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ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
That being said, Zoom does provide a good read. The authors like to talk about people as much as things. And they are good at little character sketches. Stan Ovshinsky. Henry Ford. Bob Lutz. Elon Musk. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Larry Burns. Lee Raymond. Thomas Edison. Amory Lovins. James Woolsey. And tens of others. Probably a hundred people altogether.
The authors do well with people. They do not do so well with the technology. A few (not many) out and out errors. (And again like a magazine but unlike a book, not a single footnote or citation to let us check on sources.) But mostly the book takes just a quick look at technology, not the close look that would have helped.
The hydrogen economy, for example, gets mentioned several times throughout the book. But the pros and cons are never discussed. Same with climate change. Maybe an in-depth look at those complex issues would not work in a magazine article. In a book, a careful look at those key issues not only works, but its lack glares as a weakness.
In a review like this, it's easy to focus on the critical and pay less attention to the good things about the book. I've done that here. On balance, this book covers a very important topic in an entertaining, well-researched and well-written manner. The authors should be commended. And their book, Zoom, should be read.
The book does seem a bit rambling and unfocused, certainly in contrast to the laser-like focus of Cool It. Some have criticized it for including large tracts of text from earlier articles that appeared in The Economist. Well. . . I don't subscribe to The Economist, so this was all new to me.
As we are led down this winding path, we get a schooling in how Big Oil and Big Auto have corrupted the political process. We see how dependent the world has become on the Middle East. We find that both Big Oil and Big Auto -- squabbling partners, like siamese twins who detest one another yet can't be separated -- are facing serious problems in the coming decades. The authors believe that grassroots political pressure, a great awakening, will eventually force a change to overwhelm the armies of lobbyists and fountains of campaign money that they have showered on politicians. Pressure is rising up from consumers, it's rising up from voters, it's rising up from the states and local governments, and Washington DC will be the last place to come around.
One big insight here relates to global warming. The authors don't see global warming as a critical problem -- provided that we move away from gas guzzlers toward more efficient cars and energy sources. However, that is only one path that industry could follow. The other path leads to tar sands, oil shale, and coal-to-liquids. If these become the replacement for conventional oil, then our global CO2 emissions could skyrocket.Read more ›
The authors, Iain Carson and Vijay V Vaitheeswaran, are transportation journalists and techno-optimists. They love cars and see a bright future for car ownership, provided that one or more of the host of new fuel and energy technologies are embraced - everything from flex-fuel ethanol engines to plug-in hybrids. They are pessimists, however, about the will of Big Oil and Detroit - and politicians - to meet the challenges of carbon emissions, declining oil reserves, and the rising energy demands of newly developing nations such as China and India. This is very telling since both authors worked for the pro-business magazine The Economist.
Although their sharp criticisms of business will have them pegged as anti-business or "leftist," their censure of politicians is across the spectrum. The story about the Clinton/Gore intiative in 1993 with the Big Three, known as the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, would have been funny were it not so tragic. The Big Three went through more than a billion dollars worth of subsidies to produce new fuel-efficient vehicles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You couldn't really ask for two better-qualified writers on this topic than Vaitheeswaran and Carson. Read morePublished on December 28, 2010 by Daniel Altman
The introductory hoopla on fuel cells is so bad you want to quit in the first few pages. Entirely too wrapped up in fuel cells, and overly simplistic. Too much equivocating. Read morePublished on July 28, 2010 by Loyd Eskildson
Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future
by Iain Carson and Vijay V Vaitheeswaran
It is pretty clear that something has to change. Read more
When I first chose to read this book, I imagined it would talk about alternate schemes for powering cars that don't involve the use of fossil fuels or at least oil. Read morePublished on December 5, 2009 by Amazon Customer
This is a piece of advocacy for the car industry to innovate away from oil based fuels. Carson and Vaitheeswaran are full of passion for this process, but they try to carry the... Read morePublished on April 6, 2009 by Craig Matteson
Authors Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran depict "Big Oil" and "Big Auto" as the engines behind much of the world's climate problem. Read morePublished on March 23, 2009 by Rolf Dobelli
How can anyone take seriously a book that markets itself as being a guide to the fuels that might drive cars of the future when it completely misses one of the most obvious... Read morePublished on January 23, 2009 by Ricky Larch
A good book indicating the future of auto energy and its presence amongst the gasoline lovers/profiteers.Published on October 20, 2008 by William D. Tompkins
Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran's ZOOM: THE GLOBAL RACE TO FUEL THE CAR OF THE FUTURE comes from an engineer and economy magazine editor who together consider the scope of... Read morePublished on September 5, 2008 by Midwest Book Review