free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 304. TAKEOKA MILIEU

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

304. TAKEOKA MILIEU

I saw one of these units cruising silently down the street today:
It's called the Takeoka Milieu, and it's definitely the smallest car I've ever seen in my life. The roof barely came up to my chest. "Fuel" cost -> US$0.045 per 10km (and that's with high Japanese electricity costs of US$.18/kwh). Very cool, and a sign of the times.
-- by JD

24 Comments:

At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 8:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger DC said...

I saw a Toyota Yaris on the road yesterday over here in the US. Good stuff. Still can go smaller, but its a start.

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 10:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger nick said...

I'm sorry, I don't read Japanese so that link is useless. Is this an electric car?

Pretty impressive though. I can't wait until we *really* get the efficient vehicles (biodiesel plug-in ultra efficient hybrids that weigh a few hundred pounds = 400-500 mpg). Hopefully, I'll be building them. Until then, this and the economic and desirable Yaris will help cut costs.

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 2:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

But what does such a car say about ME, as both a unique individual and a consumer?

I'm concerned about what other people will think. Can I get it in camoflauge, possibly with a chasis modification?

Nothing major. I just need to see eye-to-eye with people driving big rigs on the freeway.

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 5:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

Wow, I thought you couldn't get much smaller than a Reva but there you go!

I'm actually in the US at the moment and I'm amazed at the size of the cars, as well as how small the public transport systems are and how hard walking is - even compared to stupid car-dependent Sydney! I can really see why all the doomers come from the here. I think the doomer position (particularly of people like Kunstler) is really just Americanocentrism: taking what is essentially an urban planning problem in America and extending it to the whole world.

I also figure gas prices are totally relative. I've just come from the UK where prices are twice as much as in Australia, and 2.5 times what they are here ... and the English were complaining the least. After taking the tube in London I know why: it's clean, frequent, fast and stops about every two blocks. Up in Cambridge it looked exactly like JD's pictures of bicycles in Osaka, and for a town of 100,000 they seem to have more buses than the whole of Australia put together.

I just read an article in USA today about how americans won't conserve because the price goes up slowly and they get used to it (like a frog in a pot of water, the doomers would say). Well, of course you shouldn't expect a sudden change from a slowly-increasing gas price, but let's wait until it's at $8 a gallon (like it is in the EU). Things will be kinda different.

So I figure:
1. Gas prices are all relative, it's only sudden increases that cause great disruption.
2. People adapt given time. It happened in the 70s, it's been happening in Australia.
3. If the US has trouble adapting, it's not the end of the (rest of the) world, particularly not those who can't even afford food or clean water, let alone an Escalade.

In America's defense, there sure are a lot of Priuses here! :-)

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 6:11:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

I can really see why all the doomers come from the here. I think the doomer position (particularly of people like Kunstler) is really just Americanocentrism: taking what is essentially an urban planning problem in America and extending it to the whole world.

Great point, that. It's the pretense that misery should naturally love company; because we've fucked ourselves into a corner with foolish decisions and a waste-centric society based in consumption and comfort. Since Americans stand to have the most to lose in a real POD-style meltdown, we're essentially exporting our misery to the rest of the world. Raising the grim spectre of communism with China, railing on Russia for its exporting practices, and waddling around in a desperate, flabby attempt to secure an unrealistic future for our own wellbeing.

The brand of schadenfreud that the Savinars and Kunstlers are milking is just the optimistic, "Revenge of the Nerds" slant of the same problem. Their wet dream is a world in which the American mainstream/jock complex implodes and eats itself alive, leaving them intact as the masters of a brave new frontier.

And they want everyone else to believe it, too. It's kinda cute, really. Ignoring the fact that the intellectual elite has always depended on the working class to filthy its hands, build its homes and churn its butter while they sat around debating philosophy and slavishly dry-humping various religions for guidance.

But yeah, we do have a lot of Priuses on the road these days. Wishful thinking, but maybe we're not bound to become the United States of the Amish after all. Har-har.

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 6:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

nick,
Yes, it's an EV. You charge it by plugging straight into a 100V outlet. The specs in English are here.

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 6:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

But what does such a car say about ME, as both a unique individual and a consumer?

mel., yah that is kind of an issue. When that Milieu pulled up next to me at the corner, I have to admit I was kind of snickering as I marveled at it. I probably could have kicked it over if I felt like it. But it was so cool... when the intersection opened up, it pulled out and really moved! Quite a nimble little unit.

