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					American hybrid carmakers: racing against time

In the 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy collaborated with GM, Ford,
Chrysler, to challenge the dominance of their Japanese and European
counterparts in the development of hybrid cars. Millions of dollars were
put into the huge project of developing American hybrid cars.

Ten years after, Ford came up with one model entry into the market,
competing against six Japanese hybrid cars. Ford started selling the
Escape SUV Hybrid in September of 2004. The other two American hybrid
cars manufacturers are having a hard time in delivering their hybrids to
the consumer public.

Whatever happened to the big American hybrid dream cars can be anybody’s
guess.

Below is a short update on the status of American hybrid car
manufacturers.

Ford

The public release of the Ford Escape Hybrid was finally materialized in
September 2004. The original schedule however, was in 2003. The Ford’s
answer to the call for American hybrid cars is a fully hybrid electric
vehicle, able to run on its gasoline or its electric motor, or both. This
is to meet the requirements set by driver demand to optimize performance
and limit fuel consumption.

The Ford Escape was first ever among American hybrid cars. It produces
less than one pound of smog-forming pollutants for every 15,000 miles.
This is more significant when compared with all light trucks average of
105 pounds of smog-forming pollutants for every 15,000 miles. The average
for passenger cars, with the same number of miles, is 67 pounds.

At present, hybrids, particularly, American hybrid cars are the hottest
topic in the U.S. The populace is interested in finding out how hybrid
will benefit the environment. , including their small as well as their
own budget for fuel. And perhaps, the consumers are interested if the
hybrids would really consume small amount of fuel.

And Ford is clever enough to make the first American hybrid car as SUV.
For obvious reason, SUV is considered as very American, which help the
Ford hybrid to sell.

The Ford Hybrid has the looks and performance capabilities of a normal
car. This allows the American hybrid car to evade the “image-look”
problem of Honda’s earlier version of hybrid cars. The improved fuel
economy usage of the Ford Escape has also impressed American buyers.

To show its commitment to environment issue, has installed 10.4 acres-
wide purifying plants in its factory in Dearborn. The plants server as
insulators to the building, and is improving the water runoff. Ford is
also on its for producing Mercury Mariner Hybrid next year. A hybrid
smaller-sized sedan will follow, and a hydrogen-powered Ford Focus is
being developed.

Daimler-Chrysler

When Evan Boberg, an automotive engineer for Chrysler’s hybrid program
resigned over the presumed incompetence oof program officers in the early
1990s, many believed that the hybrid program of Chrysler is good as dead.
Last year however, Daimler-Chrysler has announced the release of its
first hybrid offering in the market, named as the Dodge Ram Contractor
Special. As modeled after other hybrid pickups, Dodge Ram will emphasize
utility, instead of fuel saving system. The hybrid however, failed to
meet the promised mass production, and available only to fleet owners.

In a separate interview by a German auto industry paper in 2004, Thomas
Weber, DaimlerChrysler board member, said that it will take five years to
come up with a Mercedes hybrid. So before the present decade ends, a new
Mercedes will take the road of major cities in the world.

General Motors

GM began offering American hybrid cars with Sierra and Silverado, for
fleet and commercial customers in May 2004. In October of the same year,
GM started offering the hybrid pickups to six states: Washington,
California, Nevada, Alaska, Florid, and Oregon. The limited offering was
based consumer demand for American hybrid cars in those States.

GM also produced 2,000 of their Silverado and Sierra hybrid trucks for
2005. For the year 2006, the availability of the hybrid pickup trucks has
been expanded to include the entire nationwide demand. Before the present
year ends, GM is contemplating a volume of 3,000 units.

Aside from a new hybrid vehicle Saturn VUE this year, GM is also offering
Chevrolet Malibu for next year, 2007. Next year, GM is also set to come
up with two-mode full hybrid. This project is being developed with
Daimler Chrysler and BMW. The resulting America hybrid car is expected to
have 25 percent more fuel economy than the popular SUVs, the Chevrolet
Tahoe, and the GMC Yukon.

				
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