The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Romney Won't Force You To Drive An EV

    With the same quote as Detroit News, HybridCars also suspects that Mitt Romney would be no friend to EVs:

    The Obama administration has also been a major champion for plug-in electric vehicles and hybrids. It has pushed for even higher plug-in vehicle subsidies and incentives on the supply side and consumer demand side of the equation to get the fledgling industry flying on its own. Those plus CAFE requirements – not to mention European legislation beyond the purview of the American president – are expected to be key motivation in developing more electrified automotive solutions in coming years, but Romney said he sees failure written on the EV wall already.

    The Obama-led government is, Romney said, trying to "to force a market to adopt a technology that people aren't interested in."

    Right now, the electric vehicle industry needs friends with money, many more customers and even more cars to sell. Nissan's Leaf and Mitsubishi's i-MiEV are in general distribution, and the Tesla Model S will be released soon, but other heavily trumpeted EVs, such as the Fiat 500, Fit and Focus, are only compliance cars - sold in California to meet their strict regulations, but not available in many other states.

    Electric vehicles fall drastically short of Obama's 1 million goal

    The Obama administration invested $2.4 billion as part of its goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015. But that effort has, in part, stalled.

    Nothing is more emblematic of the industry's troubles than the Fisker Karma. In 2010, Fisker got a $529 million taxpayer loan to build a luxury electric sports car.

    But the government cut off the loan to Fisker after $193 million when Fisker failed to meet its ambitious sales and production goals. Then, a Consumer Reports test dealt the Karma another blow. "It is low. It is sleek. It is sensuous," the Consumer Reports' video narrator says. "It's also broken," the narrator adds as a clip of the Fisker Karma being towed on a flatbed airs.

    Fisker blamed the car's lithium ion battery, which happened to be made by another government loan recipient, A123 Systems.

    Battery maker A123 started with great promise and an MIT pedigree, but has been brought low after investing in the Fisker Karma <insert bad karma joke here>.

    What Happened to A123?

    A few days after A123 went public in the fall of 2009, the value of the company's stock nearly doubled as investors rushed to get a piece of one of the hottest clean-tech companies. The company boasted advanced lithium-ion battery technology, developed at MIT, that promised to popularize electric cars by making batteries more powerful, safer, and longer-lasting.Things could not have looked better. ... Three years later, A123's situation looks very different. Its stock value has fallen dramatically, depressed by ever-increasing financial losses. This week it reached a low of 82 cents a share, down from $25.77 shortly after its IPO. The company loses money on every battery it sells, and it's desperate for more capital to stay afloat. Its most recent earnings statement included a warning that the company might not survive.

    EV enthusiasts have not lost hope:

    Even falling far short of a million, backers say electric cars will take off as people realize how much fun and cheap they are to drive. Just to be sure, the president wants to invest $4.7 billon more tax dollars in electric vehicle incentives.

    But the auto industry is working to wring every last drop out of the venerable internal combustion engine - with or without hybrid technology:

    Engine Could Boost Fuel Economy by Half

    Delphi, a major parts supplier to automakers, is developing an engine technology that could improve the fuel economy of gas-powered cars by 50 percent, potentially rivaling the performance of hybrid vehicles while costing less. A test engine based on the technology is similar in some ways to a highly efficient diesel engine, but runs on gasoline. ...

    The Delphi technology is the latest attempt by researchers to combine the best qualities of diesel and gasoline engines. Diesel engines are 40 to 45 percent efficient in using the energy in fuel to propel a vehicle, compared to roughly 30 percent efficiency for gasoline engines. But diesel engines are dirty and require expensive exhaust-treatment technology to meet emissions regulations. 

    For decades, researchers have attempted to run diesel-like engines on gasoline to achieve high efficiency with low emissions. Such engines might be cheaper than hybrid technology, since they don't require a large battery and electric motor.


    Thank you for this.

    I just was reading that several foreign car makers are doing a lot better this year in this country.

    Now, of course, we need a definition of foreign car makers since the international corporate paradigm confuses us all; but that would be a subject of a 100,000 page essay; to say the least.

    If I stand back and look at your 'painting' from afar, I see all of humanity competing to find the perfect car.

    There never will be the PERFECT car, but it is amazing in these times to see such a connection. I mean Delhi and Detroit and Beijing and hundreds of other world centers competing and exchanging ideas (whether by hook or crook or contract) with an aim in mind.

    This is good stuff.

    But the auto industry is working to wring every last drop out of the venerable internal combustion engine - with or without hybrid technology:

    Oh of course. Just like they tried to milk as much out of cassettes and vinyl before that when CDs started to hit the market.

    Or how RCA introduced the Nuvister to try and forestall the demise of vacuum tubes.

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