The Dao of hybrid cars, Taiji in action
I have been interested in hybrid and EV (electric vehicles) cars for a while. The ever increasing cost of petrol and the ongoing doubts of diesel meant that we should look at alternatives. Hybrids have been around for a while and the technology is proven as effective. EV's are newer, where the car is powered by batteries. The car needs to charged on a regular basis, or depending how often you use it. The technology is getting better all the time, but there is a risk of running out of power over longer journeys and therefore is for the moment, not all that appealing. The situation is similar to when LPG (liquid petroleum gas) was introduced. The lack of service stations and suitable infrastructure meant LPG was never really took off. Furthermore, EV cars are not cheap to buy, though they are cheap to run. It is that big psychological barrier to cross first. Hybrid cars are the best of both worlds. They can be very frugal, cheaper to buy and have decent range. The common misconception is that they run on batteries in urban areas and on petrol on the main roads and highways. However, is not the case as the petrol engine and the battery work together for most of the time. When you start the car, the battery gives the car a boost, this in turn saves petrol. On the road, any surplus energy produced is fed into and stored in the batteries. When there is a need for more power, such as going up a hill or accelerating, the batteries again gives the engine a boost. When going down a slope or coasting, the engine is not in use and the power generated by the wheels is fed into the batteries. Hybrids are driven like any car, but you drive one for economy and therefore you change the way you drive and the smoother you are with the car, the better the economy.
The concept of hybrids is like Daoism in action. The boost you need is the Wu Wei (無爲), no more, no less. Any power not required is stored and ready to be used when required. The economy if mindful of the environment is liken to the compassion and thoughtfulness. Hybrid cars are generally low maintenance and the aim for peace of mind. You look after your car, the car looks after you. I find hybrids are much like Taiji in action. The aim is not to be fast, after all, why are you rushing about? Enjoy life, enjoy the smooth civilised ride. You won’t get to your destination much more quickly if did put your foot down. Also, you do t need to use excessive energy to achieve your objective. Not being fast is not a weakness, but a chance to reflect and cultivate. Enjoy life, enjoy the Wu Wei moment.