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Ford Pulls The Plug on Electric Cars

Hemos posted about 12 years ago | from the yanking-the-power dept.

News 457

Cytos writes "Apparently Ford has called it quits on their EV program Th!nk Mobility, stating "... we don't believe that this is the future of environmental transport for the mass market." Ford had purchased Think in 1990 and did a short run of advertisments in California for it's lease trial, even involving Hertz in helping out. I was really hoping to see this pan out, I guess our only hope for an EV now is the Toyota Rav4 EV." From the sound of it, most companies are looking at hybrid cars.

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DARN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176541)

now I get to read 100 tree hugging posts on why this is bad

Re:DARN! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176546)

now i get to screw your mom like a ravenous wild dog

Re:DARN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176560)

PAVE THE PLANET!

What about Kei cars? (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4176544)

Is the issue with Kei cars a safety one? Why don't they appear in the U.S.?

Re:What about Kei cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176596)

Because they are lame.

Re:What about Kei cars? (2, Interesting)

anonicon (215837) | about 12 years ago | (#4176751)

I don't know about Kei cars, but I've read some pretty interesting articles on the GM Autonomy. It's currently vaporware, but there's about $1 billion in funding behind this hydrogen car already. See more here:
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.08/fuelcellc ars.html [wired.com]

Hopefully it will come out within the next 10 years - would be interesting to see.

More power (1)

Jugomugo (219955) | about 12 years ago | (#4176552)

Yes better gas mileage is a plus. And helping to save the planet yadda yadda yadda...

I still want a car with a lot of horsepower and low end torque. When I can get one like that, I might be interested. :-)

Negative karma? hehe.

Re:More power (1)

mduckworth (457088) | about 12 years ago | (#4176576)

Actually from what I hear the Prius can be modified to burn the rubber right off the wheels. Apparently the motor power is controlled very low of course so that you don't run the batteries down in a few seconds (and fry them as well since they are NiMH). This doesn't really add up though considering that these vehicles use the engine for extra power in addition to charging the batteries. Why would they do this if the electric motor power is more than sufficient to destroy those little EV car tires? ;-)

Re:More power (1)

kryonD (163018) | about 12 years ago | (#4176612)

I still want a car with a lot of horsepower and low end torque. When I can get one like that, I might be interested

Why is it that people desire extra super-charged power stuff that they can't use due to regulations or other inhibitors? You probably also are chomping at the bit for a cool new 3GHz P4 which runs just about as slow as the 800MHz PIII due to the frontside bus bottleneck.

Does anybody around here think about using the money they waste on overpowered, inefficient toys for more practical uses like a bigger pr0n collection???

Maybe it's because I'm used to big city traffic; but be it EV, Hybrid, or a turbo-charged V12, they all perform exactly the same in a traffic jam which is unfortunately what most people deal with at least once a day. It's a shame the EV concept didn't take hold. Smog is pretty damned depressing.

Re:More power (2, Interesting)

Zuke8675309 (470025) | about 12 years ago | (#4176784)

You've obviously never driven a BMW Z3 (or any other car with good power/weight ratio) on something other than busy city streets.

Why else do they want big engines with lots of power? Freedom. Choice. Not unlike the open software movement.

Re:More power--Tell it brother! (1)

FlyerFanNC (112562) | about 12 years ago | (#4176690)

I won't consider electric cars or any other AFV ready for prime time until it can deliver the kind of performance you can get from, say, a Corvette. I hope the government doesn't decide to impose them on us either. But then again, the oil companies will do everything they can to keep that from happening.

torque = electickery (1, Troll)

johnjones (14274) | about 12 years ago | (#4176696)

ok if you are after torque and speed then Electric car is the way to go in terms of cheap and easy

Lotus had a contract with a mod company that pulled out the petrol engine and stuck in 2 electric ones (I forget the name) but they rocked they where kind of crazy 0-60 Mph in about 3-4 seconds which is bike speed

the problem of course is how far they can go which is batterys

fuel cell cars use Electric motors the differance is the way you generate and store it

regards

John Jones

p.s. the U.S. Guv should be funding alot seeing how you guys are the biggest poluter and also one of the cheapest for fuel wait 10 years and then see how cheap your it is (-;

Re:More power (1)

Jugomugo (219955) | about 12 years ago | (#4176728)

Yeah, I currently live in a state (IN) that has no emissions controls and general gas is fairly cheap. I wish they would implement emissions testing here though.

Have a low powered fuel efficient car in the city is great since you never have to go very far very fast. I like having a good highway car that I can merge onto the interstate (65MPH)easily since they are a lot of short on ramps.

And being able to just stomp on the gas and go is always fun! :-)

Re:More power - buy a diesel (1)

usb47 (201858) | about 12 years ago | (#4176792)

Try a diesel. Yep, diesel. Cleaner burning, better mileage. With the new ultra low sulfur fuels becoming more available in the US (not required until 2006, I think, but new emissions regulations enter in 2004... go figure).

Run some biodiesel (http://www.biodiesel.org) and you have a no sulfur fuel. You have a clean car running on renewable fuel, no dependency on Middle East oil. Burning biodiesel smells like popcorn out the tail pipe.

Currently the only diesel engine we Americans can buy in a passenger car is a 90 hp/155 ftlb Volkswagen TDi (Jetta, Golf, Beetle).

Do some chiptuning (http://www.upsolute.com) and you have one heck of a fun car.

FYI, I get 43 mpg city and 52 mpg freeway.

Rav4 EV (0, Offtopic)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4176555)

That is one ugly sub-SUV. The newer Rav4s look so much better.

From what Ive read ... (3, Insightful)

rosewood (99925) | about 12 years ago | (#4176556)

I know that I would never buy an electric car for a multitude of reasons...

1: How am i going to charge it in my parking lot at work? at my dorm?

2: It just wont get me very far here in Kansas

3: Lack of speed. When I need to merge, I need to get up and GO damn it.

4: Small. I like big cars, or better yet Trucks. You cant have an electric Truck - it just makes no sense unless you haul barbie furniture

Re:From what Ive read ... (2)

dr_dank (472072) | about 12 years ago | (#4176733)

Where I live on Long Island,NY, the transit authority has a joint venture with the power company to supply these cars to Long Island Railroad commuters (about 200 are in the program so far, IIRC).

How am i going to charge it in my parking lot at work? at my dorm?
Under a pilot program like the one I described, the lessee of the Think car gets a reserved space at his or her Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station with a charger available. There is also a home charger for use on overnights.

Lack of speed. When I need to merge, I need to get up and GO damn it.
Granted, I would never take one of these on the highways either. For short trips around town to run errands, just to go to the railroad station, etc., these will fill that niche. Save the gas car for longer trips.

