Blog: Who killed the electric car?
Dave Leggett | 21 June 2006
Conspiracy theories can provide a useful and subversive prism through which conventional wisdoms and assumptions can be viewed and challenged. Even if you don't believe them, it is often refreshing (or entertaining, even) to look at an issue or subject via a theory that may sound a bit barking, but has elements of plausibility. And it's part and parcel of living in a liberal democracy that questions get asked.
But you have to be careful with conspiracy theories. They are frequently easy to put together but difficult to disprove and that doesn't mean they are right. For example, I could say that Tony Blair has a '666' mark on the top of his head and that may sound fairly absurd, but how would you actually disprove it? I don't suppose Tone would allow independent auditors to examine his head to clarify the situation. So, I write to Number 10 and they write back to officially reject my suggestion (no doubt believing me to be some kind of nutter). What have they to hide? Clearly, my theory has something in it! It's a tactic that conspiracy theorists and investigative journalists employ.
And some conspiracy theories are just too elaborate to be believable (if the US military is really sitting on anti-gravity technology procured from an alien spaceship, the US government is doing a mighty fine job of keeping it a secret).
Are there dark forces trying to keep electric cars from us? I think not. If the plug-in electric car proposition was that strong and smelled of profit, the forces of capitalism would surely step in. Full-on electric cars or even modified plug-in hybrids ain't all that great when stacked up against the ICE and there is always the thorny issue of where and how the electricity was generated in the first place. But it is interesting to see how such an argument is constructed (the below link is to the upcoming film's website).
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...