Monday, April 21, 2008

My take on Earth Day: Small can solve a lot

Electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles became regular faces in environmental events. But this year, this little guy was at our local Earth Day: ZENN.

Achieves the equivalent of 245mpg.

Moving 2 tons (or 5000 lbs) of metals requires a lot of energy. Typical pickup track weighs about that much. Do we really need to drag 2 tons of steel to transport one person from home to work or to the grocery store?

Can't a small guy like ZENN, the low-speed vehicle (max 25 mph), replace the job?

What about a Velocab?

Or Walk or bike whenever possible?


But how can we make "whenever possible" really happen??? I think the infrastructure for alternative transportation is missing, and it's critical.

ZENN won't fit in many Californian cities. ZENN cannot go on highway, and 25mph is even slower than speed limit in residential area.

Likewise, Velocab cannot be as effective as it is hoping to be.

Foot are the most helpless.

When it comes to shifting a society toward alternative transportation, the communities turn out to be unnecessarily large, sparse and sprawl.

If a town is 20% denser, speed limit in residential area can be reduced from 35mph or 25mph, and it can make room for ZENN. And now that the town is denser, you will get the same convenience with less mileage traveled.

Velocab and foot will also find more use.

Re-designing the community is the key to promote alternative transportation.

Livintg in a bit smaller/denser community is not a compromise; it's just the way to make land use more efficient.

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