FutureFolly wrote:9.6kw On-Board Charger: Getting the 80% recharge time under two hours would start to approach the convenience of DC charging. Being able to hook directly into a NEMA 14-50 like a Tesla would be a huge advantage. It would also be a great marketing tool and benefit the DC-FC system.
They can buy them right now from Tesla (they have built over 50,000).
If the size of Tesla's OBC isn't an issue it could almost be an aftermarket upgrade. This may actually be a brilliant idea.
The Model S is a BIG car though. Their engineering size constraints were probably not as small GM would need in a Spark sized car.
FutureFolly wrote:DC-FC Network: Again, probably partnership dependent, but GM could provide the capital needed to create a network of DC-FCs like Tesla's Supercharger Network. Alternatively, GM could provide capital for Chevy dealers to add DC-FCs.
You don't think it would be smarter to jump off the Frankenplug train to nowhere and partner with Tesla for THEIR Supercharger network? The first OEM to do that (I predict it will be Daimler / Mercedes Benz) will be in a commanding position.
The model that Nissan uses, and likely BMW, of putting their particular brand of charger at their respective dealers is grossly flawed.
I honestly don't think Tesla wants to license their Supercharger Network to GM for a reasonable price. It's part of the exclusivity of the network that it's not crowded like gas stations. MB and BMW are also basically direct competitors, and unless they formed a deep alliance, I don't see Tesla giving up the strategic value of the network.
Another consideration most people don't notice is that Tesla specifically placed the chargers on major pathways, but not near population centers where Tesla owners would live or work. It can't just be the price of real estate. They are designing them as way stations for people passing through, not people on their way to do unscheduled errands, like most BEV owners.
It's not a good fit for anyone.
It's too early to predict the doom of the Frankenplug as well. It has positive attributes too.
FutureFolly wrote:Regenerative Brakes: Natural feeling regenerative brakes is one of the Holy Grails of EV
technology. Being the first to master it would be huge and possibly the perfect way to compliment to the excellent motor.
I guess you haven't driven the competition.
Correct. Not even an EV owner actually. Did an around the block in a friend's Leaf.
I'm genuinely curious who has the best brakes. I have read that the Prius has the best brakes for a hybrid, but it didn't happen overnight. From a theoretical perspective there is no reason they shouldn't get to the point of being undetectable. Until that point more research is always needed.
FutureFolly wrote:Advanced Frame Materials: Similar to Ford's investments in aluminum with the F-150 and BMW's investment's in carbon-fiber, weight reducing materials will eventually find applications in most future vehicle frames, but getting out of the gate early would be a huge advantage.
Too late for "early". Did you know that the Tesla Model S is all aluminum?
Actually I did, but by "early" I didn't mean leading the way. It's definitely too late for that. Lol
I was trying to illuminate the point that even if "cutting edge" research in materials were develop it would be a slow trickle down to small cars like the Volt and Spark.
I don't think future cars will go full aluminum though. The price premium of the metal will probably prevent this in anything under the Full-Sized Sedan/E-Segment. I think we will see a lot of aluminum-steel hybrid frames with aluminum sub-frames.
FutureFolly wrote:Trucks and SUVs are already highly profitable and would see the biggest quantitative drop in weight.
You hit the nail on the head. If government doesn't mandate EV's, GM wouldn't build any. When they do have a mandate, they do the absolute minimum, just like Toyota, Honda, et al.
The Spark is only masking as a compliance car. California is a test market, not the final market. If they were going to be dragged into the BEV market, they would have bought a powertrain, not developed such an innovative one, and they wouldn't have included DC-Fast Charging in any form.
The sale price was meant to be ultracompetitive too. Most compliance car only have attractive lease prices.
Everything about the car was a strategic. That's not what you do with a car you're being dragged into making.
FutureFolly wrote:It's tempting to think that better batteries is where every automaker should be putting their money, but realistically investing in a lithium battery producer would be a gamble. Tesla's Gigafactory mainly aimed at lowering prices through scale, not research.
You seriously don't think Tesla is leading the way in battery research, particularly when it's the only game they have?
Tesla is certainly leading the way in terms of dollars invested. The research side of battery investment is very risky though.
I meant that you can easily do research without a Gigafactory. You can't easily reduce cost without a Gigafactory. I was pointing out that there are two ways to reduce cost, research and scale. The risk of the research is that it doesn't produce the discovery you need. The risk of the Gigafactory is that capacity unexpectedly exceeds demand. Tesla's Gigafactory is about maintaining supply so Tesla's demand doesn't inflate prices of Lithium battery cells. It's as much a need as it is a cost reducing measure. There is no reason for Tesla to hedge against the factory not reaching scale when the car company can't survive without consuming all the output of the factory. GM can't say the same thing and that makes a Gigafactory a different kind of gamble for GM than Tesla. GM would have to change their EV business model dramatically, and that is unlikely.
If GM invested with a battery producer and they developed the Holy Grail of Electrodes together, GM would have the inside track on the best future batteries without having to pay extortion prices because they would be co-owners of the intellectual property. That is a BIG contingency though. Research is just a gamble, and gambles aren't what GM is interested in at this point.