TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Why would I expect anything different from GM? Plug-in hybrid a wash

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by DDB, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. DDB

    DDB Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    590
    I've been waiting for 2 months for this announcement at the LA auto show about GM's plug-in hybrid...I'm not that impressed. I'm not seeing anything about a series hybrid or duel-mode or all electric mode. Why call it a plug-in? Maybe this will scare Toyota into developing one kick-ass system ::)

    GM: Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid coming
    CEO plans for future electrically-driven vehicles in speech.
    November 29 2006: 1:57 PM EST

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- General Motors is working on a plug-in hybrid version of its redesigned Saturn Vue SUV, the company's CEO announced today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

    GM (Charts) Chief Executive Rick Wagoner used the appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday to highlight a development program the automaker hopes will be seen as a strategic shift and help distance it from its reputation as a company focused first on gas-guzzling trucks.
    L.A. Auto Show launchMore photos

    The effort, which focuses a greater effort in electric-driven vehicles including hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, is part of GM's bid to demonstrate how it is investing some of the $9 billion saved through a wrenching program of job cuts and plant closures.

    Gallery: L.A. Auto Show Cars

    California, the most populous and richest U.S. state, has become increasingly hostile ground for the Detroit automakers, who have watched Toyota (Charts) ride its reputation for quality and fuel-efficiency to a dominating No. 1 position in the local market.

    GM's reputation in California suffered further from the controversy that surrounded this summer's release of the film "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

    The critically hailed documentary focused on the role the world's largest automaker played in the decision to end California's experiment with all-electric cars that many environmentalists still see as the most promising alternative to gas engines.

    Plug-in hybrids are seen as a more viable alternative to all-electric vehicles because, while they can be charged by plugging into a wall outlet, they also operate by driving and charging their batteries from a gasoline engine just as cars like the Toyota Prius do.

    Environmental advocates and utilities in California have been pushing GM and other car companies to move such rechargeable vehicles into production, citing their potential to push gas mileage to 100 miles-per-gallon during short trips.

    Plug-in hybrid vehicles will require major advancements in battery technology.

    "I cannot give you a date certain for our plug-in hybrid at this point," Wagoner said. "But I can tell you that is a major priority for General Motors."

    Next year, Wagoner said, GM will release a new version of its Saturn Vue Green Line that will offer a 45-percent improvement in fuel economy over the regular Vue. The current Vue hybrid offers a roughly 20-percent improvement.

    GM has its first hybrid vehicle on the U.S. market now, the Saturn VUE Green Line SUV. It has also announced plans to introduce hybrid versions of its Yukon and Tahoe SUVs by late 2007 using technology it has jointly developed with BMW AG and DaimlerChrysler AG (Charts).

    Hybrid versions of GM's Saturn Aura and the GMC Yukon are now on display at the Los Angeles show.

    Wagoner also reiterated his GM's commitment to ethanol-powered vehicles. In the next three years, Wagoner said, all of GM's Hummer brand vehicles will be capable of running on ethanol.

    At the end of Wagoner's speech two people from the audience went up onto the stage with a large placard. The placard, they said, was a pledge to make GM the global leader in fuel efficiency by 2010 and they asked Wagoner to sign it.

    "I think my speech spoke for itself," Wagoner replied. "You have to leave now."

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/29/autos/gm_green_cars/index.htm?postversion=2006112913
     
  2. klausefluoride

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    GM had in insane opportunity with their plug in hybrid. The popularity of "Who Killed the Electric Car" could have worked in their favor if they had rolled out something really impressive. I would've much rather seen something brand new or at least something more reasonably sized than the Vue. Still, this is only a first. GM still has the opportunity to take a serious lead if they move fast and offer more plug ins, especially if they give them an impressive range (say 100 miles) so you could potentially never turn the gas engine on.

    I want nothing more than to see GM succeed. Serial hybrids offer them a chance to reverse their negative environmental image, take the lead in a new market segment (which could be a complete automotive revolution, and hopefully will be), and boost their quality reputation significantly (an electric motor will run for 1 million miles without any maintenance, something not even the most delusional Toyota fan could claim). And what would all of this lead to? Jobs for Americans, better cars for all, and a huge step towards oil independence.
     
  3. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,091
    Location:
    Hamilton, Texas
    Suddenly GM's strategy becomes crystal clear. . . They intend to produce a plug-in hybrid so limited, poorly conceived and unnattractive that its failure will discredit the whole PHEV concept for years to come. Then GM can return to happily producing flex-fuel SUVs and racking up CAFE credits.

    I was a fool to expect better from them. :'(
     
  4. DDB

    DDB Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    590
    Don't get me wrong, I would be the first in line to buy GM if they had the same quality cars as our Honda Accord '06 and my '05 VW Passat TDI...but uh, choke, ah, they just don't. I wish them the best, but "expanding their ethanol offerings to Hummers" is not eco-friendly and a load of BS. This plug-in should have been what American cars were in the 50's, something to be proud of...not a marketing tactic that will get them closer to bankruptcy.
     
