No longer the ENVI of the green revolution, Chrysler drops electric vehicle plan

The ENVI line can be seen here. This is rather sad really, I like electric cars. I drive one myself. From Reuters:

Chrysler dismantles electric car plans under Fiat

The Chrysler ENVI line of electric vehicles - dropped

By Kevin Krolicki

DETROIT (Reuters) – Chrysler has disbanded a team of engineers dedicated to rushing a range of electric vehicles to showrooms and dropped ambitious sales targets for battery-powered cars set as it was sliding toward bankruptcy and seeking government aid.

The move by Fiat SpA marks a major reversal for Chrysler, which had used its electric car program as part of the case for a $12.5 billion federal aid package.

As late as August, Chrysler took $70 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a test fleet of 220 hybrid pickup trucks and minivans, vehicles now scrapped in the sweeping turnaround plan for Chrysler announced this week by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said on Friday that an in-house team of electric car development engineers had been disbanded in favor of a more traditional organization.

The automaker’s former owner, Cerberus Capital Management, had set up a special division called “Envi” — derived from Environment — to spearhead development of hybrid technology where Chrysler badly trailed competitors.

“Envi is absorbed into the normal vehicle development program,” Cappa told Reuters.

Under mounting pressure to improve the fuel-efficiency of its line-up, Chrysler announced in September last year that it was developing three electric vehicles and would sell the first of the models by 2010.

In January at the Detroit Auto Show, Chrysler upped the ante on its electric car bet by pledging to have 500,000 battery-powered vehicles on the road by 2013, including sports cars and trucks.

But a presentation of Chrysler’s five-year strategy by Marchionne on Wednesday made no mention of Chrysler’s earlier electric car development plans.

Under the Marchionne plan, former Envi chief Lou Rhodes will become the group line executive in charge of electric car development for both Fiat and Chrysler, Cappa said.

As of Friday, the Chrysler Group website still featured pictures and advertisements for the now-scuttled electric vehicles it had been developing.

Here: https://www.chryslergroupllc.com/innovation/envi

That includes the Dodge Circuit, a two-seat, all-electric sports car that Chrysler engineers had rushed into prototype by using a Lotus platform.

At the time of the launch of Envi in late 2007, Chrysler executives had said the unit would operate with the speed of a venture capital-backed start-up that would compress the three-to-five-year development cycle typical for automakers.

Read the complete article here

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57 thoughts on “No longer the ENVI of the green revolution, Chrysler drops electric vehicle plan

  1. “I like electric cars. I drive one myself.”
    I thought you drove a golf cart – not quite the same thing. Anyway, hydrogen fuel cells are the future.

  2. I can’t claim to be surprized. Electric cars are still not competitive economically–the batteries are expensive. Right now, if Chrysler is to survive, they need to focus on short-term, cash generating projects. That’s not battery-powered cars.
    I would say that the company’s survival is still very much in doubt.

  3. I loved my electric scooter, could go 35 miles an hour and had a range of 15 miles, more then enough for a commute. The only problem was that I had to change the batteries every 12 to 16 months destroying any savings I was making by using the thing. Plus hate to say it it scared the crap out of me if I tried to be part of traffic because I did go slower then most other vehicles and many would grow impatient with me.
    I did this not for the environment, but rather it was supposedly cheaper. In the end I believe it cost more, moved me slower, and put me in a greater danger of death and really didn’t help the environment on account of the used batteries that I went through… So it really was green I guess.
    This is not to say I would not love a vehicle like it, it was whisper quite and fun to ride but it was impractical. It is like the amount of solar panels we would need to generate the amount of energy needed in households, impractical, but cool if it could be done. Though of course creating that amount of solar panels would be an ecological disaster imagine the amount of ground cover you would need.

  4. As for returning money to organisations I’m reminded of when the UK comedians, Morecombe and Wise, were once overpaid by their employers, the BBC. Their response on receiving a request for re-payment was a regretful letter stating that, unfortunately, they had no mechanism for re-imbursement.
    The matter ended there!
    When you’re dealing with SEM (somebody elses money) it’s easier to write off money than writhe with the embarrassment of admitting to a mistake.

