Thursday, April 2, 2009

China's Electric Car Program: Are Thai Policy Makers Paying Attention?

New York Times:

Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that.

“China is well positioned to lead in this,” said David Tulauskas, director of China government policy at General Motors.

To some extent, China is making a virtue of a liability. It is behind the United States, Japan and other countries when it comes to making gas-powered vehicles, but by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next.

Obviously, there are pro and cons to this program, and the technology is far from perfected, but at least China is thinking outside the box.

On the other hand, Thailand still has delusions of being the "Detroit of Asia." Well, the Big Three in Detroit are bankrupt. Lessons to be learned there. And hopefully the Thai government doesn't give money to GM. Abhisit might as well use that money to continue to give free money away to the poor.

I have been following the Green trends a lot lately. Thailand seems to be stuck in the pre-Green mindset.

The interesting thing about Thailand is that it has the capacity to be self-sufficient to a certain degree using bio-diesels--rice bran oil, palm oil, coconut oil, recycled cooking oil , because the manufacturing capacity and infrastructure is already there. I think most trucks in Thailand have diesel engines already. It isn't difficult to produce bio-diesel either. Bio-diesels still emit CO2, but it is still greener than fossil fuels.

China, Vietnam and Taiwan are on the cutting edge of making cheap electric motor bikes as well.

A lot of things Thailand can do to go green, but see little evidence of the transition so far. Some Thai companies, from the little research I have done, are experimenting with these things, but it took some time on my part to find the companies.

Another thing that Thailand can do is instead of burning the rice husks that causes smog all over the North a few months out of year is use the straw to build houses.

The straw bale house movement is in its infancy but it is starting to get noticed.


Unknown said...

Actually Bio-diesel is environmentally disaterous. Just look at Malaysian and Indonesia forests that are cut down and burnt (releasing CO2). There is only a certain amount of land and there is enough land to either grow food or grow fuel but not both. When food has to compete with biofuels to be grown this pushes up the cost of land and then also the cost of food pushing more and more people into poverty. I think the electric cars way is a much better solution. There was just research out that showed that the speed of charging up batteries could be vastly improved in the next 10 years or so making it more feasible.

Unknown said...

I am glad you blogged about strawbale houses. I myself heard about it only a couple of weeks ago, but was immediately fascinated by the idea to do this here in Thailand. An American introduced me to strawbale construction. In the US (as probably anywhere in the west) the movement is suffering from rigid building regulations and approval processes. Nevertheless, you will find a lot of information by just googling for it.
One point that worries me most though, is the availability of high quality compressed straw in Thailand since you cannot use ordinary hay to prevent mold and insect infestations.

Btw did you find any Thai resources on environmental education e.g. field burning and fertilizer production?

Keep blogging!