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Can GM Challenge Tesla With a Long-Range Electric Car?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the build-some-space-rockets-while-you're-at-it dept.

Transportation 466

cartechboy writes "GM may sell the Chevy Volt, but it's not a sexy electric car like Tesla Model S. It's a plug-in hybrid with muddled marketing (whose owners love it even though they burn gasoline sometimes). Product exec Doug Parks says GM is developing an electric car that does 200 miles on one charge, with a price around $30,000. But he wouldn't say when, falling back on the old excuse: 'Electric car batteries are really, really expensive!' Tesla's still the only maker to offer an electric car with more than 200 miles of range, so it will be interesting to see whether GM can really build a true Tesla rival. If so, the marketing must be better than the Volt's. Otherwise, it won't matter how good the car is."

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Only if they add host file support (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875171)

apk won't buy a car without it

betteridge's law of headline (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#44875199)

why do people even try to submit shit articles with bad questions? Betteridge's law easily applies here. GM is not going to "Challenge" tesla, and they don't need to. It's an explicitly unnecessary question.

The correct question is: "is GM going to continue developing and improving electric cars?" to which the answer is already clearly yes.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#44875273)

Either way....the first one of them that get a performance electric car, that isn't fugly as all the current "green" cars....sporty looking (like the Tesla Roadster was) for the price range of a low end Vette...gets all my money.

Why do they make these cars so fugly? Geez, what happened to car design that wasn't simply utilitarian and looked fun and sexy?

Re:betteridge's law of headline (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875309)

The S is a nice looking car. What do you not like about it?

The roadster was just an Elise.

Me personally I want a utilitarian vehicle. A small hatchback. I give not a single solitary fuck what it looks like, I don't spend my time staring at my car in the driveway.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (4, Funny)

NinePenny (856053) | about a year ago | (#44875675)

Sounds like you are the perfect candidate for an all electric Pontiac Aztek!

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875831)

Not at all, that is not a small car.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year ago | (#44875747)

The S is awesome looking and I would love one but then there's the price...

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44875323)

To be fair to Nissan, the Leaf isn't utilitarian but to be fair to you, it's still damn fugly.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44875541)

I find that somehow they don't look so ugly in real life. Not good, but...plain. Which is pretty good for a Leaf.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44875637)

I have the same experience. I see one around Lake County, CA periodically, and it just looks like a car. It had a couple of odd styling cues but basically blended in to the point where I didn't know it was a leaf until I saw the name badge.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44875659)

I work near Nissan USA's HQ and see them every day. They're fugly.

It wouldn't have taken much to make them not so which is the tragedy. Several of Nissan's vehicles even look good except for one irredeemable feature. I'm thinking specifically of the 350z's door handles.

OTOH, I'd love a G37. It's just a shame it's so boring looking.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875359)

Aerodynamics and utility.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (2)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#44875487)

the first one of them that get a performance electric car, that isn't fugly as all the current "green" cars....sporty looking (like the Tesla Roadster was) for the price range of a low end Vette...gets all my money.

Seriously? The Tesla S has almost the same profile as a Lamborghini Gallardo. Slightly less absurd front scoop, a bit less "sharp" in a few places, but otherwise, very similar.

I do have to agree about the price, though - If GM can do it at under $30k, awesome. $65k and up, not so cool.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (2)

JWW (79176) | about a year ago | (#44875697)

WTF?

While I agree that the S is a great looking sedan, I've seen both Model S and a Gallardo and there is no possible way to confuse them for each other.

To add to that, when you take into account the sound, the Gallardo is thunderous and the Model S is super quiet. Oppositely impressive feats by both cars.

Get a Tesla Model S (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44875729)

first one of them that get a performance electric car, that isn't fugly as all the current "green" cars....sporty looking (like the Tesla Roadster was) for the price range of a low end Vette...gets all my money.

The Tesla Model S seems to fit your critera. It's very nice looking, does 0-60 in just over 4 seconds in the fastest model and under 6 seconds in the slowest, it costs roughly the same as a well appointed current model Corvette, and it got the highest road test score from Consumer Reports they've ever given.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (-1, Flamebait)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44875297)

Though perhaps the more relevant question is "Is GM going to continue to be GM". To which, the answer is "Yes" and all flows forth from there.

