Thursday, May 21, 2009

Unprofitable car companies using our money to make electric cars

The buzz is intoxicating. Yet for 100 years the electric car has shimmered on the horizon, like a mirage, always fleetingly out of reach. Today, even with advances in battery technology, as the major automakers unveil their forthcoming models, they're still hedging their bets that the internal combustion engine's glory days aren't over.

"The tragedy is that in the '90s this could have been done at much lower cost in every respect," Geller says. "We would be 10 years down the road in terms of achieving economies of scale and understanding consumer demand. At that point, you had profitable car companies attempting to do it, and at this point you have unprofitable car companies doing it essentially on the public dime."

SHOOT: Pity they didn't use their money and ordinary business sense (and forward thinking). But then consumers ought to have demanded a different kind of vehicle too.
clipped from

On May 6, Ford declared it would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convert an SUV plant near Detroit to churn out the Ford Focus. By 2011, the plant would be producing battery-electric versions of the diminutive car. Nissan recently claimed that 10 percent of its new cars will be electric by 2016. Mitsubishi plans to unleash its i-MiEV in Japan this year and bring it to the U.S. in 2012. Toyota, which has dominated the hybrid market with its Prius, plans to launch an electric Prius by 2012. Even famed investor Warren Buffett is jumping on the buzzwagon: He's bought a stake in BYD, a Chinese battery and electric car company.

Tesla Roadster goes for a cool $110,000. If that's a bit steep for you, you're welcome to put down a $5,000 deposit for the forthcoming Tesla Model S, which will go for around $57,000. Some 1,000 would-be Model S drivers already have done so. (German automaker Daimler announced that it bought an almost 10 percent stake in Tesla on Tuesday.)
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