Ford Electric Car 2011
By John Addison (updated 3/11/10, original 10/26/09).
My test drive of the new Ford electric car for 2011 demonstrated that Ford is building electric cars that millions will want. The Ford Focus EV prototype provided a quiet and smooth drive for a prototype. One Ford engineer indicated that he was going beyond a 60-mile daily range in Michigan without nearing battery depletion.
The Focus EV looks and drives like the popular gasoline powered Ford Focus four-door sedan. It comfortably seated four adults, but good luck if you want three people in the back – it will help if the one in the middle is a child. This BEV will appeal to mainstream drivers that want a sedan that looks and drives like a regular car. Instead of ever visiting a gas station, they will charge in their home garage and/or at work.
This prototype was a converted Focus. It did not include the SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide display available in Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrids, nor did it include a navigation system with smart charge display user interface expected in the 2011 BEV. The final version is expected to have friendly yet sophisticated display options and some of Ford’s newly introduced telematics.
It drives with quicker acceleration than its gasoline cousin. The prototype, like the final version, had a Magna electric drive system. Unlike the final version of the Focus EV, the prototype had a Magna Steyr battery pack taking part of the trunk space. One Ford rep believed that the battery cells in the prototype were EnerDel lithium titanate. Ford will make its own packs for the 2011 commercial version using 23kWh LG Chem Compact Power lithium-ion tri-metal cells.
During my recent tour of a Johnson-Controls Saft (JCS) design and manufacturing plant, I was shown a lithium-ion 13 kWh battery with cylindrical cells for the 2012 Ford PHEV. No pricing has been announced for the Ford Focus EV. If it comes in at under $40,000 with a $7,500 tax credit, I would be interested in buying one. However, if Nissan or BYD beats Ford to the U.S. BEV market with better delivery and better price or lease rates, then they are likely to get my business over Ford.
In its drive for market share, volume, and improved profit margins, 2012 will be a big year for Ford when the company will have a common C-segment platform for a number of vehicles including the Focus, Focus C-Max, and Escape. As future gasoline price volatility causes shifts in consumer demand, Ford can quickly change its mix of what is manufactured on a common platform. For example if gasoline prices jump, Ford could increase production of vehicles with fuel efficient eco-boost and make less with conventional. Ford could also quickly increase production of electric cars.
The Focus EV will be made in America – Warren, Michigan. Ford is investing $550 million to transform its Michigan Assembly Plant into a lean, green and flexible manufacturing complex that will build Ford’s next-generation Focus global small car along with a new battery-electric version of the Focus for the North American market.
Clean Fleet Report predicts that in 2012, Ford will offer a new global Focus available with several drive systems: conventional engine, 2 liter eco-boost, electric vehicle, both hybrid and plug-in hybrid. By 2012, Ford may be using lithium-ion even for its hybrids. The vehicle will have better range because it will be lighter as Ford executes a strategy of removing 250 to 750 pounds per vehicle. Ford will be well on the way to a 35 percent fuel economy improvement over its 2005 fleet.
The new 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine will go on sale in the 2010 calendar year. It is the first EcoBoost engine to include Twin-Independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) and will deliver a 10 to 20 percent fuel economy improvement versus larger-displacement V-6 engines. By 2012, the company plans to produce 750,000 EcoBoost units annually in the U.S. and 1.3 million globally. By 2013, Ford will offer EcoBoost engines in 90 percent of its product lineup. 2010 Focus Homepage
I get questions (or rather lectures that start with a questions), “Why would someone pay more for an electric vehicle, when you can’t even cost justify a hybrid?” First, some people make money with hybrids over comparable non-hybrids. When I bought my 2002 Prius for $20,000, I paid about $4,000 more than for a non-hybrid with similar features. Over seven years, the car saved my wife and me over $5,000 in gasoline, and then I sold it about $4,000 more than a similar non-hybrid.