Also, electric car batteries may be really expensive but union workers (or more particularly, non-workers) are even moreso. Whatever you're paying for a few pounds of Li-ion, you're probably paying just as much for someone to sit on their duff and watch their 60" plasma.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (-1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875325)

Bullshit, nice way to be a useful idiot for the rich though. How much do they pay you for that?

Re:betteridge's law of headline (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875439)

Bullshit, nice way to be a useful idiot for the rich though. How much do they pay you for that?

How much does it cost you to envy the wealth of those who worked harder and are now better off than you? What impact does your hatred and envy and jealousy have on your quality of life?

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875475)

Envy? You have me confused with someone else.
Hard work is not how you get rich.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (-1, Flamebait)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44875613)

I take it that's the slogan for the union you are a member of.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875643)

Try again, no union here. I have not been a member since I did manual labor as a teen.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (2)

BVis (267028) | about a year ago | (#44875661)

No, that's the true American Dream, not that drivel they fed you in school. The true American Dream is not "work hard, play by the rules, you'll leave something better for your children," it's "Con other people into working hard and generating revenue, then keep the revenue for yourself."

Hard work only gets you ahead if what you work hard at is screwing over people who do actual work.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875517)

Are you hoping that your dishonesty will somehow act as an antidote to h4rr4r's dishonesty?

Re:betteridge's law of headline (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44875705)

A union is just a corporation that serves to equalize the negotiation power between employer and employee. The unions negotiates on behalf of the well being of its owners/clients... just like any corporation. Without a union, the absolute inequity of power between employer and employee is so disproportionate in almost every market that fair compensation can not virtually impossible to negotiate. The few exceptions are those markets that retain extremely low unemployment such as software development. Terms of a contract made under threat are invalid, without the backing of a union or extremely low unemployment in ones field, all employment contracts are made under threat on unemployment, which with America's economy and lack of welfare is a slow death sentence.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#44875809)

I can tell you've never worked a production line. If you had you'd know what a stupid comment you'd just made. Are auto workers overpaid? Maybe. Underworked? Hardly. Now executive salaries are an entirely different matter. How salaried execs at a company with such dismal records make the kind of bonuses these overpaid asshats collect is inexplicable.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875393)

Because people who own Tesla stock have to justify their mistake? A better question is which company takes more taxpayer money per worker.

If we're just talking styling opinions, the Chevy Volt has much better styling and is more efficient. It's the winner in the long run. The Tesla is a boat that looks like a decade-old Kia with an 80s Maserati grill super-glued to the front.

Tesla has no rivals because no one else currently builds for the Cars-That-No-one-Wants market segment. Clearly GM won't be competing.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875523)

Their mistake? The price has gone up 4X since april. $40 in stock in April would be $160 now. The chevy volt looks cheap.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875641)

The Tesla is a boat that looks like a decade-old Kia with an 80s Maserati grill super-glued to the front.

You're out of your fucking mind. Have you actually even seen a Tesla S in person?

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

BVis (267028) | about a year ago | (#44875669)

Yeah, that's why there's a waiting list months long for the Model S, and it outsells its conventionally-fueled competitors. Idiot.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875679)

If only you'd posted a few minutes earlier, I might have tagged you as a troll, but sadly I'm out of mod-points now. In particular, I liked this bit:

Chevy Volt has much better styling and is more efficient

That was hilarious, man. Love it!! Thanks for posting... ;-)

Re:betteridge's law of headline (4, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44875551)

I'm sorry, but I refused to buy genetically-modified cars.

Re:betteridge's law of headline (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44875563)

The correct question is: "is GM going to continue developing and improving electric cars?" to which the answer is already clearly yes.

Developing maybe, but improving?

That term keeps causing me to have flashbacks to the 1980's, when GM's "improved" vehicles, as an answer to the huge influx of fuel injected Japanese cars, were essentially the same cars as before but with an ECU wired to the carburetor*.

