Episode 516 – Chrysler 3Q Earnings, GM Back in IndyCar, China’s Pollution Problem

November 8th, 2010 at 12:09pm

Runtime 6:49

Chrysler reported its third-quarter earnings and posted a $239 million operating profit. General Motors will field a Chevrolet-branded twin-turbo V-6 engine for the 2012 IndyCar season. A report by China’s ministry for environmental protection says about a third of the 113 cities in the study failed air-quality tests due to the influx of cars sold in the country. All that and more, plus guest host Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto.com shares her thoughts on all the EV bashing that’s taking place on the internet.


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This is Autoline Daily for Monday, November 8, 2010. I’m Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto.com filling in for John. Here’s today’s top news from the automotive beat.

Chrysler reported a $239 million operating profit for the third quarter. However, it posted a net loss of $84 million, largely due to interest payments it made on loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments. This is the automaker’s third-consecutive quarter of better-than-forecasted results. Look for Chrysler’s performance to improve as its new and refreshed products hit the market.

Honda has been the sole engine supplier to the IndyCar racing series since 2006, but that’s about to change. According to the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, GM will field a Chevrolet-branded twin-turbo V-6 beginning with the 2012 season. Also, according to his sources, “GM is planning a new and very aggressive offensive into motorsports” now that the company is starting to put the bankruptcy behind it. GM Racing will also be supporting several Grand-Am DP teams with Chevrolet engines, as well as be supporting Camaro teams in Grand-Am GT. It’s ramping-up its involvement in NHRA Pro Stock in 2011 and fielding a two-car team of Cadillac CTS-V Coupes in the 2011 World Challenge GT series.

And speaking of motorsports, last month we reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin helped negotiate a deal to bring Formula One racing to Russia starting in 2014. And now the AP reports the Russian leader was able to get behind the wheel of a Renault F1 car over the weekend. After getting instructions from team engineers he took the car out on a track near St. Petersburg. He was able to get it up to 150 MPH and reportedly only spun out once. After he got out of the racecar he smiled and said in English “For the first time, it’s good.”

Car sales have been booming in China the last several years and not surprisingly it’s having adverse effects on the environment. According to Gasgoo, a report done by China’s ministry for environmental protection says about a third of the 113 cities in the study failed air quality tests. The number of vehicles on the road in China grew nearly 10 percent last year to 170 million. Car sales in the country aren’t going to drop anytime soon, and that’s why the government is encouraging automakers to build more hybrids and electric vehicles.

HONDA POWERS PLANT WITH PLANTS (subscription required)
The Wall Street Journal reports that Honda is turning to renewable sources for power. It’s looking at biomass as a solution to meeting its future energy needs. It plans to build an on-site power plant at its factory near Swindon, in southwest England. The facility could produce between 5 and 30 megawatts of juice by 2015, a year before the government forecasts that Britain will run short of power capacity. The idea is to burn miscanthus, a fast-growing, low-maintenance grass native to Africa. Honda is trying to convince local farmers to start planting it by offering them 15-year growing contracts. Understandably, they’re skeptical of the risk. It takes three years for miscanthus to yield a crop.

In completely unrelated Honda news, the company wants you to get fit, and it’s enlisting ASIMO to help. The automaker has created an iPhone application that works as a pedometer, but it’s much more interactive than a simple step counter. Here’s how it works. Since Honda has been building robots for years you “evolve” ASIMO the more you walk. Every 100 paces bumps him up to the next level. After the 1,000 step warm-up you can enter what’s called the ASIMO Grand Prix and virtually race around the Suzuka circuit in Japan. As you walk or run, your progress is shown virtually on the track. After completing a lap, which is nearly six kilometers in length, you can compare your time to those of other users. You can even share them on Twitter or Facebook. The “Run With ASIMO” app is currently available on the iPhone platform and will be offered for Android phones late this month.

After the break we’ll get some of my thoughts on all the EV bashing that’s taking place on the interwebs.

After 100-plus years of internal-combustion-engine vehicles, the upcoming debuts of Nissan’s all-electric LEAF, and GM’s extended-range electric, the Chevy Volt, are monumental.

But you wouldn’t know that reading a lot of the Internet comments about these cars.

Yes, the naysayers are out in full force, spreading their misinformation and downright nonsense.

The anti-EVers, as I like to call them, can come up with a multitude of reasons EVs will never work, for themselves or anybody else.

Most are laughable. Like the one about EVs being a terrible return on your investment. Newsflash: any new car is a terrible return on your investment! Just like the computer you non-progressives type on, while sipping your money-losing $6 Starbucks diabetes-in-a-cup.

I also don’t see anyone up in arms about how almost every passenger car Mercedes sells has an ALG-rated poor residual value, as do most of the best-selling, and not-cheap, domestic fullsize pickup trucks.

Speaking of not-cheap, these wet blankets whine about the high price of the LEAF and Volt. Despite the fact more than 10 million Americans bought new last year, at an average transaction price pushing $30,000, these skeptics claim they only ever buy used, spending no more than $10,000. If you believe that there’s a bridge I’d like to sell you.

The cynics deride the LEAF and Volt as coal cars. While it’s true millions of Americans get their electricity from coal, research shows EVs still are cleaner than ICE cars when the cost of extracting, shipping and refining oil is factored in. And electricity can be generated, and is, using cleaner methods.

Bottom line: electric vehicles have the potential to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil while proliferating a technology that could bring jobs and engineering leadership to our country.

But don’t tell that to these Luddites, who are no doubt pining for the days of the horse and buggy.

And that’ll do it for today’s show, but before I sign off, don’t forget to check out Open Line, the best automotive call-in program around. The party starts tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You can listen-in on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv or pick up the phone and join the conversation. Just dial 218-936-6581. Once more, the number is 218-936-6581,and PIN to get in is 2150, 2150. This week we welcome special guest Anne Lutz Fernandez, author of the book “Carjacked.” We’ll ask her why she thinks cars have had a negative impact on society. Whether you agree or disagree, this is your opportunity to interview her directly.

