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October 27, 2006



And they say pigs can't fly... I wonder how many engineers they have on it?


This looks like too little, too late.


Eng-Poet: What do you mean "too little, too late?? There are no plug-ins on the market yet. Looks like this both trumps and leap frogs the pittyful Prius fer suher!!! Not a bad spot to be in seeing as Toyota blew thier wad (R&D $) on hybird synergy drive and they will "NEVER" recoup their investment. Why does everyone think the Prius is such hot sh__?? when in fact it's garbage!!


Maybe Mr Poet is talking about how it's too little too late to save GM. That 9 billion in 'cost savings' involved a lot of hand-in-the-cookie-jar action with their employees' pension funds. I can't see how that can possibly be good for employee morale and productivity.

Or maybe he's talking about the fact that a hybrid Silverado would be a complete waste of time. Yay, a hybrid vehicle that saves 3 MPG! Where do I sign up? Talk about polishing a turd.

Or maybe he's talking about both. They are 'forced' to forfeit on their social contract because management thought that specializing in SUVs was a sustainable business plan. The best idea they can come up with after regrouping is... an SUV?

So long GM, it's been nice knowing ya.


It sounds good, but notice the hydrogen fuel cell blurb in there?

Full atention on plugin hybrids and battery electric cars will be needed to catch up now.

Subaru has an electric car ready to release to the public soon. GM owns a big stake of Fuji that owns subaru.

Toyota, Subaru, and Honda can't be beat with a few execs finally visiting their hybrid research facility. Or with more hydrogen economy greenwashing propaganda.

Real full scale manufacturing projects with quick charge lithium ion, the new induction motors, and solid oxide multi-fuel fuel cell/microturbine backup generators, all invented in the US, would be a world beating drivetrain that would put GM back on top.

Will GM use that 9 billion to support and aquire this technology from these uS startup companies? In the past they only aquired new designs to put them on the shelf out of competition with gas guzzlers they love so well.

Will this corporate behemoth really change? I'm skeptical, especially with the usual hydrogen pie-in-the-sky pronouncement included in this press release.


It's too late for GM.  Their whole business model depends on guzzling trucks for their profits.  GM has no experience with hybrids in the market (and tried to claim an idle-stop system as hybrid!); Toyota and Honda have years in each of several different models.  Making a PHEV Prius is so simple, people started hacking up conversions in their garages with electric bicycle batteries.  Rumor is that the Prius has a little pocket of space that looks like it's made for a charging plug.  And contrary to your claim, Toyota makes money on every Prius; have been for several years now.

It would be one thing if GM had continued the PNGV efforts and had the design and manufacturing experience to support a major shift in emphasis, but right now they're starting from behind with neither the experience nor the cash reserves to obtain it.  Toyota is in a far better position to sell PHEV's than GM, especially with AutoNation cutting back its domestic orders by a third.

The question right now is if GM goes bankrupt and is bought out, or goes bankrupt and is rescued in one form or another by the US taxpayer.  As a Michigan taxpayer, I'd prefer not to see any bailout which perpetuates the dysfunctional status quo.


Well not really impossible for a GM recovery poet. It is a long shot, but so was shifting to tank, jeep, aircraft,and army truck production in WW 2.

GM would rise from the boardroom as(h)es were they to rush production of a battery electric/fuel cell backup drivetrain.

Make different power output level systems and pop them in their present vehicle lines, including big trucks and suvs.

The component parts are in the same stage of development or even further along than many of the technologies essential to war production in the 1940s were at that time.

Mass production and it's cost reduction is vital now, for the earth and companies like GM.


With these new developments (featured here in Jim's blog)in motors, batteries, and fuel cells, the power to weight ratio of every vehicle (econobox to 18 wheeler to locomotive and mining shovel)in the gM line could be equal to or even better than what it is now.

And mileage based on actual fuel use would average 10 times what it is now.

The facts and figures bear this out. Do facts ever penetrate a GM boardroom? Doubtful.

What are we waiting for? For China and Saudi Arabia to own US and megastorms (300+ mph winds even destroy concrete buildings)to scour the earth of humanity? Apparently so.


I can recall not too long ago the president of Altair went infront of a US Senate Committee and stated that the current nano-battery technology has the ability to make EVs cost-effective and efficient enough to bypass the hybrid market. For years I've tried my hardest to find a reason not to buy from the US Big 3. I always end up with one of those me-too Toyota or Honda cars. I would love for one if not all of the Big 3 to capitalize on this technology. With proper government cooperation regarding infrastructure, I'm sure GM, Ford and Chevy can become world players again while at the same time, saving US jobs, keeping the profits in our country, lowering our oil dependancy, and being environmentally friendly all in one move.


gm make a comeback....yeah right,as much chance of that as AT&T making a comeback.Or that anachronism IBM.


While I am just as critical of the top-heavy American automakers I find that their is a lot of hyperbole going around here.

GM just posted some pretty meager losses so they're doing at least some of the correct initial steps. Dumping billions in R&D seems like a logical next step too. I'm skeptical of people saying Toyota and such are years ahead. I would strongly doubt that in the back rooms of GM they haven't been actively developing this technology.

