2009 Cleantech Automotive: Volume 1: Pre-Detroit Auto Show

by David Heyerman on January 11, 2009

dodge circuit

  • With CES last week, and the Detroit Auto Show to come, the tech scene, especially the cleantech scene has been bubbling with news, whether it be positive or negative.  There’s been a lot of talk about energy infrastructure investment to come in 2009, and one sector sure to benefit from this investment is cleantech automotive.  The economy should benefit tremendously as near 280,000 jobs could be created with the deployment of a smart grid in 2009.
  • Toyota – Because of a snag in the battery pack, Toyota will be pulling their plug-in Prius from the Detroit Auto Show next week.  DIY’s need not worry, there are plenty of kits out there.  With production slowing down seriously, the company has also begun lowering salaries of its Japanese employees.
  • Aptera – Like previously mentioned, Aptera’s promised end-of-2008 delivery date didn’t happen but turns out it’s way worse than expected.  We’re not talking a couple months delay here, an official letter from the Google.org backed company explains that volume production won’t come until October 2009.  Great job, as Fambro and Musk high-five!
  • Mazda – This might be the most impressive green car development yet in 2009.  Currently catalytic converters are very expensive due to the amount of precious metals (platinum, rhodium) used in their production, however are incredibly important because of their emission reductions. The company just developed a new manufacturing process for catalytic converters that will cut the amount of precious metals by 70% in their 2010 Mazda3.  Hats off Mazda, maybe you won’t live the rest of your life in Japanese car manufacturer mediocrity.
  • Nissan – Straight off an electric network partnership with Switzerland, Nissan’s back at again, this time with a battery announcement.  Nissan and NEC plan to invest $1.1 Billion into a the production of 200,000 high-capacity electric vehicle batteries.  Only problem, the investment will be made by 2011 or later.
  • Dodge – Pictured above is the new Dodge EV to be name the Circuit.  The electric car is to be unveiled next week at the Detroit Auto Show.
  • Ener1 – Lithium-ion vehicle battery producer Ener1 is looking for some government cash as they apply for $480 million in low-interest loans from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program (ATVMIP).  Tesla is asking for $400 million from the same program.
  • Stay tuned for updates as the announcements roll in from Detroit.  Already we’ve seen leaks from Chrysler with their new 200C extended-range EV, Toyota with their full electric FT-EV, and Ford promising a pure electric by 2011.

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