Again I’m Christie Schweinsberg from WardsAuto.com. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

72 Comments to “Episode 516 – Chrysler 3Q Earnings, GM Back in IndyCar, China’s Pollution Problem”

  1. Roger T Says:

    Thanks for your brave insight on EV backlashing. I’m completely with you. An observation though – we should spend a little more time talking about what happens to batteries once electric cars are discarted. What’s the plan for that? What’s done to batteries of old Priuses, and will we need additional government incentives for the recycling industry / infrastructure? Thanks

  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Wow,a blast from a bleeding heart tree hugger all because we don’t like (or so she perceives)EV’s.Wrong thoughts moonbeam.I myself am saying that widespread use and the charging of said greenmobiles will initially overtax some grids,just as summertime a/c’s do,even charging at off peak hours.Also,not everyone lives in or even around a city where a short 20 mile round trip will take you where you need to go.For me it’s a 70+ mile round trip and no matter how much granola I eat,it won’t get me to the city and back again.What I’m saying flowerchild is the EV’s need a lot more refinement and need extended range to be practical in non-urban areas.With your thinking and beliefs most of us country folk won’t be able to pull our campers or boats or even our damn work trailers.What do you drive?

  3. Tony Gray Says:

    Way to go Christie!

    Anyhow, if Putin only spun out once on a wet track, he may replace Petrov in the Renault car this weekend!

  4. Ron Paris Says:

    Oh God; John’s found an EV-evangelista to help us cleanse our IC polluted souls. GIVE ME A BREAK!!

  5. Ralph Kercheval Says:

    Talk about drinking the KOOL AID!!! Why is it that only 2-3 percent of buyers opt for the Hybrid or EV. Where is the infrastructure for recharging the EV revolution?? HOW MUCH is this going to cost the taxpayers?? Where is all the extra electricity output going to come from. In your own broadcast you mention that England is going to try an African Grass to convert to fule for Electricity since they are going to out use the current production capacity in a few years.

    What if I want to drive at highway speeds or for more than 10-30 miles?

    EV is about the same FIASCO as E-85. Taking a FOOD source to make a FUEL source then complaining that my FOOD BILL is through the roof. DUH!!!

    Another FEEL GOOD idea that makes NO SENSE in the real world.

  6. Ralph Kercheval Says:


    check your maps and population grids. MOST people DO NOT live in a metropolitan area. Us Poor country folks may not be as green as you city folks but don’t pee on my leg and tell me its raining.

  7. HtG Says:

    In re your (intentionally) provocative EV argument, methinks you’ll be hearing from a Mr Nick Stevens, Ms Schweinsberg. Round about 4 in the morning. Sleep tight!

  8. dave Says:

    Where can I get a VOLT for 30 grand?? Last I saw it was 44 grand 3 grand for a charger, and upwards of 20 grand for the dealer mark up..MMM..OH YA tax kick back of 7500..still does not add up to me.

  9. tj Martin Says:

    John ;

    Its not that I feel E/V’s and Hybrids will never work . My point in my constant rants about the damn things is at this point They Do Not Work . Nor do they at this point in time solve any viable and real problems .

    Fact of the matter is in their current state of Technology all E/V’s and Hybrids CAUSE more problems than they solve . As well as costing far too much for what is delivered .

    Current E/V’s as well as Hybrids are a classic case of putting the Horse Before the Cart . Or in this scenario Placing the Car on the Market Well Before It Works as Advertised .

    As far as the VOLT the simple fact of the matter is GM promised one thing and delivered something entirely different . On yours and My Dime ( tax payers ) So darn right I’m PO’d about the car !!!

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Too bad moonbeam is only looking at cars.What she fails to see is that once a vehicle reach’s it’s destination,it is turned off until needed again.What about where we live? Every appliance in my house except for the dryer,is energy star rated.Even my house which is only 5 years old.How many people believe in,and practice HOME energy conservation,which is a bigger part then cars.Do they turn off the fridge? Of course not.Why does America still use 110vac?220 is much more efficient.To truly want to and make a measurable difference in daily energy consumption,it needs to start at home.Solar panels at best are only around 20 to 22% efficient.Too much money for too little in return IMHO.What about bio-diesel powered vehicles?No one mentions that……at least around here…..

  11. tj Martin Says:

    The one Question i never hear John or any of the Auto Manufactures bring up is Where in the ( Bleep ) is this Country with its current Electrical Grid System going to get all the Electricity needed to support an E/V economy . Read the news today ? Two Nuclear Plants ( one in VT ) had to shut down because of safety hazards .

    @ Dave ; And just remember . If you live in California THERE IS NO TAX REBATE ON THE VOLT . They repealed it because its NOT AN E/V . Even by their liberal standards .

    So add back that $7500 to the out the door price . Now would someone like to explain why a VOLT is in any way Economically Viable ?

  12. dcars Says:

    And now for something completely different!!!! Let see how many times this one will be blogged!
    Thanks Christie I think we are going to see some interesting posts today.

  13. jim Says:

    Way to go Christie! One of the biggest naysayers is Mr. Peter D himself, with frequent references to the smiley happy green people. I wish I could buy a Volt today. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to wait unitl probably 2012 or 2013 to get the E85 model I want. When we will every lean that as long as we’re addicted to crude, we will pay in more ways than just our dollars to feed our addiction.

  14. Michael Says:

    Christie I agree whoelheartedly with you on the EVs. We need a policy to make us energy independent. As long as we are hostage to the oil producers we are at risk in many ways. I listen to many auto people say how we don’t need electrics or hybrids becuase they cost more, but if they wean us from the wellhead we will all be so much better off. Stop the complaining and use your head…

  15. HtG Says:

    In Christie’s defense, I think one of her points is that many things are bought for prices that cannot be rationally justified. $6 dollar coffee? Not me. Does Prius make dollars and cents sense? She’s saying we buy things for status, fashion, and neato factor. The Apple equivalent to the HP laptop I just got cost 1000 dollars more; and I’ve used both OSs. Let’s see someone attack her real argument.

    ps, Ben, could you please reset the Motor City Timex over there in Livonia? The rest of the country is an hour behind you.

