An electric car is what we chiefly need. So someone has to do the hard work and develop it. Glad that the Norwegians would. .
A story in Business Week talks about an innovative Norwegian company, Think Global, that is producing electric cars that make sense:
An electrified people’s car for the 21st century, the Ox is a preview of Think’s next-generation production vehicle, due out in 2011. Roughly the size of a Toyota (TM) Prius, the Ox can travel between 125 and 155 miles before needing a recharge, and zips from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds. Its lithium-ion batteries can be charged to 80% capacity in less than an hour, and slender solar panels integrated into the roof power the onboard electronics. Inside, the hatchback includes a bevy of high-tech gizmos such as GPS navigation, a mobile Internet connection, and a key fob that lets drivers customize the car’s all-digital dashboard. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the company’s current vehicles cost less than $25,000.
Although little-known, Think North America is backed by an undisclosed amount from Silicon Valley venture capital firms RockPort Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which famously invested early in companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN) and Google (GOOG). General Electric (GE) made an unrelated $4 million investment in March to support the company’s battery research and development operations.
Norway is a small country of less than 5 million people. In terms of population, it is about the size of Pune, or about 0.4 percent of India. The Indian population density is 330 people per sq km compared to Norway’s 12 per sq km. Of course, Norwegians are fabulously rich compared to India. They export oil — is the world’s third largest oil exporter after Russia and Saudi Arabia. Be that as it may, I believe that there is a more interesting difference between the two countries: they think differently.
They are not producing stuff that would have been alright for a world of the past, say, nice little petrol-powered cars. They are producing what is undoubtedly meant for the future. So why is it that a population around 250 times that of Norway’s can’t do what the Norwegians do?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
Will I be asking a similar question a few years down the road: why did not India invest in R&D in solar energy when much smaller countries have done so?
[Changed the title from “Norwegian Would” to “Isn’t it good Norwegians would” just because I am clever like that 🙂 ]