The system did not work out well.

* It was known as Computer Command Control, or C3, but there's no wiki entry and I haven't found a good reference yet.

They're Out There... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875201)

I was riding home from work on US1 in Florida the other day, when to my surprise the car in front of me turned out to be a Tesla. Good looking cars. It's great to see things like this on the road.

Perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875207)

Sexy doesn't matter if I can't afford sexy. I'd be willing to go with ugly if I can afford it and it has the specs I need.

Re:Perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875685)

Are we still talking about cars? A similar argument could be made for SO.

No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875227)

GM and all other American car manufacturers (except Tesla) are trying really hard to half-ass and fuck-up any and all their attempts at electric cars. Let's face it: they don't want to make fully electric cars. For whatever reason, they seem to be utterly incapable.

Fuck 'em.

Re:No. (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44875319)

GM wants to make cars that people want to buy. Most people don't want to buy electric cars that are twice the cost of a Civic and can only drive a couple of hundred miles before they have to stop for an hour to 'refuel'.

Re:No. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44875625)

GM wants to make cars that people want to buy. Most people don't want to buy electric cars that are twice the cost of a Civic and can only drive a couple of hundred miles before they have to stop for an hour to 'refuel'.

Exactly.

In this arena, Tesla actually has an advantage over the major auto manufacturers, since they are essentially a boutique supplier, so they can focus on the technology instead of worrying so much about selling products. TFS is essentially comparing Wal-Mart to that small time, over-priced organic foods market in the fancy strip mall on the nice side of town.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875647)

You can do a battery swap in a Model S in under 100 seconds [businessweek.com] .

Re:No. (2)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44875431)

GM has one advantage though. In some states, Tesla is forbidden to sell cars because they are not going through dealers. Plus, GM also has a lot larger advertising warchest.

It is taking time, but I think the GM is wising up to the same lesson that smacked them in the '80s -- either you do something for the demands of the customers, or lose market share to a company who does. Ford knows this, and is putting out hybrid cars, and the 100% electric Focus [1]. Dodge is still out in left field, but their parent company, Fiat, has the 500e which can go head to head with the Leaf.

Here is the ironic thing: If I want a hybrid pickup truck, GM is the only game in town. Yes, the Silverado doesn't have the tow capacity as a pure gasser, but the ability for it to use zero fuel when idling is a big feature on jobsites (to keep the heater/AC going) as well as in traffic.

[1]: I know there is a market for 100% electric cars, but I still worry I wouldn't be able to find a charging station if some situation arose. Of course, I can always stick a portable Honda generator in the trunk, but that isn't exactly the fastest way to charge the vehicle's batteries.

Maybe the best compromise for a 100% electric car is a built in Onan generator that can be flipped on for battery charging while on the go. That way, the fuel system can be gasoline, LP gas, or diesel and not affect anything but the generator and the charge controller.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875509)

Maybe the best compromise for a 100% electric car is a built in Onan generator that can be flipped on for battery charging while on the go. That way, the fuel system can be gasoline, LP gas, or diesel and not affect anything but the generator and the charge controller.

So, the Volt? (I know, not LP or diesel)

Re:No. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44875651)

Pretty much. The biggest difference would be removing the Voltec engine out of the drivetrain. The electric motor would be 100% of the vehicle's propulsion.

The generator would be a completely separate mechanism, and because it has nothing to do with the drivetrain, it would be easier to use a particular fuel of choice. For example, a diesel generator tends to have a longer run time per gallon of fuel than a gasoline genset, and both are better than LP gas.

Of course, there is mounting the generator to minimize noise and vibration, but that is nothing new to automotive engineers (especially with diesels.)

Re:No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875527)

Electric cars are not nearly as profitable as dino powered ICE cars. EVs are more expensive right now, meaning they can't profit as much if they tried to market them to the mainstream (you can make a nice margin on a vehicle designed and marketed toward high income buyers, but not toward others).

