Jul 24, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Supporters of plug-in or gas-optional hybrids and CalCars:
Daniel Akst said it exactly right at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/90. "What if one of them decided to break from the pack? What if a major automaker decided to reinvent itself as the world's first and only green car company, producing only hybrid, clean-diesel and other high-efficiency vehicles? Not Birkenstocks on wheels, mind you, but enjoyable, functional cars that get great mileage."
Can you help get out the word online? I'm traveling and can't get away. But you can do it even better.
Send the following (or something like it) to people you know, and to online discussion groups at Yahoo, Google, etc. Then take it to the next step: the BLOGOSPHERE, the ever-more-popular online soapboxes.
If you haven't felt the need to pay attention to weblogs yet, this is a good time to start. Go to http://www.calcars.org/kudos.html and look halfway down the page at BLOGS AND DISCUSSIONS that have covered CalCars, PRIUS+ and plug-in hybrids. (Many blogs let you post without registering; some want you to sign up.) If you want to keep going, follow the links at any blog to others.
Post this article (BE SURE TO INCLUDE THE ORIGINAL NYT LINK), plus your own opinions!
Watch what happens. You may want to follow up after others opine.
IN A FEW DAYS:
Look at http://annotatedtimes.blogrunner.com/annotated/nytimes.com/dir/ARTICLES02.html
to see what blogs have linked to Daniel Akst's story.
Thanks -- Felix
Daniel Akst, writing in The New York Times Sunday Business Section (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/business/yourmoney/24cont.html (subscription required) or find it at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/90) says, at least one car company could save itself by enthusiastically and energetically building and selling cleaner, better cars. Many auto experts say Detroit is 5 years behind on hybrid technology. GM and DaimlerChrysler are trying to catch up by joining together, which sounds like decision-making by committee. And Ford's first hybrid, the Escape, can't even qualify for some incentive programs or "car-pool lanes for hybrids" programs because its miles per gallon aren't high enough.
As The NY Times automotive reporter Danny Hakim wrote at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/14, CalCars http://www.calcars.org/priusplus.html and EDrive Systems http://www.edrivesystems.com converted the Prius to get 100+MPG (gasoline plus electricity). And the people who picked up on this, showing how we could get 500MPG cars, included:
Times columnist Thomas Friedman http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/69,
Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7037844/site/newsweek,
LA Times Auto Critic Dan Neil http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news/message/85 and
Set America Free http://www.setamericafree.org.
Imagine, for instance, if Ford called off the lawyers and called in the engineers. That Escape could have a large enough battery so all the local commuting would be electric -- turning this 36/31 MPG car into a 75+ mile plug-in hybrid. If they made it "flex-fuel", it could run on biodiesel and then on cellulose ethanol. Having shifted most of its fuel away from imported oil, its effective gasoline use would be over 300MPG.
Millions would buy that kind of car.
-- Felix Kramer, founder, CalCars.org