While I was test driving the Focus EV in San Francisco, I saw many taxis that were Ford Escape Hybrids, Toyota Priuses, Toyota Camry Hybrids, and even a Ford Fusion Hybrid Taxi. These taxis put on 90,000 miles per year. Hybrids make the owners money by saving a fortune in fuel. New York has over 2,000 Ford hybrids in its taxi fleet.
The fact is that hybrids make money for some owners and not for others. It depends on how the cars are used and how often. In the past 12 months of severe economic downturn, Ford has increased its hybrid sales 73 percent.
Early adopters will not shell out $40,000 for an EV to save money over a sedan for less than half that cost. For mass market success, auto makers and battery makers must drive cost down the learning curve over a few years. Competition is growing for battery electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid car leadership. By 2020, these vehicles could represent up to 25 percent of Ford’s production – that’s 2 million cars annually with electric drive systems and advanced battery packs.
Obama MIT Speech about Energy Innovation
By John Addison (10/23/09)
President Barack Obama called for a clean energy future in his speech today at MIT. America has long been the innovation global leader thanks to great universities and research institutions. He called on the students and researchers to help harness more energy from “the wind, the waves, and the sun.”
The Recovery Act, now law, represents the largest single boost in scientific research in history. The proposed Senate Climate Bill (Boxer-Kerry) with cap-and-trade provisions will accelerate clean transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and start grid innovation and jobs. If we have new climate and energy legislation, it will be easier for you to get an electric car and have it powered by renewable energy through a smart grid.
Powering more cars and public transportation with wind and solar energy, reduces our dependency on oil. The President referred to a Pentagon study that documented how our dependency on oil to be a national security threat.
The timing of the speech was no accident. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is co-sponsor of the energy and climate bill being debated in the Senate. Market co-sponsored the House ACES bill that was approved. Passage of a Senate bill could save the December Copenhagen agreement, which in turn could save our children from draughts and food shortages increasingly connected with the warming caused by green house gas emission increases.
With global leaders negotiating energy and climate issues, United States recalcitrance makes any agreement difficult. Obama warned that the closer the Senate gets to an agreement, the more that some will fight change, and the more visible they will make their claims. The President said, “There will be those who contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence.” He warned of those how say that we have lost our “can-do” American spirit. “I reject that.” He said, and then referred to Americans entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors are all around us. He said, “This is the nation that harnessed electricity.”
Thanks to MIT computer science innovation, my former employer Digital Equipment came into being, and transformed computing. Digital disrupted the mainframe-centric industry, only to find itself disrupted by personal computing and the Internet. Digital is now part of Hewlett-Packard. Thousands of computer science innovations have been dismissed as unworkable lab experiments, then fought as job killers, and finally embraced as a more efficient way to work. If the naysayers of past decades had stopped progress, we’d still use our fingers for counting instead of using smart phones.
In past decades, we could have done nothing. As a result we would have saved the jobs of
keypunch operators. Now, we can do nothing and save some oil and coal jobs or we can move forward and make the United States a world leader in transportation, energy efficiency, and harvest the abundance of sun and the wind.
Duke Energy’s Electric Vehicle Future
By John Addison (10/19/09). Duke Energy joined the FPL Group in a commitment to buy 10,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the coming decade, as they upgrade their fleets. The energy storage in these vehicles could eliminate the need for peaking plants and enable the expanded use of renewable energy. Duke Energy’s electric vehicle future may save billions in future power plant investments.
On October 10, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) CEO Jim Rogers shared a few minutes with me in discussing electric vehicles and future strategy before he spoke at the Society for Environmental Journalist Conference. At first his commitments to electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and renewable energy seem surprising, given that he is CEO of the nation’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The emissions are largely the result of being the nation’s third biggest consumer of coal. He does not hide Duke’s emissions, instead he puts the issue right up front and talks about the future where Duke will replace all power plants between now and 2050.
First, let’s look at the commitment to 10,000 electric vehicles made with FPL at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The $600 million investment over 10 years has more to do with good business than PR. Vehicle operations impact the earnings of any utility. Hybrid trouble trucks are already cutting fuel cost in half, as they use hybrid batteries to run lifts and auxiliaries for hours. Clean Fleet Report of PG&E. Plug-in hybrids would cut fuel more. Mr. Rogers stated, “We need to wean our country from dependency on oil.”
