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June 3rd, 2008
07:28 pm
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Non-political news
In among the barrage of Obama/Clinton coverage today, you might have missed a quiet piece of interesting news: GM is going small.

They're closing four pickup truck and SUV factories; throwing brand weight into their smaller and more fuel-efficient cars like the Cobalt; talking seriously about their battery-operated Volt; and -- shock -- may drop entirely the line that has become America's icon of small-penis compensation.

Yes, that's right, they may mothball the Hummer.

This is one of those baby steps that's likely to get lost amid the shouting and screaming and running, but we'll be feeling its effects for decades to come. And it's a hopeful sign.

Current Location: ~journal
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
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From:packbat
Date:June 4th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
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I saw that in the BBC! Here's hoping they'll hold things together long enough to start making it work...

(P.S. Flipping through your article, I'm surprised to see that the Volt has a gas engine to recharge the batteries -y'know, I think I remember someone saying that that was the optimum setup for a hybrid...)
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From:roaminrob
Date:June 4th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
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I posted a comment to your LJ a while back describing a delivery vehicle built in 19-oh-something that did exactly that.
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From:packbat
Date:June 5th, 2008 10:51 am (UTC)
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Ah, I had completely forgotten that - I should look it up.
From:tropism
Date:June 5th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
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Yeah. Gas engines can be very, very efficient -- if you tune them for one specific RPM. That's impossible to do with a direct connection to the wheels, but when the connection's only electrical, it works very well.
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From:packbat
Date:June 5th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
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Exactly. :)
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From:wy
Date:June 4th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC)
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Hey, the HMMWV is a perfectly good vehicle if you need to add on a ton of armor and operate in terrain that may include rubble, small plants, boulders, up and down hillsides, etc.
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From:wy
Date:June 4th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
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You want to start the apocalypse, or shall I?
From:tropism
Date:June 5th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
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We could just get them all to move to Detroit...
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From:firestrike
Date:June 4th, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
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The civilian derivatives, however, are a different species of beastie entirely.
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From:wy
Date:June 4th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
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=) Same chassis, same frame. Crappier gasoline engine, though. Also, slightly different bodywork.


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From:roaminrob
Date:June 4th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
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No, not at all. One of the criticisms of the H2 and H3 lines for a long time has been that it's "built to look rugged", but structurally not any different than your standard consumer vehicle.

The H2 has the same chassis as the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, and the H3 has the same chassis as GM's Colorado truck.

Just glancing at an H3, you can tell that it couldn't possibly be built on the same frame or chassis as a HMMWV -- the wheelbase is visibly too short. The H3 has a 119" wheelbase, and the M998A2 has a 130" wheelbase.
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From:wy
Date:June 4th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
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I was commenting on the HMMWV/H1. :P Not the wannabe 'H2 / H3' things. :P
From:deirdremoon
Date:June 4th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
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I cannot afford to hold my breath over this, but dude-- if it proves true, I am SO holding a "get drunk for Gaia" celebration.
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From:wy
Date:June 4th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
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(= We need excuses for those?
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From:kadyg
Date:June 4th, 2008 05:42 am (UTC)
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I read an article in Wired a couple years ago with the head of GE about their plants going green. He straight up said that he wasn't too hyped about environmentalism, but saw the transition more as the direction that business would be going in and he wanted to be at the forefront.

I don't care what the motivation is, the fact that they are doing it at all is way cool.
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From:ngarewyrd
Date:June 4th, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
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another interesting tidbit, The Ford F150 truck has, for the first time in many years, lost it's 'best seller' title for the last month

They're small waves, but that is how a tsunami starts out =8D
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From:natetg
Date:June 4th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
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Really, this is a continuation of a trend where imports make inroads on the US auto market. At minimum, it's been happening since the 70's.
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From:dancinglights
Date:June 4th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
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I saw that yesterday and was torn between posting it and jumping with glee, and screaming about why the #@$% they didn't lose the market share to push this into happening last year or before... I do rather like glee better, but wtf people.
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From:roaminrob
Date:June 4th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
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The larger the business, the more slowly it moves, almost by necessity.

Further, the automotive industry in particular is clearly driven by demand. Most people do want to drive something that will caress their ego, and economy cars don't do that.

Only now that US gasoline prices have doubled in a preiod of 18 months are people beginning to put their ego aside and look at a vehicle's fuel efficiency.

Blame the consumer, not the company.
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From:dancinglights
Date:June 4th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
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Indeed. Hence the sputtering wondering why they didn't lose the market share to make it worth their while earlier; or more explicitly, why people had continued to want the damn things while we've been ruining our economy at improperly declared war driving up peak-oil-approaching prices for years now.

I know the average American consumer hasn't been looking at things that way, but really it just makes me want to throw things most of the time.
From:tropism
Date:June 5th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
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You know, one of the things that's been killing GM is that it has far too fucking many models in production, so I'm glad to see they got the message. I'm guessing they're mostly going to drop their extraneous SUV lines and stick with cars and light pickups (the latter category just about the only one that does well...)
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From:delcan
Date:June 5th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
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Fingers crossed... the fact that it's GM doing it gives me hope for everyone else.

Let's just hope that they don't backslide on it.
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