19 years ago.......G.M. Displays the Impact, An Advanced Electric Car

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by S2007S, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. S2007S


    NOTICE THE DATE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    19 years later and they still cant get it straight, you would think that they would actually be a company with value and leadership, but instead after selling off some of their "elite" brands like saab and saturn they are still as worthless as they were 20 years ago. Do they actually think they have it right this time. I highly doubt it.

    G.M. Displays the Impact, An Advanced Electric Car
    By RICHARD W. STEVENSON, Special to The New York Times
    Published: Thursday, January 4, 1990

    The General Motors Corporation today displayed what it called the most advanced electrically powered car yet developed and said that it could be on the market as soon as the middle of the decade.

    Roger B. Smith, the company's chairman, said at a news conference here that the car, called the Impact, was not yet ready to be built and sold on a widespread basis. He cautioned that the sporty-looking two-seater had a number of drawbacks, including a monthly operating cost roughly twice that of a conventional automobile. And he said it was still unclear whether there would be sufficient demand for such a car to justify producing it.

    But he said the car, which does not emit any pollutants, could be very appealing at a time of increasingly stringent environmental regulations. He said General Motors had high hopes that the car could be the first to bridge the gap between limited-production electrical vehicles, a number of which are on the road today, and mass-produced autos.

    ''It is producable,'' Mr. Smith said. ''We've taken a big step, a very big step here.''

    The vehicle's potential also raised hopes among environmental officials, especially in California, which is enacting the strictest anti-smog regulations in the nation, for a nonpolluting car that did not sacrifice performance.

    ''What this shows is that a major corporation recognizes that California is serious in demanding clean cars and clean fuel,'' said Tom Eichhorn, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the primary environmental agency for Southern California.

    While General Motors executives said that California would be the primary market, they added that there would have to be nationwide demand to justify production. Mr. Smith said he would be most comfortable with 100,000 cars a year, not 20,000.

    No Production Timetable

    Mr. Smith declined to say how much the vehicle might cost, except that it would have to be competitive with conventional cars. He said the company had no timetable for a possible introduction, although other General Motors executives said the car could be in production within five years.

    General Motors executives portrayed the car as comparable in performance to many sports cars. They showed a tape of the prototype Impact outracing a Mazda Miata and a Nissan 300ZX from a standing start to 60 miles an hour.

    ''This is no golf cart,'' Mr. Smith said.

    The car has a range of 120 miles before its battery system needs to be recharged. Mr. Smith said that would make it a suitable second car or commuter car for many drivers. There is no time limit on how long the batteries will hold their charge; the car draws power only while in motion.

    Many Technologies Improved

    General Motors executives said the Impact represented improvements in a variety of technologies and design elements rather than any single breakthrough.

    Using technical and design experience gleaned from an experimental, solar-powered vehicle called the Sunraycer developed several years ago, the company and a number of outside partners improved the durability of the battery system, developed an aerodynamic design that reduces wind resistance by more than a third, produced a more efficient motor and even developed special tires that lessen drag.

    ''It's a total system approach,'' said John S. Zwerner, a top engineer at General Motors. ''Every detail has been important.''

    General Motors has so far built only a single prototype of the Impact. It is powered by 32 traditional lead-acid batteries, the same kind used on most cars today. The batteries can be recharged using an extension cord and regular household current.

    The car has two electric engines, each of which drives one of the front wheels. Unlike many other previous electric cars, the Impact does not have an auxiliary gasoline-powered engine.

    Detroit has tinkered with electric engine as long ago as 1916, but much of the research in the field lately has been into small trucks and vans used for short-haul urban deliveries. With the Impact, General Motors is for the first time considering selling an electric vehicle for primary use as a passenger car.

    Operating Costs Doubled

    General Motors executives said that at current prices, it costs about $40 a month to fuel and service a car in the Los Angeles area that is driven 10,000 miles a year. The power cost for the Impact would be only $5 to $12 a month, they said, but the batteries would have to be replaced every two years at a cost of $1,500, bringing the operating cost of using the car to about twice that of a gasoline-powered vehicle, $960 in two years. But they are making rapid improvements in battery life and hope operating costs will be on a par within two or three years.

