Thursday, April 12, 2007

the electirc car is coming, again


I was happy to read this article on the CBC.ca website.
GM's latest venture: to make another electric car: the VOLT.
As many of my readers know, GM tried to do this before and failed. In the 1990s, GM produced the EV1. The failure of this car sparked the movie: "Who killed the electric car? ". From my limited understanding, this movie claims that oil companies and the car makers conspired to scrap the car. However as the CBC reports: "The theory is discounted by experts who point to the EV1's well-known problems, including limited range, especially if the heat or air conditioning was turned on and its impracticality in power-sapping cold-weather regions." I have not seen this movie (and I welcome comments from those who has), but it never made sense to me to think that a company would scrap an entire fleet of cars unless the car was really, really poor quality. Furthermore, if people wanted to buy the car it seems that a company in need of cash flow would be willing to sell it - unless it was more trouble than it was worth. Even funnier, the idea that they scraped the EV1 and only to go back to the drawing board and produce a much better electric car does not support the whole theory ... Nevertheless, this debate aside, the Volt is on its way! And GM has said they are working on it everyday. The CBC reported that 300,000 people clicked onto a GM website to say they wanted the car to be built. Which I think is great. In addition to the CBC article, I found this website that gives more of the juicy details and shows a video (and who I credit the above photo).

8 comments:

Dave said...

"Hi, my name is Volt. I am an electric car and" - and what? and here's a million dollars? and here's your very own spaceship? Oh no, Volt, they got to you! somebody stuck you with a stake through the heart!... Oh, Volt I pine for you...

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen that movie either but plan to soon. And I agree with you as I also find it hard to believe that a company in need of cash would stop a money-making project. I'm more of the opinion that they stopped the project because the technology just wasn't working. People like to believe that technology can solve all problems but unfortunately that's just not the case. Hard for a non-technical person to believe but new technologies just don't spring out of the air like magic. They take years and years and years of research and testing. And guess what? Sometimes they just doesn't work and are abandonned.

One thing i find interesting about the whole electric car issue is that no one ever addresses where exactly all the electricity would come from if we switched over to electric cars. Of course we'll never switch over anyway as it would cost a few trillion dollars and 15-20 years to replace just the US vehicle fleet. So that's just not going to happen.

I suppose from a carbon emissions viewpoint, electric cars would be somewhat better. But unless we start building nuke plants asap, there just won't be the electricity to power a continent full of electric cars.

A much saner, better idea would be to restore train service in a big way and electrify the trains. But that would mean putting the public good ahead of personal wants and that's a hard sell these days.

Nick said...

I just saw the movie last night. The conclusion of the movie was that the EV1 was so good (as in good enough for most drivers who only drive 29 miles a day on average) that the automakers could not make money selling parts, that would end the parts and service industrial complex. Bush's cronies are the CEOs of the big US automakers. Bush sued California for coming up with a plan that would end a lot of business for automakers but clean the environment. Stanford R. Ovshinsky’s company Ovonics who supplied the batteries sold (maybe an error in retrospect) an interest of his company to GM who then turned it over to Texaco to better control it and keep it from competing with oil. California Air Resource Board’s Alan C. Lloyd was later given a position at California Fuel Cell Partnership (fuel cells are just a diversion tactic) for killing California's Zero Emissions Mandate.

When given the choice of sustainable business or sustainable patent, big business would rather kill the planet. This movie is very upsetting.

http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/electric.html

Francis Wooby said...

Didn't Steven Segal go on some long rambling monologue about this conspiracy against the electric car at the end of that film he did in Alaska? It's one of his later masterpieces when he's all old and fat, and very slowly beating up and even older and fatter James Kahn.

Anonymous said...

So i guess the moral of the story is that we CAN NOT expect the invisible hand of the 'free' market to help us out when it comes to doing what's right.

MadJenny said...

I would just like to say that it has been a very very very very very long time since you last updated. My economic education is being deprived here! Hope you're well, and hope you had a good birthday!

Canadian Economist said...

Check: I am been really really bad. I am sorry to everyone. I will post soon.

Matthew said...

Solar Battery Booster

I thought this is a pretty interesting idea, and as it's self installable you can use it until the plug in hybrids hit the market.