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Re: 2010 - where is the chinese EV car industry NOW?

*Please note that these comments only apply to the (emerging) EV Market Segment, not gasoline, diesel or even LP gas models.

If I were to give this, "Where is the Chinese EV Car Industry now" question a news article title, it would read: Slow EV Boat From China is lost at Sea and May Never Reach The North American Market! Though I know a great deal about European and Japanese buyer demands and preferences, I'll limit my comments to my home North American Market (U.S./Canada)experiences and expert knowledge. In order to put the emerging world EV Market into perspective, I'd first like to go back and touch on my own personal involvement with American Honda's launching of The "Acura" Brand in 1986. As a young man who ran out of money to complete college (I have since earned a Doctorate),for several years in the early 1980s, I kept hearing middle-class Americans talk about switching from luxury brands like Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW, Lincoln, etc...to Honda's Accord. Their buyer reasoning was fairly simple- The Honda Accord has nice interior comfort and features like PW, PDL, tilt, cruise, A/C... (just like my old luxury car), get's great gas mileage and it even rides very well for a smaller car, but most importantly, it doesn't break down or have "Planned Obsolescence" flaws built into its' design. Therefore, they have held their value and are, in short, the best car value for the dollar!
Well, to make a long story short, Honda understood this market trend in the early 1980s and answered with The Acura Brand that not only offered an upscale Accord version, The Legend Model, but also went on launch the smaller Integra Model series and many other successful brand models. In the early days, during my involvement as the L.A. Basin (largest car market on Earth) "1990 Acura Walkaround Champion" features and benefits specialist, these cars ranked at the very top of safety, initial quality, comfort and resale value. Honda's success with The Acura Brand, spurred Toyota to offer Lexus and Nissan the Infiniti Brands, and well the rest is all a well documented story of tremendous corporate profits for the Japanese.
I returned to college and answered my calling for teaching (which I had already experienced as a very successful sales trainer) but continued to stay involved in the automobile industry by buying and selling muscle and sports cars (because this is the only market segment that consistently appreciates over time) and illustrating my own designs as a hobby (a carryover from my early art school training). While in college, I often thought about how Honda's little early 1970s CiViC became The Acura Legend in time. After all, during the 1970s, everyone said, "The Japanese only copy American designs" and "They don't have any imagination like GM" "GM had Harley Earl's great designs in the 1950s, rotary engine 4wd concept cars in the 1960s and the Trans-Am Pontiac excitement through the 1970s-so the Japanese car makers just don't stand a chance" they said! Well, "they" were wrong and Chrysler's boxy rust bucket designs were so bad (in spite of successes like the K-car and mini-van) as a company, they went bankrupt! Ford and GM, mostly because of their successful pick up trucks, survived this 1980s American car maker meltdown but continued to loose greater and greater market share to The Japanese that had figured out how to package smaller cars that would ride, drive and have the amenities of larger models.
For the past 20 years, though American car companies built better small cars, they still have lost huge market share to the Japanese (as Toyota, not GM is now the world's largest automaker). Instead, by lulling the American public into a false sense of security (regarding volitile oil prices controlled by greedy corporations) the American companies continued doing what they have always done best and turned pick ups into large SUVs that had big profit margins (mostly in expensive parts and repairs) that kept them afloat, until now...
Now that oil bubble burst (with $4 a gallon U.S. gas prices and much higher around the world), on the one hand, GM and Chrysler took huge taxpayer bailouts and are mostly investing even more government dollars into their pick up trucks with so called, "clean diesel technology" (making this U.S. taxpayer angry as Hell that they are making the same old mistakes). However, on the other hand, Ford, Gm and even Chrysler with their Fiat offering are now about to nail the door shut on The emerging Chinese EV car industry once and for all by offering a glut of new sub compact fuel efficient ICE designs with better mileage, interiors and more youth buyer toys. With the global economy in the toilet- everyone is downsizing into this market segment to survive. Game over!
For those of you that have read my previous entries since 2007, you know that this upsets me as much as it does your own Chinese car industry entries. Why? Because China is the world's last best hope of overcoming the global oil based economy (since it has no real oil reserves and a huge emerging manufacturing based world economy). Let's talk realities from here on:
1. Likely, the U.S. automakers are, and will always be, the kings of full-sized ICE pick ups and SUVs; we invented and perfected the behemoth. Government money put into this segment insures this will continue. To compete here is corporate suicide. 10 years from now, EVs may challenge here.
2. The Japanese have perfected what once was called the compact car, but now is referred to as the mid-sized ICE sedan; the Accord and Camry are going to dominate this segment until (if it ever does) EV technology grows up a little more. In two to five years, EVs may challenge here.
3. The burgeoning and fastest growing world market segment (even in the big three markets) is the sub-compact mini car market. THE CHINESE MANUFACTURERS COULD COMPETE HERE RIGHT NOW IF THEY LISTEN TO WHAT THEY BUYERS/POTENTIAL IMPORTERS ARE SAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(a) Buyers don't want cheaply made underpowered copies of Honda, Toyota, Cooper and Chevy mini cars in an EV package priced at or above the ICE version!
(b) Buyers do want unique EV designs that compete head to head with similarly sized sub-compacts: If the ICE model offers A/C, Pw,PDL, cruise, tilt and a 120-140KW drive train with front wheel drive-OFFER IT!
(c) Buyers are willing to accept range restrictions of 120-150 miles per charge, only if they get everything else the ICE offers at the same price!

