Nov 07

Chrysler Torches ENVI Electric Car Program

 

torch

[ad#post_ad]A few weeks ago, GM-Volt.com ran a piece on the catatonic state of Chrysler’s electric car or ENVI program, and pointed out that since the introduction of Fiat to Chrysler during bankruptcy last May, not a peep (or official blog entry) had been heard about the program.

At the time we speculated that the program had likely been abandoned, and a new plan (if any) would likely present itself when Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne debuted his “5-year plan” for Chrysler this past past Wednesday.

That GM-Volt article got picked up around the ‘interwebs,’ and was met with some healthy skepticism. Our friends over at Autoblog went as far as to call us out on it, suggesting that no news, was good news… even contacting Chrysler for confirmation of the programs non-death. It never came. Autoblog did logically offer the fact that because ENVI president Lou Rhodes had not been ‘let go’ and was still being paid to manage the program, that was proof enough of its continued existence.

Well…not so much it turns out.

Indeed, shortly after Chrysler showcased its version of what the future would bring (along with a new corporate logo to lead the charge), new boss Marchionne offered some very un-optimistic thoughts on the electrification of the automobile, saying “I think electric vehicles are going to struggle,” and that perhaps they would only account for “1 to 2 percent” of Chrysler’s business by the middle of the next decade.

Not exactly how the ENVI program was represented to the US government when Chrysler went looking for aid to avoid liquidation.

In a not unrelated matter, Chrysler is also still holding onto the theory that hybrids won’t catch on either. They are the only major automaker not currently offering such technology in their vehicle lineup. Chrysler hope is that new small 4 cylinder engines brought in from Fiat will satisfy the public’s demand for fuel efficiency over introducing hybrid tech.

Despite the negative outlook for EVs at the press conference, no definitive word or specifics on the ENVI program presented themselves, that is until this past Friday when Reuters announced that Chrysler had disbanded and reassigned the ENVI team.

Nick Cappa, Chrysler spokesperson, who had previously given out such chestnuts to GM-Volt.com readers as, “stay tuned…lots of activity,” and to Autoblog, on their suggestion that work was progressing quietly, as “quietly is a good way to put it,” now has this one-liner to offer on the current happenings, “Envi is (being) absorbed into the normal vehicle development program”

Dead is another way to put it.

The stylish and Volt-like C200 concept that Chrysler showed in early 2009 (see below), and the company’s pledge to bring one of four electric cars to production in 2010 gone along with it.

One more reason to be grateful the resilient Chevy Volt has weathered GM’s financial apocalypse and remains only a year away from production.

Source: [Reuters]

c200

Chrysler C200 EV

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2009 at 9:12 pm and is filed under Competitors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 91


  1. 1
    Ricky Bobby

     

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:19 pm)

    Long live Chevy Volt. I’m dissapointed, but not suprised about his development given Chryslers situation. Fiat keeps showing BEVs so maybe they will find their way over here……


  2. 2
    MikeD

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:25 pm)

    You know, I really liked the C200 concept. It was something I could see myself driving. And it looked like it wasn’t far from production-ready. Chrysler’s days are numbered it seems – Fiat may just minimize their product lines into non-existance.


  3. 3
    BigBird

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:29 pm)

    Just one more reason for me to support GM (and the risk they are taking) by buying a VOLT!


  4. 4
    redeye

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    Electric autos are the future. Is there a Chrysler in your future ?

    I had hopes they’d come up with at least a couple models of electric vehicles.

    Another mistake by Chrysler.


  5. 5
    Wise Chrysler

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:38 pm)

    (click to show comment)


  6. 6
    Dan

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:39 pm)

    Lame….we need as many EV’s hitting the market as possible to help bring costs down. GM can’t single handedly drop the price of Li-Ion cells.


  7. 7
    Red HHR

     

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:39 pm)

    How about a nice X19 or 124…
    I think they should be able to get 50mpg??
    Yup it would cost less than a Volt too.
    Now if gas goes up 40 cents a year the timline for a Volt rampup would be good. We know we are getting the 500, what is next?

    Fix It Again Tony…


  8. 8
    Ed M

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:42 pm)

    Well instead of Chrysler closing its doors this year, they’ll be closing them in 2013.


  9. 9
    Khadgars

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:47 pm)

    Wise Chrysler: GM Chevy Volt will be the largest corporate scandal in the early 21st century! More top brass of the Volt program will be leaving in the next few months!  

    (Quote)

    More meaningless talk here, you clearly show your lack of knowledge in the auto business. Feel free to take your worthless prophesies else where, the Chevy Volt has already started to revolutionize the auto-industry and it hasn’t even hit the market yet.


  10. 10
    Ed M

     

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (9:51 pm)

    Wise Chrysler: GM Chevy Volt will be the largest corporate scandal in the early 21st century! More top brass of the Volt program will be leaving in the next few months!  (Quote)

    It just shows to go that Chrysler didn’t have the money, the R&D, or a battery to produce a competitive EV. Chrysler has never been good at innovation (unless you consider the oversize fins they put on there 1950’s models). Their business model is always suspect.


