This was not an uplifting, "everything will be just fine one we get li-ion batteries" type of conference. Toyota invited scientists to set up the problem during the morning sessions, which got into some nitty-gritty details about oil supplies (they're running out), why biofuels - except for algae biodiesel - are not much better than conventional fuels, and why we need to think about water when we switch on a lightbulb, among many other topics. Toyota representatives then, yes, spent the afternoon discussing what ToMoCo is doing to make a difference, but here, too, the talks were not much more uplifting than the morning ones. Plug-in hybrids are not going to solve everything, neither are li-ions, and time isn't really on our side. As I said, we'll have total coverage up later, but for now I just wanted to tease you with these highlights:
- America will need 33 percent more transportation fuels by 2030 than it does today
- There is no way that Coskata will be able to make a gallon of ethanol for a dollar
- Meeting NHTSA's proposed 35 mpg CAFE standard is going to be really, really tough
- A PHEV Prius might not have fold-down seats because of the huge battery
- Peak oil is coming sometime between 2017 and 2023
UPDATE: Full coverage starts here.