Jan 302011



… the BBC proudly showed us last week how its reporter Brian Milligan was able to drive an electric Mini from London to Edinburgh in a mere four days – with nine stops of up to 10 hours to recharge the batteries (with electricity from fossil fuels).

What the BBC omitted to tell us was that in the 1830s, a stagecoach was able to make the same journey in half the time, with two days and nights of continuous driving.

According to Google maps, London to Edinburgh is only 405 miles. My car could *almost* make it on one tank of gas, and at decent highway speeds would be able to accomplish the task (not counting breaks) in 5.4 hours. Google suggests the trip would take 7 hours 14 minutes, so I’m guessing that implies numerous roadblocks by zombies or something. But taking four *days* to travel a measely 400 miles? Ridiculous. Sure, electricity is virtually free compared to gasoline… but even at my current pathetic rate of income, an extra three days spent in transit would be a whole lot of time=money wasted.

If I must be forced to drive an electric car… gimme one of THESE:

 Posted by at 3:56 pm
  • Bruce

    Nothing like an atomic car.

  • Nick P.

    Pure electric cars do still kind of blow, but if like most of the population 99% of your daily driving is 30 or so miles to-and-from work with maybe about 10 miles of putting around town then a charge-range of 50 miles will generally do it most of the time. Admittedly you are still screwed if you want to go further than that.

    I think in the next decade or so plug-in-hybrid cars will really come into full swing, which will allow for battery only driving and cheap charging for most people most of the time, but will still give the range needed by switching to gas.

    If at some point in the future hybrid vehicles end up making up the majority of the motor fleet then talking about synthetically producing fuels from nuclear electricity and CO2 extracted from the atmosphere itself with a $8-a-gallon price point doesn’t sound totally outrageous.

  • Arcane

    I’ve always wondered why the Nucleon had such a ridiculously short wheelbase?

  • admin

    > you are still screwed if you want to go further than that.

    Or if you get stuck in traffic with the heater or the AC on. I forget… do big cities like NY or LA still have traffic jams?

    > $8-a-gallon price point

    There’s no good reason to assume that, ina rational world at least, gas need ever get that expensive. Changing World Tech’s thermal depolymerization plants were making crude oil for something like $80/barrel, and the bio-engineered oil I mentioned a few days back is somewhere in the same area. If oil derived from purely non-foissil sources can be made *today* at prices which are at least comparable to fossil fuel prices, then competition should drive the cost even lower. Sure, we might have to deport some hippes and a whole bunch of lawyers to Siberia before we can make a big industry of ’em, but that’s a project worth doing regardless of fuel issues.

  • admin

    > why the Nucleon had such a ridiculously short wheelbase?

    Guess: the reactor “pod” had the be the bulk of the mass of the vehicle. So if the front wheels were actually near the front and the car hit a big enough bump, the car might snap in half at about the front edge of the pod. Move the front wheels back, and the car gets a lot stronger, even if the passenger section is cantilevered way out there. I’ve always been at a loss to explain what’s in the “nose” of the car anyway… no engine or fuel needs to be up there. Maybe that’s just the trunk for luggage.

  • Nick P.

    >I forget… do big cities like NY or LA still have traffic jams?

    Living in NY or LA sounds like a personal problem to me, and the ice caps can’t melt fast enough to flood them out.

    >There’s no good reason to assume that

    And I really don’t see things getting that bad, it was meant as a ‘worst case scenario.’

    >in a rational world at least

    Key words those.

  • Nick P.

    Looking at it again and reading it objectively I suppose I should note my first comment was meant in semi-sarcastic jest.

  • George Allegrezza

    > I’ve always wondered why the Nucleon had such a ridiculously short wheelbase?

    Styling, mostly. Mead, Bordinat, and Exner were all very influenced by the Ghia Selene and its cab-way-forward design, and the theme showed up on a few show cars from Detroit, like the Nucleon and the Dodge Deora.

  • George Allegrezza

    How wrong could a guy be? The Nucleon was released in ’58, the Selene I in ’59 (although Virgil Exner had a hand in the Selene and sponsored the Nucleon, so I’m not 100% full of crap).

    My point was . . . they loved the driver ahead of the front-wheels thing in that period.

  • admin

    > How wrong could a guy be?


  • Jim R.

    The Nucleon… you have to love Ford Motor Company.

  • You know what would be cool? A horse-drawn Ford Nucleon.