  11. 11
    Ed M

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:01 pm)

    “work is progressing quietly”

    that’s what I tell my wife when I’m in the basement watching football on TV and she thinks I’m mowing the lawn


  12. 12
    Texas

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:08 pm)

    Chrysler is looking to the future by holding on to the past.

    Chrysler: RIP


  13. 13
    Rooster

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:24 pm)

    Wow, a new emblem — makes me want to own one! (scarcasm)


  14. 14
    koz

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:29 pm)

    Give up the ghost. ENVI, the program that never was. That is, unless you are counting bankruptcy bailout bait.


  15. 15
    Dave G

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:29 pm)

    I always knew the ENVI program was smoke and mirrors. Yes, they made some demonstration vehicles, but how much would they cost? The battery size required for larger EREV vehicles is not yet cost effective. How many people would spend $65,000 on a Jeep or a mini-van?

    What concerns me the most is that the Volt really has no competition in sight.
    • Chrysler’s ENVI program was just a PR exercise.
    • Ford and Toyota have publicly said EREVs are not the way to go
    • Nissan is concentrating on pure BEVs
    • Honda is still dreaming of the perfect ICE

    So besides the Volt, there is no other car that has these basic features:
    • runs on gas or electricity
    • has at least 30 miles of electric range
    • is built by a major car maker
    • has an announced production date

    This is a big problem. Competition does many good things. First and foremost, competition validates the market. If there is only 1 player, then many people will hesitate to buy. But if people have a choice, they will be more comfortable.

    Competition also improves the product. Costs are lowered and quality improves, which increases the size of the market, so everyone wins.

    I think this is what GM’s CEO is trying to say here:
    http://gm-volt.com/2009/10/29/gm-ceo-says-help-needed-to-achieve-mass-adoption-of-electric-cars/


  16. 16
    Dave G

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:31 pm)

    koz: Give up the ghost. ENVI, the program that never was. That is, unless you are counting bankruptcy bailout bait.  (Quote)

    Yes, well said.

    Actually, when ENVI was introduced, I think the idea was to help bait a big company into buying Chrysler, but when that failed, ENVI was also used for bailout bait.


  17. 17
    Dave

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:33 pm)

    “GM Chevy Volt will be the largest corporate scandal in the early 21st century! More top brass of the Volt program will be leaving in the next few months!”

    Wow! How shortsighted! I disagree completely. This technology is going to catch on and spread like wildfire! There is a severely critical need to end our total reliance on oil for our transportation needs. The company that perfects this technology first is going to be way ahead of the competition and reap HUGE benefits.
    Buggy whip makers beware! Your days are now numbered!


  18. 18
    jscott1000

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (10:40 pm)

    In another thread I said GM management was inept but I was wrong. The new Chrysler/Fiat is the most inept auto management group.

    This is not the Chrysler of Lee Iacocca…they have firmly ignored all the trends of the last decade and will continue to go in decline until they finally liquidate. Hybrids won’t catch on? What are they smoking?


  19. 19
    hayley

     

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (11:03 pm)

    Too bad… that was a good looking concept. I like the logo too, but I hate how they, Astin Martin and Bentley all have the wings thing going on.


  20. 20
    Dr. Ibringdoh

     

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (11:06 pm)

    Dave G: I always knew the ENVI program was smoke and mirrors. Yes, they made some demonstration vehicles, but how much would they cost? The battery size required for larger EREV vehicles is not yet cost effective. How many people would spend $65,000 on a Jeep or a mini-van?What concerns me the most is that the Volt really has no competition in sight.• Chrysler’s ENVI program was just a PR exercise.• Ford and Toyota have publicly said EREVs are not the way to go• Nissan is concentrating on pure BEVs• Honda is still dreaming of the perfect ICESo besides the Volt, there is no other car that has these basic features:• runs on gas or electricity• has at least 30 miles of electric range• is built by a major car maker• has an announced production dateThis is a big problem. Competition does many good things. First and foremost, competition validates the market. If there is only 1 player, then many people will hesitate to buy. But if people have a choice, they will be more comfortable.Competition also improves the product. Costs are lowered and quality improves, which increases the size of the market, so everyone wins.I think this is what GM’s CEO is trying to say here:http://gm-volt.com/2009/10/29/gm-ceo-says-help-needed-to-achieve-mass-adoption-of-electric-cars/  (Quote)

    How many people would spend $65k on a Jeep or minivan? Probably the same people who spend $65k on a Toyota or Honda pickup truck.

    Volt has no EREV competition? See Fiskar automotive. OK, so Fiskar is not a “major automaker.” Considering the performance of the major automakers, this might be a good thing.

    One of the problems you are seeing with all of these companies being slow to embrace the EREV concept is that all of these companies are slow to embrace new technology to begin with. Competition will arise (barring government interference), but it will arise from as yet unseen quarters. The largest transportation manufacturer one hundred years from now will probably not be Toyota, Honda, Ford, or GM — and the automobile as we know it will be obsolete.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Ibringdoh\


  21. 21
    omnimoeish

     

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (11:38 pm)

    Well at least they are working more on 4 cylinder vehicles.


