EV Digest 2450

Topics covered in this issue include:

  1) RE: Silent Running
        by "Walker, Lesley R" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  2) Bridgestone additive for electrolyte for Li-ion batteries
        by "Lawrence Rhodes" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  3) EVLN(Oh my God, Will Beckett's going to drive a golf cart)-long
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  4) EVLN(Tony Ascrizzi's MA EV demand is just north of nil)-long
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  5) EVLN(GM dangled EV1 to distract consumers from the dirty ICE) 
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  6) EVLN(DC Dodge Ram Contractor's Special hybrid pickup in 2003)
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  7) EVLN(SLP Canada developing EVs)
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  8) EVLN(SF Chronicle sez: EVs are all but dead)
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
  9) EVLN(Automakers oppose EVs: Sierra Club goes with hybrids)
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
 10) EVLN(Canadian London hybrid Taxis)
        by Bruce EVangel Parmenter <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
--- Begin Message ---
John Wayland wrote:
> It would be hard to find 'any' ICE powered car that can roll up
> to a pedestrian in near total silence like my EV can....

So... do you get pedestrians unexpectedly walking out in front of you?
Do you find you have to look out for them more than you would in an
ICE car?

Lesley Walker
Unix Engineering, EDS New Zealand
"[Hybrid electric vehicles] are self-sustaining,
as long as you keep putting gas in the tank."
     --- James R. Healey, USA Today
--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message ---
Here is the short and to the point dialogue between me and a Brigstone
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 6:47 PM
Subject: Re[2]: Bridgestone

> Dear Mr. Rhodes,
> We have just developed the additive for electrolyte for Li-ion batteries.
> I wish some battery manufacturer could make and sell the products with our
> within a couple of years.
> Thank you in advance.
> Regards,
> >When will a consumer product with this additive be available?  I want to
> >these batteries in my electric car.  (EV)Lawrence Rhodes
> Shigeki Endo
> Bridgestone Corporation
> 3-1-1 Ogawa-higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8531 JAPAN
>  (TEL) +81-42-342-6255
>  (FAX) +81-42-342-6292
--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message ---
EVLN(Oh my God, Will Beckett's going to drive a golf cart)-long
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
>From the November 22, 2002 print edition
Electric cars make users part of a current affair Silent,
enviro-friendly cars give their owners a charge Daniel S.

For years, Will Beckett commuted to his job at
Hewlett-Packard in what might have appeared to some as the
most politically incorrect of vehicles, an SUV. But rather
than being the scourge of the environment, his use of the
six-passenger Chevy Blazer demonstrated kindness to Mother

The Blazer, which he purchased used, had been converted into
an electric vehicle. It might not have had the range to make
weekend trips to Tahoe, but it was perfect for getting to
and from work and doing errands around town.

And there's a certain glee that electric vehicle owners
exhibit when showing off their rides to the uninitiated.

"When I get people into my car and start moving, they say,
'is it on?'" said Beckett, president of the Silicon Valley
chapter of the Electric Auto Association, who now runs his
own PC support business. "The most fun was taking a mechanic
who wanted to try it. At the first stop sign, he thought he
stalled it because he didn't hear anything."

When it comes to producing more environmentally friendly
vehicles these days, much of the attention of major
automotive manufacturers seems focused on gas-burning
hybrids rather than pure electric vehicles. Hybrid cars use
electric motors charged and assisted by on-board gasoline

But electric-only cars can be had. And they are not just
rinky-dink runabouts better suited for the golf courses than
the freeway.

Drivers of electric vehicles speak with giddiness about
their cars as if they've figured out something so obvious
that most of the rest of us have been unable to see. These
cars have no tailpipes because they produce zero emissions,
don't require tune-ups or oil changes because they have
electric motors instead of internal combustion engines, and
the juice to make them go costs half to two-thirds of the
price of gasoline. They are also free to use carpool lanes.

Though General Motors and Honda had offered leases on
electric vehicles to consumers, they have both pulled the
plug on those cars. So at the moment, while conversion kits
can be bought to turn a traditional gas guzzler into a
battery operated wonder, Toyota is alone among the major
automakers in offering an electric vehicle for sale to

Toyota sells an electric RAV4 EV for just over $42,000.

But the price tag is not as hefty as it may seem. The
federal government gives purchasers a $4,000 tax credit, and
the California Air Resources Board pays buyers $3,000 a year
for three years after purchase. So the net price of the
electric RAV4 isn't much more than the cost of a
conventional, gas-burning RAV4, which goes for about

Toyota is offering the vehicle in California only, and has a
modest goal of selling 300 units this model year. It is part
of the company's effort to comply with the California Air
Resources Board's Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate, which
takes effect next year. The mandate requires that 10 percent
of all new vehicles sold in California meet low emissions
standards, with two percent qualifying as zero emission

The RAV4 EV seats five adults, offers the same cargo space
of the regular RAV4, and is rated to run 126 miles on a
charge of the 24, 12-volt nickel-metal hydride batteries
tucked underneath the car. Owners said that in the real
world, a charge, which takes about six hours, is good for
about 100 miles. The vehicle boasts a top speed of 78 miles
per hour.

