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Originally published on July 11, 2022. This story is brought to you today as part of our Best of ECT news series.

A TED talk by Graham Conway, principal engineer at the Southwest Research Institute, claims that electric vehicles are less green than ICE cars and this is well argued. While I don’t agree with all of Conway’s metrics, the point he makes is valid, which is that the things we need to do to make electric vehicles truly green haven’t been done yet.

We are nowhere near the maximum potential for an electric car. Conway argues that for the next two or three decades, the hybrid approach may be better – at least until we can fix the parts of the ecosystem that are making electric vehicles less green.

In the meantime, we must continue to explore alternatives such as green hydrogen; A process where hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. With that, if we continue our massive push to convert to electric vehicles, we could be in a better place faster.

Here’s Conway’s presentation for reference:

This week let’s talk about what’s really involved in switching to electric cars. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a laptop from Vaio that shows just how much you can get for less than $700—at least for now.

I’m not anti-electric

I’ll start by pointing out that I drive an EV and have leased one of the first Jaguar I-Pace electric cars to come to the US since 2019.

Last year I bought that car from a leasing company because I didn’t like anything better, and the lease buyout was much less than what I sold the car for. Seems like a good deal.

I’ve been covering electric cars since the late 1990s, when I was the top US battery analyst among many other titles. So, I love electric cars, but I also know their drawbacks and there are still many.

disadvantages of electric car

As Conway pointed out, electric cars can be driven indefinitely in a closed room without killing us and are certainly greener to operate. However, they have three major weaknesses.

The first is that due to the almost complete collapse of battery development in the early 1900s, battery technology is not where it would have been otherwise.

Lithium ion has one-third the energy density of dynamite, the common configuration being in cells such as small AA batteries that are difficult to cool, and if the battery catches on fire, it is difficult to put out. I know this directly because a fire broke out in a bicycle with a lithium-ion battery in my garage and even though I was trained as a fireman and was at home, I almost lost the house.

Lithium ion burns hot enough to melt aluminum and it will continue to ignite as long as the cells have enough energy to generate the heat needed for combustion. That’s why we have reports of a crashed Tesla on fire again in the wreckage.

Also, as Conway mentioned, manufacturing these batteries is far from a green process and the substance is a pollutant, which means that the batteries must be recycled to prevent groundwater contamination.

The second weakness is that for large-scale cryptocurrency miners, there is no electrical power headroom in the world and the peak generation capacity of the power grid often comes from old, dirty and nearly obsolete production facilities.

Electric cars draw a considerable amount of electricity, and we don’t yet have the headroom in our grid to supply it. Cars are typically charged at night when renewable energy such as wind and solar is unreliable (wind) or non-existent (solar). So, even if you have a solar plant on your roof, if you’re connected to the grid (not using the battery for power at night), and you change your electricity at night, you might end up with something like this. Pulling from a power source that is anything but green.

Third and finally, we don’t have enough neighborhood electric capacity to handle the huge influx of electric cars. Last time I checked, if you find more than three cars charging at once in a block of houses, there’s a good chance your local transformer will grenade – and they really do boom when they go up.

I considered getting a Level 3 charger for my electric vehicle, and it would have cost me more than the car cost. Not only would I have to pull bigger wires and more of them (going from L-2- to L-3 phase), but I would have to pay to replace the local transformer and massively increase my home service level.

Now with solid state batteries (which are coming), the expansion of green energy sources (especially nuclear or geothermal ones that can operate at night), and the expansion of micro-grid technologies (which are small green generators to be distributed Provided), we can turn Electric cars serve as a tremendous force to work against climate change. But we are not there yet.

This is not a list of requirements you can pick and choose from. You need all three elements to make electric cars truly green: green energy storage, sufficient green energy generation, and a more efficient grid to deliver that energy reliably, cheaply, and safely. All that is coming, just not in this decade.

