If I were to guess where we'll be in 10 years, I'd say hybrids and plug-in hybrids will have grown considerably. I think pure electrics will still struggle. It's intersting to note that in a forward-looking 1996 story for Design News' 50th anniversary, I wrote an article predicting the future of automobiles, called "Hybrids Grab the Wheel." Hybrids looked like the future back then, and it hasn't changed much since.
As you've written, Chuck, alternative-energy vehicle sales haven't reached manufacturers' publicly expressed estimates, nor will they be bought in large quantities simply because California wants to mandate purchase of electrics. Charing infrastructure development remains a chicken-and-egg issue as far as goosing the market. (Actually, I'm wrong. It's not chicken and egg. It's the major impediment.) Plus, we are still in the early generations of alt-energy vehicle technology. Let's see where we are in 10 years.
I agree, Alex. The publicity accorded the Volt has given the whole industry a bump in the area of electric cars. The downside of the publicity, however, can be seen in a story today, in which General Motors blames negative publicity about the Volt's car fires for poor sales late in 2011.
It is fatuous to think that the average consumer wants to pay for a research product. If the government wants to pay for research (Hi, I'm from the governemnt and I'm here to help you.) it should pay for research, but don't subsidize a chosen market and reasearch experiment by "putting Gobernment money on the hood" of everything you ship. That's crony capitalism pure and simple.
If you were a loudspeaker company like Fender or Marshall and you thought you'd found a class D amplifier that saved energy and worked on green twigs, but you knew nobody would pay for it because of it's price and relative performance, but you found out you could have it government subsidized to the tune of 10 times the cost of a regular Fender/Marshal Stack, would that be wise?
- What happens when the unwanted subsidized product is no longer subsidized?
- If the unsubsidized product shows no popularity and therefore no sales after subsidization, isn't the initial subsidization like creating a bubble?
- Is coercing the taxpayers money out of the government and into your unpopular product even moral?
Architect, I concur completely. At least the Volt is the closest thing out to a totally serial hybrid (ICE used only to create electricity, not directly mechanically connected to the drivetrain). All locomotives currently use this approach. The auto industy has been stuck in the "electric motot as assist" mode until the Volt. I see design articles still about beefed up alternators and starters coming onto the market, able to actually act as electric assist devices in accelerating and restarting....shortsighted!
As engineers, we all know that as a propulsive means in autos the electric motor is absolutely the best answer, the only remaining variables should be: where is the electricity coming from....
1. the grid to batteries only.
2. from serial ICE's or turbines (alternative fuels still apply here)
While I personally believe that they should have come out with the Converj first and charged properly for it and then backed down into a car for everyman, what happened, happened probably with the notion that it had to be a general answer for everyman first.
Cost Savings are underway due to production ramping up. Looks great in black.
Solid, quick, great performance, certainly no flimsy toy at all.
By next year we shall see lots of electric hybrids by virtually every manufacturer.
And we are going to see electric trucks as well. If REMY can produce a traction motor that is 11" x 11", weighs 100#, and puts out 400 hp then we are on the way. Drop in two of those if you are in a hurry. Oil bath cooled.
And yes they will be hybrids, not meaning that whichever will be the driver but the electric motor will be the drivetrain element and a smaller ICE unit will be used to charge up the batteries. Isn't that what the submarines did in WWII?
These things will be supremely intelligent and the Tea Party will never get it cause they can't get anything. They'll sit around and carp and grouse and scream nonsense. Used to call that sort of behavior Ludditic.
I think the Volt clearly was a worthwhile effort for GM, even if it gives way to a Gen2 product or goes away entirely. I.e., it was a pathsetter and gave some ummph to the idea that "GM is back." So the fact that its purchase is subsidized by tax credits, and/or it might not be profitable, or GM might not be selling as many as it would like us to think, is irrelevant. It's a technological milestone which has created something of an inflection point in the alternative vehicle space. As is, before the Volt, some activity in alternative-energy vehicles (hybrids, plug-ins, unique combos; the Volt is actually the latter). After the Volt, a torrent of activity. Maybe it's more that there's coverage of the activity that was already there, but we're certainly in the midst of the alternative-energy vehicle now.
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is