Earth2Tech has posted an interesting article which takes a look at some of the predictions made for green transportation at the beginning of the decade, and how close those predictions were to reality. While the decade started out with a lot of promise, corporate interests and politics slowed that down, only to see green vehicles come back strong as the economy weakened, it notes:
We entered the 2000’s with rules in California requiring automakers to offer EVs, but by 2003, state regulators changed the rules and many automakers dropped EV initiatives and focused on gas guzzlers. But here we are nearing the end of 2009, and automakers are now investing heavily in electric vehicles, natural gas cars are gaining traction in high places, and hydrogen cars are about as far off as ever.
The verdict? Despite some movement, Natural Gas Vehicle adoption and High-Speed Rail are still a long way off, while the Hydrogen Economy is nowhere to be seen. Electric Vehicle adoption also has many more obstacles to overcome than originally predicted. Just about the only thing that the pundits got right was that Hybrid Vehicle technology would be a bridge to EV adoption.
Predicting the future of green transportation (or of anything, for that matter), is dicey, at best, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. Here are a few attempts from around the web, for your New Year’s viewing pleasure:
- Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2010 (hybridcars.com): Pike Research releases a 14-page white paper on the EV market.
- Podcast: Cleantech Group Predicts the “End Is Near” in 2010 (energypriorities.com): Predicting that 2010 is a very good year for cleantech in general, its predictions include: “Electric cars take the back seat to smart mobility.”
- Earth2Tech Predictions: 5 Biggest Hurdles for 2010
- Warren Buffett: All cars will be electric in 20 years (autonews.gasgoo.com)
- Nine Hopeful Predictions For 2010 (treehugger.com)
I’ll bet you’re wondering if I’m going to be sticking my neck out and make any of my own predictions. I’m willing to offer up only one prediction for 2010, and that is this: by the end of the year, we will see the economy make yet another dip, as another large spike of mortgage defaults hits.
While this would be a really bad thing for transportation in general, it may have a silver lining: yet another reason to invest heavily in green transportation and infrastructure. With luck and some foresight, we may see difficult times turned into a major opportunity for real change.
Steve Puma is a sustainability and technology consultant. He currently writes for 3p as well as on his personal blog, ThePumaBlog, about the intersection of sustainability, technology, innovation, and the future. Steve holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Computer Science from Rutgers University. You can contact Steve through email or LinkedIn, or follow him on twitter.