"Who's buying the car? Largely it's an educated group. A lot
of them are engineers. A lot of them are in high-tech
industries," said Eric Doebert, business development manager
for Toyota of Palo Alto. "They all seem to have a dual
motive for buying the car. They are interested in the
technology and a lot of them have been interested in it for
a long, long time. At the same time they are interested in
clean air."

Kim Rogers, a software engineer from Santa Clara, bought a
RAV4 EV six months ago after years of telling people that
when she bought her next car it would be electric. She said
for the first month she didn't stop smiling. The side of the
car is marked with large letters reading "EV" to show it is
an electric vehicle, something that elicits thumbs-up from
strangers wherever she goes.

"I vowed in 1993 my next car would be electric. When I told
people that, their first reaction is 'Oh my God, she's going
to drive a golf cart,' " she said. "Part of it is the public
doesn't get a lot of exposure to electric cars."

Douglas Kerr, a RAV4 EV driver in Larkspur, said he likes
that he's reducing pulmonary disease by driving an electric
vehicle, but he said there are plenty of other compelling
reasons to go electric. He said electric cars are very
reliable and much cheaper to run.

"I always begrudged time in the garage and taking time out
from an active day and breathing gasoline vapors. I now fuel
while sleeping," he said. "Most people drive way less than
100 miles every day. It's such an obvious way to be a normal

He also likes that he gets state and federal money ? tax
dollars from his neighbors ? for purchasing his RAV4 EV.

"The one surprising reaction is that people thank me for
buying the car, which is ironic because they are helping me
pay for it," he said. "So, since you helped pay for it, I
want to thank you, too."

Daniel S. Levine covers the Bay Area economy for the San
Francisco Business Times.
 2002 American City Business Journals Inc.

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EVLN(Tony Ascrizzi's MA EV demand is just north of nil)-long
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
>From the November 22, 2002 print edition
Slow pickup: Electric cars spawn ardent, if tiny, market
Observers believe that as world stage gets more tumultuous
and oil gets pricier, alternative-fuel vehicles will gain
acceptance in Massachusetts 
Mary K. Pratt   Special To The Journal

Tony Ascrizzi has converted gas-powered cars to electric
ones for the past 25 years, first as a hobby and then, since
1985, for a living.

In that time, he has turned Porches, VW Rabbits, Toyota MR2s
and Dodge Dakotas into quiet, efficient electric cars at a
starting cost of about $6,000.

The breadth of vehicles is impressive. The cottage industry
is devoted.

The demand for electric cars, however, is just north of

"For some reason, this state, the population itself, seems
reluctant to go with alternative-fuel vehicles," said
Ascrizzi, founder of the Worcester-based Electric Vehicle
Systems and president of the New England Electric Auto
Association, or NEEAA.

Climbing gas prices
The way he sees it, interest in electric cars will climb
only when gas prices push beyond $1.75 a gallon ? and stays

Electric cars have been around for a century, although
gas-powered vehicles have obviously dominated the market.
But environmental concerns and ongoing fuel crises have made
the need for cleaner vehicles a priority for many
governments, organizations and individuals.

California has been a leader in many ways. The state in 1990
enacted its Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, which
requires car companies to produce clean, pollution-free
vehicles as a small percentage of their fleet.

The auto industry this fall took California to court over
the program, claiming that the Golden State attempts to
mandate fuel economy standards.

In addition, the Bush administration filed a friend-of-court
brief supporting automakers? claiming that the program
usurps federal authority by setting fuel economy standards.

A nascent industry
While Massachusetts doesn't have the same contentious focus
on electric vehicles as California does, the state
nonetheless has a nascent economic base tied to the sector.

Ascrizzi's Electric Vehicle Systems is part of that base.
His work converting cars, motorcycles and bicycles to
electric ones is his full-time occupation, although he does
fix computers during slow times.

"I'm the only one in the phone book, at least in central
Massachusetts," he said. But he also acknowledges that he's
sometimes fighting against a society that values vehicular
muscles and oversized SUVs.

Still, Ascrizzi remains a committed proponent of electric

"You're buying longevity and reliability upfront," he said.
"The motor will outlast the car, and your cost of operation
is almost nothing."

He estimated fuel costs at about $15 a month; maintenance
involves checking the water in the battery a couple of times
per year, unless it's a sealed battery, which means no
checking at all.

