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					                                                                                                                                 ISSN 1946-1011



                               The Hybrid Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Report
                                              March 30, 2011
This report is a summary of articles appearing in popular, business, and technical media referring to the impact of fuel costs and fuel
efficiency on vehicle technology, development, and markets. At the end of the report is a list of all articles summarized, with
hyperlinks to internet sources where available. Some hyperlinks may require free registration or paid subscriptions to access. The
Hybrid Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Report (ISSN: 1946-1011) is compiled by Thomas L. R. Smith, Ph. D., Economic Analysis
Branch, Budget and Financial Analysis Office, Washington State Department of Transportation. Contact the editor at
smithtm@wsdot.wa.gov or (360) 705-7941. Contributions of articles and positive comments about The Report are welcome.


                                                                  TABLE OF CONTENTS

HYBRID VEHICLES ..................................................................................................................................................... 1
ALTERNATIVE FUELS ............................................................................................................................................... 2
ELECTRIC VEHICLES ................................................................................................................................................ 2
OTHER TECHNOLOGY .............................................................................................................................................. 3
SUBSCRIBING TO THE HYBRID REPORT............................................................................................................. 3
ARTICLES REFERENCED.......................................................................................................................................... 4



          We’re having a birthday: This edition marks our sixth year of bringing you summaries
of news stories and technical reports about trends in the world of hybrid, electric, and alternative
fuel vehicles. The first edition of The Hybrid Report appeared on April 1st of 2005. Since that
first edition we added an edition on the 15th of each month and slowly moved the publication date
of the other edition to the last day of each month (more or less) to avoid the perception that we
were an April Fools’ joke. Because of that, we celebrate The Report’s anniversary with the
March 30th edition. Originally circulated to four or five co-workers in the Washington State
Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to answer questions about the impact of hybrid vehicles
on the State’s revenue stream, The Hybrid Report’s circulation and subject matter have grown;
The Report now goes to over 300 people each month. In the beginning, The Report’s subscribers
were all WSDOT employees, but the publication now goes to the electronic inboxes of readers in
local government, business and environmental organizations, and private citizens. Readership is
no longer restricted to Washington State, either. Our subscription list includes readers in federal
agencies, other state DOTs, and educational institutions around the country. We have at least two
subscribers in Italy. We are also registered with the Library of Congress and at least one
automaker lists us as “accredited media.” And, yes, we have a Press card.

HYBRID VEHICLES

         The big news in hybrid vehicles is the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March
11. While most Japanese automotive plants were undamaged by the events, suppliers for Toyota,
Honda, and Nissan were affected, which led those companies to shut down plants. Additionally,
rolling blackouts and transportation problems make moving parts to assembly lines difficult. An
Automotive News (Greimel, March 14, 2011) report says that in the first three days after the
quake, Toyota lost 40,000 vehicles worth of production. Currently, all of Toyota’s hybrids are
made in Japan. U. S. production of Japanese cars could also be impacted when Japanese made
parts run low. The quake has affected U. S. and European manufacturers as well (Automotive
News Europe, March 18, 2011). Even though over 80% of Honda’s North American sales are
supplied by cars made in Honda’s U. S. plants, all of Honda’s Civic Hybrids are made in Japan,
Associated Press reports in NPR (March 19, 2011). Furthermore, Honda is not taking orders for
cars built in Japan with a May delivery date. General Motors shut down a pickup assembly line
in Shreveport, LA and stopped engine production in New York because of the lack of parts made


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March 30, 2011                                                                               2


in Japan, The Washington Post (Whoriskey, March 22, 2011) added. The Post also mentions that
the quake-induced shortage has increased the price of a Prius by $1,800. Meanwhile, the Wall
Street Journal’s car guy, Jonathan Welsh (March 23, 2011) says that Toyota has delayed the roll
out of the new Prius wagon, which was supposed to go on sale in Japan in April. It is not known,
Mr. Welsh says, how the quake delay will affect the wagons rolling out in the U. S. Toyota
reopened all of its hybrid plants on March 28, Green Bay’s WFRV-TV reported, while
Automotive News Europe reports that while the Toyota Prius, Lexus HS250h, and Lexus CT 200h
are back in production, the rest of Toyota’s cars will go back into production until April 14
(Greimel, March 30, 2011).

