Hoping to put a shine on his environmental suit of armor while not completely abandoning free-market solutions, GOP Presidential nominee John McCain on Monday proposed a $300 million award for the first person to, “an automobile battery that far surpasses existing technology.” To claim the prize, the car model would have to “deliver power at 30 percent of current costs and have “the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars.”
It’s a unique idea that depends both on the capitalistic drive toward innovation and American ingenuity. The prize would equate to $1 from every American, and would result in a new generation of automobiles that would divorce America from its dependance on fossil fuels, not for reasons of so-called “global warming,” but as a way to save people money, an everyday pocketbook concern.
The foundations of such a solution have already been laid; the Science Channel recently aired a Mythbusters Young Scientists Challenge that featured electric cars that are equal or superior in speed and power to gas models. If such designs can be refined and made economically viable for commercial use without the long recharge times or the severely limited travel radiuses, it would certainly be an economic boon to the US economy, currently weighed down by gasoline costs.
Who would have thought that some of the most innovative ideas on energy reform would come from one of the oldest men to ever run for president?