It's as if everything's happening at once these days. For instance, it was just a day after Treasury Secretary Paulson's nose-thumbing at Lehman Brothers that General Motors
And with the AIG deal, maybe the last of those life preservers have been used.
What does the Volt really have to do with Lehman and AIG? Simply this: The big three automakers -- GM, Ford
GM officially rolled out its battery-powered plug-in Volt prototype yesterday. The car, which is still in development but is scheduled to go on sale in late 2010, is purported to be able to go about 40 miles on its electric battery power. Not bad for mostly city driving. Once the battery has lost its oomph, a four-cylinder engine will swing into action, recharging the battery and running the car.
But while all this sounds terrific, Japan -- through public-private partnerships --thus far is outstripping the U.S. in the development and manufacture of lithium-ion batteries that can power both today's hybrids and the next generation of plug-ins. This includes companies like Hitachi
One response has been for the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium with the Department of Energy to award Johnson Controls
All this leaves me with three questions:
- Will the Detroit three be granted their requested loans?
- If not, will they be able to survive until they can crank out a meaningful number of plug-ins and other fuel-efficient vehicles?
- And will they be able to rapidly reduce the Japanese battery advantage?
Pardon me if I'm skeptical on all three fronts.
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