The Corpus Callosum

Cleaner Cars

One
of the embarrassing things about Michigan Politics is that many of the
national politicians, while generally fairly progressive, do not get on
board with mandates for cars that pollute less.  

The auto makers argue that it would take too long to develop the
technology to meet higher fuel economy standards, etc.

But now they have been proved wrong.  

href="http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/new-vehicle-design-surpasses-0011.html">New
Vehicle Design Surpasses State Global Warming Standards

Engineers
Design Affordable, Clean Car Using Existing Technology and Fuels

WASHINGTON
– Automotive engineers at the Union of Concerned Scientists
(UCS) today unveiled a minivan design that shows automakers can build
affordable vehicles with existing technology that would meet or exceed
global warming pollution standards for cars and trucks adopted by
California and 10 other states. Automakers are currently fighting these
standards in court.

The
minivan, dubbed the UCS Vanguard, features off-the-shelf engine,
transmission and fueling systems and other technologies that would save
consumers money, maintain vehicle safety and performance, and cut
global warming pollution by more than 40 percent. All of the
technologies in the Vanguard are in vehicles on the road today, but
automakers have yet to combine them all in one single package.

This,
of course, is open-source technology, in principle.  If we
could just disregard patents, we could design a much better car that
would cost less.  

I realize that this raises all sorts of issues.  The patent
system for heavy industry is probably a good thing, overall.
 Central planning and control has not been shown, empirically,
to result in good products in general.  (Think Soviet
automobiles).  So there could be all kinds of political,
philosophical, and legal objections to this kind of a thing.

So I am sure that traditionalists will not be pleased by the idea of
having a car designed by a committee of outsiders.  But no one
is proposing this as a new way of doing business.  Rather, it
is simply a proof-of-concept.  Or more accurately, a disproof-of-concept:
it disproves the notion that it is impossible to design a car that
meets tougher standards.  

face="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif">i-ac33e392de2a29128fb66852a8bfcad0-vanguard.gif


UCS has an href="http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/avp/vanguardaction.html">action
page, where residents of Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, New
Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas can send a message to their governors and
congresscritters to tighten up the standards in their states.  

(Sorry about he big animated .gif; I know it take a while to load.
 At least I put it below the fold.)

HT: How To Save the World.