  5. Paul Biggs (14:49:47) :
    “I like electric cars. I drive one myself.”
    “I thought you drove a golf cart – not quite the same thing. Anyway, hydrogen fuel cells are the future”.
    Don’t count on it for the short term.
    We have serious long term reliability problems with the fuel cells and the storage tanks still provide a limited range which puts this application at the same level as the electric car. And the costs!!!!!!!!!
    Still a long way to go here

  6. Paul Biggs (14:49:47) :
    ” ‘I like electric cars. I drive one myself.’
    “I thought you drove a golf cart – not quite the same thing. Anyway, hydrogen fuel cells are the future.”
    And always will be.

  7. jorgekafkazar (16:17:12) :
    Paul Biggs (14:49:47) :
    ” ‘I like electric cars. I drive one myself.’
    “I thought you drove a golf cart – not quite the same thing. Anyway, hydrogen fuel cells are the future.”
    And always will be.
    Superb mate- if I knew what ROTL meant – I’d be doing that right now!

  8. I drove an electric for a few years. Not bad transportation considering:
    A. You stay within 20 miles of home.
    B. You must have the wherewithall to buy a new $1200 (min) set of batteries every three years.
    C. You don’t mind tending and watering 16 batteries daily, like little babies. Flooded lead-acid batteries have the best capacity for the dollar.
    D. You seek adventure – the terminals work loose, they melt and sink through the battery case and explode the hydrogen there – exhilerating!
    E. Should you manage to short one out completely it dies in a much larger explosion – I don’t recommend this one.
    F. Large doses of DC current may suit your fancy. It’s kind of like having the hangover first. You really can weld with the two end cables of the battery pack!
    G. Every gear-head in the world tailgates you just for the fun of it.
    H. Remember, if you are rear ended, you’ll be trapped between two sets of acid spewing bombs.
    Well, that’s enough for now. I’m out of the e-car business, myself.

  9. I just wonder what the next 5 years will be like for the development of battery technology. I also am wondering about the weight to power ratio of some of the newer battery types. I think the battery problem will be corrected in due time. It is what is the efficiency of changing mechanical to electric to storage to electrical to mechanical? I have no idea but to me it seems the day of the self contained electric motored vehicle is a little way down the road so to speak. Hmmm I wonder could they make an air cooled small light weight nuclear reactor for power. That might be something to look at in a few years. If coal and oil are made unavailable that might be the future in any case.
    Bill Derryberry

  10. “ENVI”, hey? It reminded me of “envy”, and the book “ENVY: A Theory of Social Behaviour” by Helmut Schoeck. Very interesting and insightful. In short, the jealous says, “I am jealous of you because you are now with my ex-girlfriend.” But the envious says, “I know I’ll never have my ex-girlfriend back, so I’ll kill her so no one can have her.”
    We don’t need to look far to see how many things the “envyronmentalists” don’t want others – or anyone – to have at all. “I can’t have it; I don’t want anyone to have it; I’ll destroy it.”

  11. Electric cars are made of steel, other metals, and plastic. They drive on asphalt and concrete roads. They are not resource-free transportation, not even petroleum-free. Not even close, compared to a horse or a rickshaw.
    Speaking of which, maybe Fiasco Motors should make rickshaws! Think of all the green jobs they’d create!
    “Double time, Jeeves, the Duchess and I are late for the opera!”
    The President should set an example. Fiasco should manufacture Rickshaw One, the Executive model. The Secret Service could pull it.

  12. Retired BChe (17:06:37) :
    Rover in the UK experimented with a gas turbine in a Rover 100 in the 60s & Lotus actually raced one at Indy in the 70s under the Gold-Leaf Team Lotus banner.
    DaveE.

