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GM, Which Killed The EV1, Plans To Study Elon Musk's Tesla

The fact that GM has to commission a team to study the Model S as if it were a UFO that crashed onto a ranch in New Mexico tells me that GM doesn't get it and will never get it.

For years people like John Petersen wold say that Tesla will never meet expectations because either EVs will never catch on or if they do the big guys will simply bring out competitive EVs and gazump the market. Myself and other shave tried to explain the Tesla has the people and the technology and the patents needed to make leading EVs and even if the big guys decided to come around it would take them ten years to get where Tesla is now. The fact that GM is going to examine Tesla's work in vain attempt to try and do anything that even comes close is proof positive that Tesla has it and the big guys will forever be playing catch up.

At their rate of operation, by the time they learn anything at all, the only thing they will have learned is that they are being left in the dust.

@AmpedRealtor - your description of this "alien phenomenon" that must be "studied" is PERFECT. They just DO NOT get it.

Fortunately..... we can GET IT with a simple credit card deposit and payment on delivery, no Area-51 or top secret clearance required :-)

I told my wife when we went for our first test drive that "This feels like the future." Apparently, some companies aren't quite as attuned to that feeling.

I think they're suffering from range anxiety (on their Volt profits that is)

don't underestimate GM. I would think that they probably have powerful politicians in their pockets and they'll use that to stymie innovation and competition.

Predictions on how long before GM buys Tesla?

I would think tesla has a poison pill provision in its bylaws that would prevent unfriendly take overs.

If GM buys Tesla, that would be the end of Tesla as we know it. how depressing

Don't underestimate anyone. The fact is, there are very capable suspension and chassis engineers at GM, BMW, Porsche, etc. I read an article on BMW i3/i8. While these are first versions, and have the ICE deadweight to carry around, next versions might not be so half hearted.

It's even reported that the M division might go all electric. I3/i8 are capable of fast DC charging. (CHADEMO?) there might not be a patent on the skateboard architecture. Combine two of the above, add superbly tuned suspension and chassis.

There's your competitor.

True, this is long way off. ICE companies don't want to sabotage their cash cows.
But the fact is, Model S has cut too deep into the upper luxury market for anyone not to notice and take heed.
My thinking is, Benz at some point will take over Tesla or merge and produce the next S class as Model S instead. Yes, it seems outlandish right now. If Model S continues to sell at the pace it's doing right now, there WILL NOT be any option for others, but to go all electric. ( or do micro hybrids to cure the 'range anxiety )

Elon wanted to raise awareness of EV cars whilst making the best car ever - I'd say that with a the news about GM "studying" the MS, he has accomplished yet another goal. +1

RedShift,
You are right; the big guys have talent. Tesla (and Fisker) suspension heads came from Ford so they have the talent as well. The value here is not suspension but in an overall integrated battery/motor/car. Consider all the baggage that those ICE engineers bring to the table when they go to design a car that competes with MS. I just read another post where people discussed how Toyota threw open its doors for the world to see how they manufactured cars. They were not worried as they knew, without the culture, they could not be copied easily. It is going to take a good long while for large OEMs to do a u-turn given their mass and thus momentum. Even with a successful product u-turn, they have to figure out how to sell it right next to their ICE offerings and they DO have the dealer laws to deal with.

In the car world, a platform generation is typically 4-5 years. If they're starting to study the S today, that means we might see a competent EV from them in 2017, but probably not until 2018.

Then, of course, you have the battery supply bottleneck that Elon mentioned at Teslive. That's not going away soon, either. No, Tesla has a substantial and structural lead over competitors...they're good to grow fairly unchallenged for at least 3 years...enough time to get the Gen-III launched, I hope.

By the time GM, Mercedes, BMW or whoever has a viable competitor to any Tesla vehicle, Tesla's gen 3/bluestar will already be on the road with a fully built-out supercharging infrastructure. I am pretty sure Tesla plans on keeping this a closed system and not opening up the supercharger network to non-Tesla brands because that would not help Tesla's market position by giving the competitors a selling point.

By the same, if the big automakers just start throwing EVs out there without a national charging infrastructure to support those vehicles, they will surely fail. Just enabling your vehicle for CHAdeMO or DC charging isn't enough if you are just going to leave the consumer alone to figure out where to charge, etc. That is the fatal flaw with the other car makers, I just don't see them willing to build a charging infrastructure.

I wonder how many on the GM investigation team will end up (quietly) buying a Tesla.

@RedShift - GM was the first to introduce the skateboard design years before Tesla came along. The idea was applicable to their concept vehicles. Apparently GM never took advantage of their own hat trick...

@lola:

Tesla engineers have done a tremendous job.
I wonder what BMW can do, when and if they put their mind to it.
I have a few qualms about the behavior of my car under spirited driving, which I need not repeat.

I am eagerly awaiting your expert opinion on your soon to arrive P+.

Especially the crucial ride vs. handling compromise.

Right now there a lot of plugin hybrids coming onto the market. There are not many true EV's and fewer still that are really getting any real marketing effort.

