As I came home tonight I reflected on your research today. You posted, I think, a good example of corporate double-speak, if not one of the best I've ever seen.
On the one hand, obviously many people are asking the questions we're asking and a GM spokesperson reacted denying the shutdown of production.
On the other hand, a rare bit of honesty creeped out and GM revealed how little interest they feel is in creating further cars. They also revealed that they see this car as lasting nearly forever (if I were them, I'd see that as a threat to their livelihood).
If we keep asking honest pertinent questions then we can win. They can have the best corporate publicity types in history, freshly hired from Philip Morris, but their expertise cannot withstand the unceasing questions of honest minds.
There are a ton of People at GM who do not want the EV (if purely electric) to happen. All of the people who design, engineer, plan and procure, assemble, and test the many components for the automatic transmissions and gas engines will loose their jobs. Electric motors, controllers and batteries do not require the same number of components.
The top exectutatives and major shareholders also do not want it to happen. To date (and contrary to what they say), the automobile industry is a closed good ol boy club. The number of members is shrinking with no new competitors in sight (with the possible exception of one or two from China. The capital to design and build transmissions, gas engines and car bodies is currently way beyond the deepest pockets of even the largest companies. That all changes with an EV. A number of companies manufacture electric motors, controllers will become cheap, and batteries will become cheaper and better - be they advanced lead acid, nickle-xxxx, lithium-xxx, or super iron. Certification with the gomernment is minimal...... at least currently.
Making car bodies the way they are currently made is capital intensive. But it doesn�t have to be that way as Audi (in a way) and NASCAR have demonstrated with their respective aluminum car and race cars. Space frames from aluminum extrusions or steel pipe is light and strong and cheap (requiring relatively little capital) to manufacturer. Snap on plastic panels could form the inside and outside �skin� of the car. At any rate, EVs hold some potential for making this industry competitive, which is desperately needs.
Roger Smith, if still in power would have taken GM even further down then what it currently is. However, even with all of his warts, Roger, years from now be regarded as a visionary for his role in starting the EV project.
For the life of me, I can�t figure out why people are going Ga Ga over fuel cells. Where is the hydrogen going to come from? If it comes from fossil fuels we don�t gain anything with respect to reducing CO2. Granted, fuel cells �promise� 50% better fuel economy, however it is a too little too late. Once the Chinese start driving cars in force, 50MPG will be too little. If fusion energy was a reality or close to a reality, fuel cells would be the only way to go. But our beloved Congressmen have seen to it that this does not become a reality in the near future, even in this era of budget surpluses. Ben, George, and Tom would spit on our Congressman if they were still alive.
Fortunately Roger, Stan, ENER, GM, Toyota and Honda have got the ball rolling, and if it keeps rolling, ENER will do very well. My guess is Toyota and Honda will do very well with theirs as the mileage will be the driving force. Money always talks.
Cars sitting around with batteries waiting to be charged will be the singular new event that gives PV�s the opportunity people have been waiting for. To date, if one bought a PV panel, what do you do with it? �Oh, I have to buy a battery and an inverter before I can use the PV - I think I will wait�.
If ENER doesn�t make it big and I mean big in the next couple of years........
"For the life of me, I can�t figure out why people are going Ga Ga over fuel cells. Where is the hydrogen going to come from? If it comes from fossil fuels we don�t gain anything with respect to reducing CO2. "
That depends on what you mean by "fossil fuels". If you mean: hydrocarbons, then let me posit that not all hydrocarbons are derived from the remnants of age-old organisms.
Some are derived from current plant harvests. As such they are a method of storing solar energy in the present, with their Carbon derived not from Carbon stored deep underground for millions of years, but Carbon already in the Atmosphere and I guess soil.
So the use of hydrocarbons (sometimes referred to as fossil fuels, I guess) is not inherently contributory to further CO2 imbalance unless the Carbon used is derived from age-old stored hydrocarbons.