There's a lot of electric vehicles buzzing around Osaka. I'll get some photos when I get a new digital camera (my old one broke). They've got segway type motorized skateboards which are quite popular, and a lot of electric bikes.

 
At Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 7:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

I probably could have kicked it over if I felt like it.

LOL! Hey, added side benefit: more courteous driving, as now road rage incidents can involve another driver physically pushing your car into a ditch.

Good stuff, JD. I'd dig seeing those pictures. Our local community's also chock-full of all kinds of crazy little go-karts and electric vehicles, as the University here boasts one of the most successful alternative-powere engineering programs in the country.

Probably nowhere near the innovation that's happening over there, but still good for the soul.

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 12:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger diemos said...

Wow.

Top Speed: 37 mph
Range: 34 miles
Price: $6600

It's a glorified golf cart. It has it's uses but it's not gonna save the suburbs.

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 7:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger DC said...

The brand of schadenfreud that the Savinars and Kunstlers are milking is just the optimistic, "Revenge of the Nerds" slant of the same problem. Their wet dream is a world in which the American mainstream/jock complex implodes and eats itself alive, leaving them intact as the masters of a brave new frontier.

LOL!! That's perfect.

 
At Friday, May 19, 2006 at 1:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Heh!

The real POD dieoff theory: everyone stupid kills each other, and we hide in a barn until it's safe to come out and assume leadership positions.

Notsomuch "dieoff" as "their dieoff". What could possibly go wrong?

 
At Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 3:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

but people are doing that now anyway. and foolish people kill each other and themselves even when oil is $8 per barrel. peak oil is very sexy.

 
At Sunday, May 21, 2006 at 3:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger half said...

while they sat around debating philosophy and slavishly dry-humping various religions for guidance

heh heh heh
Funny, but mean.

 
At Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 7:50:00 AM PDT, Blogger Thorgal said...

what can such a car be used for ? handicaped people ? people who cannot for one reason or another walk or bike ? not for long distance travel I hope :D

Ok, what about big families ? big loads to move around and so on ? this is I am afraid the lazy man's car, the individual that want to give him/herself an ecological conscience, etc. We should simply abandon the car paradigm. I bike everyday 20km to work, and that keeps me in shape. I sometimes use a car for moving heavy stuff or for a lift with 3 to 4 other people. The rest is luxury that rimes with waste.

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 1:23:00 AM PDT, Blogger Freak said...

does nobody else here live somewhere with very hilly terrain and high humidity 100 degree summers and 40 degree rainy winters? over 1 million people in my metro area and the only public transport we have is a crude daytime bus route and not even so much as a carpool lane or bike lane anywhere.

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 3:45:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

does nobody else here live somewhere with very hilly terrain and high humidity 100 degree summers and 40 degree rainy winters? over 1 million people in my metro area and the only public transport we have is a crude daytime bus route and not even so much as a carpool lane or bike lane anywhere.

Yiiikes. You should move. :-y

Come to think though, all those huge pickup trucks up here could be a hidden petrol-price solution. The other day in Boston I saw a Ford F-150 converted into a tourist bus. It looked exactly like a small bus except for the front part. About 10 people would fit where the tray used to be. Now that would be "ultimate carpooling" if a neighbourhood got its act together.

I also saw a GM fuel-cell prototype driving around today.

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 7:36:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jev said...

Very funny stuff here. Without attempting wit I must (again) support a doomer sense of urgency, if nothing else, in freak contrast to the urgency, if any, i detect here.

There is a very real danger that the development of suitable renewable energy sources will not go as planned. A range of plausible climatological, social, political and economic processes could completely ruin - not just stall - currently proposed approaches. We can agree this is the real danger, and it is materialising in the form of the poor policymaking we've been seeing.

Now this Fischer Price car: you solve peak liquids only if you also prevent peak batteries and teletubbie yellow. Since you probably can't, better get them early.

We must solve the electricity problem first, then the water problem, then the transport problem. Any other approach will be desastrous because the war on terror will become the war on immigrants, peasants and so on.

