I remember that as a child, I imagined the perfect car which had everything, and then, I kept adding to it. A bit like Homer Simpson's dream car. There are some inventions that are a bit like that, for example, cars with solar cells in the roof. Not that they are a particular bad offender in this arena, it is simply that I started talking about cars so I'll just keep going on that line. There are a couple of offerings that came out of a quick search, the Lightyear and the Sion.

As I write this, my car is parked in its usual spot in an underground parking. If I had one of these solar-powered cars, should I then move it out to park in the street so it gets some sun? There are good reasons for me to have a parking place, I don't want to roam around my neighborhood looking for an empty parking spot, I don't want my car to be exposed to the environment, dirt, people, pigeons, and so on. If I lived in a McMansion in the suburbs, perhaps I should leave it in the driveway instead of inside the garage. Which makes me wonder, why do we bother to build covered parking, private or shared, and why do we pay good money for the privilege of using it, silly me?

Perhaps I can charge it when doing shopping. I usually try to park it in the shade, but then, if I had one of these cars, I would have to park it in the sun, and enjoy that more than warm welcome when I come back inside the car that sat in the sun for some time. There must be a reason we do things the way we do.

Imagine instead that I had a garage at home, wouldn't it make much better sense to park a regular electric car and put the solar cells in the roof of that garage? Those cells would produce electricity in a predictable way instead of relying on where we park the car, and I wouldn't have to make decisions about where to park my car. Or be concerned about how much is a dent in the body of the car is going to cost me when it is covered with solar cells.

There is the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Keep the car simple, let it do what is good at doing and don't compromise its design or its usage with things like solar cells that are better suited to other places.

Today I read an article about a company developing a rail car designed to capture CO2 while rolling about. Direct Air Capture, as the technology to extract CO2 directly from air is called, requires fans to move huge volumes of air through the capturing system. This is an obvious expense, which they mean to avoid. They plan to do it by having the rail car scoop air while it moves about hooked to whatever train happens to have some extra pull capacity. So, instead of moving the air through the factory, they plan to move the whole factory through the air because, apparently, they assume that hooking an extra rail car to a train comes for free. Moreover, since the process to actually separate the CO2 from the rest of the gases needs some energy, they plan to get it from generators moved by the wheels of the rail car. I am sure the railroad operators would be very happy to hook to their trains an extra car that drags against the pull of the locomotive. Perhaps they plan to scoop some of the exhaust from the diesel on the locomotive?

Over the years, I am sure, we all read about artists and designers making furniture, clothes or complements from recycled materials, and eco-fashionistas buying them in droves. It really never made sense to me in part, I'm sure, because I have as much sense of fashion as Dilbert, the comic strip character. But having an individual going through the whole process of picking usable material from the recycling bins, transporting, processing and selling them made little sense and had no chance of making an impact. It is just a greenish version of the "charity ball" where the worth of the resulting charity is less than the cost of a single gown. Let the industrial recyclers do the recycling in high enough volumes as to make a dent in any statistic and produce material that integrates in the regular production chain.

All the rest is green-washing or pointless idealism.