Time Magazine: Green Motors

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Thread: Time Magazine: Green Motors

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    Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Green Motors
    GM gets ready to roll out a new line of hybrids - including SUVs. Why the auto giant waited so long to come clean

    By Bryan Walsh

    No one would mistake Chris Paine for a General Motors shill. In his 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, the filmmaker laid out a damning case against GM for unplugging the EV1, the electric vehicle it manufactured in the 1990s and then discontinued in 2003, preferring instead to produce high-margin but gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. "They were a technological leader, and they fumbled that leadership away," Paine says. Ask him about the U.S. carmaker now, though, and Paine sounds almost admiring. "Their new hybrids are making a difference, and their plug-in technology is a real advance," he says. "GM is making some really good moves now."

    Full Time Magazine article is here.

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    I think this is a repost.
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by ByTheLake
    Green Motors
    GM gets ready to roll out a new line of hybrids - including SUVs. Why the auto giant waited so long to come clean

    By Bryan Walsh

    No one would mistake Chris Paine for a General Motors shill. In his 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, the filmmaker laid out a damning case against GM for unplugging the EV1, the electric vehicle it manufactured in the 1990s and then discontinued in 2003, preferring instead to produce high-margin but gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. "They were a technological leader, and they fumbled that leadership away," Paine says. Ask him about the U.S. carmaker now, though, and Paine sounds almost admiring. "Their new hybrids are making a difference, and their plug-in technology is a real advance," he says. "GM is making some really good moves now."

    Full Time Magazine article is here.

    What BS that Paine "laid out a damning case." Damning only if you're a fool who can't see deeper than this shallow attack on GM.

    GM built a great piece of technology that no one wanted and lost billions doing it.

    He said that GM was only interested in making money. Well, duh.

    The EV supporters claim that there was this big waiting list, yet when GM dropped the lease price to a very affordable level, the supposed waiting list didn't step up and put their money where their mouths were.

    He laments GM destroying the existing cars. Well, they were GM's (rather expensive) property and some of them are still being used in research. And despite the owners' supposed willingness to release GM from liability in the event of an accident, that would have only released GM from liability in the case of the driver. They still would have been open to lawsuits from any other person injured by an aging, poorly maintained EV1. Parts such as the regenerative braking system were no longer being manufactured. In our litigious society, why would GM take the risk of a $100 million dollar lawsuit? Who can forget when they got sued by the family of a Georgia boy who was hit in his GM pickup at 70 mph broadsides by a drunken driver? The family claimed that it was the sidesaddle gas tanks at fault. GM lost the case even though that truck passed every safety requirement applicable when it was manufactured.

    Paine also gave Toyota a complete pass on discontinuing their electric program.
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by hrcslam
    I think this is a repost.
    I read this article before too IIRC. Regardless, it's still a great article in a major publication that many people read.
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    what is up with the idiots who believe that GM (or anyone else) is obligated to stop making SUVs out of the blue in order to save the environment? How do these people get their comments published? Americans, not automakers, are the ones who demand SUVS. This is a basic idea that any HS graduate should be able to grasp and yet we have these extremist greenies getting quoted in Time Magazine as if they are credible voices on the auto industry.

    Why doesnt anyone demand McDonalds cease making unhealthy meals since America has a weight problem?

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by ksr
    What BS that Paine "laid out a damning case." Damning only if you're a fool who can't see deeper than this shallow attack on GM.

    GM built a great piece of technology that no one wanted and lost billions doing it.

    He said that GM was only interested in making money. Well, duh.

    The EV supporters claim that there was this big waiting list, yet when GM dropped the lease price to a very affordable level, the supposed waiting list didn't step up and put their money where their mouths were.

    He laments GM destroying the existing cars. Well, they were GM's (rather expensive) property and some of them are still being used in research. And despite the owners' supposed willingness to release GM from liability in the event of an accident, that would have only released GM from liability in the case of the driver. They still would have been open to lawsuits from any other person injured by an aging, poorly maintained EV1. Parts such as the regenerative braking system were no longer being manufactured. In our litigious society, why would GM take the risk of a $100 million dollar lawsuit? Who can forget when they got sued by the family of a Georgia boy who was hit in his GM pickup at 70 mph broadsides by a drunken driver? The family claimed that it was the sidesaddle gas tanks at fault. GM lost the case even though that truck passed every safety requirement applicable when it was manufactured.

    Paine also gave Toyota a complete pass on discontinuing their electric program.
    Your post is very good. Certain members of the environmentalist community turned what should have been a big positive, that General Motors invested heavily in the EV1 and pushed electric car technology dramatically forward, into a negative. CARB relaxing their zero emission regulations along with low consumer demand made the EV1 program economically untenable. Fortunately General Motors has benefited from the EV1 development when developing the Volt.
    Last edited by ericmvest; 10-16-2007 at 08:37 AM.