  22. 22
    Islander

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (11:43 pm)

    More technology in the playing field would have been good. Another speed bump on the road to progress.

    Very nice design with advanced aerodynamic look. I’ll take the C200 body design with GM Volt Tec under the hood! I am still unimpressed with the Volt exterior design… I have hope. 🙂

    GM, get these cars out there! Go GM Go!!

    Thanks All.


  23. 23
    Ed M

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    Nov 7th, 2009 (11:46 pm)

    Dr. Ibringdoh: but it will arise from as yet unseen quarters.

    It will arise from the consumer


  24. 24
    Frank D

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (12:01 am)

    Step aside Chrysler…the lack of vision will ultimately be the demise of one of the big 3.


  25. 25
    Khadgars

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (12:32 am)

    Well it really looks like they are taking the same path as Honda, which has no EV program in sight either.


  26. 26
    omnimoeish

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:15 am)

    Toyota got to where they are (the highest selling auto maker in the world) with quality and fuel efficiency. I don’t think Chrysler will have either in the foreseeable future. To bad.

    Texas: Chrysler is looking to the future by holding on to the past.
    Chrysler: RIP  

    (Quote)


  27. 27
    solo

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:18 am)

    Dave G says:

    This is a big problem. Competition does many good things. First and foremost, competition validates the market. If there is only 1 player, then many people will hesitate to buy. But if people have a choice, they will be more comfortable.
    ——————————————————————————————————–

    Well Dave you have a point. There are exceptions however, right here in the automotive world. Toyota was the only hybrid player for many MANY years. They went alone and built a market with persistence and improved designs with each generation. I’m not a Toyota fan and you wouldn’t catch dead driving one, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Hopefully GM can do the same with the Volt. In order for that to happen, GM must make money with all their regular cars because the Volt will not be profitable for for a long time.

    Chrysler was smart to drop their electric car project. They need to concentrate on making a profit on every car they make. Electric cars of any kind are not going to make Chrysler (or any company) money any time soon.


  28. 28
    Vincent

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:26 am)

    Start a Google search on
    Cerberus Capital Management & former Vice President Quayle.
    You will be surprised (or not) what you will discover…


  29. 29
    Eric E

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:47 am)

    “Chrysler showcased its version of what the future would bring (along with a new corporate logo to lead the charge)”

    OH YEAH! Like thats going to make a difference. A new logo! LOL.

    I’m afraid Chrysler is doomed. It has struggled for decades and now it will be finished off by the inability to adapt.

    So sad.


  30. 30
    Vincent

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (2:10 am)

    Eric E: “Chrysler showcased its version of what the future would bring (along with a new corporate logo to lead the charge)”OH YEAH!Like thats going to make a difference. A new logo!LOL.I’m afraid Chrysler is doomed.It has struggled for decades and now it will be finished off by the inability to adapt.So sad.  

    (Quote)

    I think they will be fine with Fiat (Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo)


  31. 31
    stuart22

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (2:12 am)

    Judging limited to that one image, I’d have to say the C200 styling is nothing revolutionary, which in other words means it lacks much in character. I could never tell it would be a Chrysler. It looks like it could wear a Hyundai or Kia badge and get away with it.

    Therefore, I don’t see how it could have helped Chrysler very much.

    As for Fiat, I doubt their committment and follow through and just don’t see them becoming a serious player in the USA. They’ve got too tough a road in front of them and I don’t think they have the staying power to finish.


  32. 32
    koz

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (4:53 am)

    Why is it that the US government was willing to aid Fiat in this endeavor with Chrysler but most European governments are so reticent with GM and Opel? Seems awfully one sided.


  33. 33
    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (5:36 am)

    I only know my next car will be electric. Just like the bumper sticker I wear on my 2006 Insight says. It seems there are now fewer choices with the abondonment of the ENVI program but there are choices. One of them will be my next car. I would prefer to buy American so that fact limits me more but make no mistake, I will no longer buy ICE cars, period. This will be my last Honda it appears.

    Take Care,

    TED


  34. 34
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (7:00 am)

    Dave G, the only thing needed to validate a market is profitable sales. Once profitable sales occurs, competition follows.

    It may be that ENVI and those specific ENVI concepts are dead, but likely the knowledge gained in their design is being applied to other vehicles. I do believe Fiat / Alfa Romeo will produce an alternative fuel / propulsion vehicle.


  35. 35
    jan

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (7:24 am)

    Is the Obama adm. going to push E-85 in the coming year. I would think so. The Volt being an E-85 vehicle also is a win-win. E-85 can create industry in every state of the union, so it would seem to be politically popular. EESTOR and better cheaper batteries better show up soon or be left in the starting gates, at least in the near term. In 2010 all questions to be answered, perhaps as soon as the State of the Union address. I’d rather have the more efficient electric car too, but E-85 ain’t all that bad a choice either.


  36. 36
    Wise Chrysler

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (7:48 am)

    Those Chevy Volt on test, their batteries have showed a lot of degradation. In short, Volt battery does not last more than 5 years! You have to spend another 25K for a new battery in 5y. That is the problem!

