Will this incredible solar innovation by Ford make Holden irrelevant?

solar panels on car

Those 3 x 100W Sunpower panels could power 75% of your trips.

Last week we discussed how remarkable innovation in the renewable energy sector will change the way  energy is sourced in buildings such as office blocks and factories. We looked at how recent developments in photovoltaics allow office windows to be both transparent enough to let in sufficient light, as well as sensitive enough to act as efficient mini solar panels.

This week sees us delve into the traditional Holden vs Ford wars, though with a renewable energy twist.

If you have grown up in Australia you may well be aware of the Holden vs Ford preference. Actually this is more a deeply-ingrained prejudice than a simple preference. It’s a blokey thing that runs back to the dawn of time (well the arrival of the internal combustion engine in Oz anyway). If your father was a Holden man, chances are that his Dad was one too. The same applied to Ford men and to a lesser extent women in my experience.

The tribal loyalties played out in backyards and pubs and came to the fore during racing events such as Bathurst when no quarter was asked, none given.

There were exceptions of course, my Dad being one of them who moved to Toyota. However this was an economic decision after the oil shocks of the mid-70s. But Australian Dads in general continued to retain their brand loyalty.

Now Holden has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. After announcing it is pulling out of its Australian manufacturing, leaving many hundreds of Aussie workers high and dry, the brand has suffered a major public relations setback.

A high-powered advertising campaign, designed to convince Australians that it still cares (read wants to you buy their products) has done little to shift this sense of disgust. I should point out here that my polling data is highly unscientific, limited as it is to my extended family and the er…people I hang around with and chat to. However you get the idea. Please feel free to challenge this theory mercilessly in the comments below.

Meanwhile bitter rival Ford has kicked a goal, at least in renewable energy innovation and motor vehicles.

News from Ford HQ this week has the car manufacturer boasting (yes boasting) of the C-MAX Solar Energi family sedan which it estimates can power up to 75 percent (count it) of all trips made by an average driver from a Sunpower solar panel system in conjunction with a concentrating fresnel lens designed to replace your carport roof. And to make it even more sci-fi the car will autonomously move slightly backwards and forwards to keep the lens focused on the panels when it is parked. All is explained about 1:20 into this video:

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Drive edition this week quotes the car manufacturer as saying annual greenhouse gas output would be reduced by approximately 1 billion metric tons should all light duty vehicles in the US adopt the system.

The Solar Energi, which is to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, has huge potential for the Australian car market. Not only because of our exploding interest in domestic solar systems as people come to realise the potential destruction of damaging climate change but also due to our almost limitless availability of sun.

According to Ford the solar technology can easily be adapted to suit any of the manufacturer’s current models, leaving its competitors in the dust when it comes to powering vehicles using renewable energy. Ford estimates the savings in traditional fossil fuel-based energy to be enormous, with fuel consumption cut in half (2.5L/100km). Multiply that across the gas-guzzling world and you have enormous savings!

Could renewable energy powered motor vehicle ads replace the current whingeing set of excuses for promotions in the future? More importantly will Holden men and women sit up, take notice and change brands? This is far more serious of course and would involve some form of elaborate ceremony akin to renouncing one’s previous religion. We’d need to get our good friend Pope Frankie at VaticanHQ to consult on something this important. However here at SQHQ we’re of the opinion that the car company that can be seen as trumping the field in renewable energy will win the hearts of people throughout the land.

Renewable energy innovation vs Holden and Ford rivalry, which runs deeper? We say the first by a country mile as we approach the new oil shocks, global warming catastrophe and pollution hazards of the 21st century.  However as always we’d like your thoughts, either here in our burgeoning comments field, or over at our highly tasteful Facebook Page.

Comments

  1. David Maddern says:

    The problem with Holden in Australia was that they didn’t embrace new technology that GM had developed, probably due to GM HQ in the USA having the problems they have had.
    What was left in the SUV binge in conventional car making was the V8. What I maintain is that if they started making smaller dual or tri-fueled energy efficient vehicle they could still be going.
    So I suggest, one should not hold ones breath about new technology finding its way onto local production by fossil car makers.

