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Lovins 1 (1:41)
Topic(s): Efficiency
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Video Transcript

I'm a recovering general experimental physicist and have worked on advanced energy and resource efficiency and about thirty sectors of the economy over the past almost forty years. In 1990 I was asked to think about cars and I'd been thinking in background for twenty years about the physics of cars and why are they so inefficient—that, you know, your cars is using a hundred times its weight in ancient plants everyday and yet only 0.3 per cent of that energy ends up moving the driver. This didn't seem very good. And as I dug into it some more it seemed that the industry was concentrating on where the losses are, much like Willie Sutton asked why do you rob banks, he says "'cause that's where the money is."

And I didn't think that was the right place to start. I thought if we started with the physics of the car, then it can get lighter and more slippery and moving through the air and along the road. We'd get an enormous leverage back to fuel saved because every unit of energy you can save at the wheels saves another seven units you don't need to waste getting it to the wheels. So we started digging into how to make the car lighter, with better aerodynamics, with lower rolling resistance, and also things people don't normally pay much attention to like more efficient accessories and auxiliary loads. And we ended up concluding it was quite straightforward to triple the efficiency of a car at roughly the same cost.



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