Khosla: plug-ins are "toys," batteries "immaterial"

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Vinod Khosla has challenged conventional ideas on the cost of ethanol and then walked the walked by investing in America's first cellulosic ethanol plant. What does Vinod think about plug-in cars and battery technology? According to Greentech Media, during a keynote at a ThinkEquity conference, Vinod says "Forget plug-ins. ... They are nice toys. But they will not be material to climate change."

Vinod's real problem is with battery technology and not plug-ins specifically. "Are we more likely to get a [fivefold] reduction in cost in cellulosic ethanol than a [fivefold] reduction in cost of batteries?" Vinod asks in his keynote. At 5:37 into the video above (part of the Keynote), Vinod says, "I don't believe they [batteries] are going to be material to climate change solutions in the near term or the next two decades."

Vinod does say batteries are a good investment even though it won't have a material impact on climate change. What do you expect? A big investor in ethanol to sing the praises of batteries in a keynote at an investment conference? Flex-fuel plug-in hybrids are not impossible but these two technologies [battery and ethanol] are basically competing to be the green car solution of choice for government, industry and venture capital investment.

We want to know what you think. In 20 years, which technology will have a greater impact on cleaning up the planet: batteries or ethanol?

[Source: YouTube, Greentech Media via Grist, Treehugger]

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