'A signal to Detroit'
The Woburn-based Solectria Corp. is another part of the
state's electric-vehicle base.

Incorporated in 1989, Solectria started as a component
manufacturer. It started to sell complete electric vehicles
in 1991 as a way to showcase the technology, said marketing
manager Karl Thidemann.

"It sent a signal to Detroit that showed if a small company
from Boston could sell these, why couldn't they come up with
electric vehicles," Thidemann said. The company built more
than 400 electric vehicles that were delivered to customers
in 38 states and 12 countries.

Solectria, however, decided to leave that market behind and
now focuses on providing technology and engineering to

Today, more than 2,000 electric or hybrid vehicles around
the world now use Solectria's technology ? a significant
share of the niche market, Thidemann said.

Like Ascrizzi, Thidemann doesn't see a lot of individuals
clamoring to buy electric cars. But he does see an
increasing interest in industrial uses of electric vehicles.
Significant numbers of airport ground-support equipment,
forklifts, delivery vehicles and even military equipment
have been converted to electric power.

In fact, Solectria has its technology in, among other
things, at least 120 electric buses (including two at Logan
International Airport) and in ice-resurfacing machines.

Real savings
Thidemann sees the cost of fuel as an important factor
behind the drive toward more electric vehicles. "With hybrid
systems, many studies found fuel savings on the order of
one-fourth to one-third. Those sorts of savings are achieved
on only certain routes, like in the city where there's lots
of stop-and-go situations," he said.

Such savings are important in the business world, as
companies look for quick returns on investments. As
Thidemann noted: "If you have a payback time that's short
enough, than industry will be quick to implement it."

And while many individuals and some businesses still invest
in electric and hybrid vehicles simply for environmental
reasons, economic factors ? be them reduced fuel costs or
tax credits or other government incentives ? will play
increasingly important roles in getting more and more people
into the market.

Officials for the city of Medford considered all those
factors when the city recently opted for neighborhood
electric vehicles (more advanced than a golf cart but not as
nicely equipped as a car).

Medford is part of Cities for Climate Protection, a campaign
of the International Council for Local Environmental

As such, Medford had to do an inventory of its emissions,
set reduction targets and write a climate action plan, said
city environmental agent Kim Lundgren.

So, when Ford offered to help government agencies by giving
away neighborhood electric vehicles, Medford took seized on
the offer and received five vehicles earlier this month.

They will be used instead of gas-powered trucks as city
parks, cemeteries and schools. Because they can only go
about 25 or 30 mph, Lundgren said they won't be used on the

"But we do want them out there a little bit, so people can
see them," she added.
 2002 American City Business Journals Inc.

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EVLN(GM dangled EV1 to distract consumers from the dirty ICE) 
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
Charged up ? or not
Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2002

All of the electric motorists Biz Ink spoke with --
including Propel Software Corp. founder Steve Kirsch, and
Gloria Duffy, CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California --
love General Motors Corp.'s EV1. But GM plans to recall the
650 EV1s it leased in California and Arizona, scrapping many
of them.

The two states passed guidelines requiring the availability
of a certain number of zero-emission vehicles by 2003.
California's law, passed in the early 1990s, required 10
percent of all vehicles to have zero emissions by next year.
That was eventually lowered to 3 percent, and now allows
golf carts to fall into the same category as the EV1.

GM claims weak market demand and lack of a business model.
But EV1 drivers and consumer advocate Ralph Nader say the
real problem is the auto industry's love affair with the
internal combustion engine, which has a limited life and
drives secondary business through regular maintenance.

Nope Sawang-Wan, a technician at Saturn of Marin (a GM
division that services the EV1), says the EV1 is very low

"There's really not much in those cars," Sawang-Wan says.
"The only thing we do is rotate the tires and check for
computer and electrical problems."

Nader says gasoline engines keep people coming back "again
and again."

"Basically, GM has dangled the electric car to distract
consumers from the dirty internal combustion engine," he
says. "GM has pursued this detour and manipulation,
it's-just-around-the-corner tactic so they can continue [ to
profit from the high-maintenance gasoline engine]."

GM's plans to not renew the leases and take the cars off the
road have early-adopters, such as Kirsch, bewildered.

"I love it; I hate to see it go," says Kirsch, who has
leased the EV1 since 2000. "I think they want to focus more
of their energy on fuel cells. The other part is
shortsightedness on the part of car manufacturers."

Rod Diridon, chairman of the National Research Council's
panel to combat global warming with alternative fuel
vehicles -- and an EV1 lessee -- says building zero-emission
cars is a moral imperative.

