(fwd) [electric_vehicles_for_sale] Auto News hatchet piece on EV1 movie
- A good bit of writing worth passing on, I think:
On Tue, 04 Jul 2006 21:02:34 -0000, "doug korthof"
mrechtin@..., letters@..., editor@...
RE: "Conspiracy Theories Abound in EV1 Flick"
Mark Rechtin, June 26, 2006
Rechtin claims that "Who Killed the Electric Car" is "rife
with...flat out errors". But Rechtin does not deliver on pointing
out even one "error". Rechtin makes his dislike for the movie
plain, but that's a matter of taste. Maybe it's a typo, Rechtin
wrote "error" where he intended to type "unpleasant fact"? The
movie may deliver unpleasant facts, but that's its job.
In an interview reprinted in the June issue of Motor Trend, GM CEO
Rick Wagoner admits that "Axing" the EV1 program was part of
his "worst decision". If the CEO says it was a mistake, what will
it take for the downstream flacks to get the message?
Rechtin's article itself contains some important errors, apparently
pulled from obsolete GM press releases.
Rechtin's first error is wrapped in the question, "...were GM's 800
EV1 buyers really worth a $1 Billion investment?". But there were
NO "buyers" of the EV1; the vehicle was only leased.
If the EV1 had been sold, they never would have been crushed,
because GM would have had no legal basis for confiscating them.
Thus, there would have been no film about killing the car, and no
article by Rechtin decrying the film.
As an issue of judgement, the amount of money GM charged to the EV1
program is open to interpretation, and a responsible journalist
might have stated "according to GM". Numbers never lie, but liars,
it is said, can run numbers.
Rechtin states that consumers "voted with their wallets against...a
two-seat vehicle that could drive for only 80 miles...". But most
consumers did not get a chance to purchase, or even a chance to
lease, an EV. The informal "waiting lists" were back-pocket things
maintained by a few volunteers; many people were never able to get
on the waiting list. One of my neighbors was told, in March, 2000,
that he would have to wait six years for an EV1. He never got on
any waiting list, but still wants the car today, six years later.
A second error is about range: the 1997 EV1 with Panasonic batteries
actually had a range of up to 110 miles, and the 1999 EV1 (NiMH
batteries) had a range of up to 160 miles.
Rechtin cites these issues (of range and seating) as important to
consumer acceptance; presumably, then, vehicles with greater range
and seating would have fared better. But the four-seat, 120-mile
range Honda EV-plus and Altra-EV were similarly crushed by their
makers. So, really, seating and range seem not be crucial, or even
important, factors in crushing. So if it has no informational
value, why does Rechtin mention those factors?
Rechtin states blandly that the RAV4-EV "cost more than $100,000"
but offers no documentation. This isn't an error, it's just sloppy
journalism. Rechtin also seems ignorant of the fact that, until
the "dontcrush" campaign, Toyota was crushing lease return RAV4-EV.
It's easy to find errors and faults in Rechtin article.
But Rechtin does not articulate any proposition of error in the
movie, other than its style. The ancients said "de gustabus non
disputandum", to each their own taste; this is not error but
Rechtin states that the film is biased, and that the "black cloud of
death" at the Harbor is caused by "ships and 18-wheelers", not
autos. But another big part of the problem is the dozen or so oil
refineries ringing L.A. to the windward, refineries needed for
Internal Combustion ("IC") dino-cars other than the EV1 (note: none
of our mainland electric comes from petroleum).
Ships and 18-wheelers, like IC cars, burn oil, and it is part of the
oil economy that includes the refineries.
The root cause of the "black cloud" is the oil economy.
One may ignore the nightly refinery emissions, but the lungs of
downwind breathers cannot. Oil and the debris of the oil economy
cause health problems such as asthma, which are paid for by a cost-
shift to the Taxpayer. The oil refineries and auto companies get
the profit, and the hidden costs are borne by society.
For too long, these polluters have been ignored by journalists in a
case of hysterical blindness and systematic misdirection. Amazing,
with all the print and paper, so little coverage of the real
polluters. So perhaps Automotive News' ignorance is understandable.
Yahoo! Groups Links
>Stan Ovshinsky, father of the NiMH battery: (circa 2005?, Quoted in the Orange County Weekly)
>"The people who are saying that [electric vehicle] battery technology
>isn't ready are absolutely wrong," he says. "It's part of the party
>line. It's self-perpetuating. It's very sad. You tell a lie big enough
>and long enough and people start to believe it. The fact of the matter
>is volume. That's the only reason batteries are the cost they are."