Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on May 13, 2008
General Motors, the not so flattering subject of Chris Paine’s documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, is feeling the pinch of previously pulling the plug on the EV1. I mean, duh. The recent launch of the flashy Tesla rubbing salt into their wounds can’t possibly feel good. But GM is putting a brave face on past errors by throwing themselves into the world of green. Their website proudly announces that they have the “most models with EPA-estimated 30 mpg or higher highway fuel economy.”
Ryan Mickle of Triple Pundit attended a recent presentation in San Francisco by GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner, where he spoke on the future of the company with a firm focus on green technology. As we all know, after 76 years of being America’s number one car manufacturer, GM lost the top spot to Toyota — a move which can in part be attributed to the success of the Japanese carmaker’s green fleet, including the hugely popular Prius.
Adding to their worries, GM is in hot water financially, posting a $3.3 billion first quarter loss — which they plan to offset by cutting pensions, laying off workers, targeting fast-growing markets like China and India and continuing to work on “propulsion technology”, whatever that is.
Then there’s the hybrid push. GM plans to launch eight new hybrids this year alone. They’re also releasing the Chevy Volt, an electric vehicle with a range of 40 miles that can travel over 600 miles on 12 gallons of gas. But we’ll have to wait until 2010 for that one — ironically, a full decade after the EV1s first launched.
It seems GM’s “delayed response to demand for more fuel efficient vehicles” has cost them dearly. Couple this with the inconvenient truth that GM “started advertising that its cars were already fuel efficient whilst fighting legislation that attempts to wed a growing desire for fuel efficient cars with higher standards for manufacturers”, and it seems the automaker has its work cut out in order to regain the trust (and the dosh) of the American public.