  13. The first three words of the article pretty much sums up the rest of it.
    “Chrysler has disbanded”


  14. Anthony … This is rather sad really, I like electric cars. I drive one myself.
    Innocentious (15:29:16) :
    I loved my electric scooter, could go 35 miles an hour and had a range of 15 miles, more then enough for a commute.
    WestHoustonGeo (16:43:23) :
    I drove an electric for a few years. Not bad transportation considering:

    Hmmm …
    Can I ask y’all how the following critical functions were/are accomplished in your electric vehicles:
    1) Cabin heat – bring the passenger compartment temp up to a livable and comfortable, healthful level
    2) Defrost – raise the temperature of the vehicle glass above that of the ambient air’s dew point; melt ice/sleet from the windscreen; sometimes dehumidify the warm cabin air (preventing the condensation from warm, moist air present in the cabin)
    3) Air Conditioning – make vehicle travel doable for a majority of those not prone to self-immolation in the summertime in the lower-numbers latitudes
    The excess heat produced by an internal combustion engine serves as the basis for two of the three vital functions for motorists in a goodly portion of the US of A; basically, anyone not west-coast based particularly right along the coast.
    Air conditioning requires a power-plant that isn’t idle at stops as the prime mover in most electric vehicle seems to be designed to do.
    .
    .

  15. Fiat and Chrysler.Loved my 124 Spyder,Twincam,high winding Italian Engine.
    Hated my 128-serious piece of junk.Nicely engineered,though.Maybe they will sell Jeep
    to Ford, where it belongs.There will be no widespread Electrics for the forseeable
    future in my opinion.This whole bailout thing makes me ill…

  16. WestHoustonGeo (16:43:23) : gee the battery exploding. I did that a few years ago with a farm tractor. A big boom,acid all over the tractor and me and I was glad to be alive bcause the battery is located below the gasoline tank.

  17. Bill, it is called an RTG, radioisotope thermoelectric generator. Uses Pu238. They are used in satellites and Mars Rovers. You don’t want to know how much they cost.

  18. If you want to live dangerously, try a car fitted with the Sodium/Sulphur battery. Yes, MOLTEN Sodium was involved. Try a rear ender with that or try running off the road into a river. And yes, if it was not left on charge, it could take two days to bring up to operating temperature. I think only one was produced – not sure what the drivers thought.

  19. This was just vaporware – these were nothing but concepts.
    Not to mention that Chrysler is going to be dismantled, and all that is going to be left within a year is a bunch of imported Fiats with Chrysler name plates.

  20. Retired BChe (17:06:37) :
    “I CAN REMEMBER THAT, DECADES AGO, CHRYSLER EXPERIMENTED WITH GAS TURBINES FOR CARS. IT TOO FLUNKED OUT”.
    Yes, but only because the engine could run on any fuel available.
    The oil companies and the Feds did not like that.
    Today Toyota has a comparable opposition.
    Their hydrogen car is delivered with a system that produces electricity, heat to power a house and hydrogen to fuel up the car at home.
    This system uses natural gas or LPG.
    The regional power companies don’t like the idea and there is no network for hydrogen available so the project is dead although the car is very good.

  21. Paul Biggs- “I thought you drove a golf cart – not quite the same thing. Anyway, hydrogen fuel cells are the future.”
    I agree that fuel cells are in the ‘over-the-rainbow’ future.
    I was in a VC board meeting when a graph was put up showing the rise in stock price of fuel cell visionary Ballard Power, in which the VC’s were early investors. The vertical axis was a log scale, as the price had risen from $2 to $130 in a few years. VC investors predicted that in 3 years, Ballard would be selling a million fuel cell energy systems per year to car makers, and 10 million fuel cells per year for residential furnaces.
    The year was 1999…
    Even if the laundry list of fuel cell problems are solved, the remaining issue is the challenge of storing enough hydrogen to achieve a decent range between refills.
    So far, the best way to densely store hydrogen involves attaching hydrogen atoms to short linear chains of carbon atoms. By varying the length of the chains using nano-engineering (previously known as organic chemistry), it has been demonstrated that the resulting material is a fluid over most terrestrial temperatures and pressures, is cheap to produce, and has the added benefit of providing extra energy storage in the carbon-carbon bonds holding the linear chain together.
    This magical material is commonly known as…. gasoline.

