Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future by Iain Carlson and Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Twelve, 336 pages, $27. 99 Hardcover, October 2007, ISBN 9780446580045 "The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age could well end long before the world runs out of oil. " That statement pretty much sums up the argument made in Zoom, and ironically, it was not made by an environmentalist, but by former Saudi oil minister Sheik Yamani.
Both top-down public policies and bottom-up marketplace innovations must play a role in propelling the world to the post-petroleum age of carbon-free cars. On the policy front, it looks like Washington politicians may finally be shamed into serious action by the clamor in states and cities for action on global warming, a real budding grassroots revolution. As for those marketplace innovations, will the dinosaurs of the car and oil industries finally learn to dance? Or will it be an unruly and disruptive bunch of upstarts, entrepreneurs, and innovators that leads the effort...?Toyota surpassed GM earlier this year as the world's top auto seller, in part by addressing this need for a new approach, and is now forcing American auto makers to look at a world beyond petroleum. If Detroit wants to remain relevant and viable, the big three must come out of their entrenched positions and address the concerns of consumers and challenges of innovation. The authors believe that what they call the "Great Awakening" of American consumers will lead to a demand for change, "promising a clean-energy revolution even bigger than the telecommunications and Internet revolutions," and that belief--and this book--are infectious.