Attention, our carmakers maybe can finally listen ... no?

A front page item in recent news is calling for loan by the American public to the US automakers, numbers like $25,000,000,000 in loans. Just to re-tool for a tiny increase in fuel efficiency, at that. The foot-dragging of our beloved car industry about much higher fuel efficient vehicles was caused by several factors, not all of which have been mentioned in the news. Some go really deep and are completely missed by management in SOP. This post is not to rehash those things, but instead to propose a modified suggestion I have posted for a couple years, without notice; probably this one will get equal burying, in favor of 25 bn hoopla. Anyway, here goes. First, am going to repeat a post I have made several times, several places, but with a few changes in it:

There are ways to greatly reduce the wastage in use of fossil fuels, that can make a significant difference and pay for itself; but takes some very different ways of looking at things, along with backing off of business egos a bit at times. Transportation is one area that looks quite promising for this approach. If we can look at a 10 year time frame for payback plus profit, some possibilities come to mind. It requires looking at the big picture, to find the solutions; the old narrow picture has lost the game, maybe it is time to include the lateral scenes to make the big picture.

For example, let us imagine that "we America" buy the design rights for the 1990 Honda Civic Hatchback from Honda, along with any tooling and assembly data they have remaining on that now obsolete vehicle, 18 years into history. So it ought to be potentially a cheap design purchase; obtaining working ones around the country ought to still be possible for examples. I owned one of them and it got 42 mpg on the freeway commute in the Los Angeles area, and handled great on the road; had automatic transmission, a/c, cruise control and plenty of room inside; and the engine still did not use oil up at 160,000 miles (although I did use a high quality synthetic oil, only a little more expensive than normal oil per mile) when it was squished in a multi-car wreck from which I walked away. It did have some design flaws in the positioning of the alternator and electrical relays too near the driver, causing long terem EMF risks, which ought to take less than half a million dollars to modify; the only other flaw would be harder and might need living with for now, that is the need to replace the engine timing belt every 70,000 miles. In this scenario the government (state or national) would provide loans and enough guidance for the project to re-create this proven vehicle in the context of the need. If they are produceable in multi-million quantities here in the US, cost probably would be maybe $10,000 each or significantly less if all vehicles were identical. These new vehicles would be offered free in direct exchange for any vehicle which gets less than 18 mpg, regardless of age or condition of the gas hog. Thereafter, for each of these new vehicle's 10,000 miles of commute, at say average of 36 mpg, it has saved the consumption of 555 gallons of refined gasoline; at a cost of $4.00 per gallon, that is $2,220 saved per 10,000 miles driven. If the average vehicle is driven 100,000 miles, that is a savings of $22,200, so the vehicle has long since paid for its $10,000 cost to the nation, and produced a substantial profit of over 120%. Each individual who did the vehicle exchange got a new vehicle free (or remaining payments to yet make on the former old gas hog vehicle) and is saving $2.00 in gas for every 36 miles driven. But more importantly to the world ecosystem's climate, it has saved the use of 5,500 gallons of fuel per vehicle. For each 1,000,000 vehicles thus replaced and utilized, this is a savings of 5,500,000,000 gallons of refined petrochemical fuel to remain in the world's reserves becoming more precious with time for non-fuel uses; along with preventing its enormous amount of CO2 from being dumped into the atmosphere to add to global weather disruption and resultant sea level rise.

OK, that is the repeated post, more or less. Further thoughts include:
1) Lots of egos are involved, paticularly those of the "Big Three" automakers. However, it is an even better indication of quality person if admission of error and redirection to adequately solving the problem happens.
2) It is a design of another automaker; an 18 year old design probably has passed teh 17 year limit of patents, but in respect to the original designers, perhaps it could be a joint venture between Honda (Japan) and one of the big-3 US car makers. And the quantities involved would be far greater than suggested in the above referenced post which shows it is a big win-win for everybody to get the gas hogs off the streets, getting a brand new free high quality vehicle for participating, that pays for itself more than twice over in the first 100,000 miles.
3) There are probably similarly proven vehicles in the high gas milage and performance arena than that multipurpose hatchback vehicle was; unbiased research into that would find the answers; the resulting otehr vehicles could be assigned to each of teh other "Big 3" US car makers to convert over for production, based on existing proven designs, like that of the 1990 Honda Civic hatchback.
4) Part of each of the "big 3" manufacturing plants could be converted to refurbishing some of its former produced vehicles, truly re-manufacturing them, from vehicles traded in; this would be to maintain a working transportation system as exists now, while a consciously engineered national transportation system is put into place.
5) Continuing development of a hybrid vehicle would proceed enthusiastically and clear-headed. Part of this design/development activity would be starting from teh ground up to produce a target vehicular performance, not from a jigsaw puzzle of minor changes from the way we do it now. Think time and energy efficiency plus safety and reliability, with a realizable change in the associated infrastructure.
6) get serious about creating a next generation American transportation system, one that provides the personal convenience of privately garaged vehicles at residence, integrated into an automatically controlled system when on the freeway and most surface streets. Does it take a two ton vehicle to take a 165 pound person to work? Why not a 500 pound vehicle? Figure the more frequent refueling stops, vs the higher energy efficiency and mileage of the lower mass being pushed around. And even more effectively develop a national-potential transportation system for non-cargo-carriers, that utilizes a distributed energy system such as the "Pull-Band-Commute" system I proposed decades ago.
7) Overall, each step needs to be done by looking at the wide view overall picture of America and the world. Where there are existing franchises and business territories including technology ones, buy them out from American-pooled-resource-funds for fair prices, instead of struggling with pretzel-like work-around solutions.

OK, there I have made my soapbox noise again to an empty audience, all of them elsewhere to decide to throw zillions of dollars for no defined goals, to pretend they are doing something to solve the problems. Well, maybe a few continue to remain to throw rotten eggs and crash my email and websites, just to prove they are boss.

James E. D. Cline

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