THE FUTURE AUTOMOBILE (Part 9 Final) Conclusion of the Series

Dec 15, 2013

Back in 2004 I made predictions of the alternative fueled vehicle of the future. Read and tell me if you think my analysis was correct.

Research Issue 6:

The Current State of the Art (From the Perspective of 2004)


As batteries differ in their construction, they also vary in the chemicals they use to generate electricity. In rechargeable or secondary batteries, the chemical reactions that occur can be reversed. In other words, electric current can be put back into the battery, restoring active material that was discharged and enabling the battery to be used again. The most common rechargeable batteries include:

Nickel-metal Hydride
Lithium-ion polymer 1

Lead-acid batteries are the batteries that were used in the late 1800s and early 1900s to power electric cars. They have been the main battery used for starter motors and the like on electrified internal combustion engines for almost 100 years. They also were the batteries used on most electric vehicle ventures up to the 1990s. Other than the SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery, which simply keeps the batteries electrolyte from spilling out, and the gel cell, which makes the electrolyte into a gel so the battery can be installed in any direction, little has changed with the technology. The capacity by weight and volume has not been improved noticeably.

Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) batteries were the first widely sold advanced battery. It was light enough to be used on cell phones, camcorders, electric shavers, electric toothbrushes and more. They are quite energy dense and lightweight. However, they have one major failing. They need to be treated well consistently. Nickel-Cadmium batteries, unlike most other batteries prefer to be fully discharged before being recharged. You may remember how it was not good to fully discharge lead-acid batteries, that this was deep cycling and reduced the life of the battery, with Nickel-Cadmium it is the opposite. NiCad's should be deep cycled when they are used otherwise they develop what is called a “memory.” Battery memory is a problem where the battery chemistry only allows you to charge it to the extent of the discharge of where you last recharged it. If after you fully charged the battery you only let the battery run a cell-phone for two hours before charging it again, way before the battery was fully discharged, NiCad batteries would pretty quickly only give you two hours of charge from that battery. Fully discharging and recharging the battery would sometimes restore the battery’s full capabilities, but if you made this mistake more than a few times, you often were left with an expensive battery that didn't work properly. Typically batteries for cell phones were sold with charge stands that would safely fully discharge and then fully recharge the batteries. Consumers did alright with NiCad batteries, but Lithium-ion batteries, which had no memory problem, offered users greater freedom with less risk.

Lithium-ion batteries are what most electronics that are powered by rechargeable batteries use today. This research project is being written on a Sony notebook computer that has Lithium-ion batteries as its mobile power source. My computer is a hybrid of sorts. When I am plugged into the household current it charges the Lithium-ion batteries even while I am working on the computer and runs off of the batteries when either I unplug the computer from the household power or the house power goes out. It can also run off the batteries alone for about 2 hours. Lithium-ion is energy dense and has no memory problems like NiCad batteries. However, Lithium-ions need specially designed electronics to control the battery, which adds to its cost.

Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries were invented by Stanford Ovshinsky. They are light-weight and very energy dense and have no memory problem. They also are less expensive than Lithium-ion batteries to make in smaller quantities. Even though they have been around since 1983 they are just now arriving in the market in any significant way. Most rechargeable batteries that you can buy at your local grocery store or drugstore are now NiMH.

Lithium-ion polymer batteries were an attempt to find an electrolyte for Lithium-ion batteries that was not liquid. Packaging batteries with liquid electrolytes is a difficult task. The problems that arose with early attempts to gel or solidify the Lithium-ion electrolyte was that the first polymers required that the batteries be hot before they would release their electricity. This was a very big problem. However, innovative companies such as Valence and Electrovaya have solved the problem and today Lithium-ion batteries seem to hold great promise for use in EVs. They also don't need the electronic component that makes regular Lithium-ion more expensive.

The quote at the top of this section that quickly simplifies rechargeable batteries was taken from the web site of Valence Technology, Incorporated. Valence is the world’s leading patent holder of advanced battery technology. Far outpacing even major corporations in patents held. The company is mainly an independent research and development company with desires to become a manufacturer of batteries for a great variety of products. However, right now (2004 perspective) it is a licenser of its innovations. The performance levels of some of its advanced battery products are astonishing, especially with its Lithium-ion batteries.

Electrovaya is a company formed originally to develop advanced batteries specifically for the EV market. Its original company name was “Electrofuel,” which described its primary focus, however, that name had already been trademarked. Electrovaya is a company built around one patented invention, its proprietary Lithium-ion polymer battery technology. (2004 perspective) Prior to Electrovaya's patented version, Lithium-polymer batteries needed to operate at high temperatures to be most efficient. Electrovaya's batteries are some the most temperature forgiving, highest power density batteries available today. Sold largely as an after market product for computers the batteries have a single charge cycle of 16 or 24 hours of operation at 16 amp hours draw. They are also a quarter of an inch thick, which includes its plastic and metal casings. The battery inside the casing is actually paper thin. Electrovaya has a good history of bringing products to market without having to license its technology out. In their latest venture they produce a well received tablet PC with its patented batteries built right in. This year (2004) Electrovaya has entered the Tour de Sol in the U.S. with an electric conversion of a 4 door GEO Tracker, which it claims can go 210 miles on a single charge. I don't doubt it for an instant.


There are a few names in the fuel-cell business, but few as determined to be the dominant force in the business as Ballard Power Systems. In the last 10 years Ballard has made more deals with major companies, produced more prototypes and functioning products and tried to market them than all of the rest of the companies combined. All of the major automakers have some kind of fuel-cell from Ballard. Toyota, who has developed its own proprietary program for making fuel-cells, still gets some of its fuel-cells from Ballard.

Though fuel-cells have improved recently, problems with fuel-cells are many. The primary problem with hydrogen, the fuel of fuel-cells, is that it is extremely expensive, especially when compared to gasoline. An industrial canister for hydrogen sells for $120 in the Washington. DC area and hydrogen canisters hold very little range in comparison to gasoline. "A hydrogen gas tank that contained a store of energy equivalent to a gasoline tank would be more than 3,000 times bigger than the gasoline tank."2 That is if not compressed. It also takes a great amount of energy to produce hydrogen which not only adds to the cost but also adds to pollution. Making hydrogen is possible from various sources. The current technology typically makes hydrogen from fossil fuels releasing greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the air.

Another problem with the fuel-cell and hydrogen is that the fuel-cells themselves are extremely expensive. For example, Coleman attempted to market a fuel-cell generator in 2002, whose internal works were made by Ballard. It retailed for $7,995 dollars and it had only two outlets. Compare this to a battery back-up system or a generator that can typically be had for a few hundred dollars. At this point in time almost any solution is cheaper than buying a commercially available fuel-cell. I am skeptical that Ballard can reduce its price by 98 or 97% to become competitive, and remember, there is also the cost of the hydrogen to consider.

Fuel-cells today have life cycles that are very short. The Coleman fuel-cell generator had a cycle life of only 230 to 300 cycles, roughly about the life of a lead-acid battery. Only a lead acid battery typically costs less than a hundred dollars to replace, the fuel-cell cost to replace is around 7 thousand dollars. It is hard to talk about cycles with fuel-cells because as long as there is fuel the fuel-cell produces electricity. However, contamination problems such as dust, other airborne gasses and pollutants work their way into the fuel-cell stacks and eventually clog or chemically alter the stacks, in essence killing the fuel-cell.

Current fuel-cells don't operate in cold weather. (2004) Volkswagen has made some headway with this problem but it still has to begin operating the fuel-cell at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit before taking it out into colder temperatures.

The summation of fuel-cell technology as it currently stands with it myriad problems and its vast number of barriers to entry has left me believing this particular technology is more a way to divert people's attention from true possible alternatives rather than an end in itself. Hydrogen fuel cell technology, from what I can see at his point (2004), is a technological dead end. Already existing technology such as natural gas has failed to achieve acceptance in the marketplace despite being nearly everywhere and normally cheaper than gasoline.


This year in hybrids, Toyota's new version of the Prius won the 2004 Car of the Year Award from Motor Trend Magazine. Toyota has already pumped up its Prius II production schedule from 36,000 to 47,000 Prius automobiles to be made for the U.S. Market. 3 Ford and Lexus announced the release of hybrid sport utility vehicles for late 2004. However, it looks like Ford is only making that announcement for show. It has had considerable trouble getting the Escape Hybrid to market, announcing its release several times in the last four years and then pushing back its release date. On April 2, 2004, 4-Wheel Drive / Offroading reported that, "Toyota is granting U.S. carmaker Ford a license to use the Japanese company's patented technology for environmentally friendly hybrid cars for an undisclosed sum. In a joint statement, the companies said that Ford Motor Co. will be licensed to use Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid technology in a system it is developing, which is already subject to more than 100 hybrid technology patents."4

The Return of Separate Spheres

Electric vehicles have seen a return of some market spheres or niches, namely for transportation use inside large indoor facilities such as airports, malls, sports arenas and other structures. (2004) For these jobs the electric vehicles have been typically built with a particular task in mind. For example, there are large ride-on buffing and waxing machines developed to maintain the great expanses of uncarpeted floors found in airports and shopping malls. There are wheeled telescoping platform electric carts used to change light bulbs, dust and do other maintenance in high places. There are shopping cart and luggage cart movers that push or pull long lines of carts. Almost every large grocery store now has ride-on shopping carts electrically propelled for those shoppers that might need assistance getting around inside. There are yellow three wheeled Cushman vehicles to transport workers, pick up trash, and more. Electric golf carts are used to transport people indoors as well. Currently the only vehicle that can operate indoors without poisoning people with its fumes is the electric vehicle. Electric vehicles have also managed to work their way into gated communities with neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), and NEVs have found their way onto the farm because in the barns they don't give off fumes and don't make noise that can bother animals. The wheel chair has been electrified and transformed into the electric mobility vehicle that is giving freedom of movement to thousands upon thousands of people who are unable or have difficulty walking.

