Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Do Humans Dream of Electric Cars...

As I lay half-asleep this morning, preparing to face the day, I thought about my car and how I needed to stop by a station and replace a couple of the batteries to make sure I had enough juice to do my commute. Some tiny portion of my brain said, "what?" to that, so my dreamy brain explained that my car has a series of batteries in it that I can pull out and replace with fresh ones at the charging stations that have popped up at gas stations. When I go to a charging station, I pull an old battery out of my car, put it in the charging station with my payment, and I get a fresh battery to put in the car.

"Um," said that tiny portion of my brain, "what about gasoline?" My dreamy brain laughed. I drive an electric car now. The population is moving over to them slowly but surely. Particularly out here, where wind and water power make it much cheaper to use electricity than gasoline, which has to be shipped thousands of miles. "Oh. I'm dreaming. What a disappointment." said the tiny portion of my brain. Then I attempted to remember as much as possible about the dream.

The cars looked almost identical to the ones we drive now. The batteries seemed to be on either side where the gas tank opening is now, except you have batteries on both sides of every car. Batteries were in a rack that could be pulled out or in a cage that you exposed by opening a panel. Each battery had its own indicator to tell you if it needed to be replaced or recharged. There were a LOT of batteries, the idea being that a normal person could easily physically replace a small battery on the road, or plug in the whole thing to charge while at home. The multiple batteries allowed the user to "fill the tank" when they needed to, instead of having to always have a completely recharged car.

The charging stations were located at current gas stations. They were, in the dream, mostly jammed into a corner of the parking lot or in some cases they replaced a pump. They had a place to put the depleted battery, a payment panel, and a way to pull out a fresh battery. The dream also informed me that the machines also checked each deposited battery for problems and would set aside any that needed to be recycled. The cost of the recharged battery was the cost of the electricity plus a fee for the upkeep of the charging station plus whatever the station owner felt he could put on top. It was still very much cheaper than gasoline.

As I woke up, I realized more and more problems with my dream scenario. The danger of the location of the batteries was just one big one. There was also the complexity of the charging stations and the infrastructure that had to have been built up just to accommodate the commuter car of my dream. But it felt real for a little while, and so I thought I'd pass it along.


Dwight Williams said...

"You may say that I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one..."

Denise said...

There will be a time, Little Sister, that your dream will become reality!! But first, we'll have to work at making the car's batteries smaller, but with more power within each one. It is really not so far fetched!!!