  22. The concept of an electric car for the masses was naught but fanciful dreaming from the first. I wouldn’t buy a hybrid either. Lead-acid batteries are really heavy, and the others cost more than an arm and a leg.
    As noted above, batteries for auto propulsion . . . all of them, are downright hazardous to health. Current densities are extreme.
    I saw an article in a German rag which said the the battery in the Mercedes display model had a capacity of 20 killowatt hours. And would cost $30,000 to replace, battery cost only.
    The resale value of even the hybrids will be next to nothing after only 3 years or so. Of what value is a used automobile when it will shortly be needing a good many thousands of dollars of work done on it? What is the cost per mile when the real depreciation of the battery is figured in?

  23. But, but, but…isn’t chrysler going to help control earth’s thermostat anymore??
    What about the tipping point? and the carbon footprint? i mean, the ‘science’ it’s ‘settled’ right??

  24. Someone who was very careful in what he said told me that hydrogen was a very difficult substance to handle and store, it attacks stainless steel with gusto. It is not a mineable resource like coal or oil, it has to be manufactured. The energy costs may exceed the hydrogen benefits.
    Let’s stay with gasoline, 100+ yrs. of engineering improvements should not be thrown away. Car engines that reduce the number of working cylinders under light loads get better mileage than Prius claims. Remember that petroleum shortages are artificial, the result of green loonies and stupid, short sighted politicians. Drill baby, drill.
    I look forward to the pleasure of hearing that Prius owners are being swindled by battery rejuvenator snake oil salesmen.

  25. Whether one goes with electric cars or hydrogen-fuel cell cars, the basic fly in the ointment reamains. You still have to generate the power that goes into these cars.
    Ah, we’ll do it all from solar and wind.
    Yes, right after we power our industry (sic), hospitals, lighting, rail, shipping, homes, etc.
    You still are going to plug these things into the same old aging grid.
    Ok. let’s all go with diesel.
    Oh, Europe competes there, as they use the diesel and we get the gasoline.
    Semi and Rail use diesel. Trans-Oceanic global shipping uses bunker oil and has to dip into the diesel on account of over-use of bunker oil.
    Ok, we’ll use LNG. Oh, that’s used in power-plants, so there’s not enough of it.
    Darn, we have to use all the fuels available.
    Or, we can pass legislation to make America walk.
    Won’t that be special.

  26. Curmudgeon Geographer (15:50:49) :
    Thanks for that link. I have always felt that pneumatic hybrids have advantages over electric versions using batteries or carbon matrix super capacitors. This engine design seems very well suited to pneumatic hybrids.

  27. stick with gasoline. Soon as fusion reactors come online you can produce synthetic gasoline. Completely carbon neutral.
    No need for investments in anything but a proper fusionreactor.

  28. Now if those that are doing the crop modification thing could spend some time on human embryos,
    ”get our super fast deluxe wings for your next child” 1,000 km without a rest .

  29. I am with rbateman
    Insane UK Government money in grants for electric cars to assuage the Green frantics. I have a holy ‘lectric car owner near me. I asked him how he liked using coal fired and oil/LPG power to charge his beloved machine. He said he used renewables to do the charging so I showed him the actual output figures for UK wind Power generation. I certainly wouldn’t connect one to an electric chair! Our Surrey Hills wind is presently 2 km/h! A single recharge for my neighbour might take weeks!
    For the money spent by our Government on renewables we could have built some shiny new Nuclear Power plants! Constant electricity supply in any weather! Clean and quiet.

  30. rbateman (21:48:11) :
    Whether one goes with electric cars or hydrogen-fuel cell cars, the basic fly in the ointment reamains. You still have to generate the power that goes into these cars.
    Ah, we’ll do it all from solar and wind.
    Yes, right after we power our industry (sic), hospitals, lighting, rail, shipping, homes, etc.

