Re: Ex-GM CEO makes "green" auto industry comeback
- I think we will see these Ovonic NiMh batteries in some of the
hybrids. It's a pity, but I don't see where we'll see them in an EV
anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong.
I think Mr. Ellis of Honda mentioned that the size of a battery in
their hybrid versus an EV is about 1/20. So, that's a reason they're
not impossible to find in hybrids.
ECD has been making seemingly very good batteries for years, but,
somehow, they were just never able to get into EVs in volume, aside
from the EV1, which program is over, and which was never a
Perhaps the the failure to get the batteries out there has something
to do with GM co-owning the Ovonic battery venture during the 90s and
then more or less passing on this ownership (once it seemed they'd
delayed things to an absurd point) to Chevron-Texaco (a major oil
There hasn't been much critical commentary of a major Oil Company
having a large stake in what in the past was the best hope by some for
an advanced battery for EVs, but I'm not sure it shouldn't be pointed
out that, for whatever reason, C-T Ovonic has yet to get their battery
into a mass produced highway capable EV. NiMH does seem to be making
the expected good headway into hybrids, thanks particularly to Toyota
and Honda, and Matsushita which has I think been making the batteries.
Matsushita has run afoul of ECD a few times in patent disputes I
For real EVs I am hanging some hope on Hydro Quebec and their Lithium
batteries and cars, because they're not a US company, because they
make electricity (not Oil) and are thus a potential competitor to make
fuel for cars, and so have a real incentive to get EVs on the road to
buy their products, and they seem to really intend to do this thing.
On Wed, 4 Dec 2002 01:52:14 +0900, you wrote:
>Ex-GM CEO makes "green" auto industry comeback
>USA: December 3, 2002
>ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. - Nearly 10 years to the day after he was
>pushed out as chief of General Motors Corp. (GM.N), Bob Stempel
>shoveled a handful of dirt to break ground for a new plant in Ohio
>that could make him a key player in a more environmentally-friendly
>Stempel, 70, could easily have retired to a comfortable life after
>his tenure as chairman and CEO of GM ended in October 1992 with a
>boardroom coup. But now as chairman of Energy Conversion Devices Inc.
>(ENER.O) he works 60 to 70 hours a week, and flies around the world
>to visit clients as he makes his case for battery-powered vehicles.
>Stempel is betting that sales of hybrid cars and trucks, powered by
>conventional gasoline or diesel engines mated to an electric drive
>system, will grow in the coming years as companies seek more
>In late October, Stempel ceremoniously kicked off construction of a
>170,000-square-foot plant in Springboro, Ohio, that will make enough
>nickel-metal hydride batteries to supply 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles a
>Production at the plant, a joint venture between Chevron Texaco
>(CVX.N) and Energy Conversion Devices, is scheduled to start in the
>third quarter next year.
>MOVING OFF THE FENCE
>"People have been sort of on the fence about hybrid cars," Stempel
>told Reuters, his voice booming with excitement. "All of a sudden
>they are moving off the fence. We know that there's going to be
>enough solid business out there that we ought to get under way."
>Currently there are only three hybrid gas-electric vehicles for sale
>in the U.S. market, all made by Japanese automakers Toyota Motor
>Corp. (7203.T) and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (7267.T) - the Toyota Prius,
>the Honda Insight and a hybrid-version of the popular Honda Civic
>However, Stempel said that U.S. and European automakers are
>requesting prototypes for some test vehicles from his joint venture
>company, Texaco Ovonic Battery Systems.
>Unlike pure electric vehicles, which take hours to recharge and have
>limited range, hybrid gas-electric vehicles recharge themselves and
>can travel as far as conventional cars and trucks.
>Some so-called "soft" hybrids expected to be rolled out over the next
>two years shut the engine down when the vehicle idles or comes to a
>stop, such as at a traffic light, and quickly restart upon
>acceleration, also saving gasoline. Some will also have 110-volt
>outlets that can be used for power tools, which could appeal to
>Other hybrids, such as the Prius, Insight and Civic hybrid, have
>electric motors that provide extra power, thus improving fuel economy
>Because they use less fuel, hybrids produce less carbon dioxide,
>which is considered one of the prime greenhouse gases responsible for
>BETTER MILEAGE, LOWER EMISSIONS
>Stempel, an engineer by trade, was part of a team at GM that created
>the catalytic converter to clean vehicle emissions. He laughs now
>when recalling how he and his colleagues thought they had perfected
>the converter so it produced only "harmless" carbon dioxide.
>"If we don't really control the emissions from personal
>transportation, the way the regulators are going to control it is to
>put limits on driving. Look what happened to Mexico City. There are
>days in Mexico City when you can't see," he said.
>"I think once the public really gets used to (hybrids) there won't be
>any question that they're going to be pretty well accepted," Stempel
>said. By 2007, "we may be approaching 500,000 a year from all
>manufacturers here in North America."
>Stempel said that automakers are moving ahead with plans that include
>his batteries, though he declined to give details, citing
>confidentiality agreements. The company is also testing some Toyota
>vehicles with its batteries to try to win business from Matsushita
>Battery, a unit of Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.
>Matsushita and Stempel's company have been embroiled in a patent
>dispute. ECD has alleged that Matsushita, which supplies the
>batteries through a joint venture with Panasonic Electronics for the
>Toyota Prius, wrongfully obtained patents held by ECD. Matsushita has
>denied the charges.
>Toyota intends to sell 300,000 hybrid vehicles a year by 2005, with
>most of the sales in North America. One of its next hybrid models
>will be a version of the Lexus RX 330, the upcoming replacement of
>the popular RX 300 SUV.
>Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. automakers who are trailing the
>Japanese in the race for hybrid vehicles have played down their
>importance. John Smith, GM's vice president of field sales, service
>and parts, said that the ultimate goal for GM is for cars and trucks
>that run on fuel cells.
>"Hybrids can never be an endgame because they have packaged in one
>vehicle two modes of power sources," Smith said. "There's a redundant
>system on board and by definition it's not the efficient engineering
>But Stempel's former company is also proceeding with plans for more
>hybrid vehicles. GM will launch hybrid full-size pickup trucks in
>2004 that use lead acid batteries, and is considering a hybrid sedan
>or sport utility vehicle in a few years that could use nickel metal
>hydride batteries, a spokesman said.
>Story by Michael Ellis
>REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
>Biofuels at Journey to Forever
>Biofuel at WebConX
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