As and alternative fuel cars from major auto makers enter the market, and with gasoline prices continuing to soar, clean cars are no longer being relegated to side show status they re taking center stage.Forward Drive presents the fascinating story of the race to build greener carsones that can help address the problems that have accompanied the rise and spread of traditional gas powered vehicles The book traces the history of automobile development, including early attempts to create practical electric vehicles, and explores new technologies for clean cars, especially gas electric hybrid drives and hydrogen fuel cells In his research, Jim Motavalli conducted extensive interviews with early adopters of alternative vehicles, energy researchers, and key auto industry figures, giving us a clear picture of how U.S and foreign auto makers are getting serious about building greener cars With his passion for automobiles and knowledge of their history and workings, he presents an insightful, informative, and highly readable book....
|Title||:||Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future|
|Publisher||:||Sierra Club Books 1st Pbk Ed edition June 26, 2001|
|Number of Pages||:||304 pages|
|File Size||:||772 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future Reviews
The author claims to have written this book mostly in 1998. My edition has an afterward from a few years later. In any case, 1998 was a year in which things looked much different for alternate-energy cars. On the positive side, this book has a lot of interesting information about the history of cars in general and non-gasoline cars specifically. It is good for a background read. About the second half of the book deals with ideas for electric, hydrogen, hybrid and other types of non-gasoline-powered cars. That's where the book gets a little dicey. The first issue I have is the dizzying array of people and ideas presented. Sometimes it's hard for a layperson to get a solid grasp on what's more likely to be successful. The second problem is obviously the date of the book. GM's legendary "killing" of their electric car and 8 years of President Bush's oil-centric energy policies ended up making the book look overly optimistic. For example, the author on many occasions cites estimates of how many electric or fuel cell cars will likely be on the road by 2002 or 2004. These numbers, of course, didn't happen. So in some ways, you could transfer the optimism of the book to 2008 and say that the ideas the author suggests could be realized by 2004 might actually happen by 2014. In any case, this appears to be a highly respected book, and I give it 4 stars because it really does do a nice job of presenting background material that's worth knowing. I even learned a few new things even though I've read a number of books on this topic already.
For context, this book was written when the GM EV1, Honda EVPLus and Toyota RAV4 EV were on the road, and the Prius was just about to be introduced in the US. Hydrogen fuel cells were just around the corner in 2003. Looking back from 2017 we know that the EV's were crushed, hydrogen fuel cells are no closer to reality, and the Prius sold millions. Based on what has happened since Motavalli wrote the book the emphasis and number of pages he devoted to hydrogen and his gullibility in interviewing GM officials seems pretty lame. A couple of folks he interviewed hit the nail on the head, like Ralph Nader's extremely pessimistic view of the big automakers.
"Forward drive" is a pleasure to read, written by Jim Motavalli, who is well-versed in his subjects. Reading this book is one of the few things today that makes me feel like I'm actually in the 21st century, not stuck in the 90's and never progressing. The book has a wealth of information not found in any other book, and there are only a few books about the future of automobiles. I had no idea that big automakers were not really in a hurry to give us a truly revolutionary car with a new power source; it seems the profit margin was less for holding off in research and development because of some link with oil companies. I mean, come on, it's the year 2001! Where are all the cars like we saw in Bladerunner? Are we still stuck using twenty-miles to the gallon gasoline internal-combustion engines? What is the message from automakers when cars depicted in video games, for example, seem more real than the actual future? Why isn't there yet a car that is beyond what we have?
Environmentalists every stripe probably sit and wonder why they cannot seem to get any traction with their anti-gas guzzler campaign, and this lunatic raving is the perfect example of why that is. Motavalli has a wealth of facts and data at his disposal, but his potentially rational arguments are crowded out by his shrill denunciations of auto executives, auto workers and consumers, all of whom he scorns for not being as enlightened as he likes to think he is. Motavalli's fault is not in his material, but in his presentation. He could very well have made a profound impact with this book, much in the way Eric Schlosser did in the expose Fast Food Nation. Yet because Motavalli can't help but being hysterical for hysteria's sake, the reader comes away with the feeling that he has just attended a meeting of the Anti-Automobile Front, or some such extremist group where ecoterrorism is considered moderate. Too bad. This book, by accident to be sure, adds another victory to Detroit: it shows how irrational and extreme its critics are, and thus makes the dinosaurs in Detroit look reasonable by comparison. No wonder no one takes Motavalli seriously enough to propel him onto the bestseller list.