Australian commentator Christian Kerr wants to know what happened to the ECOmmodore, a "dinky-di Aussie hybrid" unveiled by Holden and CSIRO about seven years ago. His interest was spurred by Australian officials announcing a "Green Car Innovation Fund" designed to generate up to $2 billion to invest in manufacturing low-emissions vehicles in Australia.

Kerr discovered that the ECOmmodore is housed in a museum because it was never intended to be the forerunner of a production vehicle. It was a marketing tool built around the Olympics. One of the car's builders told Kerr that at the time there wasn't much interest in fuel economy, and knowing the losses the vehicle would generate, those in charge scuttled the project.

The ECOmmodore had a 4-cylinder engine backed up an electric motor running off advanced lead-acid batteries and supercapacitors.

The question for Australian officials is how to promote hybrid production in the country. Do they import the powertrain or develop an assembly line of their own?

[Source: Christian Kerr / Crikey]

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