In Detroit, Hell Actually Has Frozen Over

What a new world we live in these days: a black president (hurray!), the worst economy since the Depression (oh, dear), and now…even Detroit is changing its wanton ways. Here are five pieces of ironclad evidence that Hell has now well and truly frozen over in southeastern Michigan.

1. Detroit car critic actually LIKES a hybrid!

See for yourself: Detroit News auto critic Scott Burgess, who never met a three-ton truck or big honkin’ SUV he didn’t like, actually fell for the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid. He doesn’t just like it—he LUVS it. What’s next, a Smart ForTwo?

2. Hour-long waits to drive green cars at the Auto Show.

As we mentioned in our Detroit Auto Show preview, the vacant basement of Cobo Hall was transformed into the EcoXperience, a 1/8-mile test track winding through waterfalls, flowers, and trees that filled the 70,000-square-foot area. Hometown crowds waited up to an hour to drive hybrid, electric, and fuel-cell cars at low speeds, with factory reps or trained drivers alongside. The only snag was the sharp, dank odor of mulch that rose onto the show floor from every basement stairwell, like a garden center with dead A/C.

3. Auto dealers, commentators, and CEOs want higher gas taxes.

Mike Jackson

Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation.

At least since the 1980 election of President Reagan, taxes have been seen as instruments of repression, outright theft, and/or the moral equivalent of, say, matricide. So you can hear the ice floes closing over the hot flames of Hell when the following folks all line up to advocate higher gas taxes:

Mike Jackson, CEO of mega-dealer AutoNation, most recently in front of a roomful of auto dealers, no less, at their annual convention. Our favorite quote: “Cheap gasoline combined with fuel efficiency mandated by the government is an economic disaster for America.”

Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company—several times over the last two years, in front of various audiences, although he has also acknowledged the seeming impossibility of politicians voting to raise their constituents’ taxes.

Tom Walsh, Detroit Free Press columnist, who writes, “We’ll know [Obama is serious about energy policy] when he spends a barrelful of political capital from his ample reservoir to get behind a fuel tax hike that will add $2 to $3 to the price of a gallon of gasoline, over time, in the United States.”

4. Chrysler’s latest savior is…FIAT?!?

FIAT

It would be bizarre if it weren’t, well…true. The “half” of the Detroit Two and a Half is relying for salvation on the chronic sick man of the European auto industry. After its abusive marriage with Daimler ended last year, Chrysler ended up in the arms of Cerberus Partners. The private equity group promised to reinvent it and keep it independent; instead, Chrysler has been so eviscerated that analysts say it no longer has the staff or ability to design passenger cars. It even canceled its only hybrids. FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne says he has no intention of running both companies. Uh huh.

5. GM really is serious about the Chevy Volt.

Bob Lutz with Chevy Volt

GM’s product guru and Volt-cheerleader Bob Lutz.

When the Chevrolet Volt concept appeared in January 2007, critics blasted GM for blatant greenwashing. “It’ll never get built; it’s all just hype,” said a chorus of cynics. “Even if it does work, they’ll kill it.” Well, guess what? Two years later, the Volt seems to be on track, and the chorus of doubters has faded away into the background. GM maintains the first Volts will roll off the lines in late 2010, and they’re sticking to their schedule. If they succeed, they’ll finally lay to rest the ghosts of Who Killed the Electric Car?


  • Still a Skeptic

    “When the Chevrolet Volt concept appeared in January 2007, critics blasted GM for blatant greenwashing. “It’ll never get built; it’s all just hype,” said a chorus of cynics. “Even if it does work, they’ll kill it.” Well, guess what? Two years later, the Volt seems to be on track, and the chorus of doubters has faded away into the background.”

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Jacob

    It has been a long time since FIAT was the chronic sick man of Europe, and now they make some very good and desirable cars.

    They are also they leader in low carbon emissions and their cars show some impressive fuel economy.
    Chrysler and the US Auto industry has a lot to gain from this partenership.

