The Electric Car

Rich Parsons

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At this link is a video about who killed the Electric car: http://www.youtube.com/cthru?RcDp0P...-dVRIHqrf7hE3-TjXYyL_sqoniXuwt6OroIOtwg71by4=


Some same it was GM who went for Hummer's instead.

Some say it was the big Oil Companies

a) Applying pressure on the auto industry
b) Applying pressure in general



No one talks about the laws that forced GM to create it in the first place.

No one talks about who no other company did an electric car.



GM would never have built a Hummer or Hummer II (H2) or a Hummer 3 if no one bought them. Toyota and the other Japanese companies increased their output of large trucks and sales also increased here in the US.

So the customer wanted the larger vehicles. The industry reacted and delivered. The issue is that it takes three years to get a vehicle to production with existing technology with a plant in place to handle the volume. So there is always a lag in the industry that is about 3 to 5 years behind which leads them to have over capacity in manufacturing.


So let us look at the Electric Vehicle which was mandated by law by California.

1) No other car manufacturer took California seriously.
2) California promised to have an infrastucture in place at the same time of their requirements by law. (* Yes lots of people knew about this in time to react *).
3) California backed off and used the public excuse that it was too expensive as none of the foreign car companies built one.
3) a) When in actuality California had not followed through on its promise to have an infrasturcture in place and now a much more costly system would be required as more time had passed.
4) GM only allowed leases.
4) a) Law suits against GM going back multiple decades when no one thought twice of dumping LEAD and everyone did it, were just being settled or about to be settled with GM being held responsible for the LEAD even in cases where they paid a disposal company who went out of business later.
4 b) So GM leased to control the batteries and make sure no more law suits but to also to try to meet the 2% of total sales that had to be zero emisisons at the tail pipe which meant electric at the then standard of technology.


So why would the electric companies who would make money from the sale of electricity not want to implement this deal? For some little bit of cash the Oil companies were throwing there way? Greed is a major mover in these types of industries and the power companies would want their share for then and long term.

Why would the car companies not also want to provide an alternative method? If you have the patents and technology then you have a market advantage to make more money.

Ok someone mentioned Fuel cells in the movie as well so let us look at this. They can make a Fuel cell car today. The issue is the two fold:
1) The cost to generate the hydrogen
2) The infrastructure to distribute the hydrogen.

Hmmm, this sounds an awful lot like the Electric car issue as well.



So, whose fault is it really?

1) The politicians for not following through on a proper infrastructure?

2) The people for not paying for the increased Infrastructure themselves?

3) The people for wanting larger and bigger and faster vehicles and were buying them to the point of the manifacturers could not produce enough in certain years.
 

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General Motors does seem to have an interest in the continuation of the internal combustion engine. That they might spend a billion dollars on the electric vehicle might seem like a large investment in 'The Future'. But, could it not also be seen as a 'loss leader' ... the 'we tried, and no one buyed' argument; continuing on with Suburban's and Jimmy's.

The cigarrette companies entered into a multi-billion dollar settlement for the dangers inherent in their products ... what could justify that?

Maybe the same thing that justified the EV-1, it's life and death, maybe?
 

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Heard an interview with the guy who made this movie on NPR...seems a quite interesting topic.

I want a Vespa.
 
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Rich Parsons

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michaeledward said:
General Motors does seem to have an interest in the continuation of the internal combustion engine. That they might spend a billion dollars on the electric vehicle might seem like a large investment in 'The Future'. But, could it not also be seen as a 'loss leader' ... the 'we tried, and no one buyed' argument; continuing on with Suburban's and Jimmy's.

The cigarrette companies entered into a multi-billion dollar settlement for the dangers inherent in their products ... what could justify that?

Maybe the same thing that justified the EV-1, it's life and death, maybe?

GM Built it, no one bought it becuase it was only for lease. ;)

No one else did it for the market did not show a desire for it.

Now there is a desire, for hybrids and other forms of transportation.

The point is that it can be done and has been done the problem is that it is not cost effective right now in hybrids or in alternative fuels for distribution and infrastructure.

