The Wired article was top of the search, and it gives a “3 more articles left” nag, so to save folks “burning” your “free” views, I’ll quote more heavily than I usually do.
10.02.2017 12:01 PM
General Motors Is Going All Electric
The giant automaker will start with 20 new all-electric models by 2023.
Yup, as the “model year” arrives before the calendar year, right now is the clearance of 2019 and start of 2020, so that’s just 3 years from now for your All Electric General Motors (motors, what motors?) future.
This came up in the context of their current workers strike. Seems all the folks in the “Engine & Transmission” assembly areas are not keen on being unemployed in 2022 (when they start making all those e-cars) as most of the future expansion will be in a battery factory that is largely automated. So far nobody has mentioned all the parts stores, repair shops, and other companies that go POOF! with this change too.
So first off, realize if you live in Florida, you can not get out of State and away from a hurricane on one charge. You also will not be able to charge a few million cars at the 1/2 way out of State point. So very few folks in Florida (at least those with any hurricane smarts) will be buying a GM car after 2023.
Next up, realize that a lot of spares & repair parts come from manufacture of common parts over generations of the same motor and transmission in many cars and years. So all you folks who presently own a GM Car / Truck, can plan on a hard time getting parts and repairs starting about 5 years from now (and dropping resale prices even sooner).
Now my favorite point: Ever try to cross West Texas on I-10 / I-20? I have. Several times. While it IS better than it had been, it is still quite the challenge on range. At one point there was a 270 mile stretch of no gas stations. Near Van Horn, Texas. More than once I’ve made it to the only gas station choice with the reserve light starting to flicker. Part of why I like my Diesel is it gets 450 miles to the tank. West Texas is No Problemo! However, if you have a 300 mile range, you must plan to fill up at the last station and again at the first one you see. Last time I looked, e-stations were more scarce and further apart. Now that’s if you are on the freeway already on a straight run. Folk out in the boonies, well, that’s harder to do… I suspect West Texas is about to become FORD Country ;-)
Then there’s Nevada. There are a lot of times I’ve crossed Nevada at night. There’s a few LONG stretches of nobody open at 3AM and even in daytime there are long runs of empty. Leaving Utah to the salt flats, IIRC, it’s about 120 to 140 miles, then there’s a couple of casinos at the Nevada border, then another long run of nothing. Now either somebody will need to run a BIG high voltage tower set to that little border casino cluster to support a freeway worth of traffic all stopping at once (and a LARGE charging area for them to sit in for several hours – hope you like hot desert and overpriced food – or a lot of people are not going to be driving Chevys out there.
My Subaru only gets about 350 miles on a tank, and it already makes me a bit nervous on some long empty runs. But I just drop a 2 gallon can in the back and I’m comfortable. There better be a BIG gain in batteries and range ’cause if it doesn’t do 350 or more, I’m not interested.
Now the other fun bit is that batteries don’t work well when cold. Chemistry just slows down. So how’s the Chevy sales in Alaska, Canada, Minnesota, The Dakotas, etc. etc. going to do after the winter horror stories start? Remember that “waste” heat from your gas engine keeps the windshield clear and you warm enough to not die… eCars burn battery to do that so your range shortens a lot. Don’t expect to do any long distance driving in winter in your Chevy…
Further, from the article:
After more than a century peddling vehicles that pollute the atmosphere, General Motors is ending its relationship with gasoline and diesel. This morning, the American automotive giant announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023.
That product onslaught puts the company at the forefront of an increasingly large crowd of automakers proclaiming the age of electricity and promising to move away from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. In recent months, Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced similar moves. GM’s declaration, though, is particularly noteworthy because it’s among the very largest automakers on the planet. It sold 10 million cars last year, ranging from pickups to SUVs to urban runabouts.
“General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”
OK, so you can also kiss off Volvo, though Aston Martin and Jaguar were already non-starters for me due to the cost thing.
I note that GM is hedging their bets a little. Though when you put 20 new platforms into production, that takes away plant and equipment from making others. Something will have to give pretty quickly.
Reuss did not give a date for the death knell of the GM gas- or diesel-powered car, saying the transition will happen at different speeds in different markets and regions. The new all-electric models will be a mix of battery electric cars and fuel cell-powered vehicles.
The fuel cell vehicles is a nice hedge too. One wonders if they will run on gasoline, alcohol, or the methane that’s showing up at truck stops.
France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway have all said they plan to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars in the coming decades. More importantly, China—the world’s largest car market—and India, a rising star, plan to join them. No automaker can compete globally without a compelling stable of electric cars.
All places without a lot of oil production (or with dropping North Sea production) and a big oil bill to Saudi Arabia. I note in passing that France, India, and China all have large nuclear electric abilities and Norway has a huge hydroelectric infrastructure. Netherlands and Britain make less sense though. From where will they get the electrons? Perhaps larger interties to France and Germany…
I have heard before that the major Saudi oil field was up to pumping about 1/2 water (sign of a field nearing end of life). Couple that with them setting up to sell off their Oil Company and it sure sniffs out like maybe Saudi is prepping to run dry on oil (or at least ramp down production at a good rate) and maybe Europe has caught a clue on that.