  16. ckernzie Says:

    EV’s will have their place in the automotive spectrum in North America & are an important step in the evolution of the automobile that the naysayers do not want to acknowledge. My money is on extended range EV’s such as the Volt as I think ‘range anxiety’ is a very real issue for consumers in North America. Pure EV’s such as the LEAF will have very niche markets where as the Volt will go more mainstream, its just the nature of our history, culture, geography & transit options. The extreme questions for consumers to consider are: what car do yo want to be in fleeing ‘Katrina’ an extended range Volt or the pure EV LEAF? How about an extended power outage after a winter storm? The answers are obvious & GM was smart enough to ask the questions.

  17. Dale Leonard,Lakewood,Ohio Says:

    I guess Christie isnt in front of a camera much as she had that look of just seeing a ghost on her face the whole segment even when she was trying to do a little humor. Bring back Peter when John’s gone!!!!

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj Martin Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    “Its not that I feel E/V’s and Hybrids will never work . My point in my constant rants about the damn things is at this point They Do Not Work.”

    At this point, hybrids work very well. Have you ever driven, or even ridden in a Prius? It is a “real car” in every way, but just happens to use a lot less gas than others that have as much utility.

    As far as pure electric cars, they will always be niche vehicles, unless someone comes up with batteries of much higher power density than today’s lithiums, and that be be “fast charged” at a charging station in the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Neither of these things is likely. Still, for some people, the limited range is not an issue, and at any projected rate of market penetration, the power grid might well be able to “catch up.” I’m not going to want a pure electric car any time soon, if ever, but for some people, they will work.

    Thank’s, Christie for the provocative show. The responses will be interesting.

  19. wl simpson Says:

    Re: Afrigrass, introducing non native plants
    frequently ends in disaster, such as Kudzu & Hydrilla.

  20. wl simpson Says:

    Hopefully the 3rd gen EV will have fewer, non lithium batts, inwheel motors & a microturbine gen.

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ wl Simpson:Add the micro turbine and you have a hybrid,not a ev.

  22. Chuck Says:

    Ralph & tj – As an engineer at GM, I and my colleagues have driven Volts, from Michigan to Atlanta to LA then back to Denver, mostly at highway speeds. We spent a lot of time in the mountains, and climbing Pike’s Peak, more time in Death Valley than I’d ever care to again in 110 to 120 plus degrees somedays, and what seemed like endless time cruising around the surface streets of LA and Las Vegas doing city driving. And although I haven’t personally done so, some my colleagues have spent weeks in -40 degree weather testing these vehicles. All of this in real vehicles. If you don’t like the idea of a Volt, that’s ok, it’s not for everyone’s taste. No car is. But I would like to know, what haven’t we delivered on that it’s “As far as the VOLT the simple fact of the matter is GM promised one thing and delivered something entirely different .”?

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    The sad part about these EV’s is that they’re supposed to be more useful and proper for city use where there are really no places to recharge them. While in suburbia, where most people have garages where charging stations could be installed they’re mostly useless because of their limited range and the distances that people have to travel for work or for their shopping, etc.

  24. T. Bejma Says:

    “Ralph Kercheval Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    check your maps and population grids. MOST people DO NOT live in a metropolitan area. Us Poor country folks may not be as green as you city folks but don’t pee on my leg and tell me its raining.”

    Ralph – EV’s do not have to be only for the city. 75% of the population has a roundtrip commute of less than 40 miles (in the country or the city). That is the intended consumer.

  25. HtG Says:

    Chuck@GM, I am so impressed by what GM accomplished with VOLT, but I think the hype about it being all electric was unfortunate. As a car enthusiast, I followed Bob Lutz’s pitch wondering how GM engineers would make it happen. I feel a bit taken advantage of since it must have been clear internally that under some circumstances the ICE would turn the wheels mechanically. Nonetheless, the car is a marvel.

  26. Al Sowash Says:

    I am an old fart as far as cars and trucks go, no doubt about. I grew up with the 409′s, the 406′s and the 427′s. Loved all of them although I tend to lean toward the Bowtie brigade.
    As for the Volt, doubt that I will ever own one. However, I am all for the concept and the technology it will bring with it. You will see smaller and better batteries as time goes on. You will more and better technologies and time goes on. These EV’s are not for everyone, as Christie stated. But gee whiz why is a lot of you running her down the road when she clearly states that? The hybrids and the EV’s will only bring new products and new jobs and new ways of doing things. This is what is important as I see it.

  27. dcars Says:

    I live in suburbia and my round trip commute is twenty six miles. My wife works within five miles of our home. The Volt is perfect for us and it’s lease is affordable. I’ve got a 120v/1phase outlet in my garage and I could easily install a 240v. single phase outlet to that same location for under $50.

  28. Ralph Kercheval Says:

    @ Chuck, T Bejma and all,

    My point is that at this time there is NO INFRASTURUCTURE for the additional electricity needed to charge the true EV models being jammed down our throat.

    If everyone is so concerned with being GREEN why is no one concerned with the majority of power plants being COAL BURNING??

    I am not saying that the EV is not a viable product for some markets in the future but it is being touted as the end all be all without enough thought put into the entire impact on enviroment, infrastructure and pocket book.

