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DaimlerChrysler to Help Build Zero-Emission Community

June 05, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Developers of the 13,000-unit Playa Vista planned community in West Los Angeles have contracted with DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Global Electric Motorcars to develop a zero-emission community transportation plan.

The arrangement also makes GEM the exclusive retailer of low-speed electric vehicles in the community.

Under the plan, electric vehicles would be the dominant mode of transportation. Electric trams and low-speed electric vehicles would be used for personal trips within the community, and electric city cars would be available on a per-trip basis for use in the region by residents and business tenants.

"Our residents will be able to keep their gas guzzlers in the garage and use electric vehicles for trips within Playa Vista and throughout the greater Southern California area," said Playa Vista President Steve Soboroff.

Atlanta-based EMotion Mobility is providing the telematics, management and reservation systems for the program, as well as the electric vehicles used in the car-sharing program.

IRS Sets New Eligibility Rules for Deductions

The IRS has issued new guidance spelling out that hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles such as the Honda Insight and Civic and the Toyota Prius are eligible for the $2,000 federal clean-fuel vehicle deduction.

The full deduction applies to hybrids purchased between 2000 and 2003. Consumers who bought those vehicles in 2000 or 2001 must file an amended tax return to get the deduction.

A reduced deduction is included under current rules for hybrids purchased from 2004 to 2006. The amount diminishes each year because the IRS figures the number of hybrids will be increasing.

More details are available through tax advisors or on the IRS Web site at

GM, Suzuki Team Up With Electrovaya

General Motors and Suzuki Motor Co. said their joint-venture plant in Ontario, Canada, will team up with Electrovaya Inc., a Canadian battery maker, to develop electric vehicles.

Electrovaya, which makes lithium-ion rechargeable batteries for laptop computers, will develop an electric propulsion system for the Chevrolet Tracker and Suzuki Vitara twins, compact sport utility vehicles built at the Canadian plant.

Plans for Dodge Durango Hybrid Are Shelved

Changing product plans at Dodge's truck division have driven a stake through the heart of previously announced plans to build and market a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Dodge Durango SUV, parent DaimlerChrysler says.

Dodge wants to boost the size of the Durango so it can compete in the hot, full-size sport utility market, says Jeff Schuster of J.D. Power and Associates. The bigger platform negates the fuel savings of a hybrid Durango.

Chrysler still intends to use its unique hybrid system in something, and Schuster is guessing it might be the four-wheel-drive Pacifica, a sport utility wagon coming in 2003 as an '04 model.

Chrysler's hybrid system for four-wheel-drive vehicles uses a gas engine to drive one set of wheels and an independent electric power plant to drive the second set. A computer links the two and decides when to add the electric power to the mix.

In conventional two-wheel-drive hybrid systems, the electric motor works as a supercharger to boost the output of the gasoline engine.

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