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Hybrid Cars

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Hybrid Kitshttp://wcco.com/energy/ford.electric.car.2.1011675.html


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May 16, 2008 – Vol.13 No.8


If the cost of oil is still in the stratosphere at this time next year (which seems likely) the US will be well on its way to begin a switch over to electric drive for its cars and trucks. Already the evidence is compelling for this dramatic changeover: It won’t be long before car makers large and small will be scrambling to get new all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles into the nation’s showrooms.


The need for alternative fuels is not a competition; technologies and developers of biofuels should not fear this forthcoming trend towards electric drive. There is no winning technology between biofuels and electric drive. In fact the two should mix together nicely. The best fuel for a plug-in hybrid may be a tankful of cellulosic ethanol or biodiesel. Electrically driven vehicles energized part of the time by biofuels will be able to stretch limited supplies of biofuels further. Efforts now to produce more biofuels are not to replace petrofuels, but only supplement them. Only efficient electric drive will be able allow for a greater penetration into the petrofuels market thus a greater displacement of them.


Further, there are plenty of market opportunities for the sale of fuel made from bio-waste, switch grass, wood chips, soybeans, algae, whatever, beyond what electric drive will ever be able to cover. Much of the marine sector, the construction and landscape industries,everything aviation, and some home heating needs will require liquid hydrocarbon fuels – bio or otherwise – for a long time to come.


Aside from the high energy efficiency of electric drive another reason auto manufacturers large and small are moving towards the technology is the minimal fueling and fuel making infrastructure required to put the vehicles on the road. Auto manufacturers can just build and market vehicles without concern for fueling needs. Plug-in hybrids and electrics need only a short connection to the grid or some distributed power source to be reenergized. And, as studies show, there’s plenty of generated but unsold power on the grid that could be tapped in off-peak hours. The ability to energize from home may encourage, too, the purchase of more home energy systems such as solar or wind. Car manufacturers might encourage this.


Though together the automakers – again large and small startup companies – have not together made any industrywide, public, grand declaration that electric drive is the future, the bits and pieces of news point in that direction:

--- Toyota’s next gen Prius is said to be a plug-in hybrid. (If this is the case probably all of Toyota’s next generation hybrids will be plug-ins) By the way, Toyota has more than a million Prius hybrids – 1,028,000 of the cars worldwide as of the end of April – more than half of them in North America.

--- GM is continuing its development of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid. Other products like a Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid, once being envisioned by GM, could be in the offering.

--- Nissan has announced plans to bring battery electric vehicles to the US by 2010.

--- Subaru is testing electric vehicles on the streets of New York – the R1e.

--- Ford is still testing plug-in Escape Hybrids.

--- Tesla’s all-electric roadster is in production and a market success. Over 1000 have been ordered. The company is still talking up development of an all-electric sedan.

--- Aptera’s Typ-1 all-electric or plug-in hybrid is, with luck, months away from production. The company has more than 400 refundable deposits from potential customers.

--- Think is on its way back in the US from Norway with its small urban electric vehicle. The company has plans for more models.

--- AFS Trinity, an energy storage specialist and auto supplier Ricardo have launched a program to build extreme, plug-in hybrids for fleets.

--- Smith Electric Vehicles is in the process of building US production capacity for electric trucks with Ford bodies. They’ll look like Fords, but powered by Smith.

--- Phoenix Motorcars has its all-electric SUV and SUT (Sport Utility Truck) on the way to customers in about a year.

--- Miles Electric Vehicles has an all-electric sedan in development.

--- Fisker’s Karma plug-in hybrid is set for delivery by the end of 2009.

--- Green Vehicles, highway-capabile Triac 3-wheeler is available now.

--- Zapworld’s Detroit Electric Alias three wheeler is expected in 2009.

--- Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles, a maker of electric powered recreational vehicles has plans for full-size, full-speed electric vehicles in 2010 to be sold under the Wheego name.


Governments – local, state and federal – should prepare for the onslaught of electric vehicles. As nasty as it seem the Feds,eventually will have to find a way to tax electricity as a fuel for cars to keep the Highway Trust Fund filled with cash to keep road projects moving ahead. (Though to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles the tax could be delayed a few years.) States will have to do this too for their highway budgets. States could also waive sales taxes on the vehicles to encourage sales.



Autonomous Automobile

Venturi Electric Inventors Inventions Best of the Rest 2007


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