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« Energy Usage Forecast | Main | New York Times Supports Energy Bill »

June 13, 2006

Comments

G Eddy

I don't understand why you characterize this effort as timid nor do I agree that we'll have to wait 9 years for its introduction. Four years sounds more reasonable.

The proposed 1.8 liter engine is an enormous shift from where other auto companies are going.

This is a bold step into an arena that may sound simple (plug-in hybrids), but to make such a vehicle that is safe, foolproof, and easily AND SAFELY recharged is a major shift.

Halvo

I agree with G Eddy about 9 years sounding too conservative. Can anyone out there point me to a comprehensive list of auto manufacturers and the battery company they are partnered with for hybrid development? Thanks

amazingdrx

I suspect delaying tactics as well.

Toyota has threatened to void the warantees of those who install their own plugin retrofits to Toyota hybrids.

Since there is already a HUGE demand for these plugins (a group of cities has signed a proposal to buy plugins in order to get mass production going by the auto manufacturers), and at least one company has produced a successful Prius plugin retrofit,what are we to conclude when Toyota claims they won't do it for 5 to 8 years?

My guess is pressure from oil interests in the form of import restrictions against Toyota. The same interests so closely represented within the current US administration.

Golden Boy

How the hell could "oil interests" implement import restrictions against a car company?

amazingdrx

The latest plugin version of a Prius gets 200+ mpg, that is a dire threat to the oil industry.

An industry that somehow got 10s of billions in subsidies last year, when they had record profits of over a 100 billion dollars.

How do oil industry lobbyists do it? You tell me. Friends in high places? Like the VP of this administration?

Golden Boy

"How do oil industry lobbyists do it? You tell me. Friends in high places? Like the VP of this administration?"

K, then where are the import restrictions against 60 mpg Priuses? Why are there still massive subsidies for ethanol? The evil neocons asleep at the switch?

amazingdrx

45 mpg Priuses do not threaten the oil monopolists? 200 mpg plugins do.

Archer Daniels Midland gets the ethanol subsidies. Just another corporate donor, like big oil. That uses a LOT of fossil fuel to produce that ethanol.

Ethanol will never be anymore than a few percent of liquid fuel (there is simply not enough crop land for anymore than that), a very non-threatening alternative.

Ethanol is greenwashing that delays real renewable electric transportation in favor of lipservice that keeps internal combustion going. At 14% efficiency.

The dodge of multi fuel vehicles produced by uS automakers lets them pretend a 12 mpg multifuel SUV is a 33 mpg SUV for CAFE standard evasion purposes.

So glad you asked, please continue!

Roy

amazingdrx,

The Japanese auto import restrictions are simply "voluntary" quotas, and they don't apply to domestically manufactured Japanese cars. So even assuming the oil companies had the political clout to institute import restrictions, Toyota could easily get around them by producing the car in one of their US plants.

amazingdrx

"The Japanese auto import restrictions are simply "voluntary" quotas"

Yep, they are now, but what pressure occurs behind the scene?

Does Toyota suspect that if they introdice 200+ mpg plugins those restrictions could be made law? I think that is the case.

It is very naive to think that pressure tactics are not used in international trade and multinational corporate infighting. This is not hopscotch on the playground.

It's the stuff that trade wars and world wars are built on. Remember the oil and mineral embargoes before WW 2 broke out?

Jim from The Energy Blog

Just for my own edification, what do you guys think is the reason that the hydrogen economy is supported by big business and the politicians rather than the plug-in/ renewable energy solution?

amazingdrx

Diversion Jim. That's my take on it.

Each hydrogen filling station costs a fortune. Fiel cells use very expensive metals. And high pressure hydrogen storage tabks for cars are very expensive too.

It can be talked about year after decade for a long time, while the pie in the sky greenwashing continues to delay plugin technology mass production.

Plugins can be plugged into the grid anywhere. Even into home solar or wind, which really is a frightening idea to business as usual.

Think of those dollars now going into oil companies, with plugins consumers will pay a fraction of what they now pay for gasoline. And pay that to utility companies.

This isn't a conspiracy, it is how hard nosed business works to influence government policy. Remember how the auto companies killed electric streetcars by offering buses at artificially low prices?

Golden Boy

Uh huh. So why don't the Japanese build plug-ins for sale in petroleum resource barren Japan? Does the long arm of the evil oil companies reach all the way into Japanese society?

amazingdrx

Subaru is, even though GM has a substantial stake in it. It's an electric car due to come out in 2010.

I think Toyota is spooked by the pressure tactics though. They have surpassed GM in sales to become number one. I think their success makes official trade restrictions more likely.

Ptotectionism to preserve the failing uS auto industry. Subtle threats are effective in this situation. A US company is already suing them for patent infringment in the Prius transmission design.

Mark

plug-ins are the answer to our dependency on foreign oil and many are probably dismayed that Toyota is taking too long to produce more Toyota plug-ins considering that they are the biggest automaker at present. Production cost for sure is not an issue here.

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