In late July The New Yorker published a provocative article: Was the Automotive Era a Terrible Mistake? ( Was the automotive era a terrible mistake? ). The text quotes several books that outline the future of the car in the US. One of them - Are we there Yet? of Dan Albert -, argues that at the end of the 19th century the electric and combustion vehicles had developed in parallel and the electric vehicle had an advantage (accelerated faster and was cleaner) and had the public's preference.
Albert says that the combustion engine was option B then and that when innovative investors such as Albert A. Pope , head of the Columbia bicycle company, decided in 1896 to enter the car business, they preferred to invest in electric cars. "People will never sit on an explosion," they reasoned in relation to the gasoline engine. Eleven years later, Pope was ruined.
The truth is that electricity was the energy that excited everyone at the end of the 19th century. The biggest environmental problem was the manure of the horses that pulled the two million carriages that were in the US in 1907. But fossil fuels were imposed - even to generate electricity - with such success and at such a low cost that they probably delayed the development of renewable energy and methods to store it for a century.
Albert's text speculates on the car without a driver and the human fallibility that has caused 3.6 million people to have died in car accidents in the US since 1899, but what most attracts attention is how the story forked between the electric motor and the combustion engine.
It is not simply a decision that today can be questioned as inefficient, such as the one that occurred when the market preferred HSV to Betamax, but a crossroads where a model of dependent oil company was chosen , in which it was bet for converting the car into a particular good, a symbol of independence, which spends 95% of its parked life, as Uber or Cabify have proven.
No one like the automobile industry has managed to create so many unnecessary needs. I think about it every time I see the parents picking up their children in the schools of the hyper-tarmac Spain in their SUVs, as if they were preparing to survive a wild flood or a walk through the Marrows. If there are even mud spray cans so fans can get their vehicles dirty to show them to coworkers.
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