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AutoBlog: Curiosity: Report says we have 35x more HP in our driveways than our power plants

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Filed under: Etc.

power-graphic.jpg

It may not be a particularly glamorous definition of the automobile, but it's true on some level that cars and trucks are individual little power generators on wheels, a fact pointed out here by Wired staff writer Alexis Madrigal. Interestingly, when viewed in that light, the United States has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to overall latent power availability.

In fact, Madrigal calculates that the U.S. has 35 times more horsepower sitting there in our driveways than in all our power plants combined. Like numbers? Says Madrigal:
Turns out we have something on the order of 51 billion peak horsepower sitting in our driveways. That's an incredible 38,276 gigawatts of power available. That absolutely dwarfs the nameplate capacity of our electrical power plants, which total up to a mere 1,087 gigawatts. In fact, each week of 2008, a horrible year for car sales, almost 38 gigawatts of capacity rolled into the streets of America.

That's mighty impressive, no? While we're not sure we'd follow the logic all the way to the conclusion that we should all be driving Tata Nanos, we do agree that the average passenger car doesn't really need 200 horsepower to get its lone occupant to work on time. We also can't help but consider the potential of a national electric car infrastructure as a way to store excess power that could be called into action in a jiffy if required.

[source: Inventing Green]

Curiosity: Report says we have 35x more HP in our driveways than our power plants originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Aug 2009 11:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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It makes sense considering there are over 250 million registered cars on the road.

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And to think all that power is spent moving around, for the most part, one 150~ lbs person per 3500~ lbs vehicle, 20-40 minutes a day.

If only automakers started using carbon fiber, the power required would be something like 1/3 to 1/2, and cars would use less fuel. If every automaker started mass producing it, the economies of scale would bring it down in price dramatically.

Edited by siegen
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What a silly thing to write about.

Indeed it is. It's another useless piece of writing produced with every intention to back one of the most extreme points of the "eco-weenie" agenda: stick every last person in the United States behind the wheel of a plastic car powered by 2-horsepower motor that uses frog turds as a fuel source.

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