Other Problems We Aren’t Talking About

The big deal is, what do we do with existing gasoline drilling, refining and distribution systems? The oil industry employs about 6 million people directly and 10 times more jobs are created indirectly.

Refineries, gas and oil pipelines, storage tanks and gas stations are all potentially hazardous material problems depending on how much oil and gas has leaked over the years. Even if the answer is zero, equipment will need to be safely cleaned and then scraped.

Industries dependent on oil production ranging from plastics to cheap drugs (petroleum jelly) and some solvents would collapse without large-scale oil production, and the resulting economic collapse of an industry (what happens to all oil platforms and oil drilling rigs?). The ecological time bombs of the future are subject to the firms once owned by them.

Plans should be drawn up on what to do with these related industries and implemented before the car and truck industry moves to electricity so as to avoid huge labor and ecological problems.

Plug-in Hybrids: The Short-Term Answer

As TED Talk also pointed out, you can get the same benefits as an electric car with a plug-in hybrid.

My wife drives a Volvo XC60 rechargeable plug-in hybrid. With the car coming up in a year and a half, we’re on our third or fourth gas tank (largely connected to the drive that exceeds its electric limit). It uses a very small and safe battery.

The Volvo XC60 also typically only requires the included Level 1 battery charger that plugs into a regular household electrical plug, unlike Level 2 chargers that require a two-stage hookup and a plug that plugs into an electric cloth. Uses dryer. His car will work with my level 2 charger, and it charges fast but not enough, in my opinion, to make a level 2 charger worthwhile.

Oh, and I should point out that while his car has a 20-mile power range, the latest version of his car doubles that to 40 miles, which makes the battery size far smaller and greener than the full- Keeping full is more ideal. – On an electric car.

wrapping up

While I’m an electric car fan because they’re fun to drive and gas stations surprisingly pleasant to pass through, the electric car ecosystem isn’t where it needs to be to get the full benefits of going electric just yet.

We need better, safer, more reliable and green battery technology. Charging cars requires more green energy, and we need a far stronger and more powerful grid to handle the extra load (cryptocurrency mining, which has taken off as of late, has led to arguably more powerful grids). pushing has helped). We also need a plan to more painlessly go away from oil. Otherwise, the infection will be noticeably more ugly than expected.

If we move to electric cars before all of these elements are in place, the result will not only be less of the positive impact on climate change that electrics would otherwise provide, but they will create many other environmental and social problems that we are prepared to tackle. are not. with.

Sometimes it’s better not to rush into new technology and instead be more measured in our approach. This is why, for now, a hybrid car may be a more sustainable option than electric vehicles, until we address other aspects of the conversion process to EVs.

Technical Product of the Week

Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook

I was a big fan of Sony’s Vaio line back when Sony had the Vaio — and I studied why Sony failed massively in the PC market in the early 2000s. It was not because it did not have a well differentiated and well manufactured product. The products were more innovative and better built than any other big seller of the time.

The bigger problem was that while the product broke less often when it did break, the service experience was terrible. Therefore, customers did not hold back and tended to replace their better looking Vaio PCs with vendors that are still in this market.

Vaio is now largely a standalone company. I was curious whether it maintained its product quality, so I requested the least expensive new laptop evaluation model for this review. I should point out that I haven’t tested the company’s service process, but I’ve been told that it has improved and today’s laptops are far more reliable than they were two decades ago when Vaio was part of Sony.

Priced at $699 in silver, the 15.6″ Vaio FE laptop runs an acceptable Intel i5 processor with limited integrated graphics. That means it tests well for things like web browsing, watching movies, and office work – But it’s by no means a gaming machine or workstation. Its graphics score indicates it’ll be woefully useless if you need graphics headroom for gaming, photo or video editing, or computer-aided design.

Vaio 15.6

The Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook is currently available in silver for $699 and in black for $799. (image credit: Vaio)


It played older and more casual games respectfully, and as mentioned, it streamed TV and movies just fine, though the speakers don’t do the included THX technology justice. It would be far better with a good set of headphones.