    General Motors said work on the Impact was done within the company's design centers as well as by Aerovironment Inc., a California company that did much of the engineering and construction work. Among the other partners on the project were the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, which developed the car's low-resistance tires, and Alcoa, which made the lightweight aluminum wheels.
  2. S2007S








    The car that nobody wanted:

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  3. S2007S


    Program cancellation

    Despite continued interest in the EV1, and filled waiting lists, GM pressed ahead with its battle against CARB regulations, going as far as to sue CARB in federal court.[17] At the 2000 hearings, GM declared that consumers were not showing sufficient interest in the EV1 to meet CARB mandates.[8] The American automaker, along with Toyota, cited a study they had commissioned, which showed that customers would only choose an electric car over a gasoline car if it cost a full $28,000 less than a comparable gasoline car. Dr. Kenneth Train of UC Berkeley, who conducted the study, stated that given a typical retail price of $21,000 for a RAV4 SUV, "Toyota would have to give the average consumer a free RAV4-EV plus a check for approximately $7,000."[27] An independent study commissioned by the California Electric Transportation Coalition (CalETC) and conducted by the Green Car Institute and the Dohring Company automotive market research firm found very different results. The study "used the same research methodologies employed by the auto industry to identify markets for its gasoline vehicles".[28] It found the annual consumer market for EVs to be 12-18% of the new light-duty vehicle market in California, amounting to annual sales of between 151,200 and 226,800 electric vehicles,[29] approximately ten times the quantity specified by CARB's mandate.[28] The results of the Toyota-GM study were also questionable in light of the success of Toyota's electric RAV4-EV, which retailed at $30,000 yet had a waiting list of its own.[8] At the hearings, the automakers also presented the hydrogen vehicle as a higher alternative to the gasoline car, bolstered by a recent federal earmark for hydrogen research. Many, including members of the CARB hearing committee, were concerned that this was a bait-and-switch on the automakers' part, in order to make CARB eliminate the EV mandate, and that hydrogen was not as viable as it was made to seem.[17]

    In 2001, Judge Robert E. Coyle of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction on June 11 against the CARB, preventing the implementation of 2001 amendments to the state's ZEV mandate. The original regulation allowed the carmakers to substitute a variety of advanced-technology, partial-zero emission vehicles in place of battery EVs. This effectively reduced the number of battery electrics sold to as few of 2% of the original 10% dictated by the mandate. The car companies successfully argued that CARB's method of determining whether or not a vehicle qualified as an Advanced Technology Partial ZEV (AT PZEV), it used the vehicle's fuel economy as one of the standards, in addition to reduced emissions. The court viewed this provision as unconstitutional. This left CARB unable to enforce its 2001 amendments through 2004, and chose to delay the ZEV stipulations.[30]

    The GM training center in Burbank, California, served as a storage location for many EV1s prior to being crushed, and saw protests and vigils by EV1 drivers and fansBy 2002, 1,117 EV1s had been produced, though production had ended in 1999, when GM shut down the EV1 assembly line.[citation needed] On February 7, 2002, GM Advanced Technology Vehicles brand manager Ken Stewart notified lessees that GM would be removing the cars from the road, contradicting an earlier statement that GM would in fact not be "taking cars off the road from customers."[31] Drivers feared that their working cars would be destroyed after repossession, given historic GM actions such as the destruction of the Impact prototypes and the company's role in the Great American streetcar scandal.

    In late 2003, General Motors, then led by CEO Rick Wagoner, officially canceled the EV1 program.[5][32] GM stated that it could not sell enough of the cars to make the EV1 profitable.[33] In addition, the cost of maintaining a parts supply and service infrastructure for the 15-year minimum required by the state of California meant that existing leases would not be renewed, and all the cars would have to be returned to GM's possession. At least 58 EV1 drivers sent letters and deposit checks to GM, requesting lease extensions at no risk or cost to the automaker.[8] The drivers reportedly agreed to be responsible for the maintenance and repair costs of the EV1, and would allow GM the right to terminate the lease if expensive repairs were needed. On June 28, GM famously refused the offer and returned the checks, which totaled $22,000;[8] GM's legal responsibilities in the matter would likely not be absolvable via a waiver.[citation needed] By contrast, Honda, which had taken similar actions with its EV+ program, agreed to extend its customer's leases.[8] In November 2003, GM began reclaiming the cars; several were donated to museums and educational institutions, albeit with deactivated powertrains meant to keep the cars from ever running again, but the majority were sent to car crushers to be destroyed, allegedly with government permission to do so.[34]
  4. Pumping OIL is more profitable than building cars.
  5. S2007S



    Why eliminate 3 or 5 industries by creating just ONE industry.
  6. fhl


    Yes it is.

    lesson: if you're going to unionize, or form a cartel, make sure the customer has <u><i>nowhere else to go</i></u>.
  7. Nattdog


    IF the idiots at GM had made this into a hybrid when it became clear that was more feasible (like the Japanese figured out) Perhaps this would be a competitor to the Prius right now. Nope, instead they blow billions on an impractical technology that consumers would never except then abandon it. It is not just the unions that killed this company, It was the worthless overpaid management.
  8. aegis


    Why do electric cars have to be so ugly?

    This thing looks like a cross between an 82 Citroen CX and a 97 Saturn SC.
  9. They still built a lot of cars to burn OIL.