How Serious is GM About EVs?

January 20, 2019

18 Responses to “How Serious is GM About EVs?”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    I have never cared for this lady and her take on things. And this video is another reason why.

    She expects us to believe GM has changed its feathers because of a single vague statement made by a GM exec to a few hundred people on a closed telephone call? Seriously?

    The same GM which has one true electric car on the market right now – the Bolt. A car which has not seen a single significant improvement since its introduction. Which GM refuses to produce in any numbers higher than a mere compliance vehicle. Also known as the Opel Ampera, GM wants to sell this car so much in Europe that it artificially raised the price by $10K, and then refused to produce them anywhere close to its demand. And then just stopped shipping them.

    GM also just ended production of the Volt. Surprise, Volt owners! Why? Should we listen to the lady in the video who seems to rationalize this by droning endlessly about the added complexity of PHeV’s? Such unbiased reporting!

    And that, folks, is about all she wrote for GM’s commitment to electric. Except of course, for words and announcements of new commitment, and perhaps even some detailed computer generated images.

    And, oh yes, a commitment to build charging stations – not their own, of course, with EVGo. And only to supply some EV car-sharing thing they are setting up with somebody called Maven. OOOhhh, I’m shivering in anticipation.

    On the other hand, to be fair, GM did just announce their commitment to giant diesel engines for their main product – enormous pickup trucks. So, there’s that. Oh…. wait a sec.

  2. Betty Harris Says:

    I’m not familiar with this lady at all. She sounds hopeful but there may be no substance behind it. We’ll have to watch and see. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the right time to buy an EV, moving up from our Prius to all electric. Keeping the old Jeep Cherokee for hauling garden stuff around but most of our vehicle use is less than 12 miles a trip. And we’ve got solar panels to charge an all electric vehicle…so we’re going to buy on soon. Probably will by another Toyota though.

    Toyotas have been the MOST dependable cars we’ve ever owned. Keeping with a good thing.

    Have GM make me a Toyota and I’ll buy one from them.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      We kept a couple of Toyotas for 20 years each and now have two (15 and 20 year old) Mazdas in the driveway—-all great cars and dependable. Of course, they were all made “over there”, and if GM or anyone else “makes an EV Toyota” here, it may not last as long or be as dependable.

  3. ecoquant Says:

    We lease a Volt. The console is a mess, pretty typical (still!) for American-designed cars. All the rest of our vehicles have been/are Toyotas.

    I don’t know if GM is serious or not. I know if they want to continue to compete to sell vehicles, they’ll have to be serious. There’s a good discussion here at this podcast.

    It includes the problem faced by many automakers who have ICE in addition to EVs: They need to keep the cash flow going to pay for EV rollout, but they can’t kill off the Golden Goose in doing so. That’s why it might make sense to do a pure EV play like TSLA. On the other hand, expect the latter to be non-profitable for a long time, because they don’t have a Golden Goose.

    The range anxiety thing is something else, and it makes it clear that won’t be solved without the active intervention on the part of government. In the UK it’s apparently serious, and creative. In the USA, particularly in Massachusetts, they say they are serious, but I want to see buildout of charging stations.

    I think arguments that EVs are in effect dirtier on emissions because of what powers the grid where they charge are disingenuous: Surely a new technology cannot be expected to spring up overnight … And, with range anxiety, that’s why hybrids like the Volt continue to be a thing.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I think arguments that EVs are in effect dirtier on emissions because of what powers the grid where they charge are disingenuous…

      I think that’s just comparing the ICE tailpipe emissions vs. the EV power source emissions.

  4. neilrieck Says:

    Why reinvent the wheel? GM should just partner with Tesla.

  5. redskylite Says:

    I remember reading authoritative reports confirming that E.V’s are cleaner than the ICE even when fueled from Fossil Fuel 10 years ago, still needs reconfirming today as the myth remains active. That myth should not be used as an excuse for continuing using the ICE.

    “EVs emit less lifetime CO2 than cars with internal combustion engines, even in countries reliant on coal for electricity generation”

    • Daniel Berger Says:

      By my own (published) estimates, based on comparing pump-to-wheels with power-plant-to-wheels, EVs powered by 100% coal have the same emissions as diesel vehicles.

      Powered using the average US generating mix of the time (which mix is greener now than it was in 2010), they beat straight-up hybrids such as the Prius.

      All vehicles were compared using US EPA fuel economy numbers.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Color me skeptical of your claim.

        Power plants are more energy efficient than diesel engines. And electric motors are at least three times more efficient than an ICE.

        I’d bet there is a mistake in your math, or assumptions, somewhere.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Plus, of course, pump to wheels is not equivalent to power plant to wheels. Coal is delivered, unprocessed, by rail, after extraction using the largest machines on Earth. Very efficient. But dirty to burn.

          Gasoline or diesel is a refinery product with a huge chain of acquisition and transport. Not nearly as efficient. Do we even know how dirty to burn is a modern diesel car?

          As well, some would argue that any comparison is moot without an analysis of the GHG emissions needed to build each car, as well. More baloney seen here than in a low end deli.

        • Daniel Berger Says:

          Knock yourself out: the raw data are contained in the supplementary material, which (as far as I understand how the site works) are available to anyone.

          We used EPA data (miles per gallon or miles per kWh), then used emissions data per gallon for gasoline and diesel (EPA) or per kWh (International Energy Agency) for U.S. electric generation. IEA separates out coal, petroleum and natural gas emissions per kWh for each country.

          Data were from about 2009 or 2010.

          Yes, I understand about the energy required for mining coal and refining petroleum. The issue being addressed did not include those, but we cited analyses that did.

  6. redskylite Says:

    “Interest in EV’s suggest a wait and see approach with 15% of consumers likely to own one within 5 years and 34% within 10 years.”

  7. redskylite Says:

    “Interest in Electric Vehicles suggests a wait and see approach. 15% of consumers likely to own one within 5 years and 34% within 10 years.”

  8. redskylite Says:

    Interest in Electric Vehicles suggests a wait and see approach. 15% of consumers likely to own one within 5 years and 34% within 10 years.

  9. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    From a labor perspective, assuming a similar level of automation (not Tesla’s super-factory), an EV must require much less labor to assemble the fewer parts than an ICE (or an ICE/EV hybrid), and require much less labor for maintenance (no Jiffy Lube or muffler shops). The cynic in me says GM will embrace EVs for that reason alone.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      The cynic in me says GM will embrace whatever produces the greatest profit for its shareholders and executives. (Or causes the fastest evolution of the corporate feudal state).

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