    • An excellent and concise comment David!

      • BS David it was GMH that pioneered the small car in the early 80’s the market didn’t like these products and the culture of GMH was damaged as they sort to regain market share, which they did

  2. So you will have a magnifying lens in your carport that rather than provide shade will actually intensify the light and heat. On top of that a car that will autonomously move back and forth on its own. I can see quite a few issues likely to be faced with those ideas as far as safety and regulatory compliance is concerned. e.g. The lens will effectively be “on” all the time. Rather than replace your whole carport, why not just add some solar panels to its roof and plug the car in when it’s home. Surely that would be more efficient and safer than a lens system.

    With the solar panels in the roof though, how much power would they produce on their own? You would have to park your car in the sun all the time as well when away from home.

    It’s an intriguing concept, but I wonder just how practical it will really be for the advantages it is supposedly offering, and what would the economics be compared to a “normal” electric car powered by a larger home based PV system.

    • Yep. Whilst I admire their efforts and more specifically the courage of ford to start this R&D, unfortunately this particular concept is a dud.

      I can foresee domestic fires, and dead youngsters and pooches in the imagination if this concept were progressed, which of course it won’t be. Concentrators are the way forward for cost effective high efficiency solar, however they must be carefully managed and certainly wholly decoupled from direct human infrastructure (with minor exceptions) due to safety and fire risk specifically.

      As scott has said though, build a community scale concentrator plant nearby and/or put some PV panels on the carport itself, and utilise typical EV technology or high efficiency series hybrid.

      • the_dude says:

        All you have both done is make negative assumptions and present negative hypotheticals. How about a bit of support eh? They put a freakin solar panel on a car! “Oh but compliance and sometimes shade and I am imagining dead dogs…”

        • Sadly, this kind of negativity isn’t uncommon, even in the solar industry(!!! 🙁 )

          Seeking quotes for a solar array on our main home, we were astonished by the comments of one salesman, whose junior colleague referred to as ‘our architect’ in passing on the call. This chap could see no environmental benefits of solar electricity, appearing to scoff at any global warming possibility… and insisting the benefits were, at best, economical. Needless to say, we’re considering the plans/quotes of two more friendly competitors… ! 🙂

      • Roy is right. possitive action is great but this concept has very serious safety issues. my other concern is people delay real action while waiting for a technological silver bullet. reducing your commuting distance or car pooling are things you can do today.

      • Not new, not a dud. Been using solar panels since 1975 (first one 25 watts). Used 500watts on ute canopy outback oz for 7 years. Perfect for hybrid use. Keep it simple, easy peasy.

  3. I presume most people wouldn’t be driving around in the shade all day..

    • +1

    • I suppose they would not however I suppose most would not drive around all day but most would park in a parking station without access to sunlight due to copious amounts of concrete above their car that is parked in a wilsons car park or perhaps even an entire apartment complex or hotel do ya think thats going to impede solar energy creation or do we have an answer for that. NO SUN no solar.

      • Service stations that at present sell fossil fuels could diversify their product range to include replacement battery packs to enable electrically powered cars to travel across country. The distribution infrastructure of service stations is already there. All it needs is the direct action and entrepreneurial initiative and government leadership to get things going. Mass production of economically viable electric cars would be viable if the service infrastructure is put in place. Why are we waiting?

        • Michael. says:

          Yep if the Australian government was smart they would install solar panels on everyones roof and charge about the same to pay it off in 5 years they then get a bonus of 15 years which they then would have enough money to research other forms of renewable energy. They then could do that with the rest of the world and take a 20% cut with them so they can keep the research going. We would therefore have plenty of energy that is renewable to sustain a totally battery hot swapable solution in service stations and it would be cheap. I really don’t know why they don’t do something like this.

        • Michael says:

          At $10,000 per battery I don’t think they will diversify. And the government wont back a system where they take a big cut in taxes.