These niche spheres are growing and with it come the possibility for innovative breakthroughs that could find there way into an eventual highway legal, practical electric automobile. (In 2004 the former highway electric vehicles had been largely removed from the roadways and the industry seemed to need to be started anew) We have already seen lower battery prices caused by greater scale purchases of batteries for the burgeoning hybrid market. These lower priced batteries could lower significantly the cost of batteries for BEVs. Will other innovations and market changes lessen the barriers to entry of alternatives?

Research Issue 7:

The Unseen or Unpublished Breakthroughs

Range Expanding Technology

Range in electric vehicles is one major key to their acceptance as the survey in my primary research bears out. Anything that reduces the use of electricity in an electric vehicle automatically increases range. In my research I have discovered several technologies that reduce the electricity consumption and therefore, if implemented in an electric vehicle, would naturally improve range.

Minn Kota MaximizerTM Technology

”MaximizerTM Technology - Conventional trolling motor design (speed coil technology) delivers a constant, steady flow of power to the motor, regardless of the speed setting. This constant flow results in wasted power and excessive heat - both of which reduce your time on the water and the life of your motor. And with speed coil technology, you are limited to a pre-determined number of speed settings.”

"Minn Kota variable speed motors utilize our exclusive Maximizer technology to deliver the precise amount of power needed at any speed, along with infinitely variable speed settings. You get the ability to "dial up" the precise speed setting you desire and your motor runs cooler with no wasted power. By properly regulating the amount of power that is delivered to your motor, you get up to five times longer run time on a single charge."5

The quote above was taken from Minn Kota's website in 2001 in an article that I sent out hoping to get published. However, when I went back in order to properly quote the details of the technology for this paper, I was surprise the details on the technology that once were there were no longer available. Thankfully, I was not the only one who had read and reported on the technological breakthrough made by Minn Kota. In my article I gave the main concept behind the Maximizer technology a generic name. I called it “pulse energy technology.” The technology uses momentum (an object in motion tends to stay in motion) to reduce electric draw by turning on and off the electricity to an electric motor many thousand times a second. The energy saved, without any noticeable loss of power, can reach as high as 40%. Salt Water Sportsman's web site concurred stating back in 2001 that the "The Maximizer reduces amp draw by 40 percent by breaking the current to the motor 20,000 times a second, with each break resulting in a power savings. It happens so fast the motor remains unaffected by the interruptions, but those tiny breaks add up to some big savings." 6

You may be wondering what this has to do with on road electric vehicles. There is relatively little difference between an electric motor that operates an electric shaver, a trolling motor or a blender to one that operates an electric vehicle. They operate under very similar principles. An innovation in anything that operates an electric motor can typically then be applied to electric vehicles. So, if Minn Kota has figured out a way to make its electric motor systems "get up to five times longer run time on a single charge," it means that Minn Kota has the technology that can make an electric vehicle get many times the average range on a single charge. It already has demonstrated this with its boat electric vehicle motor.

Granted, a trolling motor is something different from a sophisticated automobile, however, pulse technology can probably make those long trips in an electric vehicle possible. Even if you were to halve the effect on range from 5 times longer to 21/2 times longer, Minn Kota's technology has the potential to make the range of the AC Propulsion's tZero, which now can travel up to 200 miles at 60 to 70 miles an hour, travel 500 miles, which is somewhere around 9 hours of operation at 55 miles an hour on average. The tZero had runs of 300 miles on average at the Michelin Challenge. At two and a half times that range we would be talking about 750 miles before a charge. That would be something close to the outer most range that people would drive a conventional car on a long trip. How effective this breakthrough may be if applied to electric vehicles we have yet to see, because this technology has not made the crossover transition into road EV propulsion systems. (In 2004 I was unaware that most super high efficient vehicles like the tZero and the EV1 were using similar technology, which they were)

Light Emitting Diodes

Another energy saving device is the use of LED (Light Emitting Diode) light. Incandescent bulbs are used all over a conventional car, from dome lights to stereo dial lighting, to gauges, brake lights and more. (2004 perspective) A typical LED light from an electronics hobby shop vendor only draws a 1000th of a watt of electricity. Replacing these lights with LEDs will reduce the electricity consumed by all of these devices to less than the electricity consumed by a single tiny incandescent bulb. (2013 perspective LED lights are even used as headlights, what a difference from 2004)

Xenon Gas Bulbs and the Use of a Limited Spectral Light Range Lights

Xenon gas bulbs and the use of limited spectral light range bulbs are turning in big energy savers in headlights. You may have noticed lights that look blue in color as they come towards you on the road lately. These are Xenon bulbs that use more energy in the spectral color range that human night vision uses. With less energy limited spectral headlights can actually give you better night time field of vision than traditional white spectrum lights.

Solar Panels

Conventional wisdom in the past has viewed solar panels on vehicles as a big waste of money since they can add only a little bit of electricity to the running of the car and cost too much to justify. This may have been true a few years ago when the cost of solar panels was very high and watt output was very low, however, almost every year jumps in efficiency have been made with commercially available solar power and the costs are dropping as well. I did a little experiment with a garden solar powered light and my car. I put the garden light in the back window. I was mainly trying to see the cycle life of NiMH batteries when they were charged by solar power, but it also gave me a glimpse into the power of the cheapest of solar cells. I bought this garden light package that came with a NiMH battery, a single LED light, the electronics that controlled the charging of the battery and the turning on of the light at night, the clear plastic bubble, black plastic housing and spike to stick it in the ground and a three by three inch solar cell for less than 10 dollars. The solar cell fully charged the battery on a typical sunny day and at night the light fully discharges the batteries in about eight hours, some times less sometimes more, depending on the amount of sun that was available the previous day. By my calculations the roof of the average midsized car if covered with solar cells would be able to fully charge 200 AA NiMH batteries on an average sunny day.7 These 200 fully charged batteries would be more than enough to run the radio, the lights, even the headlights, and could contribute to the running of the air conditioner, and more, reducing the need for these devices to draw from the propulsion batteries, which in turn would increase range. If it was such a bad idea that electric cars use solar panels then why were solar panels in the original plans of GM's EV1? And why are they on the Mitsubishi Motors prototype electric vehicle? In the end, anything that can increase range on an electric vehicle is a good thing.

Computerized Power Control Systems

Computerized power controls or intelligent power controls manage the energy coming in from various sources for optimal efficiency. It helps maintain batteries so they can always accept the maximum charge while preserving their maximum cycle life. What a computerized power control system gives you is the maximum use of the energy stored in the batteries or generated by the electric car's brakes and solar cells. For example, energy from the solar cells can be routed to recharge batteries, maintain speed or use an accessory like a radio thereby reducing the draw on the batteries. Currently computerized power control systems are used in cell phones, laptop computers, power grids and to maintain sophisticated computer networks.

Regenerative, Air Compression Braking and Acceleration Assist Systems

Sir Isaac Newton stated that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, while an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Most of the energy used in any vehicle is used to overcome inertia, (an object at rest tends to stay at rest). This means that most of the energy used in a car is used when a car is just getting going. Keeping the car going uses far less energy since an object in motion tends to stay in motion. It takes some energy to keep a car moving because the car naturally looses energy to road, wind and mechanical resistance. Cars with regenerative braking recoup some of the energy stored in momentum when trying to stop. It is easy to use the electric motor as a "dynamo" or generator when they are not being used to propel the car, thereby recouping some of the energy lost in overcoming inertia. Regenerative braking converts momentum energy (an object in motion tends to stay in motion) into electricity by switching the electric motor to being an electric generator, thereby slowing and eventually stopping the vehicle. This approach of using energy to get the car moving and then recapturing it when stopping is far more efficient than what conventional cars use. They use a lot of energy to get going and then waste the momentum energy by converting it into heat energy through friction and then venting that heat energy as waste into the air. This is the theory behind the typical caliper or drum braking system. The friction stop system comes from the horse and wagon days and is as sophisticated as putting your foot on the moving wheel to get it to stop.

In 2001 I wrote that Honda and Toyota convert 30% of the braking energy into electricity, which meant that 70% was used up the old fashioned way, with friction. I claimed then that they could do better with a more sophisticated design and could bring this number well over 50%. The 2004 Prius, recoups 50% of braking energy, with the rest used up with the old fashioned way through its friction braking system.

