I heard an ABC News report on the current dire straits of the American car industry, which apparently are different from the dire straits the industry has been in for the last 30 years. In passing they mentioned that GM had more models getting over 30 MPG than any foreign manufacturer. (They didn’t mention whether that might be because GM has 5 divisions making essentially identical models with different names.) So, wanting to believe that a great old American company was doing great new American things, like trying to save the customer a buck at the pump, I started trying to find confirmation. Instead I found this review of GM’s electric concept car the Chevy Volt at the Dilbert Blog:
To summarize GMâ€™s Concept:
Someday GM hopes to figure out how to make a big honkinâ€™ car battery, and figure out how to do it economically, and hope the whole project ends up saving more energy than it consumes, or failing in that, hope no one asks how much energy it takes to build the cars…
Iâ€™m guessing that the happiest employees at GM are the ones who are working on concepts. That sounds way easier than building actual cars. Iâ€™m the sort of guy who would not last long in that department. During meetings Iâ€™d be all â€œLetâ€™s say the car will fly as soon as we figure out how to build an anti-gravity pack that only costs a nickel.â€ Everyone would stare at me and the room would get quiet. Then Iâ€™d say, â€œAnd it should be invisible and indestructible, and use no energy.â€
Again, the room would get very quiet. There might be some nervous shuffling. Then Iâ€™d say, â€œWhatâ€™s the matter with you people? Donâ€™t you know what a concept is???â€
That would be my last day in the concept department, and in all likelihood, the beginning of my career as a cartoonist.
Yeah, or maybe a career as a blogger…
I’ll throw in two more cents worth. The big concept here is an electric car that can drive 40 miles on a charge. Really? 40 miles? This had best be a luxury car because I don’t know many folks who can afford to own a car that can’t be used on vacation, can’t be used to visit Grandma in the next county, can’t be used for a commute of more than 20 miles and isn’t good for a weekend fishing trip. I’m not totally sure, but I think the kids at Crowder College build a solar car from scratch every year that can go a lot more than 40 miles and have been doing it since the early 80s – I think I’ll be trying to buy theirs before I run out and buy a Volt.