Got a Motorized Wheelchair? Let’s Go Camping!

We mentioned the other day about the “well qualified” Helmut Kohler my City Council has hired to educate the rest of us poor stupid minions on energy and sustainability. In the same issue of the City Newsletter, the aptly named “Beachcaster,” the vice-mayor of the city has an article describing a “town hall” meeting over which he presided concerning “progress” within the city and the “progressive view” of the future. In fact, vice mayor Chase was so thrilled with the idea of “progress,” every time he used the term in his article, he capitalizes and italicizes it. As an example, Chase writes,

On March 3, I had the opportunity to host a Town Hall Meeting where we continued down the path of those early volunteers to discuss PROGRESS. A few of the PROGRESSIVE ideas we shared that evening include:

No less than 17 times in a one and a quarter page article does Chase scream “PROGRESS” at us.

As a conservative, the idea of “progressive” being slammed down my throat is troubling. “Progressivism” can be defined as:

a political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reform through governmental action. Progressivism is often viewed in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.

I believe, as did the founding fathers, that government’s duty is to protect the rights of its citizens rather than attacking those rights at the point of the government sword.

My reaction to hearing “progress is good” and “we should be progressive” from a government official results in a visceral negative response from me. I become very cautious and skeptical. While I am willing to say that Chase may not be aware of the meaning of “progressive” and is simply equating “progress” as “moving forward in a positive manner,” the fact remains that the city has a history of being somewhat draconian in its rules and laws. Chase’s push for more ideas that he considers “progress” is troubling.

One of the ideas that came out of the town hall meeting was allowing “golf carts” within the city. There are Florida communities that allow golf carts to roam on public street so the idea is not new. Yet it does lead to several interesting questions such as, “will there be a license required for the golf cart?” “Will the driver have to take and pass a licensing course?” “Will the driver be required to carry insurance as the operator of a car does?” “Will there be a registration fee for the cart and or the driver?”

The reasons why these questions are important is that if the golf cart and or the driver needs some sort of license or registration, that money will go to the city itself, and not the state government where license and registration fees for motor vehicles go.

The question is then “are golf carts on the public roads a convenience or another money making proposition for the local government?”

While pondering these questions, I came upon the ETA QTVan. This is a mini-camper that can sleep one person on a full sized mattress that is pulled by an “scooter” or “electric wheelchair.”

The QTvan is so named because it caters to three peculiarly British obsessions: queuing, tea and caravans.

The QTVan is being released in time to coincide with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Elderly spectators hoping to bag the best spot on the Royal Wedding procession route, but unwilling to spend a night camping on the pavement, can now buy a caravan designed to be towed by a mobility scooter; the QTvan launched this week is small enough to be used on the pavement, but manages to accommodate a full-size bed. (emphasis mine)

Think about this for a moment. People will be camping out along the procession route. They will bring sleeping bags as bedding. When the sun comes up, people will roll up their sleeping bags. The space that they occupied can now be taken by others who wish to see the royal procession. That isn’t the case with the QTVan. Heck, just keep it there and block everyone’s view. Take up more space than everyone else. You are entitled to do so because…..

The QTvan is the world’s most environmentally-friendly caravan. Using a conventional caravan for a ‘staycation’ within Britain remains a relatively green way of taking a holiday, but if the electricity used to charge the mobility scooter is bought from a green provider, the QTvan is entirely carbon neutral.

Because you are being “carbon neutral,” you have the right to be more obnoxious and take up more space!

But there is something else there.

The QTVan is not “carbon neutral.” First, look at the amount of plastic. Plastic doesn’t shape itself. It requires energy to do so. Metal wheels? Ditto. And do people really think that botanists have developed a rubber tree that produces tires directly from the tree?

It all takes energy.

Furthermore, even the claim of “if the electricity used to charge the mobility scooter is bought from a green provider, the QTvan is entirely carbon neutral,” is complete and total heifer hockey.

I first encountered this “powered by green energy” when I started to look for a hosting site for this blog. There are a lot of companies that brag that they get the energy to run their servers entirely from wind or solar power. I called one of the companies and they told me that the power company in their area has wind turbines.

“And when the wind dies down, do your servers go offline?” I asked.

“Oh no,” I was told. “Our servers have 99% uptime percentage.”

At that moment, I knew the company was lying. You see, electrons in the form of electricity don’t have little signs on them saying “I was made by a wind turbine.” Or “I was made by solar power.” Or even “I was generated in an evil coal power plant.” Electricity is electricity and power that is generated is put into the power grid to combine with electricity generated by other sources. There is no way to separate or distinguish electricity that is generated from a power plant from a wind turbine unless you have the wind turbine on your property and own it.

Any company that makes the claim that they are “carbon neutral” because they get their power from all “renewable energy sources,” is lying to you. If they are lying to you about something simple like power, what else will they lie to you about?

With the QTVan, what they are lying to you about is pretty easy to find if you think about it.

Electric scooters are rated to carry a certain weight. Anything more than that drains the battery faster and puts a strain upon the motor it is not designed to handle. I could not find any scooter that was rated to drag 200 – 500 pounds that I estimate the QTVan weighs. The scooters just aren’t designed for that. It is almost as if the company that designs and makes the QTVan doesn’t care if the scooter needs repair or parts.

And why should they? Their company sells insurance on scooter repair and also repairs them.

Is there a correlation between a company that makes a product that shortens the lifespan of another product they repair?

If the company were and evil car company, or an evil power company, there would be no question as to the answer. But as this company touts being “carbon neutral,” they will get a pass from the progressives amongst us.

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