Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ghosn Suggests Renault City EV reports Renault's (and Nissan's) Carlos Ghosn sees electric city cars in their future. Three to four years away, apparently. Seems like further confirmation of my previous Nissan post (cnet), and the rumors of a renewed interest by European automakers in electric city cars.

The question for us in the USA is whether plans will include cars that meet the peculiar and unique legal requirements which limit the availability of many more fuel-efficient, interesting vehicles.

Unfortunately, it remains in the foreign automakers' interest to sell us their biggest product. Let's face it, even the perceived eco-leaders such as Toyota oppose higher CAFE standards here as they push high-profit, low-mileage Tundras and Sequoias. Don't take my word for it. Read Thomas Friedman's Oct 3rd column in the NY Times Et Tu, Toyota?
Toyota, which pioneered the industry-leading, 50-miles-per-gallon Prius hybrid, has joined with the Big Three U.S. automakers in lobbying against the tougher mileage standards in the Senate version of the draft energy bill....“Toyota wants to keep its green halo and beat G.M. in the big trucks, too,” said Deron Lovaas, vehicles expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Does Nissan Get It?

Cnet reports "Nissan bets on electric cars, not biofuels."
Minoru Shinohara, senior vice president and general manager of the Technology Development Division at Nissan says making a car run on biofuels is, of course, easy, but the benefit of easily available, affordable electric fuel, will trump ethanol or biodiesel, at least for city cars. "The most important thing is availability of fuel," Shinohara said.

Interestingly, he says Nissan is not so excited about plug-in hybrids. An all-electric car is certainly technically much simpler than a PHEV, and perhaps ultimately less expensive to produce.