Ok, I'm not sure how to go about this so I'll just start with the stupidest one and work up from there.
The HHR was a terrible idea
to begin with. Its just ugly. So now the news that you can pay $200 MORE for one without three seats five windows and one door makes me wonder what the hell is going on. Are people buying these? Is this the new child-snatcher mobile? Watch out plain white van, the HHR is coming after your target consumer.
You know those stickers on new cars "estimating" the milage? You know how they're wrong? Well apparently the EPA is taking this matter by the horns and is revising the testing system for the first time since 1985. The result? Most estimates will drop by around 12%. Now I'm not sure what these tests consist of or how they were revised, but it sounds to me like car companies got pretty good at jumping through the hoops over the last 21 years. Making cars appear more efficient than they are. Class action lawsuit?
Doing your part for the environment by driving a Prius? As with most be cool-and-make-a-statement products marketed to US consumers it may not meet up with expectations. People have been worried about the dust to dust cost of the battery component for a while; disposing of the materials is as detrimental that burning gas for the life of the car. Well look at this article about the Toyota supplier that provides nickel for the batteries. The area in Canada around the factory has become so desolate from sulfur-dioxide emissions that astronauts went there to practice driving their moon buggies.
But the nickel's voyage only begins there. Its shipped 10,000 miles around the world before reaching the battery incarnation in Japan. And then they ship the completed cars back around the world to wherever they're selling them. Is all this worth 40, maybe 45 mpg? (with the updated EPA estimates) My 11 year old Honda gets 35 and didn't require exotic materials.
Sure they do oil in Texas, but they also do bio-diesel. Well, they used
to do bio-diesel. The use of these fuels produces nitrogen oxide emissions, which the state found unacceptable as they passed legislation against it last year. The industry has had one year to lower the emission levels, but that's almost up. I'm all for reducing pollution, but I'm not sure this is the way to encourage growth in a small market. You need to offer incentives, not just penalties. Right now what reason is there to try and develop this technology besides the goodness of your convictions?
Thanks Nissan, you're doing a great jeorb. The new hybrid Altima will be available in 8 states to meet their stringent clean air laws. But here's the kicker: they don't think they can make money on it. Yeah just another reason I'm not impressed by hybrids. People don't want to pay for them, companies can't make a profit from them, the environmental costs of producing and disposing of them, they still run on gas, and they misrepresent themselves as being a kind of environmental salvation.
Does diesel hybrid make sense? I'm the first to admit that I'm not an engineer, and don't know all that much about designing cars. But aren't diesel engines least efficient when they first turn on? When they're cold and not completely burning the fuel? So how does that translate to a system where the engine kicks on for a little while to top off the batteries and then switch off? Seems like we should have one big diesel that's always running, and you just hook your car up to it when you need some juice.
Fusion power. That's where its at. But until we get that ITER online, we'll just have to use the old-fashioned kind. That solar power folks, and its getting better. So I like to see people finding applications, cause demand drives research. So peep these guys giving their lackluster hybrids a tweak by fitting solar roofs on them. They're getting 20 miles a day already even without the ninja photo-voltaic cells that are coming. 20 miles a day could put some people in the range of using zero fuel on a daily basis, and still having the option to drive 50 miles on a weekend getaway if they'd like.
You know I like the Tesla roadster. I know it probably has its own environmental issues but I don't like the Tesla for its fuel efficiency. I like the concept, a small company building a redonkulous performance car by developing new technology while reusing body designs with plans to downscale it into a reasonable production technology. And its a sweet car. You don't even realize how fast you're going. Just ask this guy who got the first ticket while driving a Tesla. Shit, if I had one I wouldn't care.
Labels: alternative fuel, car, environmental, hybrid, Purge, solar, tesla