By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
— After a lengthy investigation and prosecution, the state of California settled with NRG Energy and its subsidiary Dynegy for $120 million in a matter related to installing public charging stations for pluggable EVs. Under the agreement, twenty mil was to be paid to the state, and the agreement required the company to spend most of the rest to install “Freedom Stations” as part of the Electric Highway program.
That didn’t sit well with Ecotality, a competitor for the charging station contracts. The company has now filed a lawsuit charging that the settlement makes NRG “the default provider of charging stations” and that the company is “being punished” to use its own products.
— Got an ’01-05 Honda Civic that’s a little tired? Send your car and $24,000 to the ChargeCar project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa and they’ll send you back an electric car. The conversion is complete with everything needed, including an updated dash display. They say the electro-Civic is good for about 40 miles of range under the usual “normal conditions.”
— The headline said “California cuts hydrogen fuel funds,” but that’s not all of the story. The
California Energy Commission decided to re-examine nearly $30 million in grants, most of which would go to two private companies who were to build hydrogen refueling stations in the state.
Air Products and Linde Group were the prime players selected by the California Fuel Cell Partnership, an industry development group including Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, VW and Toyota. All of the OEMs are working on hydrogen fueled vehicles.
The state is evaluating whether the two suppliers were a little too cozy with each other and whether any collusion occurred.
— Toyota’s Prius in all its guises — including the recent C, V, and Plug-in models — has become the best selling car in Japan, and according to some stats, the third most popular car in the world. U.S sales numbers are respectable, up 42% for the first three months of this year compared to last, and continue to grow.
And yet, while Booz & Co’s “U.S. Automotive Industry Survey and Confidence Index” predicts that alternative powertrains may carve out 10% of the market in the next eight years, few believe it can happen without government support through tax incentives or rebates. Additionally, many said the higher initial costs of such vehicles was a stumbling block to general acceptance.
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