The Silent Texas Highway


It's not a horror movie; it's the future of zero-carbon transportation.

Fast Talk events give our readers around the country a chance to experience the excitement of Fast Company live, and yesterday's lunch was no exception. For "Insuring an Innovative Future," at Austin, Texas's historic and ornate Driskill Hotel, we featured the CEO of Valence Technology, Bob Kanode. Valence is a pioneer in lithium phosphate batteries for use in a wide range of electric vehicles. Kanode sure knows how to make an entrance; he rolled into his talk over the historic marble floors on a heavy-duty, police-issue Segway personal transportation device. Beyond the Segway, Valence batteries are beginning to be used in UPS trucks, Tesco delivery vans, mail carrier scooters, and even London double-decker buses. (Fleets that drive particular routes and return to centralized hubs are especially suited to the still relatively limited range of battery-op technologies.)

Kanode made the point that Europe is still embarrassingly far ahead of us in adoption of these technologies, and part of the problem is consumer perception that "power" means noise and heat. Americans, who still like to strip the mufflers off their hot-rods, need to wake up to a new definition of automotive power: high-torque, incredibly durable, silent, and emissions-free.

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