Journalism & The Media Television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the Internet and more.

VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

  #11  
Old 06-04-2006, 01:51 PM
Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by bwilson4web
Let's see if we can make this simple:

labor != engineering
labor != managment
labor != board of directors
labor != stock holders who voted in this board of directors


Bob Wilson
Given GM's high cost labor the solutions left for its engineers, managers and board of directors become increasingly constrained. GM's strategy was to gather higher margins to offset it's labor cost disadvantage, but in doing so, left itself increasingly in a desperate position. When I look at GM's strategy today I can see the following. Invest in mid term technology against firms that have a lower cost position and a technological lead or go for the home run by by-passing that path and leaping to the next innovation. I have serious doubts about their success..but as a strategy? It might be their only viable solution at this point. By the way GM's labor position is definitely a function of its management and board of directors. To some extent their technological black hole is similarly influenced (old plants with less flexibility). It should be a fascinating ride to watch.

Norris
 
  #12  
Old 06-04-2006, 03:49 PM
bwilson4web's Avatar
Engineering first
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 5,613
Thumbs down Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by Norris
Given GM's high cost labor the solutions left for its engineers, managers and board of directors become increasingly constrained. GM's strategy was to gather higher margins to offset it's labor cost disadvantage, but in doing so, left itself increasingly in a desperate position.
Ok, then, universal healthcare like in Japan and GM's labor healthcare cost problem is solved. Yeap, while we're at it, bring in Norico to replace Norris on the assembly line.

The saddest thing I've seen in Alabama are union workers who voted themselves out of a job by supporting Republicans. Like a moth to flame, they have only themselves to blame.

Originally Posted by Norris
When I look at GM's strategy today I can see the following. Invest in mid term technology against firms that have a lower cost position and a technological lead or go for the home run by by-passing that path and leaping to the next innovation. I have serious doubts about their success..but as a strategy? It might be their only viable solution at this point. By the way GM's labor position is definitely a function of its management and board of directors. To some extent their technological black hole is similarly influenced (old plants with less flexibility). It should be a fascinating ride to watch.
It is easy, trivial to blame labor for GM's failings. It is also wrong and delays effective action to fix GM's challenges. It is called the 'blame game', which basicly means evading responsibility for what GM's non-labor engineers, designers, managers, board of directors and stock holders did to themselves.

The first step in recovery is admitting the problem and taking responsibility. Using labor as the excuse means recovery is that much further off.

Bob Wilson
 
  #13  
Old 06-04-2006, 10:04 PM
Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by bwilson4web

The first step in recovery is admitting the problem and taking responsibility. Using labor as the excuse means recovery is that much further off.

Bob Wilson

Yes the first thing in recovery is recognizing the problem and taking responsibility. The problem is that GM has higher labor costs than it's competitors. It is a real problem it can't be wished away. I think that Universal Health Care is one possible solution, but with the current administration in place it's not a realistic one. If your per unit production cost is higher you're at a competitive disadavantage. GM also has plants that are older and less flexible than its compeititors. As a consequence, the company is less capable of adjusting to changes in market demand. You can't waive a wand and make that disappear either.

Given those problems, GM's market position, at least in the United States is precarous. The conventional means of competing are pretty much off the table. As a consequence, GM has to come up wit ha solution that leap frogs its competitors. Hybrid technology won't do that for them. All hybrid technology will do is place GM in a position of relying on technology from firrms that are ahead of it while GM maintains its cost disadavantage. Instead of that GM may be trying for the home run. In other words, and in my opinion, GM can't survive unless it changes the rules of the game. The focus on hydrogen power just may be their effort to change just that.

Norris
 
  #14  
Old 06-04-2006, 11:06 PM
Pravus Prime's Avatar
Prof. of Hybridology
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,069
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by AshenGrey
It's like GM is trying to develop the Warp Drive before you've perfected making the chemical rocket.

LOL, great sentence.

Plus, it sums up their position rather well. I know they've been pushing E85, as has Ford, but really it seems to be a case of caught with their pants down. GM has had a zillion chances to do the right thing, and chose the profitable option instead every time, from the EV1 to the current product outlook, from health care to board member raises, so reaping what they've sown is hardly a sob story.


  Off Topic:
BTW, reminder to all, let's keep this civil, debate is fine, but shouting matches aren't.
 
