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Old 10-11-2008, 01:21 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Interesting points, but honestly I don't think it will take that long. 20 years on the fleet, give me break. You gotta remember the automobile while invented in the 1800's didn't take off until the 20's and wham it hit almost overnight, How can you say that it's going to take about 1/4 of the entire life span of the auto industry to turn things over? Think SUV's, think muscle cars -all fads that came in the blink of an eye and fads that appealed to nothing but pure vanity.

Economy is a larger driving force than image, one not look any farther than the current auto industry. What's killing Detroit (my old hometown) is that they believe people still want style. And they're right people do, but the problem is most cars pretty much look alike. Just like a pair jeans they're all pretty much the same other than the stupid label. Again just look at all the hype the PT cruiser got when it came out cause it actually kinda looked different than a Taurus.

But another thing that I believe is affecting auto sales right now is that people are waiting. What's another year or two in old "Bessie" if the new cars in a couple years is going to get double or perhaps triple the mileage and cost a lot less at the pump. Might as well pay "Bessie" off for the trade in while you wait rather than the roll the loan.

Remember that 12,000 miles a year is considered about average. That boils down to about 32 miles per day, easily in the range of modest electric cars. Most people really don't travel that much, it just seems like it with traffic. And every year the population gets more and more urban which means over time this figure will most likely drop. If I didn't work in construction and needed a truck to haul tools in I would have gone electric along time ago. I got nearly everything I need within 5 miles of my house. And if I wanted to go to skiing or to the beach I can easily rent a gas car.

Also let me add that I live in Portland Oregon and our citizenship is considered one of the "greenest" (personally I loath these labels). The pure electrics aren't uncommon. It's a rare day that I don't see a NEV now. The change is coming a lot faster than 20 years. In fact, I don't even gooseneck at the Zips anymore, they're just traffic. Perhaps it will take 20 years in your neck of the woods, but the revolution has started in other areas of the country. And because of this I honestly think that the Volt is gunna flop cause it's not going to come out in time (ie. on schedule for 2010), and when it does hit the streets it will be too late.

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Old 10-11-2008, 09:37 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Lets start by defining "fleet turnover". It means adding up annual new car sales until the total surpasses the total vehicle fleet size for a given year. The size of the national fleet for 2007 was just over 252 million vehicles. On average the size of the fleet grows by 5 millions vehicles per year. In 2007 there were 15 millions new vehicles sold (an average sales year going back to 2000). Projected sales for 2008 are 12 million new vehicles. You do the math.

We have the lowest vehicle scrap rate since 1953. Indeed, from 2003 to 2006 the actual number of cars scrapped, not just the percentage, decreased. Vehicle "fads" may disappear from the front lines of auto dealers, but they linger in the fleet for years.

I think the impact of EVs is regional to a large degree. Look at how many EV firms are based on the west coast. It skews your experience. Here in the northeast NEVs actually driven on streets are truly a rare sight. The impact of winter weather on current battery technologies reduces the advantage of battery dependent vehicles for parts of the year.

I think the Volt will do just fine. If it arrives on time it will be at the forefront of the plug-in hybrid wave that will hit in 2010. It will have the advantage of near continuous press coverage since early 2007, and many people will automatically connect the Volt with the plug-in hybrid concept. Say "hybrid" today and most people think "Prius". Come 2010, if you say "plug-in hybrid" Americans will think "Volt".
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I think the Volt will do just fine.
The GM Volt or the Chrysler Volt? I hope GM makes it in this topsy-turning economy! I heard this morning that Honda assembly in Ottowa was forced to change model amounts for some reason (oil, size, economy); which it did in 1 day. GM cannot change models in days, weeks, months,.... 2 years?

My City-EL did not succeed in Denmark (early - mid '90s) so about 15 years later Germany is building it. The full EV is confusing to me. I live in hope!!!
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The GM Volt or the Chrysler Volt? I hope GM makes it in this topsy-turning economy! I heard this morning that Honda assembly in Ottowa was forced to change model amounts for some reason (oil, size, economy); which it did in 1 day. GM cannot change models in days, weeks, months,.... 2 years?

My City-EL did not succeed in Denmark (early - mid '90s) so about 15 years later Germany is building it. The full EV is confusing to me. I live in hope!!!
When I first saw your post I thought: huh? Then I found articles about a rumored merger. It makes no sense to me.

Anyway, I toured the Honda plants in Alliston, ON back in April, 2007(no plant near Ottowa that I'm aware of). They make Pilots, Ridgelines and Acura MDXs in Plant 2 and Civics/Acura CSXs in Plant 1. They are about to open a brand new engine assembly plant for 4 cylinder engines. According to the tour guide changeover in the truck plant takes 7 days while the Civic/CSX changeover takes 5 days. That's still very quick!
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I agree with all points on this, but I have to take a stab at you guys, "us", regarding fleet turnover ...

You want to help fleet turnover ..... STOP RESURECTING METROS ... LOL

Just kidding, but you see my point ...
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Old 10-11-2008, 09:46 PM   #16 (permalink)
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No, I do realize that it's currently a regional thing. The west coast in generally is ahead of the curve when comes to new tech. And it's not just a regional thing west vs. east, in as much as urban vs. rural. It goes without saying that if you live 20 miles from a town you're going to need a longer range car. Portland is especially good for this tech too, since we have the Urban Growth Boundary which help contain sprawl. Thus we are fairly compact here which makes us an ideal city for EVs.

