Hi: For some time, I've been convinced that the best opportunity for
greatly increasing efficiency of the US auto fleet lies in high-efficiency
diesel engines. HED and hybrid technologies are current technologies each
with a 30% affiance gain, which means we could couple these technologies NOW
in a powerful car getting 80 mpg. Doing so requires the production of and
distribution infrastructure for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, which finally
has been mandated by Congress and is now being phased in via the freight
trucking industry. HED auto engines already are marketed in other countries
by Honda, BMW, and Daimler, but none are coupled with hybrid tech; this may
change soon. In the US, though, auto manufacturers are betting instead on
ethanol, hoping for fuel volumes that greatly exceed the volume producible
even if the entire US corn supply is converted to ethanol (no food!). While
our leaders sort this out, look for HED truck engines coming from
Caterpillar, Cummins, and PACCAR. I'll bet that Honda shows us how to untie
See below for a bit of the insight. If you want to follow these
developments, I suggest you set a Google Alert for "high efficiency diesel".
Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director of Academic Programs,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-6455 USA
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748
from the Monterey County Herald
Hybrids get $17 million boost
Energy department grants funds for development of ethanol, battery
technology for plug-in vehicles
By SHOLNN FREEMAN
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced $17 million
in grants to support the development of battery technology for plug-in
hybrid vehicles and ethanol, two areas in the energy debate where officials
in Washington and Detroit are closely aligned.
The money will be offered as two separate solicitation grants, one for $14
million for the plug-in technology and another $3 million for ethanol. The
money for battery development aims to improve the technology's performance.
The $3 million grants will support engineering advances to improve the E85
Alexander Karsner, the Energy department's assistant secretary for energy
efficiency and renewable energy, made the announcement at the press preview
day of the Washington Auto Show. He used high-tech cars from General Motors
Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG as his backdrop.
Detroit automakers have asked the Bush administration for hundreds of
millions of dollars to help kick off hybrid cars. They say they need
government support to complete research and development into lithium-ion
battery technology, a crucial component in bringing the cars to the market.
Detroit auto executives, who are building millions of ethanol capable
vehicles, have pressed the government to encourage a significant expansion
of ethanol fueling stations.
Officials from foreign automakers are stepping up complaints that U.S.
government policy is unfairly backing ethanol and plug-ins at the expense of
diesels and traditional gas-electric hybrids, such as the Prius from Toyota
Motor Corp. Toyota is pushing for the continuation of federal incentives for
the cars. Diesel-engine makers and European automakers such as BWM AG and
DaimlerChrysler AG are asking for more federal support for diesel
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of DaimlerChrysler, said vehicles powered by diesel
engines get 20 percent to 30 percent greater fuel economy over gas-powered
cars and cut emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide by 20
percent. In Europe, where diesels make up about half of the market in many
countries, the fuel economy average is 36 miles per gallon, compared with 24
in the United States.
''Why is there such a disparity? Aren't we the same companies in Europe that
we are in the U.S., with access to similar technologies?'' Zetsche said in
remarks at the show.
Zetsche said the difference was the European approach to energy policy,
which has involved some ''tough choices,'' including highly taxed gasoline
and incentives for diesel fuel.
Like a lot of other automakers, Zetsche stopped short of endorsing a
''European level of taxes'' or any huge government mandates in the area of
energy efficiency or global warming.
''We are a free market in the U.S.,'' he said. ''The consumer should rule.''
Karsner said major automakers will have to push harder into new technology
to reduce dependence on foreign sources of fuel.
After acknowledging the vehicles parked around him, Karsner said, ''I also
want to point out that concepts, prototypes and limited production vehicles
are not enough to address the problems we have.''
He said advanced technology should be sold to mainstream consumers, rather
than to those who buy only luxury vehicles.
''We need millions of cars on the road,'' he said.