Electric vehicles to pay for detroit bailout?

  1. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    An article by the boss of Tesla motors asking that the $25Bn promised in september for advanced technology transport research doesn't just get switched to paying for Detroit's corporate jets.
    http://www.teslamotors.com/blog2/?p=66

    I imagine some people here might have an opinion.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. LURCH

    LURCH 2,512
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    I am glad the Big Three bigwigs got slapped down for their extravagance, and I'm glad that congress wants a plan showing what they intend to do with the money before they just give it away. It does put them in the bizzar position (as Democrats) of opposing unions, but the current brutal reality has shown that the extravagance of the unions can no longer be supported, either.

    As for EV's, I don't think much additional motivating is needed; Chevy knows that the Volt is the best chance they have to survive. And their competitors will soon see the same light. I wonder if Congress will cut back on their use of corperate jets?
     
  4. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,232
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    They should just let them go into chapter 11, merge, and come out as a new company that only has 4 models - an off road Jeep-Escalade-Pickup hybrid, a sports car, a hybrid-electric-flexfuel sedan, and some kind of a minivan. Enough of those combinatorial crap cars that equally suck in the same lineup and have no additional advantage. Let them fail before the country goes bankrupt bailing others out, we'll end up like Iceland at this rate
     
  5. We can also limit it to 2 paint colors: black and red.
     
  6. wow, and i bet it will be just as successful as other communist cars. just imagine the newfound demand for spare parts and repair technicians. this could be the biggest thing since the .com bubble.
     
  7. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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  8. you think it isn't a rich man's toy?
     
  9. mheslep

    mheslep 3,358
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    I don't know about four between the three, but GM alone has a couple dozen models and that is no doubt one of the major problems.
     
  10. LURCH

    LURCH 2,512
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    I really hope they don't merge. Competition is a necessary part of the free market aconomy; we can't let anyone gain a monopoly.

    Yes, the Tesla is a $100,000 novelty item for the rich and bored, but the Volt is a $35,000 "real" car for getting to and from work. I believe it could turn things around, if Chevy can stay in business long enough. The full-scale release isn't 'till 2012, and it would take about a year for sales to make a difference. Stocks, on the other hand, could go up immediately, as they depend solely on what people think is about to happen.
     
  11. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Personally I'm not buying a $35k car to get to and from work. I paid $28k for a top end honda accord and now I feel that was a huge waste of money. Next car I get will be a bottom barrel Civic.
     
  12. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    It's probably a sensible market to go after for a new product.
    Instead of trying to build a cheap electric car for the masses (anyone remember the Sinclair C5?) prove the critics wrong, build one with a healthy profit margin and cash-in. Let Honda/Toyota/VW build the cheap ones.
     
  13. i think natural gas vehicles would be a better investment at this point than electrics. but that's more of an "infrastructure" type investment. GM already knows how to make them, people just need a convenient system for refueling.
     
  14. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    There already is a convenient system, most filling stations in Europe have LPG filling.
    The main difficulty with natural gas is that it all seems to be under the same countries as the oil.
     
  15. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    What I see implies to me that the Volt is an improperly conceived attempt to bridge two markets that should be kept separate. They should be making a low-end (say, $16k) two-door plug-in hybrid (or even pure electric) that falls into the same class as the Civic, Mazda3, etc. That's the kind of car that a plug-in hybrid should be. A commuter car. A general-purpose, full-sized family car/luxury sedan doesn't get anywhere near as much benefit from being a plug-in because it will be driven further and the extra cost of such components on a full-sized car just amplifies the problem.
     
  16. they seem to have the lion's share, but it'll still take some of the demand off of petroleum.

    http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/resources.asp
     
  17. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
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    The nice thing about LPG is that you can use the existing petrol/gasoline engine, you need some extra injectors and a second fuel system - it costs about $2000 to convert most cars. They still run on gasoline as well, generally you can't start the engine on LPG.

    It's popular in Europe because the tax on LPG is much lower, so it's 1/3 the price of gasoline, of course once it's as popular the tax will go upto the same amount.

    One problem is that you can't take the cars on ferries and through some tunnels.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  18. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Yeah interesting. It will work for 150 years, then we start the cycle over again with the ME holding 10x the natural gas we hold.
     
  19. mheslep

    mheslep 3,358
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    A GM-Chrysler-Ford merger would have no monopoly - there are dozens of other foreign car makers, four of five of them with factories here in the US.
     
  20. i think you're on the right track. what we need is something akin to the original toyota corolla, stripped down, stick shift, rubber mat on a metal floor and no maze of contraptions under the hood. something approaching a street-legal golf cart to serve the grocery-getter functions. but this is the same thing that will give GM a coronary. they want as many doo-dads and whatchamacallits as possible to drive up the sticker price. i honestly think that's all they care about. a big engine and vehicle is just a means to an end.
     
  21. mheslep

    mheslep 3,358
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    I agree. However, there are some valid considerations likely pushing the Volt design into its current class. The Volt batteries alone will probably be $10-12k of the cost of the five-door Volt as of the 2010 release date. Yes downsizing to a two-door would also shrink the battery size/cost some, but not as linear percentage of the cost of the car. That is, it would be harder to hide the battery cost in a two-door for the moment, and in that car class cost really is everything with tight profit margins. One might then claim that the battery technology is not quite there yet, but the cost has been coming down significantly with innovation. Similarly, when Toyota first came out with its non plug-in hybrid it sold at a loss, but Toyota captured market share in the interim, the Prius is profitable now, and Toyota gained 'green' and technical prestige in the public eye. I speculate GM feels it has to make a play now to risk losing that position forever, rather than wait another five years for batter tech. to come in range.
     
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