Mainstream Media JawDroppers Kiplinger and Car & Driver; WSJ vs BizWeek on Volt

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Musings Csaba Csere Car Driver’s (who back in October­calcars-news/­183.html was one of the first to pay attention to as the next big thing,)

An insider the Kiplinger’s Letter (prognosticating for 85

A whiny, uninformed criticism of GM Holman Jenkins, Editorial Member of the Wall Street

A rebuttal of an earlier, shorter by Jenkins, from Business AutoBeat columnist David

Fearless Prediction: Plug-In Will be the Hot Rods of the 21st — The Steering Column

BY CSERE May 2008­features/­columns/­c_d_staff/­csaba_csere_the_steering_column/­

Plug-in hybrids are the latest among cutting-edge planet By combining a big battery with an motor and a small internal-combustion (75 or so horsepower) hooked to a generator, a hybrid delivers the pollution-free of a pure electric car for about 40 which encompasses most for most people. Yet unlike a electric car, a plug-in can from New York to Los Angeles its engine fires up to spin the generator and recharge the battery.

In mode, the plug-in achieves a 40-to-50 mpg while neatly the range limitations of purely cars.

The lithium-ion batteries to achieve this performance—at a price—still do not exist, but numerous are on the case, hoping to nab major to supply the world’s automakers batteries by the millions. When inexpensive batteries become plug-ins will quickly as they can be charged at standard electrical outlets.

That’s than can be said for fuel-cell which are still decades owing to the high costs of the cells and the immense difficulties of pollution-free hydrogen and distributing it the country. In fact, a reasonable might conclude that plug-in hybrids become and their batteries become purely battery-powered vehicles leapfrog the fuel-cell machines and them stillborn.

The key to making the hybrid work is the big battery stores enough juice for the to solely run on electric power for a distance. In the case of the Chevy concept, this battery has a of 16 kilowatt-hours. For the technically challenged, a means 1000 watts, so battery can produce 16,000 for one hour, one watt for 16,000 or anything in between.

In reality, ratings will be cut in half using only half the capacity will greatly the number of times the battery can be and discharged.

When I see a battery large, my first thought is to its electrical energy into Eight kWh equal 10.7 or 644 horsepower-minutes. In other words, the has enough juice to produce 644 for one minute.

Even if we cut that back by 10 to account for motor and electric we’re talking about power here.

There are a of steps required to turn substantial reservoir of electrical into speed. The first is to a switch that lets the tell the power control not to run the car on its fully charged battery but to fire up the internal-combustion engine and run as a conventional hybrid while the battery fully charged and to deliver a maximum dose of power for high-performance driving. The will simply let the driver whether the car is operating in power or efficiency mode, and it will to be accompanied by appropriate software in the computer that controls the power flow.

The skill to this will surely be among the hordes of computer in America.

The next step is to a serious electric motor the plug-in hybrid vehicle. The is powered by a 160-hp electric with 236 pound-feet of torque. this motor with one is two or three times as powerful energize the car’s performance Or remembering that the Volt is drive, adding a second to power the rear wheels also provide the additional The specialized, three-phase AC motor/generators in hybrids are not sitting on the shelves at local RadioShack, so a certain of scrounging and improvisation will be to find and fit them.

But much as hot of half a century ago took designed for GM’s 71-series engines and adapted them to Detroit V-8s, the truly will find the motors for these plug-in hot rods.

Big will also need power control electronics to a suitably elevated supply of and amps. In many ways, like a souped-up V-8 needing a fuel-injection system with a fuel pump and fatter line. The electrical components to do this should be available, custom fabrication will be to achieve the desired results.

imagine a suitably modified hybrid with a 16-kWh With half of that preserve the battery life—available to the car, coupled to an upsized electric motor, you can enjoy power for 96 seconds. That’s to run 0 to 60 in the four-second range and continue on to 170 or 180 depending on the car and whether its gearing such a high speed area for potential modification).

a little bit of regenerative braking in, that would get you a full hot lap most road-racing tracks in the After exhausting the battery such an extended high-power it would take roughly 10 of driving—at a mild speed—for the generator to fully recharge the again.

You can’t really do any of these to a parallel hybrid like the because the electrical and IC powerplants are too integrated to easily modify But because a plug-in is a series with the electric motor driving the wheels and the IC engine running the generator, there’s greater potential to tweak the components. The beauty of such a is that even after performance modifications you can still the switch and drive the vehicle in the mode and get those flashy figures on short commutes.