Instead of relying on friction braking for the rest of the stop, why not use other approaches to stop the vehicle and recoup momentum energy? Why not turn the remainder of what currently cannot be recouped by electric regenerative braking with a compressed air braking system? When you apply the brakes, a mechanical air compressor is activated turning the movement of the wheels into compressed air in a tank. The compressed air is then used to move the car from a complete stop using the technology used in compressed air power tools, like the tools used by race car pit crews and your local garage. Most of the energy in any type of vehicle is used when trying to move the vehicle again after coming to a complete stop. This technology reduces the amount of electricity lost for just getting the car moving. Thus conserving battery power and adding miles to your cars range. Ford had created a prototype pickup truck that uses compressed air braking technology to reduce gasoline consumption in a pickup truck a few years back. (EPA developed a highly efficient regenerative braking system that used hydraulic fluid to capture 70% to 80% of the energy needed to stop the vehicle)

Advanced Low Power Heating and Cooling Systems

Various systems have been developed for electric vehicles. The technology developed by Pivco (which became Th!nk a division of Ford Motors) and a company called Glacier Bay used for cooling and warming air of its original city car and a seat cooling and heating system developed by Reva of India, can be used in tandem for a very luxurious heating and cooling experience without using very much electricity.

Other Areas of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Advancement

Outside of range enhancing innovation for electric vehicles, if you look back through the innovations mentioned above you will realize that many will have applications that can reduce gasoline consumption as well. There are also other ways of looking at alternative approaches to reducing our dependency on oil that are not widely discussed. Some of them I look at below.

Hydrogen ICE

The use of hydrogen in a Proton Exchange Membrane may be impractical at this point in time (2004), however, hydrogen as an alternative fuel may not be. There is one idea and another innovation that make hydrogen not as impractical as a fuel by itself. The idea has come from Carroll Shelby a former racecar driver turned car designer. He is credited with designs for the Ford Mustang and his famous Shelby Cobra. Carroll Shelby's cars are designed from the ground up. He has developed an internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen gas. Its only pollutants are nitrogen oxide based.

Ford has also worked on hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE). Ford's hydrogen model U internal combustion engine is so clean burning that "Even without after treatment, oxides of nitrogen are very low, and catalyst research may soon reduce tailpipe output of potentially smog-forming emissions to below ambient conditions in many cities. This means that the air leaving the Model U's tailpipe could actually be cleaner than the air coming into the engine. …The hydrogen ICE is a common-sense powerplant that uses existing, proven technologies to deliver the environmental benefits of a hydrogen fuel cell, but at a fraction of the complexity and cost."8 Thus, hydrogen used in an ICE overcomes the temperamental nature of proton exchange membrane (PEM) and the costs associated with them.

Stuart Electrolysis

You might ask, what about the cost of hydrogen, the $120 per canister? The cost of hydrogen when bought commercially is expensive; however, I believe that once standard delivery methods are developed the cost will come down considerably. It may still be more expensive to purchase hydrogen from a filling station that uses current methods of producing hydrogen than it would be to purchase gasoline, but, there is an alternative. The alternative is producing hydrogen from water through a process called electrolysis. What? You say a car that runs on water? Yes, water. Water even more than gasoline is everywhere. It is a necessity of human life itself, and water is a molecule made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Passing an electric current through water produces bubbles at the anode and cathode, the positive and negative terminals from the electric source. These bubbles are not the water boiling, but the water being electrically separated. The cathode attracts hydrogen atoms while the anode attracts oxygen atoms, literally pulling the molecule apart into its component parts. This normally takes a lot of electricity, but if you make the water alkaline, do this in a hot place, and add pressure, the atoms need much less electricity to break apart.

A company called Stuart Energy Systems Corporation of Toronto, Canada, has managed a breakthrough in what it calls its leading edge proprietary Vandenborre Inorganic Membrane Electrolysis Technology. It uses a pressurized alkaline electrolyzer that generates high-purity hydrogen and delivers it at a pressure of up to 25 bar (363 psi) directly from the electrolyzer's cell stack.9It in someway resembles the fuel cell stacks developed by Ballard, however, it works backwards, making water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity rather than making hydrogen and oxygen into water and releasing electricity.

Stuart has an entire fueling solution that starts with electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water, compressing the hydrogen and delivering it into a conventional compressed gas canister or to a hydrogen powered vehicle. Its hydrogen fuel stations are being used by Toyota and in various other places that are acting as the experimental base for the launch of hydrogen powered vehicles. Stuart also has small hydrogen producing machinery that can be installed at home as well.

Furthermore, “TORONTO, ON, January 13, 2004 - Stuart Energy Systems Corporation (TSX: HHO) announced today that it has formed a strategic partnership with the Hydrogen Car Company (HCC), led by S. David Freeman, former Chairman of the California Power Authority. HCC is a privately-held, California-based company focused on developing and marketing a new generation of cars and trucks that are powered by hydrogen internal combustion engines (H2ICEs). To support the sale of its vehicles, HCC will exclusively offer Stuart Energy hydrogen fueling infrastructure solutions to its customers, ranging from the Personal Energy Stations (PES), under development for home fueling, to large scale Hydrogen Energy Stations (HES), currently being deployed around the world for fleet fueling and power applications. In addition to being an exclusive hydrogen infrastructure partner, Stuart Energy is also a strategic investor in HCC.” 10

I was pleased to learn that the two companies whose technologies I though could most easily enter the marketplace and produce the bridge to the hydrogen economy that everyone talks about have combined forces to do just that. As the quote states above, Stuart (TSX: HHO) and Shelby (HCC) have signed a strategic agreement to bringing their respective technologies to market together.


Electrovaya bears mentioning again. Its batteries are so energy dense that when configured to take up the volume area of a typical gasoline tank, they can hold enough energy to contend with a tank of gasoline. What is great about these batteries is that they can be shaped and changed to conform to any type of space. So not only could you have the batteries in the "tank" area of the automobile, but you could put them in the spaces inside the doors, under the seats, along the ceiling, in the fender panels, below the floor, you get the picture. There are enough places to store batteries in a typical car that you could have four times the area of the gas tank in Electrovaya batteries without encroaching on the passenger area. The more you have of Electrovaya's paper thin Lithium-ion polymer batteries the greater the range of an electric vehicle.

Automatic Connect Charging Systems

An automatically connecting charging device is not that sophisticated an idea. It is however, an idea that could make electric vehicles far more convenient than gasoline powered cars. An automatic connection system is either some mechanical devise or a robot arm like devise that automatically connects your electric car to a source of electricity from your home or office when you park it in a designated place. It would be like the car automatically plugging itself into a wall outlet. My original idea was an electrified rod that you would drive into and it would mate with the EV providing electrical contact for charging. Later on I thought that a robot like arm could find the contact area on the car and connect the EV, a little bit more complicated but it would require even less from the driver. Since it is automatically done when you pull into your driveway or reserved parking spot, you don't have to think about when you last charged the car and do you have enough in the batteries to get you around that day. This concept of automatic charging gives your EV the advantage of always having its maximum range at the ready. Just think if you had a place where, when you parked your conventional car in that spot, the next morning you would always have a full tank of gas. You wouldn't have to think about going to the gas station ever unless you went on a trip long enough where you needed gas. You can't do this with a conventional car, however, it is easy with an electric car. That could make electric cars even more convenient than gasoline cars provided that the range is sufficient.


Primary Research

The Question Specific Survey Design

Each question of the survey is designed to look at the use of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle, with respect to the characteristics of various alternative fuel vehicles. The vehicle with the greatest number of limitations that is most plausible as an alternative to conventional vehicles is the electric vehicle. The questions seem to indicate that the survey is skewed towards electric vehicles. That is not the case, it just so happens that questions such as access to electricity are more relevant since electric outlet sources are available in many places and clarification of conventional vehicles access to electric sources is important. Asking the same question about liquefied natural gas (LNG), which needs special equipment, handling and production, precludes easy access at home or at work. The question of awareness of lesser known alternatives becomes more relevant than access because most alternatives will require the building of a widespread delivery infrastructure that as of yet does not exist. Also many alternative fueled vehicles have range limitations. Many are similar to those of electric vehicle's range limitations. Questions on range have a wider application even though many of the threshold ranges may be similar to those of electric vehicles. For example question 5.

5. What is the average number of miles you travel in your vehicle on a typical week day?

0 to 30 miles.
31 to 60 miles
61 to 120 miles
121 to 200 miles
over 200 miles

The first answer, 0 to 30 miles, is in the range of most conversions and NEVs, and the second answer, 31 to 60 miles, is the typical average range of production electric vehicles available during the 1970s. However, the 61 to 120 mile range answer encompasses both electric vehicles, such as the lead acid battery EV1, as well as most current prototypes of fuel-cell vehicles. The 121 to 200 mile range encompasses most CNG and LNG vehicles, methanol and ethanol vehicles, as well as some advanced battery electric vehicles. The over 200 miles and higher ranges can be reached by AC Propulsion's electric vehicle with lithium-ion batteries and Electrovaya's Maya 100 converted 4 door GEO Tracker, which has a range of 210 miles on its super advanced lithium-ion polymer batteries, as well as the hybrids form Toyota and Honda. From the answers to the survey I can determine which technology has the greatest ability to compete with the conventional automobile or which technology is going to have to be relegated to filling a smaller niche market.

Survey Results

The first question (Q1) asks whether or not the respondent's chosen vehicle for this report is used for business or for personal use. The survey indicates 92.50% of the respondents answered that they used their vehicles for personal use and only 7.50% said they used their vehicles for business. Vehicles built for personal use tend to be made less utilitarian and more for comfort.