Like many things it is a manner of how much money people are willing to spend.
 

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Massachusetts was involved in an intersting pilot program to promote the use of electric cars. Electric car drivers were offered free insurance premiums (saving drivers a minimum of 1200 dollars per year) and offered premium parking spaces (complete with an ample supply of electricity) at popular commuter lots.

My understanding is that the electric car didn't conserve fuel or reduce emissions (unless the electricity was from a nuke or a hydro which is far less common than electricity from fossil fuels)

The electric car needs electricticity to run, which is most commonly generated with fossil fuels. The electricity is generated using fossil fuels tu turn a turbine, then transmitted to charge a battery which then in turn drives a motor. The extra stage results in more loss, more waste, and more polution than fossil fuels being burned to turn a motor.

Perhaps such a solution would be more viable with a greater proliferation of nuclear power plants, or other non-fossil-fuel driven forms of power generation.
 
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Rich Parsons

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Carol Kaur said:
Massachusetts was involved in an intersting pilot program to promote the use of electric cars. Electric car drivers were offered free insurance premiums (saving drivers a minimum of 1200 dollars per year) and offered premium parking spaces (complete with an ample supply of electricity) at popular commuter lots.

My understanding is that the electric car didn't conserve fuel or reduce emissions (unless the electricity was from a nuke or a hydro which is far less common than electricity from fossil fuels)

The electric car needs electricticity to run, which is most commonly generated with fossil fuels. The electricity is generated using fossil fuels tu turn a turbine, then transmitted to charge a battery which then in turn drives a motor. The extra stage results in more loss, more waste, and more polution than fossil fuels being burned to turn a motor.

Perhaps such a solution would be more viable with a greater proliferation of nuclear power plants, or other non-fossil-fuel driven forms of power generation.


I have been saying this for years.

The emission reduction is at the tail pipe only.

The cost was about $2k to $3k to get your house wired to charge your electric car.

It makes sense for range in you work in the city and have issues with ozone in the city.

If people lobby to get the power plants to be even cleaner, they then get to pay the direct cost in their power bills.

Like I said, it is matter of cost, and who is willing to pay it.
 

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The real culprit that killed the electric car is the car culture inwhich we have all invested. In many ways, we are beyond the point of no return and there is no way we change to something else without taking a big loss.

"Infrastructure" is a simple word that means so many different things from roads and bridges, to energy stations, to energy generation, to maintainance, to home retrofits, to etc...
 

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Rich Parsons said:
I have been saying this for years.

The emission reduction is at the tail pipe only.

The cost was about $2k to $3k to get your house wired to charge your electric car.

It makes sense for range in you work in the city and have issues with ozone in the city.

If people lobby to get the power plants to be even cleaner, they then get to pay the direct cost in their power bills.

Like I said, it is matter of cost, and who is willing to pay it.

Rich,

That still doesn't address the fact a gallon of diesel (for the sake of keeping apples to apples) will go further in a car's engine than it will going to a turbine to make electricity to charge a battery to turn a cars engine. I don't see how this is progress.

The atmospheric inversion layer over cities like Denver, LA, or Mexico City...doesn't delineate as to where the polution comes from. Whether the emissions are sourced from the tailpipe on the road or the power plant at the city limits, emissions will still create smog.

Plus, with the multi-stage transmission loss requiring the buring of more fossil fuels to do the same job, that results in more emissions being put in the air to do the same work and thus more smog being created.

While Ford, GM, and Chrysler were wondering about Hummers and Expiditions and V10s and electric cars, Honda and Toyota wondered what would happen if their small compacts were turned in to an SUVs, offering an alternative to the big trucks.

While Detroit built bigger, Japan built smaller..again!

A student walks in to a dojo and is told that with hard work and practice, he can be a blackbelt in a world-famous organization. The student thinks that's a dandy idea and signs up. But, there is almost no one in class. The student asks the instructor how he will be a black belt in a world famous organization. The instructor says that as soon as the student earns his black belt and he the instructor opens school all around the world and is recognized as being the best, then the student can be part of a world famous organization.