This Vaio FE has a fingerprint reader for security on the track pad (unusually), it lacks a touch screen, and has an older-style charger (no USB-C charging) that’s unusual on current-generation laptops – but probably acceptable is the lower end. USB-C chargers are a lot more useful in the sense that they’re more common now, so you’re more likely to find a charger you can borrow, and they can charge many of your smartphones in a pinch.

The fit and finish were sturdy, with a metal casing and a painted plastic keyboard. What I found was silver – and silver-painted plastic usually looks cheap – but this was the best implementation I’ve seen so far. Still, I’d pay an extra $100 to get it in black.

Vaio 15.6”-inch FE Series Notebook in Black Color

VAIO 15.6″ FE Series Notebook in Black color. (image credit: Vaio)


It was one of the first laptops to come with Windows 11 already on board, and with one exception the startup experience has improved.

That exception is that when it does its first major update, it doesn’t provide a progress bar, which makes you wonder if it’s doing anything at all. Since rebooting the machine can brick it, lack of notice can lead to some costly mistakes. Otherwise, the OS loaded fine and did a better job of bringing in my settings and favorites than Windows 10.

In the end, the $699 Vaio 15.6″ FE laptop in silver was a good high-end, entry-level laptop for school or remote work, has good battery life, isn’t too heavy for its class, and looks great. Is to be mistaken for a more expensive product.

All this makes the VAIO FE Series Notebook my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

The cloud gaming market appears to be poised for some significant growth, though it will be tough for new players to enter the scene.

In her newsletter published Tuesday, consumer technology guru Elizabeth Parks said the cloud gaming market is at an inflection point as heavyweights in the industry continue their involvement in it, and the popularity of gaming in consumer homes grows.

By 2021, 75% of leading US broadband households report playing video games for at least an hour a week, and 30% of those households admit to subscribing to or testing out a free or paid gaming service, according to Parks . Who is the President and CMO of Parks Associates in Edison, Texas.

“Cloud gaming services provide a new opportunity to serve the gaming market and capture the consumer segment without gaming consoles or PC gaming hardware,” she wrote.

“Continuing advances in technology, growing expectations for entertainment consumption to be cross-platform, and the potential for cloud gaming inclusion in ecosystem strategies make this an interesting market to look forward to,” she said.

some new entrants

However, Parks predicted that there would be few new entrants to the market. He said that setting up and operating a cloud gaming service is extremely costly and challenging.

He continued, the most important requirement is performance-competitive cloud infrastructure. It is expected that if there are new entrants, given the status of existing competitors, it will be a party that is willing to employ the cloud resources of one of the existing competitors, or that they already have sufficient cloud computing. is infrastructure.

One place a new player can get the infrastructure is what it needs, said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology consulting firm in New York City. “Google’s decision to focus on white label offerings indicates that it thinks it has better prospects in partnership than going as a first-party service alone,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The window for newcomers isn’t closed, but it can be narrow, he said. “It’s still a bullish market,” he said. “In contrast to the relatively expensive subscription end, there are more opportunities at the low-cost, ad-driven end of the market.”

battling established brands

Mark N. Venna, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif., agreed that conditions are becoming tougher for newcomers to the market.

“For companies that do not have a history in the gaming space, it is difficult to be seen as credible, as many established players have strong brand reputations around gaming, especially from the standpoint of a legacy gaming title, ‘ he told TechNewsWorld.

“Both Microsoft and Sony really captured the market a few years ago by grabbing some of the more prestigious gaming studios with franchise titles under their belts, which shuts down potential new entrants,” he said.

“Netflix, for example, is clearly trying to foray into the cloud gaming space and is running into difficulty because they don’t have well-known titles in their gaming arsenal and, more importantly, they are being used by consumers for gaming. Not considered as destination,” he said.

