Wednesday, April 2, 2008

GM Soliciting Opinions on Hybrid Vehicles

Thanks to a mailing from the Union of Concerned Scientists, I just submitted a response to GM's request for input from consumers on their Hybrid vehicle programs. I editted the response a bit from the default template to address my concerns and make it less cookie cutter. If you'd like to make a statement to GM, you can do so here.

Your company recently launched an online initiative to solicit dialogue with consumers. With that in mind, I am writing to express my concerns regarding General Motors' use of hybrid technologies.

Gas prices are rising with future prospects of gasoline supplies contributing to rising fuel costs. Ethanol and E85 vehicles aren't going to make a significant impact on operating costs or fuel availability anytime soon and is contributing to rising food costs. The way forward is to leverage Hybrid and Electric vehicles to serve the bulk of drivers needs by providing better fuel efficiency without significantly raising the initial purchase costs of the vehicles.

According to EPA data, GM's current hybrid offerings are rated among the poorest on emissions, gas mileage, and carbon footprint. The way to lead is not from the
bottom. GM doesn't have any vehicles that compete in the same classes as the popular Prius and Civic models, and is outscored by many Lexus models.

If you wish to court this future auto buyer, I urge you to take steps to define the alternative fuel marketplace.

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz recently admitted at the New York Auto Show that not making a vehicle like the Prius was "a mistake." Yet GM continues to make that same mistake with its current hybrid models by focusing today's technology on power instead of fuel economy. If GM instead focused on giving consumers efficient options in every vehicle class using both conventional and hybrid technologies, it could emerge once again as a genuine automotive leader.