'Electric car is not dead,' GM says


#1

‘Electric car is not dead,’ GM says
By David Shepardsonand Karl Henkel
The Detroit News
2013-01-17

General Motors Co. North America chief Mark Reuss said he isn’t giving up on electric vehicles, despite struggling industry sales in 2012.

“The electric car is not dead,” Reuss said at the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday night.

He said despite setbacks, the Detroit automaker isn’t giving up on electric autos, even though it had to abandon its initial forecast for its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.

In 2011, GM sold fewer than 7,700 Volts, below its target of 10,000. It then abandoned goals to sell 45,000 in 2012 and was forced to idle its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant on several occasions to reduce supply.

But sales of the Volt grew, and for all of 2012 they tripled to more than 23,000. And this week at the North American International Auto Show, GM unveiled its new plug-in hybrid Cadillac ELR, a Volt luxury variant that Reuss said GM expects to start building by the end of 2013 at its Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant.

Wow! After deep discounts and significant government buying GM sold 23K Volts? Maybe this year they’ll be able to sell as many Volts as they sold Avalanches … in the year that truck was cancelled! In more rational corners of the business world, making less than 80% of your projected sales one year and then barely over 50% the following year would have executive heads rolling in the streets. This is what happens when it’s taxpayer $$ on the line rather than investors’ $$!


#2

Think they will ever admit that most of their sales were fleet sales to government entities on the taxpayers dime?


#3

I doubt that most of Volt sales were to government entities (i.e. Federal through local). I’m not even convinced that government purchases plus sales to crony-companies (e.g. GE) constitute a majority of Volt sales. But between the bail-out of GM, government $$ going directly into development and production of the Volt and the “tax incentive” for every Volt sold to ordinary citizens, every Volt sold is on the taxpayer dime at every level.


#4

DING DING DING. The electric car was pushed too soon without market forces moving in that direction. You can tax credit something all you want, people are not going to buy something they essentially don’t want or need. Basic economics. The car’s perks are 1) clean [which means only the enviro-hippies who love diesel vw’s would care about this aspect], 2) no gas [but the increase to your house’s electric bill are the same if not more than the price of gasoline at the pump], 3) you get a tax credit [If I were to give you a tax credit on buying oyster flavored ice cream, would you buy a tub of it?].

In addition, the government is the most inefficient businessmen in the world. They can’t even balance a check book let alone run an international company. Good grief!


#5

Having said the above, I would love to see a breakdown of Volt sales: total sales; sales to private individuals; “sales” to GM corporate and dealers’ fleets; sales to government; sales to corporate fleets (e.g. GE and Verizon); sales to rental fleets (e.g. Hertz, Enterprise). I have a feeling that GM corporate and dealer “sales” plus corporate fleet sales plus government sales will be a significantly larger chunk of total sales for the Volt than for conventional car models.

I don’t expect GM to be releasing that kind of data in that degree of detail.


#6

I neglected to toss in Obama’s partner in crime GE

Chevy Volt Sales Figures Inflated With Fleet Purchases | National Legal and Policy Center


#7

Thanks, tperkins. This article puts GE’s announced purchase plans at 3000 Volts per year. IF GE purchased those 3000 in 2012 (and not more), that would make GE purchases some 13% - more than 1 in 8 - of GM’s 2012 Volt sales. I had forgotten how large GE’s purchases were supposed to be! The article also details several local governments’ Volt purchases and mentions that Verizon has purchased an unspecified number of Volts.

Why do I think GE and Verizon significant? GE’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt is a Obama White House insider, and GE has benefited from various regulatory moves. Verizon is similarly continually dealing with government regulatory agencies for approvals of various business moves. So:

*“Nice CFL you got there, GE. It sucks that consumers aren’t buying enough to make it very profitable. And it sucks that requiring a high power factor would make it expensive and more difficult to produce. Howzabout we force incandescent lights off the market and permit low power factor, and you can owe us a favor later?”

“You want to sell of part of your spectrum, Verizon? And want to merge with T Mobile? Gotta have FCC and SEC approvals, ya know. Howzabout we grease those skids, and you can owe us a favor later?”*


#8

Name me a successful electric car GE. You can’t!