        Being a Government publication, it is considered bad form to solicit gifts, even for such
an auspicious occasion as our sixth birthday; however at the top of our wish list is Porsche’s new
918 Spyder hybrid. It’s a mere $845,000. Porsche will only make 918 of the 918 Spyder, so you
need to order one fast. We’d like a red one, please. Oh, the Boston Globe (March 22, 2011) says
the hybrid has a 500 horsepower V8 and goes from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS

        Sorry, looks like we’re out of alternative fuel.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

        Relating to the earthquake news above, Nissan managed to ship 600 electric Leafs the
day before the tsunami destroyed 2,300 Nissans awaiting shipment to the U. S., Environmental
Leader passes on. Environmental Leader also reported that no Leafs were destroyed in the
tsunami. Nissan is already behind in filling Leaf orders and the plant closures as a result of the
earthquake and tsunami are putting the company further behind.

          If you are out and about in your electric car and worried about running low on electrons,
Google Maps has come to the rescue, Geek.com (Brownlee, March 14, 2011) says. All you need
to do is go to Google Maps and type in “ev charging stations near _______” and fill in the blank
with your city. You’ll get a Google Map with stations marked and the owner and address of the
station listed. We tested this service against some smart phone apps and discovered that Google
Maps lists many sites not recorded by other charging station location providers. One smart phone
app says that the nearest charging station to our offices high atop the DOT building in Olympia,
WA is over 40 miles away, while Google shows five or six within extension cord distance.

         In dueling reports, the consulting firm Deloitte published a study that says the European
public is not quite ready to adopt electric vehicles, with only 16% of those polled saying they
were ready to plug-in, Green Car Congress says (March 10, 2011). Another 53% said they
would consider electric vehicles and the remainder nixed the idea all together. Almost all of the
respondents said finding a charging station, charging cost, and range were important to their
electric car decision. Many also said that they would only consider electric cars if they cost the
same as a regular car. Meanwhile, McKinsey & Company tells me in their Automotive and
Assembly Extranet newsletter, that their research shows that electric vehicle adoption will happen
sooner than most people think and that adoption will occur in cities, first (you think?).
The Hybrid Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Report                                                               ISSN 1946-1011
March 30, 2011                                                                                                            3


Unfortunately, I was unable to actually read either report. The Green Car Congress link takes
one on a never ending tour of press releases and the McKinsey email has a link that takes the
reader to a website that requires a paid subscription.

         Electric vehicle naysayers complain that a drawback to electric cars is disposing of the
used batteries. AltTransport’s Ami Cholia says that Ford has a solution. Once electric vehicle
batteries have exhausted their usefulness in electric cars, they still have quite a bit of capacity;
enough that Ford has installed a system that uses the spent batteries to store solar power at a plant
in Mexico. Ford is testing a similar system at its Michigan Assembly Plant.

         Another issue with widespread electric vehicle adoptions is that there is not an “industry
standard” for electric vehicle charging stations. As a result, you can’t recharge your Tesla
roadster at the same place your (poorer) neighbors charge their Volts. The American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) is working on fixing that. ANSI convened a meeting on March 4,
2011with a number of industry organizations, government bodies, utilities, and manufacturers to
set up a steering committee to develop standards.

         Research in Vermont shows that penetration of electric vehicles coupled with carbon cap
and trade will drive up electricity demand and costs in New England (Dowds, Hines, Farmer, &
Watts, February 4, 2011). The Transportation Research Board report provided by WSDOT’s
Karin Landsberg (DOT’s Climate Change Technical Program Lead) says, if I read the charts
right, that a 1% penetration rate of electric vehicles will drive up the cost of New England
electricity by less than half a percent, but a 10% penetration would drive up costs by about 3%.

OTHER TECHNOLOGY

           Dale Tabat, Washington State Department of Transportation’s Truck Freight Programs
and Policy Manager sent us news about the new engine that will go into Navistar Inc.’s trucks
that is lighter, smaller, and more efficient than current truck engines. The design of the diesel
engine is radical although it’s based on old aircraft engine design. The pistons are not “inline” or
V-shaped, but oppose each other. The engine weighs 30% less than a standard engine, is one
fourth the size, and gets 50% better mileage. The Navistar engine is being built by a company
called EcoMotors. You can see some great graphics and videos about the unusual design at
EcoMotor’s website.

