Auto Service World
News   October 8, 2008   by Auto Service World

Automakers will focus on green electric vehicles

Reuters is reporting automakers will find it is too expensive to keep investing in a wide range of clean car technologies and are expected to focus their efforts on bringing electric cars to the mass market, the head of Johnson Controls Inc’s hybrid car battery business.
“The automobile manufacturers are not going to be able to afford to keep investing in all these different technologies,” said Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Controls’ Power Solutions business.
Auto parts maker Johnson Controls is developing batteries for hybrid electric cars, including a next-generation lithium-ion battery for Daimler AG’s Mercedes S-class mild hybrid luxury sedan due out in 2009. A mild hybrid can’t drive on its electric motor alone.
Automakers have been pursuing a wide range of technologies that would reduce the need for cars to consume increasingly costly gasoline, including boosting engine efficiency, using alternative fuels such as ethanol and testing cars that run on electricity or hydrogen fuel cells.
“You see the long-term R&D effort focused on the electric car. That’s where the real strategic efforts are,” Molinaroli said. “People talk about fuel cells, but I don’t really see the kind of energy and effort around that that I see around the electric power train.”
Hybrid electric cars such as Toyota Motor Corp’s Prius are already popular with consumers hard-hit by soaring pump prices and concerned about emissions of greenhouse gases.
In the near term, however, Molinaroli said financial turmoil would impact consumer demand for all kinds of vehicles — no matter how fuel efficient.
“If you are a consumer and you are going to buy a vehicle — hybrid or non-hybrid — you are going to delay your purchase,” Molinaroli said.

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