I live in WA. My real concern is the despite the spin, the results will turn out to be rather pedestrian and that we shouldn't expect very much that's new from the established players.
I feel that fuel price and availability is a looming issue that few of the major domestic players is addressing in any substantial way.
Having said that, I have more faith in Toyota to be a front runner and most elligible for a big slice of the innovation fund.
I'm out of my box now.
Recently the talk at GMH was E85 (it's part of the problem, not a solution), Diesel, 4 cylinder commodore (hey didn't I have one of those in the '80s - it was a dog) and a hybrid version (no details, but I can guess). There's a lot of scope for tinkering without doing anything very worthwhile.
The glimpses of what Detroit is doing makes me think that they're reading from the wrong book.
The 2008 Detroit motor show, the 4-seat Chrysler Voyager electric is claimed to be 65km/charge, 200KW with a 9.5 second 0-100 time, meaning that it's really heavy, probably about 2.5 tonnes! Anybody suggesting this isn't talking 'green', that was 2008.
Which gets me to a more local issue:
In 60 years, the fuel efficiency of holdens has gone backwards, largely due to the weight gain. The 2009 'Omega' (prophecy?) Commodore weighs 1700kg vs 1050 for the 1948 FX and burns 10.5 l/100km vs 9.5 in 1948. It's better to crash, a lot more expensive to fix and has a heater, but I have difficulty swallowing the marketing hype.
Generally the market analyses revolve around the recovery time of the additional cost of an innovation such as a hybrid. If the more expensive hybrid only reduces the fuel consumption by 20-30%, it's actually not very valuable, since the cost of ownership and level of oil dependency isn't much different.
Without addressing the fundamentals of what the industry is making, this is likely to remain the case.
My analysis of EV performance shows that weight is the critical determinant. It is particularly important at low speed, where most cars spend most of thier time. The weight makes a recent commodore a lousy conversion candidate. The implication is that it'll also make it a lousy hybrid, probably between 7 and 8 l/100km, and likely worse if the hybrid bit is really no more than engine-off idling.
Mass is such a problem because it consumes resourses and results in an uncomfortable escalation of body, suspension and driveline component size, weight and cost.
For this reason I feel that the makers have to address weight before anything else they do will be substantial. And it needs to be substantial like 40 percent.
Hopefully, from the current chaos, new players with some real novelty and elegant solutions may emerge.
The world of electric car components, well established light weight composite manufacturing, which suits low to medium volume, will help enable start-up operators that can deliver what the entrenched makers are unwilling or unable to. It should make for interesting times.
Now to don my asbestos suit for the inevitable retort...