The historical North American Car Market lessons are clear, the opening is clearly defined, but based on my own experiences in trying to find an existing Chinese EV maker to partner with my company- no one at the big manufacturing companies want to look realistically at the mistakes they've made in offering cheaply made underpowered copies of previous/current ICE designs into an EV package. Furthermore, what a huge waste of billions of dollars the Chinese government is spending to subsidize hundreds of companies that simply don't offer competitive products for the big three EV- not ICE markets! Please listen Beijing- you can't compete with existing, well-established ICE manufacturers and to do so keeps killing the planet and your own economic growth! You don't have any oil, so why bother perpetuating this power structure that makes the world citizens slaves to oil companies while our planet is experiencing devastating climate change? The bottom line is that I would be remiss not to point out the clear solution here is to go all out in getting competitive EVs into the big three world markets right now! Skip the heavy rust prone stamped steel parts- switch to lightweight fiberglass car that can be effectively powered by your existing electric hub motors (your technology is already here in the electric scooter market). By eliminating heavy metal parts, transmissions, differentials, etc...and going with light weight super efficient motors right in the wheels, manufacturers can competitively offer excellent sub-compact EVs with lithium batteries, A/C, PW,PDL, and nicely appointed interiors, etc...to compete in this segment today! If you don't you'll be closing almost all of your car factories very soon!
THINK SOLAR GO GREEN
Sincerely,
Dr. Alberts
 

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I love the optomism of your response:lol: , but just to clarify- I said the Acura Legend was designed as an upscale version of the Honda Accord (for the new market niche Honda had discovered):nod: I was involved in launching the Acura Brand from 1986-1990 as a sales trainer. I had an exceptional feaure and benefit presentation which earned me the 1990 L.A. Basin (THE LARGEST CAR MARKET ON EARTH) Acura "Walkaround Competition" Award. In a twist of fate, I was offered a very high ranking position with America Honda (out of Long Beach, CA) but they rescinded the offer after realizing that I hadn't completed my college degree. Ironically, I went back to school and went on to earn not only the BA, but MA and Ph.D. as well. However, I never returned officially to the car business until 2007 when I designed and began promoting my 4wd solar electric coupe, The "Wasp".
I'm clarifying all of these points because I know key auto executives read this blog. I'm letting them know that my artistic, marketing, sales and training experiences are very transferable to launching a quality EV brand (just as I helped to do with Acura). Moreover, I'm blatently saying (since I've recently worked with a major Japanese R & D firm also) that Chinese automakers are way off track by:
1. Trying to compete with well-established ICE manufacturers because they all have decades and some nearly a century of ICE building experience, established global suppliers and tie- ins to major oil companies. By jumping in too late, in a game that you can't win, you're blowing valuable resources and time needed to slow down climate change! What I see is China trying to catch up on ICE technology and putting EVs on the back burner. By the time China catches up, it will be broke and forced to knuckle under to the likes of GM (that has no real intention of ever building pure EVs).
2. The EVs that are offered are cheap copies of old ICE designs. They are made like ICE cars and are therefore way to heavy to readily adapt great new affordable technology like wheel hub motors (which are common on Chinese made electric bikes/motor scooters). The LSVs that are offered can not be shipped because of patent infringements. The few that don't copy other existing designs are underpowered and un-safe for highway use in North America!
3. Not taking advantage of the global trend toward Green electric subcompacts right now. Make them just as powerful, safe and offer the same amenities (like A/C, PW,PDL...) and you'll win. Wait and the big companies will drive ICE subcompacts so low-you'll be finished.
The footnote to this ICE vs. electric debate is that China is shooting off its' foot, hand, ear and elbow since inexpensive solar cells and plastics (well-developed industries there that naturally compliment EVs) are loosing too. Steel, iron and aluminum can still be used for some car parts and building materials, but China's greatest bang for the buck exists by combining the best of its' existing resources and offering the world an alternative to ICE pollution! Personally, and speaking for many green enthusiasts, my next new car will be an EV- or I'll keep fixing my old ICE car and truck. I'm not buying another gas powered car!
 