In addition, EVs are vastly simplified compared to a gas powered car (easily an order of magnitude fewer parts). Instead of a drive train composed of many major components (engine, transmission, clutch, torque converter, differentials, alternatoretc.) comprised of dozens or hundreds of moving parts each, you have a electric motor with at most a half dozen independent moving parts. There are of course, other moving parts outside the drive train (i.e. brakes, wheels, etc.) that are still there, but at the end of the day it's no contest overall. And, while EVs rely a bit more on electronics, modern ICEs rely almost as heavily on them for everything from traction control to automatic transmission control to ignition (spark) control. Simplifed means more reliable (once you get past the initial stages of dev), and simplified means less service needed, and less service needed means less profit to be had.

All that aside, developing an EV is simply too hard and expensive for the short terms thinkers at most car companies to want to invest in right now. Better to let the small companies do that, and then just buy/steal their work when/if EVs become mainstream.

Nissan Leaf (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | about a year ago | (#44875233)

Has Nissan built a true Tesla rival? How's that going? I think that may point to an answer to the question can Chevy do the same.

Re:Nissan Leaf (3, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#44875299)

Nissan's way of hitting that lower price point is to use cheaper batteries than get more like 85-90 mile range. I have had my Nissan Leaf for about 4 months and I adore it. Not that many people need to drive more than 80 miles in a day. And even with a 250 mile range, road trips are not feasible in the near future regardless of what Elon Musk tells you.

Re:Nissan Leaf (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875381)

If the price was lower I would have one already. The range is fine, but the price is just too high for a little hatchback. I ended up getting an insight, but I would love a leaf.

Re:Nissan Leaf (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44875437)

The problem I have with the Leaf is that my 25 mile commute would be way too much for it in the winter where I often get stuck in 2 hour traffic jams at temps from 32 to 0F, if my employer had a charge station it might be enough to risk it but draining 70+% of the battery just for locomotion during ideal temp days doesn't leave enough safety margin for cold weather performance plus heater usage.

Re:Nissan Leaf (1, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875545)

Why would you waste your life like that?
2 hours in traffic? I would move or find a new job. That is 4 hours a day you are wasting.

Re:Nissan Leaf (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44875673)

I didn't say it's typical, typical is 30 minutes each way, during a blizzard it can turn into a 2 hour commute and the temps are by definition low enough to need a heater. A vehicle that meets 80-90% of my commute scenarios is not sufficient.

Re:Nissan Leaf (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a year ago | (#44875843)

If 10-20% of your commutes involve sitting for two hours in a blizzard, you should definitely think about moving. Still, the next model Leaf will have more efficient heating, so that may solve your problem.

Re:Nissan Leaf (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44875775)

Such commutes are very common where I live as well... people live far from work because in many cases, those are the only homes that are affordable. Unless one is lucky enough to happen upon a foreclosure, getting a good deal on a home in the city proper can be next to impossible.

And of course, the employment opportunities are not as rich in the outlying suburbs, so long commutes to and from work are pretty much the norm.

One could also rent an apartment in the city, but where I live for a two-bedroom apartment, you could be paying double the amount in rent that you'd be spending on a mortgage for a similarly sized condominium further away from the city center. Even then, all paying rent does is help somebody else get rich, while barring a housing market price crash, paying a mortgage puts equity in your own pocket.

Re:Nissan Leaf (4, Informative)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a year ago | (#44875445)

And even with a 250 mile range, road trips are not feasible in the near future regardless of what Elon Musk tells you.

I saw a Tesla S with DC plates on it in Cape Cod over the 4th. While there are certainly other explanations it would appear that it was driven there.

Re:Nissan Leaf (3, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year ago | (#44875801)

I saw a Tesla S with DC plates on it in Cape Cod over the 4th. While there are certainly other explanations it would appear that it was driven there.

was it towing a diesel generator?

Re:Nissan Leaf (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44875681)

Nissan's way of hitting that lower price point is to use cheaper batteries than get more like 85-90 mile range. I have had my Nissan Leaf for about 4 months and I adore it. Not that many people need to drive more than 80 miles in a day. And even with a 250 mile range, road trips are not feasible in the near future regardless of what Elon Musk tells you.

