Mar 07

The Beat could become GM’s second electric car in growing Indian market

 

General Motors of India announced last week that a pre-production version of its all-electric Chevrolet Beat mini-car would go on display in April to spur interest for what could become GM India’s second Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

In January 2010, at GM’s 10th Auto Expo, Chevrolet showcased its first BEV concept, the e-Spark mini-car, a project jointly created with long-established Indian electric automaker REVAi.

The e-Spark is scheduled to launch as India’s first 4-door electric passenger car by the end of 2011. The popular car was chosen as the first to electrify, even as GM also ramped up production for the internal-combustion-powered Spark, and the 100,000th model traversed the assembly line not long after.

Of the conventional Spark, Chevrolet – GM’s only Indian brand as of yet – says “it has already emerged as the most sought after mini car in its segment,” and won J.D. Powers’ accolades in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

At this point, GM says the electric Beat – also popular in gas-powered form – is not yet a certainty for production, but dependent on how much demand it can drum up, and government incentives it can help foster.

An electric-powered version of the Beat will be exhibited next month. (Gas-powered version shown. Photo courtesy of GM.)

Presently, incentives for Indian hybrid and electric automobiles include exemption from customs fees and breaks on other duty charges.

As of yet, we know little about the electric powertrain or performance capability for the prototype electric Beat. Requests for information from GM India were not returned before deadline.

With the production green light in view, GM has divulged that under the Spark’s conventional exterior lies a “RECC EV” powertrain developed by REVAi.

The e-Spark will reportedly sell in the neighborhood of 350,000 INR (Indian Rupees, or about $7,771), and Chevrolet says it “will be equipped with a host of smart consumer friendly features.”

In addition to an “intelligent Driver Display System,” air conditioning, and stereo with auxiliary jack for connection with MP3 players, it will offer leather seats and – as required in some areas – seat belts.

While the car will lack ABS, it will offer an optional rear-view mirror with integrated camera and video monitor.

Chevrolet of India celebrated its 100,000th conventionally powered Spark as it rolled off the production line in April 2010.

REVAi should be a suitable partner for GM as it was founded as an electric city car maker all the way back in 1994. It began as a joint venture between Indian and U.S. companies and in May 2010 was acquired by the Mahindra Group of India, reportedly a $7.1 billion corporation.

REVAi also sells its mini EVs in London as the G-Wiz, and boasts “one of the largest deployed fleets in the global market and the accumulated data from more than 100 million km [62.1 million miles] of user experience.”

GM India says the REVAi-derived AC motor powering the e-Spark promises “fantastic performance.”

Unknown are the specifics of the fantastic performance, but the REVAi city car is said to get 90 km (56 miles) per charge.

The Chevy e-Spark will utilize a “Regular” drive mode and “Boost” mode which amps up the torque for a short duration as needed.

Last year, the Volt was also displayed alongside the e-Spark. It could eventually come to India, as the Asian sub continent is seen as an extremely fertile market for clean, efficient transportation.



The Spark will be the GM India’s first production BEV, and is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. (Gas-powered version shown. Photo courtesy of GM.)

With its burgeoning population still relying heavily on antiquated technology, India has been pushing for means to curb emissions, while simultaneously contending with a dramatically increasing number of drivers.

Last year India had an estimated 110 million drivers – about a third of the entire U.S. population mingled among a population that is more than three times the U.S. population – all crammed into 1.27 million square miles, a space about one-third the size of the U.S.

Its number of drivers represents a doubling since 2000, and the end of upward growth is anywhere but in sight.

In 2007, seven Indians out of 1000 drove. By 2010, 11 out of 1000 drove. Although percentages of .007 and .011 may sound paltry, consider that India’s population of 1.15 billion is the second largest in the world, and one-sixth of the world’s entire population of an estimated 6.78 billion. By 2030, India is expected to exceed the most-populous country, China.

We told you it was a fertile market, didn’t we?

It’s probably also a good thing that the new GMs come with seat belts. Unfortunately, while many Indians are being born each year, a significant number are being killed as road traffic increases.