While the Think car is impractical for long haul trips or any sort of aggressive driving, frequent, local stops that guzzle gas would be eliminated.

Re:From what Ive read ... (2)

Brian Kendig (1959) | about 12 years ago | (#4176742)

Those are the same reasons why I never went with a GM EV1 even though they had plenty of recharging stations in Silicon Valley. They even had four recharging stations in front of Fry's Electronics, right up as close as you could park to the front doors of the store! It was always amusing to see big SUV's ignore the 'Electric Car Only' signs in those spaces and park there anyway.

The only hybrid that's really useable right now is the Honda Civic hybrid; the Prius is too bare-bones to be an enjoyable car. But even the Civic has really terrible pickup.

I'm in the market for a new car, and I want something geek-approved. By this I mean I'm not looking for the latest Honda Accord clone or a big fat engine or airbags on every exposed surface. I want something a little further away from mainstream. I want a hybrid engine with more horsepower. I want plastic sidepanels that don't dent. I want a car radio that loads new mp3's from my home computer over wireless every time I park in the garage. I want to be able to talk with my car like KITT. I want a car with high tail lights and a snub nose and aggressive curves like something out of Ridge Racer.

But most of the cars out there on the road are still big hulks of metal that are trying to look just like each other so they can avoid being unpopular, and they still think a CD changer is primo technology, and they're still using engine technology from forty years ago. Le sigh.

Re:From what Ive read ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176753)

Yeah, I bet you haul lots of stuff in those big trucks. I bet you fill it to capacity with really heavy air! Whew, that must do a job on your suspension.

Re:From what Ive read ... (1)

opto (592314) | about 12 years ago | (#4176755)

Most electric cars are small and underpowered, because the sole purpose is to make them as economical and efficient as possible. You want lots of power, an electric motor can be your best friend. No need to get up to high RPMs to get the power, just hit the gas and it's all there from the get go. Look at diesel/electric trains. Tell me they don't have enough power for you. The problem is that no car company wants to put the R&D money into developing a reasonable electric car program, when internal combustion technology already fits the bill pretty well. The main problem is energy storage. Batteries are basically crap at the current state of the art. You need gas/electric hybrid or fuel cell power to really get things going.

Re:From what Ive read ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176757)

1: How am i going to charge it in my parking lot at work? at my dorm?


You would charge it at home, overnight... I drive about 60 miles/day. Where's the problem?

3: Lack of speed. When I need to merge, I need to get up and GO damn it.

Perhaps you could drive more safely?

4: Small. I like big cars, or better yet Trucks. You cant have an electric Truck - it just makes no sense unless you haul barbie furniture

That's right, we all like big cars. We wouldn't be hated by half the world if we weren't selfish, "me me me, fuck you" American$. Just remember you're paying for the next terrorist hit at the pump when you gas up your SUV (Shithole lUser Vehicle).

I like my hybrid, but I'd love to have an electric. But, most of our power out here is coal and nuclear power generated, neither are technologies I want to support. I'll take an average 68MPG until I move nearer a hydro-plant...

-FCM

Re:From what Ive read ... (1)

djm (126641) | about 12 years ago | (#4176807)

Lack of speed? Not all electric cars. Have you ever ridden in an EV1? It pressed me to the seat with its acceleration, something like 0-60 in 7 seconds.

The Inevitability of Resource Wars (2, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | about 12 years ago | (#4176561)

I hope you don't think this decision was reached without considerable input from the oil industry and its captains and advisers (one of whom happens to be a high ranking republican in a high seat...)

Eventually, we're going to be at a point where we deal with electric or bio-fuel whether we like it or not. There is just not an infinte supply of petroleum.

The hell of it is, if we were to start *now* working on getting all the kinks and problems worked out of things like bio-fuel or solar-panels with the same energy and resources that the auto industry spends on developing new models every year, when the time comes that petroleum is so rare as to inspire strife, war, and conflict, we will be far enough ahead of the curve not to be affected.

While hybrid cars may be a step in the right direction, they're only postponing the inevitable.

Luckily, I rather like bicycling.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (1, Insightful)

grasshoppah (319839) | about 12 years ago | (#4176592)

quote:"when the time comes that petroleum is so rare as to inspire strife, war, and conflict"

what, like 20 years ago? we're already here. The thing is that sooner or later it's going to get 100 times worse

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (1)

dacarr (562277) | about 12 years ago | (#4176597)

The only problem you're going to have there though is petroleum. They just don't care about this, they only care about the almighty US dollar and that nobody is interfering in any way with their income.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176601)

I hope you don't think this decision was reached without considerable input from the oil industry and its captains and advisers (one of whom happens to be a high ranking republican in a high seat...)

I don't. They were a market failure. No company is going to waste millions on a failure. There is no "vast right wing conspiracy" here, no more than normal capitialism weeding out inferior products. Mr. Ford (yes, it really is a Ford in charge again) didn't call up Bush and discuss this, I'll guarantee you.

Eventually, we're going to be at a point where we deal with electric or bio-fuel whether we like it or not. There is just not an infinte supply of petroleum.

Arguable [cornell.edu] . In fact, oil fields are not being depleted as fast as predicted, leading some geologists to conclude that they are being somehow refilled.

The hell of it is, if we were to start *now* working on getting all the kinks and problems worked out of things like bio-fuel or solar-panels with the same energy and resources that the auto industry spends on developing new models every year, when the time comes that petroleum is so rare as to inspire strife, war, and conflict, we will be far enough ahead of the curve not to be affected.

You don't think this time is now? Persian Gulf war? New Iraqi war? HELLO??!!!

However, to avoid conflict with my above points, I'll say that these current conflicts are about oil that's easy to get to. When you really have to, you'll start baking oil out of the shale rock in the Rocky Mountains.

While hybrid cars may be a step in the right direction, they're only postponing the inevitable.

The world is not ending. Get out of your bunker, and go to work already.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 12 years ago | (#4176603)

I hope you don't think this decision was reached without considerable input from the oil industry and its captains and advisers (one of whom happens to be a high ranking republican in a high seat...)

Normally I let crap like this go by, but this time I'm calling you out. Prove it. JUST PROVE IT. And no, cynicism is not proof (aka "I just know and you would too if you weren't so naive").

Of course, it CAN'T be that the electric car TOTALLY F'ING SUCKS. It can't be that battery technology is not even close to being ready (6.5 hour charging time, 100 mile range?).

It can't be that every car manufacture has invested 100s of millions, if not billions (GM) in electric cars, and have TOTALLY FAILED.

