And Tom Levenson is writing about what he thinks he ought to be writing about:
Updates on the 100 mpg car front: Way, way back when there was a Republican fight for the nomination, Mike Huckabee made a little splash by calling for a one billion dollar prize to encourage the production of a generally available care capable of 100 mpg. I ridiculed Mike... because (a) the billion bucks was such a wildly disproportionate reward given the X-prize being offered for the same basic goal seemed to think that ten million would do the trick, and... at least one production vehicle on the verge of release, the Tesla roadster, could already lay claim to the milestone.... But what I want to highlight here is the power of 4 buck a gallon gas to concentrate the mass market manufacturer’s mind.
Most immediately, it looks like the GM Volt is real as of 2010 — though at a higher price than originally proposed, 40K instead of around 30K. It will have an MPG equivalent of 150 mpg running on its electric motor, which will drop if the range-extending gasoline engine gets called into use. GM also has a Saturn Vue plug-in SUV project in the works. Toyota is working on its plug in response, with a current, very short range claim of 99.9 mpg.
But what caught my eye today was... the British Motor Show’s latest offerings of cool to cute electric, energy efficient cars. The headliner? The four-seconds-to-60/10 minutes to recharge Lightning GT. 300 large, I’m afraid, so this is another pure fantasy. But taken all in all, and never forgetting the 350 mpg personal transportation available in the form of this electric scooter, it looks like the use of market mechanisms to control green house gas emissions is, pace the McCain campaign’s whispered walk-back on the issue, is working just as the econ 1 textbooks tell you it should.