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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 13th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From the US we got – Small Car, Big Changes: When full-scale production of the Chevrolet Sonic begins in August at General Motors Corporation in the USA, it will be the only subcompact car produced in the United States.

They say: “To make it profitable, General Motors created a two-tier pay structure in which 40 percent of the entry-level workers are paid less, and revamped the assembly process. The assembly line for the Sonic is about 500,000 square feet, which is about half the size of a typical plant.”

How wrong can GM be, and how hopeless the US economy is in its steps?
See – all what they did was reduce the size of the assembly line, the size of the car, and the salaries they pay their labor force. I bet that these innovations will increase the cost of the car. That is very dandy according to old time economists – but it will not fly in a market in which consumers have a right to buy or not to buy.

Will Washington have to close the US doors to better imports – more desirable to knowledgeable consumers?
When I read this, I just came back from seeing a vehicle that was parked in front of the Maria Hilfer Church on the Mariahilfer Strasse in Vienna’s 6th district. The vehicle was a really small Peugeot iON – it says that it is iDEAL for the new urban mobility. Why so? This is because it is 100% electric.
This little car can do 130-150 Km on a charge that takes 10 minutes on fast charge or 3 hours if you do it by yourself from the regular electric outlet.  For these purposes the car has two different electricity intakes that you can use at will. It will cost you just 2.5 Euro if you do it yourself – if you do it at a charge station fast – it will cost you more, but as said – if you do it by yourself it will cost you one tenth of the cost of gasoline.
Sure, these are prototypes and as such cost much money – I was quoted 35.000 Euro for the vehicle – but then all sort of incentives are being contemplated and if you drive a lot your gains will be from the gas you save – our gains will be from the CO2 that you do not spew into the air.
In Europe, governments do think of air quality as a common good and consider savings in health costs part of the National governing plan. So much as we must point out that the 100% electric Peugeot – no hybrid gimmick please – is being shown off in Austria by the OEVP Party which is the minor member of the rulling coalition in the Austrian government.
The OEVP holds onto the Foreign Ministry (Mr. Michael Spindelegger),  the Environment Ministry (Mr. Nikolaus Berlakovich), the Energy Ministry (Mr. Reinhold Mitterlehner), and the Science and Research Ministry (Mr. Karlheinz Töchterle) – all important in the sponsorship of improvement of mobility in Austria. They do not hold on to the portfolio of  Transportation Ministry – but how can that Ministry behave in any other way then accepting pro-electricity arguments when these are interrelated to an Eco-electric Power law that promotes enhancement of solar and wind energy in Austria. Such a law was just past last Thursday in the Austrian Parliament – so the electric cars have indeed a future here and Austria will help paving the way for the increased introduction of electric mobility in other places as well.
The OEVP campaign’s motto is “JA, E” or YES to Electric Cars and the EKOSTROM LAW.
The poster picture shows a little car that has a long wire with an electric plug at its end. POWER TO THESE AUSTRIANS!

Strange as it may seem – the OEVP which is the more Conservative – the Black Party – in the Austrian Coalition they have with the Socialist centrists of the OESP – or the Red Party, come through as trying to “out-greene” the opposition Austrian Green Party.
For further references: www.agenda-wien.at    – www.peugeot.at

But I do not end here, this morning I was at an event at the Austrian Diplomatic Academy where the two Foreign Ministers of Austria and Croatia, Messrs. Michael Spindelegger  and Gordan Jandrokovi?, both holding also onto the positions of Vice Chancellor and Vice Prime Minister in their specific countries, where celebrating the agreed upon track for Croatia’s accession to the EU.

In the process I heard that the bilateral discussions will deal also with the environment and climate change.

Then I learned from Vjekoslav Majetic, Director General of a Croatian firm DOK-ING that makes industrial equipment they sell globally – that they contemplate making small electric cars. Would this not be an ideal case of leap-frogging?
Croatia come to the EU with the outlines to build an assembly line for small electric cars?
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