Established players can also trade losses for market share. “Microsoft has focused on using its cloud service as a losing leader. Most companies can’t afford to do that,” David Cole, an analyst at DFC Intelligence, a market research firm in San Diego, told TechNewsWorld. told.

Entering the gaming market is usually a daunting proposition to begin with, and doing it on the cloud poses additional hurdles, maintained Michael Inoue, a principal analyst at ABI Research, a global technology intelligence company.

“A new cloud gaming service will have a competitive disadvantage in most cases when it comes to game libraries,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Publishers aren’t ready to put their games on every cloud gaming service.”

“In some cases,” he continued, “publishers may push their own platform, enter into pre-existing deals with other cloud gaming services, or simply not agree to the business model.”

cross-platform demand

Still, Inouye said the market is huge and there are opportunities available for new players, especially in mobile gaming.

“Mobile-based cloud gaming, at least for premium services, can be challenging in many cases due to competition with free-to-play,” he said, “but may find success in the Asia-Pacific region because there “K gamers have shown willingness to pay for mobile game-based content, although revenue per player is low.”

Parks also predicted that consumer desire for aggregation in the video streaming market would extend to cloud gaming. Cloud gaming service customers can respond to marketing campaigns focusing on the simplicity of a single point of subscription, purchase, billing and consumption — one that allows them to play across platforms, she wrote.

Along with increasing the appeal of the services to consumers, he said, this aggregation approach potentially generates more revenue for game developers by increasing their reach and making it convenient for consumers to subscribe to their content services.

“More consumers are seeking cross-platform gaming experiences so that they can experience and participate in gaming, regardless of the device they are using – console, smartphone, tablet, PC, or even… That Chrome laptop,” explained Vena.

“Gaming has now become a multi-platform phenomenon and gamers do not want to be affected by gaming on a single device or OS platform,” he continued. “This is a result of the multi-device world we live in now, which is only to grow in importance as 5G connectivity becomes more widespread.”

thrifty gamers

Inoue agreed that there is a growing demand for cross-platform titles as a whole, and gamers especially appreciate it when buying games cross-platform — meaning, if you buy a game for a console, you have There’s access to the PC version – but gamers can be frugal, too.

“At the end of the day consumers will always welcome the opportunity to play their games on more platforms, but it’s not like they have to pay for every copy or settle on all platforms to get that capability,” he said. .

“Gamers who are willing to upgrade their hardware will not accept poor PC or console performance just to gain access to content on all three platforms for the same price,” he concluded.

This week is Siggraph 2022 where Nvidia will be doing one of the main things.

While on the consumer side the Metaverse has industrial uses, outside of gaming, which has effectively included Metaverse instances over the years, at Siggraph Nvidia will talk about its leadership in integrating AI into technology, the creation and application of digital twins, and successes. . In major new robotic factories such as the one made by BMW with the help of Siemens.

But what I find even more interesting is that as metaverse tools like Nvidia’s Omniverse become more consumer friendly, the ability to use AI and human digital twins is enabling us to create our own worlds where We Let the rules dictate and where our AI-powered digital twins will simulate real people and animals.

At that point, I expect we’ll need to learn what it means to be gods of the world we’ve created, and I doubt we’re prepared anywhere, in terms of the addictive nature of such products and the way these metaverses become virtual. How to create a world in a way that can form the basis of our own digital immortality.

Let’s explore the capabilities of the Metaverse this week, then we’ll end with our product of the week: the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.

Sigraph and the AI-powered metaverse

If you’ve participated in multiplayer video games like Warcraft, you’ve experienced a rudimentary form of the metaverse. You also found that objects that do things in the real world – like doors and windows that open, leaves that move with the wind, and people who behave like people – don’t exist yet.

With the introduction of digital twins and physics through tools like Nvidia’s Omniverse, this is changing so that reality-dependent simulations, such as those developed by autonomous cars and robots, work accurately and assure that humans or Potential accidents are reduced without putting real animals at risk. Because those accidents initially happen in a virtual world.

