The Panama Canal— the largest construction project in history at the time— cost $375 million in 1913 dollars. The CPI from that time to today has grown 21.2X, making the cost in 2008 dollars about 7.95 billion dollars. So $800 billion today would buy from scratch, 100 Panama Canals. This is approximately the Wall Street Bailout.
Here's another, perhaps more practical purchase–
The approximate cost of constructing a twin track 10,000 km maglev train system including 300 kph trains, tunnels, bridges and stations, between major US cities is about $800 billion. Average construction cost would be about $USD 50 million per kilometer. About 1200 maglev cars would be needed. The rolling stock would cost only US$20 billion.
So electric cars are fine, and I'll be a buyer someday. But let's build something amazing.
This articles states a glaring contradiction. 1) If you do the math, you see that it would provide enough energy for the car to cruise down the road at about 65mph." VERSUS 2)It's not known yet how many of the coils would be needed or how far apart they would be spaced in order to power a car driving down the highway."It could be 10ft or 20ft or 50ft," Beiker said. "More research will tell us what the exact number is." Did Beiker really do the math?
Wow. Great story, Chuck. If we were able to create the intercontinental railroad and the interstate system, we could do this. It would be a trick to distribute the ongoing electrical costs to individual vehicle owners. Perhaps toll booths would be the solution. It would be interesting to compare energy costs against battery-powered cars, or even gas powered cars.
I wonder if the magnetic field could also prevent cars from hitting each other. That would deliver huge savings in life and property damage.
When you lay it out like that, the plan appears even more daunting and long term. While many of the best solutions to our hard problems will be years, maybe even decades, down the road, we have to focus on a mix of short-term and long-term remedies. It's easy to shoot something down like this because it seems impossible to get off the ground and with no real benefits to be seen in the short term.
Exactly right! The hot swap of battery packs was talked about over decade ago and is now resurfacing.
The problem is the infrastructure cost. The cost to just install it would be monumental. The cost to maintain it unacceptable.
A great example is electrification of the railroads. This started during the steam era. Then diesel electrics came along. No catenaries to maintain. The overhead wires have all but dissiapeared except where the density might justify it.
In addition, what do you do during the transition to such a system? What is the advantage of a car? You can go lots of places not served by systems like trains and other mass transit. So, you will still need batteries or a gasoline engine.
This might be something we see in a hundred years, but looking more short term. Why not just put powered rails in the road. That kills two birds with one stone. If you are on rails, you don't need to steer.
Better solution, maybe. And while I have to applaud any and all efforts to explore alterative fuel technologies, the key downside to this, as it strikes me, is that the whole thing is a moot point unless there is significant buy-in and commitment to alloting huge budgetary resources to building out new infrastructure. Already, cities and states are struggling with how to finance the upgrade of aging highway systems and bridges. Unless something like this could be bundled as part of a nationwide road and highway upgrade plan, I don't see how any private investment could facilitate. Finally, again at the risk of being a naysayer, good luck getting something like this to gain any kind of traction in this divided government.
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