  29. XA351GT Says:

    WOW, what a bunch of crap. The future maybe EVs but not the Leaf or Volt. Tell me how much you love your Leaf when you NEED to go somewhere and the batteries haven’t charged enough. Explain to me HOW the price of the Volt will ever pay for itself? You can buy a equal sized gas powered car for 1/2 the money and even at $4 @gallon it will still be cheaper than the Volt over the standard 5 year owner cycle. Oh and Chrustie are you going to buy a 6 year old Volt knowing in a year or two you will need to drop 7-8 K for a new battery pack? The car is unsellable as a used car. So jump off you high horse and you better run for cover once Nick gets here.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    The only way GM can lease the Volt at such a low cost is that if they take a hit on every single one leaased, which I guess it doesn’t matter since taxpayers own them and taxpayers always get screwed anyway.Like XA says above, the resale value with that time bomb battery is nil. Add to that the dealer markup of $??? which you never recoup.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    Kit Gerhart ; Have I ever driven a Hybrid ? Why yes i have .Two actually . Hated them . No matter how hard i tried I could not come close to the advertised MPG ( oh Nick will hate me for this but that was in the Prius ) The only thing worse than following a Prius up an incline as it bogs down due to its weight is driving in one . So then I plunked my money down for a test drive ( rental )in the very pretentious Lexus Rx450 H . Sorry but again I couldn’t see the point of it .

    Honestly Kit I’m averaging 40 MPG in the City ( actual not the computer ) in my MINI at twice the fun . So why am I supposed to be impressed by driving around in a Leaden Prius that can’t get out of its own way ? For twice ( at least ) the maintenance hassles , half the fun and not a whole lot more practicality . Sorry . When it comes to the current crop of Hybrids I AM NOT IMPRESSED on any level .

    And just what are you supposed to do with the Battery when it dies which in three of my friends and neighbors Prius’s did so in 36 – 40 months .

    As well as that lovely propensity for the Battery’s used in the new Hybrids and E/V’s to ah……. Spontaneous Combustion ! Nice party trick but do you want to be in a car when it Morphs into a BBQ ?

    Nope . Facts is Facts and the Fact is the Current Crop of Hybrids comes up Crappers . I’m sure at some point they’ll get the things working but for now …. Dream On !

  32. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro fernandez ;

    Boy did GM ever take us ( US tax payers ) for the ride of the century on the ( not so much ) VOLT . Screwed Blued and Tatoo’d . thats what we ( Tax Payers ) are . All while the GM execs laugh their fool heads off in those Private Jets downing 30 year old Single Malt Scotch at $30 a glass , smoking $75 a pop Cubans with their $1000 an hour Escorts . That ahhhh … we paid for as well .

  33. GPL Says:


    The $7500 figure you sited is the federal tax credit for which the Volt IS still eligible, not the ($5000) California AT-PZEV tax rebate, which it is not. It is mostly academic, however, as California only has enough money to give the first 800 or so EV buyers the rebate. So most Leaf buyers won’t get it either.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    I can’t believe that some folks don’t mind these GM execs flying those private jets, “oh, they need to get around quickly so they can do their business in a timely manner”. Pleeeze, what monkey business are you referring to? It has taken forever to get that Volt to market, it’s almost like they’re afraid of letting regular folks get their hands on the thing for fear of initial rejection and criticism.

  35. tj Martin Says:

    Here’s a fun fact to chew on . My former Toyota 4Runner weighed in at 3500 lbs . the 2010 Prius weighs in at 3042 . For a stinking compact ! Yes sireee thats advancement in Technology . Make a smaller car thats supposed to be Green almost as heavy as an SUV !

    GPL ; Wanna place a wager that $7500 Tax Credit finds its way out the window as well ? Look around . There’s movement a foot to do so Nationwide . That new congress isn’t exactly green friendly and now they’ve got the ammo ( thanks to GM’s lies ) to take action .

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    With the new House in place, a lot of these wasteful government handouts are going to be cut, if so where does that leave cars like the Volt? they’re already a hard sell with the tax credit, without it, we’ll have EV1 part 2. TJ: the new Cruze weighs 2k lbs more than my Corolla that has 125 hp while the Cruze has all of 138 horses, Now it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out the abysmal weigh to power ratio of this car. near double the weight with only 13 extra ponies. Whew!!

  37. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Then comes the argument that they (the greens) can charge their vehicles overnight.Get enough people doing that and there goes “off peak” as it will certainly tax the grid this time for 24/7.You want great mpg and longevity? Bring on the clean diesels and get busy on producing bio-diesel.Then start working on the ev’s/hybrids.

  38. HtG Says:

    tjM@34, just tell Sensenbrenner that EVs reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We are after all, the Saudi Arabia of coal. Coal is actually very healthy you know, kids.

    (just kidding here tjM. It’s happy hour here on the estate.)

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj Martin says:

    “Honestly Kit I’m averaging 40 MPG in the City ( actual not the computer ) in my MINI at twice the fun . So why am I supposed to be impressed by driving around in a Leaden Prius that can’t get out of its own way ?”

    I OWN a Prius and a MINI, and, while they are much different cars, I like them both. The MINI is a lot of fun to drive, but the fact remains that the Prius is a much better “do everything” car. Consider:

    1) The Prius gets about 8-10 mpg better gas mileage (on regular rather than premium) regardless of conditions. I get 45 with the Prius and 35 with the MINI for “mixed” driving in Florida where there are a lot of stops. I get 45 with the Prius and 36 with the MINI at ~75 on the interstate. I’ve checked it, have checked the odometers on both cars, and that’s the way it is.

    2) The Prius can comfortably seat four, while the MINI can only seat two adults. The Prius has as much cargo space with the back seats in use as the MINI has with the back seats folded down.

    Neither car is fast, but both have adequate power. I recently drove my Prius from Indiana to Florida through a part of Tennessee with some fairly long climbs. No one had to slow down for me, but I certainly had to slow down for any number of SUV’s, minivans, Civics, Buicks, or whatever. A Prius climbs just fine.

    A non-turbo, manual tranmission MINI like mine is about 1 second quicker 0-60 than a Prius in most published tests, but that is with people abusively driving the manual transmission MINI they don’t own. With the Prius, the testers “just floor it.” In Consumer Reports’ tests, a MINI and a Prius like mine return an identical time for their 45-65 mph passing test. What I’m saying is, both a base MINI and a Prius have adequate power, whether for passing or climbing, and many drivers would get better performance from the “automatic” Prius than a manual MINI as they would drive their own car.