    Dave: “GM Chevy Volt will be the largest corporate scandal in the early 21st century! More top brass of the Volt program will be leaving in the next few months!”Wow! How shortsighted! I disagree completely. This technology is going to catch on and spread like wildfire! There is a severely critical need to end our total reliance on oil for our transportation needs. The company that perfects this technology first is going to be way ahead of the competition and reap HUGE benefits.
    Buggy whip makers beware! Your days are now numbered!  

    (Quote)


  37. 37
    Joe

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:03 am)

    I don’t think Chrysler was ever serious about building an electric car, because the vehicles it picked were far from being aerodynamic. That is one of the first criteria needed for an electric car.


  38. 38
    Wise Chrysler

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:09 am)

    noooooo


  39. 39
    Wise Chrysler

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:13 am)

    rejhoretiohterhtero


  40. 40
    Schmeltz

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:42 am)

    Not suprised really. If they had or were diligently working on something electric, they would have had that plastered front and center in their Fiatapalooza event on Wed. No, instead, there isn’t a single hybrid/electric/plug-in anything to be had under the Chrysler and friends roof. Zippo.

    I doubt Chrysler has the money or intellectual resources to build a Volt fighter either. Stark reality is, they have to just plain survive at this point. I know they can run cheaper and longer on the cash given them, but eventually, they have to start selling vehicles again.


  41. 41
    Tagamet

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:56 am)

    Dave G: Competition does many good things. First and foremost, competition validates the market. If there is only 1 player, then many people will hesitate to buy. But if people have a choice, they will be more comfortable.

    Although I agree that competition is good ( and necessary), I think there’ll be plenty – especially after the Volt’s success hits the streets. Being the top of the heap isn’t something to bemoan it’s something to celebrate!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  42. 42
    Tagamet

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:59 am)

    It’s sad about Chrysler being so short-sighted, but maybe they will sell whatever progress they have made to date to a more visionary company.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  43. 43
    Tagamet

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:05 am)

    jan: Is the Obama adm. going to push E-85 in the coming year.I would think so.The Volt being an E-85 vehicle also is a win-win.E-85 can create industry in every state of the union, so it would seem to be politically popular.EESTOR and better cheaper batteries better show up soon or be left in the starting gates, at least in the near term.In 2010 all questions to be answered, perhaps as soon as the State of the Union address.I’d rather have the more efficient electric car too, but E-85 ain’t all that bad a choice either.  

    (Quote)

    Can you imagine the amount of oil saved by the Volt using E85! Makes a person smile.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  44. 44
    Tagamet

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:08 am)

    Schmeltz: I doubt Chrysler has the money or intellectual resources to build a Volt fighter either. Stark reality is, they have to just plain survive at this point. I know they can run cheaper and longer on the cash given them, but eventually, they have to start selling vehicles again.

    A sad reality. All the more kudos to GM for soldiering on with the Volt!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  45. 45
    LRGVProVolt

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:11 am)

    #4

    redeye: Electric autos are the future. Is there a Chrysler in your future ?I had hopes they’d come up with at least a couple models of electric vehicles.Another mistake by Chrysler.  

    (Quote)

    The Chrysler as we knew it is dead. This is not a mistake by Chrysler; it is Fiat who made this decision. They just used the situation to get a stronger footing in the U.S. Thank God, GM has survived.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  46. 46
    LRGVProVolt

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:37 am)

    #20

    Dr. Ibringdoh: Volt has no EREV competition?

    The statement that ENVI program is dead does not mean that Fiat won’t be building an electric vehicle. I think Dave G. was right when he said, “I always knew the ENVI program was smoke and mirrors.”

    Visit the following link to see what Fiat has been doing.

    http://green.autoblog.com/2009/07/15/fiats-electric-fiat-palio-weekend-in-production-in-brazil-esti/

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.

    fiat-palio-weekend-electrico#3


  47. 47
    LRGVProVolt

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:49 am)

    Here’s another link on Fiat’s electric car development plans for the future.

    http://www.egmcartech.com/2009/11/07/fiat-takes-apart-chryslers-envi-department-will-be-absorbed-to-regular-vehicle-development/

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  48. 48
    Tagamet

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:56 am)

    LRGVProVolt: Thank God, GM has survived.

    *And* has the foresight to continue the Volt even though funds are just as tight or tighter.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  49. 49
    guido

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:05 am)

    Frank D: Step aside Chrysler…the lack of vision will ultimately be the demise of one of the big 3.  (Quote)

    Chrysler was doing just fine until Daimler bought them and stole them blind …. then it became a matter of survival – ever hear of “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” ?

    In the meantime, what does this article have to do with the Volt, or the likelihood of it fulfilling it’s great promise? I suspect some misplaced anger here from the author ….


  50. 50
    Tagamet

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:21 am)

    guido:
    Chrysler was doing just fine until Daimler bought them and stole them blind …. then it became a matter of survival – ever hear of “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” ?
    In the meantime, what does this article have to do with the Volt, or the likelihood of it fulfilling it’s great promise? Isuspect some misplaced anger here from the author ….  

