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Old 12-03-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default Detroit Project: 'Car of the future'

DuPont Chairman and CEO Chad Holliday tells the Detroit Economic Club about his "crazy idea" for a car of the future. (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / The Detroit News)

DETROIT -- The chairman and CEO of chemical giant DuPont called on top United States companies to band together to create a "car of the future" within the next two years.

The endeavor could be called the Detroit Project, DuPont chief Chad Holliday said, and would be led by the Big Three automakers in a collaboration akin to the Manhattan Project, the national effort to develop the first nuclear weapon during World War II.'

The car would be safe, sensitive to the environment, capable of 75 miles per gallon -- and powered with butanol, a biofuel similar to ethanol but more tolerant to water contamination, made by DuPont.

Holliday unveiled his self-described "crazy idea" to the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday at a luncheon at the Westin Book Cadillac.

"This is a unique time in history," Holliday said. "It just seems like this is the one window when you can pull something like this off."

The vehicle, which he said could be "the best in the world," could help the United States to recapture its competitive edge in two areas -- the environment and the economy.
The project would require $5 billion in seed money, which could be raised by selling U.S. bonds similar to the way the government raised money for the war effort more than 60 years ago. The project would yield a strong return on investment, he said.

Calling upon citizens to invest in the effort would "build some national pride around the project," he said. Project leaders could be required to report back to the American public in monthly briefings.

While such a project may have been seen as "anti-competitive" 10 or 15 years ago, the financial news from the past few months, including mounting foreclosures and unemployment rates and collapsing financial institutions has provided a support base for an alternate business model.
Though General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC would represent the "core" of the project, other companies would bring "a different mindset and different answers" to the project.

Holliday mentioned Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc., Boeing Co. and Google Inc., as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan, as possible collaborators.
He said he has not approached any of the companies he mentioned.

"I'll admit that it's not a totally unique idea," Holliday said, acknowledging that there are "a number of partnerships already going on."

While the reality of a Detroit Project may not be impossible, it sounds improbable, according to Richard Hill, an economics professor at Central Michigan University.

"Well, we put a man on the moon," Hill said, "but that was a government-run project. It's hard to believe that if this could be done, it hasn't already been done."
The consequences of a private collaboration raises a host of questions, he said.

"If this is a private effort, who bears the fruit when it turns a profit? Assuming you break off at some point and have competition, how do you deal with proprietary rights?"
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:20 PM   #2
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:35 PM   #3
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So he wants Detroit to build a car that is powered by the chemical his company makes?

How altruistic...
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:47 PM   #4
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Yeah....no point in investing time, money and the company's future on a product they can make a profit on....
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:28 PM   #5
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That's how business works. He proposes an idea that helps his company and helps their company.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
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that 's, like, your
alternate facts, man.


Oh.. 'future'.. not 'Tomorrow'
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:23 PM   #7
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We already have a government program for that. It's called FreedomCAR.

In January 2002, USCAR and the U.S. Department of Energy teamed together to create the FreedomCAR Partnership.

In September 2003, the FreedomCAR effort expanded to become the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, adding five energy companies* – BP America, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corporation and Shell Hydrogen LLC – to the USCAR/DOE partnership. It is supported by numerous suppliers, research institutions and universities.

The “CAR” in FreedomCAR stands for Cooperative Automotive Research.

The “Freedom” in FreedomCAR frames the partnership’s principles. These are:

* Freedom from dependence on imported oil;
* Freedom from pollutant emissions;
* Freedom for Americans to choose the kind of vehicle they want to drive, and to drive where they want, when they want; and
* Freedom to obtain fuel affordably and conveniently.

The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership’s mission is to develop and advance high-risk research needed to create component and infrastructure technologies that will:

* enable a full range of affordable cars light trucks and the fueling infrastructure for them;
* reduce the dependence of the nation’s personal transportation system on imported oil;
* minimize harmful vehicle emissions, without sacrificing freedom of mobility and freedom of vehicle choice; and
* enable transition to a hydrogen transportation economy.
The only thing they don't have is a solid set of defined deliverables, and a timetable. Knowing the players in this program, that's probably by design.

Fortunately Nissan/Renault, BMW, Mitusibishi, Subaru and others are doing an end-run around the domestic manufacturers and the oil companies by jumping straight to electricity...
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:55 AM   #8
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desparate idea to hands out the bailout money
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:22 AM   #9
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Why not buy the rights to a FIAT? It kept the eastern bloc building cars for 30 years...
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