Right now the three best EV's you can buy are the Tesla Roadster, used only, Tesla Model S, and Toyota RAV4 EV. All three have Tesla drive trains.

By the end of next year the five best EV's will be those three plus Model X and Mercedes B class EV. Again all five will have Tesla drive trains. I see a trend here.

All other EV's are for people that cannot afford a Tesla, and are therefore all potential future Tesla customers when their ability to afford one changes.

All plugin hybrids are sort of like EV's with training wheels. If you want an EV but are not sure you can live with the range limits, you can buy a plugin hybrid. You will then realize that yes you can live with the range limit, because it really is not much of a limitation at all. It is in fact liberating because you never have to go to a gas station or fuel up on your way to work again.

All of these other cars, hybrids and short range (under 150 miles) EV's are building the market for the real thing.

I have had mine for 6 months now, have only charged away from home once so far when I drive to Gilroy specifically to try the superchargers. I have only even taken my charge cable with me once because I was going 120 miles for a dinner meeting and might need to make another trip during the day with no warning.

AmpedRealtor,
Perhaps the SuperCharger network will truly test Musk's assertions that his primary goal is to enable EVs.

Think something like "Sure, you can use it provided you build out capacity double that for which you ship vehicles." This would enable someone like MB or Toyota to ship a vehicle with instant full country use (perhaps using Tesla internals as training wheels for the Version 1) thus making it a viable electric vehicle. It would also dramatically increase MS (and MX Gen3) SC support through out the country.

This article is a curiosity to me. What am I missing? Did the new guy not turn around and see what the last guy did, who sat in his chair. Lutz noticed the Roadster. He gives Tesla credit for the kick in the pants to get the Volt on the road. So what is this study about? Let me save you some time....GM, you're in trouble. You screwed up with the EV1, the Volt is a good start, now put a team of engineers together to get a FULL EV on the road. Study completed. (KISS)

$1 Billion dollars for the EV1 program!! Even considering battery technology for 1996, can u imagine where we would be today if they gave Elon that kind of money back then to work his vision. Too sad to think about.

I'm looking forward and grinning.

J. :-))

Please don't let GM anywhere near Tesla.
Tesla > GM by miles
Creativity/designs

@ lolachampcar - I agree with you, I think Musk's endgame is to leverage the infrastructure that Tesla is building to get other car manufacturers to increase their own EV production. I don't think Musk wants to be the only game in town, he wants to move the entire industry in that direction and Tesla is his "vehicle", so to speak. Musk wants there to be millions of EVs on the road and to meet that goal, Tesla will need help from other auto makers.

So it may be Elon Musk dictating to GM and others what the efficiencies of their vehicles will have to be in order to be allowed onto the supercharging network. Forget outdated government efficiency standards. If you want to play in the Tesla playground, you've got to pay the price of entry...

Like new EV's must offer at least 95MPG?

It is not just about hardware anymore. Eco-system matters.
If the Supercharging stations, spread in US, Europe and Asia fast enough, Tesla has an eco-system GM can't build. If not, Tesla won't distinguish itself in the long-run.

Also, Elan talks humbly about just wanting to raise awareness of EV's. But read what his ex's have to say about his personality. There is more to him than that.

"All plugin hybrids are sort of like EV's with training wheels" - that sentence made my day.

@Amped - I can't imagine they would block other manufacturers from access to supercharges. Elon has stated time and time again that his goal is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles as the primary mode of transportation (not to be the world's dominant automaker). He is the cofounder, chairman, CEO, and largest shareholder - nobody is going to talk him into blocking competitors when his whole purpose for the company is to attract competitors to the EV market.

Plus, I think it will be unbelievably beneficial to Tesla shareholders if TM leases out access to supercharges to all competitors for $2k per year. Tesla will have the only established nationwide fast-charging infrastructure, and all the big competitors would be struggling to try and build out their own infrastructure. They should be properly motivated to work with TM to help the quick adoption of their new cars. Plus, this would probably make it more likely that TM could provide the electric drivetrain to more competitors (to ensure it's compatible with the superchargers), increasing TM's revenue even further.

If there comes a day where TM is making 10% of the world's EVs, they would be making mad profits on their cars, and even more profit by selling drivetrains and access to superchargers to competitors. Further, this would mean that TM has spurred the age of EV transportation. Everyone wins!

@Amped - sorry, I missed your most recent post while I was typing mine :)

@ Jamon - I have a feeling that in a few years, the other manufacturers will be beating down Tesla's doors for access to the charging network. That's like living in a nice house and having an endless stream of people knock on your door saying they want to buy or rent your home. That puts Tesla in a very enviable position.

@Amped - very true. And in this case, they'll actually be able to rent out to all those people knocking on the door. (Unfortunately, that would drastically increase the wait-time problems we're experiencing with superchargers, but I have faith that TM will work out those issues in time.)

It's amazing (and refreshing) how financially successful you can become when you're not focused on making as much money as possible :)


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