Who Killed the Electric Car?

 

UPDATED.  In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet, fast, produced no exhaust and run without gasoline. 10 years later, these futuristic cars were gone. What happened?

Don’t miss: “Revenge of The Electric Car” –  an update to this post at the end of the page (PS4)

Introduction – The General Motors EV1

The General Motors EV1 was an electric car produced and leased by the General Motors Corporation from 1996 to 1999. It was the first mass-produced and purpose-designed electric vehicle of the modern era from a major automaker, and the first GM car designed to be an electric vehicle from the outset.

The decision to mass-produce an electric car came after GM received a favorable reception for its 1990 Impact electric concept car, upon which the design of the EV1 drew heavily. Inspired partly by the Impact’s perceived potential for success, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) subsequently passed a mandate that made the production and sale of zero-emission vehicles a requirement for the seven major automakers selling cars in the United States to continue to market their vehicles in California.

General Motors EV1 – the first mass-produced Electric Car

The EV1 was made available through limited lease-only agreements, initially to residents of the cities of Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. EV1 lessees were officially participants in a “real-world engineering evaluation” and market study into the feasibility of producing and marketing a commuter electric vehicle in select U.S. markets undertaken by GM’s Advanced Technology Vehicles group. The cars were not available for purchase, and could be serviced only at designated Saturn dealerships. Within a year of the EV1’s release, leasing programs were also launched in San Francisco and Sacramento, California, along with a limited program in the state of Georgia. While customer reaction to the EV1 was positive, GM believed that electric cars occupied an unprofitable niche of the automobile market, and ending up crushing all their electric cars, regardless of protesting customers.

Crashed EV1s

Far from a shortage of electric, being able to buy a plug-in car would actually help the utility grid. The EV1 charges slowly, at night, when there is too much electric; and the money you save NOT buying gasoline will more than pay for your rooftop solar PV system. This isn’t fantasy, it’s FACT; hundreds of Toyota RAV4-EV drivers put solar on their roof and now drive for free, free of pollution and free of cost since the money they saved paid it off years ago. But you can’t do this unless you can buy a plug-in car, none are offered for sale by the Auto Alliance.

Who Killed Electric Car?

Who Killed Electric Car?” is a great film about another sorry episode in the history of America’s automobile and energy industry. Set as a “Who-Done-It”, the film chronicles how short sighted automakers (especially GM) develop great electric cars in response to the California ZEV mandate only to do everything in their power – from suing the state, making ridiculous ads, creating a red-tape filled lease application process – to kill them. Consumers buy bigger and bigger vehicles (whether they need them or not). Government officials and staffers bow to the pressure of intense lobbying, and conflicts of interest. The sad fate of most of the EVs produced during the late ’90s to 2002 is revealed.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) DVD

You can also watch this film online >>

GM, especially, comes off as incredibly vindictive. What automaker ever tracked down every car of any model and crushed them (not the Corvair, Edsel, etc.)? Even after loyal drivers pleaded to keep them, offering to buy the last remaining EV1s with junk titles at lease buyout prices, GM went out of its way to ensure that the EV1 was history.

The passion of GM’s EV specialist Chelsea Sexton for the EV1 makes her the star of the movie. One can only imagine what the engineers who designed the EV1 felt when their babies were being crushed.  Strange that the owners (or leasees since they were not for sale) were not allowed to keep their cars after the California law was repealed.

The “big money” has control over our economy, even to the point of controlling what we buy and how we live.

This documentary provides a fascinating look at how big corporations can get away with murder. The electric cars were quite popular a decade ago but are now non-existent, this explains why. There were less breakdowns in the electric car and of course no gasoline. The GM could not have people driving around in reliable transportation, where would they make money on repairs?

The oil companies, of course, began fighting back against such a novel concept, claiming, among other things, that the environmental benefits of electric cars were bogus, and that only rich people could afford them. With no legitimate competitor they could do whatever they wanted and have. In the end, on April 24, 2003, CARB killed the EC mandate under dubious circumstances.

Meanwhile, President George Bush began pushing for his proposal of the hydrogen-powered car.

Read more:

Hydrogen Fuel Car – Carrot on the stick 

The hydrogen fuel car proposal (introduced by George Bush) appears to be simply a deception tactic of the “big oil industry” designed to extend by many decades oil sales to car owners…

Critics claim the time frame for overcoming the technical and economic challenges to implementing wide-scale use of hydrogen vehicles is likely to last for at least several decades, and hydrogen vehicles may never become broadly available.