Of course, we JUST KNOW that oil companies will "buy off" car companies. Never mind that car companies MAKE CARS and the first one that really makes a practical electric car will make a ton of money. Never mind that car companies DON'T PRODUCE OIL and do give a shit about how cars are powered, as long as they sell cars.

And by the way...

There is just not an infinte supply of petroleum.

Sorry, but yes, there IS AN INFINITE SUPPLY OF PETROLEUM. Yes, I said infinite. WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF PETROLEUM. Never. Ever. You know why?

Very simple. Because as the reserves get lower, it simply gets more expensive to pull out of the ground. Eventually, the price is higher than alternatives, and we start using alternatives. WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF OIL. EVER.

And even if we could, please explain to me exactly why it would be a bad thing if we ran out of oil in the ground. Big deal. We use something else.

//end rant.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (2, Insightful)

_krimson_ (129334) | about 12 years ago | (#4176676)

Very simple. Because as the reserves get lower, it simply gets more expensive to pull out of the ground. Eventually, the price is higher than alternatives, and we start using alternatives. WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF OIL. EVER.

WOW! You are quite a genius.

You completely converted me with your wisdom. It's not like we shouldn't stop using it now because it is terribly dirty. It just makes sense that we should definately destroy any pristine nature environments where oil is just to get down to last drops in pursuit of keeping prices down....While are at it, lets have a few more wars over it....generally have a great time running down every last bit until pure capitalism makes it impossible. Then come up with alternatives...WHAT A GREAT, FORWARD THINKING PLAN! We've definately seen that capitalism does great things for the planet...I don't see why I used to think it didn't...The almighty dollar will save us!

THANK YOU SIR! I feel blessed to have my whole mind on the issue changed by Slashdot!

By the way. You are an idiot.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (4, Insightful)

Elladan (17598) | about 12 years ago | (#4176798)

It is true that oil is dirty. However, it's also true that we're not going to run out.

The alternatives the previous poster mentioned are already being worked on.

Basically, what's going to happen is that as oil reserves are depleted, the price will increase. Eventually, it will rise above the price of alternative sources of oil.

What are these alternative sources? Well, for starters, it's possible to refine oil from coal. This process is more expensive than just pumping it out of the ground, so we don't do it right now. When the price of oil rises enough, it will make more sense to use coal.

There's a lot of coal in the world.

When the coal runs down, after a few thousand years, the price will again start to rise a bit, at which point a second alternative will be attractive, if it isn't already: oil shale.

When the oil shale runs out, after many more millennia, we'll either find a new energy-rich source, or we'll go full synthetic. Of course, full synthetic production will run at an energy loss, so it will need a real power source such as solar or nuclear power to drive it.

Synthetic oil production will be viable for more or less the lifetime of the universe.

One example of a form of "synthetic" oil production here is refined vegetable oil, by the way. Solar powered crops can be replanted every year, and thus won't run out.

Of course, actual oil from the ground won't run out either. It's just that new reserves won't form at nearly the rate we like to use it, so it'll always be insufficient to fill demand after the current fields are depleted.

So, no, we'll never "run out" of oil.

We will, on the other hand, want to stop using it because it's dirty long before we reach synthetic production. When we actually do stop using it, who can say?

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 12 years ago | (#4176805)

It's not like we shouldn't stop using it now because it is terribly dirty.

And getting cleaner all the time due to better technology. Taken a look at car emissions lately?

It just makes sense that we should definately destroy any pristine nature environments where oil is just to get down to last drops in pursuit of keeping prices down

Name the last "pristin nature environment" that was destroyed through normal excavation of oil, other than accidents (and even the accidents aren't that bad).

While are at it, lets have a few more wars over it....

I'm always amused by this line of thinking. There is nothing intrinsically immoral about buying oil. That wars are caused by this is the fault of the countries that make war, not the countries that buy oil. It's always amazing when people shift the blame away from the people who actually make the wars.

We've definately seen that capitalism does great things for the planet

Well, yes, we have. Considering that Capitalism has been the greatest force for raising people's standard of living than any other force. It's kind of funny how the more capitalism a country has, the better the people live. Or haven't you noticed that direct relation? Ah, you're probably right. We should all live in the paradises like the old Soviet Union.

The almighty dollar will save us!

Actually, it would save the middle east countries if their politics weren't so screwed up. If they had freedom and capitalism, the money that poured in from their natural resources would transform them into modern countries. But again, it's not our fault that they continue to screw themselves and their people.

THANK YOU SIR! I feel blessed to have my whole mind on the issue changed by Slashdot!

We can only hope that people like you overcome your herd mentality.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (1)

peterpi (585134) | about 12 years ago | (#4176713)

To add to the argument, you can get oil that is suitable for (modified) engines from renewable sources such as cane sugar.

I can see this becoming a more viable alternative to 'dead fish' oil then battery powered cars.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (2, Insightful)

kevin lyda (4803) | about 12 years ago | (#4176739)

it wouldn't be bad to run out of oil. it will be bad to be running out of oil. the usa is hugely dependant on oil and it would take a long time to remove that dependance. what will the usa do to protect its national security as the number of cheap oil sources get lower and lower?

considering the lengths the current us administration is willing to go to defend national security - advocating pre-emptive military action for instance - then what happens when oil reserves are low?

for instance iirc there are large oil reserves in northern european waters. lets say 50 years from now oil sources are low; europe's green elements have managed to convert most european industries up to non-oil sources; and those same parties have severely restricted oil drilling in those regions around europe. as oil prices go up in that scenario i suspect the us gov't would justify a lot of actions to lower oil prices.

obviously that's all just a guess, but have you considered how global politics might work as one of the most widely used energy sources becomes scarce? in particular, how will the largest consumer of that resource handle its depletion?

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (2)

autechre (121980) | about 12 years ago | (#4176774)


By your logic, it's likely true that we will never run out of oil. But does that mean it's ethical for us to continue to try?

We can make plastic out of hemp or corn (apparently), and alternative means of fueling vehicles are being created. Oil means drilling into the planet to bring up a substance which is unfriendly to most things in nature. If we continue to burn up oil as quickly as we can, people like Bush will continue to press for drilling into areas like the beautiful Alaskan countryside. So isn't it a good idea to look into alternatives before it's absolutely necessary?

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (3, Insightful)

sielwolf (246764) | about 12 years ago | (#4176605)

Inevitability of "Resource" Wars? I have to say that wars for resources are the only sort of war. Ok so its not as easy as Persian Gulf == Oil War but war comes from two societies' sharing a border. To keep the growth of their "lifestyle" both jockey for position with each other. Trade, culture, politics. At its most extreme extension is war. It is foolish to think that a society will every be so self-sufficient that it will no longer feel the need to expand. As its population grows so does its hunger for territory.