Q2 asks the size of the vehicle. The respondents answered that 20.00% of them drove an economy car, 32.50% drove a mid-size, and 47.50% drove a full size car. The surprise here was that nearly half of the respondents said they had a full size car. Most marketing attempts of many alternatives and fuel efficient vehicles have been aimed at economy or micro-mini sized cars. Clearly from the survey, larger cars are preferred by drivers.

Q3 asked what gadgets or options the vehicle had.97.50% of the respondents said they had air conditioning and heating, 95.00% rear window defroster, 90% stereo with cassette or CD player, 75% electric windows, and 77.5% said they had electric locks. These are all items that draw extra electric energy that would have an effect on range of an electric vehicle and add to the inefficiency of the fuel economy of other alternatives.

Q4 asked for the longest period of time the respondent's vehicle was not being used in a typical day during the work week. Approximately 80% of the respondents stated that their cars were not being used for 8 hours or more. This is a significant finding because it means that on a daily basis most people rest their cars for more than the time needed to charge an electric car using a simple outlet. As you will see later in the survey most people have access to regular household electricity, making electric vehicles the easiest of all alternatives to build an infrastructure to "refuel."

Q5 asks for the most miles the respondent travels in his or her car in a typical 24hour period during a typical work day. Nearly 50% of the respondents traveled less than 30 miles. Most electrically converted conventional cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and the small CitiCar-like vehicles can go at least 30 miles in one day. 77.5% traveled less than 60 miles, which is in the ranges of most major company production car size EVs, the DOE's ETV1 and many conversion trucks. 90% of the respondents said they traveled 120 miles or less, which is in the range of GM's NiMH EV1. Only 2.5% needed the abilities of the advanced battery vehicles of AC Propulsions, tZero and Electrovaya's Maya 100 on a daily basis and only 7.5% needed a car that could travel over 200 miles on a daily basis, which is the realm of hybrids and station fuel-up alternatives.

Q6 asks for the most miles the respondent travels in his or her car in a typical weekend day: 30% said less than 30 miles; 65% said less than 60 miles and 92.5% said that they traveled less than 120 miles on a typical weekend day, again all within various different abilities of electric vehicles and alternatives. Note that none of the respondents said they traveled between 121 and 200 miles, the area occupied by advanced battery electric vehicles. Some of the respondents claimed they traveled more than 200 miles on a typical weekend day. This may indicate a need for even longer ranges in alternative fuel vehicles, greater access to refueling, or the need for separate niche markets.

Q7 asks if the respondent does primarily stop and go driving or highway driving. The drivers primarily did stop and go driving, which favors electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are favored in stop and go driving for two reasons, the first reason being that electric vehicles expend little or no energy when stopped, and second, because electric vehicles recoup momentum energy when braking. Ask anyone who has ever been low on gas that has gotten caught in a traffic jam what happens to them. They will typically tell you that if traffic was moving they would have had more than enough fuel to reach their destination, however, while idling in traffic they ran out of gas. The advantage in highway driving goes to the conventional car because it is using its energy for propulsion. In stop and go traffic the conventional car is using fuel just to keep the motor running and that wastes energy. Also, braking energy in a conventional car is turned into waste heat and vented away unused. Where 77% of the respondents to the survey did most of their driving as stop and go driving, regenerative braking and the on and off nature of the electric vehicle in terms of efficiency did best.

Q8 asked if the respondents lived in a place where the parking area for their car had sources of electricity. 70% said yes. This means one could set up an infrastructure ready to fuel 70% of the vehicles people owned if they were electric. Given that 80% of the respondents were also not using their cars for 8 hours or more, and the 70% who had access to electricity we can conclude that a large number of people have all they need to charge an electric vehicle simply and without great expense or special equipment or hard to find hardware.

Q9 asks if the same access to electricity existed at work, most people responded no. Nearly, 40% responded yes, so again a good number of people could have access to electricity at work if the access were to become important to workers or access to electricity for vehicles were to become the norm. Again, the infrastructure is there and access would require minimal alterations, unlike hydrogen or other alternatives that might require a massive undertaking to build an infrastructure.

Q10 asks if the respondent has a parking space that is or can be designated for the respondent and the respondent alone at home. 74.36% of the respondents answered yes. This bodes well for electric vehicles because connecting to an electric source can then be automated. The owner of the electric vehicle can then just park their car in the designated place. Either by driving into an especially made outlet or by a robotic arm the connection to an electric source can be done without the owner thinking about it. The electric car can then be maintained at its maximum charge. A maximum charge gives the user of an electric vehicle access to its maximum range whenever they park in that spot. This idea of automated charging trumps the gasoline station model in terms of convenience, and with the vehicle almost always at its maximum range it pushes even the outermost uses of a vehicle, those of traveling long distances, closer to the everyday abilities of the electric vehicle. If current ranges of electric vehicles can be doubled or tripled in the next 5 to 10 years, with the automated connection, the electric vehicle will achieve greater convenience than the conventional vehicle.

Q11 asked if there was a place at work similar to the one described in question 10. The respondents overwhelmingly answered no. This may change in the future if it is deemed important. However, other changes can overcome the requirement of a designated spot for automated recharging. An IP-like address can communicate to a central recordkeeping computer whose vehicle is recharging at any station and therefore bill the person appropriately. Also, the rise of some universal standard of automated recharging will allow anyone to have access to an automated charging station.

Q12 asks the mechanical question that is a natural follow up to question 10, and that is could the parking lot be configured to have a place near an electric source just for the respondents vehicle at home. 67.5 % said yes, which strengthens the argument that not only can a respondent have a spot to themselves at home, but the spot can be electrified.

Q13 asks question 12 for work and the answer is mostly no, but, nearly 40% say that it could. If it were deemed important enough to workers, I believe that these numbers would change in the future. The fact that charging from home is so strong in the survey, I believe there is enough infrastructure in existence to make electric vehicles more of a reality than other alternatives except the hybrids.

Q14 explores the idea of automated charging even further by asking if it would be more convenient, less convenient or about the same as refueling a conventional car. 80% responded that it would be more convenient, again adding to the strength of the concept of automated charging.

In Q15 I asked the question again that I asked in Q14, only lowering the requirements of having to park in the same place everyday to only two to three times a week. I was thinking that with the longer range production EVs it was not necessary to park in the same place every night. However, I believe the respondents saw this as having to coordinate the use of an automated spot with other people and this made the choice less convenient than having a space for themselves.

In Q16 I reduce the requirement to only once a week given the ranges and capabilities of advanced battery vehicles. This is seen as even more inconvenient than just parking in the same place every night. The people of the survey have spoken, they just want to have that space for themselves and their car. Not sharing the automated charging device with anyone.

Q17 was designed to gauge the difficulty that respondents would have dealing with a conductive charging plug. It asks the recipients if they have a cell phone, which today is the most common conductive rechargeable device that both men and woman use. The survey also asks them do they or do they think they would have trouble recharging the cell phone. 90% said they had no trouble recharging a cell phone or didn't think they would have trouble recharging a cell phone. This indicates that nightly recharging of cell phones has become a routine that people are comfortable with, and it would seem that doing the same with an automobile, if made to be as easy as plugging in a cell phone, would seem as comfortable.

Q18 asks the question more directly and 92% responded that if recharging a car were similar to plugging in a cell phone that the respondents would not find it difficult, cumbersome or confusing.

Q19 asks what is the longest period of time in hours within the last 10 years that the respondent has driven a vehicle on a long trip without stopping for an extended period of time such as to sleep or visit friends for more than 3 hours. 55% of the respondents stated that they have taken trips longer than 8 hours without stopping for an extended period of time. This places more than half of the drivers of conventional car out of reach even with the most sophisticated electric cars. It also requires a stronger network of LNG, CNG, Methanol, Ethanol and Hydrogen dealer stations. Inboard or small compression station systems often take as long as eight hours to fully compress onboard tanks, so the stations that market compressed gas will have to use the more expensive equipment that can compress gas quickly. More expense means more risk, and more risk means that conditions have to significantly change so that the advantage clearly goes to these alternatives if their infrastructure is ever to be built.

Q20 asks the respondents how many times in the last 10 years have they taken a trip that lasted more than 4 hours without stopping for an extended period of time of three hours or more. 70% responded that they had taken such a trip more than 4 times in the last 10 years. This also pushes the use beyond the top ranges of the most sophisticated electric vehicles of today. Hybrids are the only electrified alternative vehicle that can fulfill this regular use. At this range, electric vehicle advantages fall even short of the other alternatives such as CNG, LNG, methanol, ethanol, and hydrogen.

Q21 asks how many times in the last 10 years have the respondents been on a trip in their cars away from an electrical source such as in the wilderness for more than one night. Even though 55% said that they had never taken such a trip, 45% had. 27.5% said that they had four or more times. These trips speak directly to the question of range and access to refueling sources. If the vehicles can not find a fueling source within the range of the vehicle, no matter how inconvenient, the vehicle becomes untenable as a dominant new form of propulsion. To run out of gas away from a gasoline source means that anyone with a gasoline canister can bring the gasoline to you. Running the batteries down on an electric vehicle means that the vehicle needs to be towed to the nearest source of electricity or a fully charged battery pack, (if the electric vehicle of the future were to have such a devise) would have to be brought to you with all of the connection equipment. It means that an infrastructure for servicing and recharging needs to be put in place that is widespread, even for electric vehicles, and not having such an infrastructure becomes a hurdle that only the widespread use of electric vehicles could develop.