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I couldn't agree with your assessment of the current state of the industry more:thumb: . You are right, many American's (as long as the economy was doing well) opted for bigger is better, SUVs, trucks and the All-American Muscle Cars actually just recently re-appeared with The Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro. Don't get me wrong, if we weren't facing serious climate change issues and a worldwide recession, I'd personally opt for a new Challenger with a hemi!:cool:
However, and here's the real irony, there is absolutely ZERO reason why this type of car can be re-envisioned as an equally powerful but socially, environmentally, and economically responsible EV with even better features and around the same price of USD 30k; this is what my "Wasp" 4wd solar electric sports coupe design promotes- you can have it all right now, but you're going to need a re-charge periodically.
However, I'm not responding just to advocate the building of my own design by an existing Chinese EV maker (though it is my eventual goal). Rather, I'm telling you that Ford has an aggresive advertising campaign in the US right now promoting several sub-compact mini cars for less than USD $9,000; they woke up and the GM imports you mentioned are coming too along with even more ICE offerings at the bottom of the market from Japan. MY POINT IS THIS DOOR IS CLOSING ON CHINA RIGHT THIS MINUTE! YOU CAN NOT COMPETE IN THIS SUB-COMPACT MARKET HERE BECAUSE ALL CAR MAKERS HAVE REALIZED THE MINI IS THE NEW MID-SIZED HERE. EVERYONE HERE IS ALREADY DOWNSIZING, SO WHY IN THE H*!L WOULD CHINA WANT TO SEND US MORE CARS LIKE THIS? 1.1L, 1.3L, etc...IS NOT THE ANSWER MAN-IT'S EVs- THIS MARKET IS STILL WIDE OPEN IF YOU'LL ONLY Carpe diem!
TAKE THE SMALLEST ORIGINAL CHINESE DESIGNS, STIR IN TWO HUB MOTORS, BAKE IN A COMFORTABLE CLIMATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT-AND THE DISH IS READY TO SERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:rolleyes:
YOU'VE GOT TO GET ICE OFF THE BRAIN-ITS A DEAD END STREET YOU ARE RUSHING DOWN WHEN YOU COULD GET A CLEAR JUMP INTO A LEAD IN EVs! WAKE UP BEIJING AND DON"T FLUSH YOUR MONEY DOWN THE ICE TOILET!
 

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NO MORE ICE, TIME'S UP! See my "I'm not buying another car until it's electric" campaign for a million signatures on Idealist.org .
THINK SOLAR GO GREEN
 

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Universal Automotive Platform Guidelines that make dollars and sense for China :