According to Doug Lansky, one of the the pundits and pollsters at the Titanic Awards, in his book of the same name, a driver’s license is not legally required in India, and the country ranked second to Italy for having the “world’s worst drivers.”

Less controversial data shows that while India has undertaken a massive program that as of last July licensed 10 million drivers, in 2008 accidents reportedly accounted for around 100,000 deaths in India, a number some project to rise to 150,000 by 2015.

In contrast, in 2009 the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest available tally counted 33,808 traffic deaths (not counting motorcyclist deaths which other estimates put at 4,762). NHTSA says the U.S. record is the lowest in 60 years, while others say India could see an increase of around the U.S.’ total in the next four.

Not a company to shy away from a challenging, if not also rich potential opportunity, it is into this market that General Motors is plunging itself as fast as it can.

The need for safe-as-possible low- and no-emission vehicles is especially pressing, and GM already sells several small-displacement cars equipped with fuel-sipping petrol and alternative fuel-capable engines.

GM says “the e-Spark will be one of the leading platforms of GM India in its ‘Drive to Green’ initiative.”

As an all-electric, the Beat is hoped to add to GM India’s commitment to provide environmentally friendly transportation – and naturally, add to its increasing sales.

GM entered the Indian market in 1996, and Chevy began selling cars in 2003. GM says Chevrolet is one of India’s fastest growing brands, and operating “state of the art” manufacturing plants in Halol, Gujarat and Talegaon, Maharashtra.

Chevrolet models sold presently in India are the Captiva, Optra, Cruze, Aveo, Aveo U-VA, Spark, Beat and Tavera.

In 2010 Chevy announced a 59-percent year-over-year sales increase of 110,804 units compared to 69,579 the previous year.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 46


  1. 1
    Barry252

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (6:08 am)

    Having just returned from two weeks in India, I can attest to the need for electric vehicles. Gas is incredibly expensive and many vehicles have high mileage and are high polluting. As in the US, India will need a charging infrastructure, but those folks are very progressive and will most certainly install them as they see the need.
    Congratulations to GM for their forward designs. Those little yellow taxis could also be converted to electric, but would need battery change-out stations to keep them on the road for their operators.


  2. 2
    Mark Z

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (6:36 am)

    The video speaks volumes. No paint lines, limited drivers licenses, seat belts, or managed movement is an amazing story. With fuel prices and demand rising, the timing is right for electrification of the car. One benefit India has for GM when finding local Volt/Spark/Beat Advisors, a nation that has plenty of technical customer support workers.


  3. 3
    Dave K.

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (6:44 am)

    Barry252: I can attest to the need for electric vehicles. Gas is incredibly expensive and many vehicles have high mileage and are high polluting.

    Oil jumps above $106 in Asia to fresh 2-year highs as Libya conflict intensifies

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Oil-jumps-above-106-amid-apf-2894883503.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=2&asset=&ccode=

    NPNS


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (7:06 am)

    Just another program that takes batteries away from potential Volts. It’s great to cheer GM, but I’m here for the Volt in the USA.


  5. 5
    Eco_Turbo

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (7:11 am)

    As for oil price, 10 times what it was in early 70s, before embargo, would put it at $120/barrel. Not much news there, pretty much everything costs 10 times it’s early 70s price. Even devalued houses. EV’s biggest potential is performance that is untouchable by gas engine cars. JMHO


  6. 6
    Tim Hart

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:11 am)

    Good to see GM so successful in the Indian and Chinese markets. It will help to fund the ongoing development of EVs which won’t be too profitable in the short term. I’m really looking forward to the BEV that GM will introduce, hopefully soon, here in the USA.


  7. 7
    Jim I

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:20 am)

    How can there be no real specs for the Beat, but they have it priced at $7,771.00????

    Curious………

    NPNS

    Have Outlet – Ready For EREV In Ohio!!!


