Will Detroit Beat Japan to the Plug?

Feb. 12, 2007: Wired News—Detroit’s Coup de Grace Alan R. Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Co.

Summary: Despite protests by Big Auto that battery technology has a long way to go, plug-in hybrid cars are on the road right now, being used every day. They aren’t concepts by Detroit or by Japan, but applications of available technology cobbled together in places like Toronto, Boulder, and Silicon Valley.

"GM’s Chevrolet Volt and Ford’s HySeries Drive, unveiled as concept prototypes for the first time last month, leapfrog current hybrid designs and could put pressure on Toyota’s popular Prius by offering consumers better value. Although these cars are not scheduled for production until the end of the decade or later, many experts now believe plug-ins offer the best tradeoffs combination yet in terms of energy efficiency, emissions and practicality.

"[Philip Reed, the Fuel Economy Guide editor for Edmunds] said plug-in hybrids would enable the companies to surpass hybrids by offering more environmentally friendly vehicles. But he added public relations may be the most practical benefit, at least in the immediate future."

Perhaps demand for plug-in hybrids must reach higher critical mass before Detroit—or indeed, even Japan—will take the idea seriously.


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  • Alex

    Will someone finally take a risk already. Look at Toyota, they were investing in hybrids a decade before they would feasable and look at them they are the fastest growing auto company in the world. If they can make a concept then they can easily put it onto mass-production. We need to care about the future, not the daily stock report. There has to be al least one person who has the will to take a risk and put out a PHEV.

  • Jerry

    well said alex

  • Tom Bradshaw

    There really is no risk developing a plug car. The handwriting is on the wall as far as alternate fuels are concerned. Plugs ins will be much easier to bring to market than other alternate fuel systems.

    Toyota is not a leader in automobile development. Look around at what others are developing then decide. Toyota dropped the ball with their Prius by not completing their design with a plug in for the US. Plug ins are what a lot of folks want here in the US.

  • John

    So the big 3 never did look at hybrid sales, and thought the SUV would carry them on forever. Then, gas prices hurt them severely. Now, the big 3 are on this hybrid/plug-in publicity stunt.

    Interesting, isn’t it?

  • Bert

    The big 3 are not the only ones making noise. Check out http://www.hybridtechnologies.com They convert existing models into all electric (lithium-ion) ones. They are working with NASA, the Navy and also came out with a taxi fleet in New York!

  • joe540ci

    I love chevys but they have nothing you can go out and buy (BAS) DONT COUNT. Ford has a mazda with a toyota hybrid drive and call it there ford hybrid escape. Ford just beat the camry and acord in handleing with there 4 wd car. More lies.

  • Ken Lamio

    Funny Americans ! They can hardly feed their grid (remember shortages in CA) however they want to fuel their cars with electricity ! Make me lough ! Hey wake-up guys ! Downsize your engines with turbocharger, adopt diesel, buy smaller vehicles ! In two words : become smart.

  • Cindy

    See this video & if it makes you mad, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Love my hybrid, but intend on having it coverted with a plug-in, (thus using the hybrid as an option for longer trips). Screw Detroit~their lobbyists continue to remain in the hip pockets of our corrupt government officials. We need to fight this particular battle on our own if we are going to win! 🙁

  • coupespace

    I just want to add that many Europeans look forward to plug-in hybrids, too. An not only the American car-makers slept, the German and French car-makers slept, too. 🙂

    I own a Prius II and I hope that the Prius III and many other cars of other brands will be true plug-in hybrids.

    Greetings from Germany,