GM's Cool Looking, ELECTRIC Car

Here is the link.

But don’t hold your breath…looks like they have a few kinks to work out, and there might be a few years until you can buy one.

I like it. An electric car, that does not look like an electric car.

I guess you’ve never seen the Tesla car before. Given the range and recharge times of the Tesla, I think that GM needs to use their battery technology.

Yes - and I see for the basic model, $50,000 will put me on the premium list, but $30,000 if I want to wait until 2008 - but, you are correct. A very cool looking car that I will NOT have to wait until 2010 or so to get! Sign me up - I hope they don’t mind if I date my check for 2008 as well…

Hey, carbon fiber is expensive! GM’s car is no doubt built out of fairly conventional materials, while the Tesla’s mostly carbon fiber. Tesla is planning a more affordable version for release in the near future. They’re going after the high end market first, because it’s more profitable (and it’ll enable them to ramp up for mass production). Generally, when Tesla starts taking orders the slots fill up very quickly. (Which is a good thing.)

That all makes sense…I just hope it is not another doomed, vehicle like some in the past have been, like that Tuck…oops…never-mind. Forget I said that, Tuckerfan.

GM is using exactly the same technology (lithium ion). The difference is that the Tesla is pure electric, which means it needs batteries sized accordingly. The Tesla weighs 500 lbs more than a standard Elise, and I’m guessing most or all of that is battery.

The GM electric car is actually a plug-in hybrid. The article is a bit misleading in that regard. A plug-in hybrid doesn’t need batteries sized to give a range of hundreds of miles. It can be sized to cover the distance of your average round trip, with the gas engine as backup for the 10% of trips you take that are more than 20-30 miles.

This means the electric system is much lighter and cheaper. And the replacement battery should be cheaper as well.

My guess is that GM needs to refine the batteries and lower the cost more so they can get them into cars that sell in the $25,000 range, which is where commuter car prices need to be. The Tesla uses the equivalent of li-ion ‘C’ cells - thousands of them. That might be impractical for a mass-produced car. There could also be safety risks with li-on that can be tolerated in a niche car selling to rich enthusiasts but be unacceptable for the masses from a liability standpoint. So they’ve got some work to do.

In a lot of ways, plug-in hybrid makes more sense than pure electric. With a pure electric vehicle, you have to haul around the weight of all those batteries, when on 80% of your trips you didn’t need the capacity anyway. So they just make the car more expensive, heavier, and require more power to move the vehicle with the same amount of acceleration.

A plug-in hybrid could go hundreds of miles on a gallon of fuel. If that fuel is E85, and the vehicle goes 100 mpg on average, that’s 500 miles for each gallon of petroleum. For some commuters who rarely drive outside of a 20 mile radius, their gas engine might only start up a few times a year, and they might not consume much more gas than their lawnmower. And for that little bit of gas you can ditch a few hundred pounds of corrosive and flammable batteries. Even environmentally that might be a good tradeoff.

Well, the company’s financed by the guys that started The Google, so I doubt that there’s any danger of them running out of cash any time soon. . .

Sam, thanks for the clarification on the battery issue. (Let’s hope that they’re not made by Sony.) Plug-in hybrids make a bit more sense than pure electrics, however, I think that the estimated operating costs of either system are a bit too optimistic, IMHO.

I like…I just hope that, if it’s actually produced, they don’t end up making it look like another damn sedan. (C’mon…it’s 2007, it’s OK to make cars look a little weird, damnit!)

You’re right, it doesn’t look like an electric car.

It looks hideous. Honestly, I’m getting sick of this design trend of “let’s make everything narrow and rectangular!” Yes, the smooth aero-bubble trend of the past 15 years has been tedious, but the answer isn’t to make everything look like Frank Miller designed it.

That car looks like it should be mentioned in the American Style thread.

It does fit in with the Big Three’s styling trends.

Oh dear Og, I want one of those. I wonder whether they’ll be exhibiting at the car show in Toronto this year?

Hey, that’s fine, and I respect your opinion. My beef with electric cars is styling similar to this hideous thing.

It could be worse.

The Insight is quite attractive. I much prefer it to the hulking look of the GM Volt concept, according to the photograph, at least. Heck, I prefer the look of GM’s original electric car, the EV1, to the look of the Volt.

There seem to be very few vehicles that pull off the ‘hulking, massive, menacing’ look well. There are some, though, like the Chrysler 300.

Maybe the Volt looks better in person. Oftentimes photographs work where the real thing doesn’t, and vice versa.

To me, the Volt looks like someone took a Chrysler 300 and chopped the top.

I guess the No-Homers Club just doesn’t wield the power it used to.