Of course what is a society and what is a border are up to debate. Usually the rule of thumb is that if it can be broken down to an Us and Them scenario.

It is an implicit delcaration of war every time you gas up your car or go for a drive. Your right to drive at 10 MPG is worth fighting for.

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (3)

jbolden (176878) | about 12 years ago | (#4176613)

As far as I can tell the auto industry made a good faith attempt at this. California for example mandated that something like 3% of all cars sold by manufacturers in the state had to be electric and the auto companies ended up having to heavily subsidize to be able to move them at all. They spent a lot on technology to figure out how to do it.

But they are facing the same problem that laptops do:

1 - They couldn't get enough charge to work
2 - They couldn't maintain charge as long as they needed.

Until there is a major break through in battary technology battary devices will always be crippled compared to those drawing energy for either AC or petro fuels. Wanting this to change won't make it change; and given how much is being spent on improving battary life there is no evidence that more spending (except for perhaps insane levels of spending like the moon project tyep spending) will necc. do very much to shorten the time to we solve this technical problem.

Finally, right now electricity is generated by petro fuels. There isn't much gain by generating the electricity to store in a battery vs. just burning the fuel on an as needed basis (i.e. the current system).

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176638)

You and I and everyone on this planet will have been dead for over 200 years when we start to run low on Petroleum. So I dont see how this is a problem for the next 8 or 9 generations. So go suck a lemon if you think I feel guilty in my Lincoln Navigator which get 8 miles to the gallon!

Re:The Inevitability of Resource Wars (0)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | about 12 years ago | (#4176644)

Eventually, we're going to be at a point where we deal with electric or bio-fuel whether we like it or not. There is just not an infinte supply of petroleum.

Yes, back in 1970, I used to hear that was going to happen by the year 2000. Oops!

The hell of it is, if we were to start *now* working on getting all the kinks and problems worked out of things like bio-fuel or solar-panels with the same energy and resources that the auto industry spends on developing new models every year, when the time comes that petroleum is so rare as to inspire strife, war, and conflict, we will be far enough ahead of the curve not to be affected.

Maybe you need to consider the primary manner of tapping solar energy is still a photovoltaic cell. A PV cell primarily consists of layers of crystalline silicon doped with boron. Since both silicon and boron are toxins, by definition any production process that uses them is going to generate toxic wastes.

Also, even discounting the toxin issue, advocates of solar power tend to overlook the practical problems of implementation. I once considered converting my house to solar energy (not that I'm a greenie, but I got disgusted with contending with frequent power outages). Now, by definition, a solar panel has to be exposed to sunlight to generate power. Fine if you live in SoCal. But I live near Chicago. Guess what it does in Chicago December through April? It snows, that's what! Your solar panels are going to be of bloody little use to you if they're covered with snow 3 or 4 months out of the year. And having to shovel snow off the solar panels on my roof didn't sound like fun. The driveway is bad enough.

There are some very good reasons we haven't moved to alternative energy sources. And, no, they aren't political.

Are you retarded? (1)

alienw (585907) | about 12 years ago | (#4176765)

Since both silicon and boron are toxins, by definition any production process that uses them is going to generate toxic wastes.

This sentence qualifies for the most idiotic statement of the year award. Either you are a retarded monkey, a troll, or still in 9th grade and haven't yet taken a chemistry class.

Boron is a metal. It's no more harmful than, say, iron. It's definitely not toxic. And if you think silicon is toxic, you better not drink out of glass or ceramic containers and not go near a beach. Silicon is the main component of glass, ceramics, and sand. It is one of the most widespread substances on earth.

So, STFU and read a fucking book.

This is good (5, Interesting)

Chairboy (88841) | about 12 years ago | (#4176564)

Hybrid cars are much friendlier to the environment.

Many advocates of electric cars see the energy cycle as something like this:

1. (energy comes from somewhere)
2. Environmentally clean driving!

The real problem is that because the anti-nuke lobby has made it uneconomical to run nuclear power plants, we currently get almost all our power from coal and gas burning plants. These guys are not very efficient at making electricity, a least not compared to the super efficient engines in the hybrids. They produce much more pollution per watt. The end result, an electric car just moves the pollution it creates from the car to the power plant, and the power plant is very very dirty.

Until coal & gas are not used anymore, pure EV is bad for the environment.

Re:This is good (1)

grasshoppah (319839) | about 12 years ago | (#4176604)

well gas is produced by oil refineries that use power to create the gas. the gas is later burned and causes more pollution. so ev cars are slightly cleaner by removing the burning of the gas, though they still use electricity (like the refineries do). they just arn't as clean as the seem at first

The solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176625)

Wind-powered cars.

I'll be rich!

Re:This is good -- citations? (3, Informative)

Uberminky (122220) | about 12 years ago | (#4176637)

I agree with you that most people think that electricity comes from nowhere, so it's automatically "cleaner". However, I have to question your claim that a single-user, commercial grade device is more efficient at generating electricity than a huge mass producing power plant. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that that would surprise me, and I'd be interested to see some hard numbers. Why don't the power companies junk their power plants and just order a boat-load of hybrid cars? Clearly I'm missing something. Thanks!

Re:This is good -- citations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176763)

Why don't the power companies junk their power plants and just order a boat-load of hybrid cars?

Probably because they want electricity, not motion.

Think about it. They run a turbine to spin a generator and pipe the electricity to you to turn the wheels of your car, OR you skip the electricity generating phase unless your only option is to waste the energy by turning it into heat (braking). Every time you convert eneryg from one form to another you loose some. In a hybrid vehicle there is one less conversion.

Re:This is good (2, Insightful)

Jeff Fohl (597433) | about 12 years ago | (#4176658)

Not only that, but there is a lot of energy lost in moving the electricity from the plant to your car, and then also in storage in the batteries. It is much more efficient to create the energy in the car, when you need it. So, you are actually burning MORE fossils per mile with an electric car than with a standard internal combustion engine.

On the other hand, automobiles spread the pollutants all over the place, whereas at a plant, it is a little easier to control the output of pollutants, and there is a single, concentrated source.

re: nuclear: Yes, and it is troubling that so many people tend to think that fossil fuel is cleaner and better than nuclear. I have at least five friends with cancer right now. I sometimes wonder how the current high cancer levels in our society correlates to the burning of fossil fuels. It seems that fossil fuels, in the way that we burn them now, are probably orders of magnitude more deadly than radioactive waste. The only problem is, since pollutants are so dispersed, it is very difficult to track their effects. At least with nuclear waste, you know where it is, and you can measure it.

