Vauxhall/Opel boss says ignoring EVs could be the downfall of European manufacturers
15 October 2010

Europe’s car makers are in danger of abandoning the Continent’s prominent position at the cutting edge of automotive technology by ignoring electric vehicle developments.

That was the warning from Britain’s most senior car industry executive, Vauxhall/Opel boss Nick Reilly.

“I think Europe will lose its competitive edge unless we move fast to catch up on electric vehicle and battery technology,” said Reilly in an interview at the Paris motor show.

Read more on the Chevrolet Volt's clever new tech

Reilly reckons that car makers and governments need to work more closely together to develop production-ready battery technology, before Asia and the US corners the market.

“GM, for example, has its own battery design and manufacture for the Volt, but we’re in partnership with a Korean technology company for the batteries,” said Reilly.

His counterpart in China, Kevin Wale, issued a similarly stark warning in an industry speech in the UK this summer.

Wale warned that the Chinese government and car firms were working in tandem to develop EVs, partly for environmental reasons, but also because electric technology offers the easiest route to catch up with western car makers.Read Autocar's first drive of the Vauxhall Ampera

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15 October 2010

[quote Autocar]“I think Europe will lose its competitive edge unless we move fast to catch up on electric vehicle and battery technology,” said Reilly in an interview at the Paris motor show.[/quote] Europe seems to be doing only half the job - forcing a reduction in CO2 emissions faster and harder than any other region whilst also legislating on the proportion of "green energy" that EU countries must produce (all of which our Govt. seems to be gold-plating as usual) - but is failing to support those manufacturers who would like to build new facilities and develop new technologies for EVs. It's no good passing more and more legislation to achieve unrealistic targets if you don't then give the support to the companies that want to achieve it for you. Tony Blair found out the reality that just saying you want it so does not mean it happens, the EU needs to realise that too.

15 October 2010

As the UK is going to be unable to meet current electrical demand in a few years because of the closure of existing nuclear and coal plants the proposed electric cars will be an unlikely solution in the UK. Once you take into account the pollution from power plants, the transmission losses of electricity from new nuclear and wind from remote areas, the taxes the government will have to apply to electric cars to replace the £50 billion lost from petrol and diesel cars, the pollution caused by manufacture and disposal of millions of batteries, the current fossil fuel cars look the best bet.

15 October 2010

THANK YOU!!!, someone who finally understands. I work for a vehicle development company and even the main engineers are telling me for EV cars to work, they have to re wire the whole national grid!! just to charge the bloody things to equal to filling your car at the petrol station, can you imagine the enviromental factors on that???, apparently synthetic methanol is the way to go but fuel companies are not warming to the idea because 'technicaly' anyone can manufacture it and they're the ones who want to make money on it, but thats business. Common sense? not so common

15 October 2010

Governments seem hell bent on forcing EV's on the public even though public opinion is very much undecided. We can see the benefits of an electric propulsion system but they lack one fundamental advantage current IC-engines; an easy re-fill solution. I like the idea of electric motors but I don't want to wait 3 or 6 hours waiting to recharge. I like the idea of zero-emissions but I don't like the idea of charging from the power-grid.

If I'm going to have to have some form of EV because this is what ultimately will be the only new vehicles on offer in the future, then I want easily swappable batteries, I want a small engine/generator that burns non-fossil fuels to charge the battery. Is that too much to ask? Oh and I don't want to pay £20,000 for an EV that can only do the same job as a £10,000 normal car.

So to our governments, the EU and car manufacturers; unless you can come up with a real EV solution to replace our current forms of transport, unlike the pathetic examples you've come up with so far, and not charge what a house cost in the early 90's then you can stick this whole EV crap up your big, fat, overpaid arses.

15 October 2010

There a several key pieces missing in the argument here: first that none of the car manufacturers have any direct link or personal responsibility to ensure there is enough supply available in the national grid - it's someone else's problem.

Secondly, customers again have the same mindset - only emissions produced during ownership are considered by the end user, not cradle-to-grave factors - this is general human nature and you're not going to change it. did you care how much CO2 was produced in making and shipping those cherry tomatoes you bought from Tesco when you bought them? See also how many customers think Prius are a low polluting good idea.

Third, assuming only a nationwide government re-education campaign is likely to change the above, and that would appear as politicians supporting the oil companies / shifting the blame so they don't have to build more power stations hated by Greenpeace. So which self respecting Politician is going to risk political suicide by telling everyone they should buy Petrol cars not those nice clean electric ones?

Nothing will happen until customers see real electricity shortages, then the complaints will start and something may be done, but by that point there will be so many EV's that the only option will be more power stations.

Back to the original topic of traditional manufacturers missing out - Battery manufacture is a dirty business, that is seen as best done in cheap labour countries with lax human rights / health and safety laws, so developing countries are likely to be the source of this new tech.

15 October 2010

This is just because the only major model development that has happened at GM is this car, and its highly overated. Eastern markets cannot fulfil their existing Electricity demands let alone supporting an electric automotive infrastructure. These cars at least have to provide the same levels of practicality and costs for them to be taken seriously. Till then it will only be the luxury of a few who are determined that electric cars will save the world.

The established car makers are taking a careful approach to sell these cars unlike china for whom make them cheap and stack them up is the only marketing philosophy involved.

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