I could live with the low range if the darn thing could be 'filled' from empty in the same amount of time it takes to fill my diesel (which, incidentally, has more than double the range of an S, and rarely dips below 40 MPG).

If I'm not mistaken, the fastest charging method for a Tesla is using one of the Superchargers (assuming they're available in your area - the nearest one to me is more than 1200 miles away), which still takes at least an hour to get an 80% charge... and that's assuming no lines at the "pump."

An hour waiting is bad enough, but if there's 2 people in front of me... that's 3 hours before I can get back on the road. Fuck that shit, I gots places to be.

Re:Nissan Leaf (1)

BVis (267028) | about a year ago | (#44875761)

And even with a 250 mile range, road trips are not feasible in the near future regardless of what Elon Musk tells you.

Oh really. [wordpress.com]

Re:Nissan Leaf (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#44875783)

90% of drivers need a range of over 50 miles a day, less than twice a year.

The vast majority of households could use an EV as their primary vehicle, a daily commuter. Relying on a second vehicle or rental for the longer trips.

Re:Nissan Leaf (2)

yurtinus (1590157) | about a year ago | (#44875333)

The Leaf isn't bad for what it is - but it in no way rivals the Tesla. Comparing a performance luxury sedan with a 200 mile range to an economy car with a 70 mile range is apples and oranges. A Leaf with a larger battery pack could even the comparisons, or an upmarket sedan with somewhat shorter range, but as they are the cars are simply too different.

Re: Nissan Leaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875757)

It would seem a more appropriate analogy is comparing Apples and eMachines.

Re:Nissan Leaf (2)

Smidge204 (605297) | about a year ago | (#44875507)

I wasn't aware Nissan as even trying to make a Tesla rival.

Tesla has put their energies into making a brand based on performance and style. Nissan's LEAF offering is focused on affordability. They are not competing for the same market any more than Hyundai is competing with Lamborghini.
=Smidge=

They're just attempting to stay relevant (3, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44875237)

GM made wild promises about the Volt that it didn't follow thru on and now they're just making noise to try to convince investors to stick around. Until they do something that matters in this space, it's hard to take these types of statements seriously.

Re:They're just attempting to stay relevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875533)

What wild promises? My Volt runs all electric for about 80% of my driving. It's quick. It's useful. It's fun to drive. It didn't cost an arm and a leg. Volume is going up, production costs are coming down.

Re:They're just attempting to stay relevant (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44875617)

What wild promises?

Wild promises of building an EV and not a hybrid, and then wild promises of a revolutionary drivetrain which never appeared?

I'm not saying the volt isn't a perfectly fine automobile, I've never driven one, so how would I know? They don't seem to be owned by people who drive like douchewaffles are are the prii, so perhaps there's something to the notion that they're worth owning. But it's not what was promised at all.

Re:They're just attempting to stay relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875861)

What wild promises?

For starters, it was supposed to be a pure electric, not a hybrid.

My Volt runs all electric for about 80% of my driving.

Good for you. You've presented no evidence that your driving situation is normal, typical, or at all a good representation of what others experience.

It didn't cost an arm and a leg

Bullshit. The Volt sells new in the mid $30k price range, for a sedan that's sitting in the middle of the Luxury category. For a sedan, you're going to have to come in around the $15k to $20k mark (MAX) if you're going to claim it's "not an arm and a leg".

Volume is going up, production costs are coming down.

Yet the sticker price remains the same, because they already had to price it cheaper than they could afford, and it's currently priced at almost twice what they had originally aimed for.

Re:They're just attempting to stay relevant (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44875749)

Indeed; if GM had ever been serious about electric cars, we'd all be driving around in an EV1 derivative right now.

Better marketting would kill them. :-) (1)

erikscott (1360245) | about a year ago | (#44875779)

They lose money on every Volt they sell - better marketting means they just lose more money. Like the 'Vette, a chronic money loser, it's a "halo" product that makes the rest of the product line look better. Come in to see a 'Vette, leave with a Camaro. Volt shoppers probably end up buying... a Prius?

it will market itself (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44875253)

. If so, the marketing must be better than the Volt's. Otherwise, it won't matter how good the car is.

