GM, Corvette, Reuss, & Industry’s Impending Transformation
Last week, General Motors revealed the 450-hp 2014 Corvette Stingray. The 6.2-liter V8 includes direct injection, Active Fuel Management (four cylinders are shut down when not needed), and continuously variable valve timing. And the car is said to be the “most fuel-efficient Corvette ever, exceeding the 2013 EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway.”
But it is not exactly a paragon of minimal petroleum use—not that it is meant to be, as people aren’t going to buy a Stingray to hypermile.
So one might think that GM is not thinking about fuel economy but about supercars and suchlike.
According to comments made by GM North America president Mark Reuss at the Automotive News World Congress, the company is thinking about going beyond mere fuel economy to a total transformation of the industry.
(Photo: John F. Martin for GM)
“The electric car is not dead.
“That’s despite what you might hear, and despite what you might read about Americans not being ready for it, or about it being ‘under attack’ by local governments retracting incentives for it. You read about cities like Los Angeles canceling free parking for electric cars. Or you read about states like Washington instituting a $100-registration fee for electric cars. . . . .
“Or you hear pundits criticizing slow sales of electric vehicles and you might think, ‘See? The electric car is a failure. It’s dead on arrival.”
“You might think that, but you’d be wrong.”
“We’re talking about a transformation here. And transformation takes time.
“It takes a long time to change an industry, to change habits, and to change a way of life.
“I believe, and we at GM believe, that the public will accept and embrace electric vehicles; some people already have. And the rest of them will come around when technology advances electric vehicles to the point where they offer comparable performance at comparable prices.
“We’ll get there. We will see the day when we have an affordable electric car that offers 300 miles of range with all the comfort and utility of a conventional vehicle.”
Mark Reuss is a smart guy and a good engineer. You might think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about as regards electric vehicles.
But you’d be wrong.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
This is not a piece of modern art: Rather, it is an image from Blackmore Sensors and Analytics of Bozeman, Montana, micro-Doppler signatures of pedestrians (or maybe that’s a pedestrian, singular) walking (see it now?). Blackmore is a company that is developing FMCW lidar.
Design, materials, powertrain and manufacturing details about what is arguably the quintessential vehicle in the Jeep lineup.