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Neil Young's solution to save the auto industry


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How To Save A Major Automobile Company

Auto manufacturers taking advantage of a government bailout must only

sell clean and green vehicles that do not contribute to global warming.

by Neil Young

Find a new ownership group. The culture must change. It is time to

turn the page. In the high technology sector there are several

candidates for ownership of a major car and truck manufacturer. We need

forward looking people who are not restricted by the existing culture

in Detroit. We need visionary people now with business sense to create

automobiles that do not contribute to global warming.

It is time to change and our problems can facilitate our solutions. We

can no longer afford to continue down Detroits old road. The people

have spoken. They do not want gas guzzlers (although they still like

big cars and trucks). It is possible to build large long-range vehicles

that are very efficient. People WILL buy those vehicles because they

represent REAL change and a solution that we can live with.

The government must take advantage of the powerful position that

exists today. The Big 3 are looking for a bailout. They should only get

it if they agree to stop building autos that contribute to global

warming now. The stress on the auto manufacturers today is gigantic. In

order to keep people working in their jobs and keep factories open,

this plan is suggested:

The big three must reduce models to basics. a truck, an SUV, a large

family sedan, an economy sedan, and a sports car. Use existing tooling.

Keep building these models to keep the workforce employed but build

them WITHOUT engines and transmissions. These new vehicles, called

Transition Rollers, are ready for a re-power. NO NEW TOOLING is

required at this stage. The adapters are part of the kits described

next.

At the same time as the new Transition Rollers are being built,

keeping the work force working, utilize existing technology now, create

re-power kits to retrofit the Transition Rollers to SCEVs (self

charging electric vehicles) for long range capability up to and over

100mpg. If you dont think this technology is realistic or available,

check out the Progressive Insurance Automotive X prize. Alternatively,

check out Lincvolt.com or other examples.

A bailed out Auto manufacturer must open or re-purpose one or more

factories and dedicate them to do the re-power/retrofit assembly. These

factories would focus on re-powering the Transition Rollers into SCEVs

but could also retrofit and re-power many existing vehicles to SCEVs.

These existing vehicles are currently sitting unsold at dealerships

across America.

Auto manufacturers taking advantage of a government bailout must only

sell clean and green vehicles that do not contribute to global warming.

No more internal combustion engines that run exclusively on fossil

fuels can be sold period.

No Big Three excuses like new tooling takes time. New tooling is not

a requirement for SCEV transition rollers.

Build only new vehicles that attain the goal of reversing global

warming and enhancing National Security.

Government legislation going with the bailout should include tax

breaks for purchasers of these cars with the new green SCEV technology.

The legislation accompanying the bailout of major auto manufacturers

must include directives to build only vehicles that attain the goal of

reversing global warming while enhancing National security, and provide

the financial assistance to make manufacturing these cars affordable

in the short term while the industry re-stabilizes.

Eventually the SCEV technology could be built into every new car and

truck as it is being assembled and the stop gap plan described above

would have completed its job of keeping America building and working

through this turbulent time.

Detroit has had a long time to adapt to the new world and now the

failure of Detroits actions is costing us all. We pay the bailout.

Lets make a good deal for the future of America and the Planet.

Companies like UQM (Colorado) and others build great electric motors

right here in the USA. Use these domestic electric motors. Put these

people to work now. This plan reverses the flow from negative to

positive because people need and will buy clean and green cars to be

part of World Change. Unique wheel covers will identify these cars on

the road so that others can see the great example a new car owner is

making. People want America to in!

This plan addresses the issue of Global warming from our automobiles

while enhancing our National Security and keeping Detroit working.

www.lincvolt.com

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while we're at it, here is Thomas Friedman's suggestion, which might be more realistic:

November 12, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist

How to Fix a Flat

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Last September, I was in a hotel room watching CNBC early one morning. They were interviewing Bob Nardelli, the C.E.O. of Chrysler, and he was explaining why the auto industry, at that time, needed $25 billion in loan guarantees. It wasn’t a bailout, he said. It was a way to enable the car companies to retool for innovation. I could not help but shout back at the TV screen: “We have to subsidize Detroit so that it will innovate? What business were you people in other than innovation?†If we give you another $25 billion, will you also do accounting?

