Commentary by Samuel Strait – May 7, 2022
Recently two separate incidents have occurred, where mass transit buses
which were both relatively new and electric powered, caught fire, and
exploded. In an effort to be “green” 149 electric buses have been
pulled out of service in Paris, France due to these disturbing
incidents. Fortunately no one was killed in either accident. This does
however; illustrate one of the many problems yet to be resolved when it
comes to wholesale conversion from carbon powered vehicles to electricity.
Not only is production of electricity still heavily reliant fossil
fuels, but battery technology has a ways to go before it becomes
reliable, safe, and durable. Despite over decades of technological
improvements, batteries, the power to charge them, and the materials to
construct them remain issues that prevent wide spread transition to an
all EV society. In California, generally the trend setter for many
“green” technologies, will likely find this to be the case over the next
decade when all the “wishing” for a carbonless future comes to naught.
While the simple basis for EV’s as an alternate form of transportation
may seem heady to the enviro crowd, it cannot be a realistic alternative
to fossil based vehicles and other products for the foreseeable future.
The cost to buyers of such vehicles remain a formidable challenge for
most of the human population. Material to construct the number of
vehicles, in particular the batteries, in sufficient numbers produces
problems of their own. The ability to dispose of the heart of such
systems, the batteries, will become yet another problem in the growing list.
For now, one would hope that a certain level of patience were to be
inserted in the psychosis of those who wish to run before they have
learned how to walk. I suspect that Parisians may just be a little
leery of riding Paris’ buses for the time being, as the destruction of
two electric buses from their batteries put a rather sharp point on the
safety of such vehicles going forward. Fortunately, I do not have
children that will be riding on the local electric school buses that
have now entered the school district’s bus fleet. While this problem
may be explained away by “manufacturing” defects, EV’s have been known
to exhibit similar spectacular ends when involved in vehicle crashes.
I do not doubt that human genius given the opportunity will develop some
form of alternative to much of the carbon base of modern society, we are
just not there yet. Stoking the flames of Climate Change hysteria is
unlikely to make the issues of “human caused” warming, if it is in fact
a serious issue, “go away”. As if by waving a magic wand, by resorting
to a yet to be developed fully alternative technology is naive at best,
dangerous as the Parisians have found.