This wouldn't be acceptable for martial arts, why is it acceptable for the environment? A good idea alone is insufficient. It must have a plan of execution that offers a chance at success.
 
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Rich Parsons

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Carol Kaur said:
Rich,

That still doesn't address the fact a gallon of diesel (for the sake of keeping apples to apples) will go further in a car's engine than it will going to a turbine to make electricity to charge a battery to turn a cars engine. I don't see how this is progress.

I have said that in a vehicle the emissions are less. The issue is until we force beyond the vehicles to get better emissions than we are only chasing a single rabbit trying to control the whole rabbit population.

Carol Kaur said:
The atmospheric inversion layer over cities like Denver, LA, or Mexico City...doesn't delineate as to where the polution comes from. Whether the emissions are sourced from the tailpipe on the road or the power plant at the city limits, emissions will still create smog.

Yes, but CARB and other air resource boards all create laws and acts to enforce against vehicles and large trucks while the power comanies are under different regulations.

Once again chasing the rabbit down a hole thinking getting this one will solve the problem, but the public thinks it is great.

Carol Kaur said:
Plus, with the multi-stage transmission loss requiring the buring of more fossil fuels to do the same job, that results in more emissions being put in the air to do the same work and thus more smog being created.

Multistage transmissions, I am assuming you are talking about the power companies, and once again I state that the power companies burn sulfur based coal first and for most which is very dirty, and then other sources are used, and once the grid converts it reconverts the power the inefficeincy is great enough that it is almost impossible to make it better until one redesigns a new system. (* See Most recent issue of Popular Science that list ten technologies to help reduce dependacy on oil. *)

If you are speaking of multistage transmissions as in a shifting mechinition in a vehicle, the more gears or stages the less the delta in the gear range step and therefore more efficient. Henve the desire for Continuously variable transmisisons of CVT's. The issue with these are torque and the cost to make something reliable and meet warranty. There is also EVT (* Electrically Variable Transimissions, which are used in some Hybrids *)

Carol Kaur said:
While Ford, GM, and Chrysler were wondering about Hummers and Expiditions and V10s and electric cars, Honda and Toyota wondered what would happen if their small compacts were turned in to an SUVs, offering an alternative to the big trucks.

BS. Yes I say this is BS.

The Chevrolet Nova and Toyota Corolla were built in the same plant in California. It took JD Power a sinlge misstep to realize that both were built at the same plant. You see the problem is that the Chevy owners hated teh vehicle. It did not have the power of a V8 and it did not go through four feet of water or climb that mud hill, while the Toyota owners loved the vehicle. This anomaly in the industry is more than if you build it will they buy it, but it is about peceptions. The Chevy people wanted something and could not afford it and were not happy, while the Toyota people were jsut glad to get a cheap car that moved for college or work.

Now today, at the same plant they build the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix. The Toyota customers ripped apart the matrix and were not happy with it and their sales are down, while the Vibe is up or was, and was doing just fine. Now before someone says hey was the new car designed by GM and there for it hit GM target audiance and not Toyota? Nope, all vehicles were designed by Toyota. GM only got to say where their logo's went.



Carol Kaur said:
While Detroit built bigger, Japan built smaller..again!

Detroit built smaller, but no one bought them. So if you are loosing money on small cars because you do nto sell enough of them and the market is buying more and more large vehicles and large SUV's and TRUCKS every year and you have the capacity to build them then it would be poor business sense to not build them and make the money off them and off of the volume increase.

Also GM has tried allainces with other companies including Subaru, Suzuki (* Joint venture with GM Canada and Suzuki *), buying out Saab, and also the bad Fiat deal , as well as Daewoo. I know that Ford has gone out and bought some and invested in small car companies as well.

Look at cost of doing business and it sucks. None of the Foreign companies have the overhead that the last two American companies do. GM Alone had over 1.1 million active retires, plus it current active employees. GM Spends more on helath care than some small countries. While in Japan and other places this is not the issue with these companies, and in Japan, if they are behind the employees stay late and work and work and get caught up, both salary and hourly types. With no overtime, or expected compensation.