  4. Nothing new about the window / pv panel idea. In the late 1970s I had a similar discussion with a State Electricity Commission engineer. We were discussing two concepts of on-site generation for the Rialto Building in Melbourne. I raised the concept of photo voltaic cells printed on film and laminated between two sheets of glass for all windows on the north faces of the tower. He discussed the designs for natural gas energy used in fuel cells for on site generation. When he came back to me, he said that going by the number of glass panes and their exposure to sunlight, with current knowledge of output, the windows would provide more energy than the building used during daylight hours. The fuel cell concept was also not current technology at the time because of their bulk. Today, it could be a different matter for both concepts.

    Ford and Holden have given up manufacturing an Australian large car for the same reason that Chrysler gave up on the Valiant, British Leyland gave up on the P76, and Mitsubishi gave up on the 380. That reason had just a little bit to do with the Falcon Vs Commodore battle for market supremacy, and a lot to do with our popular support for “something different”. Holden embraced new technology on time, being first with independent rear suspension, first to downsize big cars with the Commodore in 1979, first with a V6 engine and so on. The reason Falcon was the second last big Aussie car to give up, was because Commodore was way ahead in technology terms and stayed close to the top of the sales chart. People are aging, they want lighter vehicles: easy to drive, easy to park, cheap to own. We now like variety, rather than being brand loyal. BTW: Ford and GM are not as “bitter enemies” as some might think. They co-invest in a number of developments. The six speed auto that they both make in America is one result of co-investment. At present they are developing an eleven speed automatic transmission – it will be a world first.

    The electric car will take over sooner that some think. The Volt is closest to the final concept. New LI batteries with a beryllium anode are now in production in China and in Australia. These will hold up to ten times the energy of a LI battery with a carbon anode, and will take on charge up to ten times faster. The future is with us now. It will be as common as a Camry within a few short years.

    • Marc Talloen says:

      You wrote: “New LI batteries with a beryllium anode are now in production in China and in Australia”
      Would you mind to elaborate a little about this? What level of energy density and what cost?
      When you write “in production” do you mean R&D-,pilot-, or commercial production?
      Which institutions and companies are involved?

    • philgorman2014 says:

      Gee, I hope you’re right.

    • I agree with many of your statements except regarding Holden embracing new technology on time. For starters, a V6 is an inferior engine design over an I6. The only thing it has going for it is it’s more compact, so no advancement there. Holden downsized it’s Commodore in 1979 and paid for it in sales. This was not what Australians wanted at the time. They rectified this error by going back to full size with the VN. Keeping with 1979, the XD Falcon was the first with modern plastic bumpers and a plastic fuel tank. They did put IRS in Commodores long before Ford had it in it’s Falcons however it was extremely basic and not well designed. Ever notice the rear negative camber issues on late 90s Commodores? Not great for tire wear. Going back to engines, they’re still using push rods in their V8s! Ford broke the sales records in the 80s but they also became uncool after dropping the V8 and turning their backs on motorsport. They played second fiddle to Holden even since. At the end of the day, neither Ford or Holden kept up with advancements in technology. Not only that, the build quality and fit and finish hasn’t exactly been top notch either. American cars are also not known for their build quality but let’s have a quick comparison. A Chrysler 300C SRT8 has an interior which features real carbon fibre. The top model Commodores and Falcons which cost more than the Chrysler, feature fake carbon fibre in the form of stickers! And these are just the design and manufacturing issues, throw in the large numbers of shoddy Ford/Holden dealers and it’s no wonder people started turning to other brands.

    • I was enjoying your knowlegable and insightful post Collin, until the “holden first with a V6” (as if that’s a good thing?) part which made it quite obvious you know very little about cars.

  5. Thanks David Maddern, you’re quite correct, maybe we shouldn’t get too excited over developments from a committed fossil fuel user. Thanks too Scott, your argument is very logical and your idea of a solar-powered carport has got winner written all over it! However it’s nice to dream isn’t it folks? And to see a major car manufacturer at least moving in the right direction? Perhaps this is just the thin end of the wedge for a renewable energy future for car manufacturers in Oz? (I know, take a Bex and have a good lie down 🙂

  6. The only problem with this concept is that it still promotes fossil fuel cars, this time only using a little less.

    • Every step in minimisation may lead to optimisation. It’s progress towards more affordable EV solutions. At present, not everyone can afford an EV. The day will come when mass production, utilising many of these new initiatives, means only the very,very rich (and petrolheads) will drive gas-guzzlin’ dinosaurs. Meanwhile, let’s celebrate innovation!~

  7. Getting a very interesting theme through the comments so far folks. That pointing out (as Diego puts it) “the concept still promotes fossil fuel cars”. What’s your thinking on this? Should solar innovation such as that of the Solar Energi stille be considered kosher?