Q22 asks how difficult would it be to find an electric outlet on long trips, 62.5% stated that they were either neutral about how difficult it would be or they thought it would be somewhat difficult. This indicates that the respondents are somewhat hopeful that an electric vehicle option to the buying public will come to fruition. In truth it is often times very difficult to secure public access to an outlet for an eight hour period. I have taken many road trips where the stops were primarily small hotels or motor lodges. Being an electric vehicle enthusiast I would take the time to look around the grounds for access to electric outlets. I never found one. I imagined where the establishment could put such outlets and designate the parking spots closest to them for electric vehicles only. In actuality the options were to rent a room on the ground floor with a window out to the parking lot and sending the extension cord, that everyone with an electric vehicle is presumed to have, from the car through the window to an outlet inside the room. Even though the creation of an infrastructure for electric vehicles would be easy and cost minimal dollars, it as of yet does not exist, creating another barrier to entry for such vehicles.

Q23 asks how many hours do the respondents think their car is exposed to the sun on a typical day, even while driving around. Nearly 72% said that their cars were in the sun more than six hours a day, making solar panels a useful component to help increase range.

In Q24, when the respondents were asked, what alternative fuel vehicles have they heard of, hybrids were the most recognized with 92.50% of the respondents claiming that they had heard of them. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) came in second with 67.50% recognized. Alternative Liquid Fuel Vehicles, Methanol, Ethanol, Alcohol & others came in third. Electric vehicles were 4th, this juxtaposition of natural gas vehicles and alternative liquid fuel vehicle, with electric vehicles surprised me since there is little talk about these other vehicles in the press, but the respondents seem to have heard of these other vehicles more often than of electric vehicles. I wonder if the survey had a greater number of respondents if these numbers would have held. Hydrogen powered vehicles using proton exchange membranes came next. I was surprised that these types of vehicles did not score better since hydrogen powered vehicles were actually mentioned in a speech by President George W. Bush. However, the survey indicated that only 52.5% of the respondents had heard of such technology. Hydrogen ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) is not a new technology but recently it has become a technology to look at. It is currently being championed by Carroll Shelby of Shelby Cobra fame and Stuart Energy Systems. Water's expansive properties seem to hold the fascination of many people. 42.5% of the respondent's stated that they have heard of steam powered vehicles. Compressed air power had 20% of the respondents claiming they had heard of this technology, even though the only compressed air powered vehicle that I found was used in the early 1900s. Since then I have only heard of experimental vehicles that used compressed air as a way of recouping momentum energy lost in braking and the energy wasted while internal combustion engines were idling. A company that had been working on an air powered car called Moteur Developpment International of France and Spain just released the details of its technology. Given the laws of thermodynamics I still have my doubts about this idea, but it entails super cooling air then releasing it into piston chambers where it is allowed to expand at ambient temperature. The problem I have with this is that it takes energy to cool the air and the amount of energy one would get back would most likely be the same to the energy used to cool the air. Still, people answering the survey, claimed they knew of compressed air vehicles. Flywheel energy storage is real, however, flywheel powered vehicles are only speculative technology. Yet 20% responded that they knew of this technology. The technology supposedly works as such; a flywheel, encased in a vacuumed sealed chamber and suspended in a magnetic field, is used to turn electric energy into mechanical energy by way of an electric motor. Once moving the flywheel keeps on spinning until its mechanical energy can be converted back to electric energy by way of a generator. Little has been written of whether this idea can actually be used to power anything. It is particularly daunting to think that this kind of device could be used to store energy to power a bouncing and moving car. Finally, 10% of the respondents said they new of other technology. What this means is that I have to read more or write to the respondents to find out about the other technology, because as of the time of this report I was unaware of any other technology, that is unless you count Nikola Tesla's, invisible power sourced Pierce Arrow.

Q25, the last question asks the respondents if there was a vehicle that worked like their vehicle, their truck, car or mini van, and:

Would they find this car to be superior, somewhat superior, neutral, somewhat inferior, or inferior to the car they have now? 80% of the respondents said that they would find such a vehicle somewhat superior or superior to the vehicle the own now. None said that the vehicle would be somewhat inferior or inferior. This was a significant finding because it means that if alternatives can put together a package of attributes such as the ones mentioned above, most people would find the vehicle superior to the vehicle they now own, which would be a good indicator that they would switch.

Electric vehicles already have 7 out of the 9 attributes listed above. That is they are highly reliable, need minimal maintenance, do not need oil changes, antifreeze, sparkplugs and emission inspections, fuel costs are typically pennies per gallon of gasoline equivalent, make no noise, and can be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles without needing any major repairs or their batteries replaced with the advent of NiMH batteries. Only truly long distance travel and automated charging remain as barriers to entry, and only long distance travel that is 4 hours or more is not achievable with the current technology mentioned above. It would seem that if electric vehicles can overcome the long distance challenge they would have all that is necessary to overcome internal combustion engine cars.


Summary and Conclusions

Historic Conclusions

I have scoured the history of alternative vehicles to find answers to why they did not take hold as the dominant form of personal transportation. Steam was overcome by a history of slow starts, early explosions and the general view that steam was bulky old technology, even though at the time that electric and the internal combustion engine were transforming transportation, innovations to the personal steam vehicle made them relatively quick starting, truly speedy and somewhat practical automobiles. By the time of these innovations, gasoline had reached its domination and steam power was simply left behind as old fashioned technology.

We also saw electric automobiles dominate the very earliest days of mechanical personal transportation for a short period of time before they were overtaken by internal combustion engines. The main reason for the electric vehicle being overtaken was that the distribution plan was one for a single company, the Electric Vehicle Company, to produce and control the use of most electric vehicles on the road. This may sound illogical today; however, at this time in history the only model that gave ordinary people access to transportation that existed before was the horse livery stable. Using a model that was based on the livery stable rather than private ownership was logical at the beginning. Private ownership was becoming more desirable and common as we moved on into the new century.

The EVC had to deal with many internal problems such as poor management of its central station operations and their poor maintenance of the vehicles and the batteries, which was largely a result of the newness of electric technology, electricity and its distribution. Also, the collapse of the EVC under serious and widespread financial scandal soured many people's view of the electric vehicle.

Other factors that contributed to electric vehicles decline were the lack of coordination, distribution and implementation of technological innovations developed at the time that significantly increased range and speed, and the battery exchange program that could have been developed into battery exchange stations like gasoline stations exist today.

Such arguments of what might have been in the end are purely speculative. Who is to say that other problems that were unforeseen by this report might have contributed to internal combustion engines rise to dominance.

One thing truly seems a mystery to me and that is why, once the electrified combustion engine established itself as the dominant form of personal transportation did power hybrids not quickly follow and establish themselves as well. It may have been a cost factor for the manufacturers who would have to develop two drive trains rather than one. Perhaps the large increase in cost of the vehicle was not justified given the small savings in gasoline cost. In other words, consumers could most easily afford a few cents a week more for gasoline rather than pay for an expensive second drive train upfront. Because the cost of gasoline throughout the history of the United States has been small, such technology that brings about gasoline efficiency but increases the price of the automobile has never been a popular option. For whatever reason, hybrids never entered the market with any staying power in the early days of the automobile.

The other technologies of the early years of personal transportation never moved beyond production of more than a few vehicles. A few vehicles traveled the streets of New York City powered by liquefied-air. Steam-powered vehicles, despite technological breakthroughs that made the vehicles faster and more convenient suffered the same fate as the electric vehicle. I saw a vintage sign in a restaurant in Minnesota called the Machine Shed that had advertised kerosene powered tractors. It turns out that Ford Motor Company made them in the 1920s. "Ford Motor Company, whose kerosene-powered Fordson tractor duplicated the firm's success with the Model-T automobile. In 1925, Ford produced nearly a half-million Fordson tractors, and 750,000 in 1927…"12 Though kerosene is an alternative it still is an oil product and so its challenge to gasoline's dominance was deemed unimportant for this project.

There were many alternative forms of propulsion in the early years. However, the fight in those beginning years was not to save the world from global warming or to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, but, mainly to win the battle of the hearts and wallets of consumers. Internal combustion engine cars hit upon the marketing ploy of the open road, venturing out into the country or going cross country in an automobile. This image became something fixated in the imagination of the automobile purchaser and drove sales away from the alternatives that could not offer that. Electric vehicle companies tried to market themselves as touring cars, but with their short range they just frustrated buyers. Never mind that at that time a gasoline powered automobile could barely offer a ride in the country or a trip to another city. Almost no one traveled from city to city with their automobiles even after purchasing a gas powered automobile. That was reserved for the train. It was the dream, the possibility, the call of the imaginary open road that really mattered. This pull of the open road and long range travel is still a factor today and one of the most significant barriers to entry for alternative fuel vehicles, especially the electric vehicle.

The reality of the internal combustion engine was that it really wasn't ready for open road travel until sometime after the 1920s. I saw an advertisement poster for internal combustion engine vehicles that portrayed a ruggedly handsome open shirt male driver handling tools and parts with black grease up his arms while a beautiful woman in a flapper style dress reclined on the edge of the backdoor watching luridly. I imagine this was an attempt to make the frequent breakdowns of gasoline automobiles seem appealing, and given the results it worked.