  5. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,074
    Location:
    New York
    After learning about EVs from the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" and reading The Car that Could and Forward Drive, I would steer away (no pun intended ;D) from PHEVs. It is “old technology” if the GM vehicle goes ~ 30 miles on battery before requiring a charge. If it can go > 100 miles then a dent in oil consumption as well as improved air quality might be made over time. Another downside to PHEVs are those individuals that will not re-charge when necessary and thus end up with a Prius-like hybrid.

    Why would it be limited to 30 miles? Can we suspect big oil again or short-sightedness?
     
  6. klausefluoride

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    11
    I think for that we can blame battery costs. If it is too expensive, it would be nice for GM to offer optional battery packs, so maybe the base model has a 30 mile all electric range, but you can upgrade it.
     
  7. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,091
    Location:
    Hamilton, Texas
    Where did you get 30 miles? From the report I read, the GM hybrid SUV will have an electric range of "more than 10 miles".

    And that's really sad, isn't it? I would consider 30 miles not great but adequate for the concept of a PHEV. Ten miles is sad. Also, if I read the article correctly, it may not even give you full performance for those 10 miles. If you need to accelerate hard or climb a hill, the gasoline engine will start up to assist. So the "plug-in" part of this car is really the bare minimum that you can have in a plug-in vehicle, it's nearly pointless.
     
  8. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    15,914
    Location:
    Stanford, California
    I like the last bit:

    "You have to leave now."
     
  9. stockey

    stockey Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    GM said that there will be more hybrid announcements in Detroit,i think they are keeping the news about the series hybrid for Detroit,i hope.
     
  10. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,074
    Location:
    New York
    I read several articles that provided ranges of 20-30 miles on electric. 30 miles is wishful thinking and 10 is very sad indeed.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ev9nov09,0,6347599.story?coll=la-home-business
    http://www.calcars.org/calcars-news/585.html
    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061130/BUSINESS01/611300338

    "The new car, if developed as a production model, would be recharged daily by owners and probably would deliver sufficient power from the batteries to cover the typical daily commute of 20 to 30 miles before depleting the battery charge and switching to electricity generated onboard."
     
  11. stockey

    stockey Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    19
    Serial Hybrid Hints

    This week the Los Angeles Auto Show had its 100th annual exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In his keynote address on 11-29, Rick Wagoner, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors, congratulated the producers when he said “you have ‘arrived’ this year as one of the industry’s top international shows.”

    This is more true than the distinguished Mr. Wagoner may realize. California is the home of automotive industry newcomers Tesla Motors in the Silicon Valley, and Phoenix Motorcars in California’s southland. Tesla Motors is noteworthy because they have the backing of some of the wealthiest, smartest venture capitalists the Silicon Valley ever spawned, and they are using the already commoditized lithium ion batteries used in laptops, with extremely high energy densities, to power their 100% battery powered Tesla Roadster. Phoenix Motorcars is interesting because they have a supplier agreement with Altair Technologies, who claim they have a next-generation ”nano-titanate” lithium ion battery that has faster recharging times and greatly reduced problems with heat management. Could the automotive industry’s center of gravity be shifting from Detroit to California?

    What we really were looking for when listening to the GM Chairman Wagoner deliver his keynote in Los Angeles was any indication that GM was going to deliver a serial hybrid car, as rumor has it - read “The Serial Hybrid Car is Here.”

    In Wagoner’s keynote (read text here) he mentioned flex-fuel vehicles, E-85 gasoline, new hybrid vehicle roll-outs, even a plug-in hybrid! We like plug-ins, even now using nickel metal hydride batteries, because some of us only have 10-20 mile commutes, which means we can plug our hybrid cars into a wall socket each night and spend $.02 per mile using the electricity from the grid, instead of triple that cost when we charge our cars batteries using on-board gasoline. Read “Electric Car Cost per Mile” or ”The 100% Battery Powered Car“ for charts explaining the cost-per-mile savings of using grid electricity vs. gasoline.

    We are extremely excited about serial hybrid cars, because in this design the onboard gasoline engine is hooked only to an electric generator. This means it can operate at a constant RPM, which means it can attain up to 40% efficiency, far, far more than it can achieve when hooked to a drivetrain with constantly varying RPM and torque requirements. The efficiencies getting power from a generator through a battery pack and into an electric traction motor are surprisingly high. We believe the serial hybrid is potentially more fuel efficient than today’s parallel hybrids, and we believe they are far, far less complex to build and maintain.

    We were told, off the record, by a GM spokesperson only two days ago that GM is definitely going to have a serial hybrid concept car early next year. But the best we got on 11-29-2006 from Chairman Wagoner is the following: “GM is committed to the development of electrically driven vehicles that will help improve energy diversity, and minimize the automobile’s impact on the environment… and, we’ll follow today’s announcements with additional announcements during the auto show season… including Detroit, in about six weeks.” That’s an enticing tidbit.

    GM has gotten a bum rap by environmentalists. GM has tried everything; the experimental EV-1, sixteen generations of internally designed fuel cells, hybrids, flex-fuel; now plug-in hybrids. But if they don’t come through (as they have hinted so far they will) with a serial hybrid car, which is the closest thing yet to a 100% battery powered car and eminently practical, someone in California is going to do it instead, and the automotive world’s center of gravity will shift westward…

    http://www.ecoworld.com/blog/2006/11/30/serial-hybrid-hints/
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    CA CA
    From Cal Cars

     

Share This Page