Nothing like finding out all your oil suppliers are planning to exit the market to suddenly make e-cars sound like a good idea, eh? It makes more sense to me than the Global Warming garbage. British Petroleum and Saudi Aramco would not want the word getting out that they were starting their ramp down to oblivion and growth was a thing of the past… so would need a cover story.
Then, the EU, to remain in any kind of competitive posture vs countries that DO have oil, would want to convince them to eliminate their major cost competitive advantage… Good way to cripple places like the USA and Australia as competitive producers. Get them to lock in their coal, oil, and gas reserves.
But I live in the USA, not the EU, India, or China. We have LOTS of gas, oil, and coal. So I’m keeping my oil burners, thanks.
Lose A Little On Every Sale, But Make It Up On Volume!
GM intends to grab as large a slice of the Chinese market as possible. It has previously announced plans to launch 10 electric or hybrid electric cars in the country by 2020. This summer, it started selling a two-seat EV there, for just $5,300. Last year, it sold more cars in China (3.6 million) than it did in the US (3 million).
Oh, so OK, Government Motors is a Chinese Car Company. That explains a lot…
The crucial question for the American automaker will be how, exactly, to make money from all these cars. By one report, GM loses $9,000 on each Chevy Bolt it sells. Reuss’ strategy hinges on bringing costs down thanks to steadily dropping battery prices, more efficient motors, and lighter cars. Massive scale and global supply chains helps, too. “This next generation will be profitable,” he says. “End of story.”
It’s not impossible. “If they’ve really been laying this groundwork, they could be closer to not just having this tech but having a profitable and high volume way of supplying it,” says Karl Brauer, an auto industry analyst with Kelley Blue Book.
“This time for sure!”…
Over the past decade, the Detroit giant has positioned itself for a different sort of future. First came the hybrid electric Chevy Volt. Then came GM’s great coup, the Chevy Bolt, the 200-mile, $30,000 electric car that hit market long before Tesla’s Model 3.
So cars in China $5k, cars in the USA $30k… and who bailed out GM?… I’m certainly not interested At All in a $30k compact that only goes 200 miles AT THE MOST in warm weather, no head wind, and fully charge / discharge cycled. I’d not call that a “great coup”. Sounds more like an overpriced turd to me.
Oh, and clearly we ought never to have legalized Marijuana where the GM Executives hang out. Someone has a serious smoke problem going on:
GM is seriously pursuing semi-autonomous and fully driverless cars. It offers the first car on US roads with vehicle-to-vehicle communication capability. Now, it talks about its plans to eliminate vehicle pollution, congestion, and traffic deaths.
Uh Huh…. sure it will…
I fully expect a few $Billion of bail out cash to go up in smoke trying to make this work. I also fully expect most people will not be buying electric cars any time soon (and then only as a 2nd car not for long trips). I also suspect that as “old battery” problems start showing up, there will be a lot of folks getting out of their electric cars.
I saw this same thing with natural gas cars. The tanks had a 5 year life. Later extended to about 10 years. Now I think some are even at 15 years, but it’s too late. Damage already done. I looked at a fine old Ford Crown Vic. Great condition. Very nice car. Very cheap asking price. Then asked about range and tanks. Range was “Over 110 miles” (that I could live with for a commuter car as gas was, then, about 1/2 the cost and the airport filling station was on my way home) and the tanks were… out of certification. That’s a $4000 price tag for replacement tanks. The owner assured me I could just fill up anyway… (yeah, right… one DMV letter and it’s toast).
That’s the problem of a technology that has a Very High Priced part that goes POOF! before the rest of the car. Now this might not matter in Detroit or Chicago where they salt the roads and cars rust out in 5 years, but in the rest of the country, that’s a deal killer. As those $40,000 and $60,000 dollar cars age, and get sold into the used market, and their batteries age, and range decreases to 200, then 100 miles… You get a $10,000 to $20,000 price tag for a replacement battery pack. Even if GM manages to get that down to $5,000 what do you think that does to the resale value of a 5 or 6 year old car? Zero comes to mind…
Oh Well. I always liked Ford and Chrysler products better anyway. Though realistically, I’m probably done buying cars. I’ve got enough “inventory” for my probable remaining driving years. I’m gasoline and Diesel, Subaru and Mercedes to the end. No way GM is even going to get me into a showroom… And two of them will always be kept fully fueled for a long dash out of Hurricanes or a slow meander away from the Great Quake rubble pile. I sure don’t need a car that can’t “go” when the electricity is out, especially with PG&E instituting blackouts any time the wind blows and it’s not raining…