Once the internal combustion engine established its dominance of the roadways all other vehicles that had established themselves in separate spheres or niche markets slowly died out. Electric trucks were preferred for the delivery of pianos because the electric motor and its batteries could be used to operate the heavy electric winches used to pull pianos to upper floors, but when the electrified internal combustion engine came about, it was easy enough to attach a winch to the starter battery instead. Electric trolley services, on the other hand, had to be actively killed by GM in order to put them out of business. Steam maintained its dominance in locomotives until the development of the diesel locomotive and then the diesel-electric hybrid locomotive, which is the most commonly used train engine today. However, on America's roadways and around the world the internal combustion engine rules supreme, and does so for many of the same reasons that made it rule supreme in the early parts of the century. Gasoline can be easily distributed.

Economic Shocks

The economic shocks of the past such as the oil crisis of the 1970s, indicates that if gasoline becomes expensive or difficult to attain, that consumers are willing to seek out alternatives. Such economic conditions provide only a temporary opportunity for alternatives to enter the marketplace. As the end of the embargo and the crisis indicated with its resulting drop in demand for alternatives, market forces reign supreme. If alternatives cannot meet or compete with the conventional car in other ways, then when the crisis is over, so will the incentives for purchasing the alternative. Alternative vehicles must meet customer's needs and tastes outside the confines of the crisis.

Legislative Factors

Legislation helps. Since the middle of the last century, legislation has been the most significant factor in pushing automakers to innovate and implement innovation in the areas of safety, pollution control and efficiency. The clean air laws passed in the 1950s began movement by the major automakers to look into alternatives. The oil crisis of the 1970s did little to move the automakers to innovate, who, as a response to the crisis, produced poorly built, smaller cars years after the crisis began. However, in response to legislation, the major automakers have been willing to attempt production of alternatives in the 60s, 70s and 90s.

Survey Conclusions

The survey tells us that most of the respondents want a vehicle that is full sized and can be driven long distances to the limits of their physical ability, which is until the driver feels too tired to drive or needs sleep. Of the alternatives, hybrids will most likely be the first to appear that meet the full size criteria and the long range stated requirements to compete with the conventional vehicle, however, hybrids still use oil and still pollute, even though they do so using less fuel than a conventional car. Most alternatives can meet most of the regular daily uses of conventional vehicles. True alternatives typically lack the refueling infrastructure to make refueling easy and convenient. Only electric vehicles can connect to the electrical grid available in most places and therefore would have the smallest barrier to entry for infrastructure of all the alternatives for entry into the market.

Respondents pointed out that convenience factors, such as automatic refueling and not needing maintenance were very desirable traits in an alternative vehicle. Natural gas vehicles need fewer tune-ups and oil changes however, they still need these things, while electric vehicles do not. Hydrogen vehicles, with the current state of the technology, will need the PEM stacks replaced every few years, an extremely expensive proposition, while the new advanced batteries will probably never need to be replaced during the life of an electric vehicle. Only electric vehicles, natural gas and hydrogen powered vehicles demonstrated the ability to be fueled at home. Electric vehicles with a simple connection to an outlet, natural gas from a natural gas service lines and hydrogen vehicles with a Stuart made electrolyzer. Of these only electric vehicles showed any promise of having refueling done automatically, and with the automated charging being inexpensive and relatively simple to do.

The main conclusion that the survey reveals is that if alternatives can match the convenience and ability of conventional vehicles that the respondents would consider purchasing one. It also revealed that if electric vehicles can overcome its range problems and add automated recharging, that EVs would be seen as a superior product to the conventional vehicle they now own.

Final Conclusion

Most of the factors that would make a vehicle desirable to the consumer can be met by electric vehicles. However, long distance travel is a problem that the electric vehicle has yet to solve. Innovation such as the Maximizer technology from Minn Kota, solar power, multi-phase regenerative braking, reduced energy lighting such as LEDs, limited spectrum headlights and Xenon bulbs, Pivco and Reva heating and cooling systems, computer controlled energy routing systems. All these could be used to solve the range problems of electric vehicles.

Other devices not looked into in this report, such as low resistance tires, magnetic force bearings and flywheel effect motors, wheel hub mounted motors that are more efficient than those needing gears and transaxles and a host of other adaptations and innovations might also work. Even a battery exchange program could be instituted with some standard of design by manufacturers, not as the only source of power storage for the vehicle but as a way to extend the range of an EV during long trips.

With the advent of NiMH, Lithium-ion and Lithium-ion polymer batteries coupled with the technologies mentioned above the challenge of electric vehicle to oil based transportation is just around the corner. With the advent of Stuart's electrolysis and Shelby's hydrogen ICE hydrogen's challenge to oil is imminent. With the advent of Toyota and Honda's hybrids, alternatives are here, and the once seemingly unexplainable lack of hybrids on the road seems to have finally ebbed.

Today American oil companies are racing to purchase the technology that will eventually put them out of the oil business. Chevron-Texaco has purchased GM's portion of Ovonics and most oil companies have invested in solar power.

On the other hand I have little faith that American automobile manufacturers will be the companies that will bring us alternatives. It will most likely be companies in Japan that will be the first adapters of the technologies to mass produce market ready vehicles as they have already begun to do with hybrids. The only hope I have for American involvement is that American entrepreneurs will join together to make road worthy true alternatives.

A considerable amount of money was lost backing technology that had no real market value in the 1990s leading to the burst of the tech bubble near the turn of the millennium. Alternatives have a market ready audience that could be reached with the right product, the right marketing and the right administration and coordination of the innovations surveyed in this report. Backing alternative vehicles would seem a far safer investment than what was backed in the 1990s.

Coordination and implementation of the available innovations is the key to any future success of the alternative vehicle. The same factors that were so prevalent when alternatives fought for market share at the previous turn of the century are still prevalent today. Alternatives need to compete in every way with the conventional vehicle and with the new technological breakthroughs covered and uncovered in this report they can. However, it takes a sustained marketing effort and a well organized support structure to give alternatives staying power against the conventional vehicle. As we have learned from history, marketing sometimes can be the most important feature of an automobile.

Bringing an alternative vehicle will take a substantial investment. Even the electric vehicle, that may have an easier time in establishing infrastructure and the like, needs support structures, standards for charging, possible battery exchange programs and rapid charging stations to be established before attaining deep market penetration.

I predict that by the year 2010 hybrids will be pervasive. All automakers will have a few hybrid vehicles in their lineups. Toyota will have more than any other car company. Hydrogen powered PEM vehicles will have lost some of their luster and pressure from the automakers will reduce CARB requirements for such vehicles to only demonstration vehicles. With prices dropping and competition heating up between the three types of advanced batteries, NiMH, Lithium-ion and Lithium-ion polymer, the cost of producing a highway grade EV becomes less expensive and more commercially feasible. Series hybrids that use a motor to run a generator only will probably come first before any a true BEV alternative. Series hybrids may bring gasoline efficiency well over the 100 mile per gallon range by incorporating much of the technology reviewed in this report, but this fuel economy will not arrive until well after 2010. Hydrogen may make a run with hydrogen ICE vehicles. Once Stuart electrolysis technology is better known, the idea of using electrolysis, which today is viewed as too expensive a process for getting hydrogen, will become more accepted since it does not require the building of a specialized infrastructure of mass production steam reformers, pipelines, trucks, storage tanks, fueling stations and the like.

The future looks bright for alternatives, but by no means will their entry into the marketplace be easy or assured. The technology exists for alternatives to compete with conventional vehicles. The question now remains. Who will take these technologies and turn them into a competitive, viable alternative vehicle that the public wants to buy?

1 Valence Technology, Inc. (Accessed May 23, 2004) http://www.valence.com/chemistries.asp
2 Hydrogen Storage, FuelCellStore.com (Accessed May 24, 2004 )
3 Hybrid Car History, Hybridcars.com, 2003 (Accessed May 1, 2004 )
4 Toyota/Ford Hybrid Technology Agreement, April 02, 2004, About.com (Accessed May 23, 2004 )
5 Advantage Minn Kota, (Accessed May 26, 2004 )
6 Anderson, Karl, Choosing and Using an Electric Trolling Motor, Salt Water Sportsman, 2001(Accessed May 27, 2004 )
7 Average roof of a mid-sized sedan is approximately 3 by 5 feet, which is 1800 square inches, which in turn can be divided by 9 inches, the square inches of the solar cell in my experiment, which equals 200, 3 by 3 inch cells.
8 Hydrogen Internal Combustion, Ford Motor Company, (Accessed May 27, 2004 )
9 Stuart Energy, (Accessed May 27, 2004) http://www.stuartenergy.com/
10 Stuart Energy (Accessed May 27, 2004 )
11 Pew Internet & American Life Project, Web Use and Communication Activities (May 14, 2004)
12 Farm Tractor, Facts on File, (Accessed May 25, 2004) http://www.fofweb.com/Subscription/Science/Helicon.asp?SID=2&iPin=ffests0325

Percentage Distribution and Statistics for Questions 1 through 25

Think of the vehicle that you use most often. What do you primarily use that vehicle for?

a. Personal use, such as commuting, shopping and typical uses of the family car. Respondents - 37 - 92.50%
b. Business use such as deliveries and other purely business related activities. (Not a home car that is used on occasion for business things). Respondents - 3 - 7.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.08
Standard Deviation - 0.27
Variance - 0.07
Mean Percentile - 96.25%

What is your vehicle's size?