"How long is the world going to allow 4 percent of the
world's population to produce 26 percent of the Earth's
greenhouse gasses?" Diridon asks, citing statistics
pertaining to Americans' disproportionate appetite for
petroleum, reported in the October 1998 issue of National

"That is what the rest of the world looks at when the U.S.
refuses to sign on to the Kyoto Treaty [to lower greenhouse
gasses by setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions],"
Diridon adds.

GM spokesman Donn Walker, who says a total of 950 EV1s were
built, confirms Kirsch's first assumption, saying "it's in
our interest as a society to move our company toward
hydrogen [fuel cells]."

As for the latter claim of shortsightedness on behalf of the
auto industry, Walker says neither GM nor its competitors
could make a solid business case for the electric car.

"It's all about building products that are profitable,"
Walker says. "There's simply no business case for [the EV1].
It's not fair to the employees and shareholders of the

Walker says GM subsidized the cost of the vehicles to the
tune of 80 percent, though much of the money was sunk into
research and development and GM built less than 1,000 EV1s.
Building these in volume, Diridon says, would have allowed
GM to see some profit over time.

But making just a handful of the cars, Diridon believes,
gave GM positive public relations without having to make a
real commitment to electric cars.

"They were afraid they were going to get demand and have to
build some more," says Diridon, echoing Nader's charge of a
"dangling" tactic on the part of GM.

Walker -- declaring GM's belief that there is no future for
electric cars -- says a better way to clean the air is to
sell more new cars, which he claims are 99 percent cleaner
than those made 30 years ago.

Also, Walker confirms GM's commitment to supporting the
internal combustion engine for as long as possible.

"The great thing about technology is that with every decade,
we keep finding a lot more oil in the Earth," Walker says.

Woodside-based EV1 lessee Richard Pivnicka, honorary counsel
general to the Czech Republic, agrees with GM's assertion
that the electric car is not as lucrative as the combustion
engine -- and believes that is the reason GM is scrapping
the EV1. But he counters GM's claims about slack demand.

"I would say the interpretation of the marketplace by GM is
simply not accurate," Pivnicka says. "When they say there is
not a sufficient market for these cars, I know I could have
sold one at every cocktail party I've been to."

Stan Skokan, president of the New York-based Electric
Vehicle Association of America, likens the auto industry to
a cartel with too much riding on the combustion engine. But
consumer demand, he says, is there.

"For 30 years, I've been involved in educating the general
public that non-polluting vehicles are possible," Skokan
says. "It's just for political and economic reasons that
this technology is blocked."

GM's Walker, though, says speculations about a conspiracy of
parts manufacturers, the oil industry and other facets of
the gas-burning automobile infrastructure is simply absurd.
He says it's all about the bottom line.

"I can't understand why ordinarily intelligent people can't
understand this," Walker says, with a tone of frustration.

For EV1 lessees in the Bay Area, though, letting go of the
EV1 will not be easy.

"I think [GM] has done an extraordinary job," Pivnicka says.
"They should be proud of this great achievement."

The Commonwealth Club's Duffy says she will miss her daily
commute from San Jose to San Francisco in the carpool lane
-- one benefit of driving an electric car. She can go 120
miles per charge and says it costs about a dollar to "fill
it up."

"I generally find it a real advantage as a consumer, and I
don't mind making adjustments," Duffy says. "People just
need a shift in thinking."

Steve Tanner is a Biz Ink reporter.
You can reach him at [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Enjoying Biz Ink online? Why not subscribe today and never
miss an issue!
 2002 Silicon Valley Business Ink. All rights reserved.

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EVLN(DC Dodge Ram Contractor's Special hybrid pickup in 2003)
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
Chrysler to build diesel SUV, hybrid pickup
Reuters / November 25, 2002

NEW YORK -- The Chrysler group said Monday it will roll out
a gasoline-electric hybrid pickup next year and a
diesel-powered sport-utility in 2004, in a bid to test
consumers' willingness to pay for better fuel economy.

But Chrysler said it had canceled another hybrid vehicle
that had been planned for 2003 because it could not build a
business case for it. And Chrysler executives warned that
hybrid- and diesel-powered models would not be built in
significant volume unless U.S. customers accept their higher
U.S. automakers, facing tougher government rules on fuel
economy, have been touting diesel engines as a way to
improve efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut
U.S. dependence on imported oil. While diesels get better
fuel economy than gasoline engines, they also produce more
nitrous oxide, a component of smog, as well as particulates
that have been linked to lung disease.

In Europe, diesels account for roughly 40 percent of all
new-vehicle sales, thanks to tax incentives and low-sulfur
diesel fuel, which allows automakers to better control
emissions. The EPA has ordered U.S. oil refiners to begin
producing low-sulfur diesel fuel in 2006, a regulation oil
companies have been fighting.
Bernard Robertson, Chrysler's senior vice president of
engineering technology and regulatory affairs, said the
company had canceled a hybrid vehicle slated to be built in
2003 that would have used electric motors to provide
all-wheel drive.