    • Toyota announcement of a Hydrogen fuel cell car is more appealing to me. You could have your own solar PV at home churning out hydrogen all day for you to refill when you get home each day, and still allow you to take advantage of refuelling stations as required. Recharging batteries is still very slow, and the physics involved in pushing that much energy through wire is always going to be a seriously limiting factor until some huge breakthrough in super-conductivity AND super-capacitors (or similar) is made.

      What I do like though is that we have people who are prepared to think outside the box. While I don’t think this particular idea is practical, it does show that new ideas can get serious attention within the vehicle manufacturers, enough to warrant them being developed to true concepts at least.

      • I don’t mind hydrogen – in fact BMW had a Hydrogen combustion production vehicle out years ago and companies like MALMO in sweden already add it to their (unmodified) natural gas network.
        But one nice thing about electricity and super-capacitors is the ability to safely refuel while you are moving. Dogem cars or electric trains are a basic example, or in china the “capabus”, plus of course you have numerous devices coming on the market that do wireless recharging (easily scaled and coupled with smart meters and mobile credit transactions).

  8. Recently, Mercedes announced that they will unveil the launch of their new SUV with solar panel installation at top so I guess all top car brands are in queue for the energy saving.

  9. All this fuss about electric cars, when the main reason is the global financial crash, caused by America failing to prosper, after exporting work overseas..(Banks and its investors)…and the resulting downturn in its own local economy….eg Detroit….
    This situation required new technology to sustain new industry, unfortunately they sent that overseas for production there as well. Now its our turn…. I’m voting for Toyota as soon as they start racing their cars….Now that will show its muscle, in the industry…..and will win the hearts and minds of locals once again….Time will tell….. in the meantime, those meanies, Ford and Holden, can spend all their dollars on advertising, but they wont get a red cent from us….

  10. phase.verocity says:

    Let them go ahead with it, it creates new ideas for us. Maybe they could make it so that the energy was concentrated from mini lenses from the top of the car that then fed that light through optic fibres to panels shelved on each other under the seating of the vehicle. These ideas give way to new ideas and if they weren’t at least trying to think of something then they would never get new ideas. As far as Ford and Holden go, I think they were both welcomed in Australia for a long time and they did us a lot of favors. Its just a shame they’ve had to move overseas to countries that don’t have the inflation we have. For that I blame the Banks.

    • David Maddern says:

      Inflation is what Australia hasn’t had fro a few years I think they were getting support from government and stayed in that paradyme rather than innovating. They were in the US for a while but Australia was a backwater to them.

      • phase.verocity says:

        Well minimum rent for a 1 bedroom apartment 9 years ago was about $100 a week, I know because I got one then for that amount. Today the same place is $210 a week while wages have gone up merely $3 and hour in my job. 9 years ago I could have brought a packet of 2 minute noodles for 20c, now it costs about 50c. While I’m not sure if it hasn’t gone up in the last couple of years I’m pretty sure it was on a hike when Holden left Australia. I don’t blame Australia for it. Like every other country in the world we at the mercy of the corrupt reserve bank of america. While I think the money system can work it will never work when you have share holders handing out money that doesn’t exist while collecting huge amounts of interest from it. When they finally decide to put a hold on that 7 trillion dollar deficit is when I guess we’ll realize just how much damage they’ve done. We are already working longer hours for less, it’s not going to be long before people simply can’t afford the rises. The poor are already on bread’s row.