How could these companies be so bad for so long? Clearly the combination of a very un-innovative business culture, visionless management and overly generous labor contracts explains a lot of it. It led to a situation whereby General Motors could make money only by selling big, gas-guzzling S.U.V.’s and trucks. Therefore, instead of focusing on making money by innovating around fuel efficiency, productivity and design, G.M. threw way too much energy into lobbying and maneuvering to protect its gas guzzlers.

This included striking special deals with Congress that allowed the Detroit automakers to count the mileage of gas guzzlers as being more than they really were — provided they made some cars flex-fuel capable for ethanol. It included special offers of $1.99-a-gallon gasoline for a year to any customer who purchased a gas guzzler. And it included endless lobbying to block Congress from raising the miles-per-gallon requirements. The result was an industry that became brain dead.

Nothing typified this more than statements like those of Bob Lutz, G.M.’s vice chairman. He has been quoted as saying that hybrids like the Toyota Prius “make no economic sense.†And, in February, D Magazine of Dallas quoted him as saying that global warming “is a total crock of [expletive].â€

These are the guys taxpayers are being asked to bail out.

And please, spare me the alligator tears about G.M.’s health care costs. Sure, they are outrageous. “But then why did G.M. refuse to lift a finger to support a national health care program when Hillary Clinton was pushing for it?†asks Dan Becker, a top environmental lobbyist.

Not every automaker is at death’s door. Look at this article that ran two weeks ago on autochannel.com: “ALLISTON, Ontario, Canada — Honda of Canada Mfg. officially opened its newest investment in Canada — a state-of-the art $154 million engine plant. The new facility will produce 200,000 fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines annually for Civic production in response to growing North American demand for vehicles that provide excellent fuel economy.â€

The blame for this travesty not only belongs to the auto executives, but must be shared equally with the entire Michigan delegation in the House and Senate, virtually all of whom, year after year, voted however the Detroit automakers and unions instructed them to vote. That shielded General Motors, Ford and Chrysler from environmental concerns, mileage concerns and the full impact of global competition that could have forced Detroit to adapt long ago.

Indeed, if and when they do have to bury Detroit, I hope that all the current and past representatives and senators from Michigan have to serve as pallbearers. And no one has earned the “honor†of chief pallbearer more than the Michigan Representative John Dingell, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who is more responsible for protecting Detroit to death than any single legislator.

O.K., now that I have all that off my chest, what do we do? I am as terrified as anyone of the domino effect on industry and workers if G.M. were to collapse. But if we are going to use taxpayer money to rescue Detroit, then it should be done along the lines proposed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday by Paul Ingrassia, a former Detroit bureau chief for that paper.

“In return for any direct government aid,†he wrote, “the board and the management [of G.M.] should go. Shareholders should lose their paltry remaining equity. And a government-appointed receiver — someone hard-nosed and nonpolitical — should have broad power to revamp G.M. with a viable business plan and return it to a private operation as soon as possible. That will mean tearing up existing contracts with unions, dealers and suppliers, closing some operations and selling others and downsizing the company ... Giving G.M. a blank check — which the company and the United Auto Workers union badly want, and which Washington will be tempted to grant — would be an enormous mistake.â€

I would add other conditions: Any car company that gets taxpayer money must demonstrate a plan for transforming every vehicle in its fleet to a hybrid-electric engine with flex-fuel capability, so its entire fleet can also run on next generation cellulosic ethanol.

Lastly, somebody ought to call Steve Jobs, who doesn’t need to be bribed to do innovation, and ask him if he’d like to do national service and run a car company for a year. I’d bet it wouldn’t take him much longer than that to come up with the G.M. iCar.

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Thomas Friedman would have North America look like a billowing smoke-cloud from the moon as Detroit lay burning, when all we want is some creative thinking.

huh?

I would add other conditions: Any car company that gets taxpayer money must demonstrate a plan for transforming every vehicle in its fleet to a hybrid-electric engine with flex-fuel capability, so its entire fleet can also run on next generation cellulosic ethanol.

That doesn't sound too different than what Neil is proposing. I assume the plan Friedman envisions is not a 50 year plan, but more like a 3-5 year plan. If it was a 50 year plan (or even a 10 year plan), then I'd agree with you .

I have no idea what cellulosic ethanol is. I assume it has little to do with the stupid corn-based stuff that they are producing today that is totally unsustainable and quite resource intensive.

