Friday, November 28, 2008

Toyota Prius and Saturn Vue Plug-Ins

There are a couple of cars on the horizon that we may never see. One is the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid and the other is the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, although Toyota may use another name besides Prius. Both vehicles will have about a 10 mile electric only range, which is fairly lame, by anyone's standards. However, 10 miles could easily cover a person's need to run errands and may even get you to work.

The range of these cars is not nearly as important as their ability to be plugged into household current. Instead of topping off the at the Mobil station, we could top with electricity generated on our own rooftops. Thrilling stuff, to be sure.

However, it is always prefaced with "however" isn't it?, it looks like Saturn may be headed for the chopping block, and the Vue with it. Sigh. A smaller plug-in hybrid SUV makes the world of sense and yet, GM cannot get it to market in time.

Speaking of getting it to market in time, why is Toyota waiting so long to give us a plug-in hybrid? All Toyota has to do is add another NiMH battery like the one already in each Prius and add an "EV button" with a receptacle for an extionsion cord and viola', a plug-in Prius. Toyota could have begun production on such a vehicle four years ago. I exaggerate not. Why the delay, Toyota?

GM is without excuse as well. A small 5 kWh battery pack in the Vue would be all that is necessary to give 8 to 10 miles electric range. GM built the EV1 (through Saturn, I might add), over 10 years ago with a range up to 160 miles and yet they somehow cannot make an SUV with a 10 mile range. Something's rotten in Denmark AND Detroit.

I suppose that my point is we need these technologies yesterday but cannot seem to get major automobile manufacturer's to produce them. And now with GM in dire straits and Saturn on the chopping block, we are left with Toyota, who is obviously is in no hurry.

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