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Old 03-23-2004, 05:10 PM   #1
Jon [in CT]
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Default Electric Vehicle Group Plotting 'Attack' on Subaru

From http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?sect...le&storyid=642:
Quote:
The author — who is the Associate Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches — wants to see Subaru begin building affordable, highway-capable battery-electric versions of its new R1e coupe.

Feb 04, 2004

I Want My R1e

By Rev. W. Christopher Benham Skidmore

A Plan to Get Subaru to Build Highway-Capable EVs for the Rest of Us

Hear me out. I have a plan. Well, it's more like a dream, but with your help we can make and implement a powerful plan for pressuring an OEM to bring a nice EV to market.

PHASE ONE: Putting Our Heads Together
Let's launch a concerted, organized, grass-roots, highly-focused campaign to bring another full-sized highway-capable EV to market in the United States of America.

Target one manufacturer.

Make them know it will be profitable for them because we will each: PLEDGE TO BUY THE CAR WHEN IT IS PRODUCED.

Believing that progress can be made in the corporate sector when a large number of consumers make their voices heard in a loud way, I want to start a campaign to get progressive-minded consumers (and potential EV consumers) uberfocused-- and put pressure on one car maker: Subaru.

Here's why I want us to target Subaru:

They have proven themselves in a niche market here in the U.S. and the EV market is still perceived as only niche by auto makers. Subaru only sells five cars in the U.S. and have positioned themselves well as doing something no one else does and being the exclusive go-to company when consumers know what they want, e.g. all-wheel drive standard on every vehicle.

They already have a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States poised for service and distribution. They have a dealership and service department in every state in the United States of America. I would really love to have an EV with a nice warranty and capacity for local service.

In 2003, they only sold 186,819 units. If we can convince anyone to take control of an entire, wide-open niche in the U.S., who better to target than a small niche-market company. We would not need to guarantee them many sales to make it worth their while. Even with a challenging sales environment and an increasingly competitive marketplace, they have continued to sustain strong sales growth in the U.S.

They have taken a step forward with a "hybrid" because what they have designed for the B9SC is adaptable to the existing drive trains in their other vehicles and basically turns a gas vehicle into a completely electric vehicle until it is operated over 50mph or needs unusually quick acceleration.

They make some quality products. Consumer Reports recommends 3/4 of everything Subaru has ever built-- and that's not an easy achievement.

They need to clean up their image on the environmental front after their decision to pollute more and consume more fuel by tweaking their wagons to obtain new light-truck classifications and add turbochargers.

And of course, they have already made a 240V conductive charging, laminated lithium-ion, totally electric R1e.

Let's tap the wellspring of wisdom and pool our resources for some potent and honest analysis. Here's what I propose.

I want every person who has ever complained about OEMs not making an EV for the general public to e-mail, write to via USPS mail, and call every upper-level executive at Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Subaru of America, Inc., and the owner of their nearest Subaru dealer-- within a set span of time, (perhaps around Earth Day)-- and vow to purchase an EV from them if they will meet certain specifications. I am imagining a massive concerted effort in which we decide what we want, and then all ask for the same thing. For example we take polls and discuss in forums until we can come to some kind of a consensus about what we'd all like to have in this EV and then we all call, write, and visit dealerships pledging to purchase a $25,000.00, reliable, full-sized, vehicle-to-grid, 115and240V onboard charging, lithium ion powered sedan, that gets 100 miles of range, that looked like a legacy sedan, with side curtain and passenger airbags, a proper marketing campaign, five star crash rating, seating for five, our whole wish list, etc. etc. etc. and offer them a down payment on the vehicle immediately in advance.

If you are reading this, it means we already into phase one here. We can make this happen if we all get involved. Bill Moore has provided us with a forum for the initial hashing out of details, so read-on and then give your input about this plan to launch a massive telephone-calling campaign in which we would have people call every sales manager in all 600 dealerships making a vow to purchase the EV from their nearest Subaru dealer, and to also show up in person at their nearest dealer with the same pledge. Phase one is putting our heads together-- vetting the plan by imagining every conceivable scenario, brainstorming, criticizing, and then actually deciding, through polls and discussion groups exactly what we can realistically expect to "demand." I wouldn't want to launch a campaign that involved asking people to pledge to buy any EV that Subaru might produce

PHASE TWO: Putting Our Energy Together:
Phase two is putting our energy together. It won't be easy to decide on what we want to ask for, but once we are in agreement, we need to grow the base of activists before we take action. I don't know how many individuals are members of the Electric Auto Association, EV World, Electrifying Times, Alternative Fuels groups, and other networks, but these members are the initial base. Phase one will include input from all these members, and perhaps many more. Once we have established a realistic product to demand, we need to get as many people on board with this plan as we possibly can. This involves organizing, educating, motivating, and making commitments to spread the word and motivate potential customers. The campaign could only be successful if we can convince a company they have a large number of guaranteed sales.