IF they really do have a car that goes 200 miles on a charge and costs $30,000, they won't need to run a single advertisement, that thing will market itself. I will strongly consider buying one, and I spent a lot of time complaining about the Volt.

Remember that will be close to $20,000 after rebates, a really good deal.

Re:it will market itself (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44875289)

Haha, a car that costs less than MSRP. That's a good one.

Re:it will market itself (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44875401)

All cars are less than MSRP, save for Tesla. You never pay sticker for a car, save for Tesla.

Re:it will market itself (3, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44875453)

For electric cars with a 200+ mile range there's a $7,500 federal tax credit so yeah, it would end up at ~$25k after discount but plus fees.

Re:it will market itself (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875413)

Remember that will be close to $20,000 after rebates, a really good deal.

Bahahaha. It will be $30,000 AFTER rebates / tax credits. Tax credits have and always will drive up the base price of products. See also the effect of cash for clunkers and cheap federal students loans and the cost of college.

Re:it will market itself (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875433)

"Really Good Deal" my ass. I've never, and will never, spend more than 10k on a car. I can afford it just fine but I'm not an idiot.

Re:it will market itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875515)

I'd dare say wanting a brand new car instead of a used one shouldn't really be a qualifier to make a person an idiot.

Re:it will market itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875799)

how about substantially lower mileage costs ?

And fairly dorky looking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875255)

Why do car manufacturers insist in producing such dorky looking electric cars? The exception is, of course, Tesla, whose cars are gorgeous and sexy. The other manufacturers come up with electric cars that yell, "Look, I am a dork!".

Re:And fairly dorky looking (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44875471)

Well... Tesla's cars also cost twice as much.

Sure they could. (3, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#44875257)

But they would be lease only, GM would refuse to sell them to anyone and then they would for no reason take them all back and destroy them.

Re:Sure they could. (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44875301)

But they would be lease only, GM would refuse to sell them to anyone and then they would for no reason take them all back and destroy them.

Sure, if you live in Hippie Fantasy World.

In the real world, the EV1 was hugely expensive, the lease didn't even begin to pay for the cost of the car, and GM had very good reasons to trash them when it decided to scrap the program.

Re:Sure they could. (3, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#44875335)

And yet... GM refused to sell them to people with the money and willingness to buy them. GM decided they would rather destroy the cars then sell them (shrug).

Re:Sure they could. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875733)

There's all kinds of liability issues that most of Slashdot doesn't care to acknowledge. Anytime legal matters come up you guys just make up your mind that life shouldn't work that way and act like that somehow absolves any guilty party of responsibility. Unfortunately, for those of us who have to live in the real world, life doesn't work out that way. There would be all kinds of question of tax credits offered to GM if there were any, parts availability, and liability for environmental factors of disposing of such new technology.
 
Have you even began to consider the implications of the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act on selling off a previous for-lease-only unit that has no public supply chain let alone GM's control over who made the original parts? If I were GM I wouldn't want that headache. This isn't like seeing a used lawnmower at a flea market.

Re:Sure they could. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875855)

All vehicles are expensive to R+D. Or technology. They could have recouped those costs by selling the car properly, instead of hiding them away, except for the people who persisted on letting GM temporarily leasing one to them.

Excuses sometimes count (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875283)

But he wouldn't say when, falling back on the old excuse: 'Electric car batteries are really, really expensive!'

Well, sadly, you have to admit, that's a pretty damn good excuse for the time being...

Marketing? Why? (2)

rcotran (653676) | about a year ago | (#44875305)

"If so, the marketing must be better than the Volt's. Otherwise, it won't matter how good the car is." Tesla hasn't done any marketing besides just being an amazing car. And they are selling like hotcakes. The only reason car manufacturers have to market their "next-gen" ICE cars is that with each passing year, the changes on new models are incremental at best. The Tesla Model S is a revolutionary car in every sense of the word and therefore required zero marketing for it to literally sell-out for months ahead of time.

