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In a previous entry I wrote about a design for a "rubber band car", But after watching the documentery "Who killed the electric car?" (a movie I highly recommend!), I think I have a much more practical idea:
It is currently possible to make an electric car that can run for at least 150 kilometers on a single charge and be recharged at home or anywhere using a standard electrical outlet in as little as a few hours. These EV1 created by GM in the mid 90's were one of a few of these cars made and the vast majority of those who leased them thought they were fantastic. They were affordable, required little servicing, eliminated trips to the gas station, and had more then enough range for average daily commuting needs. The batteries they used were good for that era, but battery technology has improved significantly since then.
GM (as well as Ford, Toyota, and Honda) did everything they could to sabotage their own product for various reasons, including obvious pressure from oil companies. Their official reason was that consumers would not accept the limited range and length of charge time, despite the fact that users of the cars had no problem with these limitations.
I believe that these limitations could be overcome with one added feature - a gas or diesel generator trailer that would plug directly into the car. This product could be purchased with the electric car or seperately if the user wanted it. For the majority of the time the trailer could be parked in the driveway or garage while the driver used only electicity for the majority of their commuting, but if they wanted to take a longer trip they would simply attach the trailer, start the generator, and drive as far as they wanted, stopping at gas stations to refill.
The trailer would'nt need to be very big, somewhere between a motorcycle trailer and a tent trailer. The trailer itself would also be useful in that it would be a portable gas generator like any other, handy for power outages, camping, etc.
Hydrogen is never going to be practical or affordable for cars or small trucks, and the car and oil companies know it. They are simply using the promise of hydrogen to stall for time. Battery technology will continue to improve, but in the mean time I think this would be a marketable alternative.