Thursday, July 3, 2008

Electric car story draws admirers, critics

My story Tuesday about two local men who've developed a system to take everyday gasoline-powered cars and convert them to electric has lit up my email and phones.

Seems quite a few people want a closer look at the technical travels of Larry Williams and James Weirick.

CNN called within a few hours of our story airing. They wanted not only our video but also a contact number for the men to do follow-up interviews. Others have called or emailed to get the contact info for themselves.

That includes skeptics.

One viewer e-mailed that the electrical wonders of W & W wouldn't last long because the additional weight of 21 batteries far surpassed the weight of the gas tank and engine that were removed. He didn't see how the cars would last long without significant structural problems.

What amazed me most about my conversation with the two men were their claims that smaller, stronger, and cheaper batteries already exist but the government prevents average grease monkeys from being able to buy them. The implication is that Uncle Sam is holding on to the technology so that a bigger company can come in and make a mint .. keeping the little guys from challenging the big three.

Thoughts?

9 comments:

vanillacokehead said...

I still find it interesting that an engineering exec at Mercedes-Benz is trying to rid his company of gas or diesel models by 2015.

http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/28/mercedes-benz-aiming-to-ditch-petroleum-by-2015/

Anonymous said...

My first thought is that these conspiracy goofballs are allowed to make silly claims about "the government preventing mechanis from getting bettr batteries." You allowed that preposterous claim to go without grilling these buffoons.
You obviously are unaware of EEStor and other developments that very well may make his conversions practicaly fraudulent. And the government is not preventing anyone from buying any atteries they choose. The only govt regulations about batteries is that lead acid "open" batteries are considered hazardous materials and can only be shipped by truck.
The fact that you didn't ask these jokers which types of batteries they couldn't buy and why indicates that you really aren't competent as a reporter. I know every battery technology on the planet and there are no government restrictions on the sale of any of them, and if there were, those restrictions must be contained in regulations or laws passed by Congress. The Executive branch , you should certainly be aware, cannot invent regulations nor laws. No wonder the people in this country are so ignorant - with media like this it's completely understandable.

Anonymous said...

Some one so obviously knowledgeable would have a lot more crediibility if only they could identify themselves . . . instead of hiding behind "anonymous." At least the "buffoons" in the story were willing to put their names in front of their crazy accusations.

By the way, attacking Eric's professionalism on his own blog is not a very smart way to score points. Clearly you have a few anger issues to clear up.

Anonymous said...

I agree! You claim "I know every battery technology on the planet", seriously? Well, my suggestion is to go blog about batteries and get some manners, there are two ways to say things, you chose the wrong one slick.

Eric Mansfield said...

Hey anon ...

Getting a bit pesonal aren't we?

And how do you know what followup questions I asked these men? Their claims about the government were NOT included in the WKYC-TV story, or didn't you read/watch any of it before coming to these conclusions?

I only shared their claims in my blog as something I found interesting in their dialogue .. and I share as a way to generate discussion. Nowhere in the story nor the blog posting did I endorse their claim (again, it wasn't even mentioned).

and .. by the way .. since when are reporters experts on every topic they cover? your expectations are a bit off to say the least. Had I wanted to include their claims about government conspiracy, I would have needed a lot more background and probably a rebuttal quote from Washington. Again, you have NO idea what I said in return, what research I did, or what conclusion I drew. But if it wasn't included in the story, that should tell you something.

Those who visit my blog often know that I invite differing points of view here .. and even those who wish to criticize the story itself .. but when you start taking aim at the reporter, that's when I think you should get the battery in your brain checked.

Stay in touch .. and try to actually read a story once in a while before you pass judgement ... because when you don't, you're the one who looks like a "joker"

Eric

Dustin B. said...

Eric,
Great story! It's nice to see stories about individuals doing what the major auto companies will not do.

Village Green said...

I think the really important thing about your story, Eric, is the huge response to it. People want cars that don't use gas and don't pollute, and so far there's nothing available for the average working woman or man. I've been blogging about the Smart for Two car and thinking about buying it, but after extensive research, I'm seeing that it really won't make that much of a difference. What I really want is an all electric Smart Car or something similar that could travel from here to Cincy or farther without having to stop over night to recharge batteries. Personal transportation is an area where each of us can make a difference to reducing carbon emissions.

Dustin B. said...

An EV company from California. http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/

drivin98 said...

Looks like you were paid a visit by electric car crank, Kent Beuchert AKA thebike45 AKA Tom C Gray AKA Kerry Rider etc. There is a whole thread dedicated to his bad self over at http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/off-topic/672-ken-kent-kerry-beauchrt-beuchert-beuchrt-biker-rider-krider.html
Funny he should bring up the conspiracy angle since, because of the nature of kent/thebike/Tom/Kerrys frequent comments, many have suspected him of being in the hire of oil concerns. I think he's just very lonely.

He seems to have "electric car" in his google alerts and comments on just about every article out there. Often his facts are skewed and he's always somewhat "unpleasant". In this case, though, I would have to agree that there is no government involvement in any battery tech withholding conspiracy. At least, as far as I know. Unlike our buddy Kent, I don't know everything about every battery so it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that your interviewees know something I don't.