Saturday, December 8, 2007

A viable 200 mpg car -- coming your way soon

By Rick Morris

On National Public Radio's Friday science show, the panel featured a young woman with an extraordinary story to tell. Her name is Anna Jaffe and she is a student at MIT who is part of a group called the Vehicle Design Summit. This consortium is a gathering of top students, professors and other experts in various engineering fields and they are endeavoring to feasibly build in the next few years a workable 200 mpg car that would revolutionize the automobile industry.

Anyone who knows me might find it somewhat odd that I would promote this project. I am not known as a huge environmentalist, as I am not a fan of what I consider to be some dubious science and scaremongering from the likes of Al Gore. I do acknowledge that there are credible threats to the Earth's environment (i.e. industrial pollution, which I think is a commonly accepted fact), but I may differ with many "green" people on what they may be and how they should be addressed. So my biggest impediment to endorsing environmentally-minded actions is the fact that they almost always act against the workings of the free markets and lead to "solutions" that further burden businesses and put people out of work.

But not this project.

Rather than whine about the environment, rather than petition the government for higher CAFE standards, these people are doing something about it -- indeed, if they succeed, the current debate in Congress about CAFE standards will be completely obsolete. These folks are not gnashing their teeth about the futility of persuading people and governments to adopt a set of environmental restrictions; they are eagerly grasping the shockingly bold goal of emulating the space race and completing a project that appears impossible from the outside perspective. In short, they are embracing the markets, demonstrating a profound confidence in their own skills and displaying the kind of entrepreneurial skills that have always made the world go round.

I was very impressed with the summation Anna was able to provide during the NPR roundtable and I also thought very highly of their website. We urge you to check it out as we certainly wish the Vehicle Design Summit all the best and we will be endeavoring to book Anna or another representative of their choosing to appear on The FDH Lounge program to explain the project to our audience.

No comments: