Green Auto Industry at Odds With a Viable One

Car companies lose money for years on new technologies
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Nov 25, 2008 9:27 AM CST
The BMW Concept 7 Series Active Hybrid debuts during media previews for the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008. The show opens to the public Friday, Nov. 21.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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(Newser) – Critics of Detroit complain that the stubborn Big Three are dying because they won’t make the energy-efficient cars people want. But it can take years for a new hybrid or plug-in model to become profitable, putting lawmakers' vision of a green auto industry at odds with their desire for a viable one, the Washington Post reports.

Experts estimate that a plug-in car's battery will tack on $8,000 to its price; about half of Americans wouldn't qualify for Barack Obama's proposed $7,500 tax credit for such vehicles, while others may not be able to shell out the cash and wait for their refund. That means the Volt and its costly battery won't be GM's saving grace, says an industry analyst. "Are they going to be able to stake their survival, which is really more of a now to 5-year proposition, on it? I'd say they can't."