Ride for Renewal

Liza Stoner is one cool kid. This 14-year-old environmentalist was so frustrated after watching the documentary Who killed the Electric Car, she decided to do something about it. This summer she’s going to ride her bike 1,585 miles from her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Washington D.C. to raise awareness about electric vehicles and deliver a petition to Congress requesting legislation that would provide incentives for companies that manufacture EVs for the U.S. market.

From her website:

After watching the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” I became frustrated because the technology to produce fully electric vehicles (EVs) exists and yet we don’t have them. EVs are superior to gas-powered cars because:

  • Electricity is cheaper than gas and can come from renewable sources such as solar and wind power.
  • Electric cars are more reliable and require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles.
  • By using domestically generated electricity rather than foreign oil, we may achieve energy independence and may positively affect our nation’s security.
  • Electric cars can use the existing electric grid and do not require that new infrastructure be built.
  • We believe that EVs are vital for the future of our nation and indeed our world.  The United States would realize health, environmental, financial and even security benefits by switching from gas-powered vehicles to fully electric vehicles.

More Information:

16 Responses to “Ride for Renewal”

  • John says:

    Man, I do not want to be a butt and be seen as attacking a cute 14-year old phenom who is an activist for something she believes in . . .

    BUT …

    Am I the only one who sees something a little odd in biking 1600 miles to demand more kinds of cars? To demand more SUBSIDIES in fact? For cars!

    You know, cars, those things that nobody’s ever heard of, those odd little contraptions that only fringe people use, the ones that barely register on the national consciousness, that have to fight for a sliver of space on the public roads? The things that planners ignore, that developers routinely forget to consider in their plans — you know, cars …

    Liza’s cool, but she’d be way, way cooler if she was going to ride to Rep. Earl Bluemenauer’s (founder of the Congressional bike caucus) office with a petition to require that the interstates provide a protected lane in each direction for bicyclists like her, that no federal funds be used for any projects that don’t provide equal access for bikes, that no schools get federal funds unless they institute a program to support biking and reduce bussing of students, etc.

    Now THAT would be cool.

  • Remy Huen says:

    I will just have to join John and be a butt-monkey.
    wouldn’t it be nice to have interstate bike lanes.
    but Liza not stop what you are doing.

  • Rick says:

    “Liza’s cool, but she’d be way, way cooler if she was going to ride to Rep. Earl Bluemenauer’s (founder of the Congressional bike caucus) office with a petition to require that the interstates provide a protected lane in each direction for bicyclists like her, that no federal funds be used for any projects that don’t provide equal access for bikes, that no schools get federal funds unless they institute a program to support biking and reduce bussing of students, etc.”

    If you are passionate about this, perhaps you should do the ride described above! Why should she feel compelled to ride for your cause?

    Electric vehicles and bikes are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be great together. In the same way, the idea you propose is not excluded by electric vehicles being supported. So, I am not sure what is so concerning to you here.

    She obviously feels compelled about the issue of electric vehicles enough to make this journey-much like a slightly older woman named Granny D did in 1999. ( http://www.grannyd.com/ ) I have to say I agree with her that electric vehicles have clearly not been developed to their full potential, which is to replace conventional engines by harnessing home-based renewable energy production for fuel. Can you imagine being able to pay nothing for home heating/cooling and for transportation to work? It could be a reality if we were to see renewable energy and battery technology fully blossom…Unfortunatly, I disagree with the approach of subsidies.

    If the government were to subsidize renewables the way they do other industries, the technology would be further advanced. But, this only shows how unfair the markets are. In our conventional way of thinking, supply and demand determine price. Thus, the markets control the reality of the way buisness is run by showing us what is working and what isn’t. When the government subsidizes certain companies or industries, it distorts the market, and thus takes away the supply and demand aspect (reality).

    Clearly, with the gas prices the way they are, there is an ample demand for renewable energy and electric vehicles. Unfortunately, this is the reality we are stuck with unless we allow the market to correct itself…

  • Alan says:

    @Rick

    One other thing to consider is the oil industry’s considerable ability to influence (undermine) the EV market. If you haven’t seen it, Liza’s movie covers this in some detail:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car%3F

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Tom says:

    ICE powered cars = heroin
    Electric cars = methadone

    The solution isn’t electric cars, it’s finding ways that people can live without the ball and chain of vehicle ownership (or minimize it).

    BTW – I love the fact that Liza is so passionate about her cause, what’s not to love about the focus of youth? I just don’t think electric cars are going to save us (think law of unintended consequences: how will we get rid of millions of batteries, what pollution issues do they bring to the table, can the power grid handle millions of cars, etc…)

  • torrilin says:

    So, your bike isn’t a vehicle? *eg*

    Not everyone is capable of using a bike. Bikes do not work for serious cargo hauling, such as for a publishing business or a construction business. They do not work well for many disabled people. And for someone who lives in the country (like say… a CSA farmer) they’re just not useful for “going to town”. Even if the trip to town is a “short” one with no cargo, a farmer can’t always expect to have the free time to ride a double imperial century. And living 100 miles away from a major town is quite common for farmers…

    I want to see more people on bikes, but I am very aware that a bike isn’t always the answer. My physical disabilities are minor, and biking helps. Not everyone is as lucky as I am. Opposing cars without concrete ideas about how those who need them can manage is very harmful, since it alienates people who should be our allies.