At SIGGRAPH, Nvidia will talk about the Metaverse’s current capabilities and its near future, where for a time, money and greatest capabilities will be tied to industrial, not entertainment, use.

For that purpose, the need to make an observer feel as though they are in a real world, outside of simulations intended to train people, is largely reduced. But training humans is also a goal of simulations, and creating human digital twins will be an important step forward in our ability to use AI of the future to handle the ever-increasing amount of repetitive and annoying portions of our workloads.

It is my belief that the next major breakthrough in human productivity will be the ability of regular people to create digital twins of their own that can perform an increasing number of tasks autonomously. Auto-fill is a very, very early milestone on this path that will eventually allow us to create virtual clones of ourselves that can cover for us or significantly increase our reach.

Nvidia is at the forefront of this technology. For anyone wanting to know what the Metaverse is capable of doing today, attending Siggraph Keynote should virtually be on your important to-do list.

But if we project 20 or so years into the future, given the enormous pace of development in this space, our ability to immerse ourselves in virtual worlds will increase, as well as our ability to create these existences. Worlds where physics as we know it is not only optional, but where we can choose to put ourselves in “God Mode” and walk through virtual worlds as the ultimate rulers of the virtual spaces we’ve created. Huh.

immersion is important

While we’ll have intermediate stages using prosthetics that use more advanced forms of haptics to make us feel like we’re immersed in these virtual worlds, it’s like Elon Musk’s attempt to create better human-machine interfaces. that will make a real difference.

By connecting directly to the brain, we should be able to create experiences that are indistinguishable from the real world and place us far more realistically in these alternate realities.

Meta Reality Labs is researching and developing haptic gloves to bring the sense of touch to the metaverse of the future.


Yet, as we gain the ability to create these worlds ourselves, changing these connections to provide more reality (e.g. experiencing pain in battle) will be optional, allowing us to walk through encounters. As if we were super powers.

human digital twin

One of the biggest problems with video games is that NPCs, no matter how good the graphics, use very limited scripts. They don’t learn, they don’t change, and they’re barely more capable than the animatronics at Disneyland.

But with the creation of human digital twins, we will gain the ability to populate the created world with more realistic citizens.

Imagine being able to present the Digital Twin you create to others and license them to be used in companies or games made by them. These NPCs will be based on real people, will respond more realistically to changes, potentially be able to learn and grow, and will not be tied to your gender or even your physical appearance.

For example what about Talking Dragon based on your digital twin? You can also populate the created Metaverse world with a large number of clones that have been altered to look like a diverse population, including animals.

Practical applications will include everything from virtual classrooms with virtual teachers to police and military training with virtual partners against virtual criminals – all based on real people, providing the ability to train with an unlimited number of realistic scenarios.

For example, for a police officer, one of the hardest things to train is domestic disturbance. These collisions can go all the way sideways. I know of many instances where a police officer stepped in to protect the abusing spouse and then was spotted by the same spouse who suddenly decided to defend her husband from the officer.

Today I read a story about a rookie who approached a legally armed citizen who was on his property. The officer was almost shot because he tried to seduce a civilian who had not broken any laws. He was all set to kill the civilian officer if it had happened. For this the officer was fired but he could have died.

Being able to train in situations like this can help ensure the safety of both the civilian and the officer.

Wrapping Up: God Mode

Anyone who has ever played a game in God Mode knows that it really destroys a lot of the game’s value. Yes, you can burn through the game in a fraction of the time, but it’s like buying a book and then reading a comprehensive summary with no spoilers. Most of the fun of a game is figuring out puzzles and working through challenges.

“Westworld” explored what might happen if virtual people, who were created to emulate humans, found out they had been abused. To be realistic, these creations would need to emulate the full flow of pain, suffering, and emotion, and it’s certainly a remote possibility that they could kick off their schedule.