In phase two we will need to reach out to every conceivable environmental group from BushGreenWatch to REPAMerica — to champion this cause and get folks onboard. During this phase wed need folks to volunteer to make slick and brief educational and campaign materials available to these other groups to lobby first for the need for EVs and then for our particular plan.

It might be possible to even tap into something like Josh Tickell's network of 10,000 biodiesel supporters as well. Could you imagine what we could do if we had 10,000 people making a solemn vow to Kyoji Takenaka to buy this product? Subaru only sold 10,694 units of their Baja model in 2003, and that was their best Baja sales year ever.

PHASE THREE: Putting Our Money Together:
Phase three is putting our money together. No, I do not want us to pool our money; don't send me any money: pledge it to an automaker. Money talks. Let's shout.

Once we've decide what we are going to ask for and have executed a successful campaign to grow the numbers of people in our concerted movement, then we must take action and pledge to buy a specific EV if Subaru will bring it to market. We could use capwiz and meetup technology to help make this happen, but we would really need to make this a top priority everywhere we gather and in all communication channels. We'd need to carve out time from every EVAA meeting for a letter-writing campaign. This has to be a concerted effort with a strong commitment to make the in-person visits, surface-mail individualized (and even handwritten) letters bread for the world style, and multiple personal phone calls. If phase one reveals a dramatic show of interest, then I envision implementation of phase two and phase three could begin almost concurrently.

OKAY, THAT'S MY PLAN...

It's not perfect, but I haven't heard anyone suggest something this radical in a while, and I'd like to see what you think about it. Am I totally off my rocker? Do you have insider info that says the reason why the R2 was non-electric was because the existing R1e failed so miserably that Andreas Zapatinas was fired in disgrace? Is Subaru the right place to target? I think it is.

The really big OEMs obviously ignore what they consider to be niche markets (that's why Woodbury will make a go of the Tango. Don't get me wrong, I want a Tango, I just can't pay $85,000.00 for one right now.) I really don't want to hurt the upstart EV makers, but I have heard a lot of people complain that OEMs can do this but won't. If you have ever complained about existing automakers not producing EVs, then please consider giving this movement all you've got.

There are other reasons why I think this will work than I have mentioned here, but I'd rather hear what you think of the idea. I do not work for Subaru, but I have driven one for the past three years and I love it. If you can make the case for targeting a different manufacturer and the larger community backs you up, then that's where I will put my energy and efforts.

If you even think this has a snowball's chance in Death Valley, then please let us know what you think.

If it is easier for you, please post your response in the Reader Response window below, but the EVWorld YahooGroup might facilitate easier conversations. Wherever you respond, give a quick gut reaction, or take some time to think through many dimensions of such a campaign and let us know what you think with regard to the following items.

Is there a better company to target than Subaru, and if so who and why?

What would be our biggest hurdles to making this happen and how can we navigate these hurdles with success?

Exactly what features of a vehicle should we demand?

Specifically, what type of batteries should we demand, what type of charging system, what range, top speed, renewable components, etc.?

What safety ratings and features like ABS, curtain air bags, should we specify, if any?

What additional features should we specify, e.g. air-conditioning, etc.?


What advertising and marketing strategies should we suggest/demand that they employ to help them insure this will be a profitable venture for them? We have blasted GM and others for botching this side of things, so let's help our targeted manufacturer learn from the mistakes of others.

What (realistically) is the maximum/optimum/ amount you are willing to pay for the car you want?

Are you interested in spearheading this campaign? I have no desire to make this all about me; I'd rather one of you supervise this campaign who has far more experience with EVs or with community organizing than I.

Should we couple this plan with a concerted initiative to also lobby the government to fund the development of wind and/or solar technologies? I live in coal country. Many people have argued that so long as so much of grid is using dirty, non-renewable sources, EVs actually become part of many problems instead of the solution.

Should we try to use our organized might to simultaneously make a strong showing to Subaru -- AND -- make a concerted effort to call all U.S. Senators, Representatives, Governors, U.S. Cabinet Officials, the White House, etc. to demand a very particular accomplishment: namely, to give the U.S. Department of Energy x number of dollars to fund research into developing cost effective PV technology, specifically -- Professor Michael Graetzel's (of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs) (with an emphasis on replacing the liquid electrolytes that are mostly used today for the hole-transport function by conductive polymers) and a full organic approach, in which a mixture of electron-acceptor and electron-donor organic materials is sandwiched between two electrodes, such as that being explored by STMicroelectronics.