Though hydrogen cars are a concept that appears to make sense, critics worry that other more technologically advanced and cost effective options (e.g. electric cars) are being tossed to the side in favor of pouring billions of dollars into an unproven technology based on inconvenient fuel source.  While hybrid and clean burning diesel engines are worth exploring, the electric powered cars are much closer to being perfected.

The Honda FCX Clarity is a hydrogen fuel cell automobile manufactured by Honda

Here are some problems with hydrogen fueled cars:

  • Technology
     Still in its infancy, the hydrogen market has a long way to go before it can become the industry standard. True, Honda has the FCX Clarity, but that car is of limited production and heavily funded by the Japanese automaker. Hydrogen fuel cells are fragile and expensive to produce, and not yet able to withstand cold temperatures .
  • Cost
     The cost to produce just one Honda hydrogen car is upwards of one million dollars as of 2009, a price well beyond the reach of nearly every consumer. Even if demand for hydrogen vehicles was strong, prices would still be well above the cost of a similar gas powered car, limiting its customer base tremendously.
  • Fuel
    Unlike fossil fuels such as oil, hydrogen must be produced in order to be used. Certain fossil fuels such as clean burning natural gas can be used to produce hydrogen, effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Infrastructure
    Widescale hydrogen use would mean the creation of a distribution network that does not currently exist. Though currently widely available for commercial use, hydrogen is virtually unavailable to the public. The Shell Corporation estimates that it could easily cost $20 billion to establish a hydrogen network across the United States.
  •  Storage
     Currently stored at the point of use, that is, in the tanks found in a car, hydrogen is difficult to store or transport with large tanks needed to hold the fuel. Developing tanks that are smaller and lighter is a goal not yet reached, a step which would make hydrogen usage sensible. 
  •  Safety problems
     Liquid hydrogen is cold enough to freeze air, and accidents have occurred from pressure build-up following plugged valves. Some say these problems can’t be overcome. In a collision the hydrogen tank may rupture, as can a gasoline tank.  The release of hydrogen into a confined space like a garage risks an explosion.

Read more: Hydrogen Car Problems:

PS1 Chevy Volt Production Not Being Recharged

Katie Pavlich, News Editor, Townhall [ Source >> ]

Production of the “worst car ever” Chevy Volt has been halted and no, it’s not because the factory forgot to recharge the batteries. President Obama is going to be bummed “in five years” when Volts are unavailable for purchase.    General Motors has temporarily suspended production of its Volt electric car, the company announced Friday.    GM, which is based in Detroit, announced to employees at one of its facilities that it was halting production of the beleaguered electric car for five weeks and temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.    A GM spokesman told The Hill Friday production of the Volt would resume on April 23.
    “We needed to maintain proper inventory and make sure that we continued to meet market demand,” GM spokesman Chris Lee said in a telephone interview.
GM says this is a temporary suspension, but the bottom line is consumers just don’t want to buy Chevy Volts now and they won’t want to buy them in the future either. In 2011, Chevy sold a grand total of 3,895 Volts to customers. That’s only 2,595 more than the 1,300 employees who once worked to built them.    General Motors has repeatedly claimed a sales target for 2011 of 10,000 units for the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt sedan. But, nine months into the year, they’ve only shipped 3,895 off the lot. In fact, in September sales numbers, released an hour ago, GM sold only 723 Volts. Will GM fail to meet its own sales predictions?

Volt is unique among electric vehicles because you have two sources of energy. You have an electric source–a battery–that allows you to drive gas–free for an EPA–estimated 35 miles. And there’s also an onboard gas generator that produces electricity so you can go up to a total of 375 additional miles on a full tank of gas. More about Chevy Volt:  http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car/

PS2  Volt Sleeps with the Fishes

It might as well have been a Trabant.

By Eric Peters

GM has just announced it will be idling the plant (and the 1,300 workers at that plant) where the “game changing” Chevy Volt electric car is — uh, was — built. GM says it’s only temporary — until they figure out how to “align production with demand.”

It could be a long wait for those workers.

GM projected production of 45,000 Volts this year. That may have been just a little bright-sided. Last year, 7,621 of them found buyers (about 2,400 fewer than the 10,000 GM had hoped for). This past month, just over 1,000 of the $40,000 sort-of electric cars (sort of, because deep inside the thing, there’s a gas engine that serves as a sort of carry-it-with-you “range extender”), which means “production” and “demand” have a ways to go before they are, er, aligned.

