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Discussion Starter #1
I've posted this on several threads, but wanted to bring this to the forefront, as things are starting to really get scary out there. High energy prices and energy trade deficits are hurting our economy, leading to mortage defaults and bankruptcy in mortgage lending institutions. The resultant tightening of capital is hurting our economy's ability to grow, leading to stagnant wages and increased unemployment.

In the face of that, let us count our blessings that the underpinnings of a stronger economy are already in place and growing:

- renewable energy plants and equipment factories have already been built in the US - solar, wind, bio-fuels, etc.
- auto industry has shifted its development efforts towards alternative fueled vehicles
- cfl’s are on the market, as well as other energy saving devices
- water replenishment systems are in place or under construction in southern CA and elsewhere
- universities have adapted their curriculums to meet the needs of these new industries
 

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Amen to that, Jason. Like I said, When you do hit it fair, you hit home runs.

Despite all the hand-wringing angst that the US is so "behind" the Europeans regarding energy efficiency, etc., we have one ace up our sleeve that trumps Europe hands down...the uniquely American ability to adapt, improvise, and invent new solutions like nowhere else. It comes from our self-reliant heritage that rejected the top-down ruling culture of Europe that still permeates their vision.

Your list highlights just the tip of a huge but not-yet-really-visible iceberg of movement starting to build in this country.

I know you see Andy Grove's statement differently, but I saw it as a confirmation that a massive machine of change is now slowly rolling and that even mainstream industrial leaders are picking up on the building momentum.

Regardless of how GM ultimately fares in this changing economy, current management can hold their heads high in that they were one of first major industrial players to fully embrace the new reality and make radically bold moves to change course. Their rapid and total change could not have happened in a European or Asian-managed company. Let's just hope they were not too late as a company and we collectively are not too late as a world....
 

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hvacman,

Your point is well taken, as there is a shift in the direction everyone is taking.

Nothing personal with Andy Grove (other than he isn't who his publishers promote), it's the company he keeps. I am all for people joining the parade, but I am all too wary of those trying to get out in front of the parade.

Have you read my other posts on 60 MW of solar power installed so far this year in CA by individuals and companies, outside of utility scale power? Did you read the other designating Rock Port, MO as the first town running on all wind power? I truly believe it will be the cumulative effects of individuals and enterprises, more than any government action, that quickly pulls us through. The best part of that activity, is that it creates thousands upon thousands of experts, and not a handful of "wizards" at the top.
 

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I've personally been involved in several PV projects this last year that add up to 1 MW of the 60 MW installed here in CA, plus myriad other energy efficiency projects that are carving down the load, a MW at a time. Another article that I posted in the Off-Topic forum called the phenomenom "Silver BB's".

And most of the work I've been involved in has not been to satisfy a legal mandate or to do "feel-good" work, but as a hard economic investment, signed off by the CPA-types.

Adam Smith's hand is slapping around a lot of people. They are responding slowly, but rationally. To paraphrase Admiral Yamamoto, the oil shock has "awakened a sleeping giant". I truly believe, regardless of who takes the White House or controls Congress, that within a couple of years, we will see a cultural energy to tackle this huge problem we have not seen since WWII. Exciting times...
 

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Regardless of how GM ultimately fares in this changing economy, current management can hold their heads high in that they were one of first major industrial players to fully embrace the new reality and make radically bold moves to change course. Their rapid and total change could not have happened in a European or Asian-managed company. Let's just hope they were not too late as a company and we collectively are not too late as a world....
With all due respect, how does current management deserve any credit considering the dismal mess GM is in? GM stock is at its lowest in 50+ years. Since Rick Wagoner took over in 2000, the stock has lost 80% of its value. They killed the electric car and were late to hybrids. They invested in the Hummer which now they are dumping. They gave up cars for SUVs and trucks that they can't give away.

How does this management deserve credit for anything except bumbling stupidity?
 

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Greenman,

Your point is well taken, but understand that GM made the appropriate business decisions based on high labor / benefits costs, forcing them out of small cars and into high margin SUV's.

The EV1 was not a viable product at $80K cost using commoditized lead-acid batteries, or expensive / untested Li Ion batteries, especially since oil prices dropped like a stone then.

GM management can be credited with their good recent performance of:

- negotiating a new union contract,
- changing their product development lineup to nothing larger than a cross-over in the last dozen or so new models,
- creating and publishing a product plan of 2-mode hybrids, E-REV gas / alchohol / diesel Volts and eventually E-REV fuel cell vehicles.
- working that plan successfully
 

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Perhaps, but...