  #15  
Old 06-05-2006, 10:38 AM
bwilson4web's Avatar
Engineering first
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 5,613
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by Norris
Yes the first thing in recovery is recognizing the problem and taking responsibility. The problem is that GM has higher labor costs than it's competitors. It is a real problem it can't be wished away. I think that Universal Health Care is one possible solution, but with the current administration in place it's not a realistic one. If your per unit production cost is higher you're at a competitive disadavantage. GM also has plants that are older and less flexible than its compeititors. As a consequence, the company is less capable of adjusting to changes in market demand. You can't waive a wand and make that disappear either.
It is more than a vehicle price problem. They have performance problem that makes Toyota, Honda and Ford hybrids a better solution in so many ways.

Originally Posted by Norris
. . .GM has to come up wit ha solution that leap frogs its competitors. Hybrid technology won't do that for them. All hybrid technology will do is place GM in a position of relying on technology from firrms that are ahead of it while GM maintains its cost disadavantage. Instead of that GM may be trying for the home run. In other words, and in my opinion, GM can't survive unless it changes the rules of the game. The focus on hydrogen power just may be their effort to change just that.
Unfortunately H(2) requires "unobtanium," which also scuttled NASA's single-stage to orbit program. As for GM's hybrid technology, their bus sized units exists and the hydrolic based, regenerative braking in their "high vehicle mileage" proposal has merit. These need to go into smaller trucks and larger passenger vehicles ASAP and work out the bugs.

There is an old proverb, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough." This administration changed public policy and GM remains 5 years and counting behind the learning curve. They don't have enough on the show room floor to be competitive and time marches on.

Bob Wilson
 
  #16  
Old 06-05-2006, 12:42 PM
Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by bwilson4web
It is more than a vehicle price problem. They have performance problem that makes Toyota, Honda and Ford hybrids a better solution in so many ways.

Unfortunately H(2) requires "unobtanium," which also scuttled NASA's single-stage to orbit program. As for GM's hybrid technology, their bus sized units exists and the hydrolic based, regenerative braking in their "high vehicle mileage" proposal has merit. These need to go into smaller trucks and larger passenger vehicles ASAP and work out the bugs.

There is an old proverb, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough." This administration changed public policy and GM remains 5 years and counting behind the learning curve. They don't have enough on the show room floor to be competitive and time marches on.

Bob Wilson
That proverb re: the perfect is the enemy of the good is one of my absolute favorites...but consider the next one in the context of "unobtanium", necessity is the mother of invention. I think that GM's success via the conventional route is pretty much dead. They could try to me too Toyota and Honda, but their technology in this area is not as good and their cost disadvantage makes execution of said strategy pretty much doomed. Given that, hydrogen may be the only rational, although desperate response.

Norris
 
  #17  
Old 06-05-2006, 01:14 PM
martinjlm's Avatar
Proud to be GM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Detroit
Posts: 564
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by Katz6768
Is GM saying High Volume production of Hydrogen-Fuel-Cell vehicles by 2010
No. But the writer has phrased it in a way that it could be so interpreted. What is being said is that by 2010, GM will have the technology to "mass produce" a hydrogen fuel cell. If the vehicle at that state of technology were mass produced, it could be mass produced at reasonable cost. People are careful to stay away from definitive numbers. This is, after all, a technology that is still under development.

What GM is not saying is that without an infrastructure in place, there will not be a mass produced fuel cell. There is a plan to deliver a fairly sizeable demo fleet for use in Washington DC and an even larger fleet for California.

California has emissions legislation in place that pretty much requires the 6 largest producers of vehicles sold in California to produce a meaningful number of fuel cell vehicles starting as early as 2008. The formulas for calculating which manufacturers have to provide how many by when are more complicated than is worth getting into here. Suffice it to say that in three different three year periods, the numbers escalate into the thousands for some auto makers.

The point that Larry Burns is making is that GM is further along than anyone else in actually making this happen.

The writer oversells GM's optimism and/or reliance on a fuel cell revolution. Consider.....most of the fuel cell work is being done in a lab environment in Honeye Falles, NY. Most of GM's vehicle development work is done in Warren, Michigan. Powertrain development is done in Warren and in Pontiac. Doesn't sound like a company that's putting all its eggs in the fuel cell basket, though the writer would have you think that is the case.