Gov't subsidy (1)

Jeff Fohl (597433) | about 12 years ago | (#4176756)

Another reason this is good is that we (here in the US) have all been paying for the development of these machines through our tax dollars. There is an interesting rant about this [cars.com] on CarTalk's website.

In addition, the batteries are insanely expensive. Each car produced is subsidized by the taxpayers to offset the costs of the batteries. From About.com: [about.com] "Depending on the size of battery bank in the vehicle, it may cost between $20,000 and $60,000 for the batteries."

Electric cars? (1, Insightful)

harks (534599) | about 12 years ago | (#4176565)

Electric cars are not the wave of the future. Has anyone ever seen an electric car that could compare to a gasoline car in terms of range and acceleration? Imagine being in cold weather with the radio and the heat on. Anyway, all electric cars do is move the pollution from a mobile vehicle to a stationary powerplant.

I don't th!nk they tried hard enough. (3, Informative)

suso (153703) | about 12 years ago | (#4176568)

I went to this website looking for specifications on the EV cars that they make and they are nearly the same specifications that I saw about 5 years ago. The top speed is still only around 55 mph. And the range is only 56 miles?!?! Come on. If it's going to take 4-6 hours to charge the battery only to 80% then I'd want to get more than 56 miles. I don't care who they are marketing it for. It's almost no better than buying a supped up golf cart.

Editorial Review (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176570)

it's == it is :: It's snowy outside.
its == possessive :: I dipped the nacho into its cheese.

Why the fuck does every Slashdot article have an obligatory blaring grammatical error?

Re:Editorial Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176657)

Remember these clowns attended Hope College--they're not exactly the brightest pixels in the display.

MOD UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176777)

informative

Joe is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176724)

Is it?

no market (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176574)

maybe if there were a market for this stuff, itwould actually sell. there are no demand for these kind of cars however, because of a few important market factors.

1. gas is cheap, at least in the U.S. (not to mention, how is the electricity for these cars being made? that's right, burning fossil fuels in some power plant.)
2. the world is not melting (i.e., global warming whether you believe it or not, is not having a profound effect on purchase decisions).
3. there are no mandates to use these cars. the only hope for these cars are illogical laws to force their use, but this flies in the face of the market. this won't stop california from trying however.

in short, when there is sufficient need for these cars, the market will accept them. if tomorrow the U.S. were cut off from its foreign oil, you'd sell a million of these cars that day alone. of course, the electricity would have to come from either natural power (hydroelectric etc.) or nuclear, but it could be done given enough lead time. but i digress :-)

Its all about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176582)

not getting stuck in Death Valley at 130 degrees looking for an outlet. You just cannot pack enough energy into these things at a reasonable cost.

AND who says they are clean? Someone somewhere is choking on the fumes of the power plant suppling the charge for EVs. Usually those of us outside of California...

All I Want.. (5, Interesting)

danheskett (178529) | about 12 years ago | (#4176586)

Basically, all I want in a ZE/LE car is three things:

1. Costs under 10k. I mean, if you take a lot of parts out of something, and reduce its weight a lot, shouldn't it cost less? Electric cars are greatly simplified in many cases - hell most of them dont even need transmissions.

2. Can be charged/refilled in many ways - including a fast charge at some type of service station. Also, a fold out/attachable solar array (maybe folds out of trunk, or from underneath the car). It must be able to be charged to at least 2 hrs worth of driving in the same amount of time as a normal "fill up". Absolute longest is five minutes.

3. It must not look like a plastic toy. Make it look like any other car I've owned. I dont want people to look at my car and say "hey, look at the guy in an electric car". I don't want a piece of molded plastic with four tiny wheels. I want a normal 4-door sedan.

Give me those three things, and I will never look back.

Instead, what we get are 1000 pound plastic attempt-to-look-like-the-future pieces of junk. Not interested, thanks.

Re:All I Want.. (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 12 years ago | (#4176632)

One of the problems that kills electric cars as a reasonable alternative is climate control - especially in winter. A normal gasoline engine throws off as much energy in waste heat as a it generates in mechanical power. This waste heat is easily used to heat a car interior. Since cars have really bad heat loss (lot of glass), it takes as much energy to heat a car as it does a small house. With electric cars you have a real problem because of the lack of the internal combustion engine heat.

Re:All I Want.. (2)

dattaway (3088) | about 12 years ago | (#4176819)

Getting heat from an electric car should be easy. If your car has a 30 horsepower motor, it may consume over 20,000 watts (30*746). A small motor like that needs a lot of cooling. Its cooling system would be your heating system. That is a lot of BTU's. Add a refrigerant compressor on the drive for the hot days.

It just takes a small extra investment to add these creature comfort features to any electric car.

Re:All I Want.. (1, Flamebait)

Matey-O (518004) | about 12 years ago | (#4176655)

1. ya think maybe these guys want to recoupe their R&D costs? Think that might affect the price?

2. Hmm, 2 hours in 5 minutes charge, do you mind wearing a lead suit while filling up? And it'll probably cook your passenger if they don't stand back at a safe distance.

3. Must ont look like a plastic toy. Hmm. Based on battery technology, the REST of the car has to be THAT MUCH MORE efficient to make up for it. You just won't get a car you want, that goes as far as you want with a normal coefficient of Drag.

Go do a little research, heck, take a PHYSICS class before you make those statements. Try to understand the constraints involved, they ain't trivial.

Fuel Cell/Hydrogen is a very promising way to go. It's not really any more volatile than that tank of Unleaded you filled up with, and the reaction generates power and water. so why isn't it pervasive? Infrastructure. You can't drive a hydrogen car without a place to fill up (your 2 hours for 5 minutes would be doable with hydrogen), and you can't build a place to fill up without Hydrogen using cars!

Re:All I Want.. (2)

Latent IT (121513) | about 12 years ago | (#4176689)

Go do a little research, heck, take a PHYSICS class before you make those statements. Try to understand the constraints involved, they ain't trivial.

I think that was the whole point. Pure EV cars are a dead-end technology. That's why everyone is looking into hybrids.

Re:All I Want.. (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 12 years ago | (#4176693)

Go do a little research, heck, take a PHYSICS class before you make those statements. Try to understand the constraints involved, they ain't trivial.

No one, including him, has claimed that it's trivial. All he's stating are the minimum requirements before he would consider an electric car. And I agree wholehardedly.

Sorry, but you are not going to guilt me into buying a car that sucks. If it's not practical to build electric cars, then they aren't practical.

Re:All I Want.. (2)

olman (127310) | about 12 years ago | (#4176726)

All you want is the moon from the sky? The only way you're going to charge batteries in 5 minutes for 2 hours of driving is by using liquid acid batteries and actually replacing the acid in the cells. And the liquid batteries ain't that great otherwise.