Nuclear is the main-stream transition technology of choice. CCS is a close second. Both are expensive and unsustainable. Solar is the only long term solution. The needed investment will be massive. As Rich Smalley put it in 2003: "We are on a quest for terawatts." Renewable terawatts that is, if we want to be taken seriously.

Anyone here know off the back of his head how many renewable terawatts of electricity we have today, worldwide? If not, then you should spend a little more time behind the drawing board before you tote humpty dumpty's ride as a sign of any real progress being made.

To be clear: we do not in fact have 0.1[TW] of renewables. We have 15[TW] of everything *but* renewables. We will need 30[TW] by mid century and it *must* be cheap. This clinches the case for CSP but it is not currently being implemented fast enough, leading to doom.

BTW, All this talk of 'dry-humping' and 'circle-jerking' makes me wonder what some of you do at this site. ;)

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 10:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

A range of plausible climatological, social, political and economic processes could completely ruin - not just stall - currently proposed approaches.

That contradicts the point of any further arguments, frankly. The only truth in relation to PO, global warming and the nuke track: we have no fucking clue what's going to happen in two weeks, let alone thirty years down the aisle.

So. We can laugh at the Pac-mobile all you want, but it exists. Someone's driving it, saving energy in the process. It doesn't exist in theoretical terms, an inaccessible market share, or spacer fantasy. It's a hell of a lot more legitimate in the solutions column than whining about where the bullet might come from or building a shit-bunker in the shadow of Mount Baker.

Someone made a conscious choice to change on a personal level, and did so. You multiply that simple principle ten-million times, and there IS no energy crisis. The supply-demand paradigm changes, the mitigation timeline extends by decades, and we're free to find a new source of potential self-annihilation.

I'm no optimist, but I'll take a thimbleful of reality to a gallon of speculative bullshit any day of the week. :)

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 10:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jev said...

mel: "Someone made a conscious choice to change on a personal level, and did so. You multiply that simple principle ten-million times, and there IS no energy crisis."

Give me a glimpse of how we will add 1[GW] or so of new clean electric power to the world every day for the next 27 years and I could appreciate the droopymobile. Otherwise you're just smokescreening.

Either that or your not talking about the same energycrisis I am.

I'm talking about what needs to be accomplished before 2050 in order to keep energyprices controlled, not about how easy it was to get Droopy's getaround to run on electricity.

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 at 10:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Hardly. 'Smokescreening' would imply that there was some sort of source debate here, when my point was clearly already made.

It's a real solution--not the BEST one, not the most PRODUCTIVE one, not the most PRACTICAL one, not the one I would personally support or choose--employed in the here and now. Not 2050. Not 2015. Not 2023 1/2. Right now.

None of us have the slightest freaking clue what 2050's going to look like. Frankly, I don't put stake in us making it that far as a species; pick your poison. So I'll make my conscious choices now, live as clean as I can and applaud anybody who makes an effort to do the same rather than point and laugh at schmucks using scooters and Pac-mobiles to save gas and promote alternatives.

 
At Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 8:52:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

Wow.

Top Speed: 37 mph
Range: 34 miles
Price: $6600

It's a glorified golf cart. It has it's uses but it's not gonna save the suburbs.


No? How many people commute more than 34 miles each way from the suburbs and given congestion how many travel at more than 37mph? Quite a few but I bet it’s the minority. For the majority I would have said those two KPIs fit in quite well with suburban use.

 
At Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 10:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

Give me a glimpse of how we will add 1[GW] or so of new clean electric power to the world every day for the next 27 years and I could appreciate the droopymobile. Otherwise you're just smokescreening.

1. That car uses a tiny fraction of the energy of a standard petrol-driven sedan.
2. It doesn't need to run on clean power, it just needs to run on something other than oil.

Geez.

 
At Monday, June 26, 2006 at 5:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger g-whiz said...

This would be perfect here in the Bay Area (Silicon Valley). Thousands upon thousands of cars with only one person in them yacking on their cellphones and creeping along at <20MPH on the freeways. My commute is 16 miles and takes 45 minutes to a hour. Certainly not a replacement for the family car but a great all weather, safer, and economic alternative to a motorcycle.

 
At Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 5:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rebecca Necker said...

I like the retro styling of this vehicle -- like a bubble car from the 1960s. Much better looking than the weird Indian electric car I've seen a few of in London. It would be practical for someone who lived in London and worked in the central zone.

 

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