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Old 07-10-2007, 06:50 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Commentary on alternative-fuel vehicles

Who drives alternative-fuel technologies?

Strolling around the floor of the recent International Auto Show in New York, I quickly noticed that carmakers are heavily invested in researching and developing alternative fuel technologies. ...most carmakers proudly and prominently displayed their various concepts and advancements in hybrid, fuel-cell, hydrogen, biodiesel, and other technologies.

And the stats seam to bear this out. According to the Hybrid Market Dashboard at, hybrid automobiles may finally be coming into their own. For instance, in march, Prius sales were up about 57% over the prior month.

However, as I spoke with some of the reps on the floor, I began to realize that the automotive industry is sort of in limbo right now, waiting to find out which technology -- if it is to be only one -- will rise above the rest...

Part of the problem is that we may be stuck in somewhat of a chicken-and-egg situation. The move, or decision, or however it plays out, will be based on what choices consumers make. But consumers want guidance, too. They're waiting to be told by carmakers that these new technologies not only work, but they're inexpensive, safe, and perform well.

To their credit, car companies are forging ahead with research to figure out how to make alternative-fuel technologies a reality. About five of Honda's FCX fuel-cell cars have been on the road since 2002. Chevy's Project Driveway program will put about 100 of Chevy's Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles in three metropolitan areas for evaluation, and is planning something similar with the Hydrogen 7.

When the exhaust clears, the most likely scenario is that all -- or at least some -- of these technologies will peacefully coexist as alternatives to each other, ultimately offering the consumer a numbers of choices...

Ralph Raiola
Viewpoints, Electronic Products magazine
June 2007, p.7
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