Archive for January, 2006

This article in industryweek.com from the AFP news agency further shows that many automotive experts don’t understand hybrid technology or the intelligence of many American consumers. The article notes:

A big barrier to the sales of hybrid vehicles is the high sticker price. The hybrids on the market currently cost on average 3,500 dollars more than their gasoline equivalents. It would take most consumers years to recoup the initial cost in terms of gas savings.

How much do leather seats cost? How about DVD players? Both are well over $1,000 and both are popular options (as can be seen by their availability in many passenger cars, SUVs, and (gasp) trucks). How do consumers calculate the return on investment for leather seats?

Also in the article, Standard and Poors (truly renowned for their automotive expertise) noted:

“We believe that diesel vehicles could provide a compelling alternative to hybrids,” Standard and Poors said in a recent report. Diesel engines are about 30 percent more efficient than gasoline engines and offer significantly higher fuel efficiency.

Diesels and hybrids are not mutually exclusive. Diesels may not be totally compatible with the starting and stopping of current hybrid systems (although they might be compatible), but no one has ruled out the possibility of a diesel-electric hybrid (versus the current gas-electric hybrids). Hybrids could even be based on fuel cell technology. The key feature of hybrids is that the recoup energy that would otherwise be wasted during braking and over-production of power by the engine.

Basically, all of these “reasons” to downplay hybrid technology are really reasons to maintain the status quo or sell existing, standard technology.