If GM screws up it will be because of the same bureaucracy that the keeps outputting the mundane, boring looking cars we've seen for years. I remember Bob Lutz describing this bureaucracy, saying that GM engineers were coming up with great designs but they were always tossed aside for the conservative (read: boring) ideas. The same goes true with new technologies. Maybe, just maybe, GM it turning itself into a more agile company with the will to take more risks and survive.

Like many, I'm skeptical, but they certainly have a change.


The other half of the problem affects Ford and the US part of DCX too:  ruinous costs for inflated historic wages, the resultant pensions and health-care promises they can no longer keep.  This is going to drag GM down no matter what they build, and neither Toyota nor Honda share the handicap.

I don't see any way out of this that doesn't involve a bankruptcy judge throwing out the contracts.

IIRC, GM and DCX recently developed a hybrid transmission which cannot run a vehicle on the motors alone.  This looks like turf-protection on the part of certain company departments, and doesn't inspire confidence that the organizations can adopt required changes fast enough to survive.

Harvey D.

A dozen PHEVs could do a lot for GM (and Ford) but can they do it, and make money doing it?

I have doubts on both counts.

It would take them years to develop decent PHEVs and they could not build them economically in USA.

Too late...may be so. I would place my bet on Japan-China-India.

Capable....no, unless GM and Ford factories are moved to countries with lower wages and benefits or components-parts and sub-assemblies are all outsourced to China-India-Brazil-Mexico etc.


Robots beat cheap labor. And a leapfrog design like this one I'm touting could put GM ahead again in sales.

As far as bankruptcy to rid themselves of pensions, that will probably happen eventually. I think that's why execs are not trying to compete. Spend on the next generation vehicle designs, but only release them after chapter 11? That maybe the board room strategery at work here.

Is it a contest between Ford and GM to see who can reincarnate without pensions first? That maybe. I suppose in that case it would be kept secret because intentionally going broke has to be illegal somehow.


note: regarding earlier post by "Jason", GM sold their entire fuji stake to toyota.

no doubt GM has taken many missteps to this point, and is in dire trouble. however, i still applaud their "before its time" effort with the EV1, and am rooting for them to return from the brink with an industry-leading PHEV.

Mr. Blair M. Phillips

GM plans Plug-in.

It all sounds wonderful and I'm sure everyone has their hopes up that GM will build a plant in their community and hire everyone in their family tommorrow but if I look at GM's past practice since Walter Ruethers death and understand what "Monetorism" is, Americans will not see any manufacturing at all in the USA. Final assembly will be done in China, sub components will be built in Mexico and Casting, Forging and machining will be done in India. Why? The business of business is business! Nothing Personal.

kent beuchert

While its true that GM is late to the hybrid party, apparently they haven't missed very much, as the system that they and Daimler/Schrysler and BMW co-developed and will share has leapfrogged Toyota and Honda's primitive first generation hybrid setup.The plug-in capability may beat Toyota and Honda to the punch, as they have apparently looked at its rather questionably economics rather than the public's great desire to avoid oil, regardless of the economics, which they , of course, don't understand. The only battery that makes plug-ins economically sensible is the Altair NanoSafe. Let's hope that the two get together for at least some of the OEMs.
I wonder how that lying screenwriter of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is going to explain GM's activities, which are being pushed by the very person that killed their
"wonderful" EV1, a car that should never have been put on the market?

Richard Poor

GM and Iraq...two debacles. Daimler Chrysler...showing the same initiative as the volks who painted the Hindenburg with thermite pigment in cellulose nitrate dope.

It looks as if China and Japan will have to carry the day for fuel efficiency. If half the vehicles in the USA were PHEV, US oil consumption would drop by 1/3 or more.

NYC has hybrid taxis and a PHEV city bus. The governator signed 87. There is still hope.

Jim Smith

I'm shocked to see that so many of you are against GM creating fuel efficient vehicles. Have you forgotten that GM was the first to make an Electric Vehical. Sure they pulled it from the market, but they obviously do have the technology and experience to create more. Toyota is famous for stealing Ford and GM's ideas, and they aren't ashamed of it. In Japan and China, even if a GM car is much less expensive than one made there, they will buy the non-american vehicle. How can they have so much national pride and us Americans have none? The reason their cars are cheaper isn't because they're better, it's because they don't have Americans building them! Before you want to bash GM for trying to compete with foreign automakers, maybe you should remember that they support the US like none of the foreign companies ever will.

Greg woulf

Jim, I think this was a thread from 6 months back, just after 'Who killed the electric Car' came out.

At the time it looked like GM was having a knee jerk reaction to the success of the Prius.

I'm totally with you in principle and I didn't join in, but I was skeptical about GM ever committing to EV's again at the time myself.

Eco Eagles

GM funds our project. I am apart of Embry Riddle's Eco Eagles club. We are Embry Riddle's branch of the EcoCar challenge. We work to design, build and integrate solutions into an existing production vehicle. Solutions such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell drive train technologies will be explored. For further information visit www.ecoeagles.org

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