  11. p.v commented: “Let them go ahead with it…” Thank you for permission, phase.verocity. In fact, you’re 100% correct. We also blame the Banks. They’re the reason we shut down production. Others claimed it was high labour costs, distance issues and a tiny domestic market, but extreme inflation was the chief cause and the Banks’ record high interest rates were to blame. Bad, BAD Banks! SMACK!!

  12. Who gives a Sabbatical about Ford or Holden choice. I will go for the first car manufacturer who can either market an affordable car or convert my Toyota into a majority sun-powered one,

  13. solarsandy says:

    Touche’ richseeto. I too have just finished reading all these facsinating comments and, as a single parent struggling to ‘make ends meet’, realise that it’s the vehicle costs that are most crippling: can someone come up with something real and, real soon?

  14. Tom Krutsky says:

    It’s still sad…Ford and Holden pulling the pin, as did Toyota! It was the Abbott government who challenged the car manufacturers to stay without any subsidies. And not surprisingly, all three decided it wasn’t worth it! Thank you the Liberal party!

    • stephen jones says:

      before she got pushed out gillard was working with the three in oz to produce an aussie car just like rthis, hence the subsidies etc, but the libs killed all that!

    • Chrysler left under Labor, as did Mitsubishi and Ford. Then Tony Abbot comes along and Holden who don’t make any decision quickly announce they too will leave as the Aussie labour market is way too inefficient and expensive. The Liberal party had NOTHING to do with Holden or Ford leaving Australia, it was unions who thought they had a job for life and the muscle to bully the companies into paying top dollar… That hasn’t worked in any part of the world. I note that you fail to mention how Tony Abbot refused to help SPC with subsidies and then they signed a huge multi million dollar contract without OUR TAX DOLLARS… Subsidies and handouts for lazy workers… if your not efficient, they its not my tax dollars that owe you a place to hang out Monday to Friday mate… Here’s a tip.. If you’re any good, you’ll never be out of work and always get as much as your worth.. Holden and Ford workers aren’t worth what they are paid, supply and demand, their jobs are gone.

      • damisword says:

        Exactly, subsidies just means we paid for every Holden, Ford, and Toyota.. even if we didn’t actually buy one.

        If you can’t compete in a booming industry, I don’t want to be forced to give you money. Talking to you, Australian manufacturers. Customers are sovereign.

  15. Ken carr says:

    Cheap car….expensive renovations, think of all that new concrete, or how much extra parking would be if you wanted a lens in your spot, another excuse for Wilson’s to increase charges for parking on the roof

  16. Eco Nomic says:

    Yes of course Tom, it is all Tony’s fault.
    Let’s ignore economics for a minute, well, let’s just ignore it completely.
    How much are you willing to pay for a Holden to be made in Australia? 5K per car? 50K per car? 100K per car?
    It really depends on what price tag you wish to put on it. Perhaps we could have a government stimulus whereby they give cars away? We could have it like a work for the Dole scheme.. if you are unemployed, instead of the dole you get a new car after working say, 200 weeks.
    Then let us review all other industries that have been surrendered to the great economics gods.
    I should imagine we will reload Ansett Airlines, perhaps TAA? We could have work for the dole for air fares also… hey that gives me an idea for Qantas.. work enough hours and get a free one way international air fare..

  17. There is already a technology for reduced emissions, it’s called reduced weight, It’s been around for a while. Cars often weigh over 1500kg carrying a driver weighing 75kg. All this technology stuff is spin. Most of the answers we need to save the planet are available with current technology. What we need is less procrastination and technological navel gazing and more action.

  18. “new oil shocks, global warming catastrophe and pollution hazards of the 21st century”
    My goodness scaremongering much. The article was fine bah the scare mongering at the end.

  19. Peter K. Campbell says:

    See the comments I made on the YouTube page. Bare minimum payback time for this addition would be 5 years, and there are a lot of other technologies out there that are way simpler and would have a much more dramatic increase in fuel efficiency.