Two years ago, Chrysler said it would offer its hybrid
system as an option on its Dodge Durango sport-utility that
could provide a 20 percent boost in fuel economy. But the
Durango was delayed after testing found the hybrid system
did not perform as well as planned. While Chrysler tested
the system on other vehicles, Robertson said the fuel
economy and all-wheel-drive benefits were not enough to
offset the extra cost.

"We liked the idea, but the execution just got a bit more
expensive than we had intended," Robertson said.

To keep its pledge to build a hybrid in 2003, Chrysler
accelerated the Dodge Ram Contractor's Special hybrid pickup
by a year. The Ram hybrid uses a different system than the
Durango, placing an electric motor between the gasoline
engine and the transmission. It also features an electrical
panel that drops down from the side of the truck, allowing
it to do double duty as a low-cost generator.

That model, and a similar proposal from General Motors, have
drawn the attention of the U.S. Army, which sees combat
versions of hybrid trucks helping reduce its fuel demand.
Chrysler officials said while they had planned about 5,000
hybrid Rams a year, an army contract could boost output

Ford Motor Co. is planning to introduce a hybrid Escape
sport-utility late next year, and GM is planning on
introducing a hybrid pickup in 2004.

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EVLN(SLP Canada developing EVs)
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
Source:   Canada Newswire
Date:  11/21/2002 10:31
Document Size:  Short (1 or 2 pages)
Document ID:  FC20021121400001483
Subject(s):  Cnw; Automobile; Bond; Canada; Clinic;
Conference; Entertainment; Family; Gasoline; Montreal; North
America; President; Products; Profit; Quebec; Travel;
University; Web

The 2003 Montreal International Auto Show - Fully equipped
and ready to roll!

Story Filed: Thursday, November 21, 2002 10:31 AM EST

MONTREAL, Nov 21, 2002 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) -- The
city is about to see the largest Montreal International Auto
Show ever organised in its 35 years of history, which will
open its doors to the public tomorrow, November 22 and close
on December 1. It was launched this morning during a press
conference, by Andre Dorais, President of the Auto Show, at
the new Palais des Congres de Montreal.

SLP Canada is a Montreal company that modified more than
50,000 Camaro and Firehawk for GM. SLP is now developing a
new breed of popular vehicles - electric cars that are high
on performance and low on gas emissions and pollutants.
Visitors to the Auto Show will get the opportunity to see
five vehicles assembled by SLP.
[ http://www.slpcanada.com/en/growth.htm ]
Web surfers will find all the information they need about 
the Montreal International Auto Show as well as go on a 
virtual visit of the Auto Show, by clicking on the Show's 
official Web site at www.montrealautoshow.com .

The Auto Show will open its doors from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., 
from Friday, November 22nd to Saturday, November 30th, 
and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 1st.

The Auto Show is organised by the Montreal Automobile 
Dealers Corporation (MADC), a non-profit organisation 
founded in 1913.

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EVLN(SF Chronicle sez: EVs are all but dead)
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 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
Gas-electric hybrids picking up speed with consumers
Chuck Squatriglia, Chronicle Staff Writer 
Sunday, November 24, 2002
Hybrid automobiles, those eco-friendly gas- and
electric-powered cars that get outstanding mileage, aren't
just for greenies anymore.

The technology, which mates the century-old internal
combustion engine with modern electric motors to deliver
high fuel economy and low emissions, will be the Next Big
Thing, automotive experts say.

At the moment, consumers can choose among only three hybrid
cars -- two Hondas and a Toyota, but auto industry analysts
expect the technology to appear under the hoods of
everything from econoboxes to sport utility vehicles and
sports cars beginning next year.

Electric vehicles are all but dead. Complicated and
expensive fuel-cell technology is still a decade or two away
from viability. So, for the nonce, automakers see hybrids as
the best way to meet tightening emissions regulations and
consumer demands for improved fuel economy.

"Hybrids are here to stay," said Ron Cogan, editor of Green
Car Journal, which chronicles environmental automotive
trends. "Virtually every automaker is looking at hybrids,
and we'll see increasing numbers of them coming on the

Buyers for these cars seem to be already there.

A recent survey of 5,000 new-car buyers by the auto industry
research firm J.D. Power & Associates of Westlake Village
(Ventura County) found that 60 percent would definitely or
strongly consider buying a hybrid. The firm predicts there
will be 500,000 hybrids in the United States by 2007 and 1
million by 2012.

Although only a small fraction of the 17 million new cars
sold in the United States last year, hybrids have gained a
sizable chunk of the market since Honda introduced the
Insight to America in 1999.

Honda is selling about 2,000 hybrid versions of its Civic
sedan each month since unveiling it in March. The company
said 10,000 Insight coupes have hit the road since 1999.