  • You For Real?

    This is another example of Jackson putting his political bias over the health of his company and the thousands of people he employs, anyone who thinks that raising the cost of gas would increase vehicle sales is either out of touch with reality or just plain stupid, just look back 90 days at the devastating effects $4.00 gas had on auto sales. The fact that people and manufacturers would pay more attention to fuel efficient technology does not justify trashing your life blood… AUTO SALES “what an idiot!” also I’ve got news for you Mike WE ARE ALREADY FOCUSING ON FULE EFFICENTY AND ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY FOR TRANSPORTATION… LOOK AROUND. We do not need more taxes to inflate the cost of fuel, oh and speaking of fuel when you impose your taxes on fuel IT RAISES THE COST OF EVERYTHING “INFLATION” THAT REQUIRES TRASNSPORT TO GET TO MARKET so if you like paying more for everything from groceries to anything you buy in a retail store support Mikes TANK THE ECONOMY PLAN.

  • Shines

    You for Real? The high price of gas DID INCREASE VEHICLE SALES – of fuel efficient hybrids and smaller cars. It is too bad US manufacturers didn’t make many of those.
    And if TAXES ARE RAISED NOW to keep the presure on consumers to use less, then our country would be better off – reducing our dependency on FOREIGN OIL that often SUPPORTS TERRORISTS.
    Reducing the taxes in the future could be used to reduce the burden if fuel prices jumped too quickly.
    The tax could be easily designed to give freight carriers a rebate or reduction so the cost of everything would NOT have to go up.

    Besides, the current sales slump is not because of high fuel costs but the inability of banks to provide loans. Nobody is trashing anybody’s lifeblood (except maybe the oil companies (who were making HUGE profits when oil prices were sky high))

  • Wyatt Nichols

    You for Real? Actually, Mr. Jackson’s argument goes something like this: (1) We are going to have higher priced gasoline/diesel if we continue to consume at the rate we have been with the eventual decrease in the supply of oil–even if we “drill baby drill”; (2) Now, too much of this $ is going to nations/peoples who hate us and want to destroy western civilization; (3) We know that fuel at a certain price will decrease consumption and reduce our support of our enemies; (4) So tax the fuel in America, to the rate that decreases our dependency on our enemies; so (5) That way more of our $ will stay in America to encourage the development of green, alternative fuels. The last few months have demonstrated the wisdom of this position because the consumption of fuel has dropped to the point OPEC has tried to cut their output by 4.2M barrels a day. This additional tax would start off small and increase by a certain rate every year.

    Common sense would say that this tax would only increase the cost of fuel proportional to the amount of the tax. But instead, the underlining cost of the fuel will decrease some to compensate for the tax, auto makers would work harder at making fuel efficient cars, and we’ll want more fuel efficient cars. The biggest benefit will be the faster development of alternative fuels. Either way, we are going to put a certain amount of tax payers’ $ into alternative fuels.

    Do we keep giving all this $ to our enemies, plus put massive $ into alternative fuel development, or do we decrease the $ going to our enemies and put that difference into our alternative fuels?

  • agnes

    As a Canadian, I would like to say I congratulate citizens of the USA for finally voting for change.

    When people stop buying cars, you can tell the economy is headed for trouble, as it is a key economic indicator; thus, since their has been a decline in the purchase of gas powered vehicles, due to artificially inflated oil prices, old companies are starting to see the error of their ways in dealing with Exxon; yet, still only due to foreign competitive and domestic institutional pressure. Increasing gas taxes is great for the economy, and it would force consumers into purchasing green vehicles;as well, just imagine what all those dollars could do for your infrastructure, or think about the tax breaks and new programs that could be developed and provided in other areas, like child care or healthcare, when there is a surplus.

    Those against an oil tax for individual consumers only, might do well to think of the potential generated from taxation; yet, even with that said, I must admit that I know Americans pay higher tax than Canadians and we have free healthcare, so taxing the individual citizen even more does seem unfair.