  20. You forgot to mention that Ford (& Toyota) will also not be making cars in Australia. What about Holden’s VOLT? do your research first before making flimsy articles

    • xiaowei1 says:

      whilst I would not say the article is flimsy, the Holden Volt is an amazing car and would better represent the future in terms of forward moving technology. of course, a pure electric car would be even better with improvements in battery technology. As such, it makes more sense to put solar cells on the roof that generate energy so they will make electricity even when the car is not there, and to plug your car in when it is there. if you store the energy from the cells into a battery system during the day, then you can simply transfer it to the car at night. the Article states we can reduce fuel use to 2.5l per 100km, but we can do so much more with plug in cars. we will not be reliant on foreign oil, and the cars can run off solar energy produced from your roof top – it does not get any better than that.

      I drive a Volt, and I am running at 0.8L per 100km as it is now – having driven 21000km in the last 8 to 9 months. this means I have driven a premium car, saved in fuel, with greatly reduce pollution. The volt is expensive in Australia though, so much needs to be done to bring this price down. the proposed system of refracting to a single solar panel seems wasteful and can be better spent on solar that benefit from energy production the whole day long.

  21. Could the bonnet and boot lid of a car be used as a solar collector as well as the car roof? The more horizontal planes available for sun exposure should increase the total power available to run the car.

  22. Anyone who has played with Fresnel lenses knows that the heat produced will damage the car and degrade the solar cells in time, without the lens all you have is a 300w battery charger..silliest idea yet ford.

    • David Maddern says:

      The simple expedient of a two layered hood would make you the silly one, Davo, of course the space could have air flow or insulation.

  23. Solar panels are not in them selves very Eco friendly, to think otherwise is to accept you’ve been deluded by industry pr. One must engage the usage of heavy mining equipment and smelters and factories to make them.. Now.. Hydrogen on the other hand, is a. easy to make. b. self replenishing once burnt.Everyone has a refill system at home. No waste, no carbon emission no nothing.. just pure water in return for your burn.. Come on people. Wake up.. Electric cars powered by anything that consumes via a destructive method is not GREEN.. Cars running huge battery packs.. are NOT GREEN.. KLM/liter of fuel, curretnly we think 10 lt per 100klm is good. yet, these cars are pumping out kw figures to make an old red motor V8 blush. We could get better mileage if we dropped the power hunger.. 2-3 ;ltr /1–klm should be available now, but for power plays..

  24. I need solar windows for my living room!!

    • We have paid for reflective film on all sun-exposed windows of all our rentals, Anaeli. Years ago Dyesol claimed they were developing a spray which would transform windows into solar panels. It may yet happen…

  25. .. it’s not incredible! It was MY idea released on yahoo comments about 2 yrs ago – bashed by repliers thou. Now that everyone is happy about it, where’s my share??

  26. Caroline Donaldson says:

    There’s enough oil in the ground in the US to last 4,000 years (yes 4,000), and by the time that runs out we may very well have come up with some technology that is acceptable to the oil producers (don’t ask them to accept anything they cannot make ever increasing amounts of money from; and if you do some PROPER research instead of swallowing hook line and sinker the discredited nonsense from the ‘greens’ you wont be worried by this fear mongering about ‘climate change’.

    • Where did you find those two _extra_ zeroes, Caroline?

      http://www.imeche.org/knowledge/themes/energy/energy-supply/fossil-energy/when-will-oil-run-out

      When oil reaches $200/barrel, demand for EVs will outstrip supply. I imagine those forging horseshoes in the late 1800s felt as threatened as you appear to be by new technologies… . 😉

      • damisword says:

        Lessor, there much more fossil fuels than 40 years worth. In 1927 “experts” once said there’s only 13 years of oil left. That prediction has occurred constantly over the last century… And yet, we now have the largest known reserves in our history.

        You can thank free markets for that.. you can also thank free markets for the incredible pace of innovation we see today (including this Ford vehicle).

        • There’s quite a difference between 40 years and 4,000 years, damisword. Given our *very short history* of quantifying reserves, I’m not surprised estimates in 1927 were off the mark. What we all know is that ‘the easy stuff’ is mostly exhausted (no pun intended).
          We now extract oil from tar sands in Alberta… and from the great depths of our oceans.
          As I suggested, new petroleum will cost us more, given more difficult and environmentally sensitive extraction operations. (BP is, at this very moment, surveying Australian consumers to assess whether we’ve forgiven them for their Gulf of Mexico spills!)