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Birdy Said:Thomas Friedman would have North America look like a billowing smoke-cloud from the moon as Detroit lay burning, when all we want is some creative thinking.

huh?

Thomas Friedman Said:I would add other conditions: Any car company that gets taxpayer money must demonstrate a plan for transforming every vehicle in its fleet to a hybrid-electric engine with flex-fuel capability, so its entire fleet can also run on next generation cellulosic ethanol.

That doesn't sound too different than what Neil is proposing. I assume the plan Friedman envisions is not a 50 year plan, but more like a 3-5 year plan. If it was a 50 year plan (or even a 10 year plan), then I'd agree with you .

I have no idea what cellulosic ethanol is. I assume it has little to do with the stupid corn-based stuff that they are producing today that is totally unsustainable and quite resource intensive.

Sorry, i was over-shooting the drama. All of the previously unquoted text about burying Detroit and pall-bearers caused it. After all, Washington was the aider and abetor with all of this bad stuff.

Cellulosic ethanol is another biofuel that's derived from plants and wood. I *think* along the same lines as corn-based ethanol. Which, with the way we operate now, I totally agree is unsustainable. But really, if we're going to continue along these lines of producing and relying on biofuels (which i think we need to), then we need a complete shift on how our governments think... we need greenhouses and huge support for agriculture. And full-blown research and innovation in alternative energy resources. Right now biofuels are causing world food prices to increase drastically, eating up farmland left, right and centre and threatening us with starvation. But if governments invested in technology that would make production efficient and sustainable, what a better place we'd be. That and we need to research alternative biofuels. Why use corn, when you can use a poplar tree too? Imagine the size of a greenhouse growing poplar trees to convert as biofuel? holy.

I kind of envision a smorgasboard of alternatives... electric cars, biofuels, carpools and bicycles. And for the most part think the sooner we stop looking for ONE answer as THE answer, the better. This situation is fucked and I'm afraid that all current government administrations don't have it in their powers as legislators (or don't think they have it in their power as legislators) to make the right and hard choices to get the job done right, save a little face, and do it today.

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Didn't Neil also say "got fuel to burn, got roads to drive"?

Yes, but put it in context. I don't think he was saying that these were all good things:

There's a thousand points of light

For the homeless man

There's a kinder, gentler machine gun hand

There's department stores, and toilet paper

Styrofoam garbage for the Ozone layer

There's a man of the people, says people alive

Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive

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"The problem isn't just pollutants, it's space in our cities as well. Gridlock is going to continue to worsen if we keep supporting the culture of big vehicles like SUVs that mostly sit parked and empty, or taking up huge amounts of road space for individual drivers."

Sure LM, but that's really distracting from the immediate problem. Yours is the part of a hollistic approach to society and the problems in ever-growing urban areas.

Perhaps the big 3 could build public transit.

Perhaps they could be forced to pay back their bailout with funding to public transit.

Perhaps they could make bicycles

But really, the problem is economics right now, and they can push the green technology forward to make it attainable for the rest of the industry.

More tiny cars.

www.aptera.com

More rideshares, more car co-ops, Green Taxis, Trolley Buses...

People need cars because urban planning for the most part is geared to the automobile - not the pedestrian, cyclist, or public transit rider.

we need a push on that as well. Infrastructure that allows for less idling, and less time on the road - optimized for flow and efficiency.

A 4 day work week would keep commuters off the road a bit more too.

But the task at hand is saving a pillar of our economy.

We don't yet have an economy that can sustain such a loss.

It's up to Gov't, communities, and Industry to make the changes necessary that will ensure we're not ever able to be unprepared for economic disaster.

There are enormous energy solutions available to ensure that we can grow all of our own food locally. Hydroponic hothouses could grow fresh food everywhere. Power them with geothermal, wind, hydroelectric, solar, or Tidal energy...so petty much everywhere...

Look into Nikola Tesla's work. If you aren't a disbeliever, then you'll see that there's no need for anyone to have to pay anyone for power.

Here are 2 more tangible examples of energy potential.

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I find it hard to take advice about cultural change from a guy who charges over $200 for a concert ticket.

bing-fuckin-o.

I love Neil as much as any other fan but I'll turn to Friedman for economic analysis and go to Neil for a good song. Neil's been living on Sugar Mountain for quite a long while now.

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