    Clearly, the intention is to enable the public to buy green cars with govt loans and ensure the availability of electricity via the existing grid by closing down all the industry.
    People no longer have to commute to work, this solves the problem with the small distance range of the electric cars, and reduces coal by product needs for mending roads.
    Simples.

  31. How come my post (23:54:18) is still “awaiting moderation”?.. or is it just me and my computer?…
    [Reply: Sometimes moderator coverage is sparse between around midnight and 4 a.m., U.S. Pacific Coast time [GMT -8. I think.] Your comment is posted now. ~dbstealey, moderator]

  32. Last year I carried a gas can and helped several people that ran out of gas. They were up and running in 5 minutes or less. If your electrics run down, it will take hours to recover a 30 mile driving range. People are learning that wind is expensive and unreliable. Electric is great for people that don’t have jobs. It is even better if they use a bicycle.

  33. *******
    _Jim (18:19:08) :
    Hmmm …
    Can I ask y’all how the following critical functions were/are accomplished in your electric vehicles:
    1) Cabin heat – bring the passenger compartment temp up to a livable and comfortable, healthful level
    2) Defrost – raise the temperature of the vehicle glass above that of the ambient air’s dew point; melt ice/sleet from the windscreen; sometimes dehumidify the warm cabin air (preventing the condensation from warm, moist air present in the cabin)
    3) Air Conditioning – make vehicle travel doable for a majority of those not prone to self-immolation in the summertime in the lower-numbers latitudes
    The excess heat produced by an internal combustion engine serves as the basis for two of the three vital functions for motorists in a goodly portion of the US of A; basically, anyone not west-coast based particularly right along the coast.
    Air conditioning requires a power-plant that isn’t idle at stops as the prime mover in most electric vehicle seems to be designed to do.

    *******
    Good questions. In fact, except in the mildest of climates, these points should show that pure electric cars are almost useless at times. They’d work for in mild periods in my E US climate, but what about winter? You can’t run electric-powered heat (or A/C) from batteries — it’ll drain them almost immediately.
    The only solution I can see is an additional, small (say 10 HP) IC engine to provide heat &/or air-conditioning.
    That being the case, why bother — just run the whole car from a small IC engine.

  34. I have just googled for 20 minutes. None of the responses tell us how much a charge costs and how far the range is. There is one site that is a subscriber network and you pay 720 dollars a year for charging acces. That means you must charge along their roadway and even out of state, it is worthless. One place says 1 hour charge is 10 miles driving. That means you can maintain a speed of under 10 miles an hour if including chargiong stops. One site mentioned they may come out at $7 dollars per hour on the charger. That is very expensive. I expect if the cruising range is so short, away from home, you may expend 50% of your energy driving to charging points.

  35. Like most “alternate fuel” vehicles, these were going to be nothing more than ultra-low production “test” vehicles.
    I bought a Caliber SRT4 on August 29, 2 days later it was formally dropped for the 2010 model year. A month later we discovered that Fiat was dropping the entire Caliber platform after 2012. Now it appears the production on the car for two model years is as low as 2000. While that might be “cool” for the rarity factor, it also means parts will be almost impossible to get… not a good proposition for a 300HP turbo 4.
    I have an 87 Daytona Shelby Z that I bought new in 87, and it has been exceptionally good for me. They made 15,000 of them over their 2 year run, which is a very tiny number. Good mileage, good power, fun to drive, and easy parts availability (except for the Shelby-specific parts, which have been gone since 1989). Now, however, I’m seriously wondering if this new Chrysler turbo car was a good decision.
    My point is… I know firsthand the problems (translation: cost out of pocket) of owning a very low production vehicle. And since there is no REAL alternative to gasoline powered IC engines, anything else will just be an expensive toy anyway.
    Oh yeah, and I can’t even imagine what an electric vehicle would be like when it’s -30 or -40 in the middle of winter. Good luck with that.

