babble home
rabble.ca - news for the rest of us
today's active topics


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » current events   » national news   » Ford pulling plug on electric car

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: Ford pulling plug on electric car
David Kyle
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1530

posted 01 September 2002 12:32 PM      Profile for David Kyle     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ford Motor Co. Friday said it was pulling the plug on its Think electric vehicle division due to poor customer demand and lack of government support for the environmentally friendly cars.
I can see it now, all of those Ontario SUV drivers showing their support for the environment by, you guessed it, not purchasing an environmentally friendly car. Honk your SUV horn if you support Kyoto.

If alternative cars can't make it in Europe there is no way in heck that they'll be viable in North America.


From: canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
rbil
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 582

posted 02 September 2002 04:21 PM      Profile for rbil     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What kind of government support is GM looking for? More tax concessions? The only government support they should be getting is environmental regulations that make it impossible to comply using internal combustion engines.

Cheers,
Rene


From: IRC: irc.bcwireless.net JOIN: #linuxtalk | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 02 September 2002 11:37 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Right the bleep on, Rene.

I would buy one of those cool cars if I were in the market for a new car.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2777

posted 02 September 2002 11:57 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Saw a recent article in "Wired"...think it was the July or August issue.

GM is apparently pouring billions into developing cars using hydrogen fuel cell technology...according to the article and GM's "spin" they see the writing on the wall for the internal combustion engine by about 2040 when the world will run out of oil.

They're looking at getting something on the market by about 2010


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2999

posted 03 September 2002 01:44 AM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I remember the prof in my strategic management course bringing in an article about the greening of Ford Motors. Apparently they have planted trees on the rooves and unveiled a number of environmental initiatives. Leading the charge was the new CEO, grandson of Henry Ford (by memory), taking the company in a new direction (ala Mac & Blo). Looks like it was a short term change.
From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
shelby9
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2193

posted 03 September 2002 02:41 PM      Profile for shelby9     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting thing, Honda has a fuel/electric car out, the Honda Hybrid. In the US, you get the bare bones car for $19,000 - it's not as bad as it sounds, it still comes with some cool stuff. PLUS, you get a $2,000 rebate cheque from the government as a thank you for buying a low emission vehicle as part of the clean fuel rebate program. www.honda.com

Now then, the same car is available in Canada for $28,000. Even if you do the conversion - it's WAY more expensive. And no such rebate for buying a low emission car. www.honda.ca

I like it - it's cute, and I can drive 650 miles on one tank - deal! Bring the price down and I'll consider it.


From: Edmonton, AB | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 03 September 2002 05:18 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is certainly droolworthy. I would love to have a car like that.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2776

posted 03 September 2002 06:13 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"...due to poor customer demand..."

Waitaminute? You mean those multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns they've been running for the electric cars aren't working? Oh wait.That was for the Ford Explorer. Sorry, my mistake.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 03 September 2002 06:25 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, no kidding huh, black_dog? Snerk.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Terry Johnson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1006

posted 03 September 2002 07:14 PM      Profile for Terry Johnson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Now then, the same car is available in Canada for $28,000. Even if you do the conversion - it's WAY more expensive. And no such rebate for buying a low emission car.

Don't mean to nitpick...but I'm going to nitpick. $28,000 Canadian times .64 equals $17,920. That's less than the US retail price. With the rebate, though, it would be about $25K Canadian.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 03 September 2002 08:24 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm already drooling. I can't wait until those things are sold as used cars. I guess they're too new for that now.

I wanna hybrid! I wannit I wannit I wannit!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 03 September 2002 08:42 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A few years ago the current Henry Ford, speaking at a shareholders meeting, decried the trend towards large S.U.V.'s and warned that Ford's "Excursion" would earn them public environmental enemy #1 honours in the future.

Ford won't confirm or deny, but 2003 is probably going to be the last model year for this behemouth of a vehicle.

I'm not sure electric was the way to go anyway. If you have to plug it into a coal fired electric plant to charge it, how much further ahead are we?
Maybe a bit, but not as utopian as it seems on the surface, is it?

I'm not sure what kind of battery is used in these cars, but there is also the environmental impact of disposal/recycling of heavy metals like lead or cadmium to consider, not to mention the sulfuric acid we find in conventional battery systems.

The fuel cell might eventually be the way to go, but we do have proven and familiar technology with the internal combustion engine in the mean time.

New vehicles could be fairly easily designed to run on hydrogen fuel, and even older cars can be retrofitted to burn hydrogen.

And, contrary to popular opinion, hydrogen is a much safer fuel than gasoline in auto accidents.

Of course, we are also back to square one when you consider how we are going to "manufacture" hydrogen. It is the most abundant element in the Universe, but here on earth it tends to be locked up with oxygen most of the time, and needs separating. We can do this fairly efficiently with electricity, but if we get the electricity for this from coal/oil/gas/nuclear plants, we are not much further ahead.


To impact the environment positively, we need to develop hydrogen plants that use wind or solar power to separate the hydrogen from oxygen.

Or maybe we could put solar collectors in space, convert the energy to microwaves, and beam it back to earth to be converted back to electicity? I wonder how far along this road things are at the moment?

There is still the issue of hydrogen exhaust. Everyone sees water vapour as benign, but it is a green house gas, is it not?