  40. C-tech Says:

    I’m glad to see GM entering Indycar racing and expanding their racing program. Now if we can see a Ford-Cosworth and a Chrysler Hemi (massaged by Ferrari?) in the mix, then Indy will really have my money and attention again. This argument over electric cars is so irrelevant. How many will be sold next year? 50,000 maybe? A tenth of the production of Camry’s. If they become wildly popular, there are not enough resources to ramp up production quickly. As far as the grid, companies will figure out a way to meet the increased demand, that’s simple economics.

  41. Chuck Says:

    Htg – Well I wasn’t in on that decision. I can’t even see the ladder going up to where that was probably done, let alone on any rung of it. From my own opinion though, I guess GM could’ve left it alone. But it’d lose 15 or so % efficiency at high speed, or whatever the published number was. Does that make sense for our customers? I don’t think so. Well the public has to decide that for itself I guess. You could leave it in that particular mode all day under the speed it’s triggered at, and the car wouldn’t move an inch.

  42. Chuck Says:

    HTG, Thanks for your kind words. It really is a fun car to drive. You won’t confuse with a Z06 Vette, but it’s fun.

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Exactly Mr. Mac Elroy. The EV surely has a long way to go, but like it or not I think it’s going to be the way to go ultimately.

    Trains, Buses, Cars, and then Planes. Hybrids are a stop gap, but you cant tell the Luddites that.

  44. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Now if we can only get these boneheaded Car Companies to turn eeverything: Diesel, Gas, Alt Fuel into a RARE EARTH FREE Hybrid as a stop gap!!!

  45. Nick Stevens Says:

    Thje CLUELESS rant of this idiot in a skirt was OUTRAGEOUS!!!!

    First of all, it does NOT BELONG ON AUTOLINE DAILY!

    Such clueless rants belong on either Autoline DETROIT or AAH, where John and PEter can REPLY to her NON SENSE and give her a lesson in Econs or two.

    It is LUDICROUS that she compared the gas or diesel engine to the horse and buggy, and it shows that this BLITHERING IDIOT of a so-c alled “automotive journalist” is also HISTORICALLY ILLITERATE as well as ECON illiterate,

    since she conveniently forgets that the FIRST CARS WERE FAILED ELECTRICS, UNTIL THE GAS AND DIESEL TOOK OVER.

    So, fool, youyr electric was the next missing link to the horse and buggy, AND THEN came the MORE ADVANCED ENGINES, gas and diesel.

    Got it, fool?

    JOHN: If you gort any other OFFENSIVE dumb chicks, and if they are as clueless and INAPPROPRIATE ABUSERS of your AD INFORMATION, NOT OPINION, SHow, as she was, they belong on VOGUE magazine or similar retarded girlie BS.

  46. Nick Stevens Says:

    This was the WORST, the worst of the WORST, Autoline daily show I have EVER seen. Even if you omit hewr clueless rants about EVs, this idiot in a dress filled the rest of the time with absolutely SILLY FLUFF.

    This is not the ENQUIRER.

    I suggest to John that ANY future AD host has to pass an AUTO LITERACY test.


  47. Nick Stevens Says:

    “No matter how hard i tried I could not come close to the advertised MPG ( oh Nick will hate me for this but that was in the Prius ) ”

    Actually this is a welcome chan ge from having to listen to that lamest of the lame, clueless fanatic in a dress.

    You need to give us some details. Was it the PRius II? And were you unable to get its OLD EPA 60 MPG pre-2008 rating? And were you in Minessota in winter or equivalent below-zero environment? IF yes, SURE you will not attain the 60 MPG, which was revised to 50ish in 2008 when ALL the EPA MPGs went down to adjust for higher speeds, A/C etc.

    Also, if you are a leadfoot and drive like a car and driver test drive (not a long term one-year 40,000 mile deal), then EVERYbody will get much less than 50 MPG even on the Prius, but while you would get 28 MPG in the prius on the TRACK, I would get… 6 MPG with the 740iL on the same track and driving just as unhinged.

  48. Nick Stevens Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Here’s a fun fact to chew on . My former Toyota 4Runner weighed in at 3500 lbs . the 2010 Prius weighs in at 3042″

    3042 is actually quite LOW even for a built for speed tiny sports car (much smaller than the Prius in dimensions) Porsche 911 or Ferarri 460 or Corvette.

    Here are more fun facts:

    My 1975 Dasher (passat) wagon was 2006 lbs. Yes, 2006, not 3006.

    My 1991 Civic Euro spec 1.3 lt I still drive and still is like new is a mere 875 kg or 1800ish Lbs and gets REAL 44 MPG highway and 35 overall.

    Such cars were empty shells. today’s cars are far, far superior not only in safety features but in all kiinds of other features and systems.

  49. Nick Stevens Says:

    I still have not recovered from all that nonsense from the clueless idiot in a skirt or a dress or whatever it is, and the Marilyn Quayle Hairdo (only in blonde)

    She could learn a lot just from reading our past posts in this forum, they debunk all her silly non-arguments (really insults, and not half as funny as Monty Python Insults)

    And the next time she wants a STUPID VOlt or a DIRTY leaf (50% of all electricity is from COAL, You ignorant….), DO NOT PICK MY TAX PAYING POCKET TO BUY IT, ask her (sugar)daddy to cough up the $7,500 +++ other breaks these clowns get!!!

  50. Nick Stevens Says:

    Hey John,

    if you can find an Intelligent, well informed person who can MAKE A CASE for EVs or Plug-ins, I would be delighted to hear him or her present her ECONOMIC ANALYSIS, if they can find even ONE out of the six billion humans who can benefit from owning an EV (or even a plug-in) vs a regular hybrid or a fuel efficient gas or esp. diesel vehicle.

    And if they can prove that such a vehicle makes any economic sense AIDED byh our $7,500-$20,000 per unit tax dollars, then ask them to re-do their analysis if the US taxpayer was NOT ROBBED of that $, and I bet you that not a single human on Earth exists for whom the EV is the OPTIMAL transportation. (other than people who never drive beyond their supermarket!)