a. Economy Respondents - 8 - 20.00%
b. Mid-size Respondents - 13 - 32.50%
c. Full size Respondents - 19 - 47.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 2.28
Standard Deviation - 0.78
Variance - 0.61
Mean Percentile - 57.50%

What gadgets and options does your vehicle have? Check all that apply.
Air Conditioning Respondents - 39 - 97.50%
Heating Respondents - 39 - 97.50%
Electric or Automatic Windows Respondents - 30 - 75.00%
Electric Locks Respondents - 31 - 77.50%
Stereo with Cassette Player or CD Player Respondents - 36 - 90.00%
Rear Window Defroster Respondents - 38 - 95.00%

Total - 213
Mean - 3.47
Standard Deviation - 1.77
Variance - 3.14
Mean Percentile - 58.84%

What do you think is the typical longest period of time your vehicle is not being used in a forty-eight hour period during a regular work week? (For example I come home after being out at about 9pm, watch some TV then sleep eight hours, get up at 7am and it takes me about an hour to get ready and in the car by 8am. So the typical longest period of time that I don't use the car is 11 hours during a typical work day in a work week. Or, I arrive at work at 9am and don't leave until 5pm. Then I party all night. So for me my longest period of time when I am not using my car is when I am at work. The car sits still for about 8 hours)

a. 0 up to 4 hours. Respondents - 1 - 2.50%
b. 4 up to 8 hours. Respondents - 7 - 17.50%
c. 8 up to 12 hours. Respondents - 18 - 45.00%
d. more than 12 hours Respondents - 14 - 35.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 3.13
Standard Deviation - 0.79
Variance - 0.63
Mean Percentile - 46.88%

What are the most miles you travel in your car in a typical 24hour period work day? (For example: Everyday I go to Aunt Betty's house for tea and mint juleps. She unfortunately lives in Hicksville, which is a good 30 miles from my humble abode in Elizabeth. That is 60 miles I believe that I have to travel, and through that ridiculously large city, New York, too. (Elizabeth, NJ and Hicksville, Long Island))

a. 0 to 30 miles. Respondents - 19 - 47.50%
b. 31 to 60 miles. Respondents - 12 - 30.00%
c. 61 to 120 miles. Respondents - 5 - 12.50%
d. 121 to 200 miles Respondents - 1 - 2.50%
e. over 200 miles. Respondents - 3 - 7.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.93
Standard Deviation - 1.19
Variance - 1.40
Mean Percentile - 81.50%

What are the most miles you travel in your car in a typical 24 hour period weekend or non-work day? (For example: We get up in the early morning and go to Joey's soccer game, then to Jason's band recital, then to Julie's ballet lessons, Yoko's archery class, we go out to the marina and sail because Eddy has to be a pirate, we come back for Eduardo's Kung Fu tournament, then to Edwina's Brownie Cubs meeting, we go home eat sandwiches and take a breather, back out for Edgar's nature project, then to Eliza's go-cart race ... Then we get home. That adds up to ... a million miles. I go a million miles in a week end day.)

a. 0 to 30 miles. - 12 - 30.00%
b. 31 to 60 miles. 14 - 35.00%
c. 61 to 120 miles. - 11 - 27.50%
d. 121 to 200 miles 0 - 0.00%
e. over 200 miles. 3 - 7.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 2.20
Standard Deviation - 1.11
Variance - 1.24
Mean Percentile - 76.00%

Do you do primarily city driving, that is stop and go traffic driving, or long distance driving, that is non-traffic obstructed highway driving? That is if you do highway driving during period where the traffic is such that it stops periodically several times when you are traveling, that would be also considered stop and go traffic. If you drive in a city or town with stop lights and stop signs that is typical stop and go driving. If you do driving primarily in the country or on highways that have little stop and go traffic please indicate so below.

a. Mostly city driving 17 - 42.50%
b. Mostly city driving with two to three long trips on the highway a week of at least 5 miles 14 - 35.00%
c. Mostly highway driving with three to five trips in town a week. 7 - 17.50%
d. Mostly highway driving. 2 - 5.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.85
Standard Deviation - 0.89
Variance - 0.80
Mean Percentile - 78.75%

Do you live in a place where the parking area for your car has electricity sources? Examples of sources are; electric lights, light posts, electrical outlets or the walls opposite to the garage have lights or outlets? In a building garage, if there are lights there is electricity, on the street or in a parking lot you may have a light post near where you park, outlets for Christmas lights or running gardening tools sticking out of the ground, or if you park relatively close to inhabited buildings then there is electricity. By near to your car I mean less than 25 paces or about 50 feet away.

a. Yes 28 - 70.00%
b. No 12 - 30.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.30
Standard Deviation - 0.46
Variance - 0.22
Mean Percentile - 85.00%


Where you park at work is there access to electricity in the parking lot as stated in question 8?

a. Yes 15 - 39.47%
b. No 23 - 60.53%

Total - 38
Mean - 1.61
Standard Deviation - 0.50
Variance - 0.25
Mean Percentile - 69.74%

Do you park your car at home in a garage, reserved spot, driveway, car port? Is it a parking spot for your car and no one else but for your car or in a place that can be designated just for that one car?

a. Yes 29 - 74.36%
b. No 10 - 25.64%

Total - 39
Mean - 1.26
Standard Deviation - 0.44
Variance - 0.20
Mean Percentile - 87.18%


Like question 10 do you have such a place for your car at work?

a. Yes 5 - 13.16%
b. No 33 - 86.84%

Total - 38
Mean - 1.87
Standard Deviation - 0.34
Variance - 0.12
Mean Percentile - 56.58%

Could the parking lot be configured to have a place near an electric source just for your vehicle at home? Is it possible physically, whether or not you think you can get permission to do so?

a. Yes 27 - 67.50%
b. No 13 - 32.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.33
Standard Deviation - 0.47
Variance - 0.23
Mean Percentile - 83.75%


Could the parking lot be configured to have a place near an electric source just for your car at work? Is it possible physically, whether or not you think you can get permission to do so?

a. Yes. 15 - 39.47%
b. No 23 - 60.53%

Total - 38
Mean - 1.61
Standard Deviation - 0.50
Variance - 0.25
Mean Percentile - 69.74%

If all that was required to keep your car fully fueled was to park it in the same place at the end of the day or while at work, and nothing else, no plugging in anything, just parking it in the same place, would you consider this more convenient or less convenient than going to the gas station and filling it up?

a. More convenient 32 - 80.00%
b. Less convenient 0 - 0.00%
c. about the same 8 - 20.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.40
Standard Deviation - 0.81
Variance - 0.66
Mean Percentile - 86.67%


What if you only had to park the car in the same place two to three times a week?

a. More convenient 28 - 70.00%
b. Less convenient 3 - 7.50%
c. about the same 9 - 22.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.53
Standard Deviation - 0.85
Variance - 0.72
Mean Percentile - 82.50%


What if you only had to park the car in the same place once a week?

a. More convenient 23 - 57.50%
b. Less convenient 7 - 17.50%
c. About the same 10 - 25.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.68
Standard Deviation - 0.86
Variance - 0.74
Mean Percentile - 77.50%

Do you have a cell phone? If yes, do you find charging the phone difficult, cumbersome or confusing? If no, do you think you would have any trouble charging a cellular phone?

a. Yes and I have no trouble charging my phone. 29 - 72.50%
b. Yes, but I have trouble with maintaining the phones charge because it is difficult, cumbersome or confusing. 1 - 2.50%
c. No, I do not have a cellular phone, but I do not think I would have any problem charging the phone. 7 - 17.50%
d. No, I do not have a cellular phone, but from what I know I believe I would have trouble charging it. 3 - 7.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.60
Standard Deviation - 1.03
Variance - 1.07
Mean Percentile - 85.00%

If you had to plug in your car to an electric source and it were similar to plugging in a cell phone, would you think that this would be a difficult task, cumbersome or confusing?

a. Yes. 3 - 7.50%
b. No 37 - 92.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.93
Standard Deviation - 0.27
Variance - 0.07
Mean Percentile - 53.75%

What is the longest period of time in hours within the last 10 years that you have driven a vehicle on a long trip without stopping for an extended period of time such as to sleep or visit friends for more than 3 hours?

a. Less than 4 hours 6 - 15.00%
b. From 4 to 6 hours 9 - 22.50%
c. From 6 to 8 hours 3 - 7.50%
d. Over 8 hours 22 - 55.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 3.03
Standard Deviation - 1.19
Variance - 1.41
Mean Percentile - 49.38%

How many times in the last 10 years have you taken a trip that lasted more than 4 hours to get to your destination without stopping for an extended period of time of three hours or more?

a. Zero 4 - 10.00%
b. Once 3 - 7.50%
c. Twice 2 - 5.00%
d. Three times 3 - 7.50%
e. Four or more times 28 - 70.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 4.20
Standard Deviation - 1.40
Variance - 1.96
Mean Percentile - 36.00%

How many times in the last 10 years have you been on a trip with your vehicle away from any electrical source such as in the wilderness for more than one night?

a. Zero 22 - 55.00%
b. Once 1 - 2.50%
c. Twice 3 - 7.50%
d. Three times 3 - 7.50%
e. Four or more times 11 - 27.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 2.50
Standard Deviation - 1.80
Variance - 3.23
Mean Percentile - 70.00%

On a long trip how difficult do you think it would be to find a standard electrical outlet for over night charging?

a. Easy 2 - 5.00%
b. Somewhat Easy 6 - 15.00%
c. Neutral 11 - 27.50%
d. Somewhat Difficult 14 - 35.00%
e. Difficult 7 - 17.50%

Total - 40
Mean - 3.45
Standard Deviation - 1.11
Variance - 1.23
Mean Percentile - 51.00%

How many hours do you think your car is exposed to the sun on a typical day? Not just sitting still in the sun but moving around in the sun as well.

a. 0 up to 3 hours. 3 - 7.69%
b. 3 up to 6 hours. 8 - 20.51%
c. 6 up to 9 hours. 14 - 35.90%
d. More than 9 hours 14 - 35.90%

Total - 39
Mean - 3.00
Standard Deviation - 0.95
Variance - 0.89
Mean Percentile - 50.00%

Indicate which alternative fuel vehicles that you have heard of below.

