Friday, October 10, 2008

Of Course I'm Green. Just Don't Look In My Driveway

By: John Thomson

I have a theory that anyone who embraces the green movement exclusively for altruistic reasons has either got way too much money or has no money at all. Us folks digging in the middle tend to be motivated by either what will save us money or what will make us money. Such motivation of course becomes our green contribution; we change light bulbs, turn down the thermostat, water our lawns only on Wednesday, eat local foods, recycle and ride our bikes whenever we can. We run our business with a green influence to attract new customers and show existing customers we are in tune with our global crisis. In publishing, that means using vegetable inks, removing gloss and UV coated papers, making sure that we print only copies that are read so we take longer to get to the landfill and so on. But where my green thinking has always fallen by the wayside is with cars.

I just can’t drive a Prius and to date hybrids in my opinion, have only managed to target the “I’m saving the world” guy rather than real car guys. Where’s the passion of putting your foot on the pedal, or banking into a great country road turn? I used to drive a MINI Cooper S and folks would say “Oh good for you, putting the planet first and driving a little car,” well HELLO! The way I drove that thing like a 16 year old boy, had my miles per gallon stats closely resembling a Hummer! My dirty little secret of now driving a big engine gas guzzler may however be coming to an end, as I have had a “show em’ both sides Mini Wheat” moment.

You know those sexy Aston Martin DB9’s that keep blowing up in James Bond movies? Perhaps you have met the ultra cool BMW Z8 at a stop sign. Well that’s the past work of Danish designer Henrik Fisker. His latest offering is called the Fisker Karma. ( This four-seater has a top speed of 125 miles per hour, does zero to 60 in six seconds and looks like the driver should be wearing a Canali suit rather than dirty Birkenstocks.

Fisker teamed up with Quantum Technologies, yielding a car that is the same height as a Porsche 911, is as wide as a 7-series BMW and as long as an C-Class Mercedes. And no stupid rear wheel covers like that awful, awful Honda thing. Running on lithium-ion batteries, charged for around 8 hours, the Karma will travel 50 miles at zero emissions. Then a gearless gas engine kicks in to keep the battery charged for another 300 miles. The roof is one big solar panel. How sweet is that! Today’s hybrids are about fuel economy. The Karma is about using no fuel at all. The goal is to sell 15,000 Karma’s a year at $80,000 a pop. That’s nothing! Stop being selfish and think about the planet! Al Gore gets his later this year. Me, I’ll just keep on dreaming, but I knew I was smart to wait.

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