“A 10-year commitment gives us time to adopt, test and integrate new technology into fleets as a wider range of vehicles are developed,” said Jim Rogers at the CGI. “Currently, the only near-term options for available PEV supply are sedans, minivans, vans and a few bucket trucks. Over a 10-year horizon, it is expected that options will be available for most utility service categories.”
Electric vehicles including plug-in hybrids can be charged at night when there is excess electricity available. That electricity costs far less than gasoline and diesel. Duke Energy has 634 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind energy in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming and another 99 MW under construction. An additional 251 MW of wind projects scheduled to begin operation in 2010. Siemens is one beneficiary of Duke’s renewable expansion. Duke even plans to lead in a pilot of offshore wind in North Carolina. Offshore wind has benefited Denmark, providing electricity for longer hours than land-based and more renewable energy during peak demand hours. This December, global leaders will see the wind towers in Copenhagen Harbor as the leaders discuss climate solutions.
In a 1993 annual report, Mr. Rogers was ahead of other utility leaders in stating, “We must turn our attention to carbon.” Jim Rogers has been active in climate meetings leading up to Copenhagen including co-founding US-CAP, chairing the Edison Institute who supported Waxman-Markey, and as a Copenhagen climate counselor. Rogers sees it as unlikely that Congress will deliver a bill before Copenhagen, yet Duke’s CEO feels that business leaders can achieve significant progress. His progress in diversifying Duke away from coal and oil dependency is one example. Working with China is another.
“What I admire about China is the mindset of can-do,” said Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, who at CGI announced a joint technology development deal with Chinese energy giant ENN Group encompassing solar, biofuels, smart grid, efficiency, carbon-capturing algae and other areas. “They’re not looking for excuses as to why we can’t do something.” Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Quotations from Clint Wilder’s report at Clean Edge
The recession has given utility executives some breathing room by reducing electricity demand. Electricity consumption in the U.S. fell reports the EIA. Coal usage dropped 13 percent in one year. Nuclear is off 2 percent. Net generation from wind sources was 18 percent higher and was the second largest absolute increase after natural gas. New drilling techniques make natural gas cheap and plentiful.
Duke wants coal power with carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) to be a big part of its future generation. After 20 years of experiments, “clean coal” is still largely non-existent. No doubt that coal can be captured. It can even be sequestered, at least for years. There is no evidence, however, that coal with carbon sequestering can economically compete with natural gas plants. “Clean coal” takes significant extra coal, capital expenditure, pipelining of CO2 and finding a willing oil company or cavern owner to store the greenhouse gas. Coal mining causes environmental damage and release of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more destructive than CO2. Duke wants to bet on coal, yet it may find difficulty getting taxpayer or rate payer support for the added billions for CSS. For baseload power, natural gas would be cheaper, but natural gas prices have fluctuated wildly in the past years.
Utility executives want predictable pricing to make the best decisions about investing in power plants that may run for 40 years. Predicable pricing is one reason that Duke supports cap-and-trade. Rogers does not see cap-and-trade as hurting Duke or the U.S. economy. Rogers states, “We run our business as if COP-15 is in the rearview mirror.” A price for carbon is assumed in all Duke decision making.
Most promising for Duke, may be energy efficiency and renewable energy. Duke, like many utilities, has experimented with supporting electric vehicles. In partnership with Progress Energy, Duke is piloting drawing energy from vehicles during peak hours (V2G) using GridPoint technology. The key is to shape charging demand off-peak. Rogers feels that “variable pricing to shape demand is quite doable.” If successful, V2G could lower Duke’s investment in frequency management, spinning reserves, and peak generation.
It will be a smart grid that manages efficiency, demand management, critically needed distributed generation, and electric vehicles. Echelon, Cisco, and GridPoint, are some of the suppliers for smart grid hardware and software for Duke. Renewables include wind, solar, woody biomass
“Water is going to be the next oil.” stated Rogers. Global warming is already correlated with draughts, loss of water storage in snow, and agricultural losses in Duke’s North Carolina headquarters state and in its multi-state service area. Although coal, nuclear, and natural gas are water intensive, wind and solar are not.
