A small New Zealand company, EStarFuture Corp., has a very green car ready for prototyping and dispersed manufacture. There is clearly an urgent need for such a vehicle, but footdragging hypocrisy by car- and oil-barons is powerfully resistant, and traditional capital is set in planet-last concrete.
PEOPLE-POWER & PEOPLE-PENNIES FOR A PLANET-FRIENDLY CAR
(A call for a technological 'Orange Revolution'--but Green...)
EStarFuture Corporation (www.estarfuturecorp.com), a small New Zealand company passionate about the planet, is taking a novel approach in its bid to develop its advanced electric vehicle as soon as possible--it is appealing for 'pennies' to the people of the planet.
EStarFuture's managing director Nobilangelo Ceramalus (pronounced noble-arn-jillo kerra-mar-liss), a native-born NZer, the scientist and mechanical engineer heading the EStarCar Project, says the predicament the Earth is in from our addiction to vehicles that run on 'Black Stuff' makes the development of a truly green replacement a matter of urgency--'The monthly data from earth-watching satellites and from a myriad of scientific studies shows how dire things are getting.'
'It is imperative that we end the reign of the oil-barons and set about cleansing the world of their black stain,' he says. 'We cannot wait for the self-serving, oil-addicted carmakers whose promises of electric vehicles have a constantly receding horizon--except for a few outrageously-expensive, handmade prototypes to keep the California Air Resources Board off their backs. They are just "greenwashing" while they carry on manufacturing the same old highly profitable, planet-wrecking devices.'
He pours scorn on their pretence that decades of time and billions of dollars in R&D are needed before mass-production of FCVs (fuel-cell vehicles) can begin.
'People-power and people-pennies can cut through all that blarney and hypocrisy,' he says. 'Traditional methods of raising capital are too uncertain, and too slow, and they are driven, and therefore distorted, by short-term financial greed instead focusing on the true bottom line, which is life and the quality of life--both critically dependent on the planet we live on and the sky we live in.'
The EStarCar does not just begin with people-power. It continues the same way, because it is designed to be manufactured by small teams all over the planet rather than huge plants. Ceramalus says traditional vehicles--'powered by serial Molotov Cocktails'--have an inherent need for massive manufacturing infrastructures because of their complexity, but an electric vehicle is far simpler, so its manufacture can, and should, have a fundamentally different approach.
He points to the parallel in the computing industry. When personal computers replaced the mainframe (and he notes that they were not invented by mainframe-makers), manufacturing and support moved from a few massive monopolies to a horde of small companies and individuals, and from massive costs to small ones. He thinks the 'Big Iron' carmakers realise that their enormous power and wealth will be destroyed by the electric vehicle, and that that is the real reason why they are putting off mass-production. They naturally want to keep making vehicles that they, and only they, can make. They are like the corrupt governments who cling to their self-serving ways--till people-power topples them.
'The EStarCar Project is a people-power Green Revolution to end the poisonous reign of the Black Stuff,' he says.
The design of the EStarCar (outlined at www.estarfuturecorp.com/estarcar.html) has been kept simple to minimise the cost and complexity of development and manufacture, but the fact that it gathers nine off-the-shelf sources of power into one vehicle, with a tenth being considered, underscores its advanced nature. Ceramalus says there is no legacy thinking in it. 'It began with a bare patch of road.' He criticises the EV efforts of the Big Iron carmakers, 'who just adapt what they have always done, instead of recognising that an EV is fundamentally different to an ICV (internal-combustion vehicle) and therefore must be entirely rethought.'
'Vehicles are first and foremost for people and the planet,' he says, 'not for carmakers. The lives of the driver and passengers must be of paramount importance, but that does not just mean keeping them safe by careful ergonomic design and good engineering while they are on the road. It means protecting at all times their planet and their sky--unlike present cars, which might have airbags for the occasional crash, but pollute every singel breath we take.'
'The EStarCar is very definitely for the planet and the people of the planet, so it is logical and appropriate that people-pennies should fund its development,' says Ceramalus. 'The return will be a better world.'
The remaining development of the EStarCar is expected to take one to two years. Ceramalus says it may well possible to do it in one, but he dislikes predictions that may prove uncomfortable. Development is costed at $US500,000, using off-the-shelf or easily-machined parts and straightforward software. Ceramalus says the modest cost and two-year maximum timeframe prove the extent to which the Big Iron carmakers have hoodwinked us into believing that billions and decades are needed.
He points out that to put the EStarCar on the road, 'people-pennies' needs only $US100 from 5000 people, $50 from 10,000, $20 from 25,000, or $10 from 50,000. He quotes an old saying, 'Many a little makes a lot.' And adds, 'In this case, a lot for the planet.'