Bob-Lutz Bush Business Cars Economics Environment Ford gas-mileage green hybrids Innovation patriotism Politics Post Science

Environmentally Friendly Cars, Hummer O2

I am sure that most people out there don't really care if their car puts out a lot of carbon dioxide or whatever other bad gasses and liquids that leak from their choice mode of transit. I am sure, though, that most people care if they are getting really good gas mileage. Or if they don't care about the mileage, yes I am talking to you Hummer and other SUV owners out there (and don't tell me it's for car pooling! I never seen more than two people in a SUV ever), they do care about saving money. Which buying gas less often can do for you. Recently I have seen what GM has been experimenting with in the saving the world with better designed cars venture. I know that it will not acutally become a real car but the concept is really interesting. It's refreshing to see that car companies still know how to be creative, and it touches my tree-hugging hippie heart that they still care about the environment. Or, at least they noticed the sales of hybrid cars and decided they needed something fresh and innovative. Let's think about what could be cooler than a hybrid car. Something eyecatching and easy to remember. Something special. Something kinda rediculous and not manly at all. So, what am I talking about, you wonder? None other than the Hummer O2. Pretty clever, eh? Here's a picture:hummero2.png This is a car that is run by algae. And other stuff like hydrogen fuel cells. But look at the aglae. All that aglae is going to turn your louting and polluting CO2 into O2, perfectly breathable by animals and stuff. Probably people, too. The whole car is supposed to act as a leaf, with the algae consuming the byproducts of the motor (the carbon dioxide) and turning it into oxygen, just like a leaf would do in nature. This car would be doing it all the time, even when the car was not running. GM is incoperating a lot of different little car tricks into this vehicle as well showing that they have studied the industry: the hybrid breaking mehcanism for reclaiming energy in the tires, hydrogen fuel cell for the power source, the ugliness of a Hummer, ect. So, it's ugly and probably not going to be voted 2008s cutest car. But, it's the idea that counts. I mean, it's smart to use a reuseable resourse for our fuel, right? Right. I know, I hear the outraged cries of all of the enslaved algae but I think there will be benefits for them as well. I just don't know what yet. I mean, they would be getting all of the sunlight any chlorophyll owning specimen could ever ask for. It's an all you can eat sunlight buffet. Of sun-shiny goodness. Unless you live in Ohio. Then it's a lot of cloudy days. So, live in Florida and this is the ugly little car for you. And I hope you like green because there aren't going to be a lot of customized colors on this one. Maybe blueish (blue green algae) or reddish brown (red tide or dinoflagellates) if they can figure it out. On the website there is also a pretty colored schematic of how exactly they think this car will work. The man driving the car is sitting directly inside the hydrogen fuel cell as far as I can tell. And it looks like he has a tree growing out of his head, possibly a result from sitting inside the hydrogen fuel cell. hummero221.png But look at all the sunlight. I told you it would be a buffet.

Economic patriotism

I've never been one to wave the flag. Yes, maybe I take living in the United States for granted sometimes, but if you play the cards you're dealt, you don't whine when you get a couple aces. But reading Daniel Howes's article in the Detroit News today about Washington's attitude toward Detroit's number one industry has me thinking about some recent comments by Bob Lutz, GM's main product man and a longtime employee of the global auto industry. Lutz - born in Switzerland, I might add - gave a rousing speech defending the concept of "economic patriotism" and noting that we as Americans simply suck at it. Who more exemplifies how economically unpatriotic we are as Americans than big man George Bush himself, who, as Howes mentioned,
won't meet with the bosses of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group. But he'll sit astride a Harley, visit a Nissan truck plant, herald the Toyota engine that won the Indy 500, campaign for Republicans and then have his press secretary swear there's no snub of Detroit.
Sure, he drives a big 'ol pickup at his ranch in Texas and Cadillac builds his limos, but those press opps mean nothing when he won't say carburetor to Rick Wagoner, Tom LaSorda and Bill Ford. Should GM, Ford and the Chrysler part of DaimlerChrysler receive some sort of relief package along the lines of the bailout Chrysler got in 1979? Considering the current government's track record with the airline bailouts, probably not a good idea. But that does raise a good question: Why were we quick to hand checks and concessions over to the airlines ("You wanna legally probe passengers? Well, okay!"), but any specter of doing the same for the automotive industry immediately meets boos and hisses? And yes, the domestics got in over their heads with pensions and with concessions to the unions. They've got to figure a way out of that hole. When GM appoints one of its top honchos specifically to deal with the issue, you know 1) it big problem, and 2) they takin it seriously. And yes, it has become difficult to discern domestic from foreign lately, with Nissan building cars in Tennessee, BMW building in South Carolina and GM and Chrysler building in Canada. I grew up in Central Ohio, where Honda's Marysville plant drew workers from an hour and a half away and suppliers employed thousands. The real factors underneath this problem, though, lie in Americans' perception of its own automotive industry. We now give it the short-shrift, look on it with the same despicable frowns as we gave the imports 25 years ago, and blame poor sales on poor quality, irrelevant products and that hangnail you got on the test drive. But keep in mind that Toyota's currently going through a million-car recall, the Ford F-series pickups have outsold even the VW Beetle over each respective lifespan and initial quality studies mean crap outside of the dealer's lot. Am I here to tell you which cars to buy? No. Am I here to tell you something more than your immediate satisfaction hangs on the line? Yes. Now you tell me why you bought your car.