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Carlos Ghosn is an amazing dude. If other manufactures were holding off on making major changes to their long-term strategies I'm guessing his words will get them moving. He's going to produce a lot of BEVs for Project Better Place and having hybrids only make perfect sense. Hummm, extended range as an option... Interesting. This guy is going to go down as one of the great ones.

The only thing I wonder about is his talk about hydrogen cars being the long-term solution. I Doubt he really feels this way. I'm guessing that's to keep the hydrogen funding coming it and to make his competitors also keep expensive hydrogen programs going. Surely he's smart enough to know this will never be as practical as other technologies. No way. Just the natural loss of energy when generating hydrogen and the difficulty of storing such a tiny element make it a long shot for being the transportation technology of choice. It will be interesting to see where things are headed five years from now. I hope these forums are still available for review. We should all get a good laugh.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is too bad that Ghosn didn't buy Chrysler, as he had planned, but was blocked by his own board members. Instead, Daimler bought Chrysler, and destroyed the momentum the company had with new vehicles like the Prowler, the PT Cruiser and the 300.

I think Chrysler would have been a much better fit with Nissan and Renault.

Until quick charge batteries and their infrastructure is developed and deployed, hydrogen is the only quick charge renewable solution available. Iceland and Japan are clearly committed to it, as their nations are resource poor, but geo-thermal energy and sea-water rich.
 

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"Finally, the Japanese, recognizing they are at least 2 years behind GM, have finally offered an EV with a range-extender" - Hendler.

What is it about EV announcements that causes some people to lose all perspective?

1. Nissan has not "offered" anything as of yet. They have announced that they intend to make something available, in limited numbers, in Japan and the US in the future.

2. The Japanese, or at least Toyota and Honda, are not two years behind GM. Go outdoors and see what's on the road. Report back on what you find on America's highways that has gas-electric drivetrains and really, really impressive fuel economy. GM is the better part of a dozen years behind Toyota and, as a bonus, a few years behind Ford. Especially where it counts, in SALES and REVENUE.

A hint as to what you'll find, today I parked between two Priuses. They're all over the place. I've never even seen a GM "mild" hybrid on a public road, let alone a two-mode hybrid Yukahoe.

3. "The Japanese" are not a monolithic entity. There are several major manufacturers that compete with us and each other. Some of the Japanese, Toyota and Honda, have offered technologically advanced, effective and LOW-COST hybrids for people to drive, in large numbers, starting some years ago, and these cars get EXCELLENT fuel economy.

Nissan might think they're behind the curve on this, although they also do offer a pretty decent hybrid version of the Altima, which is actually a pretty nice car. Even Nissan is probably ahead of GM.
 

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1. You are correct, Nissan is the first to announce a series hybrid, as neither Toyota nor Honda have announced anything other than high efficiency ICE's with regenerative breaking systems. Honda is selling a FCV, not sure if it is plug-in.

2. You are correct, Toyota and Honda have many high efficiency ICE vehicles with regenerative breaking systems, but NONE are plug-in.

3. The Japanese are monolithic (until Nissan's recent announcement) in that they are embracing parallel hybrid approaches, whereas GM, Fisker Automotive, Tesla Motors and Aptera have all announced plug-in series hybrids.

Get it yet? Japan has bet the farm on vehicles that require high efficiency ICE's for highway speed operation, whereas American auto companies are seguing to plug-in EV's with various range extenders.
 

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I get it. I get a lot of things.

"The Japanese are monolithic (until Nissan's recent announcement)..."

In other words, not monolithic. And they were never monolithic; Nissan simply licensed HSD to get into the market without spending a lot of money in development until they could take their time over their own plans. Honda's system is quite distinct from Toyota's.

The one thing they have in common, is that they got out ahead of GM.

"... whereas GM, Fisker Automotive, Tesla Motors and Aptera have all announced plug-in series hybrids."

Pardon me? Where did Ford and the Escape hybrid disappear to? Not to mention two-mode hybrids that GM has developed but failed to sell?

GM doesn't even have a monolithic approach all on its own. GM's approach is more that of a PR machine firing in all directions. Why did they sink all that money into the two-mode system if it's pointless? Why are they building the Volt as a series hybrid? For the PR. They have some fantasy that they "win" in the marketplace because people compare future products based solely on announcements entirely disconnected from current production and sales.

Well, lo and behold, some people do. Maybe GM's smarter than I credit them.

And ALL of those announcements you refer to are solidly (perhaps eternally) in the future. Fisker, Tesla and Aptera have about as much chance of becoming a major force in advanced tech automobiles as the Toledo Buggy Whip Manufacturing Company does.
 

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100 miles all electric

100 miles all electric range is quite a distance. If they offer that at a price competitive to the Volt...I will be hard-pressed to ignore the Volt. I think Nissan is making a WHOLE LOT of promises without much to display. Detroit 2009 should be very very interesting this next go around.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I get it. I get a lot of things.

"The Japanese are monolithic (until Nissan's recent announcement)..."

In other words, not monolithic. And they were never monolithic; Nissan simply licensed HSD to get into the market without spending a lot of money in development until they could take their time over their own plans. Honda's system is quite distinct from Toyota's.

