Archive for the ‘hybrid’ Category

Sign Of The Economic and American Industry Times: New Cars Go On Sale, Cancelled in Same Month

November 15, 2008

“There have been significant market changes from the time we started to put hybrids in these vehicles until the time we decided to close the plant early.”

By Eddie Alterman
The New York Times
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HYBRID versions of the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango seem likely to secure a spot in automotive history: the two vehicles fell under the executioner’s ax in the same month they went on sale.

 
2008 Dodge Durango

2008 Dodge Durango

The hybrid S.U.V.’s became available at dealerships in early October. But on Oct. 23, Chrysler announced that at the end of the year it would close the Delaware plant where they are built.

Production of the hybrid models began on Aug. 22. Even if production continues until Dec. 31, the Aspen and Durango hybrids are almost certainly the shortest-lived new models from a major manufacturer in modern times.

One of the shortest previous model runs was for the Lincoln Blackwood, a luxury pickup that failed to excite buyers in 2001-2.

A Chrysler spokesman, Ed Saenz, said last week that 400 of the hybrid S.U.V.’s had already been built; this suggests that total production may not exceed 800.

The Durango and Aspen hybrids, which are 2009 models, use the two-mode gas-electric powertrain that was jointly developed by General Motors, BMW and DaimlerChrysler.

G.M. was first to market with the technology and is now offering two-mode versions of the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade; it also plans two-mode versions of the Saturn Vue crossover and full-size pickups.

Since Daimler and Chrysler have split, both parts have claimed the technology; Mercedes-Benz plans a two-mode S.U.V. called the ML450 BlueHybrid to go on sale in fall 2009.

The two-mode system packaged a suite of fuel-efficient technologies in one powertrain. Along with engine cylinders that shut down when not needed, there are two motor-generators in the transmission that provide electric propulsion when electronic sensors see fit.

Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, on sale since October, is already on borrowed time.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/automobiles/16ASPEN.
html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

As Fuel Prices Fall, Will Push For Alternatives Lose Steam?

October 20, 2008

By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 20, 2008; Page A01

Just four months ago, a conference here on electric cars drew four times as many people as expected. District fire marshals ordered some of the crowd to leave, and the atmosphere was more like that of a rock concert than an energy conference. A brief film depicted an electric car owner driving off with a beautiful woman to the strains of “The Power of Love” while her original companion struggles to pay for gasoline. The audience cheered.

One discordant note in the series of enthusiastic speeches came from Bill Reinert, one of the Toyota Prius designers. He cautioned that designing and ramping up production of a new car takes five years.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (R) speaks during a visit ...
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez (R) speaks during a visit to a gas pipeline project in Cumana, 400 km east of Caracas. Chavez will urge fellow members of the OPEC oil cartel to implement a cut in production, with a goal setting a price floor of no less than 80 dollars a barrel, the Venezuelan leader told AFP Sunday.(AFP/Thomas Coex)

“If oil goes down to $60 or $70 a barrel and gasoline gets back to $2.50 a gallon, and that very possibly could happen,” he said, “will that demand stay the same or will we shift back up?”

It didn’t take five years to hit those numbers. One type of oil shock has given way to another. Even more swiftly than the price of oil rose, it has tumbled to the range that seemed far-fetched when Reinert spoke and oil was more than $130 a barrel. Now that drop threatens a wide variety of game-changing plans to find alternatives to oil or ways to drastically reduce U.S. consumption.

“Declining oil prices can give us an artificial and temporary sense that reducing oil consumption and energy consumption is an issue we can put off,” said Greg Kats, a managing director of Good Energies, a multibillion-dollar venture capital firm that invests in global clean energy.

The credit crisis is compounding that threat by making it more difficult to finance capital-intensive projects, whether they are new auto assembly lines or solar panels or wind turbines. General Motors has been touting the Chevy Volt as the first mass-marketed, plug-in hybrid vehicle. GM, which has been holding merger talks with Chrysler, believes the project will help justify federal financing. It hopes to deliver the car by the end of 2010.
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Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/19
/AR2008101902073.html?hpid=topnews

An oil rig in a file photo. (File/Reuters) ...