  8. 8
    Dan Petit

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:31 am)

    Electrification would be the only way to stem the otherwise increasingly choking pollution from those anticipated new drivers, which pollution, BTW, would also otherwise make its way here.

    Just one more reason to conclude that GM is way ahead of the [pollution] curve in its planning.


  9. 9
    Dan Petit

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:41 am)

    Jim I,
    No air bags, power steering, etc, etc etc. Just an extremely basic, non-polluting, totally quiet car.
    They are all going to go crazy about it.


  10. 10
    Dan Petit

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:45 am)

    Eco_Turbo,

    I remember when I was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo Texas in 1972, there was a price war on gasoline. One place had it for **NINE Cents** a gallon.

    Nevermore though.

    (//…off to work, have a great day everyone!!)


  11. 11
    jeffhre

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (9:02 am)

    Dan Petit: I remember when I was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo Texas in 1972, there was a price war on gasoline. One place had it for **NINE Cents** a gallon

    1972 – peak oil production in the US. With miles driven countries like India and China exploding upward each year, even in a down economy. I wonder how long it will be until todays oil rich areas like Saudi Arabia will hit peak production. And can no longer produce enough of the millions of barrels a day of oil required to keep up with rising demand.

    Technology changes on the supply side may help to get more oil out of the ground for a while, but if there are soon a billion more drivers on the road, demand side technologies like the Volt, beat and Spark electrics can’t come on-line soon enough.

    Right now a billion more drivers may seem wildly long range, but with a booming world economy, the rapid swings in transport mode choice will just just as fast as emerging economies can pull workers into middle class jobs.


  12. 12
    Gsned57

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (9:15 am)

    “it will offer leather seats and – as required in some areas – seat belts” I wonder how many Hindu’s GM will piss off with this??? Pleather seats may get more sales over there IMO


  13. 13
    Gsned57

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (9:19 am)

    If they could bring it here for $7,771.00 it would cost just $221 assuming the battery was big enough for the full tax credit and the crash test could get a passable rating. Even with a 1/2 star safety rating I’d drive a deathtrap to work everyday if it didn’t use terrorist oil and was essentially free upfront. Can’t be any less safe than the VW Bug and Vanagon I drove for many many years.


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    kdawg

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Dan Petit: No air bags, power steering, etc, etc etc. Just an extremely basic, non-polluting, totally quiet car.
    They are all going to go crazy about it.

    I’m waiting for CJS to comment on this car. Maybe he can get one shipped from India.


  15. 15
    kdawg

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (9:50 am)

    These remind me of the Chevy Sonic. Maybe the US can hope for an EV version of it.

    Chevrolet-Sonic-2012.jpg


  16. 16
    SteveK9

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (9:57 am)

    Nuclear Energy + Electric Cars = Future

    We might see it in India before the US !


  17. 17
    crew

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (11:08 am)

    The Beat to be sold in India is the same as the Chevrolet Spark sold elsewhere.

    The GM India Media website lists the specs there and they match that for the Korean built Spark. Edmunds Inside line has a write up of it from Greece.

    It just could be the urban commuter that Akerson is talking about.

    What kind of battery it will be is the big question. The car, in Indian specs, only weighs 2.100 lbs. With US safety and emissions gear along with a decent battery, the car just might make it under 2,700 lbs. Would that translate to using the current Volt battery or the Cruze battery being tested in Korea?

    Since the Volt battery itself is being tested in Europe for quick charge capability and Akerson’s quote tells of an urban commuter, my guess is that the, Volt battery will be used, but updated as the first redisign and built in Korea. MSRP guess? $25,999.

    Nice write up, new guys.
    Who, of you, is going to buy a Volt?


  18. 18
    CorvetteGuy

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:06 pm)

    4-dollars-plus-per-gallon is the “On-Switch” in California for all of those commuters to start calling and e-mailing about the VOLT. Incoming inquiries have skyrocketed. Good thing? Sure, if GM would give us more cars. At this point, I don’t know how many more we will get before they cut us off.

