being used is it still energy? Enough pseudo-worst-science. The thing about gasoline is that once you make the stuff it exists until it is used. That’s the trick and, if you will, efficiency of hydrocarbon based energy. Electricity on the other hand must either be used or it must do what old soldiers are supposed to do: fade away–whether it’s used or not. Hence the wondrous invention of the battery. And so here’s worst-writer’s thing. Even though I’m excited about Tesla, I’m not really impressed with what Musk, as a battery maker, is offering. This guy seems more and more to be nothing but a über compulsive engineer with the wherewithal and pocketbook to not recognise the limits that rule him. Those limits being batteries. Is then what he’s doing an attempt to, gee, I don’t know, be one of the crazy ones? Don’t get me wrong, I love the idear behind electric mobility. On my consume to survive shopping list is the purchase of an e-bike. But the thing holding me back from doing it right now is the battery. Indeed. It’s all about the battery. Not to mention that the batteries used in Teslas or e-bikes or my iPhone just don’t make the grade yet. Not only that, once the short life span of these batteries is over does anyone know what will become of them? If I’m not mistaken there are two man-made and heavily consumed products that, for all practical purposes, are non-recyclable. One is the tyre and the other batteries. Musk got himself into that foray, I’d say. And so. Say what you will about the byproduct of burning hydrocarbons, is the solution to that problem worth a new problem of equal if not more complexity? Even though you can break down the parts of a battery you cannot re-use those parts. So where does all the precious, toxic, chemical stuff go? I wonder if the recycling and environmental implications of mass producing and consuming batteries like this is ripe for prime-time. As far as Musk’s presentation of swapping batteries faster than filling the tank of your car with petrol (see vid below), I’m only  impressed that it looks slightly similar to those robots that put on the Iron Man suit. Also. If the cost of such a swap was in the price of the car, for the life of the car, then I’d be impressed. But I reckon Musk has to start asap on expanding his revenue streams. But don’t let worst-writer put a damper on all this excitement.

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Rant on.

-tgs-