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Is a gas car better than a coal car?

There has been a bit of discussion that a plug in hybrid car is really a coal car.  I believe that this true statement is meant to actually scare consumers from buying or hoping to buy an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid.

Let’s do a bit of napkin math and assume that energy transmission losses (and other losses) are negligible or at least cancel each other out.

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Gore Delivers Remarks on Energy and the Climate

Washington Post – July 17, 2008

Mr. Al Gore recently gave a speech in Washington DC regarding energy.  While many in the blogosphere will call Mr. Gore “Pope Gore” and refer to environmentalists as a religion, in this case, I don’t think that Mr. Gore makes many of the outlandish comments which I have chastised him about. Most of his comments are regarding energy independence, the status of the technology of alternative fuels, and the balance of power.

He does make a few global warming references which are a little hard to defend. He implies that the fires in California are caused by manmade global warming – this is probably not true since California has been enjoying an unusually wet climate for several decades and it appears that this current drought is simply going back to status quo.

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Toyota Will Offer a Plug-In Hybrid by 2010

The New York Times – January 14, 2008

Toyota is not going to be out-done by GM.  Yesterday, I discussed that GM is spending a lot of effort and money to develop alternative fuels and alternative propulsion options. This article shows that Toyota is not going to stand still in that important competitive battle.

Toyota will offer the first plug-in hybrid in 2010. Plug-in hybrids are important because it is far more efficient to produce electricity at an industrial power utility plant than it is to burn gasoline in your car in the form of a “traditional” hybrid vehicle.

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GM to launch Volt by end-2010 despite skepticism

Reuters – November 21, 2007

Bob Lutz from GM has re-confirmed that GM is still planning on introducing the Chevy Volt in 2010 even though there are some concerns about that timeline.

Typically when this level of concern happens, there are some trade-offs that are put out and the product doesn’t live up to expectations. I hope that is not the “hidden” message that Lutz is actually trying to deliver in this interview.

Mr. Lutz does speak with some sense of urgency and perhaps doom so maybe this really will hit the consumer market on time and, hopefully, will be a raving success.

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Electric Car Maker Aims For the Top With Sports Car

Wall Street Journal – October 15, 2007

I think that electric cars make an immense amount of sense for the majority of Americans. Most of us do not travel more than 200 miles per day on a regular basis and most of our travel is done with one or maybe 2 people in the car. The problem is that the automotive companies have done a really bad job of selling electric cars.  They sell these vehicles like they are selling to hippies and professors so they are small, compact, and (frankly) ugly!

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