Detroit 3 vary in their electric-vehicle visions

Detroit 3 vary in their electric-vehicle visions http://tinyurl.com/yerv7yr
Chrysler said recently that its in-house team of electric car development engineers had been disbanded and will be folded into the
company's organizational chart.
The announcement comes three months after Chrysler took $70 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a test fleet of 220 hybrid pickup trucks and minivans. It comes less than a year after Chrysler built its case for federal aid -- it received $12.5 billion -- by showing flashy designs of electric sports cars, trucks and vans, and promising 500,000 battery-powered vehicles on the road by 2013.
With a swipe of his wrist, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne cast aside Chrysler's EV plans -- commenting that batteries aren't ready, the market is minuscule and "electric vehicles are going to struggle." In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of other U.S. and European carmakers that have dismissed the inexorable movement of the auto industry toward greener more fuel-efficient electric and hybrid cars.
Chrysler is now left with an obligation to put those 220 test hybrids on the road -- which it says it will honor -- and an anemic effort to market a Dodge Ram Hybrid, which is to dribble out next year after five years' worth of promises that the vehicle is coming. In an era when green is the new black, the breakup of Chrysler's hybrid and electric car team is a public relations blunder.
General Motors, on the other hand, knows about such blunders -- but has learned the lesson too well.
After the infamous killing of the EV1 and years of dismissing hybrids as "making no economic sense," the company is now using its forthcoming star -- the Chevy Volt -- as a poster child for all things green and good. GM's Volt program is tremendous and deserves recognition as a major achievement. Kudos. Yet, the company continues to turn up the brightness of the klieg lights -- now reaching a blinding level. For example, GM's recent national Volt advertising campaign -- promising 230 m.p.g. -- does more to obfuscate than to elucidate.
The publicity push is working. The latest example is reports that GM has given a green light to produce the Cadillac Converj, a slick electric coupe concept unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. As cool as the car looks, the news flash is all about marketing. "Cadillac needs as much excitement in its portfolio as possible, so I think it's a good strategy for them," said Rebecca Lindland, director of auto industry research at IHS Global Insight. Bingo.
It's a great strategy for drawing attention to Cadillac. But if the goal of the hybrid and electric car movement is to offer low- or zero-emission transportation and to make a transition to sustainable personal vehicles, the Cadillac Converj is as wrong as the spelling of its name.
The current luxury hybrids are low sellers. The $70,000 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid has sold an average of about 180 units per month this year.
Why would a more expensive, less practical two-door Cadillac Converj, even with great lines and 40 miles of all-electric range -- sell at much greater numbers? Low production numbers also undermine arguments from Bob Lutz, marketing chief for GM, that the Converj will help the Volt program reach economies of scale or defray battery costs.
That doesn't matter. Nor does it matter that Cadillac has not confirmed the Converj story. Mission accomplished for GM PR. Nothing accomplished for sustainable mobility.
Wouldn't it be cool if there were a Detroit auto company that saw the value of electric-drive vehicles (unlike Chrysler), and (unlike GM) was modestly going about producing common-sense, affordable electric cars and plug-in hybrids on existing global scalable platforms? Maybe something like an electric version of a practical mild-mannered Ford Focus, or a plug-in hybrid variant of a small crossover Escape? No super fanfare. No rumors of slick, expensive future EVs that may or may not come. No Hail Mary passes. No bloated promises for handouts from American taxpayers.
That's what Ford is doing, again proving that it's moving in the right direction -- not only for consumer value and profitability, but for the future of Detroit, the U.S. economy and Planet Earth.
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The market drives everything! The fact is, only a scant 3% of buyers are choosing hybrids today and many sales are to corporations wanting to appear "green." The fact is current hybrids are old, outdated technology, that will disappear in the not too distant future.
The gas engine in a hybrid need to be large enough with enough torque to propel the car on its own. On the other hand, the engine running the generator on the Volt chassis need only turn the generator and it runs at it most efficient RPM at all times
If you have a small percent of any market, your economies of scare are zilch, that is why the current electric cars cost an arm and a leg, $100,000.
GM is way ahead of the curve and hitting the mark with a pure, plug in eclectic, with an on board generator, chassis. That basic chassis can be use to build any number of variation. The Converj is just the second of five on the drawing boards. GM economies of scale in electrics will balloon in a few short years as the market continues to grow. When it does, the cost to build, and federally certify, will be thousands of dollars LESS than current conventionally powered cars and trucks, and way less than hybrids. The current chassis uses a gasoline powered generator but it is easily replaced by a diesel, FlexFuel, NG or hydrogen power source

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Mike Hunter wrote:

So why is GM betting the farm on the Volt?
Stupidity?

Two drive trains to depreciate and maintain. One fix, there goes years of savings down the toilet.

Plus taxpayers subsidies. Stupid priced. Bet reason to buy one is as an investment, then put it beside the Edsel.

Japanese and Europeans were making small cars before GM knew what they were. Geo anyone? Vega? Bobcat? And does GM make a 4 cyl. ever that was worth a crap?
Hahahahha....tick tock, GM is a crock....

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Our friend Canuck57, once again is telling us the sky is falling LOL

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