Hybrid Cars Zooming

Automakers are speeding ultra-high-mileage cars to market to beat federal emissions mandates.

By Jim Associate Editor, The Kiplinger

June 26, 2008­businessresource/­forecast/­archive/­

Get ready to see the USA in your plug-in — or your Saturn, Toyota or Mercedes. High prices have automakers development of fuel sipping that will allow motorists to charge up at night home, then commute to and run errands without heeding the gas Even long trips drain wallets, with averaging 80 to 100 miles per gallon cutting fuel costs 40%, including the cost of

General Motors and Toyota get their souped-up hybrids showrooms first, within two followed by Ford. Virtually major automaker plus manufacturers such as Fisker and Visionary Vehicles have a entry in the works.

Within a plug-in cars will for around 20% of all new U.S. vehicle largely replacing their mileage gasoline-electric hybrid By 2025, that share be about 30%.

Automakers little choice but to go electric. already being forced to fleets’ average fuel to 35 mpg by 2020, a 40% jump. The auto also don’t want to be flat-footed by enactment of carbon (CO2) emissions restrictions by Lawmakers are inching toward and may enact such restrictions as as next year.

Although caps will be phased in several years, Detroit and their foreign cousins that their vehicles have to exceed 35 mpg fuel in order to slash CO2 tailpipe

Automakers are under the gun from too. California’s zero-emissions program mandates nearly plug-in cars be sold in the between 2012 and 2014. Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode and Vermont have adopted requirements, and other states follow.

Technical breakthroughs will automakers get plug-ins on the road than anticipated even a ago. After years of and false starts, the lithium ion is about to move beyond the stage into commercialization. will enable vehicles to be at home during the night, or during the daytime, says Cole, chairman of the Center for Research, an auto industry firm.

Early models be able to travel up to about 40 on the battery charge alone. not much of a drawback — than 80% of motorists drive than that in a day, says.

Infrastructure is revving up, with companies such as Technologies set to install curbside and recharging posts. Motorists be able to buy volts with a card, says Paul a cofounder of Plug In America, a group.

Early buyers may sticker shock, though, prices of $40,000 or so for a plug-in, $10,000 for the lithium ion battery. a few years, as volume picks up and the to make lithium ion cells the price of the battery will 25%, and in less than a battery cost should below $1000.

Because vehicles involve a whole lot than replacing a fuel and gasoline-powered engine with a and an electric engine, widespread of electric cars should an economic boomlet. In addition to the ion batteries, plug-in vehicles need whole new systems including computer components and — to control braking, acceleration and so on, replacing the mechanically drive trains, transmissions, and braking systems of today’s vehicles. The battery market is expected to hit $30 billion by 2020.

positioned to take advantage: electric controls, transmission and timing system leaders Continental, Johnson Controls and But start-ups

What Is GM Thinking?

Street Journal, July 2, Page 11

By Holman Jenkins

change in consumer tastes is not a new for the car business. The phrase is Lee Iacocca’s, his autobiography, referring to public for small cars after the oil shock.

Less violently, a shift in taste for smaller, fuel-efficient cars amid the of 1958 helped doom the

The 1950s also happen to be the time GM’s share sank as low as $11 per share. Two morals be drawn.

One is that GM’s to avoid bankruptcy has again doubtful in the minds of investors. The comparison indeed overstates the well-being today. In inflation-adjusted today’s share price is to $1.50 in mid-1950s dollars.

any forecast calling for a permanent in auto tastes based on a as volatile as the price of gasoline is

GM’s leaders are not nuts, and yet to hundreds of millions into a to launch an electric car, the Volt, guaranteed to lose on every unit sold, to seem a peculiar strategy for a in dire liquidity straits.

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each hectic advance in the process, the expected sticker to consumers has gone up. Reportedly, electrical fixtures, such as and taillights, won’t suffice they draw too much At last leakage, GM is saying now the may need a sticker price of

At best, the Volt will be an family’s third car. It have to be plugged in for six hours a day i.e. it will be a car for a suburbanite a sizeable garage wired for It won’t be a car for a city dweller who on the street or in a public lot.

