Dec 12, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Here's an accumulation of key stories and diverse developments about major car companies, the EVS23 conference, and the PHEV campaign. We've tried to make it easy to skim through, and in some cases we've highlighted the most important facts so you can decide which to read in full.
Ford Delivers First Escape Plug-in Hybrid to Southern California Edison
Detroit Free Press, 3 December 2007
Today at EVS-23, Ford will deliver the first of its announced 20 research plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to Southern California Edison (SCE) to begin road testing....The research prototype uses a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery pack from Johnson Controls-Saft based off a 41Ah cylindrical cell. Ford and JCS developed the plug-in pack together. The PHEV uses a blended operating strategy, and delivers an equivalent 30-mile all-electric range, according to Ford.
Jay Leno's Garage: Here's a must-see video
This 17-minute video of a demo and test-drive of Ford's first Escape PHEV starts in Leno's garage, with Ford Engineer Mike Tamor and a representative from Suthern California Edison, includes a drive. Leno repeatedly says things like, "real world 100MPG--this is the vehicle of the future. in a 4,000 pound SUV." Shows the display screen, low-speed all-electric driving (though the engine comes on automatically when the car first starts up), and a nifty feature: when you approach the charging car from the front, you can see on the inside rear-view mirror a number showing the battery's state of charge.
NISSAN ON PHEVS
The Electric Cars in Nissan's Future, by Stephen Clemenger
Interview for EVWorld published November 20, 2007, with Minoru Shinohara, the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of their Technology Development Division, includes: The Plug in Hybrid is very important for Nissan and we are doing advanced engineering in this area. We do see the Hybrid as having an important part in CO2 reduction. But Nissan believes that it will have an evolution and one evolution is the Plug-in Hybrid. We know that a Hybrid has a 40% reduction advantage of CO2 compared to normal vehicles. But we think the Engine its self will have its own future development progress of a 30% reduction in CO2. At the moment a Hybrid can use the best Engine efficiency range but in the future this advantage will be reduced. Only the advantage of 5 to 10% will remain by the use of [Regenerative] Braking. So one way of enhancing the advantage of the Hybrid is to go for an external plug-in of electricity. But the Plug-in Hybrid needs a large Battery pack so it could be a cost challenge for us.
GENERAL MOTORS DEVELOPMENTS
GM news release at EVWorld on aerodynamics of volt
Edmunds' John O'Dell on Volt design; speculates that GM might still start with NiMH batteries.
Wired describes scope of the new GM E-Flex Design Studio
EVWorld reprints Global Insight report with GM saying its Flextreme car will be a contender in Europe
Chevrolet Volt May Be Swan Song for GM's Lutz
by Michelle Krebs, December 12, 2007
Quotes Robert Lutz, General Motors vice chairman for global product development, "My belief is that we are on the cusp of a real shift in automotive technology," he said in a speech last summer. "To meet ever more stringent fuel economy and emission requirements, conventional engines, including diesels, are going to get more and more and more expensive. Further, customers won't be willing to pay for what the new technology truly costs, Lutz said. "We're getting to the point of a paradigm shift where electric vehicles, like the Volt, are going to be a more economic, better solution for the environment than petroleum-powered engines."
PUBLIC RADIO MARKETPLACE REPORT
Plug-in hybrids need more juice Environmentalists have been pushing car companies to put plug-in hybrids on the market because they would use even less gasoline than current hybrids. Well, they're here. American Public Radio Marketplace Wednesday, December 5, 2007 Listen to the show (about 3 minutes) or read transcript at http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/12/05/plug_in_cars/. Includes comments by Dan Neil of the LA Times and Felix Kramer
EVS23, THE INTERNATIONAL ELECTRIC VEHICLE SYMPOSIUM
The policy of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, sponsor of EVS23 is to limit access to conference presentations only to those who pay to attend the event or pay later. Because the access is not to the PDF but to relatively low-resolution pages seen through a viewer, this access is available only many weeks after its events. We believe this is short-sighted, because a global audience is interested in knowing as much as possible about the proceedings and having access quickly to primary resources. At the PHEV workshop, audience members were reduced to snapping pictures of each slide of presentations!
This time, despite these rules, the Argonne National Lab http://www.transportation.anl.gov/ has posted downloadable PDFs of 10 of its presentations and 4 posters at EVS23 at http://www.transportation.anl.gov/media_center/evs-23.html These presentations contain much important information.
Although we are sympathetic to the need of every non-profit group to assure its revenue streams, we had hoped this time the presentations policy might change -- as well as the decision to offer no reduced rate for non-profit groups or even for presenters, and to deny press credentials to established "new media" (those lacking paid subscribers or paid advertisements). Though the conference received some coverage, we think more online coverage could have made a bigger splash and increased the visibility of EDTA, and we regret that the press policy meant that Green Car Congress and CalCars-News were not able to attend the full conference or give it the attention it deserved.
