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Rechargeable Battery Update

There hasn't been much good news to report, so I haven't posted. Rather than report on non-existent news I'll instead suggest a path to recovery. So here it is.

The oil is going away. We need to be able to pursue and practice business, provide goods and services, without using more oil and without discarding all our existing infrastructure. Mr. Kunstler wants us to throw it away and gleefully demands we do so without offering any actual solutions and completely ignoring retasking of existing structures despite claiming to be a huge fan of such places in Europe. This makes him, I think, an idiot.

If we want to live close to what we have now we require transit options. We like cars, but they use oil or alcohol or biodiesel to run, and we haven't shown real expertise or interest in retrofitting 200,000,000 cars from gasoline engines to other engines. Its expensive, and building a new fleet only to see that resource used up... well, that would suck. Electric gives us the most flexibility for variable fuels and IF a battery solution is found, we can make that work in the long term. Right now, there's only enough Lithium ON EARTH for around 2 million cars. There are 6.8 billion people, which means only the very rich will have lithium powered cars. This is unacceptable. So, we need a different battery option to have viable electric cars. The lithium ion battery is the current leader for rechargeable battery technology, as batteries require metals to work, and Lithium is the lightest metal. Recent advances using Iron Phosphate (FePO4) particles 100nm diameter has greatly improved efficiency but we are still physically limited by the amount of lithium available. Even if they double the efficiency of Lithium, that still only leaves us with 4 million cars instead of 2 million, and neither is enough to make a real difference to saving our economy and culture.

We have to work within our means. This is true for everything, but especially if we want our solution to last, have any hope of justice, and to be scalable to all people. Here is a listing of the common to rare earth elements. And a better chart. The second is sortable, but is displayed as percentage of the earth's crust. Note that Lithium isn't even listed by percentage. Most of the earth's remaining lithium is in the salt flats in Bolivia, high in the Andes. The Bolivians know it is valuable and know they'll get more money for it the longer they wait. So they aren't mining it. Not yet. They're going to screw us and hard. They learned from OPEC. It is in our best interest, and the world's interest, to find another battery system which does NOT use Lithium but is still light and durable enough to make an electric car viable.

If we can't figure out electric cars our options are the following:
1. electric trains and streetcars. We'll have these anyway because the overhead wiring, mostly aluminum, is renewable and efficient, and free trams make cars unnecessary for daily shopping and commuting within a city. They use this in Portland (Fareless Square) and it really makes the difference between an unworkable city with narrow streets and no parking and a quaint walkable city which is still viable for commerce. I consider trams to be the only way forward if we seriously want to tell the arabs with the oil where they can stick it.

2. Scooters and motorcycles. It seems obvious to me that conservation is necessary. We NEED to tell the arab zealots to go fsk themselves and we can't do that if we're buying their oil and funding their jihads. If we carpool and ration and minimize the energy required to move our human bodies to our jobs and back, we win. Cars are heavy. SUV's are heavy. They require lots of energy to move from Point A to Point B. Scooters and motorcycles are a couple to three hundred pounds. They are fuel efficient because they are light weight. They are also relatively cheap, which means no financing is necessary to own one. They take little space on the road and little space to park. This changes the rules on traffic jams, parking regulations, and other nonsense. Portland filled with scooters able to climb Forest Park Drive/Expressway or cross the bridge to Vancouver (WA) would change everything. Not fun in the frequent rain, however climate change has given Portland San Francisco's weather. If you liked SF in the 70's, move to Portland and get the same effect without the Fog. Scooters are not perfect, but they solve the independence demands for those who hate the train system. We have to build the trains and change the traffic laws, but between the two, it solves 90% of commuter needs, right there.

3. Why do we own cars? We tell ourselves we need all those seats because we have children we must carry around or friends to bring with us, but mostly our vehicles are empty. When fuel rationing is imposed by our govt and we have only a few gallons a week to make our commutes and keep our jobs we will either have to combine rations and get along with others in our temporary sanctum of the car's cabin or take the train or ride a motorcycle. Yes, a terrible tragedy giving up the personal concert hall. Whatever shall we do? Until a rechargeable battery for electric cars is invented and implemented, we have to make do with minimal fuel use. That's the situation if we really want to stop fighting and funding the arab terrorists. Can you give up your SUV if it means you get to keep your relatives from being murdered by suicide bombers crying for the greatness of Allah the merciless?

So yeah, our options, our choices, what must be done. Remember to vote for trains and to suggest trams and carless main streets, and remember that big parking lots are great places for swap meets or future building sites for commercial villages. Imagine walmart buildings full of skylights and booths selling local handcrafted goods. Not so terrible. Mr. Kunstler wants death and blood and fire, according to all his writings. Well, suicide is always an option, ya know. Don't let us stop you, Bill.