Worldwide sales of the Toyota Prius topped 100,000 last
month -- one-third of them in America -- and company
officials said they can't make the car fast enough to meet

Toyota and Honda are miles ahead of their competitors, but
other manufacturers have entered the race. Ford will
eventually introduce a hybrid version of its successful
Explorer SUV, and General Motors will follow with a hybrid
pickup in 2004. Chevrolet, DaimlerChrysler, Mitsubishi,
Nissan and even Fiat are frantically developing hybrids.

Acura recently said it might build the DN-X, a four-door,
all-wheel-drive hybrid sports car producing 400 horsepower
and delivering 42 mpg.

"Many automakers look at this as a long-term investment,"
Cogan said. "It allows them to be competitive, and it
presents them as environmentally inclined and
technologically advanced."

Cranking out all those cars won't mean a thing if no one
buys them. Hybrids have until recently been saddled with a
dowdy image, as little cars that get great gas mileage -- as
high as 61 mpg -- but are so boring that only
environmentalists could love them.


However, as gas prices rise, concern over global warming
mounts and the United States struggles to curb its
dependence on foreign oil, hybrids are become more popular,
experts said.

"People are increasingly interested in hybrids," said Thad
Malesh, director of alternative power technologies at J.D.
Power. "The direction for anyone who sells cars in this
country is definitely toward hybrids."

Those who have bought the cars tend to love them.

"I get between 50 and 60 miles per gallon," said Laura
Rinaldi, a graphic artist from Boulder Creek (Santa Cruz
County) who bought a Toyota Prius last year. "I drive a lot,
and I used to have to refill every three days. Now I can go
anywhere from a week to a week and a half without refilling.
I'm saving at least half on gas."

Hybrids deliver great mileage because electric motors assist
their gasoline engines, allowing the engines to be smaller.
The motor provides power during acceleration and at low
speeds. The engine kicks in at highway speeds. The two work
in roughly equal proportions when cruising around town.

Hybrids offer fuel economy 15 to 50 percent higher than
gasoline engines and reduce emissions by up to 90 percent,
making them among the cleanest vehicles on the road. Toyota
says its 100,000 Priuses have reduced carbon dioxide
emissions by 50,000 to 70,000 tons since 1998.

The cars aren't as clean as zero-emission electric or
fuel-cell vehicles that run on hydrogen, but
environmentalists said they are an improvement over cars
that rely only upon internal combustion.

"They aren't a perfect solution, but they're a big step in
the right direction," said Jamie Knapp, spokeswoman for the
Zero Emissions Vehicle Alliance.

Many environmentalists want Japan and Detroit to move faster
in getting them on the road.

"Why is the industry holding back?" asked Tim Carmichael of
the Coalition for Clean Air. "They say half a million on the
road by 2007. I say, 'Why so few?'

"There's no reason we shouldn't be seeing, and the industry
shouldn't be providing, this technology across their entire
line of products."

Hybrids are popular with green-minded drivers because they
are easy to use. They don't need to be plugged into a
socket, and they won't run out of juice in the middle of
nowhere. Owners just get in and drive.

"There's nothing odd or funky about it," said Lynn Fuller, a
San Francisco attorney who bought a Toyota Prius in

Except for the styling. Although Insight and Prius owners
rave about their cars with almost cultlike devotion, the
cars look -- to put it kindly -- unusual.

With its long, low profile, egg-like shape and fender
skirts, the Insight looks like a 1950s image of the car of
the future.

The Prius is tall and boxy and looks like the econobox sedan
that it is. Take a close look at the Prius and see how it,
well, echoes the dowdiness of the Toyota Echo.

But the cars were pioneers and, as such, needed to be
unusual to grab consumers' attention, industry analysts
said. The next generation of hybrid cars will look like
every other car on the road.

The Civic Hybrid is identical to the popular Civic sedan in
every way except for the electric motor under its hood and
batteries in the trunk. The Ford Escape, due next year, will
look just like the regular Escape, a small SUV.

Both cars are considered milestones because they are the
first established, popular models to offer hybrid power

"Going to the Civic was a huge step and very important,"
said J.D. Power's Malesh. "The Civic broke new ground, and
the Escape will break even more ground. If it takes off, it
will do nothing but increase the receptivity of hybrids."

The Escape may mark a new direction for hybrid technology.
Auto industry analysts expect the technology to begin
showing up in SUVs because of the huge improvements in fuel
economy and emissions it offers.

In recent years, engineering students at UC Davis have
outfitted a Chevrolet Suburban and a Ford Explorer with
hybrid drivetrains that use electric motors and small
four-cylinder engines donated by Saturn.