  36. On a recent trip to SD talked with a grad student from MI. Told me her ‘rents just sold their lake place in peninsular MI, appraised for taxes at $400K, for $200K.
    Nationally, 135% of one-years’ residential inventory is on the path to foreclosure.
    In 10 months of this year 120 banks have failed. Next year will see double that number.
    Got to see the two biggest windfarms in MN on that and another recent trip to WI. More expensive than nuclear for 20 year life-span.
    At current rates of growth(debt, revenues, taxbase), US finance payments on outstanding debt will equal GDP in just a couple decades.
    America, are you there? Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm.

  37. Back in the mid ’90s I worked for Philips Automotive Electronics in Auburn, IN. They produced electronic engines controls and automotive sensors for a variety of customers. Things like elctronic ignitions, fuel injection controllers stuff like that. Philips NV, the parent company decided to get out of the automotive business, they didn’t like the high investment, long lead time and low margins involved. Consumer Electronics was a better business in their mind. They sold the company off, and it ended up getting broke into pieces, Siemens and VDO with most of it.
    Behind the engineering lab were several dynometer rooms, one of which was dedicated to a unique project – variable valve timed engines. They had patented (since expired I’m sure) every conceivable way to open and close valves without using a cam, the idea was to put the valve timing under computer control. They had settled on the best way to fire as being pneumatic. The thought process was that everything else else about an engine was being controlled by computer, why not the valve timing?
    The results were very impressive, the control system could regulate fuel injection, ignition timing, and Valve timing depending on what the electronic accelerator pedal determined the driver was after. Being able to control the “cam profile” electronically allowed realtime adjustments to the power curve. One minute the engine could be pumping out horsepower like a hot rod, and the next minute sipping fuel like an econo-box. You want low end torque? No problem.
    They had built a few prototype engines up for demo purposes, and pitched the idea to the Big Three (later the Detriot Three, still later government motors). They all loved the concept, but didn’t like the fact that it added quite a few moving parts, which adds cost and reduces reliability. It never went anywhere.
    I can’t help but wonder if this is an Idea whose time has come. I can tell you that it would allow a small engine to perform quite a bit bigger, and then use gas like it’s still smaller. You could have high end horsepower, low end torque and great economy when you wanted it. In my mind, it made a lot more sense than these engines that “turn off” cylinders to save gas.

  38. HoosierHawk, my new car has variable valve timing. It actually took me a while to dig past all the propietary claims blocking access to what’s going on, but in the end it’s quite simple.
    I know, it’s not computer actuated valves, which would be VERY cool, but essentially there is a computer actuated offsetter called a “phaser” on each of the intake and exhaust cams that allows it to lengthen or shorten the duration of both intake and exhaust. Chrysler was the first to market with this particular tech, which has wide degrees of adjustment to both intake and exhaust while still using a fairly conventional 2-camshaft-in-head layout.
    The result is very real. The engine breathes fire on demand, and pulls the less-than-aerodynamic slug along the highway at close to 35MPG. This engine is the GEMA “world” engine, it’s a 2.4l turbo, apparently one of the most advanced engines out there. Just saying 🙂

  39. HoosierHawk (10:38:24) :
    Very interesting story, thanks for posting this.
    I think the keyword of the computer controlled valves is weight reduction.
    It could be a very interesting application for small aircraft engines too.
    Maximum power for take off and lean running for cruising.
    This means we could do with a much smaller engine which calculated throughout an aircraft design could result in a lighter aircraft and therefore less fuel consumption.
    I will try to do some research what has become of the idea.