Jim Rogers is looking to the future, “We are in most transformative period in history of power industry.” He recognizes that challenges and opportunities are different in this 21st Century. Duke Annual Report Summary
Dr. Sherwood Rowland
This excerpt from my book is a tribute to Dr. Sherwood Rowland who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of how CFCs were destroying our atmosphere. He died on March 10, 2012 at the age of 84. His wife Joan survives him. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this June. He was a brilliant researcher and an engaging teacher. I was fortunate to be one of his students at UCI.
Attack of the Killer Hairspray
By John Addison. A thin layer of ozone in the stratosphere protects us from getting zapped and fried by gamma rays, x-rays, and ultraviolet rays. This ozone shield was saved thanks to the brilliant work of Nobel Prize chemists Dr. Sherwood Rowland, Dr. Mario Molina, and Dr. Paul Crutzen.
I interviewed my former chemistry professor, Dr. Rowland, to understand the difficult process of scientific discovery, industry opposition, global treaties, and winning the Nobel Prize. Several scientists contributed to our understanding of the atmospheric shield. This is one man’s story – Dr. Sherwood Rowland.
When Dr. Rowland’s breakthrough occurred, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were used in everything from hairsprays to air conditioners. DuPont and a few other chemical companies were making billions from CFCs and similar chemicals.
Drs. Rowland and Molina questioned the conventional thinking that if the gases were inert at ground level, then they would not breakdown under any conditions. Sherwood Rowland recalled, “We realized that CFC molecules could rise into the atmosphere where sunlight is far more intense and then breakdown, freeing chlorine atoms. Under laboratory conditions, we created a chemical reaction demonstrating that chlorine is activated on the surface of ice cloud particles in the polar stratosphere.”
Returning home from a long day in the lab, Sherwood’s wife Joan asked him how is research was going. Dr. Rowland replied, “The work is going well, but it looks like the end of the world.”
The results were frightening. Dr. Rowland discovered that CFCs would rise in the stratosphere, breakdown, and free chlorine atoms which destroy ozone molecules for at least 100 years. In 1974, Dr. Rowland and Dr. Molina published a seminal paper in Nature Magazine on the CFC destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer.
Predictably, businesses that were making billions by producing CFCs launched a campaign to discredit the research, disparage the scientists, and go for another good quarterly earnings report.
DuPont and other chemical manufacturers argued that millions would die without refrigeration and air conditioning. Life as we know it would end with people having “bad hair” days. “Aerosol Age Magazine published an article stating that we were probably agents of Russia’s KGB,” Dr. Rowland recalled with a weary smile.
DuPont argued that substitutes could not be created for CFCs. As we know by looking back 30 years, substitutes were created by DuPont and others. Human life was preserved, and DuPont profits continued to grow.
The Unlikely KGB Agent
What takes someone down the one-in-a-million path to being recognized as a Nobel Laureate? Rowland grew-up in a small town in Ohio in a loving family. Sherwood Rowland demonstrated an early passion for mathematics and science. There was no television in his childhood to distract him from reading and learning. As a young teenager, he was allowed to collect temperatures and precipitation data for the local weather station. He was proficient in all studies and graduated high school at age 15.
Sherwood Rowland excelled when he attended Ohio Wesleyan University, graduating with all “A’s”. Contrary to later personal attacks that questioned his loyalty, Rowland demonstrated his America patriotism by volunteering and serving in the United States Navy during World War II.
Rowland’s doctoral studies at the University of Chicago included the good fortune to be assigned as a mentor Dr. Willard Libby, who had just finished developing the carbon-14 dating technique for which he received the Nobel Prize. He was also able to study with Nobel laureates Drs. Enrico Fermi, Henry Taube, Maria Goeppert Mayer, and Harold Urey. By the time that Dr. Rowland discovered the damage to the ozone, he had progressed from teaching at Princeton to being a full professor and chairman of the chemistry department at U.C. Irvine, where his ozone discovery was made.
