Friday, June 26, 2009
Another critical feature is that the cars will only be available as leased vehicles. The idea is that companies will design the cars, own the cars, and invest in the required infrastructure. By turning to an open source model with relatively low overhead the fueling network can be installed city by city (or region by region). This seems like a much more promising approach for switching to hydrogen than a national mandate, but at least in the US requires the federal government to get out of the way.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
But even the advertising people don't like it:
"Still, while selling station names could bring the authority revenue it needs, advertising experts say companies may not be as well-served.
“To be effective, the viewer needs to understand the relevance of the ad,” said Allen Adamson of Landor, a branding firm. “To rename the 59th and Lex stop the McDonald’s stop — it ain’t going to work. I don’t think it will stick.”Indeed, other cities have tried this with little success. Boston, for example, tried auctioning off four historic stations a few years ago and received no bids. Though Citigroup paid $400 million to sponsor the new Mets stadium in Queens, the company refused to pay the authority to rename the stop nearby, which is now known as Mets/Willets Point."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Greenhouse gas emissions are certainly a global concern, but particulate matter, noise pollution and other direct effects of gasoline engines are strictly local concerns and should be regulated locally. I wonder if the Mayor required that taxis operated quietly would pass muster legally. Certainly the city ought to be able to regulate particulate matter that causes asthma and other respiratory problems.
If the city is serious about reducing the environmental effects of driving they absolutely should price curb parking at a level that eliminates cruising, which can be as much as 40 percent of traffic in some neighborhoods, and get rid of minimum parking requirements, which incentive driving to work.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Any new technology requires training, and most Chinese cars are sold to first-time buyers. Not only first time buyers, but first-time drivers. Unlike the U.S., the driving education system in China is virtually non-existent and teaches weird techniques like how to drive on two parallel beams. In the U.S. driver education creates a public good that comes from having well trained motorists. What Ford is doing with their educational efforts in China is anticipating that the public benefits of good drivers will translate into private gains through increased vehicle sales. In addition, by lessening the environmental and social damage from autos Ford can also avoid potential regulations in the future. Though I wonder if the Chinese penchant for queue jumping is manifest in their driving behaviors.