Peace,

Martin
 
  #18  
Old 06-05-2006, 01:26 PM
martinjlm's Avatar
Proud to be GM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Detroit
Posts: 564
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by AshenGrey
Considering that GM hasn't gotten BAS to the showroom floor after 4 years, I have a hard time believing they'll get a completely different (and much more complicated) technology in 4 years.

I think GM is pushing hydrogen because Bush is pushing hydrogen, and giving truckloads of taxpayer cash for GM to waste.
The biggest issue with delaying BAS was making the decision to use a step gear transmission instead of a CVT. Very much NOT a hybrid product issue, but one of integration of the overall powertrain into the vehicle.

As for the fuel cell being capable in 4 years, you would have to believe that the clock starts now. The clock has been ticking for years on the fuel cell programs. There are driveable fuel cells on the road today. FWIW, the people working on BAS and the people working on fuel cells work through completely different organizations in different states. Their missions are different and their challenges are different. To compare the development time of one to the other is like comparing the cooking time of a pot roast to the preparation time of a wedding cake. You might wind up having both at the same meal, but the preparation processes and time to prepare are vastly different. The ability to get one to the table does not predict the ability to get the other to the table.

Here's where I have to be careful.......Saying that GM is pushing hydrogen is probably a bit of a mis-interpretation of available information. There are people in GM who push hydrogen because they are challenged with the task to develop a mass market fuel cell. There are other people in GM who push alternative fuels, because they have responsibility to make certain we can reduce reliance on foreign oil. There are other people in GM responsible for cracking the emissions barriers that keep clean diesels from being mainstream in North America. There are others responsible for making the 2-Mode Hybrid the world standard of hybrid systems. So, what is the silver bullet in GM's gun? There isn't necessarily A silver bullet, but work is being done to load every chamber.

Peace,

Martin
 
  #19  
Old 06-05-2006, 01:31 PM
martinjlm's Avatar
Proud to be GM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Detroit
Posts: 564
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by tomdavie
gang

....GM is in DEEP trouble. They underestimated the oil market (and greed to keep the prices artificially up) . They overestimated our desire to keep buying 8 mile per gallon monster trucks at $3 bucks per gallon. So they did nothing to get into the hybrid market like Toyo Honda and even Ford . ....

This gets SOOOOOOOO overplayed that I often find myself wanting to bang my head repeatedly on my desk. (And NO I'm not looking for volunteers to help me do it )

8 mpg monster trucks. The only thing that fits that description is the H2. We sell something less than 30,000 H2s a year. That's out of approximately 4 million units sold in North America. We also sell about 40,000 Corvettes that get high 20's and a few hundred thousand sedans that get 30.

Peace,

Martin
 
  #20  
Old 06-05-2006, 01:47 PM
martinjlm's Avatar
Proud to be GM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Detroit
Posts: 564
Default Re: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen

Originally Posted by AshenGrey
I agree with Bob Wilson on this one: Aside from the obvious two-fold problems of outrageously excessive executive compensation and the under-funded pension plan for the workers, .
Actually, GM is one of the minority of companies that has a fully funded pension program, to the defintions set by the financial community that measures these things.

Originally Posted by AshenGrey
GM has been missing the boat on market trends for the past 15 years
Won't argue with you here.

Originally Posted by AshenGrey
1. People are keeping their cars longer, so the fact that most GM products are junk by 70k miles is a big turn-off to consumers.
I could argue with you here, but ot be honest, I just don't feel like looking for the data.
Originally Posted by AshenGrey
2. GM has been trying to take the "short cut" road to the ultimate clean vehicle technology. Hydrogen-powered cars MAY be part of the future, but there will be a LOT of intermediate steps inbetween that GM has just chosen to ignore.
Dude, if you were in my shoes, you'd know that this is nowhere near the truth. That and you'd have one helluva pair of cowboy boots

Originally Posted by AshenGrey
Toyota/Honda understand that hybrids are an important intermediate technology; Ford is researching the possibility of making E85 mainstream; the European car makers are making advances in cleaner diesel technology. Why can't GM do these things? It's like GM is trying to develop the Warp Drive before you've perfected making the chemical rocket.
FWIW - GM taught Toyota how to integrate hybrid controls with vehicle controls (what the hell were we thinkin'?) and is slightly out front of Ford on E85 technology, applications, and volume. Other than that you have a point.

Peace,

Martin
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: VERY interesting Forbes article on hydrogen


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.