Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is green safe?

I am not a greenie weenie but I do own an electric four wheel drive ATV. At our farm I have always walked to where I deer hunt and then went back and got the ATV if I took a deer. Now as I have aged I ride to about a quarter of a mile of where I hunt and walk the rest of the way. I have found that I seem to see more deer if I use the electric rather than my gas ATV. However, two problems got my attention. First, I got shocked (no pun intended) when I had to replace the 8 batteries ($700). Second, I learned not to trust the battery charge indicator when the ATV died while on the way back from a hunt. These issues are probably obvious but now comes the news that the national highway traffic safety administration is investigating the Chevy Volt because of the tendency of lithium batteries to explode in a crash. It makes one wonder if green is safe. GM rushed out immediately and stated that the cars were safe but would offer loans to the dozen or so people who have bought the car if they had concerns. Presumably they are not offering another electric vehicle. The news also is augmented by Duke Power telling its customers not to use the home charging stations because of a fire hazard. With those concerns and questions raised on the impact on the power grid from off peak use if there were thousands (rather than dozens) of vehicles charging and questions on the demand on coal power plants, one wonders if these vehicles were not politically correct if they would be banned. The same is true for ethanol which has been demonstrated to be worse for the environment than gasoline and for the incandescent light bulb with its hazmat warnings. If these were conventional products the environmental activists would be up in arms demanding recalls and bans. However, since these products are "green" apparently it doesn't matter that they are harmful to the environment or even dangerous.

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