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Chinese automobiles are on way, with fuel cells planned to follow

4775 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  gr8
By Warren Brown, The Washington Post | July 23, 2006
The Chinese are coming.
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They are bringing luxury cars to America. They also have ambitious plans to bring hydrogen-powered cars to the world.
Two announcements this month highlighted the developments.
Malcolm Bricklin, the man who brought Subaru and Yugo automobiles to the United States and who now heads the aptly named Visionary Vehicles in New York, revealed his partnership with a major East Coast dealership chain to begin U S distribution of cars manufactured by China's Chery Automobile Co. in late 2007.
The first models, mid size luxury sedans priced in the manner of economy cars, will be sold in Arlington, Va., through a retail network set up by Rothrock Motor Sales of Allentown, Pa.
The dealership chain, operated by the father-and-son team of David and Bruce Rothrock, owns stores in Pennsylvania's Lehigh and Delaware valleys. But the Rothrocks are in an expansionist mode. In addition to setting up shop in Virginia, they also are moving into the Florida communities of Palm Beach, Orlando, and Winter Park. And they are expanding out West by establishing retail outlets in San Gabriel Valley, Calif.
The aggressively entrepreneurial Rothrocks are Bricklin's kind of people -- ``precisely the type of partners we are looking for at Visionary Vehicles," Bricklin said in prepared remarks. As shareholders in Visionary Vehicles, the Rothrocks will play a major role in the company's product offering and pricing decisions, Bricklin said.
Over the past three years, Bricklin has been pursuing a plan to establish a U S Chery Automobile distribution network made up of 250 dealers, each contributing $1 million or more to join. Visionary's goal with the Chery car, made in Wuhu, China, is based on a classic Bricklin formula: Import a precedent-setting automobile at a low price, hype it to the max, and generate enough sales to create a new market segment or, at least, establish a new brand.
That strategy worked well for Bricklin in 1968 when he began selling the Japanese-made Subaru 360 subcompact car through a network of 20 U S dealers. It did not work as well a few years later with his importing Italy's Fiat X-9. Nor did it stand him in good stead in 1985 with his ill-fated importing of the Yugoslavian Yugo.
With the Chinese, Bricklin has something he did not have with the Italians or Yugoslavs -- the commitment of the government of the People's Republic of China to turn its automotive industry into a global success.
That commitment was demonstrated in another automotive development in China last week that could profoundly change the nature of the automobile as we have come to know, love and loathe it. Ballard Power Systems, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, signed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Fuel Cell Vehicle Powertrain Co. to supply up to 20 fuel-cell stacks and related equipment to be installed in a demonstration fleet of 100 fuel-cell vehicles owned by the Shanghai Municipal Government.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that produces energy through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. It is regarded as a clean, efficient energy system that relies on renewable resources.
The Shanghai government hopes to have its 100 fuel-cell cars operating by the end of 2007. Those models mark the first phase of the plan to put 1,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on Shanghai's roads by 2010, with 10,000 operating by 2012.
That kind of aggressiveness in the development and deployment of hydrogen fuel-cell cars and trucks could make China a world leader in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, Ballard officials said.
``We believe China could be a key market driving the commercialization of automotive fuel-cell technology, and, as such, we are very pleased to announce this next step in our ongoing activities in China," said Noordin Nanji, Ballard's vice president for marketing.
Bottom line: The Chinese dragon is revving its engines. American, European, South Korean, and Japanese car companies that have seen tough competition in recent years haven't seen anything yet.
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GM is way ahead of everyone in fuel cell, even almighty Honda.(Toyota is quite behind).

But fuel cell won't be a viable power source for the next 50 years, so don't bet your farm on it.
In that case, you might be intereseted to read this: "GM, SAIC to form hybrid joint venture in China"

Anyway, is GM really that far ahead of Honda on the hydrogen front? :confused:
Real_I_Hate_China said:
But fuel cell won't be a viable power source for the next 50 years, so don't bet your farm on it.
ummm im sorry but fuel cell is not a source of power. its a form of power storage. you could use gasoline, burn it, get the hydrogen gas out of the water, and pump it in the fuel cell and it would run.
so far nobody solved the problem of storing the hydrogen. if you leave the car in the airport carpark for a few days, when you come back it's all gone. those little bitty H2 molecules find their way through anything, leak straight out through the tank walls.

worth pursuing though. get the hydrogen from electrolysing the water using solar energy generated in a place with lots of sun and space because nobody else wants it (i read on here that nobody wants egypt so it must be true).
nothing special about airports by the way, any carpark would do it.

if hydrogen powered, neither of these cherys would be able to drive home a week later. although the one on the right would still look cool.


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well they do have lots of successful fuel cell cars, and i heard theres families that get one for free where they just do there good old family stuff with the fuel cell car, exept they fill up at this hydrogen gas pump place. like this one here built by honda.
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