Alternative-fueled cars continue to face big obstacles before consumers will accept them, said engineers gathered Oct. 22 at the Convergence 2002 conference at Detroit's Cobo Center, according to the Detroit News. "We see huge challenges to overcome," said Toyohei Nakajima, division director of Honda R&D Americas Inc., the Japanese car makers' U.S. vehicle research and development arm. "But we also see big opportunities," he said. Nakajima led a panel discussion on clean and fuel-efficient engine technologies at the conference, which ends Oct. 23. Among the obstacles the panelists pointed out, according to the News:
  • Alternative-fueled cars still can't travel the distances that vehicles powered by internal combustion engines can.
  • Vehicle components in alternative fuel systems still have to get smaller and cheaper.
  • For some technologies, like natural gas-powered vehicles, a nationwide infrastructure for refueling doesn't exist.
  • Safety issues still have to be resolved.