The technology has doubled the fuel economy of the two
vehicles: the Suburban gets 28 mpg and the Explorer gets 30
mpg. The vehicles also offer higher performance because
electric engines deliver more torque and better handling
because their batteries lower their center of gravity.

"SUVs offer the most room for improvement," said Vern
Francisco, a graduate student in mechanical engineering who
has worked on the vehicles. "The fuel economy gains are much
more pronounced."

While the automakers are keeping mum about specific plans
for hybrids, industry analysts expect to see hybrid versions
of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry -- two of the world's
best-selling cars -- before long.

The Civic and Escape will help hybrids establish a beachhead
in Middle America. Although wildly popular in the Bay Area
-- 1 of every 5 hybrids sold in the United States is sold
here -- the cars have yet to catch on in Peoria.

"If the hybrid flies there, it will have passed its first
real test," said Csaba Csere, editor of Car & Driver

The biggest stumbling block, Csere said, is cost. Hybrids
are complex cars, with gasoline engines, electric motors,
batteries and a computer to unify the two systems. All of
that extra hardware can bring some sticker shock.

The Civic Hybrid has a base price of $19,550 -- compared
with $17,060 for a top-shelf Civic sedan. The Prius starts
at $20,480.

"The fact is you pay $3,000 more for the hybrid, and you're
not likely to make that up in fuel savings even if you drive
the car for 100,000 miles," Csere said. "You have to be a
green-minded person; otherwise, you're just flushing money
down the toilet."

Consumers are willing to pay as much as $1,500 more for a
hybrid before they begin to reconsider, according to J.D.
Power. Toss in the $2,000 Federal Clean-Fuel Vehicle tax
reduction the IRS offers, hybrid fans said, and price
becomes less of an issue.

The premium will shrink as automakers introduce more models,
experts said. Toyota said last month that it will sell its
hybrid technology to competitors, which will lower prices
further. Nissan has accepted the offer, and General Motors
-- which worked with Toyota on the Geo line of cars several
years ago -- is said to be interested.

Such deals will open the door for automakers to roll out
hybrids quickly because they won't have to develop the
technology, an expensive proposition, just install it in a

Before long, automakers will offer hybrid power trains as an
option in most,

if not all, of their vehicles, automakers and industry
watchers said.  

The 45th annual San Francisco International Car Show, which
runs through next Sunday at Moscone Convention Center,
includes Honda and Toyota hybrids, alternative-fuel and
concept models among the 800 vehicles by 40 manufacturers.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday. Admission is $7,
children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. For
more information, see www.sfautoshow.com.  


Ford plans to start selling a hybrid version of its Escape
sport utility vehicle in late 2003. Like hybrids currently
on the market, the Escape HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) will
not need to be plugged in - the battery is recharged by a
small gasoline engine and a regenerative braking system. An
electric motor powers the vehicle's drivetrain, with boosts
from the gas engine when necessary. .

A hybrid SUV: the Ford Escape HEV

Both power sources are controlled by a computer, which
continuously monitors the system and engages either the
electric or gasoline motor at the appropriate times.

GASOLINE Components

-- 4-cylinder internal combustion engine: Provides power to
   the drivetrain during acceleration and charges battery at
   other times. Shuts off when not needed (for example, when
   the car comes to a stop); restarts automatically when
   accelerator is pressed.

-- Fuel tank (not shown): Uses standard gasoline.

ELECTRIC Components

-- Regenerative brakes: When the brakes are applied, energy
   that would otherwise be lost as heat is collected and
   used to recharge the battery.

-- 300-volt battery pack: Rechargeable nickel-hydride
   modules supply energy to the radio, lights, heating and
   other accessories, and can store energy generated by the

-- Electric transaxle: Combines functions of transmission
   and electric motor; powers drivetrain whenever vehicle is
   in motion. .

These 2003 models all have continuously variable automatic
transmissions. Both Hondas also offer 5-speed manuals.

E-mail Chuck Squatriglia at [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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EVLN(Automakers oppose EVs: Sierra Club goes with hybrids)
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
Sierra Club Launches Campaign to Lower Emissions
By Jorge Casuso

Nov. 25 -- With electric, hybrid, and alternative technology
cars parked outside Santa Monica Ford, local
environmentalists Monday called on the company to support
California's landmark Global Warming Law and bring low
emission cars to dealership floors.

The event kicked off a campaign by the Sierra Club to urge
consumers to ask auto dealers for the "Freedom Option
Package," a set of low emission components that can be added
to most standard vehicles to make them go farther on a
gallon of gas while significantly reducing pollution.

"American consumers are demanding more options," said
Professor Robert Gottlieb, Director of the Urban and
Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College and a
Santa Monica resident. "They understand that they can make
real savings by driving cars and SUVs that get more miles to
the gallon."