Anyways, here in Finland they actually have a punitive tax for any alternative cars. If you try to dodge gas tax by driving an electric van, they slap you with a fat annual tax to cover up the "loss". Delightful.

Re:All I Want.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176752)

Anyways, here in Finland they actually have a punitive tax for any alternative cars. If you try to dodge gas tax by driving an electric van, they slap you with a fat annual tax to cover up the "loss". Delightful.

Doesn't surprise me. You guys were one step away from being a full-fledged member of the Axis in WWII. The Nazis you've got in power now just learned from the generation before.

Re:All I Want.. (2)

Phanatic1a (413374) | about 12 years ago | (#4176818)

Hmmm.

Best solar cells you're going to see in "field use" are around 20% efficiency. Let's call it 25%. Let's set insolation to a very favorable figure of 1300 W/m2; this is what it is at 1 AU from the sun, but doesn't take into account axial tilt, clouds, nighttime, that sort of thing, so it's pretty much a maximum value.

How many solar panels can you fold out of the trunk? 100 square meters seems like a reasonable size for how big the array could be and still be manageable. Let's also assume total efficency in the other aspects of the system; all energy the solar cells manage to turn into electricy eventually ends up moving the car.

With all these favorable numbers, we end up with 1300 J/s/m * 100 m2 * 7200 s * .25 = 234 MJ.

Merely to accelerate a 1,000kg car to 100km/h would take 784 kJ of this energy. I don't think you're getting 2 hours of driving time out of this array's charging the batteries for 2 hours unless the car in question is Matchbox.

calvin logo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176587)

no wonder calvin always pisses on fords...

Influence of oil companies on car manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176588)

Anyone who doesn't think that oil interests had a say in this decision is foolish.

Get the reins of power away from Big Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176602)

Support nuclear power. The cleanest, safest, most productive energy source we've got.

Re:Get the reins of power away from Big Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176622)

That's right. The Sun is out there pumping out lots of energy. Hey you meant nuclear-by-the-way-of-solar-cells nuclear, right?

Re:Get the reins of power away from Big Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176634)

If I had said radiation, then maybe you would be correct. But I said nuclear which implies the use of atomic nuclei.

And maybe you think the Sun is safe [skincancer.org] ?

Re:Get the reins of power away from Big Oil (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 12 years ago | (#4176653)

Don't you mean nuclear-by-the-way-of-very-hard-on-the-enviroment- due-to -very-toxic-production-methods-solar-cells??

Re:Get the reins of power away from Big Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176624)

Er, except for everything else.

Fuel Cell Cars (5, Insightful)

breser (16790) | about 12 years ago | (#4176598)

Electric cars that require an outside power source just don't have the range to satisfy people. The auto industry now thinks that fuel cell powered cars are much closer to achieving the 300 mile range that people expect. So fuel cell technology is where it is going.

Incidentally there is a good articles in a recent Time [time.com] magazine and Wired [wired.com] .

Re:Fuel Cell Cars (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 12 years ago | (#4176683)

I don't think you will see a practical electric car unless there is a huge breakthrough in battery technology. The numnbers are just not there.

The hybrid car really looks like the answer - some sort of internal combustion engine running at a 'sweet spot' for max efficiency charging batteries, or maybe a fuel cell converting the combustion directly into electricity.

The fuel for that combustion could be a number of things including hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, or gasoline. Eventually we hope that it will be a fuel that does not generate a net increase in greenhouse gases during it's life cycle - right now the only such fuel that qualifies for that is hydrogen produced from hydroelectric/wind/nuclear sourced electricity.

Of course they didn't sell. (1, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | about 12 years ago | (#4176609)


They look like freakin' golf carts.

Why do they look like golf carts?

Because whoever designed them knows nothing about why cars sell.

Oh, wait, one looks like a pickup truck. And we all know that the whole point of buying a pickup truck is to get that economizing cachet.

Either Ford made a huge mistake buying Think, or they did it to appease nascent environmentalism, or they did it to put Think out of business before Think got the idea to put a Porsche Carerra body on one.

--Blair

Re:Of course they didn't sell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176776)

Either Ford made a huge mistake buying Think, or they did it to appease nascent environmentalism, or they did it to put Think out of business before Think got the idea to put a Porsche Carerra body on one.

Or they did it to satisfy government regulations. That is also why they sold the Festiva, which is just a remarked car originally manufactured overseas. Ford can't make cars that are fuel efficient worth shit, so they buy and sell what other people produce to meet up with regulations and to make up for their engineers' total lack of talent and their piss-poor management.

CU HEV (1)

SBChoDogg (93091) | about 12 years ago | (#4176611)

Ford is still the principle sponsor of Cornell's Hybrid Electric Vehicle team and I'm sure they are at other universities as well. They haven't given up on energy-efficient, clean cars; they just believe that this particular approach isn't viable enough in the near future to continue with. Perhaps Americans just aren't ready to give up their 2mpg SUVs yet....

Check Ford Environmental Research [ford.com]

Century's dumbest Quotes... (1)

ethx1 (532391) | about 12 years ago | (#4176616)

"... we don't believe that this is the future of environmental transport for the mass market. Anyone want to bet that this will go down in history as one of the dumbest things ever said? Might take a while but I think it's coming. It's gonna be like that 640k-of-memory quote we love so much.

Re:Century's dumbest Quotes... (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 12 years ago | (#4176750)

no it's not, and here's why: that car, and its ilk, are not the future of environmental transport. Hybrid, mass transit, and CNG are cleaner, more economical, have better range, and have greater usability than straight battery-electric. Personally, though, until they make a car that accelerates, has a top speed like, performs like, and has the safety rating of my Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (try this...wrecked one at 85+ MPH in a frontend collision with a guard rail due to nighttime electrical failure {the irony} and no injuries), then no thanks.

HEY! (1)

Dthoma (593797) | about 12 years ago | (#4176629)

Dammit, they promised me a flying car!

Er...wait.

They are right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176630)

"... we don't believe that this is the future of environmental transport for the mass market."

They are quite right. Car is not the future of environmental transport. There are dozens over dozens of cities in the world where the transport situation is totally unsustainable due to constant grows of the cities themselves and consequently the number of vehicles on the streets.

What city or country has the best public transportation system?

Re:They are right (1)

mad flyer (589291) | about 12 years ago | (#4176788)

me me me! it's Paris, we got a lot fo subways, lot's of busses, 2 numbers for inside paris 3 numbered for the suburbs, we got RER trains for the far suburbs, we got tramways... and 1 day out of two, everyone is on strike, because the cofe in the machine is not good, or their uniform is not sexy enought, or whatever idea they got not to work. They sometimes make strikes because one worker has been shaked by a user... sometimes it's true... but most of the times it's an upset custumer telling them how bad they drive or something of that matter...

