~e; autos, oil, and the orange alert
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 15:25:47 -0400
// this story on Hybrid vehicles also relates to today's
// terror alert, which warns about attacks on oil shipping
// in the Persian Gulf. which is inverts the older paradigm
// of state-based energy wars, i am assuming, to one where
// a small group could disrupt the same systems, yet with
// unpredictability that might enable diplomacy and-or the
// traditional aspects of state-state warfare to figure out:
U.S. Car Buyers Stall on Hybrids
8:55 a.m. Sep. 11, 2002 PDT
ROME -- Hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs, are gaining popularity, but
fuel economy and environmental benefits are not yet enough to win over
price-conscious buyers in the key U.S. market, industry officials said on
HEV models from Honda and Toyota, which use both a conventional engine and
electric motor, are becoming more common in the United States and could
off soon in Europe, according to U.S. executives at a four-day
battery conference in Rome.
The vehicles use an internal combustion engine to recharge batteries and to
provide extra power when accelerating.
In the United States, HEVs cost around $4,000 more than equivalent standard
"There is limited flexibility from consumers in terms of pricing," said Ted
Miller, a Dearborn, Michigan executive with Ford Motor Co.
"If you can deliver a hybrid vehicle to a customer for very nearly the same
price as a typical (non-hybrid) vehicle, the demand can be fairly
significant," said Miller, who also a senior official of the U.S. advanced
Toyota has projected eventual sales of hundreds of thousands of HEVs per
for models like its Prius, Miller said.
Harshad Tataria, an executive with General Motors, said the challenge was
bring HEV costs down to the level of standard vehicles and deliver
"Once we come up with a cost which is the same as the cost of the regular
vehicle, we believe the HEV will take off," said Tataria, who also
the battery consortium's research group.
"However, it isn't going to be easy because we have to put in extra battery
power," he said. "The hybrid vehicle does include fuel economy and reduces
pollution, depending on the degree of hybridization."
Ford plans to introduce an HEV on a limited scale in the United States
while GM intends to launch low-hybrid HEV trucks around 2004.
With fuel in the United States much cheaper than in Europe, U.S. consumers
feel little pressure to switch to HEVs, although the situation might change
if fuel costs soared, delegates said.
Most auto makers will be obliged to upgrade the electrical systems of their
cars to meet increasing needs for power for electronic gadgets.
Cars running on fuel cells -- pure electric vehicles -- are not projected
play any role in the automotive mass market before at least 2010, said
Menahem Anderman, president of California-based Advanced Automotive
Delegates said it would take many years to set up the infrastructure
to charge fuel-cell cars.
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