- Hybrids, Gasoline and Electric (Toyota Prius,Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid). - 37 - 92.50%
- Electric Vehicles, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), such as the GEM, Battery Electric Vehicles (BAV) such as GM's EV-1, Conversions, gasoline or diesel powered vehicles converted to run on electricity. - 22 - 55.00%
- Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) - 27 - 67.50%
- Alternative Liquid Fuel Vehicles, Methanol, Ethanol, Alcohol & others. - 24 - 60.00%
- Fuel Cell, Hydrogen, Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) - 21 - 52.50%
- Hydrogen ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). - 11 - 27.50%
- Steam Powered Vehicles. - 17 - 42.50%
- Compressed Air Powered Vehicles. - 8 - 20.00%
- Flywheel Powered Vehicles. - 8 - 20.00%
- Other. - 4 - 10.00%

Total - 179
Mean - 4.04
Standard Deviation - 2.53
Variance - 6.39
Mean Percentile - 69.55%

If there was a vehicle that worked like your vehicle, your truck, car or mini van, and:
- was highly reliable, probably never breaking down during ownership.
- did not require conscious refueling most of the time needed minimal maintenance.
- did not need oil changes, antifreeze, sparkplugs and emission inspections.
- costs far less per mile than your conventional car does for fuel.
- makes virtually no noise pollutes not at all or far less than a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle can be driven on long trips, but might need to be plugged into an electrical source for very long trips away from home and was guaranteed to run for at least 100,000 miles and could last as much as 150,000 miles before dealing with any major mechanical failures or needing the batteries to be replaced. Would you find this car to be __________ to the car you have now?

a. Superior 20 - 50.00%
b. Somewhat Superior 12 - 30.00%
c. Neutral 8 - 20.00%
d. Somewhat Inferior 0 - 0.00%
e. Inferior 0 - 0.00%

Total - 40
Mean - 1.70
Standard Deviation - 0.79
Variance - 0.63
Mean Percentile - 86.00%

Vehicle Timeline

1769 - Nicholas Joseph Cugnot and M Brezin - First vehicle to move under its own power
1839 - Robert Anderson of Aberdeen Scotland - Built the first electric vehicle
1847 - Moses Farmer - Built a two-passenger electric car
1860 - Etienne Lenoir, France - Patented the first practical gas engine
1860 - Etienne Lenoir - Internal-combustion engine powered by coal gas
1862 - Alphonse Bear de Rochas - Four cycle engine & electric spark ignition
1864 - Siegfried Marcus, Austrian - Engine w/ carburetor & magneto to create successive explosions
1870 - Sir David Salomon - 1st rechargeable electric car with light electric motor & very heavy batteries
1871 - Dr J W Carhart & J I Case Company - Built a working steam car in Wisconsin
1880 - Emile Alphonse Faure - First practical rechargeable battery, paste of lead powder and sulfuric acid
1881 - Gustave Trouvé - Used rechargeable batteries to power a working electric tricycle
1885 - Henry Morris and Pedro Salom - Enter Electrobat II in race by Chicago Times-Herald
1886 - England - 1st electric-powered taxicab service
1888 - Magnus Volk in Brighton, England - Made a three-wheeled electric car
1888 - Immisch & Company - 4-passenger electric carriage 1hp & 24-cell battery for Turkey
1890 - William Morrison - Electric vehicle in Des Moines that could travel for 13 hours at 14 mph
1891 - Steinway - Owns Daimler Motor Company in the US producing petrol engines
1893 - Charles and Frank Duryea - The first gasoline powered car in America
1896 - Andrew Riker Company - Begins building electric vehicles
1897 - London Electric Cab Company - Began first regular service using cars designed by Walter Bersey
1897 - Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford - Built around 500 electric cars over a two-year period
1898 - Dr Ferdinand Porsche, German - At age 23, built his first car, the Lohner Electric Chaise
1898 - Electric Carriage and Wagon Company - Begins regular cab service with fleet of twelve electric cabs
1899 - United States - Electric vehicles outsold all other type of cars
1899 - Electric Vehicle Company - Pope Manufacturing Company merged w/ 2 other electric car companies
1899 - Camille Jenatzy - Electric car attains fastest land speed on record of sixty six miles per hour
1900 - United States - Electric vehicles outsell all other type of cars again
1900 - BGS Company - Distance record electric car driven 180 miles on single charge
1903 - Krieger - First production electric-gasoline hybrid car
1904 - Electric Vehicle Company - Built 2000 electric taxicabs, trucks, and buses
1904 - Henry Ford - Began assembly-line like production of low-priced, gas-powered cars
1904 - Henry Ford - Overcomes main problems of gasoline cars, noise, vibration, & odor
1906 - Stanley Steamer - "The Flying Teapot" record 127 6 mph Ormond Beach, FL
1910 - Commercial of Philadelphia - Built a hybrid truck w/ gas engine to power a generator
1910 - Detroit Electric - Best known and longest-lived electric car manufacturer in U S
1912 - Electric cars - 35,000 were operating on American roads
1912 - Charles Kettering - Invented the electric starter for gasoline cars
1959 - Dr Harry Karl Ihrig - Creates the modern day fuel cell & demonstrates it in a tractor
1959 - Francis Bacon - 1st demonstrated a practical five-kilowatt fuel cell system
1960 - GM - Began work on their Electrovair, a converted Corvair
1960 - Ford - Began development of their sodium-sulfur battery
1967 - Walter Laski - Founds the Electric Auto Association
1972 - EAA - First Annual EAA EV rally
1973 - United States - The "energy crisis" and oil embargo renewed interest in electric vehicles
1974 - Vanguard-Sebring - CitiCar debut at Electric Vehicle Symposium in DC
1975 - Vanguard-Sebring - Is 6th largest auto maker in the US
1976 - United States - Congress passedElectric & Hybrid Vehicle Research & Development Act
1979 - Dave Arthurs of Springdale, Arkansas - Spent $1,500 converting Opel GT into a hybrid that gets 75 mpg
1985 - Switzerland - Inaugural Tour de Sol
1987 - Australia - World Solar Challenge started in Australia
1989 - NESEA (NE Sustainable Energy Assoc ) - NESEA American Tour de Sol races begin
1990 - California - Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate; requires 2% ZEVs by 1998, 10% by 2003
1990 - GM - Débuts production EV initially named, Impact; later re-named the EV-1
1990 - US Government - US government spent $194 million on all energy efficient research
1990 - GM - Impact, a concept car that stole the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show
1991 - US Advanced Battery Consortium - DOE program launched to produce "super" battery & make EVs viable
1993 - GM - Estimated 3 months to have 5,000 interested in the EV-1, took 1 week!
1995 - Renaissance Cars - Renaissance Cars, Inc begins production of the Tropica
1996 - EAA - EAA helps to hatch CALSTART incubator for EV research in Alameda, CA
1996 - GM - GM begins production of the EV-1 (formerly called the Impact)
1997 - Toyota - Unveiled Prius hybrid gas-electric vehicle at the Tokyo Auto Show
1997 - Toyota - Prius went on sale in Japan First-year sales were nearly 18,000
1998 - California - Legislation requires 2% of vehicles sold in state to be 'zero-emission'
1998 - Santa Barbara, California - Has one of the largest fleets of electric busses in the U S 14 in service
1999 - Honda - Insight, the first hybrid car to hit the mass market in the United States
2000 - Toyota - Prius, the first hybrid four-door sedan available in the United States
2002 - Toyota - RAV4-EV retail sales begin; their 2-year supply sold out in 8 months
2002 - Honda - Civic Hybrid, its second commercially available hybrid gasoline-electric car
2002 - Toyota - Announces plan to convert entire line to Hybrids by 2012
2003 - California - ZEV Mandate weakened ZEV credits 4-non-ZEV 250 fuel-cells by 2009
2003 - Toyota - Stops production of the RAV4-EV
2003 - Honda - Stops lease renewals of the EV-Plus
2003 - GM - Stops lease renewals of the EV-1
2003 - AC Propulsion - tZero gets Michelin Challenge highest grade/300mi./0-60-3.6 sec./100 mph
2004 - Toyota - Prius II wins 2004 Car of the Year Awards from Motor Trend Magazine
2004 - Toyota - Pumps up its Prius II production from 36,000 to 47,000 for the U S Market
2004 - Ford - Announce the release of hybrid sport utility vehicles for late 2004
2004 - Lexus - Announce the release of hybrid sport utility vehicles for late 2004

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