DuPont CEO supports idea of "Detroit Project", US Savings Bond funding for reinventing auto industry

December 03 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Transportation   Year: 2012   Rating: 2

DuPontEarlier we made a bold forescast that an old industry giant, Johnson Controls, could become one of the most relevant (and greenest) companies in the 'new energy economy' as it delivers energy management solutions, and enables the transition to electric vehicles powered by batteries, fuel cells and capacitors. 

Now we're adding DuPont to that list of companies to watch in the new energy economy.

A New Vision for American Competitiveness?
Speaking to an attentive crowd at the Detroit Economic Club, DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles Holliday, Jr. described a 'unique time for transformation' and called on the United States to improve its global competitiveness via sustainability.

"As industries shift to address the new reality, innovative, science-based products that provide the solutions must lead the way. Speed, agility and transformative science are needed today as never before. Success during this time is ultimately going to come down to two very key concepts: sustainability and competitiveness. Without sustainability, it will be hard for a business to remain competitive in the new reality."

The Detroit Project
Holliday also supported the proposal for the 'Detroit Project', a 'Manhattan Project' style effort to develop a new, energy-efficient vehicle that could achieve 75 miles per gallon.  The U.S. Council on Competitiveness has proposed funding for the program to come from a U.S. savings bonds program to stimulate U.S. personal savings and provide financing for U.S. infrastructure investments like the Detroit Project.

Why DuPont?
  Does the Auto Industry need help from the World of Science?

DuPont is a giant in the materials science world, and that is exactly what Detroit and the world's auto industry needs.  Breakthroughs in materials science that change the nature of vehicle design and performance, and can enable the industry to move beyond the manufacturing costs of the combustion engine.

DuPont can provide lighter structural materials (e.g. nanometal-polymer hybrid materials) to improve efficiencies, and materials components for modular energy storage systems (e.g. battery films, fuel cell membranes).

"If all of us with a stake in the auto industry join forces in a compelling way, we believe we can create a car of the future that could positively impact two things we care about today: the environment and the economy."

"The Detroit Project would redeploy the best, most dedicated people to a project that would deliver in less than two years a critical factor in the successful rejuvenation of the U.S. economy," Holliday said. "DuPont would be interested in participating in a project like this and we know other companies would join as well."

"The new reality is characterized by increased demand for natural resources while availability is decreasing," Holliday said. "Growth in demand for consumer durables, coupled with infrastructure needs in large, formerly constrained economies, is having an impact on both natural resources and food. The cost of everything that comes out of the ground has increased."

Source Chemistry Times


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Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. That shouldn’t be very hard. Ford only has 10 mpg to go. Ford already makes a 65 mpg car—in Europe.

    The problem is not innovation. It’s corporate ignorance and government meddling. They claim not to sell it here because Americans wouldn’t buy a diesel car or that taxes are too high. Detroit has also been telling us for years that people don’t want fuel efficiency. Ridiculous.

    If people can be sold on energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs, that oh by the way, are worse for the environment because of the mercury they contain… diesel shouldn’t be much of a stretch. It’s called public relations.

    Posted by: AdamEdwards   December 04, 2008
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  2. Adam – nice find…yes, agree its completely possible! And I should have noted that 75 mpg is pretty low as a long term target! But left DuPont CEO to speak for himself. Agreed that efficiency can matter more… but I don’t think that solves Detroit’s problem—and that is its expensive factory footprint and inability to change chassis quickly while using combustion engines (or diesel)

    I think the future is based on modular designs using electric motors, fuel cells, batteries and capacitors. So – I’m with you on what could happen- but am not sure that working to improve the combustion engine is going to give us a high ROI.

    Time to move beyond the mechanical engine era.. Thanks for the comment!

    Posted by: Garry Golden   December 10, 2008
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