QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

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Thread: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Automotive News
    September 2, 2016



    Humming along at 70 mph on Interstate 4 in a quick, noiseless and vibrationless electric car that used no petroleum and that had air conditioning and power steering --and everything else found in a normal car -- had me feeling like George Jetson. The car felt so right. I was convinced the future was electric. There was no car in the world like the EV1 at the time.

    My respect for GM as an engineering organization that could mass produce the EV1 was off the charts back then. But GMís leadership, focused only on dollar signs and not corporate image, didnít have the foresight to see very far down the road. And the EV1, available for lease in just two states, California and Arizona, ended production in 1999, after slightly more than 1,100 units were built.

    The last time I saw more than one EV1 in one place at the same time was in an Arizona desert about a decade ago. I was at GMís old proving grounds in Mesa test driving some new model. The dusty EV1s were crushed and stacked on each other like trash.

    That floored me.

    As a guy who believed in that car and the potential of its technology, I couldnít believe GM could do such a despicable thing to what I considered a marvel. It eroded my last vestiges of confidence that GM knew its customers at all.

    GM officials -- fired, retired and current -- have said killing the EV1 was one of the worst decisions the company ever made.

    Had GM nurtured the seeds it planted with the EV1 and continued to improve its technology, the company probably would have not been embarrassed two years later by the Toyota Prius and later by Tesla Motors.

    Mark Reuss, GM's current head of product development, noted in a Facebook post today responding to this blog, that GM is made up of people.

    "The people who make GM change over time," he wrote. "Many leave, many come, many have seen many times. The people who let EV1 perish are not here. The people who make Volts, Bolts, etc are here engineering and making them. While we work for an entity or holding company which is similar -- the people who define the entity are completely different. Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS. We are not an "IT."

    Indeed, Reuss and GM's current management team have a shot at claiming a leadership position in the electric-car market -- a chance to atone for the EV1 blunder -- with the Bolt. This is GMís first purpose-built regular production electric car since the EV1 17 years ago.

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    News Contributor Premium Member Perian's Avatar
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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    A new day at GM indeed.

    The culture of change bought about under Ms. Barra and Mr. Reuss speaks for itself. If the new Bolt is any indication, the future is bright.

    While we are on the subject, this interesting photo shows the real-world dimensions of the Bolt (compared with generation one of the Chevy Volt:



    .

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    The EV1 was trash that belongs in the scrap heap.
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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    And "Some" just don't get it.

    It is said "Those who forget the past, are doomed to relive it."

    GM, "A different type of Company, a different type of Company"

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    would have been interesting if GM kept producing some kind of electric and if it would have ever developed a meaningful reputation for GM. Bottom line was that the battery tech wasn't there at the time; arguably the battery tech is just getting "there" today, 16 years later. GM's real mistake was making the electric when they should've made a Prius type propulsion system.

    But the most important part is that GM has changed with their eye on making great cars and profits vs. the old GM content with being little more than a communist type corporation making mediocre product and any $$ going to greedy unions, executives and dealers and nothing for shareholders.

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    The EV1 was brilliant in its engineering and execution, but there were two catastrophic flaws that doomed it:

    1. It cost GM well past $100K per copy to build, no commercial scenario would allow it to be produced in any mass production volume.

    2. The announcement of EV1 (then Impact) encouraged the maniacs at CARB to adopt regulations requiring that 10% of the light duty vehicle fleet be zero emissions (electric) by 2003!! This mandated that all major manufacturers leap into the competitive space occupied by EV1 and destroyed GM's strategy of exploiting a niche market and growing it over time.

    Lament the demise of EV1, but it was not the short sighted vision of Old GM that killed it, and under the same circumstances Mary, Mark and all of the New GM visionaries could have done nothing to keep it afloat...it was literally ahead of its time!

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    I love how GM specifically is mentioned as being embarrassed by Toyota and Tesla. Not the industry as a whole, but just GM since they had the EVI and "should've" been first in hybrids and electrics- in spite of the fact that there was minimal interest or financial justification for such vehicles over 20 years ago.

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGinNC View Post
    The EV1 was trash that belongs in the scrap heap.
    Lots of guys that worked on the EV1 project built the volt. Its was not for nothing. Plus it was indeed EV1.

