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Chineses go green monday !

by fredouil Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 01:12:20 AM EST

Monday BYD (Buffet has 10% of the company) will start to produce the first mass produced plug-in hybrid.

New York Times Said it charges fully in 7 hours, and at special stations, can be charged halfway in 10 minutes.It also has a 1.0 litre gas engine that is used to recharge the batteries when a power outlet isn't nearby.

I like this comment from the CEO :

Chinese automakers still lagged behind Western companies in conventional car technologies, but were at a similar level when it came to hybrids.

"The Chinese manufacturers have the opportunity to leapfrog the traditional technologies and to gain a leading position in terms of new energy cars," he said.

Which brings to mind Wagoner speaking to Congress about the feasability of GM's future production of hybrids, that the problems were only slowly being overcome but that he'd expect an intorductory model in something like 2 years.

As usual, corporate America is once again full of shit. I'd so love to get rid of those SOB's in Detroit, if it weren't for losing the UAW as well.

Those who talk of about the moral hazard involved in bailing out the US automakers, those who tell you that chapter 11 bankruptcy is the way to go, are really looking to do some union busting.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 05:51:22 AM EST
I just heard that a deal will be announced for bridge financing for GM and Chrysler, and guess what? Part of the deal is that concessions will be demanded from the UAW. More concessions, from a union that has done nothing but give ground for almost 30 years.

That's how you get republicans on board with this. It just makes me ill.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 06:04:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, if I understand TomP's diary at dKos, it looks like the press was wrong on most of those bits regarding the UAW.  The wage cuts aren't actually wage cuts but merely targets.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 10:48:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The targets are at least a year away and Obama will have eleven months to re-do this eye-gouge to labor.  My suggestion is that the Obama Admin. demand that Wagoner's predecessor, (who, AIRC, has been active in hybrid technology) be brought back, be put in charge of hybirds if not GM, and that PEH become "job 1" for GM.  Congress should put strong incentives in place for consumers to purchase and for local governments and companies to put in place infrastructure to support PEH vehicles.  If you can recharge at work you double the time spent in "all electric mode."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 02:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sympathetic to the cause of and need for unions, but the UAW has given ground because they had a lot to give. I would like to see a close watch on making this deal fair to everyone.  It is unfortunate that labor is being asked to reduce hard won wage rates, but they really are like the companies, between a rock and a hard place.

Both the manufacturers and labor in Detroit have been privileged in many ways. The manufacturers have had their way with government using influence to  manipulate government and regulation to produce quick short term profits rather than using opportunities to produce innovative, quality products that would have made them competitive for the long term. For its part, labor cut its own throat by refusing to live with reasonable and comparable wage and benefit options, and that's why successful foreign manufacturers chose areas outside Detroit to open their own American plants.

Frankly, I haven't bought a car produced by the Detroit "big three" in over 35 years, and I'm not sure I ever will buy from them again. I rate the Detroit produced cars owned up there with my Fiat as all time worst investments.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 02:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Chinese wind turbines are any indication, the Chinese auto industry will have a way to go before quality standards are like anything the WestTM is used to purchasing.  They will reach that point, but in how many years is the question.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 02:31:41 PM EST
Since most what we can buy are manufactured in China, even most of my Harley's parts, I would not be that pessimistic.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 07:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When it comes to high-quality capital goods, and cars, the Chinese still have a long way to go, and they know it. They ar catching up, but not at breathtaking speeds. I almost did an internship with a large Chinese windturbine factory a few years ago, so I looked a bit into that industry then. Even within China, where Chinese produced goods are heavily supported, this largest company in the country had 8% market share or so, mainly in the low-end side of the business. Exporting was still far far away. They were also very busy laying contacts with the west, offering jobs to western students with no experience at all, with whom they could hardly communicate.

I am still curious what would have happened if I had gone there, but I couldn't fit it in my schedule.

As for the cars: looks are deceiving here. Most Chinese cars have their looks carbon-copied from Western and Japanese cars (the previous generation Corolla in this case, but google the "Shuanghuan CEO" for a nice blend of Land Cruiser and X5), and this makes them look much more modern than they really are. I can't judge on the quality of their hybrid system, but I have very little faith in the rest of the car...

But if decent Chinese cars started to turn up somewhere int he next 10 years, I wouldn't be surprised. Especially if they are not lying about mastering hybrid technology

by GreatZamfir on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 05:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently BYD is primarily a battery maker, so their electric plans are serious. I can see a future fr these cars, even if it is at first just in China. Electric bikes and scooters are already big int he country, and Chinese customers expect a lot less performance from their cars, making them perhaps more willing to switch to electric even if the system is not as polished as Toyota's.
by GreatZamfir on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 06:02:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The more I read about these guys, the more enthousiast I get... They are definitely Toyota-copiers when it comes to car building, but their electrics seem OK, and this aritcle is great: An american journalist asks some questions about their prototype at the Detroit auto show, the CEO is around and takes them for a drive throught the conference centre, straight through other people's shows.

http://jalopnik.com/344806/detroit-auto-show-world-exclusive-surreal-illegal-test-drive-of-chinese-h ybrid-through-cobo-arena

by GreatZamfir on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 06:15:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm waiting to see someone come up with replaceable battery packs, so's you drive in to the station, swap over the pack, pay for the full charge of electric and hire of pack and off on your way.

Course you can still recharge, but it gets over the 2 hours driving, 16 hours waiting to recharge syndrome.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 10:51:40 AM EST
This would be a lot easier if the packs were modular. Easier to swap out a module than a full-size battery.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 11:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People have considered this, but we are talking 500 kg packs worth many thousands of euros, at this moment. That also means that engineers need to able to put that weight at a good point for driving characteristics, not necessarily the most accessible point for changing. With smaller and cheaper packs it might become a possibility, but that is going to take some serious time.
by GreatZamfir on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 12:30:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't you have a couple dozen packs the size of an ordinary car battery?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 12:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppse you can, but swapping a couple of dozen of batteries all over the car is not exactly the easy way of recharging, and swapping just a few will not increase your travel distance by a lot. And not that with two dozen batteries, we are still talking 20 kg batteries. That's not a weight everybody can lift with ease, think old ladies.

Form factor is another challenge. You could probably design a car where a large battery pack can taken out of the car by a special machine. But can you expect that every model by other car builders will use that same priciple? Especially as there is still a lot of progress in this area, so if you build an infrastructure of charging stations specialized for a particular design and technology, it might be obsolete in 5 years or so.

by GreatZamfir on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 04:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... being looked at for Israel, somewhere in Europe (Denmark?), and smaller trials in NSW, Australia and the Bay area of California.

This was diaried here in the recent past.

Since the batteries are on a loop in the battery replacement station, they don't need fast chargers or special high amperage, high voltage grid connections ... regular chargers are built into the box that hold the batteries in the loop. Relying on charging at regular household voltage and amperage also simplifies the charging at home.

The main innovation in that system was in the commercial side, in selling miles/month like a mobile phone company sells minutes per month.

I don't know if this Chinese company has special fast charging technology, but in many batteries, heavy reliance on fast charging reduces battery life.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 02:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by gmoke on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 06:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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