    (Quote)

    It’s *your* post(s) that sound angry. JM(professional)O.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  51. 51
    nuclearboy

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:29 am)

    Just to point out the negativity we sometimes have to put up with here on GM and the Volt….

    I remember when the Chrysler products were announced and we had three photos of EREV vehicles that Chrysler would produce. People were amazed that they could do this in such a short time and wondered why GM was so slow and behind.

    Well, it looks like the apparent Jack Rabbit start that Chrysler tried to portray has been beaten handily by the slow and steady Volt development at GM.

    Go GM… Go Volt…

    There will be plenty of competition for GMs EREV in the future and I am sure that many big carmakers have some plans, at least conceptually, of making EREVs in the future.


  52. 52
    LauraM

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:43 am)

    stuart22: As for Fiat, I doubt their committment and follow through and just don’t see them becoming a serious player in the USA. They’ve got too tough a road in front of them and I don’t think they have the staying power to finish.

    Fiat needs the volume provided by Chrysler every bit as much, if not more, than Chrysler needs them. Commitment isn’t the problem, IMHO. But I very much doubt they have the resources.


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    Tagamet

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:43 am)

    nuclearboy: Just to point out the negativity we sometimes have to put up with here on GM and the Volt….I remember when the Chrysler products were announced and we had three photos of EREV vehicles that Chrysler would produce.People were amazed that they could do this in such a short time and wondered why GM was so slow and behind.Well, it looks like the apparent Jack Rabbit start that Chrysler tried to portray has been beaten handily by the slow and steady Volt development at GM.Go GM… Go Volt…There will be plenty of competition for GMs EREV in the future and I am sure that many big carmakers have some plans, at least conceptually, of making EREVs in the future.  

    (Quote)

    Well said. Even though it feels like the Volt program has been in progress *forever*, in it’s way it’s been a Jackrabbit too. Maybe a Jackrabbit with bad knees….
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  54. 54
    JackFlash

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:55 am)

    Nice find Static, old news though, I posted this in the previous blog @ 11:00AM. Hey wait a minute…


  55. 55
    Jaime

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (11:13 am)

    Who killed the electric car – part 2.


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    LauraM

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (11:25 am)

    Tagamet: *And* has the foresight to continue the Volt even though funds are just as tight or tighter.
    Be well,

    GM actually has a relatively decent balance sheet at the moment. Yes. They’re probably still burning cash. But they have realistic prospects of generating a significant amount of revenue by selling cars in the next year or so. They’re generating profits in China and in Latin America. And, unlike Chrysler, they haven’t lost market share in the US. So, if the auto market does make a significant recovery, they could be in decent shape.

    Chrysler, by contrast, has stopped its cash burn. But my guess is that it’s probably by ending any and all investment in R&D and product development. They have no prospects on the horizon for at least two years. At that time, they can produce Fiats, which is the only shot they really have. There’s no way they have the intellectual capital or the money to develop a functional electric car.


  57. 57
    Tagamet

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (11:57 am)

    LauraM:
    GM actually has a relatively decent balance sheet at the moment.Yes.They’re probably still burning cash.But they have realistic prospects of generating a significant amount of revenue by selling cars in the next year or so. They’re generating profits in China and in Latin America.And, unlike Chrysler, they haven’t lost market share in the US.So, if the auto market does make a significant recovery, they could be in decent shape.Chrysler, by contrast, has stopped its cash burn.But my guess is that it’s probably by ending any and all investment in R&D and product development. They have no prospects on the horizon for at least two years.At that time, they can produce Fiats, which is the only shot they really have.There’s no way they have the intellectual capital or the money to develop a functional electric car.  

    (Quote)

    Thanks for the info LauraM. Always a good source.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  58. 58
    Paul

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (12:19 pm)

    This is not CNN, we get a post a day at best here. I think Static gets credit for calling the death weeks ago over you reposting a news link from Reuters before he uploaded this story.

    JackFlash: Nice find Static, old news though, I posted this in the previous blog @ 11:00AM. Hey wait a minute…  (Quote)


  59. 59
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:03 pm)

    What happened to their “poor man’s” version of the Tesla Roadster all-electric? Was that part of the ENVI program, or did that already die with Dodge ?


  60. 60
    RB

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:16 pm)

    statik says
    One more reason to be grateful the resilient Chevy Volt has weathered GM’s financial apocalypse and remains only a year away from production.

    Would be better stated as
    One more reason to be grateful the resilient Chevy Volt has weathered GM’s financial apocalypse so far and production is forecast to begin by the end of 2010.

    Indeed we are glad that things are not worse. Realistically, it could be that Chrysler is making the right decision, but let’s hope we see at least a few thousand Volts produced so that we all can see how well they are received.


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    RB

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    Vincent:
    I think they will be fine with Fiat (Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo)  

    (Quote)

    For some years I owned a Fiat. I don’t think I want to own another one.


