This is a great story demonstrating how new technology just might get us out of this mess. Coincidentally, I saw the coolest flashlight in a hardware store yesterday. It had a wind up crank instead of batteries and diodes instead of a light bulb. You wind it up for one minute to get about an hour of really bright light. It also had a red and white flashing emergency mode. I bought two and mounted them on my hybrid electric bike, which now looks like a cheap Las Vegas light show on wheels. Cars pull over to let me pass. (Well, not actually pull over. Or let me pass. But they do see me coming!)”Big whoop,” you’re saying, and you may have a point, but think about it. These flashlights were unbelievably inexpensive, weigh practically nothing, and overnight, they have completely eclipsed the energy-sucking halogen light bulbs (powered with big, heavy, expensive rechargeable batteries) that came before them. Diodes use half the power of incandescent bulbs and have a ten-year lifespan. Once a product reaches consumers at such affordable prices, it is declared a winner. Note that government subsidization was not necessary and there are also no government mandates forcing consumers to purchase them.

I strongly suspect that one day soon, we will see the same thing happen to rechargeable-battery technology and it will revolutionize our transportation.