  • Ross Nicholson

    The arabs’ unannounced oil embargo that crippled our economy was driven by their goal of changing US leadership. Like the ‘regime change’ demanded by their fathers who replaced Jimmy Carter with Ronald Reagan, they will get rather more than they bargained for. President Obama will have no compunction about using American power in the middle east whenever it is in American interests. So let the arabs and the persians threaten or attack Israel if they seek similar death sentences for their nauseous labors. They have awakened the American Eagle and she has very long and terrible claws, indeed.
    Personally, I will never buy an American car that uses arab oil for fuel ever again, and they can take that to the bank.

  • AP

    It’s one thing to be skeptical. It’s another thing to be delusional. I can’t believe how prejudiced some people are against domestic makers (the writer included). People still don’t believe the Volt is coming?

    It may not make sense from a cost vs. benefit standpoint, but it’s coming.

    It may cost the American government big in large tax incentives and reduced road taxes (since it’s not viable on its own), but it’s coming.

    There may be many more sensible ways to reducing our use of petroleum, but it’s coming anyway.

    The people who created the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” were prejudiced, biased idiots, who cherry-picked information and opinions they agreed with, and ignored others. Technology problems (temporarily) killed the electric car. Why do people keep quoting them as if they were even-handed and fair?

    By the way, what killed Toyota’s electric car? Oh, right, they didn’t build one. Isn’t that funny….it’s as if someone in the California government told them not to bother, because they were going to drop the EV mandate anyway. Why not do a movie about Toyota’s complete disregard for California’s mandate, rather than skewering the only manufacturer who responded to it?

    It is exactly this sort of actions and attitude that make it difficult for Americans to work together on sensible, results-oriented programs to solve our problems. Instead of looking over the issues to decide what we should do, we pick a solution that sounds cool from a company or a politician we like, then we only talk to other people who agree with our opinions.

    Be critical thinkers. Don’t just parrot someone else’s opinions and biases. Look at the facts, not just the rhetoric. God help us if we can’t pull together.

  • Bryce

    Well…..I guess to start off…..

    Though, I like the man, (our new president) and voted for him….I didn’t really take into consideration the color of his skin. He could be purple or green for all I care, he is a man with a plan, and now the president, we should all hope that he is succesful, no matter the color of his skin, or his party origins.

    It’s nice to see a publication say something positive about the Volt actually coming out, but as I expected, there has already been folks naysaying. Owel, the numbers are dwindling, I have noticed that.

    It is an awkward thing for the makers of that movie “who killed the electric car” considering that they left out big chunks of well….facts. Toyota actually did end up producing something electric, but it was just a rav4 with some batteries and a motor in it, with no nearly the R&D done as put into the EV1. They also, likewise either smashed them or told people that they would not honor warranties, and the only folks they even let that slide by were usually companies and the like. “Who killed the electric car”…..in the 90′s and early 2000′s would be better described as market forces. Cheap gas and a high price of the batteries. That simple.

    As for the gas tax, I have heard it floated around here that this would be a rotating net zero cost tax with rebates from filed taxes every year. This essentially would leave the tax as something of no cost to consumers while simultaneously giving them the market signal to try to be more efficient in the driving and purchasing of vehicles. I don’t know if even that would ever fly in Washington, but is something to look at I figure.

    I leave you with this to naysay though…..will it ever come into production…..let the arguments begin….

    Cadillac Converj story below

    http://gm-volt.com/2009/01/31/gm-considering-4-door-cadillac-converj-for-2013/

  • Samie

    Raising fuel taxes somewhat is going to happen naturally since fuel efficiency will take away some government revenues, However something is fishy if only say petroleum is taxed more while other biofuels or cng are not w/c to some sounds good alt fuels competing more efficiently on the market but remember these are fuels that take land resources and end up on the same market as petroleum, w/c just means you have annoying fuels like ethanol that seem to not go away and could pump up countries like Russia with their plans with CNG. Does it matter if its petroleum or any other fuel or where it comes from? Because eventually it ends up having the same problems as petroleum so lets not get carried away about the Middle East or Africa….