One reason why, obviously — though perhaps not to GM — is that the concept itself was misaligned. Electric (and hybrid-electric) cars exist for one reason: To do an end-run around gasoline. The whole point of the exercise, as a practical matter, is to lower the cost of driving by cutting the driver loose from $4 a gallon fuel. But when it takes $40,000 to do that, it becomes pointless as a practical matter. Yes, it’s a clever bit of engineering. I know. I’ve driven the Volt. Remarkable. It can operate at steady 60 MPH for several miles (rather than coast for a few seconds, like most hybrids) purely on the strength of its electric motor and batteries. Very cool. But also very expensive — and that’s the point that matters.

The Volt’s sticker price is in BMW 3 Series/Lexus GS land. Do people who purchase $40k cars have to worry much about $4 gas? Apparently this thought did not occur to the people at GM responsible for the Volt. Even with a $7k direct federal subsidy to each buyer (more on the indirect subsidies below) a new Volt still costs what we call in the car business “entry luxury” money. Easily two (even three) times the amount that would buy you any one of several very appealing compact sedans, several of which get 40 MPG on the highway.

So, drum roll, people looking for something economical did not look at the Volt. Who did? CEO Dan Akerson conceded that the average income of a Volt buyer is $170,000 annually — not exactly hard times.

GM figured (so it said) the Volt could be sold to the less flush on the basis of its down-the-road economies. But those are theoretical and ill-defined (including, for instance, such as variables as winter driving; how will extreme cold weather affect the electric drivetrain? Etc.). But the up-front costs are very real — and forbidding. People facing lean times are not lining up to finance a $40k purchase, even with a $7k carrot dangled in front of them. And the potential buyer pool of 170k’ers per year is just about dried up.

Is GM unaware? I doubt it, because all kidding aside, GM is anything but stupid. That is, the people running it can do math. They also understand marketing — and politics. And that’s where the troof comes out about the Volt and why it ever saw the light of day.

GM, like every car company, has embraced the politics of green because it leads to taxpayer-financed green. Think Solyndra was a boondoggle? The Mackinac Center for Public Policy estimates that the actual cost-per-car of each Volt, once all the federal subsidies are factored in, comes to $250,000 or $3 billion, total. (Lookee here for more.)

Guess who paid for that?

It wasn’t GM’s money. It was your money. And mine. And the money taken from millions of other taxpayers, all poured into the coffers of GM to further the advancement of otherwise economically untenable projects that would never have see the light of day except for the fact that we have a system of crony capitalism that distorts the free market like a funhouse mirror.

The Mackinac study’s author, James Hohman, tartly described the Volt as “the most government-supported car since the Trabant” — a reference to the infamous two-stroke, plastic-bodied POS manufactured in the old DDR — that’s East Germany, for the edification of younger readers.

And that’s what rubs. If you or I decided to build a Homer Mobile (remember?) in our garage, it’d be up to us to finance the thing and if we went next door to our neighbor’s place and flashed a gun demanding money or else to “help” we’d be shot by the neighbor or tossed in jail. But that’s because we are not Too Big To Fail. GM, of course, is. And has many big friends in Washington, too. So it can indulge in the building of electric Homer Mobiles and send the tab to us — and pocket the proceeds.

Because keep in mind that GM is not losing money on the Volt. We are.

The joke’s on us — again.

Source: Volt Sleeps With the Fishes

Perhaps oil companies have interest in making electric cars that don’t work ???

PS3 Oil Companies Conspiracy?

As oil supplies dwindle, it seems everyone is searching for the next big energy breakthrough. Oil companies are doing the same thing — at least, that’s the mainstream view. So why don’t conspiracy theorists believe them? Tune in to find out.

PS4 Revenge of The Electric Car

In 2006, as many as 5,000 modern electric cars were destroyed by the major car companies that built them.Today, less than 5 years later, the electric car is back… with a vengeance.

“Revenge Of The Electric Car” follows 4 larger-than-life entrepreneurs at the forefront of the electric car race. First, there’s Bob Lutz — Mr Detroit himself, the cigar-smoking vice-chairman of GM, who has been making gas-guzzling cars his entire career. He is challenged by Elon Musk, the young dot-com maverick billionaire who thinks that he can show Detroit how to build cars with his Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors. Carlos Ghosn of Nissan-Renault, the desperately smart and ruthless businessman who singlehandedly rescued Nissan from ruin, wants to flood the market with affordable mainstream electric vehicles. And lastly, “Gadget” Abbott, a reverend/designer/engineer is one of thousands of electric car DIY-ers who together may be a force big enough to change the auto industry forever.

