Thursday

Maybe No One Killed the Electric Car?

Not that long ago people were talking about Who Killed the Electric Car? with a lot of suspicion thrown GM's way. Well, maybe it wasn't true after all. Or maybe their conscience got the best of 'em inside that Boardroom?

GM's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has announced that Gm intends to produce an all-electric car by 2010, with a prototype being rolled out by the end of 2007. The prototype is reportedly going to be based on the much-talked-about Chevrolet Volt, which showed up at the '07 Detroit Auto Show.

If GM stayed true to the specs announced earlier for the Chevy Volt, it would go 600+ miles on a single battery charge. That kind of number would undoubtedly send customers charging into Chevy showrooms nationwide and flood GM's books with plenty of black ink to replace the bleeding financials that have captured much of the GM Boardroom's attention for too many years. Problem is, GM now says it'll get only some 40 miles on pure electric power, which means that it would probably only be suited for commuters. Oh well, at least it's a start.

Meanwhile, critics are wondering if GM is serious in light of GM's gusto for gas guzzling SUV's. It's certainly true that the Volt got a lot of glowing press at the Auto Show. And electric cars have gotten a lot of support from environmental groups looking to cut back on oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As shown in Detroit, the Volt was a hybrid, but GM says it intends to base it on a new generation of batteries and mass market the car.

Okay, so the mileage is down to 40 from the Auto Show's claim of 600+. What else? Well, some of that georgous looking metal body will get shaved off too, GM says, including the extreme front wheel placement (meaning, it'll get much shorter?). "The whole shape of the car is going to have to be a little more traditional," Lutz said (meaning, it'll end up looking like a Yugo?). The whole thing has caused people to wonder about Lutz's credibility all over again (Bob Lutz Screws the Pooch).

GM, you tease us with steak at your Auto Show concepts and then toss us sardines in the showroom. No, I take that back, you sell us lemons. Like the $50,000 SSR with plastic door mechanisms that break shortly after delivery. 804,000 trucks and SUVs with lousy brake designs. And Buicks with bad power steering.

If George Clooney can drive a 130 mph electric sports car right now, how come goliath GM can't build one? Hello!!! GM, are you listening?