"If American auto makers want to keep pace with fast-moving
foreign competition, they'll start providing these options,"
Gottlieb said. "And as a result, we'll help protect the
health of people and the environment."

Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McKeown, who drove up in his hybrid car,
lauded the City's practice of buying alternative fuel and
low-emission vehicles wherever possible, such as the
CNG-fueled Big Blue Buses, the electric Tide Shuttle and a
fleet of new hybrids for staff use.

"Santa Monica is committed to being a sustainable city,
changing the Southern California 'commute and pollute,'
lifestyle," McKeown said. "Eliminating the 'commute' will
take wise land use over time, but we already have the
low-emission vehicle technology to cut the 'pollute.' Ford
and Santa Monica Ford can be leaders in bringing
low-emission vehicles to Santa Monica car buyers."

Ron Davis, the owner of Santa Monica Ford, said the auto
manufacturer is taking aggressive initiatives to roll out
low-emission and hybrid vehicles, including a car that gets
70 miles per gallon and a hybrid SUV that will be sold next

"I think Ford is really on the right track," Davis said.
"These are aggressive initiatives."

But Davis cautioned that "things like this never happen
overnight. It's not possible to wave a magic wand and have
everybody driving an electric vehicle the next day."

Sierra Club spokeswoman Kate Jackson questioned Ford's
commitment. "Ford CEO Bill Ford, Jr. calls himself a
'life-long environmentalist' and pledged to lead Ford to
sustainability, but his company waged an aggressive effort
last spring that convinced Congress to reject higher fuel
economy standards," Jackson said.

Now, Jackson added, Ford is threatening to sue California to
overturn the precedent setting Global Warming Law sponsored
by Fran Pavley, who represents Santa Monica in the State

Auto manufacturers, McKeown said, "chose to oppose (the law)
with full page newspaper ads from TV used car salesman Cal
Worthington and his dog Smog. With electrics, hybrids and
alternative fuel vehicles, we can have cars without smog."

"Ford should listen to the 81 percent of Californians who
supported the law and demonstrate that they are responsible
corporate leaders by making low emission cars," said Colette
Brooks, who bought a fleet of low emission cars for her own

"We all share a common value and have acted on it," Brooks
said. "When coupled with the money we save on gas, that's an
incredible return on the investment."

The Sierra Club's campaign is designed to encourage Ford and
car dealers nationwide to be responsible corporate leaders,
said Rabbi Steven Jacobs of Temple Kol Tikvah and the
National Progressive Religious Partnership.

"We hope that Ron Davis, owner of Santa Monica Ford, will
join us in caring about the auto industry, about customers,
and about our environment," Rabbi Jacobs said. "Lets
celebrate the ingenuity of humankind by getting the Freedom
Option Package technologies onto dealership floors."

"American auto makers have the know-how to improve the fuel
economy of their cars and trucks, and Santa Monica Ford can
be a leader in bringing low-emission vehicles to its
customers," said McKeown, who is a Green Party member.

Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights

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EVLN(Canadian London hybrid Taxis)
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV
 informational purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}
London Taxis signs with Canadian company for hybrid electric
technology Friday November 29 9:16 AM EST

Vancouver, B.C. - Azure Dynamics Corporation, a developer of
hybrid electric systems for commercial vehicles, and London
Taxis International, a leading manufacturer of purpose-built
taxis, are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum
of Understanding concerning a joint program to develop and
produce advanced hybrid electric powered taxis.

Under the terms of the MOU, Azure and London Taxis agree to
work towards a development agreement and supplier
relationship for hybrid electric powertrains for current and
new generation taxis; annual volumes are projected to be up
to 3,000 vehicles.

Campbell Deacon, Chairman and CEO of Azure Dynamics said,
"Taxis are core constituents of our modern city lifestyles;
with the enhancement of hybrid electric technology they can
now become a significant contributor to smog reduction, thus
improving the quality of the environment in which we live
and work. We are particularly pleased to establish this MOU
with London Taxi International. The London taxi is a
recognized icon around the world. Not only are the potential
volumes large for Azure, the exposure of Azure's "Smart
Energy Management System" in one of the leading financial
and cultural centres of the world will help our company to
educate people of its environmental and economic benefits."

Ian Pickering, CEO of Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC (100%
owner of London Taxi International) stated that "London Taxi
is continually focused on providing the best possible
vehicles to taxi operators. We believe the Azure Dynamics
hybrid electric option will become a popular transport

Azure Dynamics Corporation is an innovative company that has
developed proprietary hybrid electric vehicle technology for
retrofit and new vehicle powertrains in the light and medium
duty commercial category. Azure's intellectual property
combined with interchangeable, off-the-shelf components
provides an affordable and effective solution for fleet
managers in applications such as the postal and courier
delivery fleets.

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