I think too that the public is ready, if not to give up the big vehicle entirely, for a second cheap commuter vehicle. So many of our trips are for single people in heavy vehicles designed for a family of four or five. It's a patently rediculous waste of resources.

I know I'd jump at a vehicle that got me to work and back, protected from the elements, with just enough room for maybe a trip to the grocery store. Such a vehicle would be ultra light in design, but must have safety features like a roll cage that prevents being mushed by Ford Excursions and other large vehicles sharing urban streets-- for under $10,000.

I'm sure if we put our engineering minds to something like that, it could be done.

[ September 03, 2002: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 03 September 2002 08:55 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm holding out for a solar car. Batteries instead of a back seat; collector panels all over the outside. It'll give "Don't scratch my paint!" a whole new significance.
From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 214

posted 03 September 2002 08:57 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not so handy through December and January, when we only get about nine hours of daylight-- and that's here in the southernmost point in Canada.
From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 03 September 2002 10:03 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Water vapor is emitted today by millions of internal combustion engines.

A completely hydrogen-based transportation network would probably be rainier in that region, but overall I would submit that the effect is far less intrusive than the current fossil-fuel setup we've got.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1402

posted 03 September 2002 11:52 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Who wants to go anywhere in January? A few hours of sunshine is enough for my weekly (whichever day the road is clear) Food Basics and LCBO run.
From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2092

posted 04 September 2002 01:57 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry guys, but electric cars, as nice as they sound, just aren't really solving the problem.

As Tommy points out, the vast amounts of energy that it takes to keep everyone zooming around in their own personal little 100 km/h shuttle has to come from somewhere, no matter how removed it is.

Electric cars will give cities cleaner air. This is a very positive thing, but it is only a fraction of the problems that cars pose.

Consider, for example, just the issue of space. An enormous amount of space in cities is used for roads and parking. As they become more larger and more dense the idea of everyone owning their own automobile will seem more and more ridiculous. Think of China. I often hear people complain about the environmental damage that will result when everyone in China can own a car, but the truth is that there's no room in Chinese cities for all those cars.

And then there's energy efficiency, which is very poorly served by personal automobiles. People generally assent that we are consuming energy at an unsustainable rate, with dire consequences. At a certain point we will have no choice but to adopt a new model of urban transport. I'm thinking mass transit and people-powered vehicles.

The car itself is something of a dinosaur. As the primary mode of transportation it will not serve the needs of the coming generations. Ultimately, electric cars are just an attempt to drag out car culture, ignoring the signs that it is old news.


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
xrcrguy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1562

posted 04 September 2002 02:28 AM      Profile for xrcrguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm curious to see if the implementation of Kyoto will encourage the growth of the hybrid model cars. Has the federal government said anything on this issue? It's probably safe to say that they haven't I suppose...
From: Believe in ideas, not ideology | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2777

posted 04 September 2002 03:13 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jacob is quite right.

The car in and of itself and the whole infrastructure to support it is environmentally destructive.

One of the biggest problems is North American suburbia with its low density development that makes public transportation an uneconomic proposition. Who wants to stand at some windswept bus shelter in the middle of January for half an hour waiting for a bus? It isn't fun! So the majority of suburbanites hop in their heated metal box on wheels. Controlling suburban sprawl would help in a big way to deal with some of our environmental problems.

Funny thing I noticed during the smog days this past July. The air pollution index in downtown Toronto was actually as much as 15-20 points lower than at many of the suburban air quality monitoring locations.

Now I'm not a scientist...and I'm sure alot of this also has to do with wind patterns etc. but one thing I do know is that in inner-city Toronto alot more folks use public transit to get to work or to get around town...so less cars on the road...and less air pollution.

As much damage as the wrecking crew at Queen's Park has done, the TTC still does a pretty good job of moving people around town...especially in the inner city.

At best electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars will deal with a small part of the problem.

Longer term, we need to develop more compact cities that will allow public transit to be much more economically viable.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2956

posted 04 September 2002 05:44 AM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Barring some kind of Mad Max scenario, individual transportation devices are here to stay.

That doesn't mean that we have to keep using the worst possible fuel, or drive around in vehicles that are, for most of the time, gross examples of over engineering.

The problem with compact cities that are easy to get around in with mass transit is that most people hate them, and won't live in them, even without the smog problem. We are not Borg, and I refuse to be assimilated.

It's part of the picture though, the solution to the car problem can't be separated from urban design.

Right now I can be home in 13 minutes from this very computer.

Or, I can take the bus, which will get me home in about 45 minutes, all the time belching carcinogenic soot.

Put this in your mass transit exhaust pipe and smoke it.

Take my van away from me. In a week I'll have rigged my lawn mower engine to a pipe frame and three bicycle wheels, and I'll still be to and from work three times faster than the stupid bus.


From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2799

posted 04 September 2002 08:22 AM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Canadian cities are screaming for federal government funding. I see an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. Tie increased monies to mass transit improvements, halting city expansion, recycling programs, pedestrian and cycle ways, and green spaces. Of course in Saskatoon, this is easier than Toronto (but the tax base isn't there for Saskatoon, hence the funding).

TommyPaine is right on the money. Canadians will never give up the convenience of the Automatic Mobile - at least not cold turkey. So I think electric cars are still important, but you also have to find a better way to generate power. How about another look at nuclear? (Topic raised in this thread)


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | rabble.ca | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008 rabble.ca