Archive for the ‘plug in hybrids’ Category

This is more like it: cars we want to drive

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Two very sexy cars that may just have what it takes to captivate the American driver's imagination and desire to own a next gen, fuel choice enabling vehicle: 1. Fisker Karma plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Popular Mechanics has video. Bottom line: Fisker's Four-Door Karma Hybrid Hits 50 Miles on Li-Ion—at 125 MPH. Have we mentioned we'd love to drive this car? (hat tip: Instapundit, whose been on a roll about new vehicle technology and especially about fuel choice.) 2. Ferrari 430 Spider Biofuel Several other exciting announcements about plug in hybrids at the Detroit autoshow, indicating a race to market by automakers. Here's a roundup: Saturn's PHEV Vue: "Version 2 comes late this year using the more common nickel-metal hydride type battery packs in combination with the General's direct-injected 3.6L V-6 to give a reported 50% boost in fuel economy. Version 3 comes late 2009 at the earliest and swaps the nickel battery for a lithium-ion unit. Those batteries will come with a plug that allows the owner to get a full grid charge in about 4-5 hours." Interview with several GM execs about progress on getting a GM flex fuel plug in hybrid on the road. Their target date is November 2010. Cars.com test drove a plug in hybrid Toyota Prius. Note that this PHEV was made by Toyota, not converted by others like the ones Set America Free and CalCars brought to Capitol Hill - this in and of itself is progress. Toyota intends "to offer plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2010 on a lease basis to fleet customers, such as government agencies and corporations." Meanwhile, leaping ahead of the pack, a Chinese automaker called BYD Auto, a newcomer to the exhibition unveiled its F6 Dual Model plug-in hybrid, announcing it intends to produce the car in the second half of this year. This announcement is a strong warning of shape up or ship out to the rest of the field, along the lines of Gal Luft's Chinese Sputnik oped. One reporter actually got to test drive BYD's hybrid with its chairman on the floor of the convention center: "I'm now completely taken with my good luck at getting a real test drive from the Chairman, looking back at the BYD booth now 100 feet away. I was convinced that this was the end of the trip and the car would be backed up to the booth. And then the car sped up to about 10 mph, which is an uncomfortable speed in the middle of a convention center. There was only one obstacle in the way: a press conference. Little did the ALMS people know the Chinese were on their way The American Le Mans Series was holding a press conference to discuss the environmental innovations they were making in their racing (including the introduction of E85 ethanol to the racing series). It was fitting then that the chairman of the small chinese automaker, that sells annually in China what Honda sells in a month in the US, was pointing his answer to the environmental question right at them. "...And how was the car? I have to admit, besides it's "heavily borrowed" styling, the F6DM was quite smooth and with a level of fit and finish that was superior to many of the other full production cars on display from China. And that electric motor? Quiet as a mouse. And though we didn't get the high-speed tour, the car drove smoothly and easily around the floor. Is this the future? I can't be sure. But there's no doubt that the company's Chairman is dedicated to proving his car works. Conventions and convention center staff be damned." If you will be in the market for a car in the next few years, now is the time to let your auto dealer know that you are waiting for a flex fuel plug in hybrid -- automakers need to hear from you that the demand is out there, and if they want to sell you a car, they need to offer you fuel choice. Let's get these cars on the road! As Michael Ledeen would put it, Faster Please! UPDATE: Thanks Instapundit!

Turning Oil into Salt

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
Excerpt from an oped by Jim Woolsey and Anne Korin write in today's National Review Online:
Those who won our independence as a nation didn’t just fling imported tea into Boston harbor — they did whatever was necessary to wrest themselves from British control. We need not call out the Minutemen, but to avoid the consequences of dependence we must become independent — not just of imported oil, but of oil itself. Does this mean that we cannot use oil or import any? Of course not. Oil is a useful commodity that can readily transport energy long distances. It already has competition from natural gas in industry and from gas and electricity for heating. But in transportation it brooks no competition — it is thus not just a commodity but a strategic commodity. Oil’s monopoly on transportation gives intolerable power to OPEC and the nations that dominate oil ownership and production. This monopoly must be broken. To tell us that in following this path we are doing a “disservice to the nation” and should resign ourselves to oil dependence is like telling us we should not urge an alcoholic to stop drinking, but should rather impress upon him the health advantages of red wine. Not long ago, technology broke the power of another strategic commodity. Until around the end of the nineteenth century salt had such a position because it was the only means of preserving meat. Odd as it seems today, salt mines conferred national power and wars were even fought over control of them. Today, no nation sways history because it has salt mines. Salt is still a useful commodity for a range of purposes. We import some salt, so if one defines independence as autarky we are not “salt independent”. But to most of us there is no “salt dependence” problem at all — because electricity and refrigeration decisively ended salt’s monopoly of meat preservation, and thus its strategic importance. We can and must do the same thing to oil. By moving toward utilizing the batteries that have been developed for modern electronics we can rather soon have “plug-in hybrids” that travel 20-40 miles on an inexpensive charge of night-time off-peak electricity at a small fraction of gasoline’s cost. (After driving that distance plug-ins keep going as ordinary hybrids.) Dozens of ordinary hybrids converted to plug-ins now on the road are getting in the range of 100 mpg of gasoline. And millions of flexible-fuel vehicles are also now in the fleet. Producing them adds costs well under $100 and they can use up to 85-percent ethanol (before long to be made from biomass rather than corn) — methanol, butanol, and other alternative fuels produced from grasses and even waste.