SUBSCRIBING TO THE HYBRID REPORT. The Hybrid Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Report (ISSN: 1946-1011) is published
in Olympia, Washington on or about the 15th and 30th of each month, unless it’s published some other time. It is available on the
WSDOT website by clicking this link. From there, you can download the current report in a PDF, look at back issues, or subscribe to a
notification service that lets you know when the next report is available. You may also click this link to subscribe or contact the editor
at smithtm@wsdot.wa.gov who can add you to the subscription list.
The Hybrid Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Report                                                             ISSN 1946-1011
March 30, 2011                                                                                                          4


The fine print: The Hybrid Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Report (ISSN: 1946-1011) is not responsible for hyperlinks that do not
work or are inactive. All links worked when created, however, many news outlets archive or move reports soon after publication, so
it’s not my problem that you can’t get to the cited article. The appearance of articles, products, opinions, humor (such as it is), and
links in this summary does not constitute an endorsement of the same by the Washington State Department of Transportation
(WSDOT). Photos and other artwork in The Report are included with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or
distribution of copyrighted material is not authorized without permission of the original copyright holder. Merely acknowledging the
source is not sufficient and does not excuse reproducing copyrighted material without permission. It’s not that hard to ask and get
permission. So there. In the interest of full disclosure, we must report that the editor of The Hybrid Report owns a 2005 Toyota Prius,
while Mrs. Hybrid Report Editor owns a Lexus HS 250h hybrid.


ARTICLES REFERENCED

American National Standards Institute. 2011, March 9. ANSI to Facilitate Development of
       Standardization Roadmap for Safe, Mass Deployment of Electric Vehicles in the United
       States. ThomasNet News. Retrieved: http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/ANSI-
       to-form-Electric-Vehicles-Standards-Panel-593196

Associated Press. 2011, March 19. Honda Suspends May Orders From US Dealers. NPR.
       Retrieved: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134686877

Automotive News Europe. 2011, March 18. Opel, Renault production hit by shortage of Japanese
       parts. Retrieved:
       http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110318/ANE/110319884/1497

Brownlee, J. 2011, March 14. Google Maps adds locations of electric vehicle charging stations.
       Geek.com. Retrieved: http://www.geek.com/articles/news/google-maps-adds-locations-
       of-electric-vehicle-charging-stations-20110314/

Boston Globe. 2011, March 22. $845,000 hybrid Spyder on its way. Retrieved:
       http://www.boston.com/cars/news/articles/2011/03/22/845000_hybrid_spyder_on_its_wa
       y/

Cholia, A. 2011, March 16. Ford’s Old Electric Vehicle Batteries Will Power Its Assembly
        Plant. AltTransport. Retrieved: http://alttransport.com/2011/03/fords-old-electric-
        vehicle-batteries-will-power-its-assembly-plant/#

Dowds, J., Hines, P., Farmer, C., and Watts, R. 2011, February 4. Estimating the Impact of
       Charging on Electricity on Electricity Costs Given Electricity-Sector Carbon Cap.
       Journal of the Transportation Research Board, vol 2191/2010, pp. 43-49. Available:
       http://trb.metapress.com/content/j28336176q41026h/

EcoMotors International. 2011. Why is Power Density the holy grail? Retrieved:
      http://ecomotors.com/

Environmental Leader. 2011, March 16. Japan Quake and Nuclear Crisis Could Push Up
       Emissions, Delay Electric Vehicles. Retrieved:
       http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/03/16/japan-quake-and-nuclear-crisis-could-
       push-up-emissions-delay-electric-vehicles/
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March 30, 2011                                                                            5



Green Car Congress. 2011, March 10. Deloitte study concludes mass adoption of EVs in
       Europe is some distance away. Retrieved:
       http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/03/deloitte-20110310.html

Greimel, H. 2011, March 14. Japan automakers extend shutdowns amid parts shortages as quake
       impact widens. Automotive News. Retrieved:
       http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110314/OEM01/110319954/148
       9

Greimel, H. 2011, March 30. Japan production shutdowns, slowdowns to go well into April.
       Automotive News Europe. Retrieved:
       http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110330/COPY/303309908/1495

Welsh, J. 2011, March 23. Shortages Halt Prius Wagon Launch In Japan. The Wall Street
        Journal. Retrieved: http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2011/03/23/shortages-halt-prius-
        wagon-launch-in-japan/

WFRV-TV. 2011, March 28. Toyort resumes production operations in Japan. Retrieved:
     http://www.wfrv.com/news/local/Toyota-resumes-production-in-Japan-118787769.html

Whoriskey, P. 2011, March 22. After quake, uncertainty about Priuses, silicon chips and other
       Japanese exports. The Washington Post. Retrieved:
       http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/after_quake_uncertainty_about_prius
       es_silicon_chips_and_other_japanese_exports/2011/03/22/AB7OwEFB_story.html

                                           That is all.

				
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