Friday, November 26, 2004

GM DOES have a Hybrid!

Why haven't I seen more about this vehicle? The Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid is as far as I can tell, the first pickup of its size to have a hybrid. Under 13 miles per hour it rides on the electric battery only, and it's fuel economy is 10 percent better than a comparable ICU only Silverado. That's a little disappointing, and when I visited the government's fuel economy website and did a comparison, that 10 percent seemed to only equal one mile per gallon improvement in the city. Granted, a large vehicle like this one, one mile per gallon is a lot of gas saved, but I would hope that there is something better on the horizon. This isn't a full hybrid evidentally, but a partial one.

Now if GM could deliver hybrid technology to its smaller pickup, or perhaps ADVERTISE the fact that they have a hybrid on the Silverado things would be better. A perusal of Ford's website finds the Hybrid Escape to be classified as a SEPARATE vehicle from the regular Escape.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

More on Mini Cars

I'm beginning to see Mini Cars like Amazon.com. A good idea ahead of its time. Daimler-Chrysler has built their Smart Car, but sales have been not so good world wide. The Smart Car is not very attractive looking, and because it is small, only sells well in urban areas. And that's pretty much all it's good for, as smaller weaker engined versions don't even work on the highways, because they're too slow. You can buy a Smart Car if you live in Canada, or Europe, but for America, you'll have to deal with this gray market guy. He sounds a lot like Corbin Motors, which went bankrupt trying to sell three wheeled electric cars a couple years ago. Zap Motors has the advantage of basically selling something that already works, which is always good.

I'm beginning to see Mini Cars as a better solution then hybrids. Hybrids are loud, may cause cancer because of the electromagnetic radiation that pours out of them, and might not work too well at this point in their development. Big hybrids like the upcoming 400h, which is the hybrid version of the Lexus RX SUV, are being delayed until April, when they were supposed to come out this month. I really don't know if they can mass produce enormous batteries that can glom onto engines, and still produce output comparable to a v8 or large v6 engine. And since this is a luxury hybrid, consumers are probably unaware of how loud and annoying the hum of a hybrid is. They better put some sound dampeners on the electronics, because picky luxury buyers are going to be turned off. This is probably part of the reason for the delay. Sigh, diesel is so much simpler.

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Mini Car Thoughts

As promised, here is a rant about mini cars.

I really wonder about their feasibility in some parts of the US. People live and die by their pickups, and to some extent SUVs. Will Americans flock to these cars? They will in places like NYC and San Francisco, where parking a tiny car is easier than parking, say, a Crown Vic. And they are somewhat effeminate, and those types of cars sell better in urban areas, and let's face it, blue states.

Right now the national average for gasoline is two dollars per gallon, or thereabouts. It's 2.35 a gallon in California. It's got to go up to four dollars a gallon for these guys to sell.

One benefit of the American car market is that, if there is a "must have" vehicle, people will trade in their leased car, for a leased copy of that vehicle. If gas prices spike, or jump up, people will drop SUVs like a hot potato.

These mini cars also must not insult their buyers. People don't want a Cavalier interior, with lots of engine and wind noise. If they are forced into small vehicles, they'll want climate control, leather seats, DVD, etc. Europeans might be the ones to do that. Certainly not Americans.

Well, there's my rant. Not too long, it's been a few days, and my excitement to talk about mini cars has faded. Won't happen again.

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