In the latest issue of Popular Mechanics, Jay Leno writes an article reflecting on his fleet of old-school alternative-energy vehicles (the youngest of which is from 1928) and where he sees the green vehicle industry potentially heading. Contrary to popular belief, everything from electric to steam-driven cars existed long before any of us were born. Leno remarks on how funny it is to consider this technology “new” when we’ve had it for almost 100 years! From the article,
“My Baker Electric dates back nearly 100 years â€” and it’s a late model. By then, the company had been selling electrics for more than a decade. Unlike other early cars, the Baker Electric needed no cranking, had no gasoline smell and was essentially maintenance-free. Not surprisingly, it was marketed to women. The interior of my Baker is rather froufrou, complete with a little makeup kit. Even though it’s almost a century old, the car drives totally silently â€” like any modern electric vehicle. In fact, when I take it up into the hills, I have to be extra careful of deer. They usually just stand there and look in the windows, which makes the Baker my wife Mavis’s favorite car. “
Even though Leno collects cars, he’s also cares a great deal about the environment. He has a “green garage” that will soon get a great deal of its energy from steam and solar power. Regarding the fate of the current electric car, Leno sounds a little less optimistic,
“I’m not too bullish on electric cars as the way of the future. Modern electric cars go roughly 100 miles on a charge, about the same as my Baker; so I don’t see much progress there. I think electricity is a great power source for a car. But the problem is, how do you get it?”Â
Jay, what about fuel cell technology? Or how about Lithium Ion? I wouldn’t count electric vehicles out just yet. Though I agree a mix of different technologies will probably move us away from oil.
Hit the article for more Leno insights — including a great story on who really killed the electric car.