    And PLEASE Let us DEBUNK the myth that ANY EV in the USA and especially any EV in CHina is a so-called “Zero emissions” vehicle. It has HUGE EMISSIONS, but cunningly these are emitted at the coal plant where the electricity is made and not in the posh wealthy suburb or gated community where the EV is USED.

    Nice, eh?


  51. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Electric vehicles is probably the ‘greyist’ zone in the transportation scene currently. How everyone can be so ‘right’ proves that everyone is more probably so wrong. Electrics are not as evil as the one side says and definitely not as green as the other side says, but what they are is a piece of the puzzle (dare I say solution); I believe they should be part of the alternatives that are out there now, i.e. ICE, both gas and diesel, electrics, CNG, maybe ultimately hydrogen.

    If you don’t explore altenatives, then you are caught in a frenzied catchup when the current technology runs out of gas (pun intended).

    p.s. Put me down as against the government trying to control the market with artificial incentives and heavy handed direction (most of which is not scientifically based).

    p.p.s. And the name calling (both sides) is so childish your arguments lose credibility to interested observers.

  52. Nick Stevens Says:

    There is name calling every day but in the FORUM, NOT in the SHOW ITSELF. The clueless fanatic that hopefully will never return on this show started it by calling (without ANY reason or justification) EV opponents naive, and even those who wait to get one for much less than the hugely inflated FIRST GEN, LOW TECH prices, as fools that would buy a bridge from her!!!!!

    Giv e blame where blame is due. I did not wake up this morning looking forward to having my day ruined by this utterly clueless clown.

    AGAIN, if there is a SERIOUS researcher-EV expert in the room that can MAKE A CASE for the STUPID vehicles, that FAILED a century ago and will most likely fail again today, EVEN with the weight of all kinds of governments trying to stuff them, even at a huge discount, down the throats of unwilling buyers, SHOW ME THE MATH.


    We have seen ONE Debacle with the idiotic E85, and we will soon see another with EVs.

  53. Nick Stevens Says:

    CHuck Grenci

    We have plenty OF ALTernatives already.


    PLUG IN HYBRIDS (for VERY FEW that need them)


    AMAZINGLY EFFICIENT TURBO GAS ENGINES, 1.2 lt and 1.4 lt with three-digit HPS and 50 MPGs in Europe, and now slowly in the US (Ecoboost was the first)

    ALSO various modern gas engine breakthrus

    REMEMBER the FUEL CELL CAR? How every idiot and his mother in law were cheering for them and calling everybody else a neanderthal for CORRECTLY being a sceptic?

    Well well well! The SCEPTICS were, ONCE AGAIN, ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. Today not even OBAMA himself believes in the Fuel Cell vehicles as any part of any solution.

  54. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) held its first Future Car Challenge. This was a race from Brighton to London (about 57 miles). The Auto Channel says it was to see who could consume the least during the trip. To keep things fair, the trip consisted of different driving conditions from country roads to traffic jams.

    The Volkswagen Golf Blue-E-Motion. The plucky little electric car, with 115 bhp, a top speed of 86mph and 0-62mph time of 11.8 seconds won the race. “It’s a testimony to the abilities of the Golf Blue-E-Motion that it won despite the fact I’d never competed in any sort of eco-driving challenge before,” said Jim Holder, driver of the winning car.

    Autocar reports that there were other categories for getting greenie points. The BMW 320d EfficientDynamics diesel won “the most efficient combustion engine” award. The Lotus Elise electric won in the “most economical sports electric vehicle” category, and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-cell hydrogen car can now officially claim the title ” most efficient fuel cell”.

    Professor Stephen Glaister (via the BBC), director of the RAC Foundation, couldn’t help it, and rained a bit on his own parade:

    “There is a large price difference between the most fuel-efficient models currently available and the next generation of vehicle already arriving in showrooms…The cars of tomorrow might have low running costs, but that will be irrelevant if people haven’t got the cash to buy them in the first place.”

    Very true, Professor.

  55. Nick Stevens Says:


    Here in the U.S., the Nissan Leaf starts at a reasonable $32,780. After $7,500 in federal tax credits, the Leaf rings in at $25,280. Over in Japan, the Leaf sets buyers back ¥3.76 million ($46,225 U.S. at the current exchange rate) before one factors in the ¥770,000 ($9,466 U.S.) incentive so the post-credit price in Japan is roughly $36,800. Across the pond in the UK, Nissan’s battery-powered hatch hits the pocketbook, after rebates, to the tune of £23,990 ($38,840 U.S.). Why all this pricing info overload? To put Nissan’s just-announced price of 49,950 CHF ($51,977 U.S.) for the Leaf in Switzerland into perspective.

    At nearly $52K, the Swiss-bound Leaf ain’t no bargain. In fact, it’s priced nearly $6,000 higher than the less capable, and also available in Switzerland, Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Okay, but surely some incentives will slash the Leaf’s price, right? Wrong. Switzerland is one of a handful off European countries that get by without substantial government subsidies for electric vehicles, so $52K, or thereabouts, is what Swiss buyers will pay. That is, if anyone over there is willing to part with that kind of hard-earned cash to drive Nissan’s zero-emissions hatchback.

    NOTE that a few decades ago, ONE US dollar bought FIVE Swiss Franks or four German Marks.

    Using that exhange ratio, the STUPID Leaf’s lofty $52k swiss franc price would translate to a mere $10k plus change.

  56. Nick Stevens Says:

    Oh, and of course, again the BIG LIE that EVs are, allegedly, Zero emissions.

    They sure are NOT! They emit a TON of Excrement where they burn the coal to make HALF of the electricity they use (or 80% in China!)

    But even if some smartass tells me that he will refuel his STUPID Volt from some solar or wind generated electricity in his home (cost of installation in the six figures…),

    The STUPID Leaf is STILL not sero emissions, since to MAKE the thing sure required a TON of fossil fuels etc.

  57. HtG Says:

    Nick, I’d like to hear your counter argument to my comment @15. Economic analysis doesn’t need to stop at rational choice.