Electric cars are not that great for the world... (2)

vkg (158234) | about 12 years ago | (#4176635)

As long as you are still charging the batteries from the national grid you're just moving the point the fossil fuels are converted into energy way back up the line, to the power stations.

By the time you total grid inefficency, battery inefficency and so on, the total CO2 emissions advantage is negligable. You'd do better to add more insulation to your house and drive a little Honda.

The Hybrids, though, are another kettle of fish entirely - they generate their electricity from gasoline, in situ, and that actually (surprisingly) turns out to be a smart thing to do for a long list of reasons.

So, over-all, no great loss and wait for Hypercars [hypercar.com] - cars that think they are power stations..... (no, I'm not making this up).

What about General Motors? (1)

loucura! (247834) | about 12 years ago | (#4176647)

General Motors is expecting to release their first generation fuel-cell vehicles around 2010. We've reported it before [slashdot.org] .

looking at hybrids, or fuel cells? (3, Insightful)

deft (253558) | about 12 years ago | (#4176652)

I wonder if hybrids (which seem to be the practical transitional cars) are only the stop gap till the real 'next' car, fuel cell powered vehicles.

i think ford saw ev as that stop gap, but they got the beta instead of the vhs in this case.

Well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176665)

The last time Slashdot was enamoured with electic cars I looked at the Think Mobility site. They had a bunch of products, all marked as "NO LONGER AVAILABLE". Of course, if you lived in a 2-sq ft section of california they designated you could be allowed to lease a piece of shit electric van. No wonder nobody bought the stuff.

Well...they have to have something by 2010.... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 12 years ago | (#4176666)

At least I believe it was 2010, might be sooner. They need to have at least a hybred or some type of car that does not run on fossil fuels. At least car companies based in the USA, which is Ford, Toyota, Chrystler, etc.

In fact, I believe that they are suppose to at least have 20-30% of their cars sold as some type of alternative otherwise they will be fined large amounts. I might be wrong, but that is what I remember.

think ford first (in making crappy cars) (1)

havaloc (50551) | about 12 years ago | (#4176692)

Doesn't surprise me that they quit. They can't even make regular cars properly. [dot.gov]

Electric cars aren't environmentally clean at all (3, Insightful)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 12 years ago | (#4176702)

I would remind gentle /. readers that the electricity a Ford Think (or any electric car) would use has to be generated somehow. This was an attractive solution for California, as most of the electricity-generating plants that serve (my) state are in Arizona and Nevada. Further, when the California power grid goes down again, not only will you have no TV, you will have no car. Hydrogen, my friends. Dubya might be wrong about lots of things, but he knows the future of energy. Check out the new developments in extracting hydrogen from shale and rock, much like natural gas. Its only pollution is water vapor, which can be electrolyzed back into hydrogen fuel and ozygen if required. Hydrogen can also be produced by the electrolysis of seawater using solar cells for power or by heating coal dust in the presence of a catalyst using solar collectors. California simply tried to legislate a market that will never exist, and, if by some freak it did, would shift the pollution to other states.

They were right to end the project... (2)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | about 12 years ago | (#4176706)

... for several reasons. Let's go through some of them:
1) Batteries suck. Even the best ones are expensive, don't hold enough charge per unit weight or volume to come within an order of magnitude of gas, and take a long time to charge.

2) Electric engines suck at high RPM. Gas engines suck at low RPM. Electric engines are horrible on the highway unless your car is really light.

3) People don't want light cars, even if this is best for the environment, because all the mother-trucking heavy 3-ton pickups and SUVs out on the road will crush them like a VW Bug in an accident.

4) Electric engines are expensive and not as efficient as gas ones. The industry has a hundred years of experience in making gas auto engines and not nearly as much in electric.

5) It pollutes just as much anyway. Most people get their power from a coal or oil-fired plant, or maybe natural gas. Since charging and then discharging the battery is fairly inefficient, especially at high speeds, it can even pollute more than a gas engine.

6) Those EVs on the site are ugly, as are the Prius and the Insight. People don't want to buy ugly cars.

7) The cars are more expensive than gas cars. The decreased fuel cost does not offset this completely, and it doesn't help the environment much unless you have a nuke plant in your neighborhood, which you probably don't, because evironmentalists hate nuke plants (even though they are probably better for the environment). They have crappy performance on the highway and they are ugly. So what is your motivation for buying?

Saw this coming... it's fuel cell time (2)

Logic Bomb (122875) | about 12 years ago | (#4176727)

"Grid-provided" electric just isn't the way to go. Most folks that are looking to eliminate fossil fuel engines from cars are now working on hydrogen-based fuel cells. The reasons for this are fairly simple:

"Electric cars" that charge off the power grid are just moving their fossil fuel consumption over to a power plant (unless the power is provided by nuclear generation, which has its own huge set of problems).

With a non-material "fuel", there is a wait time associated with recharing. It takes a lot less time to fill up a hydrogen tank (or even swap an empty one for a full one) then it does to recharge a big bank of batteries.

A reasonably-sized efficient fuel cell would be revolutionary far beyond personal conveyances. Rather than persue research that would result in, at best, a full-scale version of toys kids have played with for years, why not work on a method of power generation that could vastly change the way we physically structure our societies and make giant leaps towards restoring Earth's natural capital?

Groups like the Rocky Mountain Institute [rmi.org] have been pushing fuel cell cars for a decade (search their site for "hypercar"). It's nice of the auto industry to catch up. :-)

the future is hydrogen (1)

Thorstein (588271) | about 12 years ago | (#4176730)

GM has built s concept car that requires little space and runs on hydrogen. Further, auto manufacturers should be developing methane burning cars not petrol thorstein

Rejoice in cliche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176738)

1. Build Electric Car
2. Save Planet
3. ???????
4. Profit

Electrics Suck, Hybrids Rule (1)

Peahippo (539266) | about 12 years ago | (#4176772)

I assume that fuel-turbine electric hybrids are the best option. They use existing fuels, thus use existing stations and timeframes for refueling. They should have tightly-controlled combustion through a small turbine, thus increasing efficiency as well as decreasing pollution. But I don't expect them to have the acceleration of the usual car engine.

The dual hybrids (I am just making up terms here) -- that use electric for in-town or slow driving and also internal-combustion for high-speed or highway driving -- show some promise. However, the dual-drive systems strike me as particularly complicated engineering and thus the result can only be expensive and/or problematic. On the plus side, if you can get this to work well and within budget, then it has good appeal to consumer needs -- power and efficiency (not at the same time).

