Well it had to happen. Just as we reported with delight back in 2006 on the imminent arrival of the Tesla Roadster, an all-electric car we estimate can top out somewhere north of 180 mph, last week we learned of a Dodge Viper that’s been modified to run on E85, a fuel blend that is 85% ethanol.
|Karl Jacob’s E85 Viper
When I talked with owner Karl Jacob last week, he stated his Viper has already been clocked at 185 mph in the standing mile, and he’s gearing up to do another run with the goal of topping 195 mph. We’re looking forward to seeing Karl’s E85 Viper on display this September at the GoingGreen executive summit, an event for green technology investors and entrepreneurs that EcoWorld is co-hosting.
There are many ways to look at something like a Viper that runs on E85. It’s kind of like an incandescent light bulb – it may be an inefficient use of energy, but if the fuel comes from a clean and sustainable source, it’s nobody’s business how efficiently it’s used.
It’s interesting that the folks who are trying to take away our incandescents – claiming most electricity comes from coal, and therefore any inefficient use of electricity should be against the law – are not trying to discourage use of biofuel. After all, most biofuel comes from land where tropical rainforests once stood. But what’s encouraging about biofuel and electricity is not that today their predominant sources are destroyed rainforests and coal fired power plants, but where they will come from tomorrow. Both biofuel and electricity have the potential to be absolutely clean and sustainable – from cradle to cradle.
Electricity and biofuel are both attractive because the sources of these energies are various, and many of them have no negative environmental impacts whatsoever. Electricity can come from photovoltaics, or solar thermal arrays – some claim, not without good arguments, that nuclear power is safer than ever and will become a more significant source of electricity for the world. Biofuel feedstocks are being developed that can be grown within completely enclosed systems, where water (constantly reused), light and CO2 are the only inputs.
So bring on the high-performance clean vehicles, we say, and continue to explore free market solutions to environmental challenges, not rationing. It will be a poorer world if innovators like Karl Jacobs can’t burn rubber from time to time.