'Hey, I’ve got an idea' and other helpful suggestions

The story comments posted by our community are usually sprinkled with ideas, but the past 24 hours has had an especially big crop of “I have an idea” moments.

That is literally true for European, who starts his comment that way before suggesting government tax credits of $1 per watt-hour of battery capacity “installed in a plug-in electric vehicle,” such as a $16,000 tax credit for a Chevrolet Volt with a 16-kilowatt battery. “That would stimulate automakers to electrify every single vehicle as much as possible.”

BoxBoy says if the U.S. government is trying to stimulate fuel-saving technology with a $25 billion program, it would get more with grants to universities than lending it to automakers. “Although this approach might take longer it would effectively nurture a broad base of innovative technology,” he says.

Some even feed on other’s ideas. A New Mexico writer says Ford didn’t cut enough weight to boost fuel economy in its new F-150. He would slash 1,000 pounds and use 3.5- or 4-liter diesels because “buyers expect a 10mpg increase.”

But a California writer responds that declining fuel prices mean a 5mpg boost would be enough and suggests Ford try a combination of weight cuts, direct injection-gasoline engines and a twin-clutch automated manual. He disagrees on diesels, saying that $7,000 more for a 5mpg boost is a poor return, adding “It doesn’t pencil out.”

Other ideas are more direct. Mike thinks General Motors’s future Pontiac G3 is not performance oriented enough for its badge. “Why sell this as a Pontiac? Sell it as a Saturn” and move Saturn’s imported-from-Europe Astra to Pontiac, he suggests.

Have you got a worthy idea? Run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes it. Uh, I mean, post a comment and see if anyone agrees.

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