Also search on recent Ford news about a few weeks to a month or so ago, they plan on shutting down all American Assembly Plants and only keeping one Canadian Plant and maybe increasing their one mexican plant to two in the next 5 years. All other assembly will be done elsewhere, which most likely will be their new plant in Russia and south east Asia.

They are moving to where they can be competitive.

Sucks big time for the employees.

GM also has moved engineering to a world development, where now some European cars will be designed here in the US and even built here and sent over seas while some of the traditional NA name plates will be designed and built in Europe/Korean/Mexico/Canada/China and then imported back into North America. They have cut and will continue to cut their engineering force(s) world wide.

Carol Kaur said:
A student walks in to a dojo and is told that with hard work and practice, he can be a blackbelt in a world-famous organization. The student thinks that's a dandy idea and signs up. But, there is almost no one in class. The student asks the instructor how he will be a black belt in a world famous organization. The instructor says that as soon as the student earns his black belt and he the instructor opens school all around the world and is recognized as being the best, then the student can be part of a world famous organization.

Yes it is true, but how come lots of people for workouts and not self defense. They care not for the applications only the motions, so people sell them plans to keep the customers in the place of training and maybe some will buy the self defense program as well.

You cannot sell something to someone unless they want it. The issue is trying to tell them they want it. I can agree that GM and other companies have done a poor job of marketing and educating people on what they do and how they do it.


GM Also had DOHC engines, and no one bought them or wanted them. CR and JD P all stated the GM needed to get out of the 19th century and into the 20th with DOHC. We did do it on some, but the biggest complaints were noise for the engines have to rev up to make power. The other issue is the feel when they were used to low end torque engines that did not have rev up to deliver enough torque to hold or accelerate. Instead people loved the noise in a Japan or Euro Car and hated it in a GM vehicle.

If gas was $2 a gallon would anyone be concerned right now about SUV's and Trucks?

As to Diesels, they are nice, but do not meet emission requirements for particulates and also radicals. In Europe they do not regulate for those like they do here. Plus now with Diesel fuel being as high as regular fuel the additional cost for the engine along with the emissions package to meet the minimum standards means that most people have to own the vehicle for over 10 years to break even. Once again a cost issue. What are you and the average person willing to pay to make the air better?

Carol Kaur said:
This wouldn't be acceptable for martial arts, why is it acceptable for the environment? A good idea alone is insufficient. It must have a plan of execution that offers a chance at success.


That is great, California like I said had a plan until they relaized the cost of the plan and who would be blamed for the cost. It is one thing to legislate the cost into a product and make the people hate the manufacturers of the product, and not the legislatures. Yet, the Legislatures know it is best for the people and want to do it for them, just so long as they are nto the ones put in front of the camera and also pointed at for the blame.
 

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There is this ...


http://www.wired.com/news/wiredmag/0,71414-0.html?tw=wn_story_page_prev2

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/21/AR2006072101515.html

If you took the energy in a gallon of gas and used it to spin a turbine, you'd get enough electricity to drive an electric car 110 miles,"

This vehicle ...
zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds ...
135 mph top speed ...
250 miles on a charge ...
full charge on 240 v 70 amp circuit in less than 4 hours ...
reportedly has an energy efficiency of less than two cents per mile; this approximates gasoline at $.50 a gallon.
 

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Bigshadow said:
As soon as the Jeep Wrangler comes in electric or fuel cell, I am on-board ;)

I, too, am a Wrangler guy .... I put 160,000 miles on my 94 S ... just got an '06 Unlimited. Sometimes, it doesn't feel quite like a jeep ... between the long wheelbase and the A/C ... good god man, it's almost luxurious.

I will say, I am averaging a bit over 17 mpg ... and that is killing me. Not so much the $50.00 bucks to fill the tank (I drive for work, and fuel is compensated at $.445 cents per mile) ... but I really should do more to protect the environment.

I know some vehicle has to be the most fuel inefficient .... somebody always has to be last ... but Chrysler hasn't done, apparently, anything to make this vehicle cleaner.
 