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    I like that GM is introducing their hybrids in vehicles that are currently on the road (so to say); instead of creating a whole new vehicle. A new hybrid model is great, but showing the consumer that hybrid technology can make a difference with the vehicles most people want to buy.

    Excuse my stereotype, but it's really interesting that the world's best known "geek-mobile" does make a difference...in Hollywoodland...Had anyone thought about the the Accord Hybrid or even the Camry Hybrid? Wow, how many celebrities own a Prius?

    And now that GM (and eventually BMW and Chrysler & Daimler) will have a hybrid system for full-size vehicles, how many of those Prius-worshipping celebs & fans trade in their old-school Prius for a full-size Tahoe Hybrid?

    My point is the competition is great and it's beginning to create all sorts of options for the average consumer. GM's strong thrust into the alternative fuel industry has caused Toyota to offer hybrid options on all their vehicles...instead of creating even more geek-mobiles with great technology, but no style.

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by jlt0x
    I like that GM is introducing their hybrids in vehicles that are currently on the road (so to say); instead of creating a whole new vehicle. A new hybrid model is great, but showing the consumer that hybrid technology can make a difference with the vehicles most people want to buy.

    Excuse my stereotype, but it's really interesting that the world's best known "geek-mobile" does make a difference...in Hollywoodland...Had anyone thought about the the Accord Hybrid or even the Camry Hybrid? Wow, how many celebrities own a Prius?

    And now that GM (and eventually BMW and Chrysler & Daimler) will have a hybrid system for full-size vehicles, how many of those Prius-worshipping celebs & fans trade in their old-school Prius for a full-size Tahoe Hybrid?

    My point is the competition is great and it's beginning to create all sorts of options for the average consumer. GM's strong thrust into the alternative fuel industry has caused Toyota to offer hybrid options on all their vehicles...instead of creating even more geek-mobiles with great technology, but no style.


    Glad to see that I'm not the only one who refers to that car as a "geek mobile."

    South Park had it right when it called the car the "Pious."

    If the Prius didn't have unusual styling that, for better or worse, stands out, would the Hollywood crowd drive them? Do any of them drive Accord, Escape, or Civic hybrids? (If so, they've probably mounted a flashing neon "Hybrid!" sign on the roof to make up for the lack of attention that the non-exclusive styling results in.)
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Who says GM is doing anything? GM is doing all they can to make the Hybrid Tahoe fail.

    If you work at a dealership, ask your sales manager when the Tahoe will be sitting in showrooms. They'll tell you. NEVER! At least not for the forseeable future. GM is doing something very stupid. You have to order the vehicle.

    From a marketing standpoint, this kills the vehicle altogether. Almost nobody will buy a vehicle without first driving it. Not a whole lot of people are going to be willing to make that kind of commitment without driving the vehicle first.

    And this is a habit of GM and shows that they have no interest in being "green".

    EV 1 was lease only. Even at 6 figures, there were many people that would have bought the vehicle. Why lease only? Eventually, GM kills the EV program. Idiots.

    Why no dual mode hybrid in anything but a big massive, uber expensive Tahoe? If GM were serious about it, the hybrid system would be placed squarely in the new Malibu. As it stands, the Malibu only gets a ridiculous hybrid system that barely does anything for the vehicle. Americans have the perception that hybrids should get over 40 mpg, thanks to Toyotas incredibly clever marketing of the Prius. But the Malibu gets no better than any other mid size car out there. Hell, I can hyper-mile my mid size SUV to get better mileage than that.

    If GM were actually serious, we would be seeing dual mode hybrid tech in 4 cyl mid size cars, trucks, and crossovers. The only, ONLY, reason GM put the tech into the Tahoe is that the the Tahoe is one of the few high margin vehicles left in their inventory.

    The company that gets serious with the technology will win. But since the oil companies still call the shots and the manufacturers are mere puppets, we will continue to here "it's coming in the future."

    I'll believe the Volt when I see it. You watch. The vehicle, or any vehicle with the technology, will have strings attached that make the vehicle just as expensive to operate. It could be a lease only vehicle, or lease the battery, or something like that. But no company is going to release any kind of vehicle that cuts into oil company profits. Period. And even if the Volt releases and technology spreads. Oil companies will defy the law of supply and demand and keep raising the price of gas.

    Get real people. It's going to take a company standing up and giving the finger to the oil companies, releasing groundbreaking technology that doesn't depend on cool gadgets or horsepower.