  40. It’s all about the price and the power output and density of the batteries.
    We’re simply not there yet.
    Big cars as presented by Chrysler come at a high price.
    What would help is a dual fuel application based on a diesel engine running on a mix of diesel and LPG.
    More power, lower fuel consumption, clean exhaust emissions, no particle filter needed. http://www.tinleytech.co.uk/lpgsys.html
    It’s very easy to adapt any diesel to this sytem because only a single injector is needed to introduce the LPG into the fuel pump. Because of the higher combustion temperature there will be no particles in the emission.
    Ideal for the air quality in the cities.
    I estimate the costs for a small 10 gallon LPG tank, the injector and electronics around six or seven hundred dollar.
    For gasoline cars there is a liquid LPG injection system available which delivers a comparable output when the engine is driven with gasoline.
    This dual fuels system allows you to drive the car on gasoline or lpg.
    The fuel tanks can be installed under the car or an UFO tank replacing the spare wheel. I don’t know the gallon price for LPG compared to gasoline but it should be around 1/3 of the gasoline price. Those sequential injection systems cost arounf 3.200 euro’s http://www.vialle.nl/home.html?L=1&cHash=42f430268f


  41. Ron de Haan (13:42:14) :

    Because of the higher combustion temperature there will be no particles in the emission.

    Ahh, but what of NOx?
    .
    .

  42. Curmudgeon Geographer (15:50:49) :
    Give me a Jeep with a Scuderi air-hybrid engine! Come on!
    http://www.scuderiengine.com/blog/

    Pretty neat. Has this company gone public yet? Might be a good investment.
    Re HoosierHawk (10:38:24), I think I just read on the Scuderi website that their (external) valves are air-controlled.
    /Mr Lynn

  43. “So far, the best way to densely store hydrogen involves attaching hydrogen atoms to short linear chains of carbon atoms. By varying the length of the chains using nano-engineering (previously known as organic chemistry), it has been demonstrated that the resulting material is a fluid over most terrestrial temperatures and pressures, is cheap to produce, and has the added benefit of providing extra energy storage in the carbon-carbon bonds holding the linear chain together.
    This magical material is commonly known as…. gasoline.”
    Classic! Im using it in my courses!
    Folks please keep in mind that there is a fundamental difference between all electric and plug-ins, which are charge depleting, and the currently commercial hybrids which are charge sustaining. The current systems (charge sustaining) are warranted to 150 k miles as they are considered part of the emissions system. The OEMs seem to have figured out the battery lifetime issue for charge sustaining but are on the rocks for the battery lifetime regarding the charge depleting systems as can be read about earlier in the comments. The stabs at the Prius and other charge sustaining hybrids fall flat. The charge sustaining systems are quite reliable with little to no battery lifetime issues that I am aware of. Anthony can perhaps comment here regarding his experience as well as others. Hopefully the Chevy Volt (plug in) will prove out lifetime issues with charge depleting sytems but I’m waiting to see.
    Battery lifetime is likely a factor in the decision by Chrysler Fiat. It certainly was in the EV-1. When people ask me “who killed the electric car?” I tell them that the Electric car was suicidal. ie it was oversold with out having the technology to back it up regarding battery lifetime.
    BTW the turbines didnt “flunk out” in the 1968 Indy race nor in chryslers last run at commercialization of them. It was the fuel pumps (lap 190 of 200) in the 68 race for both entries in the 500. The Lotus 4WD sytem and the turbine were outlawed from future races but they still had the best qualifying time in the 1968 race. If I remember correctly the Govt loan (bailout) of chrysler in 1975? required that they stop all foreseeable non-performing (not profitable) projects and the turbine was one that fit that mold. Funny how history repeats itself!
    IMHO the charge sustaining hybrid is the way to go for the next foreseeable future. It allows a relatively small IC for the average power (bigger than 10 hp folks, the Prius uses a 67 hp IC on the atkinson cycle at roughly 37% thermal efficiency) and the electric system picks up the transient load. Could be done with air pressure but 10ksi air isnt exactly mechanically safe. If batteries progress significantly with regards to lifetime the plug-in hybrid may allow potential increased use of base load electricity (considering night time charging) and perhaps allows use of stranded wind and maybe solar (although I wouldnt count on it esp for night charging). The driver with the plug in is 50 Cents/gallon equivalent when charging but it isn’t worth it if the battery lifetime suffers. Another problem with charge depleting electrics is that if every one used them peak grid load shifts to the night time (talk about being upside down). Darn laws of thermo keep getting in the way. We should just repeal them 😉
    APE

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