On another note the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the electric car to make some type of noise because too many low information voters are getting run down by electric cars since they cannot hear them!

Electric Cars Need a New Sound: Scientific American Podcast


#9

On another note the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants the electric car to make some type of noise because too many low information voters are getting run down by electric cars since they cannot hear them!

I’ve been next to a Prius when it was in electric mode. It makes pretty much no noise. But if pedestrians and drivers pay attention to what/who is around them … you know, awareness, being observant …


#10

I’m not a fan of electrics OR government subsidies but ONE electric car is successful AND it looks like the company will turn a profit in the coming year.
Tesla S…Motor Trend Car of the Year. Tesla Motors | Premium Electric Vehicles

Of course you have to be a well heeled greenie to buy one. :frowning:


#11

I wouldn’t recommend buying their stock, Cam. They’ve been hyped for several years and haven’t come through. Plus they have had problems with bricking and at least one fire.


#12

I wouldn’t invest in the stock or the car Pete…just saying it seems like it may be the one electric success story…in a small niche market.
Whether ANYONE can make a safe, effective and long lasting LiON battery remains an open question for me…and apparently Boeing as well! :geek:


#13

Tesla may make it, and pay back the $465 million the Energy Department has sunk into it.
Tesla’s Struggles Raise Questions About Electric Cars - NYTimes.com

But, if I were to bet, I’d say the odds are against it. The car business is a very tough one to crack. Most people remember Mazda starting out with lightning fast rotary engine powered cars…that suffered from premature engine seal failures. What saved the company, in the all important US market, was a now long forgotten little piston engined economy car called the GLC. Some people here, ahem, may remember the struggles of the DeLorean Car Company during the same era.

Tesla will have to make it on sales of the roadster and the ‘S’, which are way behind delivery schedule, to make it. Unfortunately, they’re only one failure away from bankruptcy as no less than the CEO of Chrysler puts it in regard to his own, far more established, car company. I’d like to see them make it, because I’m a car guy and I want all of them to make it for our benefit, but I’d like to get my $465 large back even more.


#14

I wonder if they’ll start requiring clackers on bicycles. In my biking days, I’ve had the occasional close call with pedestrians who didn’t hear me coming.


#15

That’s the excuse Harley owners make for their excessively loud bikes. I’ve been more or less accused of disliking the excessive noise just because I’m “old”; I say it’s the other way around. It’s little kids who like noisy toys . . .


#16

[quote=“Susanna, post:15, topic:37892”]
That’s the excuse Harley owners make for their excessively loud bikes. I’ve been more or less accused of disliking the excessive noise just because I’m “old”; I say it’s the other way around. It’s little kids who like noisy toys . . .
[/quote]Years ago I was at a Dairy Queen and there was a guy there with a BMW and I was curious because of how the cylinders looked so I walked over there and he started it up and it was so quiet I was amazed.


#17

All true…but apparently things are looking a bit more hopeful as the S is in production and selling well. X is a big question mark IMO…but then, I’ve always been a sucker for gull wings!


#18

How long can that last though? the market for liberal elites who hate big oil cant be that large.


#19

Reminds me of when I was a gate guard at NAS Barbers Pt. in '86. This was not long after the bombing of Libya by the Air Force and Navy, and we were doing vehicle searches as a precaution against terrorist retaliation. There was this Mercedes off to the side that was being looked at, and I thought the driver had shut off the engine. Then when it was cleared, it pulled up to the gate without a sound.


#20

I’m a car fan, too. It would be great if we could stumble upon an electronic perpetual motion machine, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. What I really object to in all of this “noise” around the VOLT is this: Taking tax money to bail out our worst run companies/too big to fail is bad enough, but taxpayers forcibly being required to subsidize the buyer of these cars to the tune of $7000 of confiscated taxpayer money per vehicle is way over the top. Can someone point out to me under which of the 18 enumerated powers this falls - or do we even bother with such challenges anymore? Please, don’t bother to respond - I know the answer.