The Government and the US Auto Industry

You know the Federal Government always thinks they know better than we what is best for us and they are ultimately responsible for the collapse of the American Auto Industry.  In their infinite wisdom they told us that we WANTED small fuel efficient cars.  They required the automakers to make these and they sat on their lots because we wouldn’t buy them.  We wanted large SUV’s so they imposed gas-guzzler taxes.  When that did not work they began placing special requirements for oil processing for different seasons and different regions causing the price of fuel to rise dramatically.  Some of us bought into their ploy and purchased smaller cars — but we did not like it.  Some of us called their ploy and reduced our driving whenever we could.  With a glut of oil the prices came down.  If the government would simply let the free market alone and stop meddling with businesses then technology will flourish and America will stay on top.

So this week I decided to bring you some news on Technology that is being developed within and outside of the mainstream auto industry.  I interview CEO’s and even a professor about what they are doing and where they see the future of the American Auto industry.  Enjoy!

Reducing Emissions Today on your Current Automobile

William O’Brien of Sabertec has used technology to develop a consumer product to reduce emissions for gasoline powered vehicles.  Their product called Blade primarily acts as a filter to capture toxic particulate material (PM), but without creating an obstruction on your tailpipe. It also prevents back pressure due to the built in pressure release which allows exhaust scavenging resulting in a cleaner burn.  It reduces emissions and improves fuel economy by decreasing the duration of a vehicle’s “cold start” operations while lowering emissions and improving fuel economy by changing the exhaust pulse profile reducing pumping loss and improving the volumetric efficiency of the engine.This product is the first to have met and exceeded by EPA 511 guidelines for an increase in fuel economy.

Following the EPA 511 Guideline test protocol, Blade underwent independent testing by the nation’s premier emissions testing lab, the Automotive Testing and Development Services, Inc. (ATDS).  ATDS is approved by the EPA and licensed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 

EPA guidelines for a fleet of five vehicles state that the fuel economy increase must average three percent to be considered a real effect. The fleet of five Bladed vehicles tested – including 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder, 8 cylinder, foreign, domestic and Hybrid vehicles – averaged a four percent increase.  This achievement is historic as it has never before been demonstrated by any aftermarket device.

TABLE 1: For each car tested, CO2 reduction and fuel economy increases often exceeded expectations:

Vehicle Type CO2 Emissions Reduction (up to … ) Fuel Economy Increase (up to…)

2004 Honda Civic 6% 6%

2008 Hyundai Sonata 12% 12%

2007 Ford E-250 6% 5%

2008 Pontiac G6 6% 4%

2007 Toyota Prius 6% 3%

William J. O’Brien CEO, Founder

In addition to leading Sabertec, Mr. O’Brien is a co-founder and general partner of Saber Capital. In this capacity, Mr. O’Brien oversees the selection and management of the investment firm’s portfolio companies. Mr. O’Brien served as Chairman and CEO of Octave Software, a provider of next-generation content management solutions. In addition to launching Octave’s product line, Mr. O’Brien developed its key partnerships, recruited its managers, and played an instrumental role in securing its major customers. He also led the company in a $4 million preferred round financing from Sigma Partners. Mr. O’Brien was also actively involved in the direction of Saber Capital’s Austin-based professional services firm, Neogent, Inc., which it funded in 2000 and sold to Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: SUN) in 2006. Mr. O’Brien also holds board seats at San Jose based, Jetalon Solutions, a maker of precision, liquid chemical sensor and control systems. Since the initiation of Mr. O’Brien’s involvement, the company has increased shareholder value nearly 17x. Before co-founding Saber Capital, Mr. O’Brien spent over 12-years in the high technology industry, most recently serving as Vice President of Sales for the Americas at Vignette Corporation (NASD: VIGN). Benefiting from Mr. O’Brien’s direction, Vignette became the fastest growing enterprise software company in industry history, with annual revenues growing from $3 million to over $500 million in a three-year period.

About Sabertec

Sabertec, based in Austin, Texas, is on the vanguard of solving environmental challenges through technology, education and the inspiration of behavioral change. Sabertec products reduce fossil fuel burning engine emissions that are known contributors to global warming, as well as health consequences including cancer, strokes and respiratory diseases. Launched in 2008, Blade, is the company’s first consumer product available in the United States. Blade was developed utilizing Sabertec’s patent-pending impact filtration method, which is the core technology in their IDPF product. IDPF has been reducing toxic diesel particulate matter emissions on commercial bus fleets in Sao Paulo, Brazil since 2005.

Sabertec’s product, Blade easily attaches to the tailpipe of a car to reduce CO2 emissions and toxic particulate matter – a type of pollution that includes dust, soot, and tiny bits of solid materials suspended in the air.

