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Editorial: Analyzing President Bush's short speech on electric cars and cellulosic ethanol

An earlier post here on ABG brought attention to the fact that President Bush viewed the Phoenix Motorcars SUT and a plug-in hybrid version of the Toyota Prius at request of the White House. We discussed the vehicles and why they were there, which was in an effort to promote alternative fuels and the technology required for their use to meet the goals outlined by the President in his State of the Union Speech. Now, we will analyze what the President said regarding the vehicles and the goals as set forth.

First, the President viewed a Toyota Prius which had been converted to plug-in capability. This was accomplished with the help of an extended battery pack with the necessary electronics and hardware to plug into an outlet. The presenter mentions that the vehicle returns about 45 mpg in hybrid mode and can run solely off electricity for about 40 miles. As pointed out in the video, 78 percent of the population could use this car for their commute running solely on electric power. President Bush said, "So, this is becoming a reality." The presenter answered, "It IS a reality, we drove this car here."

Please click through the break to continue reading this posting.

[Source: The White House]

The President then moved to the Phoenix SUT, a four door pickup truck. The presenter of this vehicle highlights the Altairnano lithium battery pack, which allows 130 miles of driving and is capable of charging through a 220-volt outlet or through an off-board charger in 10 minutes. The President asked if people are "out driving these things?" The answer was that they begin production in June, but there are currently seven of the vehicles on the road now as testing finishes.

President Bush then goes to speak to the reporters in attendance, and highlights the fact that he just met with some entrepreneurs who believe that "a market is developing for automobiles powered by high-tech batteries for people to be able to motor back and forth to work". I believe that they are correct, and as a matter of fact, the market exists already - people are just waiting for the vehicles to hit the market at a price point that they can afford. He then seemed to just finally recognize that scientists are creating "ethanols from produce other than corn. In other words, "I am talking with people on the leading-edge of change." He says next that he invited them to the White House to be sure that the goal of reducing our oil consumption by 20 percent over a ten-year period is a realistic goal - although being necessary, he wanted to be sure that it was possible. For national security purposes, for economic security purposes, and "to be good stewards of the environment."

He answered that question with an "Absolutely". He called upon Congress to fulfill his request for research dollars on the technology required. Also, he said that it is necessary for our "brightest scientists to understand that this is a national priority." He pointed to the plug-in Prius and the Phoenix SUT as proof that we will get there. He says that Americans should be optimistic about our future and what we will be driving - in "vehicles that do not have to look like golf-carts."

All right... now that the transcribing is over... let's discuss this. Is the President right? No mention was made of hydrogen (sigh of relief). So, are these the vehicles that will bring America into a new age of transportation, using alternatives other than gasoline? I answer, for my part, Yes... plus many more. I actually am leaning towards the Phoenix SUT as the replacement for my current truck, assuming that they are available for purchase by normal consumers by that time. I noticed at least one more person who left a comment on ABG the other day that he is on the waiting list for his SUT. Also, the Tesla Roadster has a long, long list of early adopters waiting to get theirs. I anxiously await the Tesla sedan, codenamed WhiteStar, to make it's debut. And, there are thousands of people waiting for a vehicle such as the Chevrolet Volt to come to market.

So, how about you? What are you waiting for personally? Do one of the current or very soon-to-be-released vehicles meet your needs? If not, what would it take for you to consider one? Please, discuss.

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