Latecomers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875307)

This would all be useful, if the Chinese didn't already beat all of them to the punch. AND, it's a minivan:
http://www.byd.com/na/auto/e6.html

The unpleasanteness of low energy density (1)

ableal (1502763) | about a year ago | (#44875331)

When I look at the tables for MJ/kg here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density [wikipedia.org] , I see 9.0 for Li-air batteries and around 46 for liquid fuels.

It's a heavy handicap, and I'm not sure that technical prowess and good marketing can overcome it.

Re:The unpleasanteness of low energy density (3, Insightful)

rcotran (653676) | about a year ago | (#44875421)

Have you driven a Model S? Do that, and then come back here. You'll understand.

Re:The unpleasanteness of low energy density (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875585)

And you keep all the weight of the batteries until you coast to a stop as compared to the liquid that progressively disappears.

not that the losing fuel weight makes a difference but heavy batteries do.

Re:The unpleasanteness of low energy density (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44875677)

When I look at the tables for MJ/kg here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density [wikipedia.org] , I see 9.0 for Li-air batteries and around 46 for liquid fuels.
It's a heavy handicap, and I'm not sure that technical prowess and good marketing can overcome it.

The world's most efficient internal combustion engine is 50% efficient. It's the size of a house, and it's in a container ship. Very efficient automobile engines are around 25% efficient. These are expensive engines with direct injection and forced induction.

The electric motors commonly used on EVs are 95% efficient while going forward and as good as 90% efficient while doing regenerative braking, something that is much more expensive and failure-prone with ICEs (which is why we don't have KERS on all our cars.) And EVs commonly eliminate the transmission, which can easily consume another 10-15% of your total system efficiency.

Now, do the math again.

Re:The unpleasanteness of low energy density (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44875881)

The world's most efficient internal combustion engine is 50% efficient. It's the size of a house, and it's in a container ship. Very efficient automobile engines are around 25% efficient. These are expensive engines with direct injection and forced induction.

That's not precisely true - first, an average petrol engine in an average automobile is about 25-30% efficient. Second, direct injection and forced-air induction might have been the expensive option half a decade ago, but they're becoming standard technology, and increasing engine efficiency upwards to the 35-40% range. Not great, but not as terrible as you're trying to make them out to be.

Of course, you've completely ignored diesel engines, which typically run at around 40-50% efficiency. I couldn't find a good resource for how energy efficient a Wankel engine is.

Now, do the math again.

OK - 30% of 46 = 13.8; 95% of 9 = 8.55

The horrifically inefficient petrol engine still wins, it seems.

Wrong tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44875347)

They should be investing in fuel cells not battery tech.

PR (3, Insightful)

TheUglyAmerican (767829) | about a year ago | (#44875389)

Sounds like they're trying to pump sugar daddy for more cash.

No (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44875459)

Thread closed

Not if, when (1)

melonman (608440) | about a year ago | (#44875503)

The answer to "Could someone else make this thing I just made" is always "yes", eventually. We have patents to slow the arrival of the "yes" answer enough so that the first person to do so gets to make a bit of money.

But in this case (and most other cases) there's more than one way to do it and a lot of relevant technology, a lot of which is general car technology. And in every case, sooner or later, the huge company with a huge patent portfolio and huge expertise in manufacturing is going to win the "lowest price point" game... if they want to.

At the moment, the big players don't think there's a big enough market to make it worth their while to compete aggressively. At some point that will change, and at that point GM and other huge companies will develop, licence or acquire whatever technology they need. At the moment, Tesla is selling a niche product. That's great, but it hardly the same as producing electric cars for everyone.

Or, to put it the other way round, does anyone see Tesla scaling production up to anything like GM's level while GM quietly hands them market share and eventually gets out of the car business?

Sell the car, lease the batteries. (4, Interesting)

jfisherwa (323744) | about a year ago | (#44875513)

.. then they could advertise much cheaper prices, get people in the door, and sell multiple range options based on the batteries they could afford/lease.

Prius? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#44875593)

Chevy Volt, but it's not a sexy electric car like Tesla Model S.

