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Old 05-06-2010, 01:25 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I see that the EV1 made Road & Track's list of the 100 best cars up to Y2K.

"The 1997 GM EV1 transformed our opinion of electric power from golf-cart status to a car of enthusiast's interest. Certainly a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds got our attention. Now if technology would only combine this with a 300-mile driving range."

It came about because GM had hired Aerovironment to build them a solar car for the 1st race across Australia. It was a good car, and had the luck to make a good start, staying ahead of the cloud that slowed the rest of the field. Thus, it won by a huge margin, trouncing, among others, Ford.
This lead to a contract to develop a prototype that became the EV1. GM was not a total dinosaur - Peter Drucker called it the first company using modern management - and that contract specifically required that Aerovironment share what they learned from mistakes along the way. But I digress. When it came time to finalize the production version, Alec Brooks and the Aeroviroment team really had to butt heads with GM to keep them from crippling it with wider tires and worse aero. Those same butt-heads may still be around, getting their revenge with the Volt.
After the car came out, it was "unreliable" in that the leases got cancelled, but it really was a research project, like the Chrysler turbine car, not a clear path to production. Being of great bulk, and more than two minds, GM decided to tell Congress et al that there wasn't much point to electrics, while buying up the rights to a better battery and not installing it, etc. They even told Ovshinsky, the inventor, to stop bragging that he'd made a sale to them. See "Who Killed the Electric Car."

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Old 05-07-2010, 01:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
I don't think exoticars are good analogies in this discussion because EV1s were never sold at or above what they cost to make.
I think that in fact the exotic cars prove the point. If you're an automaker, success isn't determined by how many of a model you sell, but by how much profit you make on your sales. So since Porsche, Ferrari, &c are able to make profits despite (or because of) low volumes, it's hard to call them flops. And contrariwise, if GM sells lots of Hummers & Suburbans, but goes bankrupt in the process because all the "dealer incentives" means they're being sold at a loss, can you really call those models successful?
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:14 PM   #23 (permalink)
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jamesqf -

That's fair. The phrase "in any book" was too strong a statement on my part.

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