Perhaps we can engage in a concerted effort to level the energy playing field for wind by citing examples such as the High Winds Energy Center between San Francisco and Sacramento, seems to be an example that has refined most, if not all, previous problems with wind turbines.

Just my two cents worth.

Now let's have yours.
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Old 03-23-2004, 05:21 PM   #2
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The article was followed by many comments, the most current of which seemed to be Mar 11, 2004. The Reverand obviously has a wide-ranging knowledge of FHI and Subaru. I wonder how he came by it.
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Old 03-23-2004, 05:29 PM   #3
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Gheyist rally of people ... EVER

seriously ... call your dealer promising them you will buy one?

ROFL ... This guy is seriously retarded
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:04 PM   #4
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I agree with Jenison, it's like a bunch of uber nerds rallying for pocket protectors on all the school uniforms.

More power to them if they manage to get their voices heard.

And funnier yet is that his last name is Skidmore and he seemingly admires Subarus.
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:26 PM   #5
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Subaru should follow their demand, and then after getting all their money, make the car pink
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Old 03-23-2004, 10:45 PM   #6
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If Subaru listens to these dorks, I'm going back to Honda
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Old 03-23-2004, 11:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by bemani
Subaru should follow their demand, and then after getting all their money, make the car pink
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Old 03-24-2004, 01:07 AM   #8
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Smart Car STi???
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Old 03-24-2004, 01:50 AM   #9
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I don't know about this groups means, but I like the ends. The idea of getting Subaru to produce a good electric vehicle is a great idea. I would seriously look into getting one as a commuter car.
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Old 03-24-2004, 08:40 AM   #10
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Electric vehicles suck. Plain and simple, and it would take a huge company many dollars to create a vehicle with decent performance AND range. Treehuggers be darned, I see no advantage to an electric vehicle over an clean gasoline or hybrid vehicle. If you consider the coal, oil, or gas that it took to create the electricity to charge said vehicle, where is the ECO friendly car then?

Right now electric vehicles are doomed. If you want to hope for something, hope for one of those hybrid vehicles, but only if you live close to your dealer and dont go far from one, because should it break down, there will be NO local shop that can work on those, as the problem will be with the electrical system most likely. Then forget ever getting the transmission worked on, because I would doubt that Aamco can work on a parallel gas/electric transmission.

When a normal gas powered Civic can get 40 mpg, why do we need EV's. I dont see a market for them for at least another 25-40 years.

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Old 03-24-2004, 08:56 AM   #11
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That's sort of my position on electric-only. A lot of our power comes from coal and that is the dirtiest form of electricity. For the amount of electricity an electric car would use per charge, you're probably getting more per unit of fuel by a good margin. They've already proved that with hydrogen too. It's less environmentally friendly to make the fuel than it is to cleanly burn gas.

I'm definitely not a fan of the electric cars for sake infrastructure and considering how well hybrids can fit in.
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
When a normal gas powered Civic can get 40 mpg, why do we need EV's. I dont see a market for them for at least another 25-40 years.
Agreed. Don't forget the Golf/Jetta TDIs that get 45-50.
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by SCRAPPYDO
When a normal gas powered Civic can get 40 mpg, why do we need EV's.
This is so that the treehuggers can power their cars with 'clean' electricity that comes neatly out of thier walls (after all clean is natural, right?). When they don't have to look at the huge industrial complex that in the next valley that produces electricity, they can forget that electrical power generation is not exactly the epitome of efficiency.

Besides, do these people realize how much they would have to pay for a Subaru developed and produced electrocar? A relatively small company like FHI could not afford to balance these costs elsewhere in the company while essentially giving them away like Honda and Toyota do with their hybrids. Nor would they be able to leverage large government subsidies like GM or Ford. These environmentalists would be better off petitioning GM to bring back the EV1 for around $45,000-$50,000.
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Old 03-24-2004, 09:19 AM   #14
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One of the real futures is Hydrocarbon Fuel cells, once the price gets down...

60-100 MPG and zippo emissions...
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Old 03-24-2004, 10:39 AM   #15
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I don't see the price of platinum coming down any time soon. Unless they find a different catalyst, I think fuel cells are a lot further out and less practical than hybrids.
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Old 03-24-2004, 10:50 AM   #16
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I think the part that you guys are TOTALLY MISSING is that the R1e is already destined for Japanese market release. They ARE GOING TO BUILD THE CAR.

What this group wants is for that vehicle to be homologated for US regulations and released to the US buying public.


