The greening of Oklahoma has just begun.
As carmakers see public acceptance of electric, compressed
natural gas or other alternative fueled cars and trucks, along with
the hybrid models that use a combination of fuels, there are going
to be more and more of them on the road.
Already, Honda has made a lot of inroads with its Insight and
Toyota is making a lot of noise with its Prius, two new hybrid
electric-gasoline powered buggies.
Both use the electric engine through town and commuting, but
automatically switch to a small internal combustion engine when
additional power or speed is needed, usually on the freeways.
With the upside-down world of electric-powered cars, both of
these get better mileage in town than on the highway, because the
electric engine consumes no gasoline. The internal combustion engine
is used in town to rekindle the batteries and to provide spurts of
Braking systems on both also are regenerative to help recharge
the battery, eliminating the need for a separate electric charging
Both also have inherent weaknesses that consumers are willing to
live with in exchange for cleaner air. The Insight, although
slightly larger than a compact car, has room for two passengers and
cargo totaling 400 pounds. Its truck is so small that only two bags
of groceries can fit into it.
The Prius has a little more capacity, but not much.
These hybrid cars are part of the answer to criticism to electric
cars that have an extremely limited range and long recharging times.
Ford has Th!nk in development in Sweden. Although it's not in
America yet, we've all seen the television commercials where the
obnoxious woman takes hers to a service station for fuel or to have
the exhaust emissions tested.
If nothing else, the commercials may keep me from buying one.
At any rate, commuters are beginning to at least look at the
electric car bandwagon, which means that manufactures can't be far
behind with major improvements to attract an even wider audience.
Most of the electrics, hybrids and dedicated compressed natural
gas cars and trucks are aimed at cities and states with the worst
air pollution problems.
Since Oklahoma doesn't fall into this category, these green cars
are just trickling in.
Big gains, though, are being made at airports, especially
Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport.
Southwest Airlines is rapidly converting its ground support
vehicles to electric power at the airport. The company has entered a
long-term agreement with Mid-Del Technology Center to train its
maintenance and support crews.
Working through the vocational-technical school's Electric
Vehicle Center, the airline is moving as fast as practicality will
allow to create green stations within its operating network.
Other airlines also are convert to electricity to power their
ground support equipment.
Because of this, the airport is rapidly building an
infrastructure to support, said John Goodwin, Will Rogers'
facilities maintenance manager.
"We are taking on the attitude that we've got to clean up the
air, especially around airports," Goodwin said during a meeting of
the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Stakeholders.
New electric equipment along with compressed natural gas
refueling stations are under construction at the airport as part of
the terminal expansion. …