Birth of the Prius Idea

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by DaveinOlyWA, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    How many of you have heard of the "Supercar Fund?"

    the supercar fund was a project started by the clinton administration to develop a car that would get 80 mpg.

    he comissioned the big 3 automakers to design this car in exchange for repealing CAFE. (CAFE WAS the requirement that fleet mileage of cars produced by a company slowly increase to levels set by the US government in order to help reduce polution levels)

    Toyota heard about the project and wanted to play along, but the big 3 didnt want Toyota to show them up again as they had in nearly every measureable quality, design and performance issue. This would later turn out to be the biggest blunder of the Clinton Administration.

    Because 11 years after the Supercar idea was first proposed and 7 years after the initial results of the project, the project was all but forgotten. Gone was the 1.5 Billion in US tax dollars that funded the project. Gone was the regulation requiring automakers to make fuel efficient cars. Gone was revolutionary ideas that were born in the Supercar project.

    BUT, Toyota didnt forget. Toyota remembered the way they were excluded from the project. How they were shunned. So they developed their own supercar. The called it Prius.

    So we have the Clinton administration and the self-centered Detroit auto execs to thank for the wonderful cars we drive today.

    Many people think that Toyota woefully underestimated the demand for the 2nd generation of Prius which in turn created huge shortages. I think it is actually a very clever marketing ploy to magnify America's desire to take advantage of the newest and best technology to come along in the auto industry in years.

    For the first time in history it wasnt the super expensive luxury cars that were in the forefront of innovation. Now we see Lexus copying Prius instead of the other way around. The great shortage of 2004 will go down in history as the way that Toyota manipulated the big 3 automakers into making Toyota money without having to build a car because of the slingshot effect that hybrid technology created in the US auto industry.

    For it was too late for the big 3 to go back and dust off that old research and try to put out their own hybrid. Not when Toyota had 50% of the market and was quickly becoming the de facto standard. So they had to pay Toyota for the research that they had already done years before. And for the umpteenth time, Toyota made the big 3 look like rank amatuers.
     
  2. LewLasher

    LewLasher Member

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    Given that the same company makes Lexus and Prius cars, the above statement really doesn't make any sense. The timing of the Lexus (RX 400h) and Prius are all part of the same overall rollout plan.
     
  3. cybele

    cybele New Member

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    I moved this to the Enviro Forum - because we're allowed to talk politics in here as it relates to the environment and cars.

    Carry on.
     
  4. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    ummm the fact that both are made by the same company is a given.

    but what about smart key entry in the the Lexus? when did that start?
     
  5. rflagg

    rflagg Member

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    Um, actually it was the Bush administration who repealed it - one of their first manuevers was to repeal the supercar fund, and to push for Fuel Cell technology because with Fuel Cell production you still need good ol' OIL!

    -m.
     
  6. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    rflagg:

    you are mistaken. Al Gore effectively repealed CAFE in a deal made with the big 3 automakers to pursue the Supercar.

    unfortunately, Gore in his "wisdom??" only required that the big 3 research the idea and that is what the big 3 did.

    they pointed that loophole out after the cars were developed and shown at a auto show in Detroit in Mar 1998. After the show, there was wrangling by the government and the big 3 over what to do with the supercars.

    although none had hit the 80 mph goal, they all would have beaten the Prius. but the big 3 said that the cars were too expensive to manufacture and that no one would buy them anyway.

    but it was already a moot point. the big three had only agreed to research the supercar idea only if CAFE was abolished...

    tell me rflagg, do you know what the CAFE mpg was for the year 2000??

    well let me tell you, the big three had done away with that in 1995 so CAFE never made it to 2000. that is not taken from my piss poor memory.

    and btw... the CAFE requirement 2000 was 40 mpg
     
  7. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    after a little looking i have found a rather extensive article published by the Chicago Tribune.

    The article is very very very long, but it doesnt leave any details out.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/special...special.special

    and the "repealing" was referring to CAFE.

    Bush didnt repeal the supercar project. he just decided to go another route. he chose hydrogen because he knew that no vehicles would be marketed for 20-30 years.

    he didnt want his precious oil interests to suffer and the super cars had already been built and each was more efficient than the Prius.
    check them out
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/special...story.htmlstory

    Bush also approved of an up to $100,000 tax rebates to owners of businesses who purchased new OR USED vehicles as long as they weighed over 6,000 lbs. (iow, gas guzzlers) at the same time he reduced the tax rebate for the Prius from 2,000 to 1,500.

    so its pretty obvious where his loyalties lie.

    the article although extremely long is very imformative and comical at times. there is an article detailing a group of GM engineers taking a Prius apart trying to figure out how the car worked. apparently they wowed and wooed over the computer found under the front seat.
     