However, another possibility is that people fully immersed in God Mode may not be able to differentiate between what they can do in the virtual world and the real world. This can result in some bad behavior in the real world.

I think we will find that there will be a clearer delineation between those who want to create viable worlds and treat those worlds beneficially, and those who want to create worlds that allow them to explore their distorted fantasies and occult desires. allow.

This can be a way to determine if someone has the right personality to be a leader, as it would be so easy to abuse power in the virtual world, and the tendency to abuse power is for anyone who goes into management. Should be a big red flag.

We’re still decades away from this potential, but we should start thinking about the limits of using this technology for entertainment so that we don’t create a significant group of people who don’t see others as different from virtual people who don’t. They misbehave in the twisted world. they will make.

What kind of metaverse god would you be?

Technical Product of the Week

Surface Duo 2

I’ve been using the Surface Duo 2 for several months now and it remains my favorite phone. I’m amazed at how many people came up to me to ask me about the phone and then said, when I shared with them what it does, they want to buy one.

This has huge advantages when consuming emails with attachments or links. The attachment or link opens on another screen without interrupting the flow of reading the email that it delivered. Just like using the phone when you’re opening a website that requires two-factor authentication. The authentication app is on another screen, so you don’t have to go back and try to locate the screen you were working on, preserving the workflow again.

For reading, it reads and holds like a book with two virtual pages, one on each screen. While I thought I might have problems watching videos due to the gap between the screens, I have been watching videos on both screens for some time now and unlike my issues of using dual screen monitors where I find the separation annoying , it’s not the difference. Doesn’t bother me at all.

Ideally this phone works best with a headset or smartwatch, such as the Apple Watch, so you can talk and listen – as it’s awkward to hold this form factor on its head. However, many of us somehow use the speakerphone feature on our smartphones and the Surface Duo 2 works fine that way.

In the end, I think it shows why with a revolutionary device – such as the iPhone was, and there is the Surface Duo 2 – it needs a lot of smart marketing for people to really understand the benefits of a different design. Otherwise they won’t get it.

Remember that the iPhone design, which previously emulated the failed LG Prada phone, was supported by a lot of marketing, while Prada, even though it initially had a strong luxury brand, was not.

Nonetheless, Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 remains my favorite smartphone. This is really awesome – and my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

A TED talk by Graham Conway, principal engineer at the Southwest Research Institute, claims that electric vehicles are less green than ICE cars and this is well argued. While I don’t agree with all of Conway’s metrics, the point he makes is valid, which is that the things we need to do to make electric vehicles truly green haven’t been done yet.

We are nowhere near the maximum potential for an electric car. Conway argues that for the next two or three decades, the hybrid approach may be better – at least until we can fix the parts of the ecosystem that are making electric vehicles less green.

In the meantime, we must continue to explore alternatives such as green hydrogen; A process where hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. With that, if we continue our massive push to convert to electric vehicles, we could be in a better place faster.

Here’s Conway’s presentation for reference:

This week let’s talk about what’s really involved in switching to electric cars. Then we’ll close with our product of the week, a laptop from Vaio that shows just how much you can get for less than $700—at least for now.

I’m not anti-electric

I’ll start by pointing out that I drive an EV and have leased one of the first Jaguar I-Pace electric cars to come to the US since 2019 when I did.

Last year I bought that car from a leasing company because I didn’t like anything better, and the lease buyout was much less than what I sold the car for. Seems like a good deal.

I’ve been covering electric cars since the late 1990s, when I was the top US battery analyst among many other titles. So, I love electric cars, but I also know their drawbacks and there are still many.

disadvantages of electric car

As Conway pointed out, electric cars can be driven indefinitely in a closed room without killing us and are certainly greener to operate. However, they have three major weaknesses.

The first is that due to the almost complete collapse of battery development in the early 1900s, battery technology is not where it would have been otherwise.