But honestly, most people can get by with an EV for 95% of their driving even one with a short range. Most people put on the miles in many short trips. Sure you can't cruise the strip for hours on end on a Friday night in an EV. But most people live within 20 miles of work, school and shopping.

What makes me cringe the most at your post is that you imply that success is the complete replacement of "the fleet". Now come on "the fleet" includes that old Studebaker pick up that's been for sale near me for the last year that still runs (and it calls my name quietly at night too, if it wasn't so heavy I'd be gutted in my garage getting an electric motor), it includes cars sitting in dealer lots, rental cars, and collector cars etc. I'd consider success of the EV when parking meters include metered outlets and the cars that you actually see on the road driven by everyday people are mostly EV's. The gasoline fleet will never disappear, their will always be collectors and what-nots.

And I'm the first to admit that work trucks, semi's, tractors, etc will probably be combustion engines for a long time. After all I drive my Dodge cause I'm often carrying nearly a ton of gear, and I know full well that an electrical car to replace my gas engine would be way too expensive to make, especially considering the the hills I gotta climb and the off road conditions I often have to haul my welding equipment in.


Now as for the Volt I seriously doubt it'll be available in 2010. What ever happened to the Hydrogen car that they were promising in 2008-10 a couple years ago? It's a marketing gimmick to bilk a bailout of the government, and to keep their name in the media for something other than them running themselves in the ground. Truth is that most the breakthroughs in the alternative transport movement are coming from upstart companies in US and from foreign companies. I seriously doubt that when the poop hits the stator that the big three will still be three. They're just to stubborn, arrogant, and big to make the changes that they need to make to take on the upcoming onslaught.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:45 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Now as for the Volt I seriously doubt it'll be available in 2010. What ever happened to the Hydrogen car that they were promising in 2008-10 a couple years ago? It's a marketing gimmick to bilk a bailout of the government, and to keep their name in the media for something other than them running themselves in the ground. Truth is that most the breakthroughs in the alternative transport movement are coming from upstart companies in US and from foreign companies. I seriously doubt that when the poop hits the stator that the big three will still be three. They're just to stubborn, arrogant, and big to make the changes that they need to make to take on the upcoming onslaught.
That's it in a nutshell! Big corporate companies are just like presidential candidates, they will do or say what ever necessary to get people to "buy" into what they're selling. More times then not its not worth it. To me the Volt will not be worth it.
I'm anxious to see what the new Prius has to offer.
I too think that the EV "movement" will be spearheaded by the "up starts".
The only reason you're even seeing "promises" from the likes of Chevrolet is because they see the increasing interest.
Ultimately time will tell.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:57 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:37 AM   #19 (permalink)
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In order for EVs to have a major impact there will have to be some type of nationwide dealer/service network. I'm not going to buy a vehicle if I can't get it serviced, so while these small start-ups may have a local impact in the grand scheme of things they are invisible. The majority of Americans will be reluctant to embrace these vehicles until they come with a Honda, Toyota or GM badge on them. Small companies with great ideas come and go all the time. My car dealer lodge brother recently visited the Triac facility and is looking to become the northeast distributor, but he is of the opinion that until they can make 50K+ units a year they are little more than novelties or expensive toys. Only large auto makers can provide the economy of scale and available production facilities that will make the difference for EVs/hybrids to be widely accepted and affordable.

And stop crapping on automakers that are actually trying to put new ideas into production. GM and Chrysler have been working on plug-in hybrids for 3 years, but they've been waiting for battery technology to catch up with the rest of the concept. Events forced their hand early, since they would rather have waited until the battery-only range was closer to 100 miles, but here we are and the first generation of plug-ins will make do with 40 mile range. Honda has come right out and said that battery technology is the reason they are waiting before producing an EV or plug-in hybrid. They have been at the forefront of new propulsion technologies and they are content to wait.
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The majority of Americans will be reluctant to embrace these vehicles until they come with a Honda, Toyota or GM badge on them.
I gotta agree with you there.

I think EV's are taking off, but it WON'T be a majority of American's until there is a big brand name behind them, but I think that brand-name could become Tesla or one of the other manufacturers.


I am SICK of hearing that battery technology isn't there yet. (And yes, I understand that some of that is coming from the manufacturers, not simply individuals commenting on this or other forums.)

The original EV1 and my car both run off lead-acid batteries. As does a Plug-in converted Prius I saw a few weeks ago. So did cars built 100 years ago, when they outnumbered gasoline vehicles. The batteries we have now are perfectly acceptable for moving around vehicles.

I think the problem is that many people think we need batteries that equate to gasoline - can go hundreds of miles at a time, recharge in 5 minutes, etc.

Technology is not the problem, it's culture. Technology is there, culture just has to catch up with it.

As soon as people realize how EVs can meet their needs, use less energy, can be renewably-powered, and YES, are made to major manufacturers at a reasonable cost, EVs are going to take off.


(PS - I like this forum! There are lots of people that can have varying opinions and still be civil about it! That's how we learn and expand as human beings!!!! )

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