          As stated, when oil reaches $200/barrel, demand for EVs will outstrip supply.
          Our own kids will drive electric vehicles. 😀

  27. dennis newland says:

    A long time ago in the US general Motors built electric cars. and shaded car park roof areas were covered with solar panels and charging points in certain bays. Comparatively older technology and when the cars got older they were scrapped. Enormous pressure was put on car manufacturers to not produce such cars and stick with fossil fuel.

    Now as an ecology crisis looms the manufacturers are listening to the buyers. One main reason for this is that the US has become almost self sufficient in oil resources (good and bad). And to maintain that position it needs to consider renewable and wind/solar and tidal power.
    So much in this world stifles innovation because so many people are unaware of the forces working to maintain profits. Consider the amount of power demand has reduced in the domestic market as a result of Solar. That has caused a massive increase in energy prices. Consider that as we turn to complete LED lighting the further reduced demand that will occur especially when street lighting and factory lighting are factored in. Consider the benefits if the energy suppliers moved into housing supply systems in the coming future of Battery and Solar/wind housing packages. The requirement for ever more power stations and domestic grid expansion would be phenomenally decreased. Yes we may need the commercial consumer grid for many years yet but with the decrease in Office Block lighting costs even that might be contained at current levels.

    Each innovation has certain drawbacks but most of those I have read simply drag up the old shade or cloudy day problem. However there are still viable alternatives that don’t rely on the sun all the time. In the UK and the US and others so much energy can be produced with tidal wave or flow power and even natural thermal.areas.
    We stick our head in the sand at our peril and I for one am all for change. Just think of the shear Bliss of not having some 300 plus kilowatt V8 screaming its head off and polluting the suburbs.

    As a side note all electric cars should have traction control I.e. no black black tyre waste on our roads and no more foul smelling burning rubber smoke.

    • Some people like V8s and burning rubber. Why do you think you’re so important that legislation should enforce what you think is acceptable and ban the pleasures of others? You must be very full of yourself indeed.

    • consider the ever increasing proliferation of new electrical devices in our lives and the eternal out of control population growth. you think switching to LED lighting and a few private solar panels can overcome that? really? you think billions of smart phones, pc’s and tablets arent placing load on electrical infrastructure? 5 million more aussies than 10 years ago dont use any electricity? multi nationals dont care about you, to think so is seriously irrational.

  28. +1

  29. Murray Kelman says:

    This solar technology use is a great step in the evolution of the electric vehicle, however electric vehicles will only truly come of age when solar energy production is contained on the vehicle and provides 100% of the vehicles requirements. This has already been proved possible in the solar car race of Australia with vehicles operating all day in sunlight hours with speeds averaging well over 100 km/h. Cars that truly have the ability to go anywhere without being tied to a base station or any other power source will dominate the future. The first company to achieve this ability in a light weight family sedan or small bus will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

  30. Extremely interesting to read all the comments – am I looking at the problem too broadly to raise the problem that the world also faces is an approaching water shortage of immense proportions – if so is not the hydrogen idea the way to go?

  31. The best ideas for future transport relate to fuel cells that use gasoline. Vested interests by the petro-chemical and combustion-engine mega-rich will resist that change at all cost and with the best chicanery money can buy.

    Hint: Fuel cell technology that has no moving parts is like a rusted up combustion engine.

    IE not very efficient — mhmm!

    It took 2 world wars to clean out the dead wood at the top of global society .. and now the same dead wood is firmly in control again. Instead of calling themselves Aristocracy and Empire sucking the life out of citizens, This time they call themselves Global Economists and they use computerised vacuum-up technologies to suck the last fraction of a cent out of our bank accounts while flooding the world with worthless printed money and pretending its kosher right up till the next GFC.

    Oh proper fuel cells will have their day .. but WWIII and about 4 billion mostly innocent dead people will only make that possible.

  32. Wellllll, someone got outa bed on the wrong side this morning!~ 😀

    [ How did a small cap goldminer get in here, I wonder? 😉 ]

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