What if Phones Ran on Gas and Cars on Electricity?

What if Phones Ran on Gas and Cars on Electricity? 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
Disclaimer: If you are allergic to the symbol on your keyboard right next to your right shift (the question mark), you'd better not read the following story. It's filled with open-ended, rhetorical and sometimes stupid questions.
Good, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about energy. It's stored in batteries, dinosaur juice and mother nature. We consistently use it to power our stuff. But what if you fell through an inter-dimensional portal in your toilet and landed in a parallel universe, where the internal combustion engine was developed in the 1970s by Bill Gates?

This crazy idea came to me while test driving an electric car. I won't tell you which one just yet, but the point is that its specs sheets suggested the battery made it 290 kilograms heavier. That's like two fat people always hitching a ride with you. How are we supposed to be frugal with so much mass to carry around?

So I looked at the smartphone and realized it too was burdened by the batter. Retail shops sometimes keep their demo laptops and phones charged but without a battery to make you think they are lighter. Compared to the Nokia 3310, which was my first handheld, the 5.5-inch wonder I have now is hundreds of times better… except for the battery.

Apparently, both cars and electronic goods need to wait another decade for nanotechnology to evolve and come up with a more power-dense lithium-polymer cell. That's absurd! In 10 years, I'll be too old to enjoy this stuff.

So getting back to the question of the parallel universe, I want to imagine what it would be like if phones had little gas turbine or Wankel engines to power themselves. Wouldn't that be incredibly funny? I suppose the universe would look a little bit like this 2011 Nissan Leaf commercial, but hopefully less depressing.

Because everything men do or buy turns into a competition, I bet people would compare the exhaust sound on their phones or buy aftermarket body kits. Battery swap? Try an engine swap for an iPhone6 V8 Plus.

As for the cars, well they'd all be pretty heavy, so people probably wouldn't want to go racing. Ferrari would be making prancing phones and tablets, so no supercars for you. I suppose the one significant upside would be that the air would be cleaner in the city, but less so in the office buildings where all the people have smart devices.

I often wonder what our planet would be like if we were preoccupied with boats or rockets instead of cars. Over the past century or so, the automobile has become THE object of desire, a symbol of your status and wealth. But if it worked like a household appliance, wouldn't that be different?

What if every house had a little bonsai that required 200 years to grow? It's a stupid question, but up until the 1900s, the Chinese considered shrunken feet to be beautiful. One cataclysmic event and cockroaches could be running on cars powered by "people juice" in another billion years.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
Mihnea Radu profile photo

Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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