I normally reserve my eco/green posts (read “hippie ideas”) for The Energy Farm site. The only problem is that I have to put more of a journalist-like feel to the article. Now I don’t consider myself a journalist. I’m more of a hobby blogger because I like to share my ideas with anyone that will listen. Yes, sometimes I talk a lot. Anyway, the point is I ran across a neat little article about a new cable channel launching next month and I wanted to share some thoughts. I just didn’t feel I could really express myself well in the more sanitized environment of the other site.
Let’s get to it. Apparently Discovery is launching Planet Green next month. It will be focused on eco-friendly lifestyle programming. The resurgence of the “hippie movement” seems to be in full swing. I’m okay with that. I’ve always thought people were, in general, far too wasteful. In the 80’s it seemed like the “in” thing to get as much as you could and do as little with it as possible. Heck, I remember a truck customizing magazine I used to read that had a special on a souped up Chevrolet 4×4 that got….1 mile to the gallon. You read that right…it had a 1:1 ratio of gas to distance. This was the centerfold truck of that issue. For years now that memory has stood out in my mind as the true representation of our wastefulness.
How does this relate back to Planet Green? General Motors is the only automotive sponsor of the channel. They will be airing several two-minute ad spots on the station. According to the article, two will be corporate spots, four will be Chevrolet spots, and the final two will be Saturn related. I’d imagine that the vast majority of these will be used to try and change the perception that GM only works with large, gas-hungry designs like the Hummer and Suburban. And while a vast amount of its products would fall into the large, heavy, and thirsty category…they do have quite a few more eco-minded lines.
If you consider how GM is fairing financially right now – poorly – you might wonder why they are dropping serious dollars on a fledgling cable station. Personally I think it’s a brilliant move. A lot of my opinion comes from how much I think the company is counting on the Chevy Volt to save them. I’ve been following the electric and extended electric car movement for a while. I hope that my next car is one of them. And I can say that if GM delivers on the promises of the Volt, they could take this new market by storm. And they’ll have to if they want to stay relevant for a few more generations. Oil prices won’t come back down unless the global economy magically resets. Put away those pipe dreams. It’s time to wake up and smell the exhaust.
Alternative energy is more than a fad at this point. It was a nice little sideline to funnel a bit of R&D money into as a write-off a few years ago. With energy prices soaring the way they are now, it’s far more serious. People want ways to do what they always do without having to take out a second mortgage (and don’t get me started on the housing market). GM is poised with the Volt to offer the first mass production extended range electric vehicle for under $40,000 around $30,000 (so says GM-Volt.com). Now I know that some people like to slip on the sandals and grab their hemp necklaces before heading out to the rally supporting the $10,000 PHEV. Get over it. You can’t buy any new car for that and you most certainly won’t get a car using a new technology for that. I think GM’s idea of a car with style and function for the price point they suggest is great.
If you want less range but a slightly higher top speed and no gas tank at all, feel free to get in line for the $108,000 Tesla Roadster. You could have the $600/month lease for the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car if you live in the right place in SoCal, just don’t expect to make long trips with it. I believe those hit empty near 200 miles. Speaking of SoCal, you can also jump in line for an Aptera. They should be under $30k according to their website. I imagine it has less storage space than the Volt will. And it’s only a two-seater where I the Volt should be four. Did I mention the Aptera Typ-1 looks like it belongs to Darkwing Duck? That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but this isn’t something you want to buy if you are shy. People will stare and they will take pictures.
It seems like I’ve strayed from Planet Green again, doesn’t it? I haven’t. This is exactly the kind of thing they will be talking about…tech to free us…tech that’s eco-friendly. The other point I was making is that GM is far from the only player in the market for new car lines that are more efficient and “green”. However, they are the only automotive sponsor for the channel. It’s a brilliant move by the beleaguered company that could go a long way to saving them from extinction. So keep your eyes open for Planet Green by Discovery launching on June 4. We could all use a little more Green…