Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sifting and Sorting through Text Barrage on Diesel, EVs, Biofuels, and All Sorts of Battery and Liquid Fuel Hybrid Combinations

Every day I sift and sort through a barrage of text - press releases, meeting announcements, and newsletters emailed to me; news articles (thank you Google News), green car blogs/sites... I set aside emails, and cut and paste links and text portions into a Word doc, to review for possible inclusion in Automotive Digest Weekly Green and Green Machine Digest. Sometimes I delete them as they gather dust. Anyways, what I'll offer now is a quick summary of things that caught my attention and stayed in the basket...

DIESELMANIA: Automakers will sell about 545,000 diesel-powered light vehicles to North America in 2016, up from 167,000 in 2009, a Frost & Sullivan analyst said. German automakers such as Volkswagen and BMW will boost the number of clean diesel cars they import to the U.S. in an effort to meet more stringent federal fuel-economy standards. Diesel engine vehicle sales are growing enough to get GM's attention. GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens says the maker is planning to develop a diesel-powered sedan for American buyers. He didn't have details to give out but did note that there are plenty of diesels to draw from using technology developed by its European subsidiary, Opel AG.

FIRST EV IN SHOWROOMS: Wheego Electric Cars Inc. will soon be hosting a dealer summit meeting to add Wheego LiFe electric cars to their showrooms starting in October. They want to beat the Chevy Volt coming to dealers in November and the Nissan LEAF in December. The company called the White House to brag about it, however, "They told us they've never heard of us."

VOLT ADVISORY BOARD: Bill Nye, the science guy. Brian Wynne, the Electric Drive Transportation Association guy. Chelsea Sexton, the "Who Killed the Electric Car?" gal. And a whole slate of electric vehicle enthusiasts. They're all members of the new Chevrolet Volt Customer Advisory Board. They're getting a Volt before anyone else and will tell GM what's working and what isn't.

BIOFUELS IN CALIFORNIA: Propel Fuels recently held a grand opening at a biofuel station in Oakland and announced a plan to add 75 new stations in California by the end of 2011, according to earth2tech. State and federal grants will pay for some of it, and the company has raised $20 in investor funds. Its California stations offer E85 and biodiesel. California alone has nearly 500,000 cars that can take the ethanol blend; the nationwide number is about 9 million. California also has more than 500,000 of biodiesel cars on the road today.

HYBRIDS & EVs GROWING LIKE CRAZY: Within the next five years, it's forecasted that we'll be seeing more than 50 conventional hybrids, more than 30 pure electric cars, nearly 20 plug-in hybrids, and a handful of fuel cell vehicles. Those numbers come from Alan Baum, a Michigan-based auto industry analyst who has been running auto market forecasts since the 1980s.

ADD IT ALL UP: Okay, if we have 50 hybrids and 20 plug-ins on the road, and a lot of fueling stations that can run on biofuels, the odds are good for a lot of reduced emissions vehicles using less oil driving down the roads. There's other hybrid and plug-in hybrid fueling combinations that could occur, such as a car running on battery and natural gas. Or clean diesel in a hybrid. Or algae in a plug-in hybrid. The list could go on and on. There will be multiple solutions for this country to recover from oil addiction.

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