CALCARS' NEW PHEV RESOURCES FLYER: CalCars attended the PHEV day. We still hope to present our report on the very significant presentations by automakers, utilities and government. For that day, to promote cooperation and cross-communication within the broad PHEV campaign, we prepared a two-sided flyer, "PHEVs: Organizations/Resources/Summary of OEM Plans" that pulled together a list of over 100 organizations listed at CalCars' Partners page, our pick of 15 top PHEV publications, and our table summarizing the current status of PHEV plans by automakers and startup companies from our Carmakers page. We had printed 250, not expecting that over 400 people would be in the room. For those who missed it, and for the many others reading CalCars-News for whom this will be helpful, this 120K PDF is found at CalCars' Downloads page -- or directly at http://www.calcars.org/calcars-phev-resources.pdf
Batteries Key to Plugging in at Electric Vehicle Symposium
Industry leaders head to California to discuss technologies and strategies that could electrify the automotive industry.
by Rachel Barron GreenTechMedia December 3, 2007
Preview of eVS23 includes reports of new large-format "Epoch" lithium-phosphate batteries from Valence, new separator film technology from Exxon Mobil and its Japanese affiliate, Tonen Chemical.
The IEEE's John Volker's series of reports on EVS23, http://blogs.spectrum.ieee.org/tech_talk/2007/12/evs23_a_surge_of_energy_for_el.html
The PHEV workshop, including the appearance of Rep. Jay Inslee, and Vancouver's interest in changing building codes to include more plugs.
The audience's skeptical response to Honda's fuel-cell car. http://blogs.spectrum.ieee.org/tech_talk/2007/12/evs23_reader_questions_on_batt.html
The buzz at the conference is about PHEVs and vehicle-to-grid/vehicle-to-home
Speculates that Toyota, with its relationship to Panasonic, is locked into lithium-cobalt battery chemistry when GM is using safer phosphate lithium. Includes a quote, Koei Saga, the senior general manager in the company's hybrid-vehicle system engineering division, said clearly, "We think a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is the most practical approach for normal-size passenger cars."
http://blogs.spectrum.ieee.org/tech_talk/2007/12/evs23_rumors_comments_question.html rumors that GM gets some exclusivity from its suppliers' "energy batteries" for PHEVs.
CALCARS, CAMPAIGNS, CONVERSIONS
Driving Toward a PHEV Future with CalCars.org's Felix Kramer
Matter Network's extensive interview December 04, 2007
GERMAN TV: In addition to the German public TV network 3sat's PHEV coverage we reported on Oct 1, http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/856.html, here's a new TV report featuring CalCars and Google that aired last week on the biggest German public news broadcaster, ZDF as part of its Bali climate change coverage http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/content/377082 click on the orange link "ZDF Mediathek"
Plugging hybrids: The wave of the future
North Coast Times December 12
By: ZACH FOX - Staff Writer
Profiles Kim Adelman, founder of the new http://www.pluginconversions.com in Poway, near San Diego, gearing up to offer nickel-metal hydride conversions in early 2008. Includes quotes Bill Kwong, Toyota spokesman: Toyota is still testing its PHEV prototypes, and they will not be ready for at least three to five years "It's still up in the air, that's why we're doing all this research. We need to know, is it viable? Does it make good business sense, and how does it affect the environment?" Kwong asked. "What are we really doing and how big of a carbon footprint are we going to leave with this?" Kwong said Toyota is concerned PHEVs might just replace gas problems with more coal emissions, since the cars will require more electricity from utilities.
The green lantern: Illuminating answers to environmental questions.
The Electric Vehicle Acid Test: Are EVs really any better for the environment than gas-guzzling cars?
By Brendan I. Koerner
Slate Dec. 11, 2007, at 7:40 AM ET
Despite mountains of information, the author stumbles to the right answer. (Slate's design of the comments makes it barely worthwhile to post corrections.)
MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR WORLD'S FIRST ELECTED OFFICIAL WITH PHEV
We never sent out this story from October: Minneapolis's Mayor is now driving a PHEV daily. Ironically, once he decided he wanted a PHEV, he had no choice but to get a Japanese Toyota converted by a Canadian company...this happened soon after a community coalition including the United Auto Workers conducted a campaign to try to get Ford to build PHEVs at its hydropower-fueled Twin Cities Assembly plant rather than close the factory.
Mayor Rybak Has New Plug-In City Car
Mayor's Official City Car Uses New Fuel-Efficient Technology, Gets 70-100+mpg
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced today that his official City of Minneapolis car is now a plug-in, gas-electric hybrid Toyota Prius that gets 70+ mpg of gas and could get as much as 100+mpg over time...."The solutions exist for us to make a real impact on global climate change," Mayor Rybak said. "Using new technology to protect the environment is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do because it creates jobs and business opportunities for our community, in our community. It only takes willpower from government and business leaders to make it happen."