    Didn’t the Prius come out of the whole EV1 era? Technology was not there clearly yes and the movie was not all factual but to completely dismantle a program to develop EV/hybrid cars was a huge mistake. Why were Toyota and Honda the only ones that came out with hybrids from that time, wc at the time The Big 3 were making huge profits and could have easily developed vehicles, independently that could have rivaled the Insight and Prius.

    As for the automakers to say they have done a 180 on fuel efficiency/hybrids may not be true, while I like the articles that come out from this website I feel they have jumped the gun like so many others. The real truth will come out in negotiations with the EPA til then we should NOT say hell has frozen other or say talking fluff to sway people with PR is factual. The real question is if…. we do adopt new tough fuel efficiency standards who are the winners who are the losers? Will Obama go ahead with this in a weak economy and the possibility that one of the Big 3 will not be able to meet long-term market conditions? Can some car companies make money on smaller cars, hybrids, or smaller engine vehicles? or will they have to revert back the days of the Big Suv/Performance Vehicles w/ no new fuel saving technologies?

  • Still a Skeptic

    Not saying GM don’t want to make Volt. It’s just that GM may not make it through 2009/2010 to produce the car. When push comes to shove, basic survival will take priority over Volt which still needs heavy investments to make it profitable.

    The current economic conditions will not help either. Not withstanding the current recession, GM is going to come out with a plug in car when the oil price is cheap. There are many major challenges facing this car. I personally believe reliability and price tag will be huge issues that can really kill GM.

  • hamilton

    Jackson’s right on that wild swings in gas price influence americans’ vehicle purchase decisions. A floor under the price of gas will push consumers to consider – and automakers to supply – more fuel efficent cars and trucks, but the gas tax itself is a political football.

    Instead, start by getting rid of the subsidies to big oil* ; otherwise the taxpayer gets hosed once at the pump, and again on tax day.

    Next, assess & collect at the pump the “carbon cost” of a gallon of gas – a greenhouse gas tax that applies to all vehicles. Heavy polluters – people who drive more or drive vehicles with poor fuel economy – pay for polluting.

    Same result: gas prices creep up, but a lot harder in the current environment for politicians of all stripes to oppose.

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Independence_and_Security_Act_of_2007

  • sean t

    I found someone aka Bob Lutz here… LOL.

  • Rich S

    Joe,

    If you are going to call our new President the biggest fraud in US history please have the intellectual honesty to back up such a statement. I would like a point by point indictment with a all sources noted, with links to such supporting data. If you can’t please keep your unsubstantiated hyperbole to yourself.

  • RandalH

    “the worst economy since the Depression (oh, dear)”

    Anyone who thinks we currently have the worst economy since the Depression is conveniently forgetting the Carter years, where we had gasoline lines and the combination of double digit inflation, double digit interest rates and a nearly double digit unemployment rate. I lived through that time and I can tell you that it was much worse than today.

  • veek

    Thanks, RandalH, for reminding us what a disaster the Carter years were (and I challenge anyone to show how we were any more humane or energy-wise then). How soon we forget and move on, and how thankful we can be for that capability.

  • Rich S

    Guys. Going by many economic statistics, things are not as bad as the stagflation of the 70′s. However back then we did not have tens of trillions of dollars in debt, the financial system teetering, and Global Warming breathing down our necks. Plus this recession has already lasted a year and no end in site. This is a serious mess made by 43, we’ll get through this stronger, but this will be a long rough recession.

  • Toyota Lover

    Why is Toyota in every article and on top of the articles on this site.

    And GM always last.

    Someone said Toyota runs this site and I was like that cant be.

    The more and more I read articles on this site the more its a toyota advert.

    Stop with the Toyota Adverts in the articles and stop putting GM last.

