Michael Dunne in WSJ

Published on Author Mike

Michael Dunne has an article on electric cars in China in the Feb 21 WSJ China blog.

5 Responses to Michael Dunne in WSJ

  1. I feel that this holds a lot of potential in the long run. With China heavily focusing on transportation infrastructure, it is likely that electric car infrastructure will soon be introduced. In such cases, the residual authority of a command-centric market is likely to bring about significant benefits.

  2. With the article that James posted today about the 12th 5 year plan to reduce emissions, the electric car market seems to be a viable solution to their current co2 emission problems. It is interesting that it is only China where the electric car is picking up and not in Europe or the United States. I am also surprised that the Chinese automakers are going after the takeover of a US based electric car company instead of ripping off the model currently in the market.

  3. It is interesting that China focusing heavily on transportation infrastructure. The Chinese emphasis on electric cars cause me to wonder if China is also investing in RD in hydrocars. I feel like hydrogen cars were previously a large topic of conversation in the automotive industry but have recently been less talked about.

  4. Beijing’s air issues are primarily to coal and to desertification that loosens very fine dust in the west. Cars add to the mix, but unlike LA the city is not in a basin. That doesn’t mean automotive emissions won’t be targetted, just that that won’t by itself clean the air.

    Now Dunne’s article has nothing on the volume of vehicles actually sold. Indeed, he speaks of buses and the like, hinting that passenger cars are not (yet?!) where the game is. BTW rechargeable electric scooters are already mandated in many large cities.

    Electric cars can’t be simply “ripped off”. The main examples we read about are those of styling. Copying what’s under the hood, as it were, isn’t easy, in general isn’t feasible. An electric vehicle (which in practice means a hybrid of some sort — the Volt is a hybrid) has maybe 15 million lines of computer code, and you can’t just copy the software unless you can copy exactly everything that interfaces with it. The source code is not transparent.

    Finally, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have run into walls that engineers haven’t been able to clear. Fuel cell membranes are hard to manufacture in volume and need expensive catalysts (initially, platinum). Operating temperatures are critical, a challenge in places that get cold or hot. That means that you end up needing batteries and radiators, adding weight and cost and complexity. The biggest barrier remains on-board storage of hydrogen, as H2 doesn’t compress readily, and there’s no refueling infrastructure. [Note: I’ve driven a fuel cell vehicle at Ford’s test center.]

  5. I found an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today that discusses Fisker and their strategy to sell to China, which has resulted in the founder and executive officer, Henrik Fisker, to resign from his position. He said the reason for his resignation was that he had disagreements on the company’s move towards the Chinese market.