Your point is well taken, but understand that GM made the appropriate business decisions based on high labor / benefits costs, forcing them out of small cars and into high margin SUV's.
Yes, if in their planning they assumed $2/gallon gasoline and had no planning for the risk of $4/gallon gasoline from instability in the Middle East, hyper demand from China, or shortage of refinery capacity.

If you pay someone $20 million a year, shouldn't they be better at decision making than this?

Regarding the $80,000 per car cost of the EV1, I am deeply suspicious of any numbers that are bandied about. Certainly if you load all R&D into a projected low volume, you can come up with a big number. Then again, what is the cost to GM not having an electric vehicle or fuel efficient alternatives? Maybe $8/share and the independence of the company.
 

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Yes, if in their planning they assumed $2/gallon gasoline and had no planning for the risk of $4/gallon gasoline from instability in the Middle East, hyper demand from China, or shortage of refinery capacity.

If you pay someone $20 million a year, shouldn't they be better at decision making than this?

Regarding the $80,000 per car cost of the EV1, I am deeply suspicious of any numbers that are bandied about. Certainly if you load all R&D into a projected low volume, you can come up with a big number. Then again, what is the cost to GM not having an electric vehicle or fuel efficient alternatives? Maybe $8/share and the independence of the company.


Greenman, let it go. Every auto company screwed up by dropping electric car development (except Toyota - but even they dropped their cool EV). GM already said it made a mistake. How do you like it when people keep kicking you over the same mistakes? Feel good? Does it do any good? No. They have turned it around and are not only working harder than any other auto company on the electrification of the automobile but are also kind enough to be keeping us in the loop. Just face the facts that cheap oil (and it did look like it was going to stay there for a long time), expensive batteries, lack of any maintenance revenue (they make a lot on maintenance and EVs can roll for millions of miles almost care free), lack of demand from consumers (they wanted Hummers and huge SUVs because gas was so cheap and the bigger-the-better American attitude prevailed), the government thinking that the hydrogen car was going to save the day, etc. really killed the electric car.

Congratulations on being such a great Monday morning quarterback. Your hindsight is indeed 20/20. Now can we get back to the current tasks at hand? In a world where the situation has changed dramatically? Thank you.
 

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This is an incredible thread - Jason, Texas, and me all defending each other. I think I see and hear us all at a Volt-Nation gathering, arm-in-arm, singing, "I'd like to teach the world to sing....

....I'd like to buy the world a Volt, and keep it charged for free...That's the real thing"

I know, that vision kind of makes me want to gag, too, not to mention that we probably are all tone-deaf!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
This is an incredible thread - Jason, Texas, and me all defending each other. I think I see and hear us all at a Volt-Nation gathering, arm-in-arm, singing, "I'd like to teach the world to sing....

....I'd like to buy the world a Volt, and keep it charged for free...That's the real thing"

I know, that vision kind of makes me want to gag, too, not to mention that we probably are all tone-deaf!
LOL - I howled at the song choice, it's definitely a Kubaya moment. Actually, I have perfect pitch hearing and a 3 1/2 octave singing range (not counting falsetto, which I don't count) that was perfect pitch, but have lost the pure tone over time.

EDIT: 3 1/2, not 2 1/2 ...
 

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Putting a wind generator and a solar panel on every home in America would be a great start
That would be a dream come true. Forget US energy independence. This would be home energy independence. I would really like to see that happen in my lifetime.
 

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Greenman, let it go. Every auto company screwed up by dropping electric car development (except Toyota - but even they dropped their cool EV). GM already said it made a mistake. How do you like it when people keep kicking you over the same mistakes?
Perhaps you are right, Texas. I do have a chip on my shoulder over the high pay of auto executives and I also question whether GM, Ford and Chrysler have the wherewithall to take on Toyota and Honda. While there are a lot of positives associated with the Volt design, I think a lot of the PR value of the Volt was negated by the bone head comment on global warming by Bob Lutz. Even Rick Wagoner made it clear that that GM was no longer among the "deniers."

I'm not all that knowledgeable about the 10-step program but I had a boss who was a recovered alcoholic and he used to say, "the first step to stop being a drunk is to admit that you are a drunk." I personally would love to see GM take a leadership role in fighting global warming and building great cars. However, I'm skeptical when a guy like Bob Lutz can't even keep to a message.
 
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