    The news of the Volt comming out should be first as its the most exciting new Electric Car.

  • Boom Boom

    I must step up and defend the integrity of this site. This site does not have a bias towards Toyota. Toyota is the currently US leader in terms of number of hybrids on the market and number of hybrids sold, therefore they show up more often. I hardly think that a story about a car that no one has driven or tested (i.e. Volt) rates higher than a story about an actual car which drives the roads (Camry Hybrid). This site fairly and evenly covers all hybrid cars that are on the market and are coming to market. (Many would say that the actual articles on this site have been very “soft” on the Volt.)

    Perhaps the “Volt First” crowd needs to accept that the entire world has not drunk the kool-aid of the GM-volt sites. Those sites are dedicated to the volt and serve that purpose. This site does not need to follow the same mantra. (The same is true for the “Prius-First” crowd and their websites… but they’re not complaining here….)

    P.S. The Volt is not an electric car. It is a hybrid. Electric cars have no gas engines in them.

  • Jay C Schechtman MD

    1.G.M. is planning to charge ~ $40,000 for the Volt.They might as well charge $400,000.I can’t afford it…and I have a good income.

    2.Bob lutz has always hated hybrids and still does.I must admit that
    his creations have been exciting but all he really cares to do is to add more horsepower under the hood.

    3.Chrysler used to make the omni & horizon.Don’t they still have the plans? And if Chrysler doesn’t have the staff to build an automobile then they should start making ice cream or taco chips
    or something easy.The name of the game is profit! Until George
    W. Bush and Barack H. Obama decided to subsidize EVERYTHING
    we had an economy that was predicated on companies making a profit on the goods and services that they sold.

  • Bryce

    Anywhere between 30k and 40k…..actually…..

  • kelly

    GM could have sold EV-1s, continued EV R&D, and already have been selling their own Prius and Volt. Instead, they crushed EVs and sued CARB.

    Now, if the taxpayers bailout GM with $billions monthly for a few years, GM might sell a Volt with poorer specs than the BYD F3DM on sale since last year.

    Let private donations bailout GM – the market place already spoke.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    I agree with you, Boom Boom. This site talks about “what is available” and “what will be available”. The emphasis is mainly on “what is available”.

    The Chevy Volt will be competition for the Prius – once it is built. And that will happen soon. And it will still be a serious contender for our next car. We will be weighting Volt’s local abilities against the Prius’ longer distance abilities.

    For my wife and I, that may give the edge to Prius. For someone with shorter needs, the Volt will make more sense.

    And you are accurate: the Chevy Volt is a serial hybrid and referred to as “an extended range electric car.” It is an electric car for the first 40 miles and then uses an economical gas engine to generate electricity for the electric motor for the next 300 (ref. http://www.hybridcars.com/concept-hybrids/chevy-volt-concept.html). That is the exact definition for a serial hybrid. I know that you, AP, and most others understand this, but I do not understand why everyone cannot grasp this concept. It really is a simple concept. Electric motor runs car; battery initially runs car, battery losses “juice”, and generator “kicks” in. Simple.

  • Show Me the Money

    Gm should hold an online Lottery for a hundred VOLT cars to get out on the road now and If the person winning the lotto does not want to pay than it goes to 101 lotto winner and so on until all hundred gone. GM what an awesome sales pitch I just thought up for you!

  • ex-EV1 driver

    I’m appalled at the ignorance of some intelligent people on this forum.
    Toyota did make the RAV4EV but they avoided a leading role in “Who Killed the Electric Car” by stopping crushing the RAV’s and actually selling them to the leaseholders. If you watched the movie, you’ll see that they were chastised, just not as badly as Honda and GM.
    There are around 300 of them doing very well in private hands today. Many more are still active in several fleets including Southern California Edison, PG&E, and the City of Santa Monica.
    See http://www.evnut.com/ and go to RAV4EV owner’s tab to see real-life pictures of real-life owners.
    I’m not a Toyota fan (I’ve never owned one) but I’m disgusted with the behavior of the American automobile manufacturers.
    I’ll believe the Volt is real when I see it for sale (not in fleets or lease only).

