Hyundai/Mazda Developing PHEVs; GM Chooses Battery Supplier
- Two more automakers are reported to be planning
PHEVs -- see stories below. We've updated our
page "How Carmakers are Responding to the Plug-in
Hybrid Opportunity at
http://www.calcars.org/carmakers.html . Please
let us know if we've missed anything. (From
2005-2007 we tracked most automaker comments on
this page; now the volume of reports is so high
that we're updating only the summary table.)
We've also revised our home page to provide
better links to the most popular and important pages.
Below we also include a second story: GM Vice
Chairman Bob Lutz says the company has selected
its supplier for batteries for the Volt, but the
winner won't be disclosed until the end of the
year. We discuss the speculation on that subject.
That Detroit Free Press story also has the
welcome statement from Lutz, "The actual
production of production vehicles may be earlier"
[than November 2010 for the Volt]. On the down
side, it seems to imply that the Saturn Vue PHEV
might not appear until 2011 rather than 2010 --
which we haven't seen anywhere else.
MAZDA (33% owned by Ford): Mazda plans Volt rival
Autocar has learned that Mazda engineers are hard
at work trying to develop a rival to the
Chevrolet Volt a car which uses a petrol engine
to charge a battery pack which powers the wheels via an electric motor.
Senior sources say that trials are currently
underway in Japan, with a prototype that uses a
rotary engine to charge the battery pack. The
tests are sufficiently advanced that Mazda has a
working prototype in a Mazda 5 MPV bodyshell.
Company bosses are said to be keen to put this
system into production but no firm decisions will
be made until the cost of batteries is reduced.
In the meantime the company will concentrate on
simpler green technologies. The first stop-start
Mazda will go on sale in Japan next year and the
system is expected to be rolled out globally on a variety of models.
HYUNDAI: Hyundai Going Electric With Hybrids and Plug-Ins
By Keith Barry lSeptember 01, 2008
Hyundai's been making so many announcements about
electric vehicles and hybrids lately you'd think
it was ZAP. The Korean automaker's promised to
put a hybrid subcompact, a hybrid mid-size and a
plug-in competitor to the Chevrolet Volt on the
road within five years. There's even some
speculation at least one of them could be stamped "Made in the USA."
Hyundai's going full-bore with its electric
program, launching a partnership with Korean
companies LG Chem, SK Energy and SB LiMotive to
develop the batteries its cars will need if
they're to start hitting the road by 2010 as
promised. LG's got a solid background, having
provided some of the batteries General Motors is
considering for the Volt. The Japanese dominate
battery tech these days, but Hyundai says the
Koreans could catch up by 2013 -- at which point
the company hopes to put a plug-in hybrid on the
road. Korean automakers are spending nearly $1
billion on battery tech, and the government has kicked in $40 million.
HYUNDAI MOTOR TO SELL PLUG-IN HYBRID BY 2013
Monday, August 25, 2008; Posted: 02:41 AM
SEOUL, Aug 25, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX)
Hyundai Motor Co. said Monday it plans to begin
selling a battery-powered hybrid vehicle that can
be recharged at standard outlets by 2013, hoping
to catch up to its Japanese rivals in the race for plug-in hybrids.
Asked when Hyundai would launch a plug-in hybrid,
the South Korean automaker's chief technology
officer Lee Hyun-soon replied it would be "possible after 2013."
Lee made the remark during a government-arranged
event that brought together domestic companies
such as LG Chem Ltd.and SK Energy Co. to sign a
memorandum of understanding to develop battery
technology for the next-generation hybrids.
"Currently, Japan is far ahead in regards to
battery technology, but the technology gap isn't so wide," Lee said.
GM settles on Volt's battery maker / Automaker to reveal it by the end of 2008
BY KATIE MERX FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER August 29, 2008
JOLIET, Ill. -- General Motors Corp. has decided
on a battery maker for the Chevrolet Volt
range-extended electric vehicle, but it's not
saying who it is, yet, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz
said Thursday on the sidelines of a media event
touting the automaker's 2009 vehicle line. Lutz
said GM plans to announce the battery supplier by
the end of the year and will show the production
version of the much-anticipated electric-drive vehicle "fairly soon."
GM is hoping to regain a solid reputation for
technological leadership and return to
profitability with the Volt and a growing lineup
of more fuel efficient and alternative energy
vehicles, some of which it showed to automotive
journalists Thursday in Joliet, Ill.
The Volt, which is expected to drive 40 miles on
an electric charge alone and about 400 miles
using an onboard gas-burning generator to
recharge its lithium-ion battery, is not expected
to be available publicly until November 2010. But
it is already the symbol GM is using to promote
an image of fuel efficiency and environmental
friendliness. "The actual production of
production vehicles may be earlier," Lutz said.
Because the battery technology necessary to make
the vehicle possible is yet unproven, GM has been
working closely with two battery makers --
Continental and LG Chem -- to develop the power supply for the Volt.
Lutz said Thursday that the automaker expects to
have a large number of production Volts operating
in a test fleet by the end of 2009. "The Volt is
real ... and test work is progressing nicely,"
Lutz said. "We haven't hit any obstacles so far
for the batteries. They are all performing
flawlessly. It's almost scary we are not seeing
any problems with the batteries."
GM does plan to launch a plug-in hybrid, Lutz
said. The Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid is to make it to market in 2011.
WHO WINS THE VOLT BATTERY CONTRACT? GM has been
saying for some time that it's been happy with
the performance of both contenders --
A123Systems/Continental and LGChem/Compact Power.
Analysts and journalists are trying to figure out
which consortium is the winner. The cleantech and
broad investment community is paying even more
attention to plug-in cars since A123Systems filed
for a $175M Initial Public Offering -- see a
comprehensive report at
. (For a laugh, see how the Chinese Lucky 8 that
determined the start of the Olympics meant that
this IPO was filed at 8:08 AM on 8/8/08:
Some reporters speculate that the delay in
announcing the winner could be in some way tied
to that company's "quiet period." We have no
inside information, but a simpler explanation --
that GM, which has promoted the Volt
energetically in multiple venues for the past
year, wants to make the most of the announcement.
GM VIDEOS: We found the images in the one-minute
ad GM aired during the Olympics quite inspiring.
Several comments complained about the triumphant
voiceover. If you missed it, see it at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ITuKHpWKlQ . See
an earlier 30-second ad at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_J2Jx51XZs&NR=1 .
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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