All societies, whether industrially modern or more rural agrarian, to a lesser or greater degree depend upon travel and transport to conduct occupations that provide essential commodities, food, housing, clothing, clean water supply and sewage treatment, medical care, etc. Transport and travel today have reached a level of waste and pollution that cannot be considered sustainable. Executive directors at Ford, GM and other carmakers are well aware of this fact, yet, they propose no credible plan for reducing the life threatening impacts of car-dependency.
It seems that car-related business interests are preparing for survival of the richest. I make that bold statement to address a conundrum that GM/Ford in particular have built into their business model of recently cancelling the Chevy Volt, Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrid models. Contrary to popular belief, plug-in hybrid PHEVs have more potential to reduce fuel/energy consumption and CO2 emissions than all-battery BEVs.
This counter-intuitive claim can be seen more clearly by measuring consumption of both EV types with trucking thrown in. Daimler Trucks is now ready to produce 2 models of all-battery truck with a 325kwh and a 550kwh pack. The Tesla sport sedan has an 85kwh pack. A Ford Fusion/Toyota Prius have 5kwh packs that achieve an ‘effective’ 100+mpg. An inequitable distribution of battery pack and charge resources mirrors the Occupy chant of the 99%. We can charge 1 big freight truck, 6 Tesla ‘S’ coupes, or 110 plug-in hybrids. It appears that GM & Ford are cancelling their hybrid models to direct resources to a few and leave the rest without the means to conduct vitally important activities.
Note that every household with an EV in the garage gains an emergency backup power supply. Note that small 5kwh plug-in hybrid battery packs are an ideal match to rooftop PV solar arrays; small battery = small PV array and simpler electric componentry. Note that hybrids are less dependent upon grid reliability and less prone to grid overload as well as less vulnerable to grid failure. The smaller hybrid battery pack can extend its use for years as a ‘stationary’ household low-power source. When either BEV or PHEV packs must be replaced at roughly 100,000 miles, the PHEV replacement is less expensive and the Tesla pack is impractical to extend its use as a stationary low-power supply.
Well then, what about mass transit? Here too GM & Ford show no interest in modern mass transit. Rather, just the opposite is evident with their common paratransit lift vans purchased by municipalities and private operators. These vans are 1970’s technology that even back then were obsolete. Seniors and disabled need easy boarding low-floor and low-emission rides, but do GM & Ford care? I don’t think so. Current paratransit lift vans get about 10mpg. Built on an obsolete chassis, they do not handle very well safely nor comfortably. A replacement model is long overdue that could triple the gas mileage and more amenable for all transit patrons. This replacement could replace at least half the fleets of 40’ buses spewing diesel loudly at 4mpg unfit for transit use most hours. I believe GM & Ford are intentionally restricting the potential of mass transit technology which would cut into their car sales profit margins, to hell with the public interest.