Worth A Look

America’s economy is in shambles . . . Its citizens are terrified and dissatisfied . . . Could it all have been planned by a secret elite one hundred years ago?

According to Jim Marrs, America has become a “zombie nation”, going “through the motions in commerce, politics, health and education, but without a spark of life, verve, or enthusiasm.” For this he posits an enormous “money cult” conspiracy involving New World Order culprits like the Trilateral Commission, John D. Rockefeller, the Illuminati, Bertelsmann, and the TSA. He levels accusations at our current “Marxist socialist,” “possibly” fascist government, and quotes from countless sources, both mainstream and not. In Marrs’s view, the economic collapse was an orchestrated effort to heap debt upon Americans and keep them in a zombie-like state. Believing that Orwell’s “1984 vision of psychological and electronic tyranny is almost upon us,” Marrs proposes remedies such as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools and Congress, reviewing NAFTA and the WTO for Constitutional violations, rescinding hate crime laws, and legalizing marijuana. Returning often to the founding fathers, and dipping into a deep history that includes 11th-century China and the time of Christ, Marrs’s vast accumulation is equal parts alternate history and boilerplate conspiracy polemic.

 The Trillion-Dollar Conspiracy: How the New World Order, Man-Made Diseases, and Zombie Banks Are Destroying America

Hitler referred to The New World Order in his diaries. President George H. W. Bush foretold of it in his speeches. Formed by a secretive global elite, the group seeking this new order has taken hold of the nation—and perhaps the world. Its influence pervades every aspect of American society, from the products we buy at the grocery store to the topics of evening news programs. But could it also be true that the New World Order caused one of the greatest financial catastrophes of our time?

Bestselling author and legendary conspiracy researcher Jim Marrs has yet again exposed information that the mainstream corporate media has refused to report, unearthing the lies to expose the insidious alliances that make up a secret world. In the explosive The Trillion-Dollar Conspiracy, Marrs digs beneath the media noise surrounding the financial bailouts of 2008 and 2009 while exploring the back rooms and shadowy deals of our nation’s past to craft a frightening history that no one else is brave enough to tell.

Comments

  1. says

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.
    But just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more,
    “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this site
    could undeniably be one of the best in its niche.
    Awesome blog!

  2. Stanislav Kopani?ák says

    The car EV 1 bylo naší budoucností,která by byla pro ropné spole?nosti a státní kasy z velké ?ásti likvida?ní proto muselo být toto dokonalé a globáln? vyhlížející vozidlo odstran?no z trhu. Thank’s GM (Standa,Czech Republic)

  3. Ab Asaff says

    The people have been lied to forever. The money pigs drive us down roads that fools would not tread under the guise of, you gussed it, for the sake of the stinking economy. As long as the Oil Barons are in control of the stinking economy, there will be no significent progress in clean operating modes of transportaion.

  4. jason apoyan says

    Well in that case do you guys think if a new goverment was installed that this kind of technology could be introduced to the public does politics have a firm say in infrastructure projects transportation!!!

  5. Doug Yurchey says

    Fantastic post. I looked up the film and found the full 92-minute version – so maybe the link will be attached to the article. It was hard to find; usually there’s only trailers on Youtube, but I wanted to see the whole thing and…wow! Whatever happened to the EV-1? Remember that old commercial of many, many appliances coming closer and closer to this strange-looking electric car? Once again, everything good is destroyed…but we are in no short supply of doing things the wrong way! When you see the ruination of a cheap-running electric car in favor of gas-guzzling hummers and suburbans, you just want to scream! How many wonderful things can the government shut-down? They shut down Tesla’s flying disks that Otis T. Carr was ready to mass produce in 1960; they shut down Tuckers; 3-wheeled Bucky Fuller cars; water-engines; fuelless engines; anti-gravity research; natural cures for diseases and just about everything good and decent. But, we’re very prolific at WASTE and following paths that are total dead-ends. I certainly do not blame the masses. It’s our LEADERS that keep control over us by tightening the financial screws. What is gas up to now…5 bucks a gallon?
    Thanks for the post. More bad news to chew on. Still…I’d rather KNOW a truth and even be upset about it…than never knowing it at all. SEE THIS FILM!

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