Not many green car presentations include explanations of Cypress, Robin Hood and electric frogs. But Edwin Black managed to weave these three items - along with dozens of other seemingly random topics - into a narrative describing the history of energy monopolies during a presentation Sunday at the Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica.
Black was promoting the idea that we need to get off of oil now, no matter what the cost. The session in the Barker Hanger was the second to last stop in his 50-city book tour for his new book Internal Combustion. Ask anyone in the room or who's seen him speak before, Black's presentation style is not your typical somber dull PowerPoint chart fest. He aggressively interacts with the audience, and doesn't shy away from calling things like he sees them (his long list of bestselling books, like IBM and the Holocaust have trained him for that, I'm sure).

On Sunday, Black moved through a few thousand years of history quickly, hitting the highlights of who controlled wood, then coal, then batteries. Oh, and the American bicycle monopoly after the Civil War (which, combined with the battery monopoly formed the electric car monopoly in the late 1800s), He talks about petro-terrorism, and says that it doesn't matter how much a hydrogen economy would cost, because the cost of gasoline is too high right now (what with dead American soldiers, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, etc.). The solution is to move off of oil now, through fleet orders for electric, CNG and/or hydrogen cars. MPG ratings, he said, are a big distraction. Don't believe me? Listen to his entire presentation here. (~45 min, 10MB)

Just a warning: Black uses some objectionable language, with lots of use of the more vulgar term for animal waste.

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