Lithium ion has one-third the energy density of dynamite, the common configuration being in cells such as small AA batteries that are difficult to cool, and if the battery catches on fire, it is difficult to put out. I know this directly because a fire broke out in a bicycle with a lithium-ion battery in my garage and even though I was trained as a fireman and was at home, I almost lost the house.

Lithium ion burns hot enough to melt aluminum and it will continue to ignite as long as the cells have enough energy to generate the heat needed for combustion. That’s why we have reports of a crashed Tesla on fire again in the wreckage.

Also, as Conway mentioned, manufacturing these batteries is far from a green process and the substance is a pollutant, meaning that the batteries must be recycled to prevent groundwater contamination.

The second weakness is that for large-scale cryptocurrency miners, there is no electrical power headroom in the world and the peak generation capacity of the power grid often comes from old, dirty and nearly obsolete production facilities.

Electric cars draw a considerable amount of electricity, and we don’t yet have the headroom in our grid to supply it. Cars are typically charged at night when renewable energy such as wind and solar is unreliable (wind) or non-existent (solar). So, even if you have a solar plant on your roof, if you are connected to the grid (not using the battery for power at night), and you change your electricity at night, you might end up with some kind of electricity. Pulling from a source that is anything but green.

Third and finally, we don’t have enough neighborhood electric capacity to handle the huge influx of electric cars. Last time I checked, if you find more than three cars charging at once in a block of houses, there’s a good chance your local transformer will grenade – and they really do boom when they go up.

I considered getting a Level 3 charger for my electric vehicle, and it would have cost me more than the car cost. Not only would I have to pull bigger wires and more of them (going from L-2- to L-3 phase), but I would have to pay to replace the local transformer and massively increase my home service level.

Now with solid state batteries (which are coming), the expansion of green energy sources (especially nuclear or geothermal ones that can operate at night), and the expansion of micro-grid technologies (small green generators that can be distributed Provided), we can turn to electric cars to serve as a tremendous force to work against climate change. But we are not there yet.

This is not a list of requirements that you can pick and choose from. You need all three elements to make electric cars truly green: green energy storage, sufficient green energy generation, and a more capable grid to deliver that energy reliably, cheaply, and safely. All of that is coming, just not in this decade.

Other Problems We Aren’t Talking About

The big deal is, what do we do with existing gasoline drilling, refining and distribution systems? The oil industry employs about 6 million people directly and 10 times more jobs are created indirectly.

Refineries, gas and oil pipelines, storage tanks and gas stations are all potentially hazardous material problems depending on how much oil and gas has leaked over the years. Even if the answer is zero, the equipment will need to be safely cleaned and then scraped.

Industries dependent on oil production ranging from plastics to cheap drugs (petroleum jelly) and some solvents would collapse without large-scale oil production, and the resulting economic collapse of an industry (what happens to all oil platforms and oil drilling rigs?) The ecological time bombs of the future subside the firms once owned by them.

Plans should be drawn up on what to do with these related industries and implemented before the car and truck industry moves to electricity so as to avoid enormous labor and ecological problems.

Plug-in Hybrids: The Short-Term Answer

As TED Talk also pointed out, you can get the same benefits as an electric car with a plug-in hybrid.

My wife drives a Volvo XC60 rechargeable plug-in hybrid. With the car coming up in a year and a half, we’re on our third or fourth gas tank (largely connected to the drive that exceeds its electric limit). It uses a very small and safe battery.

The Volvo XC60 also typically only requires the included Level 1 battery charger that plugs into a regular household electrical plug, unlike Level 2 chargers that require a two-stage hookup and a plug that plugs into an electric cloth. Uses dryer. His car will work with my level 2 charger, and it charges fast but not enough, in my opinion, to make a level 2 charger worthwhile.

