The NYTimes has a very instructive story on the rise of LED lights for the home. LED lights are what are used in many cameras, PC Screens and large screen TVs among other uses. But users see them most often as traffic lights at just about every big city street corner. They are used because they are cheaper and because they use less energy, last longer, and do not have associated Mercury wastes. The article goes onto describe how they will likely go onto to displace incandescent and even the relatively new “eco-lights”, flourescent bulbs in homes throughout the US(aided by a government demand for 30% better energy conservation by light bulbs by 2012).
But what does this have to do with the Chevrolet Volt? Everything. The current drive in the US for using fuels that are 1)renewable and 2)are not dependent on oil which has to be obtained from suspect nation’s plus 3)the drive in general for energy conservation and 4)the transferance away from high CO2 emitters – these requirements are still technologically fluid. The first generation of ethanol bio-fuels shows the problems with premature landing on some eco-innovation. The current ethanol based bio-fuels allow for 1) and 2) but not 3)(corn-based ethanol is a net energy loser which depends on government subsidies) and 4) at all. Ditto for the Chevrolet Volt – great idea for 2-4 years ago – but missing out on the latest technology twists. So Question – is GM which is being assiduously rescued by the Obama administration the best vehicle for doing energy efficient cars?? They do have many prototypes – but do they have the culture for innovation and willingness to adapt their company to the fast changes in the market demanded by the rapidly evolving “energy efficiency delivery” market?? I will take a 5th and let you be the judge.