    Right now, we have just (1) Crystal Red fully-loaded VOLT in the showroom ready for immediate delivery. All of our other sales have been ‘pre-ordered and pre-sold’.

    Sadly, Premium gas will hit $5.00 per gallon very soon at the rate it’s going.


  19. 19
    Noel Park

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:06 pm)

    kdawg: I’m waiting for CJS to comment on this car. Maybe he can get one shipped from India.

    #14

    LOL +1


  20. 20
    Noel Park

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:07 pm)

    kdawg: These remind me of the Chevy Sonic. Maybe the US can hope for an EV version of it.

    #15

    Bring it! +1


  21. 21
    Noel Park

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:09 pm)

    crew: Who, of you, is going to buy a Volt?

    #17

    I am. #1756. In transit from MI.


  22. 22
    Noel Park

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: 4-dollars-plus-per-gallon is the “On-Switch” in California for all of those commuters to start calling and e-mailing about the VOLT.

    #18

    Yup. +1

    I heard a report on the radio this AM that Prius sales were up 70% in February over last Feb.


  23. 23
    LauraM

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: Just another program that takes batteries away from potential Volts. It’s great to cheer GM, but I’m here for the Volt in the USA.

    Does it use the same battery as the Volt?

    But even if it does (which I doubt), the bottleneck for Volt production is the US assembly line. And GM can install new capacity. They just need to feel comfortable that there will be demand for them.


  24. 24
    LauraM

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: As for oil price, 10 times what it was in early 70s, before embargo, would put it at $120/barrel. Not much news there, pretty much everything costs 10 times it’s early 70s price. Even devalued houses. EV’s biggest potential is performance that is untouchable by gas engine cars. JMHO

    Not the median salary. And the fact that everything else costs more, means there’s less to spend on gasoline if it had kept pace with, say, the price of real estate.


  25. 25
    LauraM

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    jeffhre: Right now a billion more drivers may seem wildly long range, but with a booming world economy, the rapid swings in transport mode choice will just just as fast as emerging economies can pull workers into middle class jobs.

    I wouldn’t take that “booming world economy” for granted. This is the first crisis where the flight to safety has not meant the dollar. The dollar is weak. Possibly because of the Fed’s quantitiative easing while everyone else is raising interest rates.

    Meanwhile, if the fed cuts off quantitative easing, there goes US consumption. And higher unemployment rates will follow.


  26. 26
    BLIND GUY

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    #21 Noel Park
    Who of you, is going to buy a Volt?
    #17
    I am. #1756. In transit from MI.

    I really hope you get your Volt before the California tax credits run out. Noel, you definately deserve both credits IMHO. If not, your timing is still great because of the higher gas prices.


  27. 27
    APC

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    jeffhre: 1972 – peak oil production in the US. With miles drivencountries like India and China exploding upward each year, even in a down economy. I wonder how long it will be until todays oil rich areas like Saudi Arabia will hit peak production. And can no longer produce enough of the millions of barrels a day of oil required to keep up with rising demand.

    Wonder no more:

    “WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices
    US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world’s biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%

    The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

    The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

    Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, met the US consul general in Riyadh in November 2007 and told the US diplomat that Aramco’s 12.5m barrel-a-day capacity needed to keep a lid on prices could not be reached.

    According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as “peak oil”.

    As the other Middle eastern countries de-stabalize, prices will be even more sensitive. I’d expect permanent high prices from here on out. The need for the electric car will hit home as prices rise. Good job GM! Build as many as you can!


  28. 28
    55MPG

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    There are two specific advantages for EV vehicles in India.
    1. The power supply is 230v, helping the charging rate. (Well, the reliability of that power supply is a big question mark right now.)
    2. Standard speed even in highways is around 60kmph. Driving an EV below 60 kmph is very efficient. In country side where around 80% of Indians are living, the standard speed is around 40 kmph.


  29. 29
    Noel Park

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (1:31 pm)

    LauraM: I wouldn’t take that “booming world economy” for granted.

    #25

    No s**t!

    +1 for saying the truth, even if I don’t want to hear it, LOL.


