Friday, October 30, 2009

GM CEO: FCVs 10X more expensive than electric

GM CEO Fritz Henderson sat down with reporters and editors from the Washington Post yesterday. No real news on the Volt, but his comments on Fuel Cell Vehicles should cause a stir. Anyone at CARB in Sacramento paying attention?
Post: Is GM pulling back on its hydrogen car?

Henderson: "Are we putting resources into it? Not as much. . . . We spent through the mid part of this decade a reasonably high portion of our research and our development money on hydrogen fuel cells. We put 100 vehicles into the market. Consumers have tested them . . . We've learned a lot. The vehicles work. The issue is always cost, 100 percent cost. [He put the cost of the vehicles at upwards of $400,000.]

"It's still a ways away from commercialization. No question."
[Source: Washington Post]

Sunday, October 25, 2009

GM reveals electric car production number in 2010....for India

GM recently entered into a 50/50 partnership with Reva, the Indian electric car company, to produce an electric version of the Chevrolet Spark. Reva has been selling small EVs in India and England for the past few years.

According to a report in the Business Standard of India, GM plans to sell 4000 electric Sparks in India in 2010. That's about 10% of the total number of gas-powered Sparks GM will sell this year in India.
For GM India, our investment into this project can be covered if we can sell (the electric version) between 10-15 per cent of all the Spark vehicles sold in India,” GM India Vice-President (Sales & Marketing) Ankush Arora said.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Self-fulfilled prophesy: Toyota FT-EV II concept

Toyota is always saying consumers just don't want an electric car. Range is too short and too much is different about EVs, Toyota contends.

If merely plugging in is too much change, do they expect people to take seriously an EV that requires an entirely different way of piloting the vehicle?

Why, really, are they showing a concept electric car with less than half the range of Toyota's own decade-old RAV4 EV?

Is it too much to suggest that fifty-mile range and "joystick-like controls that feature a steam-punk design motif" is meant to confirm the negative notions about electric cars Toyota wants consumers to believe?

Yanquetino gets it right in his comment on the story:
Translation: "EVs are punishment cars."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Conservatives pledge on electric car plugs

Tom McGhie, Financial Mail reports:
The political battle for the electric car vote stepped up a gear last week when the Conservative Party pledged that owners of battery-powered cars would be guaranteed an overnight charging point.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Toyota/Fuji Heavy EV Rumors

Toyota is knocking plug-in cars at CARB and in the press and touting impossible to deliver near-term hydrogen fuel cell commercialization. But it may have a Plan B. "Toyota Motor Corp is considering working with affiliate Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd to develop its electric vehicles," according to Mainichi newspaper as reported by Reuters. Fuji Heavy makes Subaru, which began limited sales of the Plug-in Stella in Japan in June. Toyota owns 16% of Fuji.

Neither Fuji nor Toyota commented, but the Tokyo stock market saw Fuji Heavy's shares up 4.4%.
Citing an unidentified source, the paper said engineers working on electric cars at Fuji Heavy would merge with Toyota's electric car team. Fuji Heavy would shift its battery procurement in the future to Panasonic EV Energy, a battery joint venture between Toyota and Panasonic Corp.
Toyota may not want plug-in electrics to challenge gas-only hybrids, but it could be seeing data on real world Plug-in Stella performance that suggests plug-in cars are ready for prime time.

Source: Reuters

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Toyota reveals all you need to know about fuel cell cars

Much has been made of late of Toyota and other automakers claims they will commercialize hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2015.

Of course, we've heard these promises/predictions before. An SAE Research Report in 2001 stated that "several automakers have pledged the introduction of fuel cell vehicles, including buses, by 2003-2005." DaimlerChrysler, for example, predicted the industry would be selling 100,000 fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) by 2004. In 2007 GM spokesman Scott Fosgard told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that by 2012 there will be about 10,000 hydrogen vehicles on the market from a variety of companies. I don't think so.

But Toyota's announcement itself should sow seeds of doubt. According to Green Car Congress:
During his presentation at the recent California Air Resources Board (ARB) ZEV Technology Symposium, Tatsuaki Yokoyama, from Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, said that Toyota aimed to reduce the cost of fuel cell vehicles to 1/10 of the current level by design and materials improvement by commercialization in 2015.
Toyota aims to chop the present-day cost of fuel cell vehicles by 90%. In 5 years.