Thursday, February 26, 2009

Journey Across India in Electric Car

"... the world needs crazy ideas to change things, because the conventional way of thinking is not working anymore" says Fullbright Scholar Alexis Ringwald, in a New York Times Op-Ed by Thomas Friedman. What is this crazy idea? A Climate Solutions road tour, using modified electric cars from India’s Reva Electric Car Company, whose C.E.O. Ringwald knew. He was persuaded into donating three of his cars and to retrofit them with longer-life batteries that could travel 90 miles on a single six-hour charge — and to lay on a solar roof that would extend them farther. "Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 5, they drove the cars on a 2,100-mile trip from Chennai to New Delhi, stopping in 15 cities and dozens of villages, training Indian students to start their own climate action programs and filming 20 videos of India’s top home-grown energy innovations". Their idea was to bring awareness and spur innovation around energy solutions that are here and now - technology that already exists and can be deployed today. India Climate Solutions website documents the experience and its leadership action wing, The Indian Youth Climate Network aims to generate awareness and empower a generation of young people to take effective action against climate change, at a local, state, national and international level. India with its growing energy needs can emerge not only as the new big green market, but also lead innovation. I have blogged about the Reva car in the past and wondered why we don't see more of them in India - my nephew, who lives in Bangalore, is a 2-Reva Car family and loves them - it is easy to drive in India's narrow roads and distances are manageable. Hopefully this experiment will do something for Reva cars as well.

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