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michaeledward said:
I, too, am a Wrangler guy .... I put 160,000 miles on my 94 S ... just got an '06 Unlimited. Sometimes, it doesn't feel quite like a jeep ... between the long wheelbase and the A/C ... good god man, it's almost luxurious.

I will say, I am averaging a bit over 17 mpg ... and that is killing me. Not so much the $50.00 bucks to fill the tank (I drive for work, and fuel is compensated at $.445 cents per mile) ... but I really should do more to protect the environment.

I know some vehicle has to be the most fuel inefficient .... somebody always has to be last ... but Chrysler hasn't done, apparently, anything to make this vehicle cleaner.
I too use mine as my daily driver. It is a 97 TJ and I get about 15 to 17 mpg, depending on the outside air temperature. I notice certain times of the year I get better fuel economy, I chock it up to denser air (with cooler temperatures). I do have it equipped with after market hi performance headers and K&N racing air intake tube, it breaths quite well, but the air density definitely affects the performance.

I would love to have a green vehicle, if they made one that meets my wants and needs. They seem to have such a problem getting one on the road, I don't see them getting one designed for off-road anytime in the foreseeable future. My alternative is to get a small fuel efficient car (relative to my Jeep) and use it as my daily work driver, which I am doing this weekend.
 
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Rich Parsons

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michaeledward said:
There is this ...


http://www.wired.com/news/wiredmag/0,71414-0.html?tw=wn_story_page_prev2

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/21/AR2006072101515.html



This vehicle ...
zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds ...
135 mph top speed ...
250 miles on a charge ...
full charge on 240 v 70 amp circuit in less than 4 hours ...
reportedly has an energy efficiency of less than two cents per mile; this approximates gasoline at $.50 a gallon.


ME,

Did you put in the efficiency losses of the multiple switches and substations for the elctricity to get to the source to deliver it?

But even if that was in there, it would still be cheaper.

The problem once again is not with the car, or the other vehciles Electric that GM made but did not release. It was that there was no infrastructure for the charging.

So home much are you willing to pay to make it work. You mentioned in another thread you changed your light bulbs, and bought a more efficent furnace upfront, but the cost of the more efficient other appliance are hard to see the benefit.

So, how do you explain to people that not only is it the best thing for them and the environment, but also for the future. When you have problems with people putting food on their tables who are on fixed incomes. (* Yes, I know some of those monies go towards alcohol and also tobaco but if you cannot convince people that something will decrease their life expectency, how will you convince them that the future is what they need to spend on. I know we will make a law that says 2% of all vehicles sold in a certain marker will have to be Zero Emission at the tail pipe. And then make the companies come up with a solution. Oh wait one did. But there was no infrastructure to support it. How about E85, wait there are few if any who carry the product. Yet Ford and Chrysler followed GM and also wrote a joint letter to Congress committing to increasing their volume of E85 vehicles. But where are the stations? In the mid-west Meijers has agreed to add them and the first one in Warren Michigan is in place. How about Fuel cells and hydrogen technology. Let us ignore the cost of getting the Hydrogen right, and the efficiency of that, where is the infrastructure? Car companies could build these cars today, if there was a way to actually market them and have the population be able to use them. *)

So, while I agree that an electric car would be great, many people are not ready to support it, and those in power are not willing to be the ones who add the cost to the tax payers directly. If they can pass the cost off to the car manufactures and the fuel manufacturers and not be responsible for their actions and desires, and have others take all the heat and hafve people complain about the cost of fuel and the cost of the vehicles.

From the mid 90's through the early 00's the cost of the average vehicle for GM went down a few thousand dollars and also the was an increase in functionality, but yet people still complain about the cost of a vehicle.

Everyone wants to get a top of the line highest quality item for nothing.

So while I agree with the need for alternative fuels and uses, instead of blaming those who tried, and it did not survive in the market for lack of sales, why not work on truly educating the population on the issue, and not just political agendas and demonfying the large corporations as the cause of all evil in this issue.

