We need to pick our Sustainability exemplars carefully…
This week, the SolarImpulse aircraft has completed the first solar-powered round the world flight, an epic 17-stage journey taking journey covering 42,000km, over four continents, three seas and two oceans and taking 16 months. More than anything, it was an act of human endurance, with the pilot confined to a cockpit the size of a telephone booth, whose seat doubled as the toilet, and only allowed to sleep for 20 minutes at a time.
An impressive piece of derring-do certainly, but as an example of clean technology, a 30mph plane with no practical payload is hardly going to set the world on fire is it? I kinda think it reinforces the green hair-shirt cliché. Sorry if that’s a bit harsh, but we’ve always got to look at clean tech as others see it.
If we’re going to show people what clean technology can do, how about the 7-seater all-electric Tesla Model X burning off an all-American muscle car on Top Gear. Now that’s impressive.
Photo © Solar Impulse.