There are many misconceptions about electric vehicles and hybrids, mainly concentrating on perceived marginal fuel gains but we have to recognise that the ones on the road at the moment are purely early iterations of an ongoing evolution.
Whilst the technologies will bring greater economies, we also need to recognise that resources to give over two billion people in China and India the freedom of mobility we have enjoyed will not likely be available.
Most research effort and ingenuity needs to be invested in eliminating the need for mobility, then reducing the ‘resource intensity of mobilty’ – by amongst other possibilities, providing mobility as a service, rather than a product.
Any plan that sees the ‘Big Three’ as simply manufacturing companies, rather than integrated service companies is unworkable. Cradle to Cradle stewardship of their products is needed to maximize the value added to society by the provision of mobility; whilst minimizing the loss to society resulting from its creation, use and recreation. This is quite simply superb quality management.
For interested readers, here is a link to a letter of mine on the Toyota Prius that was published in two engineering journals in the UK, Professional Engineering and The Engineer, see sidebar for links.
GM To Open US Lithium-Ion Car Battery Pack Plant In Michigan
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES January 12, 2009: 11:10 AM ET
General Motors Corp. (GM) will establish the first lithium-ion battery-pack factory operated by a major auto maker in the U.S. to produce battery pack systems for its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car.
GM is looking to the much-hyped Volt to do what the Prius hybrid did for Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) – give the auto maker a must-have technology while cultivating a green image.
Preparation for the plant, to be located in Michigan, will begin in early 2009, with production tooling to be installed mid-year and output starting in 2010.
Until GM’s battery facility is operational, Volt’s battery cells will be supplied by LG Chem Ltd.’s (051910.SE) Compact Power Inc. unit, which is based in Troy, Mich. A joint engineering contract with Compact Power and LG Chem is expected to speed up development of the Volt’s lithium-ion battery technology. GM has been testing battery packs for the Volt, powered by cells from LG Chem, for the past 16 months, with tests – both on the road and in the lab – providing “invaluable insight into lithium-ion battery technology.”
“The design, development and production of advanced batteries must be a core competency for GM, and we’ve been rapidly building our capability and resources to support this direction,” Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said during the North American International Auto Show, where the Volt concept was rolled out two years ago…………………….
Cradle to Cradle Design http://www.mbdc.com/c2c_home.htm