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Electric Car Network Not The Answer

By James Donahue

Am ambitious concept proposed by software executive Shai Agassi to create an infrastructure of battery-charging stations to service electric cars is fraught with deception if anybody thinks powering cars with electricity will be good for the environment.

While electricity burns clean and electric cars don't have carbon dioxide emissions spewing from their exhaust pipes like gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles, we must remember where the juice comes from . . . mostly coal-burning power generating plants.

And yes, the United States has a lot of coal. In fact, coal can be readily found all over the world, and it is the power source of choice for generating electricity in the United States and China, as well as many other nations. And those power plants are major emitters of carbon dioxide.

Imagine powering millions if not billions of cars, adding all of them to the demands already being made on the world's electric power grid. If the power companies don't go nuclear, which appears to be a political problem for places like Iran and Syria, then it will mean even more coal burning power plants, all spewing tons and tons of carbon emissions into an already over-polluted atmosphere.

Agassi wants to develop a system that sells electric fuel on a subscription basis and subsidize vehicle costs through leases and credits. He perceives of his business concept as similar to the cellular phone market,

According to a New York Times story, Agassi is plunging into this new business venture, already raising millions of dollars from private venture partners all over the world. He said tests of prototype vehicles will start early in 2008 and the company may start commercial sales and service within the next two years.

Agassi, who founded TopTier software in Israel in 1992 before moving the company to California, and now heads the German SAP, agrees that his approach is a radical departure from other electric car ventures.

According to the Times story, Agassi wants to extend the existing electric power grids with a wide network of "intelligent recharging stations in urban areas" and supplement it with automated battery-replacement stations.

Ah yes, an electric car network like that may ease the peak oil crunch for those who can afford the service. But it will do nothing to solve the critical issue of our dying planet and the loss of good, breathable air to support life, not to mention global warming that is bringing on radical climate change.

Leave it to a wealthy capitalist to keep the world's demand for private transportation humming at the cost of the very existence of the human race.