  30. 30
    Noel Park

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (1:35 pm)

    BLIND GUY: I really hope you get your Volt before the California tax credits run out. Noel, you definately deserve both credits IMHO.

    #26

    Thanks for your kind words. +1

    Actually, the CA tax credits don’t apply to 2011 Volts because the battery warranty is too short or some such BS. Plus, you can’t use GM card credits until November. Some days I kick myself for not waiting. But, after you run your mouth as much as i have on this issue, I guess the time comes when you have to put up or shut up, LOL.

    Oh the trials of the “early adopters”, LMAO.

    Best regards.


  31. 31
    voltair

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (1:45 pm)

    I was in the New Delhi region in October. I have to bring up two points.
    (1) That movie of the traffic was nothing unusual. I was surpised how few people were driving the wrong way on each side. When we drove to and from the Taj Mahal, there were all sorts of vehicles from full size trucks to motorbikes approaching at random times, head-on, on the highway we were on.
    (2) Crossing the street as a pedestrian was truly a life and death experience that I avoided at all costs. Vehicles will honk to try to let someone know they shouldn’t cross if front of them, but no one slows down. A good portion of the carnage I saw on the road was from vehicle/person accidents.


  32. 32
    John@TheChevyVoltBlog

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (3:37 pm)

    Electrics are here, that’s the good news.


  33. 33
    CorvetteGuy

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (3:53 pm)

    Noel Park: I heard a report on the radio this AM that Prius sales were up 70% in February over last Feb.

    “Walk-In Customers” to our lot head straight for the Chevy Cruze. And more customers are bringing in their Ford Expeditions (and other big SUV’s) to talk about trading in.


  34. 34
    Open-Mind

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    Off topic, sorry … but anyone know why Chevy only sold 281 Volts in February? I figured by now they would be building more than 10 per day. Thanks.


  35. 35
    Bill

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (4:13 pm)

    Open-Mind,

    it’s because they’re making Demo Volts for dealers. They aren’t selling those.


  36. 36
    Dan Petit

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (4:54 pm)

    The batteries are different in the Volt than the Beat. Likely the Beat has a far simpler and less costly high voltage electrical system with solid state batteries, because the amperage demand would be very much easier at 40 mph than in the US at 75 mph. Also, there likely is a far lower annual mileage expectation there, as the commercial density of where you can buy things are far closer than here.
    In Texas, “Down the road to San Antonio” means a round trip of 220 miles, while going to lunch in Houston is a “conversation away” at 390 miles round trip. (Not that we do those distances anymore for just the heck of it..LOL.)

    The battery needs and distance expectations there are far lower than what we expect to need to do here. Thus, we need that really beefy battery design that GM has produced for the Volt.


  37. 37
    Dan Petit

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    Down here in Texas, we’re just going to need a 70 mile Electric Range (perhaps with optional solid state modules) before the Range Extender comes on. The more miles past the electric range you need to go, then that nasty gasoline equation increasingly creeps back into the picture and dilutes the electric range cost efficiency if you do something like 24,000 miles a year.


  38. 38
    jeffhre

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (6:30 pm)

    LauraM: I wouldn’t take that “booming world economy” for granted. This is the first crisis where the flight to safety has not meant the dollar. The dollar is weak. Possibly because of the Fed’s quantitiative easing while everyone else is raising interest rates.
    Meanwhile, if the fed cuts off quantitative easing, there goes US consumption. And higher unemployment rates will follow.

    Very true but not completely the whole story from what I recall. Remember the reports that treasury offered neg interest notes and people bought them, just for the safety of the issues, when it appeared that the banks would lose everything?


  39. 39
    jeffhre

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (6:35 pm)

    APC: The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

    There are credible arguments on both sides of the issue – time will tell.


  40. 40
    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    I was under the impression that electricity was a very unstable utility in India.
    I wonder how well an all electric vehicle will do when it can’t be charged consistently.


