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Electronics & Test

GM President: It's Time to Electrify & Educate

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Twitchy
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Iron
Re: Government Motors
Twitchy   11/1/2012 12:28:29 AM
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Still all over the place.

The problem with Saturn was that it was left to rot for over a decade (I had an '02 Saturn SL. Great for long distance driving, 37 mpg, but a bit anemic and the interior was dated), then was changed from "a different kind of car company" to Yet Another GM Division. With little or nothing to distinguish it from other GM divisions, it became expendable, like Olds and Pontiac. GM divisions used to exist in a relationship to each other, Chevy and Pontiac on the bottom, for families and singles, respectively, with Buick being the upgrade from Chevy and Olds being the upgrade from Pontiac, and Cadillac at the top of the heap. When that ended, then there was no more need for separate labels.

I didn't say there's nothing different about the Volt, and I'm not saying it's not a fine auto. Hell, I'm always correcting people who say it's worthless because it's another short range EV. I said there's nothing much that's new. The driving force still comes from under the hood, with a mechanical linkage to the wheels. They can't get away from the need for all that extra hardware, and the additional costs and maintenance it requires.

As I originally said, put a motor in each wheel (see, for example, PML Flightlink's Hi-Pa Drive (yes, I know they're out of business)). If you're worried about unsprung weight, then work to create lighter motors. That would get rid of the entire drive train and replace it with much simpler power and control cables. Then you put batteries and a much smaller engine under the hood, matched to a generator, and optimized to run at constant load and speed. That should improve gas mileage all by itself, not having to compromise on engine design to handle all ranges of load and speed.

This would also give you complete control over which wheels get power at any particular time. You get AWD and more effective regenerative braking.

Besies that, you didn't say anything that was at all relevant to the conversation.

waterman2
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Iron
Re: Restructure Detroit
waterman2   10/31/2012 7:15:58 PM
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GM did go through bankruptcy and all would have been well except that the Administration stepped in and placed UAW interests (pension and contract protection) ahead of secured creditors and bondholders. The net result is that GM wasn't able to shed significantly higher labor costs which will drag them into bankruptcy court again within 2 years. An unintended consequence is that never again will a US automobile company be able to sell low interest bonds to finance the debt needed to expand, finance auto loans, etc.

Twitchy
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Iron
Re: Government Motors
Twitchy   10/30/2012 11:27:04 PM
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Yes, I did. There really isn't much that's actually new about the Volt. What's new about it is that it made it into production.

As for the Fiero, I worked at Pontiac for a bit during the '80s. The scuttlebutt was that the Fiero was nixed by GM upper management as not what they wanted from the Pontiac label, but Pontiac designed it on the sly (mostly because they were jealous of Chevy and the 'Vette) and presented GM management with a fait accompli. It did remarkably well, considering that upper management didn't like the car. Eventually it suffered the same fate as Saturn did later: a good idea ignored until it went away.

I deal, mostly, with reality, though I often have to deal with others' fantasies. I don't name-drop and I try not to wander too far from the subject.

nearboston
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Iron
Restructure Detroit
nearboston   10/30/2012 2:47:43 PM
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Perhaps what is needed, and what would satisfy all the arguements in this thread is a complete restructuring of Detroit.  Throw out all the old ideas, the old technology and the old business models.  Streamline management, create the partnerships at the ElHi school levels and develop a leaner workforce able to adapt quickly to changing needs of the customers.

 

In other words, Romney was right.  They should have been forced to go through bankruptcy, clean house, and come out the other side ready to do business in the 21st century. 

waterman2
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Iron
Nero fiddles while Rome burns
waterman2   10/30/2012 2:43:29 PM
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If it's valid to blame tepid electric vehicle adoption in the US on the state of the US education system, then we should see dramatically higher EV adoption rates in "better" education nations. This bonad is for more government money and control in more areas of our professional & personal lives, period. GM shareholders should throw him out and pick someone interested in building vehicles their potential customers are willing to purchase.

Twitchy
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Iron
Re: Government Motors
Twitchy   10/28/2012 9:58:08 PM
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Bill,

It's difficult to figure out how to reply to you, since you're all over the map, replying to things I never said and wandering off into who knows where. The point that I was originally trying to make is that there isn't much that's actually new about the Volt. All they really did was change a bit what's under the hood, and kept everything else the way they're comfortable with. What I'm saying is that they should go the rest of the way.


Of course, as with the Fiero, they might be constrained by what they think they can get away with.


And the proper comparison wouldn't be between the standard Prius and the Volt, but between the Prius Plug-in and the Volt. Which, despite being available in only 15 states, has almost half the YTD sales as the Volt.

Twitchy
User Rank
Iron
Re: Government Motors
Twitchy   10/23/2012 8:50:09 PM
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Awards are given for many reasons, not necessarily because they're earned.

The Prius plug-in hybrid has a range of over 500 miles.

And Volt sales are outpacing the Prius because they're practically giving the car away.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Partnership is key
Charles Murray   10/23/2012 7:31:13 PM
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Here's a good illustration of your point, Scott: The young Gadget Freak who built the Super LED flashlight shown on our site mentions in the comments that he built the device while working on his homework. Yes, it starts at home.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1362&doc_id=251425&itc=dn_analysis_element&

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Partnership is key
Charles Murray   10/23/2012 7:19:32 PM
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I agree, Scott. It starts at home. Almost all of the engineers I've known have come from homes where education is emphasized. The role of the school is simply to provide a place where those students can develop their potential.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Re: Government Meddling
Rigby5   10/22/2012 7:14:01 PM
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The normal biodiesel cost less, but I agree it may not have a good shelf life. The expensive biodiesel however does have a good shelf life, and is what the Navy is experimenting with for its jets. 

{ ... biofuel that comes from camelina, a hardy U.S.-grown plant that can thrive even in difficult soil.

The Defense Energy Support Center, which oversees procurement of biofuel for the Navy, recently awarded a $2.7 million contract to Sustainable Oils of Seattle and Bozeman, Mont., for 40,000 gallons of camelina-based fuel. The Navy's ultimate goal is to develop protocols to certify alternative fuels for use in its aircraft and ships.

"The aircraft flew exactly as we expected- no surprises," said Weaver, F/A-18 project officer for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 and pilot for the Earth Day flight test. "The fuel works so well, all I needed to do was just fly the plane."

"Our mission today and for the rest of the flight tests is to confirm that the fuel makes no difference in performance across the Super Hornet's entire flight envelope, from subsonic to supersonic operations," said Mark Swierczek, Naval Air Systems Command propulsion flight test engineer. "Preliminary results show there was no difference in engine ops attributable to the biofuel. Engine performance is normal and as expected."

The Navy Fuels Lab at Patuxent River is developing certification standards for a variety of renewable, alternative fuel sources. ... }

 

You should have looked into the alternatives better.  If it takes taxes to make people be more responsible, then it is our own fault.

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