    Get real

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Grymm
    EV 1 was lease only. Even at 6 figures, there were many people that would have bought the vehicle. Why lease only? Eventually, GM kills the EV program. Idiots.

    Many people at 6 figures?

    You have absolutely no facts to back this up.

    The EV1 supporters have always claimed that there were legions of eager, willing people to lease, not buy, the vehicle. They never materialized, other than to put their name on some meaningless list. And the reason that it was leased was, besides the prohibitive cost of purchase was because it was a work in progress. Updated technologies could be added to the cars, and at one point, better batteries were installed in the EV1s.

    They only managed to lease something like 400 vehicles. Total. From an R&D effort in the billions.
    Last edited by ksr; 10-16-2007 at 09:30 AM.
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Grymm
    But no company is going to release any kind of vehicle that cuts into oil company profits. Period. And even if the Volt releases and technology spreads. Oil companies will defy the law of supply and demand and keep raising the price of gas.

    So you honestly believe that no company would mass market a car that could run solely on electricity and need little to no gasoline. Forgoing the potentially huge profits they themselves could make so that oil companies can take those profits.

    I think GM or any car company would gladly rake in the money themselves.

    Where exactly are oil companies defying the laws of supply and demand? Gasoline and oil demand the world over continues to rise. If you take a look at the world price of oil in comparison to the price of gasoline over the last five years or so, gas prices are actually lower than you would have expected had someone told you in 2000 that oil would be $80 a barrel in 2007.

    People have this notion of evil oil companies. Evil why? Because they participate in a legal industry bringing a commodity to market that is in high demand the world over?

    Are you going to point to record profits? Their earnings statements are public, and their profit margins are the same as they've always been. But when you're selling a product that simply is more expensive than it used to be, you're going to make record profits.

    Are they evil because they fund research that may show that global warming is not man-made? Evil because they are trying to continue in their profitable businesses that employ many thousands of workers? Because you may not like the source of funding research doesn't in-and-of-itself invalidate that research. It still has to be considered.

    Many if not most of the important research, discoveries and inventions in history were the result of funds provided by for-profit organizations.
    Last edited by ksr; 10-16-2007 at 09:32 AM.
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Why no dual mode hybrid in anything but a big massive, uber expensive Tahoe?
    The VUE is up next. I saw one yesterday... didn't look big to me.
    If GM were serious about it, the hybrid system would be placed squarely in the new Malibu
    The new Malibu is not new, it's an extensive refresh. Full hybrid tech is for EP2... probably E-Flex, which requires a platform designed to accept it.
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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    That article sucked. They had the Volt on the cover, a big ass picture of the Volt splayed across both pages of the double truck article and then it gets an irrelevant one or two sentence blurb about it being a concept car. That would've been fine if the article was written earlier this year but it's October 2007 and you can't find any updated info on the Volt?

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Grymm
    stupid.

    Idiots.

    Hell, I can hyper-mile my mid size SUV to get better mileage than that.

    Get real
    I have edited out the garbage from your post and it boils down to this. People that have no clue on how a car company works complaining about the decisions they are making are stupid idiots.

    People that "hyper-mile" their mid size SUV are stupid idiots too. What is "hyper-mile"? You have no facts much less any logical arguments to base any of your rambling post on.

    There was no group that came forward to purchase the EV1 furthermore the associated liability costs (see the posts above yours) would have been crazy. Then you go on saying that people will not purchase cars they cannot test drive, you could not test drive the Puris at first and I know that I cannot walk into a Ferrari dealership and expect to test drive a F430. Did that make any of these cars any less desirable?

    To say that hybrid technology on belongs on four cylinder beer cans is crazy. A full-sized truck/SUV that get an extra 4-5 mpg is a much larger return than a car that will get 7-8 more mpg. Trucks/SUVs are popular and many people do need them (heck you even state that you own one). This technology makes sense in that all vechiles (cars and trucks) should be efficient. I wonder if toyota or honda had this on their SUVs if you would have the same opinion.

    Lastly, your crazy claim that the oil companies are holding back technology is not just crazy, it is Manson crazy. Car companies are hurting and if they could produce a car that got 100 mpg and was the size of an Impala they would jump at the chance.

    In closing, get real yourself.

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    Re: Time Magazine: Green Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by dratnol
    Lastly, your crazy claim that the oil companies are holding back technology is not just crazy, it is Manson crazy. Car companies are hurting and if they could produce a car that got 100 mpg and was the size of an Impala they would jump at the chance.

    In closing, get real yourself.
    The "Manson Crazy" comment is awesome.

    You made some great points.

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