  62. 62
    Tall Pete

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (2:13 pm)

    Dave G: So besides the Volt, there is no other car that has these basic features:
    • runs on gas or electricity
    • has at least 30 miles of electric range
    • is built by a major car maker
    • has an announced production date

    If you exclude the bullet “is built by a major car maker” of your list, there is Tesla that can meet your requirements, Fisker also, Aptera I believe and maybe, one day, if we are patient enough, Phoenix. There must be a few more also that I’m forgetting.

    Obviously, we are witnessing a change of guard here, where Chrysler is no longer, Ford will be there in some way and GM will retake the lead.

    As for the Japanese, Nissan will take the lead, followed by Toyota and Honda will be dead last.

    Just my personal forecast. Next 15 years will be exciting.


  63. 63
    Kevmark58

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    If Chrysler doesn’t embrace the electrification of the automobile, they are dead. Quite frankly, depending on price point and specs the C200 Chrysler is a car I would buy other than the Volt if they were identical mechanically.


  64. 64
    Streetlight

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    My take is Chrysler’s most lucky to have been adopted by FIAT. (I’m not affiliated in any way.) This is a difficult, diverse and risky line. Its Dodge trucks must be broadened. Jeep can’t just sit on its legacy brand. PT Cruiser is shopworn. Only 3 models make up the Chrysler brand. Merging Chrysler with FIAT’s a cash-burning challenge. On the other hand, FIAT having Chrysler open’s lucrative marketing doors. For whatever reason, posters here seem to think Chrysler has some sort of obligation to build an EV. Believe it or not FIAT is not run by idiots. They really do know their beans. The first order of business is market harmony. If that means in VOLT year 2012 an EV I’m sure FIAT has the expertise to deal with the issue.


  65. 65
    Roy

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (3:45 pm)

    Fiat has not abandonded electric cars. They have made and tested prototypes in Italy.also;

    “Under the new plan presented by Marchionne, ENVI’s chief Lou Rhodes will become the executive in charge of developing electric-cars for both Fiat and Chrysler.”

    I agree with the posters who are saying that Fiat is just concentrating on the near-term objective of returning Chrysler to profitability. Give them a little slack, hope they succeed and then they will join the EV revolution.


  66. 66
    Dave G

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (5:37 pm)

    Tall Pete: If you exclude the bullet “is built by a major car maker” of your list, there is Tesla that can meet your requirements, Fisker also, Aptera I believe and maybe, one day, if we are patient enough, Phoenix.   (Quote)

    Is Phoenix building an EREV?


  67. 67
    carcus1

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (5:55 pm)

    Here’s a scenario:

    World economic conditions work into a recovery and growth period in 2011, once again straining oil supplies.

    This is followed shortly thereafter buy another oil shock due to continued decline in production from developed oil fields and ongoing mideast turmoil.

    Nissan –being the only major player actually positioned for volume electric car production (i.e. available AND affordable) climbs up the automobile manufacturing ladder a couple of rungs while GM — still relying heavily on large vehicles for profit, and with no decent BEV or hybrid offering — takes a major hit. 2013 rankings come in thusly:

    1. Toyota
    2. Volkswagen
    3. Honda
    4. Nissan
    5. Ford
    6. GM

    Nissan CEO targets 500,000 electric batteries a year
    http://www.reuters.com/article/reuterscomService5/idUSTRE59S1TV20091029
    http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1037802_nissan-and-renault-equipped-to-produce-up-to-500000-ev-batteries-annually


  68. 68
    demetrius

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (6:07 pm)

    There is my car buying history:

    68 dodge dart
    76 volare
    85 K car
    95 dodge Caravan
    03 dodge Caravan

    I was hoping for an ENVI C200 next for my 2013 retirement…


  69. 69
    koz

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (6:23 pm)

    Tagamet: nuclearboy: Just to point out the negativity we sometimes have to put up with here on GM and the Volt….I remember when the Chrysler products were announced and we had three photos of EREV vehicles that Chrysler would produce.People were amazed that they could do this in such a short time and wondered why GM was so slow and behind.Well, it looks like the apparent Jack Rabbit start that Chrysler tried to portray has been beaten handily by the slow and steady Volt development at GM.Go GM… Go Volt…There will be plenty of competition for GMs EREV in the future and I am sure that many big carmakers have some plans, at least conceptually, of making EREVs in the future.

    (Quote)
    Well said. Even though it feels like the Volt program has been in progress *forever*, in it’s way it’s been a Jackrabbit too. Maybe a Jackrabbit with bad knees….
    Be well,
    Tagamet
    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS

    (Quote)

    Tag, maybe this will help the perception of the time before launch: think of the interim in tankfulls. How many times will you likely fill the tank on your current vehicle before the Volt’s launch. About 28 times for me.

    Nuclearboy, not everybody was down on GM when Chrysler made their ENVI announcement. A few others and I never bought into their publicity stunt, rather believing this was more for show than any meaningfull development work.


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    nuclearboy

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (6:57 pm)

    koz: Nuclearboy, not everybody was down on GM when Chrysler made their ENVI announcement. A few others and I never bought into their publicity stunt, rather believing this was more for show than any meaningfull development work.

