Michael Rose reports via BusinessWire (London) and http://www.greatcarstv.com/news/: “Plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are set to bust out of their niche role and become mainstream. Experts believe the global market for PHEVs is poised for expansion, with major vehicle manufacturers pronouncing plans for their production. As issues related to the cost and safety of lithium ion batteries, used in PHEVs, are resolved there are simultaneous efforts underway to boost production volumes and achieve related decrease in costs.”

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  1. Ken Mayo

    Why can’t I buy a battery charger for an existing hybrid; If a generator can charge it an electronic module can do it as well!!!! I need FACTS not BS

  2. There is no BS at this site.

    There is almost no reason why you can’t buy a plug-in charger for a hybrid car, at least in theory and depending on whom you talk to (see more below and/or at http://preview.tinyurl.com/6zt3sw). The simple answer is that US oil and car companies have colluded to prevent you from doing this; plug-in hybrids are found all over Europe.

    The documentary film “Who Killed the Electric Car” (written and directed by Chris Paine) describes how Detroit (GM) spent a lot of money developing electric car technology, but spent a lot more money lobbying Congress to keep hybrids, plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicles off the road. It is my understanding that GM had a fully-functional electric model, the EV1, in the 1990’s, but ended up buying back and destroying all working copies of the car (or destroying all parts but the shell).

    For some hybrids, you can buy conversion kits that are somewhat expensive or you can have your car converted, which is somewhat more expensive. If you know what you are doing, you could do this yourself. Doing so would probably void all warranties.

    However, there are some skeptics who claim that present batteries are not good enough to undergo charging from a wall outlet. Personally, I don’t understand this at all (I don’t see why charging is different from one source vs. another, but I’m a chemist, not an engineer, maybe you can tell me.)

    Here is one relevant quote from Business Week’s online edition (http://preview.tinyurl.com/5uk83z): “There is one area, though, where Honda has no plans to compete with rivals: plug-in hybrids powered by lithium ion batteries that can be recharged by being plugging directly into the electricity grid. General Motors (GM) plans to launch its eagerly anticipated Chevrolet Volt in 2010 (BusinessWeek.com, 11/20/07), the same year Toyota will offer a plug-in version of the Prius.

    However, Fukui reiterated Honda’s doubts about the viability of plug-ins. The biggest problem: New battery technology, vital for plug-ins, is still some way off. “We don’t necessarily think the plug-in hybrid is a very great idea,” he says. “If the batteries ever go through a major advancement, then the plug-ins will also advance, [but] if you look at the current battery performance, the cars have a very limited range.” ”

    More telling than the quotes from Honda is the very first comment in response to this Business Week article: “Neil, Jun 2, 2008 12:41 AM, GMT: Honda is most certainly NOT serious about green anything. They dumped their lame EV effort and canceled the Insight (the most fuel efficient car on the US market) 2 years ago. And why would they even want to ‘catch’ Toyota? The Prius (for those who didn’t know) still consumes gas!!! This hybrid BS is to keep us hooked on oil, period. Honda’s announcement is more BS, and does nothing but push back any hybrid expectations for at least 2-5 years. Mr Fukui’s comments in the last paragraph are pure nonsense. Toyota sold their electric RAV4 TEN YEARS AGO. 120 mile range. 70+ mph. Overnight charging. “Still some way off” indeed. BS Mr Fukui, BS.”

    The way I understand it, Honda was forced to stop selling the plug-in RAV4 by Chevron, which happens to be a major oil company that bought the patent rights to one type of rechargeable battery (Nickel Metal Hydride, or NiMH) that could have been used in cars. It seems clear that CHevron (originally Texaco) bought those rights for the sole purpose of preventing anyone from using the NiMH technology in cars.

    More details are discussed in the quote below from this blog, http://preview.tinyurl.com/6zt3sw. If you go to this original blog post, you will find links for practically every half-sentence of this section that take you to source information, vendors, etc.

    “How can you buy a plug-in hybrid? You can buy a hybrid car “off the shelf” and have it converted to a plug-in hybrid. This service is available in the US, the UK and elsewhere. Plug-in hybrids may be available directly from Toyota by 2010. For more information on plug-in hybrid cars, the following sites are very valuable: Plug-in Partners, Plug-in America, Hybrids Plus (a manufacturer of plug-in hybrids in the US). See also the DVD “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, read the book “Plug-in Hybrids: the cars that will recharge America”, and read the blog “plugs and cars”. The site “What Green Car?” provides information about plug-in hybrids for consumers in the U.K.

    What are the running costs of plug-in hybrids? Estimates suggest that the transportation costs are equivalent to gasoline at $1.00/gallon.”

    Not every conclusion of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” goes unchallenged, by any means, but the challenges are often self-serving and self justifying comments from GM, Chevron or their representatives. Take a look and let us know what you think. Wikipedia actually covers the film, the challenges and the rebuttal, and the text seems pretty well documented (in this case). However, there has also been a lot of discussion of these issues at Gather.com, where I republish most of my environmental articles and other writing, and elsewhere on the web/bloggosphere.

    Thanks for the comment and extremely reasonable question! Jim

  3. Ken, see this story on gas cars being converted into electric cars:

  4. Ken, here is one more link: How can I plug in my Prius?

  5. I admire the inspiration for newer innovations. IF vehicles were operated by lithium ion batteries then the world would literally be a different place. ME myself mainly caring for the environment itself would really hope for the best case scenario and would wish that vehicles would run on them batteries!
    IF it were possible though, many corporations would lose a lot of money..
    Look guys, there are plenty of different alternatives for the car running on a different energy source. Cars today have the ability to run on propane, vegetable oil, water, and battery, but if these acts were to be in effect asap, big companies would lose business thus luxurious companies not being able to pay off many things in essense declaring bankruptcy. It will disturb the whole economic status of car dealerships because competition would compare to cellular phone business. A shop in every corner and not a need for it as much..

  1. 1 New and Improved Lithium-Ion Batteries- GoodCleanTech.com « Chemistry for a sustainable world

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    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

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