1.According to almost all noted automotive engineering experts, major OEMs create platforms to be shared by multiple models- even across company and brand makes. Platforms are essential to develop so that production costs and upgrades can be assigned to many models. In the past decade we have seen the Ford Taurus platform applied to Jaguar and Volvo Models, Chrysler adopted existing Mercedes technology in developing their 300 series and Charger Models, GM has used this concept for years in creating three distinct vehicle sizes that applied this concept across the brand lines from Chevrolet to Cadillac. Even Nissan developed their mini- van offering years ago on the Maxima Platform to create excellent ride and handling characteristics. Honda, Toyota and Nissan offer multiple luxury models of differing Acura, Lexus and Infiniti variations on their mainstream models. Currently, GM has created a platform called The “Skateboard” upon which all future EVs will ride.
2.As the world economy shrinks, population expands and countries sign “Green Energy” legislation, cars will be forced to cut out design excesses to meet tighter and tighter emissions and fuel efficiency standards; reducing vehicle size and weight and improving aerodynamics makes these challenges easier to overcome. Most potential consumers now have far less disposable income (than before gas hit $4 a gallon in the US) to spend and now accept this eventuality.
3.Even if China ignores its' social responsibility to NOT put thousands of new polluting ICE models on the road every day, you are filling the pockets of foreign oil billionaires and forcing your own economy to be controlled by British, U.S., and Russian oil powers. Though much of the world's oil comes from The Middle-East- it is, in fact, controlled by the aforementioned powers. Therefore, it doesn't make any sort of long term sense to continue supporting a global oil economy in China, when China has no oil reserves!. If simple supply (of scores of new sub compact ICE models hitting the North American shores from every existing OEM) doesn't deter Chinese automakers- perhaps the clear global demand for quality EVs will! Consumers are screaming for EVs not more small ICE models. Wake up China, the supply of ICE subcompacts is just too great to take on while the demand for the same models in EV form is a wide open marketplace worldwide!
4.Moreover, China is emerging as a worldwide solar power supplier; this is a natural domestic Chinese business partnership waiting to happen by expanding both the EV offerings and solar product outlets. By building cars that offer solar recharging, you are not only cleaning up the dirty planet you helped to pollute, but also offering your customers a huge energy savings with some free charging and more importantly helping to meet Beijing's 8% annual GDP edict. Keep in mind, by offering solar powered cars, remote military operations and deliveries can be made far from power sources and China's coal reserves can be strategically saved for manufacturing expansion and powering older structures not suitable for solar (in other words, this will not significantly effect power company profits there. There will still be a huge demand for coal fired electricity).
5.Since fuel efficiency is proportional to vehicle size and weight, all new vehicle models must decrease wasted space by offering compact (but large enough for four large adults) interior designs; the best opportunity to meet this goal is by adopting the widespread use of BLDC hub motors that can offer regeneration right in the wheel without the need for A/C conversion expenses. With the complete drive train located right inside the wheels, space previously used for the transmission, differential and drive shafts can now be used to both house battery packs and increase passenger space/decrease weight and design excesses.
6.Since vehicle weight is also an established criteria for achieving economical operation, the extensive use of high strength plastic polymers and resins must be employed to create both the desired power to weight ratio, that is currently universally accepted as 15:1 in ICE designs (200hp = 3000lb car), and electrification safety considerations- it only makes sense to build exteriors with ABS bumpers, fiberglass bodies, and strategically reinforced carbon fiber components where needed, etc...and also open up the possibility of applying/laminating solar cells directly to the external shell. Please note, this does not mean the the car will not have structural rigidity- it simply means that the impact rigidity previously built into stamped steel fenders (with crumple zones) now has been moved inside the shell and spread to...
7.A frame-less floor pan with bulk heads designed to absorb impact (like oil freight ships) and further reinforced with a passenger safety cage (as are NASCAR race cars). Moreover, once the hub motor design has been adopted (see solar race cars) the twisting torque forces on the body have been eliminated by as much as 90% by allowing the power made in the wheels the go just a few inches (not throughout the entire vehicle body) directly to where the tire meets the road. In short, solar racers found out years ago, that when using hub motors- you no longer need a vehicle frame to rob power and create excessive weight.
8.Worldwide consumers have repeatedly said that they will accept the EV vehicle range issues if these cars can travel at least 100+ miles per charge (certainly solar extends this range substantially)- but they fully expect these theoretically cheaper to make (especially since lithium battery prices have now come down and EVs have 2/3 fewer parts to begin with) EVs to compete with their old model they are now ready to replace! This means value for dollar, in terms of features and benefits must equal the similarly sized and equipped ICE model. If the ICE subcompact offers offers a plush interior (as Ford is now addressing to compete with Honda, Toyota, etc...) with, PW, PDL, tilt, cruise, A/C etc...then the EV version of the car must offer the features at the same price- including vehicle power suitable for highway speeds. This means at least 100kw of power for even the smallest of cars! Consumers do want to save the planet, but not if it means giving up power and convenience features. This lesson must be learned if any of us are to successfully sell large numbers (and mass production is the only way this economy of scale can be created) of Evs.
9.The Japanese and Europeans already make great compact cars! Don't waste your time copying these car makers' metal ICE model designs! It will take you years to get anywhere near their technology and quality standards and we will accelerate global warming by tenfold in the process! Pouring money down this sewer will return you more earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions as you go broke and become ICE OEM pawns to be manipulated.
10.:thumb: Put all of your money and energy into supplying the hard working factory workers and working poor of the world with reliable EV transportation. Not only is this the fastest growing market segment in India and China, but the worldwide recession has spread this need to Europe, Japan and North America as well. You have the wheel hub motor makers, the lithium battery producers, the plastics, the solar and manufacturing base to do this right! This is where you will sell the greatest numbers of cars in huge volume, by completely focusing on exceeding ICE subcompact standards in an original EV designed package (not insert underpowered electric motor in metal ICE car mentality).:nono:

*My own Stinger Motors Inc. Mission statement is offered as a corporate guideline under Idealist.org 's Affinty group: “I won't buy another new car until it's electric”.:mad:


THINK SOLAR GO GREEN CHINA :nod:
 
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