H-y-d-r-o-g-e-n !!! h2 is where it's at
I can't believe this isn't even an option in this thread? I've talked with an auto industry insider and he says there was a study done in 'overall environmental impact' from car models and the Toyota Prius ranked dead last! Why? Because the battery cells will need to be replaced, and they are highly toxic, among other things. (The highest rated car in the survey was the Yaris, also a Toyota model).
While bio-diesel is a great stopgap fuel alternative, it still isn't as clean as nothing. As in hydrogen. CNG, ethanol, and electric I think are simply harder to have universal access to. I can't wait for hydrogen fuel cell cars (& trucks/ess-you-vees) to make it to the market. There have already been some successful prototypes, it's basically range and cost of manufacturing that is holding them back (from what I understand).
A newer alternative is Lithium-Ion, like the Chevy Volt or the swank new Tesla. But again, it is the battery thing. However, the Tesla is pretty sexy for alternative fuel (really, really sexy).
I remember reading a couple years ago that GM was not going to get into the hybrid market and was working diligently on h2 cars (that's changed now)... That, (again) hybrids aren't a perfect solution, they are a stopgap. BMW purportedly has an h2 prototype car, but won't release anything in the near future. Several other mfr's are well along as well.
What I think may be truly exciting is to see if a new car manufacturer arrives with h2 fuel. Not a new badge from a current mfr, but a whole new company. It could be an opportune time to introduce themselves as a customer is looking for something new. Somebody that wants to join the fray, like a new Sparrow model, or a DeLorean... (Is Sir Richard Branson a reader of CNet forums?).
I realize the implications: a dealer network, parts network, mfr'g facilities, etc (read HUNDREDS of millions of USD at the barest minimum)... But it would be a great time and I think people would be more receptive to NEW than they would be if one were to try to compete against the current market leaders (read: Brilliance selling in US and Europe), with a similar product (read: combustion engine).
Well, others may disagree, but that's my take. My .05 cents FWIW. (haven't you heard .02 has gone up with inflation?). Cheers.
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