  • SteveC

    I think the best thing GM could do is to fire Bob Lutz. The man is just a collection of walking smoke and mirrors. I also think that GM is using the Volt publicity to draw attention and hopefully some buyers of their stock. I do not believe they will ever build the Volt.

  • kelly

    Bob Lutz truly is GM. His quotes:
    global warming “is a total crock of sh*t.”

    “Absent a badge, it’s very hard to tell a BYD from an original Toyota, and with all due respect that doesn’t demonstrate a great deal of competency,”

    etc .. while begging tax dollars defines bankruptcy.

  • AP

    ex-EV1 driver, while you have first hand knowledge of the aggravation of having a car taken away from you, GM lost more than that with the EV1. California mandated ALL manufacturers to produce 10% EV’s in order to sell any vehicles in their state (in a time of $1 gas). Only one manufacturer responded by designing a car around the requirements of an EV: low drag, low mass, low rolling resistance.

    Because they went “all-out” with the EV1, the vehicle shared no parts with any other car. Not only was the powertrain unique, but so was the entire body, chassis, etc. The drag coefficient set a record for production cars, the body (minus batteries) was superlite, etc., etc., etc.

    If they had left these cars out there, it would have created a problem for anyone in case of a wreck (expensive parts, special repair procedures), parts wearing out (you can’t go to a junkyard), etc. The batteries did not have much capacity, either, and did not have a very long life (it’s hard to mandate technology when it’s not ready).

    The EV mandate had been premature, and California, by combining good intentions with poor policy, had to pull out of it. CA did more damage to the EV than anyone, but government rarely takes responsibility for problems they cause (have they ever?). GM was not the only one to fight the mandate, and would have been the big winner if it stayed in efffect. It would have been the technology leader, and would have had the license to sell more cars in CA than anyone else.

    Toyota only put in a token effort to meet the EV mandate. Instead, it put its money into hybrids, which made more sense than EV’s at the time, but not much more (gas was less than $1 at the time). CA let them off the hook by not following through.

    Blaming GM more because they crushed the EV’s is missing the point. The financial part of keeping them alive made little sense. It may have had PR value, but GM rarely gets praise for what it does right, only skewered for what it does wrong (how many people complain about GM’s opposition to CA’s new fuel economy reg’s, but fail to mention that Toyota is also fighting them to sell Sequoias?). You only have to read this site to see that.

    GM should be the hero, rather than the goat, because they made the most capable vehicle for a well-intentioned, but ill-conceived EV program. To add insult to injury, they lost the technical leadership that they “purchased” with the $1 billion they spent on the program. All to have CA say, “Just kidding.”

    So let’s be fair. GM isn’t perfect, but they’re not the devil incarnate. Toyota’s halo isn’t wide enough to hide the gas-guzzling full-sized trucks that they proudly advertise, while touting their “green” credentials (or can you fool all of the people all of the time?).

    And by the way, Bob Lutz is by all accounts the best product man in the automotive business; he just happens to share his opinions whether they are politically correct or not. His opinion may be that global warming is a hoax, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to convince congress to replace CAFE with a higher gasoline tax in the past – because it would work. Don’t just complain about the quotes you don’t like (be smarter than the media).

  • SB

    Oh, but you will go ahead and buy a Japanese car that runs on Arab fuel? Instead of relying on perception, why don’t you actually research American cars and realize they offer many high quality, high gas mileage vehicles (including Hybrids.) The Ford Fusion Hybrid is an excellent example.

  • Anonymous

    “Personally, I will never buy an American car that uses arab oil for fuel ever again, and they can take that to the bank.”