    Also, how should one calculate the cost of petroleum? I’d say our military bills, reckoned in treasure and humans, are huge. I concede that petroleum products are not limited to the benefits we get from burning them for their energy. I like plastic and fertilizers.

  58. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# HtG Says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    “In Christie’s defense, I think one of her points is that many things are bought for prices that cannot be rationally justified. $6 dollar coffee? Not me.”

    I am a cheapskate and will never buy that $6 crap unless somebody asks me to. The only reason I’d buy $6 coffee is not that it is worth more than $0.10 (the liquid) but that the Cafe has a spectacular view or whatever.

    BUT what the hell does THAT have to do with wanting or needing an EV? If I want to spend a ton of $ for a car I’ll get an M# or a 911 or even a luxury sedan, not that little POS!!!

    There is no EV today, even Letterman’s $100++K Tesla ROadster, I would bother to buy because I lust after, as I Do after a Ferrari or a 911, or even an M3.


    Does Prius make dollars and cents sense?”

    OF COURSE it makes, it makes TREMENDOUJSLY MORE SENSE than ANY other hybrid, to be sure, AND there are driver profiles that can actually SAVE $ by using a prius instead of many other hybrid or NON-Hybrid or diesel cars. People with long commutes thru a busy city and a ton of suburban errands, and above all TAXI DRIVERS and City Fleet Drivers.

    ” She’s saying we buy things for status, fashion, and neato factor.”

    NONE of that is the STUPID volt or the STUPID LEaf qualified for!!!! I SURE enjoy the Status of my Bimmer, and got it for PEANUTS. MANY SERIOUS web sites predict a similar drop in the price of second hand EVs. SO this idiot is DEAD WRONG to iunsult those who wait to buy the EV when it is $10k, FALSELY claiming it will never happen!

    ” The Apple equivalent to the HP laptop I just got cost 1000 dollars more; and I’ve used both OSs. Let’s see someone attack her real argument.”

    She has NO argument. Only GEEKS, as McELroy stated before, will buy trhese silly vehicles, which are FAR FAR more expensive than the STELLAR Prius, and offer even LESS than it does!! (the STUPID Volt gets low 30s at best on its stupid gas engine while the Prius gets 47-69 and even the 2nd gen at that!)

    PS APPLES are 2-3 times the price of PCS today. I had apples in the past when they were equally priced. WOULD SURE NOT buy one today.

  59. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Economic analysis doesn’t need to stop at rational choice.”

    Sure, and I also act like that, there is a TON of vehicles I hate to be in and own, so I eliminate them from the list and only do an econ comparison amongf those I lust after! Which means, TOUGH LUCK for the VOlt or the leaf!

    “Also, how should one calculate the cost of petroleum? I’d say our military bills, reckoned in treasure and humans, are huge. I concede that petroleum products are not limited to the benefits we get from burning them for their energy. I like plastic and fertilizers.”

    I am all for a huge increase in the price of gas to directly include the PORTION OF the military cost of securing our oil supply, imports etc, in EXCHANGE for A DROP to ALL hybrid and esp. EV subsidies.

    I also want to have some court declare that EVS are NOT zero emissions vehicles, for reasons I repeatedly justified above. (50% – 80% coal based electricity etc)

    I ALSO want to include at least half of all auto insurance we pay in the price of gas, so collectors that only do 100 miles a yeare in one of their cars should not pay as much as the salesman that does 100,000.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding the “dollars and cents sense” with the Prius:
    I am not even close to the right person to really “come out ahead” with a Prius; I will only drive it about 12K miles a year, but it will still make reasonable economic sense for me, even at today’s low gas prices. I paid about 22K for the car, a 2010 Prius trim level II. There are few alternatives available in the US with conventional power trains, given that I wanted a hatchback or wagon. H/K have a couple 5-doors, but they would cost almost 20K, use almost twice as much gas, and would depreciate much faster than a Prius. The TDI Golf and Jetta wagon get great fuel economy, but would cost more than my Prius, and probably not be as reliable.

    Strictly from an economic standpoint, I would have done better to keep my Malibu Maxx a few more years, but I like getting good gas mileage, and I truly appreciate the cool technology that makes the Prius the great car that it is. For totally different reasons, I like my MINI.

  61. Nick Stevens Says:

    “While it may seem like every magazine worth its bar-code is clamoring to select its own Car of the Year, over in Europe things are a bit more civilized. Seven publications from seven different countries get together each year to nominate their collective Car of the Year, speaking in one united voice.

    The process takes place over the course of months. First comes the nominees, then the finalists and ultimately the solitary winner. The super best-friends have just arrived at that middle step, announcing the finalists for 2011, and as in years past, it’s heavily loaded with European vehicles, but the list is not without its novelty.

    The finalists came down to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Renault/Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, Nissan Leaf, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60. The Alfa’s nomination comes exactly a decade after its predecessor, the 147, took the award upon its launch. The Leaf represents the first time an electric vehicle has made it this far in the selection process. And the budget Dacia’s selection is of course highly symbolic of the economic climate from which most of the world is only beginning to recuperate. The winner will be announced on November 29, so stay tuned.”

    No. None of these, and least of all the stupid Leaf, appeals to me to even consider it, much less give it some phony-boloney award alleging it is the… “Car of the year”

    PS that Dacia entry would make the $5,000 Hyundai Excel of 1989 or so seem well-appointed, stylish and high-quality. LOL!!!

  62. Nick Stevens Says:

    the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Renault/Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, Nissan Leaf, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60.

    note that NO German or Japanese car of ANY kind (other than the STUPID LEAF) was nominated by these utter fools. I REST MY CASE

  63. Nick Stevens Says:

    And Ford or Opel are NOT German in my book, they are FOrd and GM clones in Europe.

  64. Christie Schweinsberg Says:

    Wow, Nick. I’d like to say I was offended by your attacks on me but then I realized you probably missed your dose of meds at the institution.

    And I was wearing pants yesterday, not a dress or a skirt.

