Interesting read. We’ll see if Toyota can lead the automotive industry yet again. In my opinion though, Hybrids are currently the greatest interim vehicle when you consider both environmental effects and cost, but they won’t last. The next stage in automotive development is Hydrogen Fuel Cells (very infantile) and the current Electric Vehicle that still has a lot of room for refinement before it’s as desirable as a comparably priced 25k Hybrid. What doesn’t sell me on the electric car is the fact that most consumers won’t be deriving its energy from renewable sources, so you’re inadvertently supporting corrupt fuel suppliers who burn oil and coal to power your home, which will in turn power your Electric Vehicle. Where’s the energy independence in that? The only fully sustainable way is to retrofit your home with Solar Photovoltaic Panels, and purchase an Electric Vehicle. Then you can say goodbye to both your electric and gasoline bill. The problem is most adequate Electric Vehicles (taking into account efficiency and miles per charge) still cost 50k plus. But they will come down in price over time, and there will soon be plenty more demand and options.
I can’t be sure what car will conquer the other, but I am confident that within this decade, Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Electric Vehicles will go to battle for market share. Elon Musk has every bit of reason to dismiss Hydrogen Fuel Cells; he’s built an empire around Electric Vehicles. But let the marketing and innovation begin, and may the most efficient vehicle remain. I am also confident that within two decades the gasoline engine will be scarce and that’s music to just about anyone’s ears, but the oil industry. But to this I say, fuck them. They haven’t benefited anyone but themselves. They were needed at the turn of the Industrial Revolution, when electric powered vehicles were merely the thought of a few intellectual visionaries. But now they’ve just gotten in the way and have stalled an entire industry from forming that just can’t be stalled anymore. Plus the biggest perk from the Renewable Revolution-thousands of jobs from automotive production, marketing, logistics, solar cell manufacturing, engineering and so on. Has $4 a gallon improved the economy….no, it only dictates whether people travel as much, and spend less. Will a $4 investment in the renewable sector improve the economy? That’s for you to decide. What I will leave you with is this sobering thought. If we don’t change our ways, our environment will.