Sustainable Alternative Fuels are being developed in the U.S. Today

Bus run by biodiesel
Image via Wikipedia

President Obama has spoken about the need to increase the production of sustainable energy here in the US and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  Although his ideals may be laudable he does not understand the infrastructure to make it happen.  Congresses legislative push to make this happen has caused numerous problems around the world included massive food shortages and riots over food.  Although it is technologically possible to retrofit automobiles to accommodate sustainable fuels such as biodiesel there are significant stumbling blocks to making it work seamlessly.  Our entire infrastructure is based on petroleum distribution.  The cars were designed to run on petroleum and the government created laws and rules that all but eliminated diesel for passenger cars in favor of gasoline.  Going from petroleum diesel to bio-diesel is not a huge jump however going from gasoline to bio-diesel creates a technological and supply rift that must be overcome before it will be viable.  Bio-diesel needs to be made from sustainable crops such as algae and stink-weed that do not affect the world food supply.

There are many who are lamenting about the economy and the end of American manufacturing — but John Fox of Innovation Fuels has taken the bear by the scruff of the neck and now produces up 950,000 barrels of biodiesel a year.  They export over 80 percent of that to Europe because our automotive diesel industry dwindled due to a lack of understanding by congress who imposed legislation that favored gasoline over diesel.

Among alternative fuels, biodiesel is growing rapidly.  Made from vegetable oils and animal fats the biodiesel is being blended with petroleum diesel fuel by Innovation Fuels into the finished product which is being sold to power diesel engines and to heat homes.  The advantage of biodiesel over full petroleum diesel is that it produces 60 percent less greenhouse gases than diesel.  Biodiesel provides a substantial reduction in exhaust emissions, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, unburned hydrocarbons and black smoke.  It is safe to say then that using biodiesel helps to protect the environment and that is good for all our health.  John Fox puts his money where his mouth is and drives a car that runs on biodiesel.  He says there is no noticeable difference when driving this vehicle because biodiesel releases the same amount of power as petroleum diesel. It also provides the same lubricating function as petroleum diesel with low sulfur. Additional benefits of using biodiesel is that it is a renewable resource that can be produced here in the United States reducing our demand on imported oil and it is safer to transport than gasoline.  This cheaper alternative can be used in any diesel engine or home heating oil burner.  There are major technological hurdles required to change our infrastructure from petroleum based vehicles to electric vehicles including the development of a clean power grid.  The research and development will depend on huge outlays of private funds and protection of the private intellectual property.  The technological development of high mileage vehicles will make the US economically competitive for decades on the international marketplace.  The US is on the threshold of a vital and transformative change and getting biodiesel and other sustainably powered vehicles into production and then on the road is the future of the American Auto Industry.

About John:

John Fox is President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation Fuels. He has been building businesses and product offerings for the past 15 years, seven years of which have been in US energy industry. Mr. Fox started a renewable energy project development company, Homeland Energy Resources Development, Inc. in 2001, and subsequently its biodiesel division in 2005, which was merged into Innovation Fuels. He led Homeland Energy to an average 50 percent year-over-year revenue growth and managed a team that developed more than $5 million alternative fuel projects. Prior to founding Homeland Energy, Mr. Fox led the business development of a biogas technology company, the financing of an independent oil and gas company, and the product development of a Lucent Technologies company. Since 1991, Mr. Fox has served as General Partner at Renard Properties, a Mid-Atlantic real-estate development and management company. He holds a BA from Syracuse University and an MBA from Columbia Business School and is currently a member of the National Biodiesel Board, American Council on Renewable Energy, Environmental Business Association of New York State, and U.S. Green Building Council. 

About Innovation Fuels:

As a leading biodiesel manufacturer, Innovation Fuels cares about making the world a better place to live today and tomorrow. But taking care of our customers is our number one business priority. Our goal is to help you choose biodiesel as a viable, sustainable, high-performance fuel. Let us put our extensive experience in the fuel industry to work for you.

Biodiesel is the fastest growing alternative fuel. It’s clean and non-toxic so it’s good for you. It’s high-quality and easy to integrate into your operation so it’s good for your business. And it’s biodegradable and renewable so it’s good for the world. Biodiesel contains no petroleum but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel and works in any diesel engine.

Innovation Fuels…Good for You, Good for Your Business, Good for the World.

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Electric and Hybrid Technology being Utilized in many Industries

John Giliberti runs a company with wide-reaching electric and hybrid automotive technology that is being utilized in many industries that cannot use standard automotive technology due to facility constraints, size or cost.  Their cost effective solutions have made them a leader in the electric vehicle industry for the past 22 years.  Later this year they will have the ability to replace the F550 and International trucks with our new larger units. These will be for operations that do not require travel over 50 mph such as small towns island operations and port and base operations.

Additionally, their Servace Alloy product is used by some of the most prestigious country clubs in the nation.  They are specialty small electric vehicles that brush and roll clay tennis courts and cause no noise pollution and cost only about seventy-five cents a night to charge.  They also build mini ambulances for use in production plants and large theme parks.  Due to their size they can be used in crowded areas where a full size unit cannot operate.