Ten Years under Attack
For ten long years, from 1974 to 1984, Dr. Rowland and Dr. Molina continued to be attacked by the chemical industry. Even though no one could find flaws in the chemical equations, manufacturers insisted that absolute proof should be secured before taking any action.
During these ten years of struggle, the banning of the killing CFCs did not start with a global agreement; it started with grass roots efforts. Local nonprofit groups campaigned for local bans. Earth Day events educated.
Citizens of Oregon showed early leadership by actively campaigning to save the protective ozone shield. Oregon accepted the chemistry and banned use of aerosol in 1975. Aerosol damage got media attention to the point that it was even debated on TV’s most popular show – All in the Family. Celebrities and super models gave-up their hairspray and went natural.
Dr. Rowland remembered, “Leading scientists started taking us seriously in 1976, when the National Academy of Sciences accepted our research.” In 1977, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Governing Council adopted the World Plan of Action on the Ozone Layer.
An Image from Space
In the late 1970s, the first scientists that measured actual ozone depletion were so surprised that they believed their instruments had malfunctioned. Tragically, they did not publish their findings for years, not until 1984 when the British Antarctic Survey published their findings that ozone levels had dropped a frightening 35 percent in only 20 years. The U.S. satellite Nimbus-7 confirmed the results with images from space.
Ten long years after Dr. Rowland and Dr. Molina first published their CFC findings, they finally had empirical proof – an ozone hole over the Antarctic. After suffering years of industry sound-bite attacks, the good scientist started to develop his own clever remarks. When interviewed by newspapers and TV, Rowland quipped, “First they said there was no ozone problem, now you can see it from Mars.”
Ordinary people witnessed the hard evidence on television and in magazines showing satellite images of a life threatening hole in the ozone. Public pressure intensified for all nations to take action. The United States, Canada, Scandinavian countries, and several other nations, imposed bans on CFCs as aerosol propellants when used in antiperspirants, hairsprays and deodorants. These forward thinking nations did not wait for all nations to agree, they did not even wait for most nations. They took action.
In Montreal, Canada, on September 16, 1987, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed into agreement by 24 major countries of the world, including the United States. These countries recognized that it was critical to be leaders, rather than wait years for all nations to agree.
A process for nations to phase-out production of dangerous CFCs and halons was established. Later, other dangerous chemicals were added to the list. The agreement was strengthened in Copenhagen. Developing countries were giving extra years to comply. Now 191 nations have agreed to the Montreal Protocol and are phasing-out the destructive gases.
Many brave leaders in science, government, and industry are taking action inspired by the work of Sherwood Rowland and his colleges. Twenty-one years after their published research, Dr. Rowland, Dr. Molina, and Dr. Crutzen were awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This is the highest recognition a scientist can achieve.
Now a new generation of scientists – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) has been awarded the Nobel Prize after suffering years of attack on their scientific integrity for documenting the tragic effects of increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
The Montreal Protocol is proof that the major nations of the world can agree to take climate action. We now hope for a new climate agreement that protects our future. It does not need to be perfect, but it does need leadership from the United States and China if other nations are to take action.
Living near the Pacific Ocean, Sherwood Rowland once broke his arm in big waves as he rescued one of his graduate students caught between rocks and pounding surf. Sherwood Rowland put his life on the line to rescue another. In fact, he rescued all of us.
This post is an excerpt from John Addison’s book – Save Gas, Save the Planet.
Al Gore Keynote at SEJ
By John Addison (10/12/09). Vice President Al Gore is optimistic about a meaningful agreement in Copenhagen that includes the United States and China. During his keynote speech at the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, he acknowledged that negotiations are going slowly, because climate change is complex and involves consensus of almost all nations, but that a new agreement is likely.
