Can we do better
What if today's autos could be made 50 percent more fuel efficient without adding any costs? Might that not be the biggest thing to hit the auto industry in many decades? Bigger than NiMH? Bigger than lithium? Bigger than any battery?
A simple new engine offers just such a possibility.
EcoMotors is a 2-year old start-up that has developed a new kind of engine. With an entirely unique configuration of pistons and cylinders, EcoMotor's Opoc engine isn't just half the weight and size of conventional engines, it's also up to 50 percent more fuel efficient than similar engines with the same output notes the DetroitNews.
“Opoc is precisely the kind of game-changing innovation that we at Khosla Ventures are passionate about,” said Vinod Khosla, whom along with Bill Gates just pumped $23.5 million into the venture.
Can there be a game-changing innovation outside of the plug-in vehicle?
While the move to battery-powered vehicles is extremely important, over and over the evidence demonstrates that it could take up to several decades for pure battery-powered vehicles to have any meaningful impact on oil dependence and emissions. But, do we have several decades based on the last few decades of foreign oil dependency?
Besides, such an engine could also make hybrid cars and small-battery plug-in hybrid vehicles – the kind of plug-ins that most analysts and battery researchers claim offer the most compelling case for the greatest number of consumers – significantly more efficient, and almost certainly at a much cheaper cost than just plugging in today's fleet of autos.
Thus, isn't it important that not too many eggs are thrown into just one basket? And, if true, isn't competition – such as for tax credits – the only way to adequately utilize our eggs?
Some day soon we might find that a Ford Fusion hybrid using an Opoc engine and fueled by some form of algae biofuel isn't just the greenest solution available to end oil dependence, but also simply the cheapest. And that's just one combination of potential game-changing technologies.
Without doubt batteries will be critical to the future, but they might end up being just a piece of the solution, not the whole puzzle. Consequently, shouldn't the government's major focus be creating competition rather than trying to forecast winning technologies?