    I totally agree. Many thought they were just fishing for money. I was noting that some thought they were ahead somehow because they showed 3 practical looking vehicles.

    I always thought it was not a serious effort.


  71. 71
    carcus1

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (7:05 pm)

    …. and now, a short trip back in time:

    GM Welcomes Chrysler to Join Them in the Electric Car Future
    http://gm-volt.com/2008/09/28/gm-welcomes-chrysler-to-join-them-the-electric-car-future/


  72. 72
    RB

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (7:51 pm)

    65 carcus1: Nissan –being the only major player actually positioned for volume electric car production (i.e. available AND affordable) climbs up the automobile manufacturing ladder a couple of rungs while GM — still relying heavily on large vehicles for profit, and with no decent BEV or hybrid offering — takes a major hit. 2013 rankings come in thusly:

    I find it amazing that Nissan is the company that seems to believe that electric cars can actually be made and sold in volume, yet apparently they do. More power to them for being willing to take the risk.

    Conversely, it seems that gm has a wonderful design but corporately sees electric drive as a niche or a symbol but not quite a viable product, and thus has a lot of reservations about any kind of commitment to volume production.


  73. 73
    Roger

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:35 pm)

    sad to hear fiat did not adopt Chryslers electric ideas.


  74. 74
    Dan Petit

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:50 pm)

    RB:
    I find it amazing that Nissan is the company that seems to believe that electric cars can actually be made and sold in volume, yet apparently they do.More power to them for being willing to take the risk.Conversely, it seems that gm has a wonderful design but corporately sees electric drive as a niche or a symbol but not quite a viable product, and thus has a lot of reservations about any kind of commitment to volume production.  

    (Quote)

    RB,
    I just really think that GM just not only wants everything perfect, but, you just have to do it that way, or else you produce vast quantities of “less than perfect” copies of “less than perfect”.

    There’s just entirely too much at stake to not get all the research done. Once the Volt is out here, every whine possible will come from detractors about the very most recessive software refinement not yet included as they perceive molecules as mountains.

    Volt is an entirely new kind of automotive INDUSTRY. Their current pace is actually breathtakingly quick from how I see it.

    Perfecting that large of an array of new technologies would likely have my head spinning (as I hope soon it will, and all the while, understanding all of it in the technical detail I hope someday to be able to get permission to learn.).


  75. 75
    Dave K.

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (8:56 pm)

    Early 2010 will mark the ramp up of military activity in Afghanistan. President Obama not clutter his nation health care overhaul plans with a troop build up before this time.

    North Korea and Iran will renew their pledge to continue down the path to nuclear power possessing and dirty bomb production. All makes of cars, except Chrysler, will see steady sales growth.

    The Nissan Leaf will be a mainstream media surprise with much consumer interest and demand. Pump gas will rise at $.05 per gallon per month.

    Warren Buffet will be interviewed on the Today Show and Power Lunch. He will mention the success of the Leaf and use this as a momentum push for his USA BYD injection.

    The Volt will arrive around Christmas of 2010. Nissan will have sold 30,000 Leaf and BYD will have ads running on several popular internet sites.

    Baring lease only availability the Volt will be on back order for at least 10 months time. Volt sales should level off by Winter of 2011. Fritz Henderson will okay an increase in Volt production to 80,000 units per model year.

    Some dealer lots will finally hold Volt units in stock by Summer of 2012. The Voltec Orlando will be introduced at auto shows in the USA and Canada. The Cadillac Converj will remain on hold until the first model year of the Voltec Orlando reveals itself as another success. Chevy enthusiasts will petition NGMCO for a Voltec Camaro. The board will announce “no Voltec Camaro” and will use the opportunity to announce a new Voltec Converj with gen 2 LG CHEM super-cell for 2013.

    =D~


  76. 76
    Edward Phillips

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:27 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    jake

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    Roy: Fiat has not abandonded electric cars. They have made and tested prototypes in Italy.also;“Under the new plan presented by Marchionne, ENVI’s chief Lou Rhodes will become the executive in charge of developing electric-cars for both Fiat and Chrysler.”I agree with the posters who are saying that Fiat is just concentrating on the near-term objective of returning Chrysler to profitability. Give them a little slack, hope they succeed and then they will join the EV revolution.  

    (Quote)

    I agree with this. The main goal of the bailout loans were never to come out with green cars (though obviously some of this played into the decision). The first and foremost was always about profitability. Chrysler is the one doing the worst right now (judging by the recent sales numbers). They desperately need to fix their core lineup or they won’t be around anymore. EVs can wait a bit for them.

    Personally I never expected much out of their ENVI program since they never made any solid commitments.


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    NZDavid

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (10:10 pm)

    Ed M:
    It just shows to go that Chrysler didn’t have the money, the R&D, or a battery to produce a competitive EV. Chrysler has never been good at innovation (unless you consider the oversize fins they put on there 1950’s models). Their business model is always suspect.  

    I agree Ed.
    RIP Chrysler, electric IS the future.