Oh, and I should point out that while his car has a 20-mile power range, the latest version of his car doubles that to 40 miles, which makes the battery size far smaller and greener than the full-size one. Keeping it full is more ideal. On an electric car.

wrapping up

While I’m an electric car fan because they’re fun to drive and gas stations surprisingly pleasant to pass through, the electric car ecosystem isn’t where it needs to be to reap the full benefits of going electric just yet.

We need better, safer, more reliable and green battery technology. Charging cars requires more green energy, and we need a far stronger and more powerful grid to handle the extra load (cryptocurrency mining, which has taken off as of late, has led to arguably more powerful grids). pushing has helped). We also need a plan to more painlessly go away from oil. Otherwise, the infection will be noticeably worse than expected.

If we move to electric cars before all of these elements are in place, the result will not only be less of the positive impact on climate change that electrics would otherwise provide, but they will create many other environmental and social problems that we are prepared to tackle. are not. with.

Sometimes it’s better not to rush into new technology and instead be more measured in our approach. This is why, for now, a hybrid car may be a more sustainable option than electric vehicles, until we address other aspects of the conversion process to EVs.

Technical Product of the Week

Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook

I was a big fan of Sony’s Vaio line back when Sony had the Vaio — and I studied why Sony failed massively in the PC market in the early 2000s. It was not because it did not have a well differentiated and well manufactured product. The products were more innovative and better built than any other big seller of the time.

The bigger problem was that while the product broke less often than it did when it did break, the service experience was terrible. Hence, customers did not hold back and tended to replace their better looking Vaio PCs with vendors that are still in this market.

Vaio is now largely a standalone company. I was curious whether it maintained its product quality, so I requested the evaluation model of the least expensive new laptop for this review. I should point out that I haven’t tested the company’s service process, but I’ve been told that it has improved and today’s laptops are far more reliable than they were two decades ago when Vaio was part of Sony.

Priced at $699 in silver, the 15.6″ Vaio FE laptop runs an acceptable Intel i5 processor with limited integrated graphics. That means it tests well for things like web browsing, watching movies, and office work – But this isn’t a gaming machine or workstation by any means. Its graphics score indicates it’ll be woefully useless if you need graphics headroom for gaming, photo or video editing, or computer-aided design.

Vaio 15.6

The Vaio 15.6″ FE Series Notebook is currently available in silver for $699 and in black for $799. (image credit: Vaio)


It played older and more casual games respectfully, and as mentioned, it streamed TV and movies just fine, though the speakers don’t do the included THX technology justice. It would be far better with a good set of headphones.

This Vaio FE has a fingerprint reader for security on the track pad (unusually), it lacks a touch screen, and has an older-style charger (no USB-C charging) that’s unusual on current-generation laptops – but the lower end is probably acceptable. USB-C chargers are a lot more useful in the sense that they’re more common now, so you’re more likely to find a charger you can borrow, and they can charge many of your smartphones in a pinch.

The fit and finish were sturdy, with a metal casing and a painted plastic keyboard. What I found was silver – and silver-painted plastic usually looks cheap – but this was by far the best implementation I’ve seen. Still, I’d pay an extra $100 to get it in black.

Vaio 15.6”-inch FE Series Notebook in Black Color

VAIO 15.6″ FE Series Notebook in Black color. (image credit: Vaio)


It was one of the first laptops to come with Windows 11 already on board, and with one exception the startup experience has improved.

That exception is that when it does its first major update, it doesn’t provide a progress bar, which makes you wonder if it’s doing anything at all. Since rebooting the machine can brick it, lack of notice can lead to some costly mistakes. Otherwise, the OS loaded fine and did a better job of bringing in my settings and favorites than Windows 10.

In the end, the $699 Vaio 15.6″ FE laptop in silver was a good high-end, entry-level laptop for school or remote work, has good battery life, isn’t too heavy for its class, and looks great. Is to be mistaken for a more expensive product.

All this makes the VAIO FE Series Notebook my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.