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GM Says "No Race" But One-Ups Toyota with Large '09 Volt Test Fleet
Aug 28, 2008 (From the CalCars-News archive)
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Here we go for another round of repositioning. GM's Bob Lutz is correct in emphasizing the difference between a series Volt and a Toyota parallel PHEV. But even with distinct architectures, it's possible to compare the amount of gasoline displaced by electricity for different drive cycles -- that's the point.

The big news in this story is that GM's confidence level in he Volt is so high that it can now plan a "large test fleet" in 2009 -- just what we've been hoping for! And incidentally, it challenges Toyota's President's announcement today that it would push its small test fleet from 2010 to 2009.

Below this report we include additional developments about Toyota of Palo Alto's motivations.

And we end with more from the Democratic Convention.

GM says no hybrid race with Toyota
The Associated Press August 28, 2008­articles/­ap/­2008/­08/­28/­business/­NA-US-GM-Toyota-Hybrids.php

JOLIET, Illinois: General Motors' top product executive says the race between GM and Toyota to produce a rechargeable car is meaningless because the companies' vehicles are so different.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says Toyota's plug-in hybrid has a much shorter electric range than the Chevrolet Volt and must use a gasoline engine to go any farther.

Toyota's president pledged on Thursday to bring his company's plug-in hybrid to market in 2009, while the Volt is due in showrooms in late 2010.

But Lutz says he expects Toyota's plug-in will be debut in controlled fleets and not in large numbers. He says GM will have production versions of the Volt working in a large test fleet in late 2009.

Lutz was speaking at an event in Illinois where GM showed reporters its 2009 model lineup.

OTHER NEWS: PALO ALTO TOYOTA DEALER: see further reports with new information on Magnussen's Toyota's decision to start taking customer deposits at Edmunds Green Car Advisor­greencaradvisor/­2008/­08/­
and at Green Car Congress­2008/­08/­california-toyo.html?cid=128173104#comment-128173104 .

HYBRIDCARS.COM TURNS A PHRASE: Here's part of Brad Berman's writeup at, "Democrats Put Plug-in Hybrids on Main Stage:"

The unofficial theme of the second night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver was the building of a green economy. In speech after speech, the Democrats pointed to Senator Barack Obama’s plan to put 1 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on American roads by 2015—and to rebuild the American auto industry in the process—as the cornerstone of his plan for energy independence.

CAPTION: Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner: “With the right policies, within 24 months, we'll be building 100 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrid vehicles right here, with American technology and with American workers."

The article ends with a new description of PHEVs' position:

While the ability for Obama, if elected, to deliver on his energy-related campaign promises remains to be seen, Tuesday night’s presentations helped establish the “plug-in hybrid” as a mainstream American household term­perhaps as a synonym for “100-mpg vehicle." --­incentives-laws/­democrats-put-plug-hybrids-main-stage-24908.html

CONVENTION TOWN HALL ON THE ECONONY: The August 26, 2008 session focused on Energy Independence. You can watch all 13 minutes at­watch?v=QWh_m1H8X84&feature=user . It was moderated by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and included Aimee Christensen of Christen Global Strategies­ which offers high-level strategic consulting. Christensen was instrumental at in incubating what became the RechargeIT initiative for plug-in cars. Here are two segments on plug-in hybrids. (Thanks to webmaster Michael Bender for the transcription.)

Governor Jennifer Granholm { 5:48 } : We're going to go to a second question, from KC Christian of Atlanta, Georgia. KC...

KC Christian: My name's KC Christian. I am a single mother in Atlanta, Georgia, from Washington, DC and I'm concerned about the gas prices! They are killing my budget. I have a 4-cylinder car and I'm paying almost fifty dollars to fill up my tank, and it's just ridiculous.

Granholm: This... is everybody's problem. Aimee? You're such a great thinker and strategist, and advisor -- what do we do about this gasoline price problem?

Christensen { 6:27 }: Well, it's absolutely unacceptable that in a country of innovators and entrepreneurs that we've been basically relying on one fuel source and one engine type for almost a century, and this is because of failed policies and a lack of leadership in Washington. And what Senator Barack Obama is going to bring is a comprehensive energy strategy that will meet KC's challenges in the near term with a $1000 tax rebate to every family in this country to help pay their energy bills; he's going to crack down on energy traders -- speculation is driving prices higher, and he's also going to double fuel efficiency for our auto fleet within ten years, and in seven year he's going to have one million plug-in hybrids on the road. These are cars that get 150 miles per gallon and they're ready now. And even better, he's going to partner with American automakers and American parts manufacturers to make those cars here in America. He has a four billion dollar tax incentive and loan guarantee program to retool our American manufacturing, our automakers and our part manufacturers.

So together, he has both a near-term plan and a long-term plan to help solve our energy crisis and this is not just a crisis, but it's the greatest opportunity we have. We have the technologies here at home and he's going to help us bring them to market.

Granholm { 8:53 } : And in fact, Aimee, and if I can use Michigan as an example, we are, in Michigan, creating a biofuel plant called Mascoma, which is from wood waste to create fuel for your car -- cleaner burning, create 700 jobs, it's here at home and get this: it's going to be half the price of gasoline. Now that is a win-win -- let's grow it at home.

Christensen: Absolutely. Plugin flex-fuel hybrids -- it's the way to go.

Jennifer Granholm { 9:19 } : Amen.

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