“Big Oil” is the eptiome of an “eco-villian.”
The face of all evil, strife and wars. Like Hitler, Mussolini and Nickleback all rolled into one. It doesn’t help that sneaky oil sheiks and geo-political extortion dominated the headlines and bedeviled the American public for decades either.
Here’s the problem. Mass population requires mass infrastructure which requires energy. Lots of it. Whether hydro, coal, nuclear or oil.
For cars, it’s been petroleum. To say the modern world is addicted to oil is like saying humans are addicted to oxygen. Americans needs energy to exist in our interstate connected country. And if it isn’t cars, it will be mass transit which will require lots of energy as well.
There is no way eight zillion people can live on this planet without infastructure to move people, food, medicine, and all the things we need to survive.
Ask any militant denizen of “Portlandia,” though, and the only thing worse than our “addiction” to dinosaur juice, is the big kahuna of car makers, General Motors.
Ironically, these same folks extoll the virtues of “building sustainable communities and buying local,” while behind the wheel of their imported car, floated in by boat, from thousands of miles away.
They dislike “local” GM and everything it stands for. Dirty diesels, rusting truck frames, Nazis and Pearl Harbor are all forgiven. But not General Motors or it’s Vega, not to mention the EV1.
The limited range, lead acid battery, pioneering EV1 launched in 1996 became notorious with eco fans when GM called in the leased vehicles in 1999–the only way to get one–and crushed them when the program was scrapped. We can’t keep our cell phones charged all day in 2017, imagine keeping an EV charged 20 years ago.
EV fans especially dislike how goliath GM mirrors American culture and might, yet somehow, they are personally absolved from any unpleasant side effects of the prosperity and convenience they too enjoy.
So you can imagine the paisley horror when GM, led by crusty old Bob Lutz, introduced the Chevrolet Volt in 2010. Along with beating everyone to market with the first viable Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV,) it established GM as a power house innovator and leader in alternative propulsion.
It was a hard pill for flowery, EV hipsters to swallow. No Steve Jobs-like cult figure, no Silicon Valley address, no pizazz.
Just a gritty, Detroit based company with 109 years of auto making under it’s belt. Curiously, the only female CEO of an automaker, Mary Barra, has yet to gain cult status with the diversity is
king queen crowd.
Undaunted, GM hit another home run in 2016 and beat Elon Musk/Tesla to market with the 2016 Chevy Bolt, the first 200+ mile range, sub-$35k EV. It is truly an automotive milestone and a feather in GM’s cap.
Well, the eco-tastemakers were having none of that. They dusted off nutty old documentaries like “Who Killed The Electric Car,” and dug deep into the archives to find any other dirt on “The General.” Anything to kill the buzz.
The walls of EV forums drip with the venom of self appointed gurus who cannot stand that big, rotten, rust belt GM–aka the home team–has emerged as the big green kahuna. In fact, if it’s gonna be GM leading the eco-pack, they’d just as soon go back to oil and don (ha!) a MAGA hat, for God’s sake.
Which leads us to the recent announcement that GM is phasing out the internal combustion engine.
According to NBCNews, “GM currently offers one extended-range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, but will add two others within 18 months, said Executive Vice President Mark Reuss, with “at least 20” to be in the line-up by 2023. In addition, the company is developing a new truck platform powered by hydrogen fuel cells, dubbed Surus, short for “Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure.”
He continued, “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”
For those of us that have been following GM’s foray into the EV segment for the last decade, this update is like darkness after dusk.
To Chevy guys, petrol heads and greenies who haven’t been paying attention, this announcement is like being pushed into the deep end of a pool full of ice cubes. Ironically, they’re bedfellows now as all parties feel alienated and betrayed. Who’d a thunk these disparate parties would simultaneously enroll in the “School of GM Hatin’?” Oh the irony.
For Corvette guys, what the hell does all this mean? Are we going to be driving Corvette golf carts?
Not in the near future, but the wheels of progress are turning and to assume the Corvette won’t be along for the ride is unrealistic.
Just as humanity matured out of campfires and whale oil, we will mature away from the internal combustion engine as well, and we’ll see it in our lifetime.
The Corvette, traditionally the “tip-of-the-spear” for GM performance, will lead the way in hot-shoe electric cars as well. Rumor has it the C8 will be a hybrid or have inline electric motors like the $900k Porsche 918. GM’s trademarked the name E-Ray as well.
The guys on the grass at Carlisle are sure to blow a gasket at the idea of an electric ‘Vette. Even my young gun, LS guru office mate was up in arms about all of this. I said, “If an E-Vette was twice as fast as today’s car and NEVER needed gas, would you get onboard the electric bandwagon?” I asked?
“Nope,” was his reply.
The bright side of all this? When the nations fleet eventually migrates to emission free, think of all the cheap gas left over for us and our big-block ‘Vettes…
And you thought square taillights caused a commotion.