    Oh, but you will go ahead and buy a Japanese car that runs on Arab fuel? Instead of relying on perception, why don’t you actually research American cars and realize they offer many high quality, high gas mileage vehicles (including Hybrids.) The Ford Fusion Hybrid is an excellent example.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    AP,
    Clearly you have drunk the koolaid from the big 6. The solution to the EV1 problem was not to destroy them but, rather, to make more of them and keep improving them.
    GM fed us with those same tired lines over and over so really, no thanks for repeating the mantra yet again. They also told you and everyone else the could get to that no one wanted the EV1.
    You did forget the part of the mantra that ‘they were only able to sell 1000 of them’ (actually, they refused to sell ANY of them and they only made 1000 of them available for lease with long waiting lists for them – but you can watch the movie as well if you want the real story)
    Your problem is that, like GM, you can’t get over the myth that the EV1 is bad. Sure, it would kill the two most powerful and the most profitable division of GM and any ICE manufacturer (Powerplants, Powertrains, and parts) but that doesn’t make the EV1 bad.
    By the way, GM originally requested the mandate to guarantee a market if they were going to invest in developing the EV1 (see “The Car that Could” – Michael Schnayerson, Random House, 1996). Unfortunately stupid heads (Lutz) prevailed and they changed their minds about actually wanting to lead the automobile industry.
    I told you the reason Toyota got off easy in “Who Killed the Electric Car”, they listened to us and quit being stupid. I appreciate a person who speaks his mind, however, in the case of Mr Lutz, (and most of the rest of GM’s spokespeople) perhaps he would be better off keeping his mouth shut and make people suspect that he’s stupid, rather than open it and remove all doubt.
    Granted, the EV1 was a great car. However, the RAV4EV is (and I can actually say “IS”) a pretty good vehicle too. I could use one of each.
    By the way, I don’t get much of my information from the media (except maybe Schnayerson’s book). I lived it.
    Hopefully WKtEK, Ahnold, and Tesla’s slapping of GM’s top management may have come soon enough that GM can rescue itself with the Volt and the Converj but I fear its probably too late.

  • AP

    ex-EV1 driver, I don’t know who the “big 6″ are, so I wouldn’t even know it if I drank their Kool-aid. Is Toyota in it?

    I never said the EV1 was bad (nor did GM, as far as I know). In fact, it was a great car, by EV standards. It just couldn’t be profitably produced or serviced, and it had short range. It wasn’t sustainable. Call it a “tired line,” but profits are what must drive any alternative fuels programs, not long-term government subsidies, wishes, or hopes.

    As for selling more than 1000 cars, that would have only lost GM more money. The economies of scale weren’t even close. Especially when gas was $1/gallon.

    Giving Toyota a pass for not crushing their EV’s is lame. It’s much easier for them to service theirs, since they were based on an existing vehicle. They probably also knew that whatever they did would be met with applause, rather than derision. But from their experience, Toyota must now think little enough of electric cars (from a profitability standpoint) that they have not made one since.

    As for WKtEK and Tesla, I doubt that GM (or Toyota, or anyone else) loses too much sleep over their achievements. Show me an electric car with the same capabilities as a conventional one for anywhere near the price. They don’t exist.

    Tesla and the rest have shown what everyone in the automotive business knows, but no one else seems to. I think Bob Lutz said it best: “Making a car is a hell of a lot more difficult than people think.”

    Unfortunately, cool though they are, EV’s are doubly tough to make (profitably).

  • Bryce

    I don’t know about your guys, but I don’t think I would pay $80,000 for a little 2 seater with a hundred mile range and a day long recharge….which is how much it would have cost retail. I have seen those Rav4 running around my campus….I think there is only one or two. They were sold basically only to company fleets, and very few, if any private owners. It also was just a Rav4 basically with some batteries strapped to it. It didn’t nearly have the R&D put into it that the EV1 had.

    By the way…..it is series everyone, not “serial” for the Volt drivetrain.

    O, and Bob Lutz is the reason the Volt is coming to a showroom near you. If it weren’t for that global warming non-believer, than this current wave of electric mobility would not be upon us.

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