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Chevrolet Volt, Ford, Honda, Technology, Toyota

Battle of Low Carbon Cars

Chevy Volt E-Flex Electric Hybrid Concept Car

Escalating oil price. Growing need to be environmentally-aware.

These are just two of the things that fuel car consumers and car manufacturers to drive up their research and development and focus on fuel efficient cars. In fact, the changing market conditions and realities has drove Ford Motors to re-assess its position and has seen its profits dwindle this year. General Motors and Chrysler has also the same problem since these manufacturers heavily relies on profits coming from pick-ups and SUVs. As we all know, with escalating oil prices, these gas guzzlers are the ones that take the hit. As a testament to the escalating prices of oil, the market saw the price of oil reaching $135 per barrel this week. Actually the price per barrel hit $135.09 but then fell back shortly to settle at $130.81 the moment the dollar strengthens. But even though its price continues to soar, demands for oil remains the same. As mentioned, another thing that prompts companies and car consumers to reconsider is the need to cut on emissions and the growing trend to be environmentally-aware. People right now seek vehicles that has some respect for the environment. These things are the ones that motivate car consumers to re-assess their options, to cut their consumptions or to change their mode of transport. The reactions of the consumers can be seen in sales figures right now, and the demand of vehicles. We all know now that Ford is one company that has realized the shift in dynamics. The fall of truck sales and the soaring of gas prices has led Ford to cut production and has led the company to realize less profits. But cutting production and anticipating less profits aren’t the only thing that these car companies do right now. The focus right now is to design, develop and mass-produce cars that pollute less and can go on for miles with the use of the least amount of gas. Enter the low carbon cars.

The low-down on low carbon cars.

Low carbon cars, or simply those cars that pollute less are the rage right now in the market, and advocated by environmental engineers. In fact, these engineers call for government support for this initiative. They said that the government needs to pump extra cash from fuel duty so that this may reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. A number of groups call for a carbon emissions cut to 80 g per kilometer by 2020. Automakers has responded and they are now developing vehicles that go that way- the way of low carbon cars.

General Motors is taking a lead right now, though Toyota thru its Toyota Prius has been in the business for some time and has been successful. Aside from Toyota and General Motors, we also have Honda, Nissan and Ford. Ford is expected to deliver its very own hybrids that will join the Ford Escape SUV in the Ford’s gasoline-electric line-up. At the heart of the Honda’s technology will be the Eco Boost engines that can generate plenty of power and better fuel economy. * More on Eco Boost in later postings. Nissan on the other hand plans to dip its fingers on the hybrid industry by 2010.

Then there’s General Motor’s Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is by far the sexiest green car of GM. Expect to see the Volt before the year ends in Paris and actual production vehicle can be seen by 2010. This sedan is expected to run for 40 miles before the small gasoline engine takes stage and recharge the battery for another 600 miles. For longer trips, it is expected that the Volt can deliver 100 miles per gallon. For General Motors, it isn’t just the Volt. An 80 mpg version of the Saturn Vue SUV is in the works as well and this will be delivered by next year. The Vue will be the first plug-in hybrid in the US once it debuts in the market. * More on plug-in hybrids on later postings.

These move by these companies is sure to address the needs for fuel efficient and eco-friendly cars. And most of the targets by these companies are pegged on 2010. So we will see by then if these vehicles can make a significant impact. But right now, we see oil prices surging ahead, going to record highs.

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