If a large company could market a product and make money in they would in an instant, they are in business to make money. So, if they had the only truly alternative vehicle that people wanted, then the market should have stated so. But instead only a few people leased them as specialty vehicles something to show off, or separate themselves from others.

How many people on this board have actually driven an electric car?

How many have actually driven a Hybrid beyond the corner and back?

How many have actually checked them for cost and maintenance?

The rich movie starts. atheletes and politicians who have lots money to throw around car not for range or cost they just have.

The average family, is very worried about cost, and when you tell them it costs more than the sticker for the charging system and the maintenance, they go with what they know and what they can afford on a daily basis.

Sorry for the rant. I would really like to see these vehicles delivered to more people, but until some education and understanding and even time for the cost to be made cheaper will the general population be ready for these vehicles.
 

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If gas was $2/gallon, yes, many of us would still be very concerned about fuel economy and alternative energy. For one thing, it's an environmental issue, and for another it's a national security issue.

Firstly, as the movie showed, there ALREADY WAS a demand for the electric car. People HAD the cars, they LOVED the cars, and they wanted to keep them. GM took them away and destroyed them.

Secondly, the developing technology was even better, and there was a prospect for a SOLAR electric car.

I think a BIG issue is that once you combine solar power (stationery/plug in charger or portable panels) with an electric car, you have no steady stream of money for big corporations like Exxon/Mobil. That's why Bush loves to talk about hydrogen, ethanol, or hybrids. You rarely if ever hear him talk about solar--and if he does, he makes it seem as though it's decades into the future.

I recently installed solar panels on my roof, and my son is still amazed that we don't pay anybody for our electricity. NO WONDER they don't want electric cars!
 
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Rich Parsons

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Phoenix44 said:
If gas was $2/gallon, yes, many of us would still be very concerned about fuel economy and alternative energy. For one thing, it's an environmental issue, and for another it's a national security issue.

Firstly, as the movie showed, there ALREADY WAS a demand for the electric car. People HAD the cars, they LOVED the cars, and they wanted to keep them. GM took them away and destroyed them.

Secondly, the developing technology was even better, and there was a prospect for a SOLAR electric car.

I think a BIG issue is that once you combine solar power (stationery/plug in charger or portable panels) with an electric car, you have no steady stream of money for big corporations like Exxon/Mobil. That's why Bush loves to talk about hydrogen, ethanol, or hybrids. You rarely if ever hear him talk about solar--and if he does, he makes it seem as though it's decades into the future.

I recently installed solar panels on my roof, and my son is still amazed that we don't pay anybody for our electricity. NO WONDER they don't want electric cars!


Firstly, there was a demand. California demanded that all companies build an electric car, but only GM did. GM Took crap for spending too much money on a project that was not profitable. As to the lease only versus the Buy, at the time GM had legal issue in dealing with disposal of Lead. GM had paid disposal companies to take care of some lead paint and also batteries, but those comapnies went out of business and then people built homes on that land and then they sued GM. So, GM limited their liability by not allowing people to dispose of the LEAD in the batteries themselves. They could properly dispose of them and avoid further legal issues.

But was there enough of a demand for a production run?

Case in point, the "F" car is something that people wanted but not enough to keep one shift going for a plant. So, they decided to let it go. The good news is that there seems enough of a demand so people built it.

But let me ask you a question, if there was such a demand, why did not Toyota or Honda build one?


Secondly, Solar is great and I think it is a good technology to add into the system, with a Hybrid to be able to use an IC engine on days when there is nto enough energy to charge the system.
 
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Rich Parsons

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An update on the subject

December 20. 2006 3:00AM
Mark Phelan
MARK PHELAN: Electric car killer?

Don't blame GM, Toyota exec says

December 20, 2006

BY MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

"We let Toyota off the hook for how they subverted the program."

Chris Paine, director of the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?" Toyota denies it subverted the program.

GM got a raw deal.

It's the kind of thing you hear over dinner every week in Detroit, but it comes as a surprise when a top executive with Toyota leans across the table to make the point.

"The movie 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' was terribly one-sided," Ernest Bastien, Toyota Motor Sales vice president for vehicle operations, said intensely. "It was not balanced at all."

