Monday, January 14, 2008

Plug-in Buzz

A number of items to note in the electric vehicle space. Carmakers are falling all over themselves in demonstrating their newfound appreciation for all things clean and green. At least with the U.S. auto companies, I sense a faint whiff of desperation in some of the pieces, as GM and Ford try to reassure the investor community that “they get it”, and that while they missed the boat with ever larger SUVs throughout the late 90’s and early 00’s, they’re now firmly on board with electric vehicles and alternative fuel technologies.

The Detroit auto show is of course partly responsible for the sudden explosion of interest towards plug-in autos, and I’m just going to link to a few articles. For my previous recent posts on this topic, go here, and here.

Electric-Car Firms Get Star Investors: discusses Kleiner Perkins’ investment (with an assist from Al Gore) in Fisker Automotive, which is releasing an ’09 luxury plug-in hybrid which has all the requisite performance attributes (50 miles before charging, 125 mph, 0-60 in 5.8 seconds). The article also mentions a couple other bigger names in this space including Tesla, and Shai Agassi’s start-up

Closing the Power Gap Between a Hybrid’s Supply and Demand: highlights AFS Trinity Power which has developed a prototype for a plug-in hybrid with pre-existing lithium-ion batteries and ultracapacitors which gets 150 miles/gallon.

Toyota Will Offer a Plug-In Hybrid by 2010: in an effort to outdo GM’s Chevy Volt and Saturn Vue efforts, Toyota will be offering an entire fleet of plug-in hybrids, and extend the initiative to the Lexus line. Another take on these competing efforts is here.

A PHEV - EV Demand Curve: Meanwhile, AltEnergyStocks takes a look at the demand curve for mileage range by household, and comes to some interesting conclusions about PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) vs. EVs (electric vehicles).

Six Major Pre-Production Electric Vehicles Compared: and through the previous link at AltEnergyStocks, I found DIY Electric Car’s very helpful grid comparison of electric vehicles. Although a couple months old, key similarities and points of difference are already beginning to appear.

And finally, there’s been a lot of attention given GM’s investment in Coskata, a cellulosic ethanol company still in pilot stage. As always, Earth2Tech was on the scene months ago, and has a great first-hand account of the technology and company.

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