The Volt is not sexy, not that I'm sure I'd apply that adjective to any car. But I personally find the Volt a hell of a lot more aesthetically appealing than a Prius. I'm sure many people disagree with me; it all comes down to personal taste I suppose.

Lithium form factors (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#44875631)

A friend was considering (but ended up not) taking over management of a lithium battery manufacturing plant.

He pointed out that one problem with lithium batteries is heat dissipation.

His plan was to make shaped batteries that could be mounted in the car's unused spaces. Big, flat batteries could be placed in the roof or on the floor, or in the door panels or behind the seats. With a larger surface to volume ration, they would dissipate heat more efficiently than the cylinder form factor. They would also free up space for other purposes.

I never heard anything more on this. Does anyone here more familiar with battery tech know more?

Sure, but consider this (-1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44875639)

Tesla == Apple
GM == Linux
Toyota == Google

GM could create a viable and even superior platform to Tesla, but nobody is going to buy it until Toyota steals it from GM first.

Please don't insult google that way (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#44875841)

Toyota == Google

Google isn't willing to put their name on something as astronomically boring as ... basically every car Toyota has ever sold in the US in the history of time.

A better analogy:

Toyota == HP

VW == Google

You constantly see Toyota on the road, but never envy one. The company that makes drivable cars that middle-class people can afford is VW, but people keep forgetting that they are even around because they can buy something less satisfying from someone else for less money.

And for that matter...

GM == IBM

Both used to be relevant, and both pull the strings in the market in ways that we often don't see immediately. I'm not sure that there is a "Linux" in the car world through one could make an argument for

MacLaren == FreeBSD

As they drop a single new product every year or two, which is a technical marvel but beyond the skill of most users of products that are aimed for similar function. They also have a dedicated team of developers who can tell you exactly why their way is better than everyone else's, even if it looks ridiculous.

gm is too out of touch to compete. (0, Flamebait)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#44875787)

for the past decade GM had refused to ease up on its strategy of selling SUV's, betting instead that customers would continue to buy even as gas went beyond $10 a gallon. as gas approached $4 a gallon and SUV sales went into steep decline, GM was faced with a stockpile of midsized cars that came from such an incestuous group of design teams, sometimes the only thing that changed was the badge. if a car were so shitty as to be un-sellable, they just slapped a new brand on it and kept pushing. For example: the PT Cruiser was such a collosal piece of shit, it was rebranded the Chevy HHR in what i can only imagine was a complete lack of respect for their customer. then when GM failed, we bailed it out. so can GM compete? no. more importantly though, it now knows it doesnt have to try.

in 2004 GM's offering for hybrid technology was basically a toyota ripoff. based so closely on Toyotas development of Hybrid Synergy Drive, they were later forced to license 21 patents from toyota just to offer a hybrid vehicle. Their first hybrid vehicle? the Chevrolet Silverado, part of the same portfolio of overweight gas guzzlers GM just couldnt seem to sell to anyone.

their electric vehicle is electric, in the most ass way possible, because GM doesnt care. it doesnt care if you buy the cars or if their technology is all that great, because they understand they will just be bailed out if they dont succeed in an industry that has so far outpaced them, GM itself has started rebranding and outsourcing most of its "innovations"
The Dart is based on a version of the Fiat Compact platform
the Pontiac G6 is based on an Opel platform
the Ford Fiesta is based on a Mazda platform

Marketing was not the problem (1)

fche (36607) | about a year ago | (#44875789)

"If so, the marketing must be better than the Volt's. Otherwise, it won't matter how good the car is."

That's like asking the president to give a New Glorious Speech to fix a deep problem. No, the problem has not been marketing - it has been mainly the cost (both to the purchaser and the subsidizing taxpayer), and to some extent performance (size, garages on fire).

The Volt is a cool car... (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about a year ago | (#44875815)

I dunno much about the Volt's angry slashdot history, but It seems like a pretty feasible way to transition to an electric car if you're worried about road trips.

Every time I pass one, it catches my eye. I'd say it's right up there in looks with the Model S, which also, in my opinion, looks attractive. If I had the money to choose between those two cars, I'd have to think about it.

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