Pessimism is a magical personality quality. Like Harry Potter, it belongs to everyone and it’s often dusted off when a new Twilight movie comes out. It draws down moods and gives grit to an otherwise clear picture. Yet at the same time, we need it to temper any complacency or illusion we have about things. In this case, we’re poking at the future of green automobiles. Steven Ashley, scientific writer, recently wrote a BBC column on how unlikely it is for gas-powered car to become outdated, making some very excellent points about the technological, political, and economic reality of the auto industry.
If you don’t want to read the whole thing, I get it. Here’s the snapshot about the future of automobiles: We’re not sure. We’re not sure about how easily electric vehicles can replace gas ones, especially trucks and 18-wheelers. We’re not sure about the cost and time invested in green power grids. It’s the simple truth that at this point in time in the research, we can’t say if fossil fuels will disappear from cars in our lifetime. Steven Ashley only offers the hope we’re making progress, such as lithium air batteries that can be an important step forward in a fully electric car.
While I think Steven Ashley makes excellent points on the reality of electric vehicles as they stand now, I think he might be jumping the gun on how much hope to assign to its future. I can understand how he can be tentative in admitting optimism; the science is still being worked out. The last time we had pie-in-the-sky designs on the future, Marty McFly was still playing on his hoverboard. But I personally have more faith in the thousands of brilliant and dedicated minds working on this problem. Our ability to discover things has been booming at a practically exponential rate. From particle physics to seedless watermelons, we’ve made leaps and bounds. I don’t think we should start slumping our shoulders and sighing like Eeyore about the state of electric cars. Instead we should be supporting and believing in our scientists and engineers. Steven Ashley gives excellent grounding to our expectations so if what happens falls short, it’s not a big deal. I can respect that. However, he cites what’s known for hope like lithium air batteries but things like hope are generally found in faith and faith is not grounded in what is known. It is grounded in what we wish.
I have faith in the hardworking scientists of the world. I have faith that there will be a breakthrough in my lifetime. In the meantime, I’m going to sigh like Eeyore. Not because I’m a mopey hypocrite. I just like Eeyore. That donkey was my introduction to existentialism at eight years of age.
Chin up. You’ll find that tail.