Pure electric cars are trash. Ranges are too short (R2D2 is also short, but I digress) and recharges are too long. Perhaps if we started using space-program style nuclear batteries, then I'd see the applicability of purely electric cars. But there's no chance of a nuclear battery in individual cars; the public won't stand for it (for some good reasons -- accidents, proliferation and expense).

It was somewhat encouraging to have seen California take the legislative route to enforce transportation change. At least it reflected some public will over corporate misbehavior (i.e. the lack of suitable options when you go to buy a car, because the auto companies simply haven't invested in making them). But this has failed and corporate America has won again. And the more SUVs that show up on the road only mean the more and more women will get frightened by the overshadowing while they drive, thus increasing SUV sales as some sort of defensive move. Gas-mileage averages will continue to drop. Except for niche markets, electrics will continue to be a joke product.

Th!nk (2)

aengblom (123492) | about 12 years ago | (#4176773)

I think it's important to note that Think wasn't really about electric "cars" it was about electric vehicles. The venture was very much an "outside the box" and it's product line makes that obvious. (Mostly they are small vehicles designed for short trips around town) Not surprisingly, people like cars and don't want

That said... Here's a rejected slashdot story submission about what *I* think was a fairly interesting news. I post it because I think it's on topic and intersting and I put some time in typing it up--obviously, sometimes slashdot doesn't have the space... so no hard feelings. (Maybe I just spelled everything right ;-) )

The jist is that GM is betting on fuel cells. Not electric and not "conventional" hyrbids.


Popular Mechanics is carrying an article [popularmechanics.com] (with pic's) of GM's latest fuel-cell concept car. The pictures are our first look (mine at least) at GM's new strategy to redefine the basic systems every car they make. It's called AUTOnomy and was written about [popsci.com] a little while back in Popular Science. Essentially, because fuel-cells allow a radically different organization of cars' structures, GM is betting it can make cars cheaper. This despite the fact they'd be running on the famously expensive fuel cell. Wired wrote about this"billion dollar bet" [wired.com] in its August issue and quotes a GM exec: "If we're not there by 2010], we'll have dug too deep a hole to recover the time value of that money." In other words: call us stupid if you can't drive one of these by 2010. This is some good reading for those wanting to know more about what GM's plans to do with its fuel cell "platform" that it hopes to use for virtually every vehicle it makes in the future. Of course, as Wired notes, a fairly heavy dose of skepticism is NOT optional. Itís required.


Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176781)

No more lunix hippies driving around in shitty electric cars!

they should have known! (2)

oliphaunt (124016) | about 12 years ago | (#4176782)

you can't fight the StoneCutters.

Who keeps the metric system down? WE DO.

By Your Powers Combined, I am Captain Planet! (1)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 12 years ago | (#4176785)

Captain Planet, he's the man
Leading the charge, Earth's number 1 fan!

Check him out, you're gonna see
He's the Mega-mac Daddy of ecology!

Cap's the hero with the gumption
Takes on the "overs," population and consumption

Yeah, he could use a better groomer
Some people say he's got a bad sense of humor

"I'm baaaaaack!"

But when Eco-Villains run amok
Plundering and pillaging, Yuck!

Cap's here to level the playing field
With a Ph. D in sustainable yield

But he's not the only hero for Earth
Gaia's wisdom gave the Planeteers birth

Wheeler's the Fire
Ma-ti's go Heart
Gi's got the power to make Waters part

Kwame's rockin' with element Earth
Linka uses Wind for all she's worth

But still Greedlys and Blights trash our planet
It's up to us to say, "We won't stand it!"

Raise your voice and challenge your peers
Say it's way cool to be Planeteers!

"The Power is Yours!"

GM EV1: cleanup-gm.org (5, Interesting)

Ellen Spertus (31819) | about 12 years ago | (#4176790)

I'm a driver of the GM EV1, a great electric car. I've created a website about GM's treatment of the car: cleanup-gm.org [cleanup-gm.org] . GM is pulling working EV1s off the road, even though drivers are willing to pay to keep driving them. (They returned the checks that we sent them.) Meanwhile, they falsely report that nobody wants electric cars.

hybrid cars (1)

Bandito (134369) | about 12 years ago | (#4176795)

Most of the people on this discussion seem to think that hybrid cars only the transition to fuel cell vehicles. Although, I probably tend to agree, I question when exactly fuel cell vehicles will actually be available.

I actually bought a Honda Civic Hybrid last week. I've gotten just under 1000 miles on the car now and the car is only on its second tank of gas. The readout shows 43.1mpg at the moment.

The car has surprisingly good power both off of the line and at top speed (when you need that extra ooomph to cut off the guy in the fast lane to get around the slow guy in front of you).

ArsTechnica has a good article [arstechnica.com] about it. Especially, check out the CVT transmission. You don't even feel the car shift.

I don't work for Honda or anything like that (as I realize this sounds like and ad), but I love it so far, it gets awesome mileage, and there's even a $2000 tax break for owning one.

Even if it is a "stop gap" until fuel cells show up in mass quantities and reasonable prices, I'm very happy with my hybrid for the time being.

Keep those chemical companies happy! (2)

small_dick (127697) | about 12 years ago | (#4176804)

The petrochemical industry hates EVs, for obvious reasons.

No car company in America has taken EVs seriously. Who wants to make a car that lasts 300K miles without any service?

Who wants to buy a car like the EV1, where odd batteries were scattered throughout the vehicle, making battery replacement a horrendous, expensive task? Most every commercial electric vehicle manufacturer in Japan or Europe uses a easy to replace battery pack that can be swapped out in minutes.

No, damn it, we want catalysts and fuel systems onboard every frickin car sold.

Forget batteries...it's surely impossible to increase the energy density of batteries; after all, they're basically the same technology that's been used for 150 years. Can't be done...technology just doesn't improve that way (riiiiigghht).

BMW 750hL (1)

sircrown (82531) | about 12 years ago | (#4176810)

I saw something on TV (TechTV I think it was) about this car recently. Apparently it's the same as their other 7-series cars except it runs on Hydrogen! More info here [bmwworld.com] .

From the site:
The BMW Clean Energy system involves liquid hydrogen produced from water using solar power. Hydrogen as a motor fuel is the answer to many environmental problems since there are no harmful emissions, no depleting of resources, and no danger to the atmosphere.

FUGLY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4176816)

Maybe people would buy these cars if they didnt looks so damn FUGLY!

Make one that actually LOOKS like a normal car, maybe people will buy them.

'Look at the freak car kids!'
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