  8. Wolfman

    Wolfman New Member

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    The sunset clause was already in effect before Bush was elected. The premise is that as the public becomes more aware, and accepts the technology, the need to lure people into buying hybrids will no longer be needed. The phaseout IS a good thing, as the credit would cause serious budgetary issues if half a million car buyers all took the credit at once.
     
  9. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    are you saying the 100,000 tax credit for hummers was not bush's idea?
     
  10. Wolfman

    Wolfman New Member

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    Nope, Bush did create the SUV tax credit. However, you and I cannot get that rebate. That is restricted for businesses. The phaseout and sunset of the PRIUS tax credit was set up before Bush was elected.
     
  11. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    ok so bush isnt responsible for the phase out...

    so you are trying to tell me that a 1500 rebate could be financially damaging to the country but a $100,000 rebate isnt?
     
  12. Wolfman

    Wolfman New Member

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    It is a different tax structure. Corporate taxes are levied far differently than individual taxes. I seem to recall reading elsewhere, that in the top bracket, that 100k rebate equates to only $35k in real money. I *BELIEVE* that there is a sunset clause on that program as well. The purpose of the orignial $2000 rebate was to spur the public into purchasing a new technology. Once hybrids are widely accepted, with the sheer numbers of cars bought annually in the US, not having a sunset on that rebate would most definitely cause a budget problem within government - not that I would complain one bit if they had to cut large chunks of waste spending. But the reality is that the feds will never cut spending, so they would eventually be forced to raise taxes elsewhere.
     
  13. cybele

    cybele New Member

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    Dave, this a great education and thanks Wolfman for your input as well.

    While I abhor the way some SUV sellers are advertising the "SUV Writeoff" for businesses, it is merely an abuse of an existing tax structure that allows businesses to deduct the depreciation of company vehicles and equipment, the recent change was that they allowed business owners to take that write off for the full depreciation at once, instead of over a period of years. Many, many businesses use it for legitimate reasons and it has been a godsend to many struggling farmers who wanted/needed new farm equipment/trucks but were unable to suck it up and buy it now.

    I'm unsure what we're supposed to do though. Was this a call to action Dave?

    I'm all for instituting new CAFE standards and better testing procedures for the EPA in estimating a car's true MPG.

    I think the thing that will have the greatest effect, though, will be people just deciding to buy more efficient vehicles and the auto makers responding more quickly by providing them and advertising them that way.
     
  14. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    the real reason the 1500 credit was given was to soothe environmentalists. it was nothing more than a bone thrown to quiet the various organizations that saw the Prius for what it truely was; the biggest and best step towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels ever developed.

    These organizations argued that the full weight and influence of the US government should have been thrown into backing this technology.

    but that would be counter to the bush initiative which is to make bush and his oil croonies rich. So he came up with this $100,000 tax thing to one up the Prius tax thing.

    now you say corporate tax structures are different... they are... and the $35k is accurate as far as real cash value of a $100,000 purchase. but the law states that anyone filing schedule C qualifies.

    WE AINT TALKING CORPORATIONS HERE.
    for one thing the top tax rate for corporations in no where near 35%.

    people filing schedule C include doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, salesmen on commission, etc. iow, regular people filing personnal income tax returns.

    what would happen if 5 % of the people eligible took advantage of this? that would cost the government 10 billion dollars.

    realize that there have only been just over 85,000 Prius' sold in the history of the car line. This years sales should double that (if Toyota can build em fast enough) that equates to tax deduction of TWO H1 Hummers!!!

    The Hummer dealership in North Hollywood, CA estimates that they sold 43 hummers in the last week of 2003 because of the tax law. most sales went to various business professionals. NOT TO CORPORATIONS
     
  15. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    No, its not a call to action really. all ive talked about are done deals. I think its more to let Prius owner know that what they are doing is much bigger than they realize. We as a whole are bucking the governments wishes and they resent it.

    It isnt obvious yet, but we are at the forefront of a citizens revolution. This whole supercar thing, the hybrid controversy along with spiraling gas prices has helped to reveal how much the government is NOT working for the people. All this should make one thing rather clear. The government is controlled by big business and is not taking long term consequences or planning into consideration when making all these short-sighted regulations. But the whole government is not to blame. There are many very good people in government who are constantly be twarted by the top brass. The "retirement" of the EPA director in Jan is another example of a good guy trying to do his job but wasnt able to because of the bush administration and he simply got fed up with the bureaucracy and quit.

    his frustration stemmed from trying to make coal fired plants clean up their act by adhering to the Clean Air act that was made law in the 70's. But as usual, bush has circumvented the laws to help out his personnal interests.
     
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