Sunday, November 9, 2008

What's good for GM is very good for the county

If the $25 billion loan goes to retooling to build almost fuel-free cars like the Volt, the savings on foreign oil purchases alone could pay back many multiples of the principle -- ever year! -- leaving T. Boone Pickens' program for freedom from foreign oil dependence in GM's dust.

Free upgrade to plug-in hybrid?

Reported by Tom Krishner, AP Auto Writer Monday, July 21, 2008: ..."lithium-ion battery packs needed to power even a small car now cost in excess of $10,000..."

A couple of years ago, I came up with the fun dollar-savings equation that: if America needed only half as much imported oil (meaning 5 million bbl/day then) and if we needed to pay only half the price ($30/bbl then) due to said lowered demand, then, we could save $165 billion a year (by spending only 5,000,000 bbl/day X 365 days X $30 instead of 10,000,000 bbl/day X 365 days X $60 = a saving of $164,250,000,000/year)...

...or, exactly enough to subsidize buidling the 16.5 million cars and trucks we manufacture every year as LITHIUM, PLUG-IN hybrids -- at $10,000 per vehicle!

Now, with oil recently approaching the $150/bbl range, we could be shipping $500 billion more a year overseas; potentially justifying any form of subisidy for the manufacture of lithium plug-in hybrids.

For 30 years it has been known that building lithium ion batteries with silicon wires (instead of carbon wires) could yield ten times the power holding ability but, because silicon wires expanded and contracted too much as they cycled, they quickly destroyed themselves. The development of silicon nano wires – about a thousandth of the width of a sheet of paper -- has solved that drawback -- while potentially making lithium ion batteries more stable (safer) at the same time!

Near term, only the anode side of the batteries will be manufactured with nano wires, yielding the quadruple jump (up powering GM’s Volt to go 160 miles on one charge instead of 40?). Long term, manufacturing the cathode side with silicon nano wires is expected to reach the ten multiple target (introducing hybrid, long distant trucks?).

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