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Extremely Confused After Watching - Who Killed The Electric Car

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by ggies07, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    #1 ggies07, Jun 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
    So if GM was the maker of EV1 and it was a great product in terms of EVs back then, when we really get down to it, is the Volt just a compliance car? It's supposed to be this high tech car these days and the company is all over it, but technology improved from the EV1 to when Volt debuted. GM still created a car that relied on gas. Did they think things were going to stay the same? They could have made an even better EV instead of designing the Volt. :confused:
     
  2. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    Yep, they went backwards on the Volt. There is a reason they went BK a few years ago.
     
  3. Objective1

    Objective1 Member

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    GM lost tons of money on EV1. It wasn't a good business. The Volt was supposed to be the plug-in that worked, because it would have no range anxiety issue. Also, with less batteries than a BEV, it was supposed to be affordable. GM may have guessed wrong, but then, GM could never have built as excellent a car as the Model S, not as an EV, and not even as an ICE.
     
  4. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    From what I gather from the video is that GM lost money on the EV1 because they killed the program. Does the video leave out stats on cost per car, etc....the woman that worked there said it could have been a great opportunity.
     
  5. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    The final EV1's got the same 160 mile range as a 40kWh Model S using a 26.4 kWh battery.

    If they kept the program, took advantage of Lithium batteries when they became available, and put a 60kWh battery on the EV1, doing nothing else, they would have by now had a car with a lower drag coefficient and an equivalent or longer range than a 85 kWh Model S.
     
  6. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    The Volt is actually a good car. I did a test drive on it and it was a blast to drive it.
    But it doesn't even remotely compare to a Tesla Model S.
    But it is also a lot cheaper at about $40,000 or so. I still wouldn't buy it though.

    If there were no other EVs on the market and the Volt was the only electric (partial) transportation option for a car, then it would be getting rave reviews similar to the Prius in 2004-2006. It would have been an amazing halo car for GM to hang their hat on. But in 2012-2013 it doesn't remotely compare with what Tesla is doing.
     
  7. Zextraterrestrial

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    I just looked at a focus several minutes ago. ??? Where is the space? Hmmm. I gave the car sales guy a ride in my S but only sat in the Focus-e :)
     
  8. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    But that's the thing. Is it really? I used to think so when it first came out, but after watching this, it seems like it's just a bone GM threw out the public with no sense of the past.....or the future.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yep. They could have been on top where Tesla is going to be in a few years.
     
  9. MikeK

    MikeK R#129, TSLA shareholder

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    I had an EV-1 for 2.5 years. I transferred the last 6 months of my lease to somebody who desperately wanted to drive one, even briefly, before they all went to the crusher.

    It was a very cool car, but it was definitely a bit of a science project. It did not have the feel of a real production car in many ways. The Model S is as far beyond the EV-1 as a Lexus is beyond a kit car.

    Did GM lose money? Of course they did. They embarked on a substantial development project, but released only a tiny number of cars in what was in all respects a public beta test. Despite people loving the car and a well documented demand for more vehicles, they elected to shutter the program rather than continue to refine the design and produce more vehicles. So, all that development investment that could have been recouped had they pursued the program was instead discarded.

    They tried to spin this closure of the program as "ooh, this program failed". They even sent somebody to the California Air Resources Board to claim that there was no demand for the cars and that they cars weren't well received. Fortunately, there were a heck of a lot of drivers (including yours truly) at that meeting to tell the drivers' perspective. In my opinion, Chris Paine did a real service in producing that film and getting a more balanced story out to a wider audience.

    Little-known fact: GM actually built a serial hybrid prototype version of the EV-1, much like the Volt is today. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of the Volt's engineering derived from the EV-1 program. Just think what could have been if they hadn't basically abandoned the project for a decade.
     
  10. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Do tell! What were some of the issues you had with it?
     
  11. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    Thats great to hear from someone who actually had one. I wonder what the higher execs are thinking now because of what Tesla is doing.....do they understand or are they still lost...
     
  12. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    The Volt exists mostly because of Tesla.
    Bob Lutz went to the GM board and said "look, this small startup made a full EV, we HAVE to do something"
    Bob and Elon actually sort of get along too, oddly.
    GM admits abandoning the EV1 project is their single biggest mistake, ever.
     
  13. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I'd like to see some napkin calculations on this one. I think you're assuming zero impact relative to battery weight and size differences here, for example.
     
  14. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    If you are interested in the EV1 and what could have been - read this book: The Car That Could: The Inside Story of GMs Revolutionary Electric Vehicle: Michael Shnayerson: 9780679421054: Amazon.com: Books
    It is a very interesting read, as it was written shortly before the EV1s were all destroyed. The battles the EV1 faced from internal forces trying to kill it are eye-opening.
    Somewhat ironic - I picked up my copy used for $5

    I put out detailed calculations in another thread - the volume and weight of the EV1 battery and the 85kWh Model S battery are very similar.
    It is very probable that you could fit an 85kWh Model S battery in the EV1 and then you would have a 500 mile range EV1.
    I think that is the real reason GM destroyed them all.
     
  15. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    Of course with all of the modern safety improvements/equipment now required, it probably wouldn't actually be a 500 mile range, we are talking 1997 versus 2012 here, 15 years of safety improvements.
    Bet it would be more like 300 miles, sound familiar? :)
     
  16. drees

    drees Active Member

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  17. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    When they demonstrated dropping the Malibu body onto the Volt chassis, I knew it was all over.
     
  18. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    #18 vfx, Jun 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
    Second the used book purchase. Turns out it's a great companion piece to the movie.
     
  19. ggies07

    ggies07 Active Member

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    Hahaha, so lets created a car that does bare minimum of what an all EV can do? And not focus the conpany back to our EV1 project. You know, for competition. Hmmmmm......missed the boat on that one again.


    Elon is right, if we all waited around for the EV to take shape, it would never be.
     
  20. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    GM would have lost even more money on the Volt project if they had cut it short too.

    I don't blame GM, they are a business and the idea of an EV market is very different and diving into it is a big risk.

    As I understand it, Lutz had the Volt concept in mind before the Roadsters hit the road, but couldn't get it past the board of directors.
    Once he saw Tesla successfully getting Roadsters on the road, he went back to the board and shamed them into going ahead with the Volt. The Board gave their approval and the Volt was born.

    As companies get large, they tend to loose agility and innovation. While Tesla built a luxury sedan on a, comparatively, shoestring budget, most of the big auto makers are doing little to nothing.
    GM and Nissan being the only exceptions.
    And GM is the only other company that recognized strengths of the electric drivetrain other than the environmental ones.

    To the OP, if you haven't also watched the follow up movie, "Revenge of the Electric Car", I highly recommend it. I liked it more than the first one simply because the director got a ton of inside access at GM, Nissan and Tesla.
     

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