All the Places We Will Go, Quietly

Doug Collins - Saturday, October 01, 2016

A couple years ago we saw here in town the proliferation of the Toyota Prius. Not everyone had one, but enough people did for the car to be noticeable, then commonplace. 

Lately, we've seen a couple more Nissan Leafs (Leaves?) on the road than we did before. Once again, not a lot, but enough for them to be noticeable if not yet commonplace. As with the Prius the Leaf has a distinctive shape, making it easy to spot -- a conscious, savvy design decision for a vehicle for early adopters. 

Will be interesting to see how quickly the Chevy Bolt appears en masse next year. The proliferation of this electric vehicle, aided by the presence of a Chevrolet dealer in every town, village, hamlet, and burg in the U.S., would seem like a straightforward exercise in distribution.

Remarkable to think that a progressive soul with solar panels on their roof and a Bolt in their garage would in 2017 achieve zero emissions transport -- a short seventeen years after Nissan introduced the Prius in the U.S.

Remarkable, too, to think how quickly the decades-long automotive arms race for packing ever greater amounts of horsepower into ever smaller engines might be coming to an end. What comes hard for gas engines -- high torque at low speeds -- the electric vehicle achieves with ease as its birthright. 

Junior is whisked in a quiet hush to grade school with plenty of time to spare before first period. Traffic noise, the low-frequency Muzak of modern life, begins to fade. 

A generation from now school children will view our current means of oil- and gas-powered transportation with the same unbelieving skepticism as we view the horse and buggy as a practical means of clip clopping across town. 
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