Tuesday, November 3, 2009


For a class I was required to read an article titled "Warren Buffet takes charge" from fortune 500 magazine. I found this article really interesting. It is about a Chinese automobile manufacturing company who is now manufacturing electric cars. The company is called BYD and is run by Wang Chuan-Fu. The company began as a small battery manufacturing company; Chaun-Fu expanded the company and became a leading manufacturer of rechargeable cell phone batteries. When BYD purchased a small automotive company they began to engineer and produce electric cars and in late 2010 these new cars are expected to hit the markets. Electric cars are far from a perfect solution to the internal combustion gasoline cars we all use today, but they could be a step in the right direction. If these cars are manufactured and are able to be sold at a reasonable price, the electricity still has to be generated somehow to fuel these cars. Many forms of electricity generation are harmful to the environment just like CO2 emissions. However if some of the electricity could be generated from renewable sources such as wind or solar energy it could cut down on a lot of our CO2 emissions from automobiles.

If these electric cars are affordable they could save people money as well. The article states...

"Assume you drive 12,000 miles a year, gas costs $2 a gallon, and electricity is priced at 12¢ per kilowatt, about what most Americans pay. A gasoline-powered car that gets 20 miles to the gallon - say, a Chevy Impala or a BMW X3 - will have annual fuel costs of $1,200 and generate about 6.6 tons of carbon dioxide. Equip those cars with electric motors, and fuel costs drop to $400 a year and emissions are reduced to about 1.5 tons. "

400 dollars a year is a significant savings especially when you multiply that by the millions of people who could save this. This could also drastically reduce our dependency on foreign oil. The emissions would be reduced by almost 5 tons per year; multiply that by even one million people and the emissions would be reduced dramatically. If we all came to depend on electric cars like we depend on gas run cars today there would be an increase in the demand for electricity, we would just have to find ways to keep the emissions from the generation of electricity to a minimum and it might really help lower the CO2 levels.

One of the other things I found really interesting about this article is that BYD says that they reduced the cost of their batteries by replacing robots and machines with workers. In a time like this where unemployment rises everyday it is interesting to think maybe other companies could do the same and see similar results. More jobs would mean less unemployment and less poverty and would have huge impacts on the economy.

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