Ok, Free Market, Do Your Stuff

Yesterday, as part of a larger post, I linked here, to a story about the Ewert brothers, who converted their family’s Prius so that it gets 100 mpg, on about 35 cents worth of electricity.  This morning, they were interviewed on CNN, and the anchor asked them if they had been contacted by any major car companies.

Nope.

Then the anchor asked them “why not start your own business?”  They basically said that they did this because they didn’t like what was happening with oil throughout the world, but they hoped some larger company, with more resources, could do this on a massive scale.

It took them two years…one full year of research, then a year of installing and tweaking it until they got it right.  2 years, and roughly 3000 dollars.  100 mpg.

You cannot convince me that there is no market for these cars.  Why is it that this story is getting such little attention?  This seems to me to be a perfect opportunity for our beloved free market to do it’s thing.

I don’t even see that much buzz about this on blogs.  100 mpg.  Cut that in half, and its a god-send to millions of working families.  Not to mention the jobs!

Where the hell is the excitement?

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27 Comments

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27 responses to “Ok, Free Market, Do Your Stuff

  1. I don’t know if this is true, but in the comments section of the article you linked to, a guy wrote this:

    The Prius in Japan already has this “enhancement”, however Toyota’s American management said Americans would NOT respond well to a “battery operated” car so the battery pack wasnt included…also, the Prius has been available in Japan since 1997 or so…WITH the battery pack standard.

  2. nm

    That would not surprise me.

    I’m not sure what business the guys could start, anyway. They can’t build the basic car on their own. I guess they could open a shop to add their upgrade.

  3. democommie

    Mack:

    Now that you ‘ve thrown it in their faces, the downsized three or the Oilgarchs will buy the rights and BURY this thing in a shallow grave. Never underestimate the shortsightedness of american business.

  4. Mack

    Demo- yes, thats what concerns me. I remember a story about a guy in California, years ago, that tinkered with his carbuerator and got something like 60-70 mpg. He sold out to some car company, whoo promptly buried it. Of course, the EV that GM created was a great car, and they destroyed every single one of them once California relaxed their emissions requirements.

    I know this can be done, all I’m left with is my big foil hat…that tells me there is collusion between auto manufacturer and oil companies.

  5. nm

    I actually doubt that that’s that big a factor, Mack. (Yeah, that “that that’s that”‘s on purpose.) It probably has more to do with wanting to wring every penny out of patents they already hold, and not wanting to spend the money on refitting existing factories.

  6. I tend to agree with nm on that one. It costs an awful lot to refit the factories. Hell, the downtime alone would be Zillions.

  7. If they start up a company, they could sell it but they have competition of sorts — or may have it – this cost info is from 2006 and these companies may have gone under. A company called EDrive had one (initially asking $15 grand); Hymotion had one for around $9,000, and ElectroEnergy had one for around $5,ooo using NiMH batteries.

    Then there’s the Aptera which would get 200 MPG and you’d see one in town if I had an extra $30 grand (and could convince the wife, though that is getting easier). And if they were producing them in quantity.

  8. I’m waiting for that Honda FCX Clarity to get to a reasonable price.

  9. bridgett

    Is there even an H2 station in Nashville?

  10. democommie

    The problem with H2 is that they want to generate the stuff by using electricity. It’s like bio-fuels; sounds great in theory, but it’s a bitch in practice.

  11. What democommie said – and it applies to electric cars as well. As long as we’re generating electricity primarily by burning coal (and all of the problems that come with coal “production”) and have no idea how to manage nuclear energy waste for the long term, electric vehicles just look green, but aren’t really.

  12. Hmph. My parenthesis/comma converted to a wink.

  13. Rachel, what you say is true, but it is still a huge improvement. It comes down to efficiency. Internal combustion engines are pretty inefficient, even before you add in the idling factor. With idling and rush hour traffic, the energy wasted is huge.

    Now, battery disposal is another issue.

  14. nm

    Much less worrisome than nuclear waste disposal, though.

  15. Have you seen “Who Killed The Electric Car”? That explains why we don’t have 100 mpg autos on the road.

    We have the technology … we can make them better than before … but what will ExxonMobil gain if we do?
    :-)

    Oh and Mack, to answer your question from my place, no I have not received any e-mails from you. Go ahead and send something to my yahoo address (southernbeale-at-yahoo-dot-com) and I will send you my “real” address ….

  16. We can pile all the nuclear waste required underneath the Yucca mountains. Just make sure you don’t live near there.

  17. Put all the nuke waste on the moon. No one lives there except those stationed at Moonbase Alpha. The worst that could happen is the waste will somehow explode (!) and the moon will be propelled out of orbit and into the furthest reaches of the galaxy providing a couple seasons worth of fantastic adventures and British quality special effects.

  18. Hey. I gotta bone to pick with you.
    Everybody else is on your blogroll. Where the eff am i?!

  19. democommie

    Mack:

    There was a battery powered automobile, the “Bailey Electric” made in Amesbury, MA around the turn of the 20th century. It was made by Bailey Mfg. (later to become a part of United Shoe Machinery) in the Biddle & Smart carriage factory. It was not a commercial success for all sorts of reasons, but the idea was a good one.

    As far as making electricity from coal or nuclear or anything else. While automobile engines are grossly inefficient (even the very best of them) in terms of energy conversion, burning coal to make electricity involves a lot of steps that use and waste power. There is, unfortunately, no simple answer other than self privation for the individual and well thought out and properly executed government plans–in other words, ain’t gonna happen.

  20. I’m not on his blogroll either. I figured it was an Irish thing.

  21. An oversight, Ex and Mychal. I didn’t set up my initial blogroll, Lynnster did it for me, and, well, she doesn’t like you Exador, and she didn’t know about Mychal.

    I added Supermousey a while ago, and Nog (Husky) just the other day. So, I feel confident i can correct those things in record time.

    For the record, I do truly love the Irish. Its the Scottish I find repulsive. ;)

  22. No argument there. Uncouth bastards, the lot of them.

  23. nm

    No whiskey for you boys, I tell you.

  24. For the record, I do truly love the Irish. Its the Scottish I find repulsive.

    And Cubans! ;)

  25. nm

    And no cigars, either.

  26. There’s a wee spot in hell for the likes of ye.

    Eternity in a pit of boiling haggis.

  27. nm

    Mmmmmm, haggis. That’s sheep’s gut stuffed with oatmeal, right? Boiling might be a bit much, but I think a pit of haggis wouldn’t be the worst. Not like head cheese.

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