    I don’t have time to address every one of the comments made here so I’ll post the reply I just sent to someone who emailed me yesterday and hit on many of the same points.

    Yes, there are subsidies for EVs but there are also subsidies that keep gas prices low, and subsidies that allow most Americans to pay no where near the cost necessary to maintain our roads and bridges. Do you have an issue with those?

    Unless you can foresee the future no one knows how much it will cost to replace Li-ions like those in the Volt and Leaf. Chances are by the time they need replacing they’ll be a lot less than $10,000. To replace the NimHs in the Prius it costs about $2,000 I think. And what you might spend to replace batteries is money you’ll have saved by not needing regular oil changes or having to pay for the multitude of things that can go wrong with an internal combustion engine vehicle (example: the last time the oil was changed in my car the tech stripped the threads on the pan. Cost to fix: $565. Now I’m being told my exhaust system needs replacing. Cost to fix: $600).

    The infrastructure for recharging is being put in place as we speak, and some already exists. We discovered a 220V outlet in the parking garage of our building, for instance.

    Yes, federal and state funds will be used toward installation of recharging stations but there’ll be many more that private businesses will fund (like Nissan dealers, McDonalds, Meijer, Starbucks for instance) to encourage good will with customers.

    All this is moot really because most recharging will be done at home, overnight. True we have no idea what electric rates will do in the future, that is a concern. But at least electricity can be derived from many sources, not just coal. I personally look forward to a day when I can generate via solar and store (possibly using spent auto Li-ions) electricity at home.

    You say let’s drill more of “our own” oil. How about in your backyard? Seriously, would you want that? I know I wouldn’t, nor would I want a refinery near my house or any oil-related activities near the pristine lakes and beaches of my beautiful state.

    And there’s really no such thing as “our” oil. Oil that is extracted in the U.S. will be sold on the global open market. I don’t have the time to look it up but I believe there is data showing last year the U.S. actually exported more oil than it imported.

    And I totally agree with you on higher gas taxes. As we saw in the summer of 2008 there is no bigger driver of changing driving habits that $4-plus per gallon gas. But we both know none of our elected leaders have the guts to raise the gas tax at this time.

    As for the name-calling, I hope you realize it was tongue-in-cheek. But after seeing some of the names people who are proponents of EVs are called (like the ever-charming ‘libtard’) I thought ‘Luddites’ and ‘wet blankets’ were pretty mild.

  65. HtG Says:


  66. dcars Says:

    Name calling, comments on hair styles or someones preferences for dresses or pants is just nonsense.

  67. XA351GT Says:

    Yeah that’s great lets raise gas prices so people have to choose between putting gas in the car to go to work or some other more needed necessity . People who can afford big vehicles can usually afford the fuel at any cost. What you saw in 08 was the lemmings that have to try to keep up with the Joneses change their habits. I own as my daily drivers econo cars and have for 20 years . I for one can’t afford to have fuel go up rediculously so that Left wing Dems can take that tax money and piss it away.

  68. Jeff Cunningham Says:


  69. Jeff Cunningham Says:

    Christie replied:

    “Yes, there are subsidies for EVs but there are also subsidies that keep gas prices low, and subsidies that allow most Americans to pay no where near the cost necessary to maintain our roads and bridges. Do you have an issue with those?”

    Both Nick, I and any other econ literate person has HUGE issue with subsidies, quotas and any other barriers to trade or measures that DISTORT the US economy. He and I are both HUGE proponents of Free Trade, warts and all, as the far superior econ environment than protectionism, which was tried in the 30s with disastrous results.

    Specifically, the subsidies that keep our gas prices low are PUNY, as you can easily find out if you don’t already know it. What makes our gas prices low is that we don’t have the huge gas TAXES the rest of oil importing nations have.

    LArge oil cos have asked the Gov to end all subsidies to the oil business, but the problem is that these subsidies were in place to help the MINOR, not the major, oil cos compete.

    I know Nick is always for a huge gas tax ONLY if it is coupled with an Equally huge tax CUT in other taxes people pay. CHristie mentioned the 2008 huge change in buyer attitude after the $4 gas, and Nick has mentioned it here many times, BUT the downside was that, because all that extra $ went to OPEC and did not stay here, we had the worse depression (for this and other reasons) since 1930 and we still have horrible Unemployment.

    Finally, Christie, I could not help but laugh when you commented on Nick taking any meds. Nick has always been in stellar health, is not in favor of taking any meds if one can correct any problem by exercise, diet or other natural means, and, especially on his mother’s side, he has an enviable number of centenarians and near-centenarians. His father did not do poorly either, passing away just months before his 100th birthday.

  70. M Campbell Says:

    It is very interesting to see who can come on here to share coherent and knowledgeable insight in a courteous manner, and who immediately resort to derogatory, personal attacks based on a myopic view of their own world. I wonder if the people that hide behind their screen names would be so crass and rude if they had to put their face and name to their attacks.

    But you’re too chicken for that, eh ‘Nick?’

  71. Lawrence Says:

    Great job Christie!
    You really stirred up the pot nicely, or should I say the hornet’s nest. We now know that they are at least breathing out there.
    It’s clear that there is a whole sub-culture that has a lot to lose if the fossil fuel engine goes south. And they will not concede to reorienting themselves, without a fight.

  72. MJB Says:


    I didn’t think I’d ever get to the bottom of the screen to post my comment. My scroll button is still smoking.

    It’d be interesting to know if this particular Autoline Daily broadcast has set a new record for number of comments. Nothing gets people typing away on the message boards like a host spouting tree-hugger venom.

    She says that if it’s true that most of the critics of EV’s are folk that buy used and rarely spend more than $10k for their cars, then she’s got “a bridge she wants to sell you”. I’ll have you know that I am one of those people, and six years ago I bought my pre-owned Lexus SC ($45,000 new) for less than $10,000. Before that I bought a pre-owned Acura for less than $8,000 which I got another 10 years out of!

    So uhhhh, where’s that bridge you wanna sell?