Inertia: Enemy of progress


I was recently reminded about an experience I had as a teen: I went to an Earth Day show at the Mall in Washington, D.C. and, among many things I saw, I had a chance to examine no less than four fully electric automobiles, all endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy, a few made by major auto manufacturers (GM was among them), and at least one of them expected to go to market within 5 years.

This was 1978 or so.

And I remember thinking how great that was, because it meant that by the year 2000—because, in 1978, 22 years into the future sounded serious enough to warrant the phrase “in the year 2000″—there would be multitudes of electric cars to choose from, and the country would be driving primarily electric vehicles by then.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.  And when you ask someone about why it didn’t, the answer is likely to involve some form of inertia. Continue reading