06. 22. 2004
Will this electric engine by New Generation Motors survive on its way to Detroit?
The Washington Post Magazine,Aeos cover photo for The Little Engine That Might shows what appears to be a giant riding in an odd-looking three-wheeled minivan. Living in a country where even our compact cars are huge, my sense of man-to-vehicle proportion wouldn,Aeot allow my brain to accept the notion that the human being behind the wheel is of ordinary size and that it,Aeos the car that,Aeos unusually small. I,Aeove been looking at that cover for three days, and my eyes still won,Aeot adjust to the reality.
This optical illusion houses an electric engine so efficient that it could revolutionize the auto industry by drastically reducing our dependence on gasoline. It,Aeos been nine years in the making, but New Generation Motors is struggling to attract investors and to survive long enough to make an impact in Detroit. When I think about some of the cockamamie ideas that were eagerly funded by wide-eyed venture capitalists just a few years ago (remember boo.com and pets.com and wwwrrr.com?), it,Aeos hard to believe that this real live innovation has to look to India for opportunity. Why India? ,AeuThere is no ingrained culture, no tradition of unlimited personal mobility.,Aeu The Post,Aeos story is a sobering look at the political and industry forces that discourage the development of environment-friendly alternatives.
To see these motors in operation here in the states, we,Aeod have to attend one of the solar car races that university engineering departments participate in every year (this is how New Generation got its start). To ride in an actual passenger vehicle running on one of these engines, we,Aeod have to make our way to India for a ride on the three-wheeled autorickshaw shown in this photo.