Personally, I think they should just build the B9 Scrambler and forget the R1e.
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Old 03-24-2004, 11:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mister Toro
This is so that the treehuggers can power their cars with 'clean' electricity that comes neatly out of thier walls (after all clean is natural, right?). When they don't have to look at the huge industrial complex that in the next valley that produces electricity, they can forget that electrical power generation is not exactly the epitome of efficiency.
Even the most advanced gasoline engines are only around 45% efficient, while the worst of the power generation plants (at least in Canada, the coal plants) run well over 80% efficiency. It doesn't take much to realize that you are far worse off with multiple "inefficient" emitters than with a single "efficient" emitter. Plus, it seems exceptionally unlikely that a government regulated power plant will be able to remove its "catalytic converter(s)" like so much of the performance, and pickup truck crowd does.

Case in point is the Nanticoke coal plant in Ontario. Lots of groups want it shut down because it is the largest single point emitter in Ontario (the next valley?). What most people don't know is that it is also one of the most efficient fossil fuel burning plants in the world. If you were to park enough cars in the same spot to produce the same amount of power output as that plant, the emissions would be WAY, WAY, WAY, worse. In fact it would not surprise me if it was a factor of 10 worse, although I haven't the time or inclination to work it out. When you start comparing to nuclear stations, we'd be talking about logarithmic differences. So don't be fooled by the anti-treehugger movement.

BTW, I'm only a part time tree hugger, and really only just "responsible" at that.
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Old 03-24-2004, 12:43 PM   #18
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Readily available now throughout the country are PZEV vehicles, such as the Ford Focus. This means Partial Zero Emission Vehicle. These vehicles burn so cleanly that they do in fact produce fewer emissions than it would take to charge a fully-electric vehicle. This makes the EV pretty much pointless.

In addition, the PZEV focus engine is a 2.3L making 145hp, runs on plain old gasoline, requires no special maintenance, and costs a whopping $115 extra over the basic, less powerful, less clean Focus engine. Makes it pretty darn easy to be green.

I'm far from a Sierra Club member, but I don't hate the idea of making vehicle emissions cleaner. If the radicals have to come up with stupid ideas such as this guy's to get people's attention and it causes companies to come up with incremental, intelligent solutions to cleaner cars such as the PZEV Focus, well, it's not all bad.
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Old 03-24-2004, 01:09 PM   #19
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Sierra Club = radical?


You've either been listening to Rush too long or you've confused them with Greenpeace.

What next, the Nature Conservancy is plotting terrorist attacks?

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Old 03-24-2004, 01:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by wrxsvt
In addition, the PZEV focus engine is a 2.3L making 145hp, runs on plain old gasoline, requires no special maintenance, and costs a whopping $115 extra ...
Who in his right mind would settle for a pukey 145hp PZEV Focus when they can have a 2.5L 160hp PZEV 2004 Legacy or Outback that runs on regular and costs a whopping $200 extra? They're sitting on my Subaru dealer's lot right now.
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Old 03-24-2004, 01:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Porter
Sierra Club = radical?
I'll agree that the Sierra club is hardly radical, but they do have some..."uninformed" opinions. Thier anti-nuclear (power generation) stance is really just rediculous.

BTW, most of the Rush croud I know are quite environmentally aware.
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Old 03-24-2004, 01:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by brandon
BTW, most of the Rush croud I know are quite environmentally aware.
Come on, one good pigeonholing deserves another.
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Old 03-24-2004, 03:19 PM   #23
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My apologies to Sierra Clubbers. If you read closely, I never equated Sierra Club with radical, though I can see how that was inferred. What I meant to say is I'm not one to be called terribly environmentally conscious by my peers, and that the guy who wrote the deal about EVs that started this thread is a 'radical'. Not that the guy is a Sierra Club member, and therefore the Sierra Club is a radical organization.

Didn't realize that 2.5L Subarus were also PZEVs, or I would have used that more forum-appropriate example instead. Just had read about the Ford recently so it stuck out. And FWIW, the Focus isn't a bad vehicle at all, now that they've been making them a few years. Regardless, I could care less if my own vehicle is a PZEV, just making the point that they are cleaner than EVs and thus make EVs essentially pointless.

And I don't listen to Rush either. As a staunch moderate I find some of the conservative views just as absurd as some of the liberal ones.
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Old 03-24-2004, 03:21 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by wrxsvt
As a staunch moderate I find some of the conservative views just as absurd as some of the liberal ones.
Ah! A fellow Militant Moderate. Excellent. Perhaps we should spend more time in the Political Playground forum, maybe lend some balance to the debate.
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Old 03-24-2004, 10:34 PM   #25
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I wish I had the time and energy Porter, but no such luck. Early on in my internet forum days I'd fire off opinion and commentary with the best of them, but after realizing how futile it is (and how futile politics in general is) I lost interest. Glad to see there are some other moderate-types out there though; seems all I come across are the extremes these days. I guess that's what keeps things exciting though, be it for the right reasons or all the wrong ones. . .

Phil
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