Economical enough

An actual example within the manufacturing industry where job opportunities should skyrocket as a result of initiatives like the Apollo Alliance is the power semi-conductor business. The basic premise of a hybrid vehicle is the energy that is generated is transformed and recycled all over again. “Electric power-massaging equipment” is already a large market. However, until the power sources were fabricated with high-velocity and high-energy semi-conductors, the products were not economical enough.

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Engineers have benefited from the capacity and price of power transistors. They have made use of the enhancements in the quality of silicon and have raised prospects for makers of parts of the silicon automobile. “Even when we get to only 5% or 10% of vehicles as hybrids, a niche for the auto industry, it’s still a huge deal for the power semiconductor business,” observes Stephen Ahrens, Fairchild’s director of discrete automotive-power products. (Huber & Mills, 2005) By 2015 most cars will be manufactured around a hybrid engine, which will very positively impact the prospects of the following producers of power silicon and transistor components: Cree, Diodes, Fairchild Semiconductor Intl., Infineon Technologies, International Rectifier, IXYS, ON Semiconductor and Siliconix.

As previously illustrated, the costs of hybrid vehicles are much higher compared to conventional vehicles of similar caliber and performance. Toyota president, Katsuaki Watanabe, announced a recent target for the company’s cost reduction of their hybrid fleet which was one half of existing models. (hybrid citation) Recognizing that the key factor driving up the costs of hybrid vehicles is the battery, Toyota decided to improve battery technology. The Prius, for example, utilizes a gas motor along with a motor powered by nickel-metal-hydride batteries, which through a spike in demand has led to higher costs of this raw material.

The evolvement of the light-weight lithium-ion battery may improve Toyota’s chances of achieving its aspiration to sell a million hybrids, annually. Johnson Controls, a leader in supply motor vehicle power solutions, is operating on a new age of hybrids with new rechargeable batteries that will provide additional cutbacks on fuel and greenhouse gases by enabling the battery to be plugged in. (VandeHei, 2006) This variety of battery is made to generate levels of power two to three times more than the nickel batteries together with 50 percent less weight, which offer consumers long-term cost benefits.

In February 2006, President Bush addressed the nation at the State of the Union and expressed concern about the solidity of the governments of the nations for which we rely on for oil and emphasized the instability of the markets. He requested an undertaking to substitute 75% of total imports from the Middle East by 2025. U.S. representatives feel that the nation will have trouble achieving this goal since their belief is that a decline in imports from the Middle East is more dependent upon the state of the markets than government orders. (VandeHei, 2006) However, companies are making efforts to “green” themselves.

General Electric declared that by 2010 their yearly investment in studies in “greener” technologies will increase twofold to $1.5 billion resulting in a $20 billion boost in annual sales of environment-friendly product offerings. This initiative also includes a 1% reduction in GE’s greenhouse gases emitted through their own operations, which otherwise would have increased by 40%. (Ignatius, 2005) By means of their global presence, GE’s resourcefulness will impact other businesses and serve as the trailblazer for future similar projects.

Along with Toyota’s conception of the Prius, GE’s program is an impressive example of a reform toward an ecological awareness that is influencing global trade. Overall, the United States is dragging it’s heels and is slower in joining this transformation due to the fact that President Bush’s decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol (1998) is a treaty among the United Nations that pledge countries to restrict the release of greenhouse gases between 2008 and 2012 to amounts that are 5.2% less than 1990 measures. (Kyoto Protocol, n.d.) Despite this, there is a desire to address social issues. Companies and unaffiliated governmental organizations are coming together and creating innovative environmental strategies that are turning out to be customary within business.

An environmental standard referred to as Equator Principles, employed by financial institutions, illustrates this concept of these “self-enforcing rules.” In this example, which has been implemented by several key financial organizations, contributors have decided only to offer financing on a business venture following an evaluation specifying strategies to act in accordance with environmental codes for sustainable development. (Ignatius, 2005) Consumer awareness is also increasing. Consumers have doubts that egotistical and wasteful companies are basing more of their purchasing decisions on the social responsiveness of companies. Now companies like Shell, an energy company that once personified corporate arrogance, has take on a worldwide mission to lower emissions damaging the world’s most contaminated cities. (Ignatius, 2005)

Impacts – Environment

When it comes to analyzing the effects that cars and trucks have on the environment it is interesting to note that since 1970 emission control standards have helped reduce emissions to 60-90% of the 1970 level. (Driving Trends, n.d.) In spite of this, air conditions have only recuperated slightly. This can be attributed to the corresponding ratio of total vehicle miles traveled have nearly risen 150% compared to only a 40% increase in the U.S. population. With nearly 200 million cars on the road in the U.S. and 700 million worldwide today, there could be over a billion traveling the streets by 2025 at the current rate.