Ford Hoping to Put a Spark in the Clean Car Initiative

If you build them, they will need a place to re-charge. The race is on to build a car that will satisfy the environmentally-conscious and be family-friendly at the same time. Ford, ever on the forefront of car manufacturing, built its own version of the electric car. Now all the company has to do is figure out where to plug them in. It seems some very brainy person at Ford forgot to plan where the little roadsters are going to get more power from when they are out on the road or in otherwise less-than-ideal locations for charging the cars’ batteries. Homeowners with garages and exterior electrical outlets might not be in quite the quandary as those who live in apartments. What about when people take trips away from home? Hence, Ford has to find charging stations. Or build them.

The cars are assembled, now they just need places to recharge. Someone has to pay for charging stations to be constructed. Thus there is a familiar paradox that often plagues the world of business and impedes progress. Someone has to put up the capital for the charging stations to be built, so consumers will feel secure purchasing an electric car knowing there will be readily accessible places where they can plug their cars in. However, no one wants to invest if they are not assured of a solvent return. Now is when we need some Bruce Wayne of the financial world to swoop in and save the day. Well, T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffet don’t exactly bring to mind Bruce Wayne, but they could probably afford to invest in something like electric car charging stations. Would it be worth it to them, though? Would there be cogent remuneration to justify their investments, or would some crazy event like, say, an oil strike in South America have Americans looking to the jungle to see if any relief from interminably high gas prices was forthcoming?

The numerical figures from sales of electric cars will reveal a predilection of the importance of the environment in the minds of the average United States consumer compared to the importance of their pocket book. There will undoubtedly be a time when all cars are electric or operated by some other means than the burning of fossil fuels. It seems people are too nervous to spend the money for a environmentally-friendly car in the current economic climate. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Rebecca Smith (08/06/2009), the federal government has set aside stimulus money in the hopes of expanding and reinforcing the market for clean cars. A budget of $24 million has been set aside by the Department of Energy to promote manufacture of electric cars. That particular earmark does not, however, cover charging stations. It only covers batteries for electric cars.

GM is tooting its own horns about the mileage of its rolling acquiescence to the green movement. The Chevrolet Volt, which the company asserts will get well over 200 miles to the gallon, does use gas, but only as a secondary source of power. Its primary source of power is the battery. Not to be outdone in the race to be the greenest, Nissan throws its hat in with its all-electric showpiece purported to get more than 350 miles to the gallon.  Ford is guarding its hand for now, preferring to hold back any big claims until closer to the cars’ actual release dates, proposed sometime for 2011.

Ford is making efforts to make owning and maintaining a hybrid vehicle as easy as possible. According to Suzanne Ash of (08/18/2009), Ford’s new hybrid, the Escape, will be implemented with high tech components to communicate through the country’s electrical infrastructure to the vehicle, and thus the driver. The information would instruct the driver when to stop to let the car re-energize, the duration of recharging and the proper utility rate. Ironically, the cars are being delivered to electric companies, not car dealerships.

For information about technology and electric cars, you can visit Trina L. Grant’s website. For more samples of her writing, visit her blog, Destination Freelance.

Image courtesy sxc/plejeor

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