Proposal: Prepay for Plug-Ins to Save & Transform the Auto Industry

I really like how at the end of this great proposal they added how conversions play a role!

Goes to my next book Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

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INTRO: “How Prepaying for Plug-In Cars Can Save and Transform the Auto Industry” is CalCars’ proposal for federal actions in December-January to aid the auto industry. We hope that the concept and perhaps the specifics of this proposal can be incorporated into Congress’s response to the “sustainable plans” the carmakers will be bringing to Washington DC. We’re continuing to circulate this proposal to non-governmental organizations for possible co-sponsorship, and to people in the auto industry, Congress and in the Presidential transition team. It is followed by notes and background.

1. Hybrid and electric car batteries come with long warranties.

In the case of the Chevy Volt, that’s eight years, and in the case of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, the warranty is 10 years. In contrast, the warranty on an ACDelco conventional car battery is three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

What this means is that you would likely go through about three conventional car batteries for every hybrid or electric battery. That takes us to the next point.

2. Conventional car batteries are more toxic.

Standard car batteries are based on lead acid chemistry, and lead is toxic stuff that can leak into groundwater, where it can lead to developmental disabilities and other illnesses. This means conventional car batteries are actually more toxic, not less, than hybrid and electric car batteries, which are typically based on nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion chemistries, respectively (although the 2011 Sonata uses a lithium battery). Although these materials are not totally benign, they are less dangerous than lead.

(True, a number of clean vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf, also have a conventional battery as well as a primary battery, for starting and a few other functions. But we think it’s still instructive to point out that the technology we have been using for years is actually dirtier than newer advanced batteries.)

3. Car companies are working on battery recycling infrastructure.

Remember, hybrid and electric car batteries last a long time, and consumer uptake of electric vehicles, in particular, has thus far been slow. In the words of Larry Dominique, vice president of product planning at Nissan, “We have some time to figure this out.” Dominique told the panel at the Popular Mechanics conference that the industry is committed to supporting a responsible disposal and recycling infrastructure for spent batteries. As of now, it is illegal in many states to toss any lithium-ion batteries in the regular trash, and a recycling industry is gearing up. Lithium is fairly valuable, as are some of the other materials involved, and there is economic incentive to reuse the components.

More on Electric Vehicles From The Green Living Guy

Return of The Electric Car

Why the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is More EV Than Hybrid?

More from The Green Living Guy:

 1. Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman and Bob Brandt

2. Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman

3. Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel

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