Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nuclear-Powered Electric Vehicles

nuclear-hybrid-logo1Get the mp3 here

Will hybrid electric vehicles spell the end of the oil age? At least one major international bank thinks so. This week Deutsche Bank released a report that predicts a oil prices will spike causing US consumers to flock to high-mileage hybrid vehicles. This in turn will cause petroleum demand to dive and never recover. In the end, electric and hybrid electric vehicles will take over the roads.

When this happens, with one-fifth of the electric grid powered from clean nuclear energy, we'll be shifting our transportation energy source from imported oil to home grown nuclear energy.

But not everyone agrees. According to the WSJ Environmental Capitol blog, Lux Research, a research and consulting firm that specializes in providing strategic analysis related to emerging technologies, believes high battery price, low oil prices, and low demand for new cars could limit the growth of hybrid electric cars.

I agree that economics will be a key factor in whether or not the average consumer will choose hybrids or EV's over traditional gasoline or diesel powered vehicles. But there's more to consumer behaviors than simple economic; convenience, and emotions pay a role, too.

I wonder if anyone over at Lux Research has actually driven a hybrid. I have and I can tell you that even at current fuel prices the cost savings to driving a hybrid are significant and the increase in range means fewer stops at the filling station. There's something very satisfying to getting 500 miles from a 10 gallon tank of gas! Of course the same thing is possible in light weight diesel engine vehicles.

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