The need for a global agreement is urgent as the burning of coal and oil heat the earth. Melting glaciers and depleted aquifers make healthy water scarce for more Americans and unavailable for a billion people. Draughts are causing damage to many states. Lack of water affects the ability to grow food. Interrelated eco-systems are showing their stress and the problems are starting to get visible on Main Street. Mr. Gore observed, “Never before in human history has a single generation been asked to make such difficult and consequential decisions.”
Mr. Gore stated, “We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.”
At SEJ, I asked Vice President Gore about the most promising innovations to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Mr. Gore identified a number of areas where Americans are innovating.
Energy efficiency tops his list for innovation that is making an immediate impact. Many new buildings have a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions of the buildings they replace due to innovative design, materials, windows, and water management. Older buildings are made more energy efficient with better insulation.
Mr. Gore identified wasted heat as an underestimated opportunity. He sees room for significant innovation in combined heat and power and in the reduction of wasted heat.
Super Grid will Spur Innovation
He sees the super grid as an opportunity for a high level of efficiency. The super grid envisions a national network of high capacity electricity transmission. It would include energy storage, high reliability, and smart grid intelligence. High voltage lines have far less energy loss than lower capacity. A super grid could deliver much of America’s needed energy from untapped wind that blows in middle states from the Dakotas to Texas. Super Grid Wikipedia Description
Mr. Gore feels that a super grid could bring a transformation comparable to the Internet. The super grid and smart grid technology is already attracting major investments from firms like KPCB where Al Gore devotes part of his time as a partner. KPCB Greentech Portfolio He pointed to energy storage and demand response as major super grid areas of opportunity.
A portfolio of renewable energy solutions can power the nation according to Mr. Gore. Wind supplied 40 percent of the incremental energy added in the United States in 2008. Concentrating solar power is another renewable that is promising where up to 15 hours of energy storage, such as molten salt, can be used. Vice President Gore sees the greatest innovation in solar photovoltaics as a “distributed distribution architecture” is put in place.
Enhanced geothermal at one to two kilometers underground has the potential to meet our need for baseload grid power. Gore said, “There is an estimated 35,000 year supply of enhanced geothermal to meet U.S. energy needs.” This industry will benefit from the drilling and drill bit innovation existing in the oil and gas industries.
Historic Transformation of Automobile
In the future the need for getting baseload power from coal will be diminished by grid energy storage innovation. Gore said, “There will be a historic transformation of automobile fleets to and plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. That vehicle fleet will serve as a massively distributed battery.” Electric Vehicle Reports
He continued, “Innovation of battery storage is likely to be extremely significant.”
Video of Vice President Gore’s discussion of energy solutions.
New Climate Agreement in Copenhagen
“We have all the tools to solve three or four climate crises.” Vice-President Gore expressed a level of optimism that surprised a number of the 500 journalists in attendance. He is optimistic that the Senate will approve some form of the Boxer-Kerry legislation and that it will be Conference Committee pending when Copenhagen convenes. It will have compromises that will discourage some environmentalists and some business interests. Gore said, “The large number of defections from the National Chamber of Commerce is a sign that business leaders want to be part of the solution.”
He reminded those concerned about a climate crisis that in 1987 the Montreal Protocol was also criticized as too weak. In Montreal, Canada, on September 16, 1987, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed into agreement by 24 major countries of the world, including the United States. These countries recognized that it was critical to be leaders, rather than wait years for all nations to agree. The agreement was ratified and then signed by President Ronald Reagan.
A process for nations to phase-out production of dangerous CFCs and halons was established. Developing countries were giving extra years to comply. Years later the agreement was strengthened in Copenhagen. Now 191 nations have agreed to the Montreal Protocol and are phasing-out the destructive gases from China to Chile and from India to Indonesia.
The Montreal Protocol is proof that the major nations of the world can agree to stop destroying our atmospheric shield.
A new climate agreement in Copenhagen would accelerate innovation and growing commercial success of efficient buildings, fuel efficient transportation, a transformative super gird, and renewable energy.
Mr. Gore’s new book – Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis – will be available November 3. It will include the important role of innovation in reducing our dependency on fossil fuel.
The complete audio recording of the speech can be heard on the Society of Environmental Journalists.