Ford protests bill for hybrids that excludes its SUV (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Wed, 25 Aug 2004

Ford protests bill for hybrids that excludes its SUV

An article in today's SF Chronicle (no link, they don't seem to have the article online) says Ford is protesting California legislation that would open carpool lanes for hybrid cars that get at least 45 miles per gallon. Ford says this is favoritism toward Toyota, since it excludes Ford's Escape hybrid SUV, rated at 31 mpg.

Let me get this straight. Ford thinks the Escape hybrid should be allowed in carpool lanes (with only one driver), while getting worse mileage than most conventional engine Hondas have managed since the eighties ... why? Is having a bigger battery (lead-acid, mind you) somehow easier on the environment than a smaller battery? Or is it that Ford is somehow compelled to produce only humungous inefficient vehicles, and wants to be rewarded for finally making something halfway reasonable even though it's still no better than conventional Japanese cars?

Now, I'm no fan of carpool lanes (I think they cause more problems than they solve, even though I mostly benefit from them), but if the environment is part of the argument for them, then base access to them by mileage. The 45 mpg cutoff sounds reasonable, though it should apply regardless of technology used. Honda has made several non-hybrid cars that get better mileage than a Prius. If it can be shown that hybrids are cleaner than conventional cars of similar mpg, that's a different story, but I haven't seen that claim made; most people don't even seem aware of Honda's high-mileage models.

And if Ford wants access to carpool lanes, it should drag itself into this millenium and start making efficient cars instead of huge hulking gas guzzlers.

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[ 22:54 Aug 25, 2004    More headlines | permalink to this entry ]