Thursday, May 25, 2006

I didn't know I liked Newt Gingrich

The rest of the interview is boring unless you care about automotive corporate strategy.

"MB: President Bush’s scheduled meeting with the Big 3 presidents has been postponed till sometime in June. If you were President, what would you tell the CEO’s of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors?

"NG: ...we need their help in leading the way in building flex-fuel cars, accelerating the development of hydrogen fuel cell cars, and, thirdly I’d ask them, “what kind of tax incentives and other kinds of things we could do?” that would accelerate the development of a more independent energy strategy which has to have automobiles as integral part.

"MB: So, how would you decrease America’s dependence on oil?

"NG: My argument is simple. First of all we should “incentivize” – if we want a strategy for getting people off petroleum, then what you want to do is incentivize buying vehicles that don’t use petroleum. Then you’d have to figure out how to incentivize gas stations to go to an E85 ethanol blend … or hydrogen fuel cells.

"MB: Do you think hydrogen powered cars will ever come to fruition?

"NG: How do I incentivize people to buy the first generation of hydrogen fuel cell cars? You could have very dramatic impact. And you might say to companies, we’ll give you a 3 to 1 ratio –every hydrogen car you produce, will count as three in terms of meeting your other standards. What would the impact of a hydrogen fuel economy be on virtually everything we worry about from the economy to national security the environment? It – it is a substantial breakthrough."

And the quote of the decade (I'm a firm believer of this):

"...we have to coerce the American people for their own good. "

Go Honda Go!

New FCX fuel cell vehicle from Honda being released in the near future... HOT!

"Honda is also developing the HES, or Home Energy Station, which produces hydrogen from natural gas for fuel cell vehicles along with heat and electricity for the house. The HES may make cars such as the FCX somewhat more practical due to the complete lack of a hydrogen infrastructure at the present time. "

< That is an HES and that is a side-view pic of the FCX with a tranlucent shell. You can see that the mechanics, power source and drivetrain of this car all sit at wheel level. These cars are typically drive-by-wire (F1 car technology that basically receives inputs from the wheel and pedals and translates that into movement... think computer mice or joysticks) so the interior/exterior design is totally up in the air. Change shells on the car, turn it into a van, pick-up, sports car... whatever.

As for the HES... think about our gasoline infrastructure today. We have around 180,000 gas stations in our country, none of which currenly pump hydrogen, are set up for hydrogen or even considered hydrogen when they were built. Changing them over would be very expensive and require government subsidies. But think about how hydrogen is created: you need water and electricity. Water comes to your home as does electricity. But go one step further... you've heard of solar-powered homes before, right? There are kits on the market now to install solar panels on your house and new technology coming out that faces micro-mirrors at the sun all day long gathering as much power as possible. Combine your own power source with the regular water coming into your home and you have a car that "runs on water" (put very simply).

Now think about all the buildings around you. What are the roofs being used for? Every building could literally be a hydrogen filling station. The fun part of this equation is that, with the money for the system, I could have that tomorrow. Between solar power and fuel cell technology, both of which exist, if I had the vehicle, I could make it work for myself. There's also the interesting quality of fuel cells which allows them to easily run the reaction in reverse. Pump water and electricity INTO your fuel cell car and it spits out hydrogen. Screw the filling station at your house, you could connect a water hose and a plug and your car will fill itself up at night!! THAT CAN HAPPEN RIGHT NOW, this isn't Star Trek sh*t!

Whew... got a little excited there!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I always thought country music was a force of evil... looks like it indirectly funds something great!

"A grant from Clean Air USA was used to provide graphics on the biodiesel pump at the Pearson Ford Fuel Depot where legendary entertainer and world renowned humanitarian Willie Nelson joined with celebrated actress and biodiesel advocate Daryl Hannah to open the West Coast's first "Bio Willie" pump. "

Good stuff... Coincidentally located 2.5 miles from my house!

"Designed to efficiently accommodate the fueling requirements of both Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) and conventional automobiles, the RTC Fuel Depot offers motorists an unprecedented nine types of fuel, including six types to power AFVs. Alternative fuel depot “firsts” include: Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG) — the first public underground tank in the US for automobile fueling; Ethanol (E-85) — the first tank on the West Coast; Biodiesel — the first tank in San Diego with fuel that is actually made from recycled french fry grease; Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) — San Diego’s first 3,600 psi fueling station; Electricity — the largest electrical charging station in San Diego; and Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel. Three standard grades of gasoline are also available to fuel bi-fuel, flex-fuel and conventional automobiles. "

Wow.... times they are a-changin (thanfully).

Monday, May 22, 2006

I (HEART) Mitsubishi

OK, this is one of the hottest looking cars I've seen in a while but the engine technology is SOMETHING ELSE! Listen to this:

The Concept-E’s front wheels are driven by a parallel hybrid system integrating an electric motor with a 3.8-liter V-6, for a combined 270 horsepower. This is where it gets interesting: Mitsubishi’s innovative E-Boost system channels an additional 200 hp to the rear wheels from a 150 kW electric motor located behind the cabin, powered by lithium-ion batteries secreted along the center of the vehicle. E-Boost is activated by aggressive throttle to provide an immediate boost in acceleration, much like a conventional turbo or supercharger, transforming the car into a 470 hp, all-wheel drive terror that raises the hybrid performance bar to new levels.

So 270 horsepower to the front wheels in a lightweight car, hit the accelerator and your ass is kicked almost immediately by an instant 200 more!

I'm not posting this JUST because I'm drooling over it, I'm posting it because I like it when car companies come out with cars like this to get people revved up about certain kinds of technologies (such as hybrids). People see and read about this amazing vehicle and then hear that it's a hybrid.

Now, a 3.8L V6, even in hybrid form, probably won't be pulling anymore than, say, 30MPG but this is certainly not going to be in the Prius price range. This car could blow the doors off 99% of everything on the road including most Ferraris and Porsches. Cars like this are perfect right now because alternative products have to be as good or better than what is out there or they won't sell, especially when they typically cost more. Enthusiasts will want this car not because it's a hybrid but because it's going to be FAST AS HELL (with, by the way, less inefficiency typically involved with an all-wheeel drive system). that I'm all frothed up...

My birthday is coming up...

So cool...

A miniature hydrogen-powered toy car with a matching fuel station!