NORTH AMERICAN AUTOMOTIVE
Hybrid Present, Electric Future
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Argonne National Laboratory announced in November a three-year collaborative agreement to conduct detailed analysis of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) aimed at assessing the commercial feasibility of this technology for the U.S. Department of Energy.
In Honeoye Falls, N.Y., GM is conducting fuel-cell engine research that it hopes to be marketing in four to six years.
And in Arizona, North Carolina and California, economic developers are trying to lure a $100-million, 300-worker electric car plant from Tesla, a company based in San Carlos, Calif., that makes an electric roadster priced at $100,000.
The areas under consideration in early December were California's Central Valley, the Research Triangle in North Carolina and Flagstaff, Ariz., with a decision expected by year's end. North Carolina and Arizona have offered start-up incentive packages of approximately $15 million. While Martin Eberhard, company president, has said that California "has no interest in matching offers from other places," such an investment would mesh well with the state's regulatory stance regarding emissions. And the product did elicit this comment from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the recently held L.A. Auto Show: "I test drove this vehicle, and it is hot."
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