Monthly Archives: September 2007

GM going tits up

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

This makes me so happy.

Obviously it sucks for the people who are relying on GM for their medical and retirement funds, but that’s a national policy problem more than a corporate one.

The thing is I recently watched this documentary, and it seemed to articulate much of what I had been thinking myself for some time, so here’s a shameless plug for it – http://whokilledtheelectriccar.com/

Go watch it. Seriously. It will likely make you think twice about ever buying a GM product again, certainly you wont see me driving a GMC truck any time soon. (Go here to see which brands are under the GM-plague-umbrella http://www.gm.com/corporate/)

This is also prompted by a recent Prius modification I saw. Some guy had replaced the standard battery packs it comes with, with a lithium-ion module made up of essentially several thousand cell phone type cells (around 6.500 of them as far as I recall), increasing range, performance and making it plug-in in the process. (Factoid: Li-Ion batteries have approx. twice the energy density of the currently employed Ni-MH cells, going from 2 to 4 kW / kg)

If Joe Schmoe can do this in his garage, CERTAINLY big businesses like GM can too. This only underlines the point made in the above mentioned documentary, that GM doesn’t want to make environmentally friendly cars. It could. It wont.

Think about that for a minute the next time you consider car shopping. The only way to exert consumer influence is by not buying their product. If they want to avoid upsetting Big Oil, then by all means let them. But don’t keep supporting them for doing it.

How many people REALLY need a range of more than 300 miles per day? I’m sure there are some of you thinking you do – and some of those even genuinely do. So let that 10 percent of the US population (and much much less anywhere else in the world) buy gasoline fueled cars – and let everyone else go electric.

Now, I’m not naive (at least not as much as you might think). Electricity doesn’t just magically appear either – but it is far more efficient to produce it at centralized plants, it doesn’t cause pollution in the urban environment, and it’s much easier to keep the process clean when it is centralized than it is when it’s distributed among several million mini plants in cars.

The lesser of two evils and all that. Hydrogen and various bio fuels have already proven themselves dubious at best, the energy density is simply too low, and battery technology such as lithium-ion is much more efficient than what was previously employed in the early electric car designs.

I hear a Prius might come out in 2008 or 2009 using Li-Ion … good times, well.. about time a huge auto maker caught up to Joe Schmoe in terms of technology, right?

Electric cars need to be tax exempt – and GM needs to DIAF.