Sneak Peek: Transportation in a Post Carbon Age


Back in August 2008, when oil was at $140 per barrel and $4 a gallon, I bought a used hybrid Toyota Camry.  I did all the math – with the added fuel mileage I would recover the cost premium in 3 years.  Gas soon thereafter became free again and . . .well, that’s the topic for another post.

At the same time I was wondering about the future of flight.  With fuel so expensive and forecast to go higher I began to envision a world where air travel was extremely rare.  I tried to imagine what technologies would replace the petroleum-based combustion engine.  The challenges were and are weight and fuel storage. 

Batteries are currently just too darned heavy and not yet efficient enough in storage capacity for commercial electric flight.  Nuclear is also heavy and, oh by the way, nuclear.

Well, we dadgummed creative humans are at it again.  Featured in Wired and pictured above is the first electric plane.  Surely not yet ready for business class cross oceanic travel with in-flight movies.  But progress just the same.  From 1903 to 1947 we progressed from first flight to breaking the sound barrier.

Today is the most extraordinary time in human history to be alive . . . until tomorrow.

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