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Waverider poised to make history

Duke M Kell | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Kealakehe High School graduate Lita Elbertson left Aug. 18 for a trip of epic proportions.

Her plan is to become the first person to travel to all 50 states in a motorized vehicle without the use of gasoline. What was once the lore of science fiction has now become a reality thanks to the engineers at Tesla Motors.

Elbertson’s uncle and traveling partner, Mike Fritts, made waves earlier this year when he became the first person to drive from New York City to Miami without any money in a same Tesla S Series they will be traveling in on this new journey.

From a personal standpoint, Elbertson says she has always loved to travel. Since graduating high school in 2005 she has been to eight countries and four states.

On this trip, she is set to hit all 50 states and experience her first road trip.

“I want to set the record, be the the first,” she said.

Like the wayfinders she learned about in the Hawaii public school system, Elbertson heads out into the unknown with a sense of calm and a deep, resonating respect for the planet we call home.

The importance of this trip has far reaching implications that could like those before her change our entire existence.

Energy independence, climate change and skyrocketing costs in our food supply are all enmeshed with our addiction to oil.

Years from now, when oil is a distant memory, stories of a girl from Kailua-Kona and her uncle may dance off the tongues of teachers around the world.

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3 Responses to “Waverider poised to make history”

  1. Doug says:

    Have you calculated the carbon footprint necessary to execute this stunt? Let’s remember that the electricity used to charge the Tesla’s batteries is mostly generated from coal or oil. Some may be generated from the even more evil nuclear energy. Don’t forget to include your share of the oil burned by Matson to transport the car to/from the mainland). And, of course all the carbon based energy to manufacture the Tesla. Oh, of course lets not forget the pollution generated in the manufacture of the Lithium batteries.

  2. Mike Fritts says:

    Thanks Doug. I appreciate environmentalists like yourself who are concerned about the use of fossil fuels. We are aware that much electricity comes from coal. A Tesla owner we met in West Virginia has the custom license plate that reads “COAL PWRD”, for example. However, the electric motor is much more efficient than gas engines. That’s why a homeowner anywhere (except Hawaii) can pay a dollar for enough electricity to go as far as a car goes on a gallon of gas. In Hawaii, solar power costs the same or less than grid based electricity. And yes, it takes energy to make the car. It even takes energy to run a computer to write posts complaining about using energy. The best thing a concerned person can do is turn everthing off, and go fishing. I don’t do it as often as I’d like, but I recommend it.

  3. Gene S. says:


    The key word to your rhetoric is `necessary’.
    Although ICE vehicles typically only combust one fuel pursuant to doing their job of moving the vehicle down the road, any source of electrons will suffice for recharging the electron tank (EG battery, capacitor bank, whatever).
    An electric car, bike, or motorcycle has the option of using electrons produced by a wind farms, solar array, … or steam turbine in which the steam was generated by any number of heat sources.

    It’s neither economical nor convenient to put a CO2 scrubber on every ICE vehicle, whereas fossil fuels burned at a power plant CAN have a single CO2 scrubber which is more cost-effective than distributing that functionality across the board at the vehicle level.
    The other factor to consider with ICEs is that their efficiency in turning energy into Horse Power.
    It might just be more efficient to turn the fossil fuels into a stream of electrons which are loaded into electric vehicles than to use the same fuel in less-efficient ICE-powered vehicles.
    You might want to research this to preclude embarrassment in future discussions.

    I routinely ride an electric-assist bike which has a 450 watt motor.
    I suspect that the CO2 produced in making the electrons to drive the motor is less than the CO2 I’d generate by walking.

    I’m pretty sure that the CO2-per-mile of your average electric vehicle is less than that of an ICE vehicle traveling at the same same speed over the same distance … especially in Sweden where coal-fired power plants have CO2 scrubbers and ICE vehicles do not.

    Take away message: it’s the absence of CO2 scrubbers on US power plants which result in the carbon being introduced into the atmosphere.
    And it will be a damned sight easier to put scrubbers on the smoke stacks of power plants than on every Internal Combustion Engine manufactured and distributed to myriad end users.

    Meanwhile, as more wind farms and solar-electric generators come online more-and-more of the electrons consumed by electric vehicles will come from these sources.
    No such prorating is available for vehicles burning gasoline or diesel.
    If the owner of an electric vehicle has the money to invest, a fuel cell can be used to turn fuel otherwise poured into the tank of an ICE into a source of electrons on a more efficient basis than if burned in an ICE vehicle.

    The use of electrons to power a vehicle provides more diverse ways of ultimately powering electric vehicles than comparable ICE-powered vehicles.


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