We were talking in Charlotte, N.C., a couple of weeks ago. I was there to drive Toyota's new 2007 Tundra pickup, and the change in topic was completely unexpected.

If it's not surprising enough to hear Toyota defending GM, try this on for size: The film's director pretty much agrees.

"We let Toyota off the hook for how they subverted the program" to sell electric cars because GM had a higher profile, director Chris Paine told me over the phone Sunday.

The automakers, of course, don't think they subverted anything.

GM's Saturn EV1 electric car and Toyota's RAV4-EV electric SUV failed for the same reason -- customers didn't want them -- said Bastien, who was point man for Toyota's short-lived effort to sell the RAV4-EV in California.

GM delivered about 800 EV1s to customers from 1996 through 2000, while Toyota delivered 342 RAV4-EVs in 2002-03.

The film, which suggested GM sabotaged a promising technology that could reduce fuel consumption and pollution, caused a furor when it was released earlier this year.

The movie also intentionally ignored Toyota's experience to make its case, Bastien said.

"We shared all our experience with the RAV4-EV," but the filmmakers intentionally omitted it, he said.

He said the movie's suggestion that GM "chose not to make money on a car people wanted to buy in California" is ridiculous.

"They spent a huge amount of money advertising that car in California," Bastien said. "People wouldn't buy them."

Toyota did everything it could to attract buyers to the RAV4-EV, too. It subsidized the price, so customers paid $279 a month -- the same price as the company's hit Prius hybrid. The price included an expensive home charging station.

Toyota used the same savvy Internet-intensive marketing model that fueled the Prius craze. It even gave its dealers a sweetheart deal so they could make twice as much selling a RAV4-EV as a Prius.

To no avail. Toyota sold about 300 RAV4-EVs in 2002, compared with 20,119 Priuses. Buyers waited in line for the hybrid. They avoided the electric car like it was a downed power line and Toyota, like GM, pulled the plug on the project.

"Customers are not willing to compromise on things they need," Bastien said. "They need cruising range. They don't want to worry about running out of fuel, and they don't want to wait five hours to recharge. The movie didn't give any consideration to that fact."

Filmmaker Paine bought a RAV4-EV, but he's not buying Toyota's explanation.

"I don't agree that they made a good-faith effort to sell the car," he said. "Their priority was the Prius. The EV1 and RAV4-EV were never properly marketed.

"Toyota was no better than GM."

Which brings us back to the original question: Why was the movie so much harder on GM?

It made a better target.

"GM handled it so poorly," Paine said.

His crew filmed protesters outside Toyota's offices, but the company's security guards came out and gave them bottled water and Toyota key chains.

GM, Paine said, turned the water sprinklers on protesters. GM insists they were timed sprinklers, and the protesters just happened to be there at the wrong moment.

Whatever the case, the GM footage was more dramatic, entertaining video. It made it into the movie. Toyota wound up on the cutting-room floor."I don't want to say that we picked on GM," Paine said. "The EV1 was the iconic electric vehicle. That's why we focused on GM."

Let me translate that: GM ended up in the crosshairs because it invested the most time and effort into its electric vehicle. The futuristic EV1 was designed from the start to be a revolution. It was the poster child for electric vehicles. The sedate RAV4-EV looked like just another small SUV.

GM declined to comment.

The nail that sticks up will be hammered down, as they say. GM was the nail. "Who Killed the Electric Car?" was the hammer.

And Ernest Bastien deserves credit for sticking up for the truth, regardless of hammers.

Contact MARK PHELAN at 313-222-6731 or phelan@freepress.com.
 

Phoenix44

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I'd love to know who among the posters on this thread actually saw the movie.

There currently is an electric car. It's the Tesla Roadster. It's a sports car with a sticker price of $100,000 and impressive specs. The car had pre-orders. So much for demand.

I recently received an e-mail from Tesla asking how likely would I be to buy a $30,000 electric family car. I told them 100% likely. So it's likely they're developing one.

As I said, combined with solar technology, it's a mind-blowing concept.
 

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