Toyota Prius Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,237 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Very interesting article, need everyones opinions regarding this article
found posted in Yahoo Prius group. The article is long....

Power Portfolio
Thursday March 24, 6:05 pm ET
By Peter W. Huber Mark P. Mills
Have you had enough of oil stocks? Here's another energy play-invest
in companies that will participate in the reinvention of the gasoline
automobile around hybrid engines.


At first glance, hybrid car economics just don't make sense. A
conventional engine costs about $70 per horsepower-or, in electrical
units, about $50 per kilowatt. Now add the extra cost of going
hybrid: The power electronics required to convert horsepower to
kilowatts run $6 a kilowatt, battery packs add another $25, and then
you need electric motors, at $15 a kilowatt, to turn electricity back
into shaft power to drive the wheels. For an SUV these and related
electrical parts are going to run something like $5,000. Why pay for
all that extra hardware when it ends right back where it began, in
the mechanical power of a spinning shaft?
ADVERTISEMENT


Cut to the chase: You'll buy it, and like it. By 2015 almost every
new car and truck will be built around a hybrid drive. Detroit hasn't
witnessed a comparable revolution in automotive technology since the
days of Henry Ford. Companies that catch the wave are going to
prosper.

To invest in the hybrid future, don't pick General Motors or Ford.
Look instead to manufacturers of power silicon-Fairchild,
International Rectifier, ON Semiconductor, Siliconix (80% owned by
Vishay), Diodes and Ixys. "The automotive platform is one of our main
engines for growth," says Ixys Chief Executive Nathan Zommer. But
also keep an eye on their foreign competitors-Eupec (an Infineon
subsidiary), the omnipresent Toshiba and Mitsubishi (which is also in
Powerex, a joint venture with General Electric). Also worth watching:
the main U.S. suppliers of drivetrain assemblies and the entire array
of automotive peripherals, like Delphi, Visteon, Lear, Dana, Eaton,
ArvinMeritor and TRW Automotive. Auto parts firms have deep troubles
these days, to be sure, but those troubles are already reflected in
the prices of their shares. By betting on these old-guard companies,
you are betting on their ability to reinvent themselves as they
reinvent their product lines around power sili con.

Power under the hybrid hood has to be converted and transformed again
and again. Driven by the engine-or by the wheels
during "regenerative" braking-the alternator delivers messy, highly
variable AC power that requires a lot of cleanup before it can be
dispatched to do anything useful. The battery pack draws and delivers
clean, low-voltage DC power. The electric motors that drive the
wheels run on 42, 300 and even 500 volts. And power has to be
reconfigured once more to run 14- or 42-volt electric steering,
brakes, fans, cooling pumps, ignition, transmission, active
suspension and dozens of other peripherals.

Electric power-massaging equipment already is, astoundingly, a $50
billion global industry. Embedded in everything from desktop
computers to mining trucks, power supplies and related gear are
becoming ubiquitous. But until recently the products were just too
expensive, bulky and unreliable to be scattered across an automotive
platform. Now, however, advanced power supplies are built around high-
speed, high-power semiconductor switches-silicon doing for power what
it already does for logic. Every couple of years power-chip
manufacturers double the power that their chips can handle.
Individual power chips now switch tens of kilowatts, and a handful
are enough to handle the entire output of a truck engine.

"Twenty years ago no engineers imagined they'd have power transistors
at the price, efficiency and capabilities we have now," says
Zommer. "Our engineers have been able to ride the coattails of the
fantastic improvements in tools, quality of silicon and manufacturing
[of the computer chip business]." In the coming decade look to
companies like Cree and Infineon-and likely the Japanese-to deliver
transistors built on diamondlike silicon carbide, propelling another
ten-fold improvement in both power density and price.

Shrink and speed up the switches, and you can make all the
surrounding capacitors, inductors and transformers in the power
supply much smaller, too. Since 1994 power supplies have shrunk three-
fold, and prices have dropped more than fivefold. It is the dramatic
though little noted advance in power semiconductors, together with
parallel improvements in sensors and microprocessors, that have made
the silicon drivetrain compact and affordable enough for cars

Toyota Hybrids for this planet called, green Earth !
 
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Top