Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chevy's volts-wagen might get us off of the oil road

The Chevrolet Volt will probably do more to get us off of foreign oil than all of the politicians' promises put together.

I really hope they hit their 2010 goal of a car that runs only on electricity. No Prius this, a small gas engine will only be used to recharge the batteries if they run down.

That could eventually make oil just another electrical source. Eventually, because those old gas-guzzlers will still be sold and they last for a long time.

Kudos to General Motors for taking the plunge, apparently risking the company in the process. According to the Atlantic author, "focus groups liked the company’s cars better when the logo was removed." That's pretty close to my opinion of the 100 year-old company before they announced this last year.

Even if they end up with Microsoft-like delays in hitting their deadline, they're pouring money into battery research which will help us in countless areas.

Also, other companies have to follow when the largest, er maybe second largest, automaker makes a commitment like this. Toyota, for instance, used to dismiss electric cars as impractical. According to the article:

At the 2008 Detroit auto show, Katsuaki Watanabe, the president, announced that Toyota would produce a lithium-ion plug-in car of its own, and would have it on the street in test fleets “not at the end of 2010, but earlier than that.” Toyota was talking about a few hundred experimental cars in a controlled setting, not tens of thousands of cars in dealer showrooms, a much less ambitious goal than GM’s. But Toyota is famous for under-promising and over-delivering.

In February, Tesla, the Silicon Valley company, announced plans for an electric sedan with a gasoline-powered generator, like the Volt—but set to arrive a year earlier, in late 2009. In March, BMW said it might produce an electric car for the U.S. market, and in May, Nissan said it would have one in test fleets in 2010. The drumbeat seems likely to continue. Simply by announcing the Volt, GM has attracted a bevy of competitors, bringing the electric car’s mass-market advent from over the horizon to around the corner.


Lil' Hammerhead said...

My bet will always go on the Toyota product.

And on "alternative" energy vehicles.. a U.S. company is supposed to be out on the market with their air-pressure run vehicles this year. Basically vehicles that run off of the airpressure carried in two tanks. They get about eight hours of driving time before the tanks need refilling, which can be done via a built in compressor, or at any gas station tire filler. One of the two models in production will carry six passengers, and have a topspeed of around 80mph.

"Zero Pollution Motors" is the name of the company. They have a great online site, and were recently featured on a Discovery Channel special.

The cars will run between $14,000 and $19,000 per unit, depending on the model and accesories.

No gas, almost no pollution.. and no engine noise! :} At the proposed price, you could get two for the price of a Prius.

KAP said...

There's a lot of air, but the same prototype keeps showing up in all of the sites and there's no product. The various companies pushing this would all be happy to have you invest,though. MDI has dubious promises about linking up with Tata in India, but there's no mention on their website.

**Someday** maybe, but don't hold your breath until 2009 or 2010 for an Air Car.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

Did you check out the ZPM website. A number of models are featured. The Discovery Channel program I referred to had prototypes of a couple. They were pretty clear about production dates.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Ken's caveat is well placed. Remember the Tucker and the Bricklin and countless others with 'wow' ideas and a mock-up or two laying around.

I remember the three wheeled speedster that leaned into the turns back in the 70s. Several of my friends bit on that one, to their later dismay.

The air powered car would be great,,,if it ever comes to pass.

KAPonzi said...

I looked at ZPM and several others. Signed up for alerts. Hey, I'm even on the waiting list for a couple of different cars. How can anyone on Saipan object to a little more Spam?

Wanna invest in my franchise?