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Automotive / Electric Vehicle Technology
|Subject: Too many studies, too little execution||Date: 10/8/2008 6:56 PM|
|Author: NuclearElvis||Number: 36 of 42|
Electric cars should already be the norm, should have been mass-produced years ago. The Toyota Prius is transitioning to a plug-in hybrid, and perhaps all this battery/recharging research will push Toyota closer to a mass-produced electric vehicle.
Ford is the most disappointing, with no real motivation to make the Escape hybrid into a plug-in variety. Instead, Ford will "study" the Escape plug-in at some spot in the country and get back to us later. The Mercury Mariner hybrid falls in line with its twin, so nothing doing there either. Again, if they go plug-in, the R&D and user feedback starts to build data toward improving tech, features, and the life of batteries, which then leads to more effective electric cars later.
GM's Volt is a Series Hybrid, but the buyers on the list for purchase are leaving in droves, after GM changed the exterior style of the vehicle. That was a dumb move -- give the customers what they wanted, and make a more family friendly version later, but GM instead has gone Vanilla on this one. GM's studies have run their course, but an all-electric vehicle still isn't going toward mass-production.
At this point, the public is tired of studies. We need action, execution of a plan. Planning at some point needs to leave the blueprints and physically get moving. I think there's two reasons that studies will stop, and electric vehicle mass-production will start:
1. Government intervention to force development, in trade for a future bailout for the big automakers (Ford, GM, Chrysler).
2. Non-Big 3 U.S. automakers show not only success with electric vehicle sales, but show measurable theft of market share from the Big 3. No way to know yet if Phoenix Motorcars or some of the others can do this well, but we'll see in time.
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