The one thing they have in common, is that they got out ahead of GM.

"... whereas GM, Fisker Automotive, Tesla Motors and Aptera have all announced plug-in series hybrids."

Pardon me? Where did Ford and the Escape hybrid disappear to? Not to mention two-mode hybrids that GM has developed but failed to sell?

GM doesn't even have a monolithic approach all on its own. GM's approach is more that of a PR machine firing in all directions. Why did they sink all that money into the two-mode system if it's pointless? Why are they building the Volt as a series hybrid? For the PR. They have some fantasy that they "win" in the marketplace because people compare future products based solely on announcements entirely disconnected from current production and sales.

Well, lo and behold, some people do. Maybe GM's smarter than I credit them.

And ALL of those announcements you refer to are solidly (perhaps eternally) in the future. Fisker, Tesla and Aptera have about as much chance of becoming a major force in advanced tech automobiles as the Toledo Buggy Whip Manufacturing Company does.
American automakers are leapfrogging the Japanese dead-end approach, and Nissan has finally admitted that reality, by announcing that they are following the American lead of designing series hybrid vehicles. GM is offering a wide array of products at various price points, so that they have first hand knowledge of what the markets are willing to pay for a given amount of benefit. Considering that GM is going full tilt on the Volt is a clear indication that GM already knows what that answer is. Now Nissan knows it too.
 

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Toyota, Ford and Honda all developed successful parallel hybrids. Nissan licensed HSD from Toyota and built a successful hybrid.

GM has tried two different approaches to hybrids, to date, the BAS system (intended to be low effect but very low cost and resulted in moderate cost and low effect) and the two-mode hybrid (intended high effect at moderate cost and resulted in high effect at unsustainable cost).

Neither one sells. GM, to date, is a dismal failure in anything that looks, smells, feels or tastes like EV technology. Why should anyone believe that GM is going to successfully leapfrog anyone or anything, given their record? It is perfectly obvious that GM is going into serial hybrids (or RE-EVs, if you like) because they can't build a cost-effective, workable parallel hybrid and have run out of other options.

And including Fisker, Tesla and Aptera as "American automakers," just makes a mockery of the idea of an "automaker." They're all boutique engineering shops that exceedingly unlikely to grow to mass production. If there is a mass market for a motocycle-style platform EV, then Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki will knock off Aptera quickly enough. I forget what Fisker builds (that's how important they are) and the Tesla roadster has been shipped, PERHAPS, to three customers, only one of whom might not be a corporate officer, although he is said to have invested in the company. When EVs go mainstream, Tesla will go belly up.
 

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Toyota's foolish long term stratagy

Toyota is embracing parallel hybrid approach for its future. When gas hits 6 dollars a gallon that approach will be worthless as the Prius car will most likely cost the same to drive as a 9 mpg big SUV in simple dollar terms per fill up. All the fuel economy features will be negated. The word fuel needs to come out of the equation for any long term success by any auto manufacturer. A BEV car does not have any fuel economy numbers, just a simple price to drive per KWH. I have already spent 2.5k to recharge my future BEV off solar. Please share your input for my thoughts on this issue.
 

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"When gas hits 6 dollars a gallon that approach will be worthless as the Prius car will most likely cost the same to drive as a 9 mpg big SUV in simple dollar terms per fill up." - Wilson.

Anyone who's measuring his automotive expenses in "dollars per fillup" across two entirely dissimilar vehicle types is someone I would probably not want working in my department.
 

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And What

SO if it cost you 200 bucks to fill up your car every week or a 800 a month fuel bill and your ok with that huh. Your the one I wouldnt want working in my Dept. Common simple sense dude. What do you want me to write engineering specs or something. Its just plain and simple cost to drive per week period. NO BS.
 

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Business Week Cover Story ON GM

Cover Story May 15, 2008, 5:00PM EST text size: TT
GM: Live Green or Die
The lumbering, money-losing giant finally sees that gas engines are a losing bet. But is it too late?
In April of 2005, General Motors (GM) Chairman and Chief Executive G. Richard Wagoner Jr. convened his management team for a monthly strategy session. Held in the boardroom at GM's Detroit headquarters, these meetings can last a day as 20 or so executives mull plans for new cars and product strategies. Meetings often kick off with a roundtable format, and attendees are encouraged to pose new ideas and stray from the agenda. That's when Vice-Chairman Robert A. Lutz spoke up. Lutz, whose gravelly pronouncements routinely enliven auto shows and generate headlines, has a certain genius for challenging conventional wisdom. Maybe, he told GM's brain trust, it was time to build another electric car—one that would use a giant version of the lithium ion batteries that power cell phones and laptops.

It was a provocative suggestion—and Lutz knew it. Two years earlier, General Motors had killed its experimental EV1 electric car and set off a public relations furor. The environmental lobby was deaf to GM's assertions that the EV1, leased to a limited number of people but not sold, would never have earned its maker any money. And the greens accused GM of pulling the plug to show policymakers that such techno wonders were bad business.