  41. 41
    pjkPA

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:12 pm)

    Good to see GM making money in India… between China and India maybe we are seeing some real improvement.

    Now if we could get our government to do there job and level the playing field here in the U
    We have to stop this giving foreign companies tax breaks and taxpayer money while they put huge tariffs on our products to keep us out of their markets.


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    crew

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (8:34 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: “Walk-In Customers” to our lot head straight for the Chevy Cruze. And more customers are bringing in their Ford Expeditions (and other big SUV’s) to talk about trading in.

    And it’s just the beginning! Too bad the Malibu isn’t available as a true hybrid. I’m looking at a Cruze Eco manual tranny for my daughter. The latest blurb sounds impressive but it’s from Popular Mechanics…
    ” we feather-footed the throttle and cruised at 60 mph for 125 miles. At that speed, the Cruze Eco’s 1.4-liter revs at a leisurely 1800 rpm, so we knew the fuel economy would impress, but we didn’t expect the Prius-like 48.6 mpg the Cruze’s computer said we achieved.”
    She puts on a few miles between interning and college, this would work at any time, nevermind $4.00/gal.
    The Voltec will be for me.


  43. 43
    Dave K.

     

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    Mar 7th, 2011 (10:28 pm)

    Wholesale gasoline prices have risen 38 cents per gallon, or 15 percent, since the first uprising in Libya on Feb. 15. When wholesale gas prices rise fast, filling station owners get squeezed or even lose money because competition prevents them from raising retail prices as fast as costs are rising.

    So if it seems that station owners take their time lowering prices when oil and wholesale gas get cheaper, it’s because that’s exactly what they do.

    “If gasoline prices drop a dime, a station will only pass along one or two pennies a day,” says Patrick DeHaan, an analyst at GasBuddy.com, a website that collects and publishes retail gas prices. “They are slower to pass along the discount because they need to make up for money they lost when prices went up.”

    Through the first eight weeks of 2011, average gross profit for gas stations was 4.9 percent, according to the Oil Price Information Service. In 2010, it was 6 percent.

    That doesn’t draw much sympathy from those who have to pay more at the pump, though. “To me it seems like a money game,” says Steve Armonett of Indianapolis, who pulled into Ricker’s BP to fill up his Buick LeSabre recently. “They’re just worried about how much money they can make.”

    =D-Volt


  44. 44
    EVO

     

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    Mar 8th, 2011 (12:35 am)

    Meanwhile, back in the ole US of A, American spirit and building is winning generations of minds and hearts:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRpMAdIoGWc

    Words fail me how awesome 21st century electric race motorcycles are.

    Oil had Steve McQueen. Electric has Chip Yates and legions more to follow everywhere (see TTXGP, TT Zero, FIM e-Power, etc.).

    For those who’ve wondered, yes, that’s pretty much what my daily commute is like, except I pass a few hundred more vehicles each way.


  45. 45
    Mike-o-Matic

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    Mar 8th, 2011 (12:39 am)

    I had to do a triple-take on that plate.

    bertmobile.jpg


  46. 46
    LauraM

     

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    Mar 8th, 2011 (12:47 am)

    jeffhre: Very true but not completely the whole story from what I recall. Remember the reports that treasury offered neg interest notes and people bought them, just for the safety of the issues, when it appeared that the banks would lose everything?

    That was then. And this is now. The dollar was/is the safe haven currency. The financial crisis didn’t change that. Even though it started in the US, the dollar was still perceived as the safest bet. And we took advantage of that to borrow enough at really low interest rates to reduce the unemployment effects of the credit crisis.

    But, somehow, people aren’t responding to the mideast crisis the same way. That might be because of the specific nature of the problem. The US is more oil dependent than Europe and Japan, and we might be forced to intervene, which would mean yet more money on defense rather than our economy. Also, Europe’s doing rather well. Or at least, Germany is. And the ECB is talking about raising rates, so…

    But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to worry about the effect on the dollar. And having to pay higher interest rates. A weaker dollar is good for increasing exports, and decreasing imports. Up to a point.