Everything you wanted to know about lithium ion battery chemistry and were afraid to ask

Friday, September 7th, 2007
is on page 2 of this IEEE article: Lithium Batteries Take to the Road.

Register Now for Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Symposium

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007
The Set America Free Coalition is co-sponsoring a one-day Symposium, "Plug-In Hybrids: Accelerating Progress," on 19 September 2007, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C. The symposium will cover: plug-in hybrids on the road today; fuel economy; efficiency and economics of plug-in hybrids; technology challenges; the electric grid and plug-in hybrids; legislative needs; and more. For more information and to register, click here.

A national security no brainer: plug in hybrid vehicles

Thursday, July 12th, 2007
Gaffney in a plug in hybrid, joined by Senator Brownback and Felix Kramer Gaffney in a plug in hybrid, joined by Senator Brownback and Felix Kramer Frank Gaffney's testimony in the House of Representatives today: "Since only 2% of our electrical grid relies on oil to generate power, electrification of the transportation sector is a key element of the effort to reduce our consumption of oil. Automobiles and other vehicles that can use electricity to provide some or all of their fuel can make a real contribution to weaning us from our oil addiction and diminishing the national security vulnerabilities that arise therefrom." Read the whole thing. Rep. Markey and Rob Lowe Rob Lowe and Rep. Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, standing next to a plug in hybrid after today's hearing.

Good news on the plug in front

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
Reuters reports: "Toyota Motor Corp. is working on developing a plug-in hybrid vehicle and is open to joining with other automakers in battery development, the president of its North American operations said on Friday." Meanwhile, GM has set 2010 as the target date for production of its plug in hybrid, the Volt. Kudos to both. Faster, please!

Plug in for America!

Friday, March 2nd, 2007
Watch a two part series by Chuck Scarborough about how how using electricity, only 2% of which is generated from oil, to fuel our cars can drastically reduce America's oil dependence. Set America Free Coalition members Frank Gaffney and Felix Kramer talk about the importance of getting plug in hybrids out on the roads A hot little oil free sports car goes 0-60 in four seconds

Photos from today’s Set America Free press conference at the DC Auto Show

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
GM graciously invited us to to hold a press conference in front of their beautiful new plug in hybrid concept car, the Volt. Senator Bayh and Rep. Inslee were there to speak about the DRIVE Act, legislation based on the Set America Free blueprint to reduce dependence on foreign oil.  Senator Evan Bayh and Gal Luft holding the infrastructure Senator Evan Bayh and Gal Luft hold the required infrastructure: a plug (well, you may also need a $15 extension cord) Frank Gaffney, Gal Luft, and Anne Korin in front of the Volt Frank Gaffney, Gal Luft, and Anne Korin in front of the Volt Rep. Jay Inslee Rep. Jay Inslee VOLT event 012307 010.jpg Checking out the Volt's interior - very sleek!

Good news on the plug-in front

Sunday, January 7th, 2007
GM announces a second plug-in hybrid vehicle model. Set America Free Coalition member Felix Kramer at CalCars has the details.

Gentlemen, Start Your Plug-Ins

Saturday, December 30th, 2006
Set America Free Coalition member and former director of the CIA Jim Woolsey in today's WSJ:
An oil and security task force of the Council on Foreign Relations recently opined that "[t]he voices that espouse 'energy independence' are doing the nation a disservice by focusing on a goal that is unachievable over the foreseeable future . . ." Others have also said, essentially, that other nations will control our transportation fuel -- get used to it. Yet House Democrats have announced a push for "energy independence in 10 years," and last month General Motors joined Toyota and perhaps other auto makers in a race to produce plug-in hybrid vehicles, hugely reducing the demand for oil. Who's right -- those who drive toward independence or those who shrug? Bet on major progress toward independence, spurred by market forces and a portfolio of rapidly developing oil-replacing technologies. [...]The change is being driven by innovations in the batteries that now power modern electronics. If hybrid gasoline-electric cars are provided with advanced batteries (GM's announcement said its choice would be lithium-ion) having improved energy and power density -- variants of the ones in our computers and cell phones -- dozens of vehicle prototypes are now demonstrating that these "plug-in hybrids" can more than double hybrids' overall (gasoline) mileage. With a plug-in, charging your car overnight from an ordinary 110-volt socket in your garage lets you drive 20 miles or more on the electricity stored in the topped-up battery before the car lapses into its normal hybrid mode. If you forget to charge or exceed 20 miles, no problem, you then just have a regular hybrid with the insurance of liquid fuel in the tank. And during those 20 all-electric miles you will be driving at a cost of between a penny and three cents a mile instead of the current 10-cent-a-mile cost of gasoline. [...]A 50 mpg hybrid, once it becomes a plug-in, will likely get solidly over 100 mpg of gasoline (call it "mpgg"); if it is also a flexible fuel vehicle using 85% ethanol, E-85, its mpgg rises to around 500. The market will likely operate to expand sharply the use of these technologies that are already in pilot plants and prototypes and heavily reduce oil use in the foreseeable future. And given the array of Wahhabis, terrorists and Ahmadinejad-like fanatics who sit atop the Persian Gulf's two-thirds of the world's conventional oil, such reduction will not be a disservice to the nation.
Plug in for America!