  • Rick says:

    “One other thing to consider is the oil industry’s considerable ability to influence (undermine) the EV market. ”

    Alan, I agree. The oil industry undercuts true innovation by using political measures to squash renewables, whilst major automobile makers have effectivly controlled the market on electric vehicles, thus setting the pace of development–slow!

    “The solution isn’t electric cars, it’s finding ways that people can live without the ball and chain of vehicle ownership (or minimize it).”

    I disagree. We should really consider developing electric cars to be used in combination with renewable energy to move forward past dirty automobiles. How is an electric vehicle going to negate your ability to be a utilitarian on your bike? The shell of the car, the seats and tires, the windows–these are not the parts of the car that you have a problem with, I am sure. It is the motor, and especially the exhaust! The electric vehicle provides the utility of a car without many of the negatives, and in no way harms the commuting cyclist!

  • Alan says:

    @torrilin

    I agree; people will continue to need automobiles for the forseeable future. My Mother-in-Law, for example, recently had bilateral knee replacement – it’s completely unrealistic to think someone in her position would give up her car. But, if there was available a reasonably priced, eco-friendly alternative to her current vehicle, I’m sure she’d consider it.

    That said, there’s no rational justification for the number of large SUVs with one occupant I see on the road every single day. Fortunately, it seems Detroit has seen the future; just yesterday GM announced closure of four truck/SUV plants and they’re considering selling off or closing down the Hummer division.

    We need to work together to come up with solutions that address our pressing environmental issues while acknowledging the needs of individuals in special circumstances. In my opinion, EVs are likely to be an important piece of the puzzle.

  • MikeOnBike says:

    Alan said: “a reasonably priced, eco-friendly alternative to her current vehicle”

    I’d like to see more “tweener” vehicles. For example, a small “town” car that can travel at arterial speeds, with enough range for a day of local driving. But it has to cost less than a used Corolla. That’s the hard part.

    Another option that’s becoming more practical is electric assist bikes. These used to be really heavy, but we’re starting to see small/light motors and batteries. They’re still unusual and pricey, though.

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    “I’d like to see more “tweener” vehicles. For example, a small “town” car that can travel at arterial speeds, with enough range for a day of local driving. But it has to cost less than a used Corolla.”

    Me too! Another obstacle is the fear factor. With so many large vehicles careening down the road, you can’t blame the average person for being fearful of driving ultra-compact cars, even if their crash rating is not too bad (such as with the Smart). Studies have shown fear of sharing the road with cars is also one of the major obstacles to increased bicycle ridership. Unfortunately, around here, arterial speeds often rival highway speeds…

  • MikeOnBike says:

    Alan said: “With so many large vehicles careening down the road, you can’t blame the average person for being fearful of driving ultra-compact cars, even if their crash rating is not too bad”

    Of course, that perception is why large trucks have been so popular when gas was cheap, though it doesn’t explain why people don’t drive 18 wheel SUVs. If big is safer, then bigger is saferer.

    But as you mentioned above, sales of big vehicles are tanking. Efficient vehicles are in vogue again. I guess that fear got too expensive?

    Then again, a lot of those fear and safety perceptions are skewed. The rollover risk of large trucks negates whatever crash advantage they might have. And there’s a lot more to traffic safety than crash survival.

    Bringing it back to bikes, the safety record of pedalcycling is much better than the safety record of motorcycling. Is the difference because motorcycles are much faster?

  • andy parmentier says:

    has anybody seen a “grinnall” car on the road? there’s a similar looking car in a nearby lot. it looks like the coolest thing i could ever hope to drive, if i was so inclined. it’s got 2 wheels in front, 1 in back. i AM into odd numbers, and i like the “odds” when i’m outnumbered. the iron giant was outnumbered (see the film by brad bird) and i’m sure he was struck numb by his decision to collision.
    apparently i have a bird that follows me everywhere i go named serendipity. “was i trying to get my body rearranged?” “soon, i’ll be reunited with my recumbent, and reassemble my unicycle”.
    if you have serendipiceptors you will get my drift. being in the MIDDLE of the sea is DEFINITELY
    “OFF ROAD”

    -ANDY

  • Robb says:

    I also have to point out the flaw in the electric car argument–where are we going to get the energy for these new vehicles? The current infrastructure is simply not adequate–rolling blackouts anyone?

    Any significant move to EV will require many new power-plants to be built–which wont do a damn thing about GW. Long term the only real solution is multi-micro-point generation with renewables (including pedal power) and sensibly managed nuclear plants.

  • Alan says:

    “Of course, that perception is why large trucks have been so popular when gas was cheap, though it doesn’t explain why people don’t drive 18 wheel SUVs. If big is safer, then bigger is saferer.”

    So rue. Probably the safest vehicle on the road is the passenger bus. And of course, the train has it’s own personal “road”; can’t beat that.

  • Croupier says:

    A strong electric vehicle industry will create millions of “Green Collar” jobs. Solar, wind and hydro power generating equipment engineers are the big money careers of tomorrow. These are jobs that can’t easily be outsourced because the energy must be generated fairly close to where it is going to be used.
    Electric vehicles combined with implementation and research into alternative means of generating electricity is the next logical step to solving the oil crisis and helping our environment heal itself.

  • OF BIKES AND ELECTRIC CARS IN FRANCE AND THE U.S. | 1800blogger says:

    […] John commenting on a post about Liza at ecovelo: “Man, I do not want to be a butt and be seen as attacking a cute 14-year old phenom who is an […]

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™