The whole earth uses approximately 15 TW (terawatts) of energy/year. The sun that strikes the earth would be able to create 89,300 TW/year. The sun is able to provide 5953 times as much energy as we need!
A Dyson Sphere is a theoretical megastructure that would be able to absorb all the energy from a star, such as the sun. Think of it as a ball completely enclosing the sun that absorbs all the energy that star puts out. That’s a ton of energy as shown above! But we don’t need that much energy. According to this site, we don’t need anything near the size of a dyson sphere to provide all the energy we need as a world. We only need enough solar panels to cover a land mass the size of the country of Spain, spread over the world, that’s not a lot of land at all!
What would we do with all this energy? Obviously we’d power all the appliances in our houses! What else could we do? How about power our cars? If you haven’t heard about Tesla Motors, you are missing out. Tesla is a company started by super genius, Elon Musk. He started the company with the intent of making an all electric car for the common person. He is nearly there. Tesla Motors is planning to launch the Model 3 (their 4th car) in 2017. This car is projected to have a range of 200 miles and a cost of $35,000, about on par with many current vehicles. Their first car was the Tesla Roadster, a sports car based on a Lotus Elise to display the technology. Their 2nd car was the incredible Model S sedan. The Model S is a 7 passenger sedan available with a range between 200 and 265 miles. It can also be charged (for free after a fee) at over 170 superchargers available around the USA and 445 in the world, and more being built every day! Here is a map of all of them.
While every Tesla is an incredible car and works great in places dense with superchargers, in places such as where I live, Iowa, it’s not quite the perfect, do all car, yet. For this time in history, a great thing would be a car that could drive most of it’s miles on an electric charge but also have a backup gasoline/diesel/fuel motor to extend it’s range. Luckily, there is a car just like that available on the market today, the Chevrolet Volt. It has a range of 38 miles on electricity only (for a 2012) and a fuel extended range of 341 miles using its gas engine, likely much farther than you care to drive! With those numbers up to 95% of all trips could be made using electric energy according to this study that shows the average trip is under 30 miles. How long is your daily commute or average trip? Of course one new issue we get with electric cars is that we would have to plug them in every night. What a hassle! Never fear, technology is here! Using the Plugless L2 charger, we are able to just park our car and it automatically charges itself, problem solved! The Plugless L2 is obviously a bit more expensive than a plug in charger, but that’s what technology is, convenience for a price. A plug in charge is about $500 for a Chevrolet Volt while a Plugless L2 is about $2000, but how much is your time and convenience worth! Also, think of all the savings you have from all the gas you aren’t using! Couple that with the fact that you can’t put a price on being green and the cool factor of being in the future and I’d say it’s a no-brainer, get the electric car with a wireless charger!
If you aren’t excited for the future after reading this I think there may be no hope for you! Let’s march to the future and up the Kardashev Scale.