It travel 40 miles on a six-hour After that, a small gas will kick in to recharge the while you drive. Some claim the Volt will get 50 mpg in mode, but that’s hallucinatory: If a gasoline engine to power an motor were so efficient, the would be full of such (Our guess: The car will be to get 15 mpg under gasoline power.)

that, even today, people continue to buy SUVs of hauling eight passengers, the dog and though they spend of their time in the car driving Customers value flexibility in vehicles. For a car with the Volt’s usability to sell would an unlikely revolution in consumer especially if gasoline prices going to $10 a gallon.

And for those who the Volt’s justification is greenhouse notice that electric play Three Card with energy inputs: It all on where the electricity is coming (Ditto, by the way, GM’s faith in hydrogen fuel — it all depends on where you get the from.) On the other hand, if you the world’s coal plants nuclear plants, it would a huge impact on greenhouse regardless of what cars are driving. If curbing CO2 is your (however quixotic), power not cars, should be your

Never mind. GM executives are not They justify the costs and of the Volt as a way of changing GM’s in the minds of consumers and politicians.

To a pun, the Volt is GM’s for making a bailout of GM politically

The company has already started it expects Washington to provide a $7,000 tax credit to Volt In Europe and the U.S. under fuel economy and emissions prevail, GM also expects favoritism for the Volt. The goal is to the flex-fuel hoax, in which GM extra credit for making that can burn 85% ethanol, if they never see a drop of fuel.

CEO Rick Wagoner last laid out the case to Barack personally for turning GM into a of the state, by way of direct and indirect to support a transition to alternative vehicles. GM has done yeoman’s getting its structural costs labor) in line, but shareholders note that a big part of the turnaround gamble consists of eliciting favor once from Washington after a in which the domestic auto were nothing but whipping on Capitol Hill.

This Ford designers are working to the iconic Mustang look though it won’t be any smaller. recognizes, apparently, that a taste component to consumer for small, unprepossessing cars as as an economic motive. GM is making the bet, on a much bigger

It’s betting the Volt trigger a change in Washington’s for bailing out a domestic car maker.

WSJ on Chevy Volt—-Shocking

Posted by: Kiley on April 23

Holman W. Jr. writes a pretty tedious in The Wall Street Journal suggesting that General is wrong-headed for developing the plug-in Volt.

Holman W. Jenkins Jr. make one reasonable point. The of Transportation’s announcement that will have to boost efficiency in their cars and by 4.5% a year until is subject to change by a future and White House if automakers get there, market conditions and oil changes, etc. There are a of things that can happen now and then to move the goal

But here is where Holman W. Jr. loses me. America’s biggest car company called in reporters month to boast — — about its willingness to money on its forthcoming electric That includes betting the on whether batteries can be developed the necessary power-to-weight ratio and expectancy to give the car its needed

Whatever it takes to do, we will do to the plug-in Volt by a 2010 project leader Frank told journalists.

The scientists I interviewed over the past few tell me that not only is the within reach, but that it too much sense not to pursue gusto. Do costs have to be down? Yes. But never has an of technology come along so perfectly matched the peculiarities of the driver.

The plug-in is designed to run 40 and 50 miles on an electrical charge. If you to go a longer distance, an engine kicks on to recharge the battery get you there. It takes the nervousness of out of juice out of the mix.

Honda doesn’t see the market for Okay. But Honda have us the looking Insight to answer the as well as the Ridgeline pickup and the

Honda’s read of the consumer side of the busines can be off.

GM the Volt and its plug-in siblings as a new through which the U.S. and will view the company—if it the products right and delivers. But the company for over-spending on breakthrough Why?

GM has gotten management wrong plenty of times with Italian automaker before its financial renaissance to mind) They have gotten product decisions plenty of times (see: Aztek, Chevy Outlander and LS to name a few.).

A financial and commitment to bring a game-changing to showrooms is hardly something to As Toyota has proved, the presence of the in showrooms and in the papers makes its thirstiest gas suckers like the and Tundra appear greener GM’s vehicles even they aren’t.

More Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. For some of dollars, GM can afford to bribe to drive Volts off the lot…

GM is that there will be adopters, as well as government to help consumers buy the new technology…just as were for the Prius. GM opted out of in the 1990s because it rightly saw gas-electric hybrids were an engineering solution for higher economy. It made a bet that cars would come faster than reality us now is the case.

Yes, it’s a bit of a of the dice for GM. And it’s unlike the way the death automaker Jenkins has behaved in the past. From my point, it looks like GM is in the political reality that we never have European-style gas to drive demand for smaller so it is trying to one-up Toyota on the front.

If GM falls on its face in the we can all write that story. But to the company for trying? What

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