    LJGTVWOTR
    Has Plug? Have Sale


  79. 79
    Lurtz (Lawrence Makoare)

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (11:16 pm)

    demetrius: There is my car buying history:68 dodge dart
    76 volare
    85 Kcar
    95 dodge Caravan
    03 dodge CaravanI was hoping for an ENVI C200 next for my 2013 retirement…  

    (Quote)

    Wow, at least 3 of those were infamous lemons. You sure have some bad luck, or … something.


  80. 80
    Mark

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (11:21 pm)

    since Chrysler scrapped the ENVI program, maybe the US and Canadian governments should demand their money back from Chrysler..

    It isn’t shocking to me that one company decided to bail on electric cars. They don’t want cars to be electric as they are under the thumb of the oil industry.


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    Troy

     

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    Nov 8th, 2009 (11:33 pm)

    Wasn’t even aware that Chrysler still had an engineering dept left that could “absorb” anything (other than something else that doesn’t exist either — so perhaps it’s a good fit)


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    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (4:21 am)

    Wow, this is a depressing article.
    What a shame that ENVI as been “absorbed”.
    Electrification of the automobile is the correct way to go.
    As time goes on, Chrysler will see their mistake.


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    N Riley

     

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (9:43 am)

    Nothing surprising here in this article. Those of us who have been around a few years and know how Chrysler would operate under new leadership never though there was much of a chance for the electric cars in the line-up. It is just natural that Fiat would think their engines, drive-trains and vehicle designs could over-come mileage requirements that Chrysler must meet in the very near future. Good luck to them.


  84. 84
    hybrid minivan update « bitguru blog

     

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (11:29 am)

    […] minivan is toast. It was one of three vehicles in Chrysler’s ENVI program which has been canceled. The hyperlinks in my September ENVI post are now […]


  85. 85
    truthguy

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (2:10 pm)

    I knew Fiat would ruin what was left of Chrysler. Fiat is a joke and always has been. No innovation. No imagination. I blame the US Government and all the idiots who voted for Obama. Chrysler should have gone through a normal bankruptcy and emerged without UAW boat anchors around their neck. They have good trucks and Jeep is an excellent brand. They could have made it without the idiocy of Fiat. Stupid Obama voters.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    Wise Chrysler: GM Chevy Volt will be the largest corporate scandal in the early 21st century! More top brass of the Volt program will be leaving in the next few months!

    #5

    -49!!! that must be the new world’s record, LMAO!


  87. 87
    Noel Park

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    Dave K.: Early 2010 will mark the ramp up of military activity in Afghanistan.

    #73

    Disaster!!


  88. 88
    Noel Park

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (3:07 pm)

    truthguy: I blame the US Government and all the idiots who voted for Obama.

    #83

    Yeah what a shame. All of George II’s good work gone for nothing.


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    Loboc

     

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (3:17 pm)

    MikeD: I really liked the C200 concept. It was something I could see myself driving. And it looked like it wasn’t far from production-ready

    The C200 is still likely, just as a gas-powered car, not a BEV.


  90. 90
    DocM

     

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    Nov 9th, 2009 (10:08 pm)

    Today’s Detroit News….

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20091109/AUTO01/911090421/Chrysler-revamps-electric-vehicle-program

    [quote]Chrysler revamps electric vehicle program

    Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

    Chrysler Group LLC is restructuring its electric program as it works to develop hybrids and electric vehicles for its own brands as well as for partner Fiat SpA.

    The combination of the extra duties, a change in the lineup of electrified vehicles on tap and the adoption of Fiat’s product development system has resulted in the need to redistribute engineers who were grouped together in a special division known as ENVI under the leadership of Lou Rhodes.

    “ENVI is absorbed into the normal vehicle development program,” said Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa.

    The number of employees involved in electric programs remains the same or slightly higher than under ENVI. Some have been redeployed to the vehicle development side and others are now part of powertrain development.

    Rhodes continues to oversee electric vehicle development for both Chrysler and Fiat.
    >
    >[/quote]


  91. 91
    RogerE333

     

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    Nov 12th, 2009 (5:12 pm)

    >>[Can you imagine the amount of oil saved by the Volt using E85! Makes a person smile.]

    Whoa, not so quick — “For every unit of energy delivered at the pump, corn ethanol requires 0.76 units of fossil energy” — and that is from a pro-ethanol website. Solving our energy problems with ethanol is like solving a hair loss problem with a combover, makes you feel good perhaps but doesn’t really solve the problem. The government heavily taxing gasoline while it subsidizes ethanol just makes things worse by messing up the economics of it.

    Speaking of which also note the “electricity contains less than 40% of the energy of the coal used to make it” line. Not saying that electric cars are bad (I love my electric r/c airplanes), but please don’t forget that the electrical energy has to come from somewhere. Kudos to those who spend $100K on solar cells, but I don’t think I can afford that.

    Back to ENVI, I don’t think that making electric versions of *heavy* rear-wheel drive vehicles like Jeep Wranglers was ever the answer. That was obvious “viewgraph engineering” to get favors from Uncle Sam.

    Website quoted above:
    http://www.energyfuturecoalition.org/biofuels/fact_ethanol.htm

    Later.