By the time Lutz revisited the issue in 2005, Toyota Motor's (TM) quirky Prius hybrid had turned the Japanese automaker into a poster boy for the environmental movement and cast a greenish halo over the entire company. By contrast, GM, at least in the popular imagination, had tunnel vision; it was still making gasoline hogs like the Hummer and fighting congressional efforts to boost fuel economy. GM executives were furious Toyota was winning green cred despite making its own fuel suckers. But no one at the meeting wanted to hear about electric cars. "We lost $1 billion on the last one. Do you want to lose $1 billion on the next one?'" Lutz recalls one executive saying. "It died right there."

Myopia. Fear. Inertia. All had a seat at the table in Detroit that day. And yet 20 months after the meeting, in January, 2007, Wagoner stood on a stage at the Detroit auto show and surprised the world with a vow to start developing a newfangled electric car called the Chevrolet Volt. It would plug into a regular outlet, leapfrog the competition, and could be ready in three years.

Why did Wagoner suddenly get religion? After years of avoiding the future, he finally understood oil prices were not going to return to earth, global warming was a de facto political reality, and Washington was serious about imposing tougher fuel economy rules on his industry. GM would have to live green or die.

Now Wagoner is racing the clock. Not only has he promised to get the Volt ready by 2010, but he also must transform GM's entire fleet to meet stringent new fuel economy rules that take effect in 2017. As many as three-quarters of the company's 50 models may need to be fitted with hybrid systems that combine an electric motor with a small gasoline engine. Many other existing models will be shrunk or fitted with some other kind of fuel-saving technology.

General Motors' green strategy is akin to a moon shot. It will cost billions to get the Volt ready by 2010 and fill out the fleet with hybrids, require GM's 22,000 engineers to stretch like never before, and involve the top-to-bottom transformation of a culture wedded to big cars and horsepower. Other automakers, of course, must also hew to the new realities. Most, including GM's two crosstown rivals, Ford and Chrysler, are rolling out hybrids, too. But the Volt is controversial in automotive circles because the technology is so new and unproven. And GM, bleeding cash and losing money in North America, is at a serious disadvantage compared with well- financed Toyota.

Inside the company, meanwhile, there is debate about how to make cars planet-friendly and desirable. And there is fear that Wagoner has handicapped GM by waiting too long. Three years ago, Toyota was the main threat.
 

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Wilson,

Even with gas at $6/gallon - or $12/gallon - or any price you like, it will still cost far more to operate a 9mpg SUV than a 48mpg Prius.
 

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Clarification for previous post I made.

I spent 200 a week going to work in my 9 mpg gallon pickup at $3 a gallon, I traded it in on a car that gets 40mpg, but at 6 to 10 bucks a gallon I will still spend 200 a week, so This is why Im trying to explain the Prius is a very short term problem solver. Toyota will not pave the way to get off gas with the Prius or any other car with the same hybrid technology. We will have to truly go to a gas free BEV to make a difference. The REV from GM is also a short term solution till battery prices come down and the second generation can be a true BEV. Hopefully they will have one by the time gas reaches 200 a barrel.
 

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Dad what is a gas can? GM can see it. Toyota can't.

Actually I think they can but they screwed thereself legally so their transition to li-ion isn't as easy as it is for GM.

When the need for gas goes away then GM will be ready and waiting to fill you car buying needs. Toyota will have to go back to the drawing board and start from ground zero as all of their cars use ICE for propulsion.
 

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Dad what is a gas can? GM can see it. Toyota can't.

Actually I think they can but they screwed thereself legally so their transition to li-ion isn't as easy as it is for GM.

When the need for gas goes away then GM will be ready and waiting to fill you car buying needs. Toyota will have to go back to the drawing board and start from ground zero as all of their cars use ICE for propulsion.
Amen brother, that is what I've been trying to tell them.
 

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"Dad what is a gas can? GM can see it. Toyota can't." - omegaman66

GM is having difficulty making more than 20K of the perfectly conventional Malibus per month (their second Malibu plant has not reached full volume production). Their Volt output may be in the neighborhood of 120K Volts per year. It may even be less.

GM might be first out of the gate with what might turn out to be winning technology but the automobile market does not turn on a dime. It will take a decade for GM to shift production to a largely EV fleet. One of the limits will be available money for investment in new production facilities. Guess who doesn't have that problem?

What makes you think Toyota has "screwed thereself legally?"

What makes you think Toyota will have to "start from ground zer?" Toyota ships 30K cars/month with battery, electric drive and control electronics. I routinely hear people talk about the "complexity" of HSD. Given that they not only have experience with batteries, electric motors and control electronics, I'd think they could master something that's allegedly simpler.

One of the key factors will be price. Even if gas is fairly expensive, a Prius for a third less is going to look extremely attractive at 50mpg.

"I spent 200 a week going to work in my 9 mpg gallon pickup at $3 a gallon, I traded it in on a car that gets 40mpg, but at 6 to 10 bucks a gallon I will still spend 200 a week..." - wilson

You might look your math over. At $10 per gallon and the same distance traveled, your 40mpg car will require only $150/week in fuel. Even at $10/gallon, you'll be saving $50/week with the high-mpg car.
 
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