Charging Ahead

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Oxford University Press, Oct 29, 1998 - Technology & Engineering - 240 pages
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Charging Ahead is a classic tale of perseverance against daunting odds in the pursuit of a personal dream--and an environmental revolution. You'd have to be a fool to market a consumer electric car, let alone challenge the big three auto makers with a little start up company. But MIT graduate James Worden, with his girlfriend and a handful of audacious engineers, did both and he's well on his way to success. In this marvelous narrative, business writer Joe Sherman vividly describes how Worden and his team built the world's most advanced EV (electric vehicle), the Sunrise. Combining insightful biography with the best of science and business writing, Sherman captures not only Worden's own gripping story, but also the technical challenge of designing an electric car in an age of anxiety over the environment. He depicts Worden's fascination with EVs from childhood (he built his award winning first electric car in high school), tracing it through his monomaniacal career at MIT, where he organized a student team that built EVs for races worldwide, to the founding of Solectria, a company committed to building a consumer electric car. Sherman shows how, despite all the obstacles, Solectria eventually lined up such strategic partners as the Pentagon on its way to producing the Sunrise a lightweight, all-composite, high tech commuter car. The Sunrise would triumph over rivals from the Big Three in the 7th American Tour de Sol, and later travel from Boston to New York on a single battery charge. Charging Ahead is an engaging story of James Worden's struggle to succeed with idealism, energy, and technological superiority against seemingly impossible odds.

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CHARGING AHEAD: An Electric Car that Goes the Distance

User Review  - Kirkus

A fitfully interesting case study of the collision of alternative technology, big business, and government. Automotive business writer Sherman (In The Rings of Saturn, 1993) here turns to the ... Read full review

Charging ahead

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Business is business, and the people in the car business will tell you that electric cars don't sell. Sherman (In the Rings of Saturn, LJ 10/15/93) chronicles the Solectria Corporation's efforts to ... Read full review


1 The Freewheeling James Worden Wins Another Race
Rebirth of a Dormant Industry
3 James Testifies on the Promise of Clean Cars
4 An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
A GoofyLooking Aluminum Thing
6 Racing SolarElectric Cars at MIT
This Marvelously Tattered Canopy
The First World Solar Challenge
13 No ZeroEmission Vehicle Mandate Is a Stake In the Heart
14 The Sunrise Project and Its Partners
Twelfth International Electric Vehicle Symposium
16 Sunrise Almost Stalls Then Rolls Finally Races
The Seventh NESEA American Tour de Sol
18 Crippling the CleanCar Mandate
19 Getting Sunrise into the Mainstream

The Founding of Solectria Corporation
10 Forces Gathering Behind Cleaner Cars and Air
Solectrias First Years in Business
The Ozone Transport Tale

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Page 35 - I have of late— but wherefore I know not— lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
Page 15 - If these people think of coming here another year we hope the law against speeding and scorching will be promptly and vigorously enforced. Let a few of them stay in jail two or three days and they and all the rest of us will be the better for it.
Page 199 - While substantial progress has been made, it is important not to lose sight of the magnitude of the air pollution problem that still remains. Despite great progress in air quality improvement...
Page 3 - No one can make history who is not willing to risk everything for it, to carry the experiment with his own life through to the bitter end, and to declare that his life is not a continuation of the past, but a new beginning. Mere continuation can be left to the animals, but inauguration is the prerogative of man, the one thing he can boast of that lifts him above the beasts.
Page 11 - There seems no reason at all why the people of the community should be subjected to such things. Automobiles are good things and some of the people who own them or drive them are fit to be trusted with them; but, to tell the thing exactly as it is, most of them are not. They seem to think they have the right to use the road to the exclusion or discomfort of other people, to say the least. A few entirely disregard the danger they cause to the lives and property of the people who live here and built...
Page 3 - Brewster emerged from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in...
Page 180 - The failure of the White House to provide any leadership on the clean air standards and on climate change raises real questions about what real environmental progress Vice President Gore can point to in claiming the mantle of the environmental candidate in the year 2000.
Page 15 - The lives and property of perfectly helpless people have been seriously menaced, the laws have been .wilfully disregarded and for no earthly reason other than to afford amusement to a lot of perfect strangers. There seems no reason at all why the people of this community should be subjected to such things.

About the author (1998)

Joe Sherman is the author of In the Rings of Saturn(OUP). A freelance journalist, he lives in Vermont.

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