In 2009 they will introduce a new mini hybrid fire truck specifically designed for the forest industry.  They are the leader in the airline industry where they design an manufacture push back tractors, belt loaders, and high lifts on both their electric and hybrid chassis.

About John:

John graduated from Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, Florida and went right into running his own company. John’s company manufactures (and mainstreams) diesel-hybrid and electric vehicles. Their cars, trucks, etc. are pulling US Airways passenger jets on the tarmac at some of America’s busiest airports and are on the short list to save the U.S. military billions in fuel costs by supplying them with vehicles.

About Giliberti:

Giliberti is a research, development & manufacturing company for vehicles in the airline, golf, tennis, and emergency medical services (EMS) industries.

The quality of our vehicles is the highest priority for Giliberti. We work closely with our customers to insure our products are not only the finest built, but are also serve a variety of needs and purposes.

Giliberti’’s mission will always be to develop, design and manufacture efficient, affordable, and reliable electrically powered utility vehicles to meet our customers needs. We have never lost sight of this goal and keep it at the forefront of every project we undertake. Giliberti continues to be on the cutting edge by finding new opportunities to design and develop products to meet niche market needs.

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Mercedes and Chrysler rollout a Telematics Solution in 2009

HUGHES Telematics will begin rollout of its telematics solution in 2009 and will ramp up to 100% of new vehicles over the course of the next few years. Initial rollout their services with their automotive partners, Mercedes and Chrysler, will leverage a safety and security platform upon which we will build more connected services.

The hardware in the vehicle opens the door for revolutionary new technologies services to be introduced such as voice-based email, vehicle control from an iPhone, real-time diagnostics and remote emissions inspections provide real benefits for the consumer.

Similar to cell phone application stores, HUGHES Telematics will provide drivers with the ability to add applications, content, functionality and services to their vehicles. These services may include traffic management tools, customized weather notices, social networking applications and other location based services instead of simply relying on product planners to predict what will be current in three years, five years, ten years.

In the near future drivers will have access to “virtual accessories” Hughes Telematics will provide drivers with the opportunity to purchase connected accessories such as navigation, satellite radio and Bluetooth at any time after purchasing the car. These accessories come built in to every car, and the drivers can choose how and when to activate such as for a one time use, one month, or lifetime.  This technology will do for the vehicle what USB did for the computer. Hughes Telematics is the first in the industry to achieve Next Generation Telematics Architecture, which is both flexible and open, allowing the ability to add services, content providers and applications long after the purchase of the vehicle.  This means that they are able to future-proof tomorrow’s cars with a combination of connectivity to the vehicle and their Next Generation Telematics Architecture gives them the ability to continually update the vehicle’s capabilities protect obsolescence as future services are introduced.

One of the core values of Hughes Telematics is simplicity.  The technology leverages natural voice recognition allowing drivers to speak naturally in their own words to activate services.  This eliminates the need to memorize key words and is as simple as having a conversation.

HUGHES Telematics is a tier-one supplier to Chrysler and Mercedes and will be launching “connected car” service with both companies in calendar year 2009.  While the initial service will be focused on safety and security, the company has developed an industry-first auto communications platform that includes:

About Eric:

Erik Goldman is President of HUGHES Telematics, a telematics service company that is majority owned by Apollo Management, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. He has served in this position since the company’s inception in 2006.

Prior to joining HUGHES Telematics, Goldman spent nearly 25 years in varied engineering, operations and business development roles in the telecom and telematics industries. Most recently, Goldman served as Vice President of SkyTerra Communications, where his responsibilities included acquisition, development and corporate oversight of the organization’s portfolio companies in the wireless and satellite services industry.

Prior to SkyTerra, Goldman served in leadership roles developing military communications networks with Raytheon and Mitre Corporation, commercial mobile wireless businesses with dbX Corporation, a holding company established to invest in, develop and operate new businesses in the telecom, paging and satellite communications industry and most recently was with Leo One Worldwide where as Vice President of Technology & Strategic Development he led the development of a global Telematics solution for the automotive industry.

Goldman earned his MBA from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He has written numerous white papers, and has published in the International Journal of Satellite Communications. In addition, he has held a number of government security clearances including Top Secret and holds a U.S. Patent, with several others pending.

About Hughes Telematics:

They are delivering the next generation of vehicle information-based technologies and services – today. Their patented systems allow complete connectivity to any make or model vehicle, but that is just the beginning. What really differentiates them from other companies is their broad portfolio of services. Each designed to significantly improve vehicle and customer relationship management potential while greatly reducing costs. Whether in the business of automotive manufacturing, dealer operations, fleet management or affiliated services such as insurance or car rental, we can help map out the fastest road to greater efficiency and revenue. They will also demonstrate solutions never thought practical.

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