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    with the Bolt. This is GM’s first purpose-built regular production electric car since the EV1 17 years ago.
    What about the Spark EV?

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Quote Originally Posted by Perian View Post
    A new day at GM indeed.

    The culture of change bought about under Ms. Barra and Mr. Reuss speaks for itself. If the new Bolt is any indication, the future is bright.

    While we are on the subject, this interesting photo shows the real-world dimensions of the Bolt (compared with generation one of the Chevy Volt:



    .
    It is bigger than one would think, but from that angle, that picture is misleading.

    2017 Bolt (2014 Volt)

    Length: 164" (177"); Width 69.5" (70.0"); Height 62.8" (57.0"); Wheelbase 102.4" (105.7").

    For reference; 2015 Ford C-Max; Length: 174"; Width 72.0"; Height 64"; Wheelbase 104.3".
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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    would have been interesting if GM kept producing some kind of electric and if it would have ever developed a meaningful reputation for GM. Bottom line was that the battery tech wasn't there at the time; arguably the battery tech is just getting "there" today, 16 years later. GM's real mistake was making the electric when they should've made a Prius type propulsion system.

    But the most important part is that GM has changed with their eye on making great cars and profits vs. the old GM content with being little more than a communist type corporation making mediocre product and any $$ going to greedy unions, executives and dealers and nothing for shareholders.
    I agree with much of this. If battery technology was more advanced at the time, the result may have been different.

    In addition that, I would add, if oil/gasoline prices weren't so "affordable" at the time, then the "urgency" to develop something "greener" (and battery technology more efficient) during that period, would have spurned such investments. Keep in mind that GM wasn't exactly a picture of financial health at the time. The UAW's 54-day strike in 1998 cost GM $2 billion in profits (nevermind what the actual revenue loss was). GM was already behind in "contemporary" engine technology during that era (as they stuck 3100-, 3400-, and 3800-V6s in just about everything since they didn't have a decent four cylinder), and they made little investment in platforms in the 1990s (as carryover underpinnings for the A-, N-, H-platforms can attest). For anyone who is looking at a balance sheet, GM would have very little "need" or "reason" to invest in electric vehicles or battery technology with so many other "projects to feed" in the corporate structure.

    I agree that a hybrid of some kind would have made the most sense, but GM was shortsighted. Kudos and credit to Toyota for essentially "inventing" the market and capitalizing on a trend that is still very much with us today. Don't forget also that, in the mid-to-late 1990s, environmentalism was very different than it is today. Today, things are much more zealous and everyone feels a need to preen their "green cred" with investors and consumers (whether it is deserved or not). Back then I think the focus was on things like recycling, conservation, protecting waterways, local landscapes, etc. There wasn't nearly the rabid focus on environmental matters and GM didn't feel a need to invest in that space. It was to GM's detriment, since Toyota's image and technological perceptions skyrocketed with the Prius. They deserve to reap the rewards from the risk they took. Knowing what we know now, GM should have done the same.
    Last edited by nadepalma; 09-20-2016 at 03:18 PM.
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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Quote Originally Posted by mbukukanyau View Post
    Lots of guys that worked on the EV1 project built the volt. Its was not for nothing. Plus it was indeed EV1.
    I don't doubt it.

    That doesn't change my opinion of it as a horrible vehicle. Yes, it was indeed the first mass-produced electric car, still not changing my opinion.
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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Didn't the current management kill off the Cadillac ELR?

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambalanche View Post
    What about the Spark EV?
    Spark EV wasn't purpose built as an electric car. It was a modified Chevy Spark purpose built for internal combustion engines.
    I am on the border of genius and crazy. I keep trying to cross over into genius, but ICE keeps sending me back to the crazy side of the border.

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    Re: QOTD: "Time to think of GM as who it IS, not who it WAS."

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe in T.O. View Post
    Didn't the current management kill off the Cadillac ELR?
    Most of the heads in the current management were there when it was approved...

    It's fair enough that GM says its changing but is that old underlying culture changing
    or simply being pushed underground...
    Last edited by jpd80; 09-20-2016 at 06:14 PM.

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