Dingell criticized for clean-air stand
This is in response to your June 16 article about Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.
Dingell promises 'war' if President Clinton toughens air rules. Wow! Who does this dictator think he is that he can threaten the White House with war? It is so evident whose interests Dingell represents - the automotive industry's and his own, not what is good or right for our country and the world.
Surely, he must understand that we are all in this together. We can have our cake and eat it, too, by continuing to reduce emissions and improve gas mileage through tighter mandates.
We have made great progress through mandates, but not enough. Our air-quality problems have been confirmed by 20 scientific organizations appointed by the White House. Denying the problem exists won't make it go away, nor will throwing stones at proposed standards.
We all have to pitch in together and do what is necessary to get the job done. That should include Dingell, if he still considers himself a part of this great country.
The writer is retired from McDonnell-Douglas Corp.
EV1 great, no toy, proud driver says
Your May 12 editorial about the General Motors EV1 surprised me. I am one of the first EV1 customers. I have driven it 8,200 miles commuting and running errands.
Your assertion that the car can't go the distance is false. My routine commute is 43.6 miles. I live at the top of a steep hill. When I return home, I usually have 37 percent remaining in the battery.
Initially, I intended to use the car exclusively for commuting, but the EV1 has become the car of choice for more than 95 percent of my driving. The starter battery in my 1991 Ranger pickup went dead from lack of use.
Part of the EV1 concept is public charging. The car recovers to 80 percent of charge in 45 minutes. The EV1 is designed to use public charging to replenish quickly and be ready for the next hop. I often have driven more than 150 miles in one day. The range is unlimited as long as there is a charger where you are going.
To date, the infrastructure is thin, but that is to be expected. The 5,000 gasoline stations in Los Angeles were not built in one day. As the network of chargers expands, the utility of the EV1 will go up. Despite the modest infrastructure, I have driven 8,200 miles in six months.
I love my car. It is anything but a toy. Ask the Lexus and BMW Z3 drivers I have left in my rear-view mirror if they lost to a toy.
Your demand for a 250-mile battery has been achieved. A Solectria Force (converted Geo Metro) went 249 miles on one charge in less than ideal conditions. It was done in Maine during the Tour de Sol and was accomplished with a set of General Motors Ovonic NiMH batteries. Those batteries are in production and are slated for installation in the EV1 this fall.
It is important that auto writers pay close attention to electric vehicles. They will be reporting on them exclusively in the future.
MARVIN V. RUSH
The writer is a cinematographer for Paramount Studios. He works on such TV shows as 'Star Trek Voyager.'
Firms can keep their good people
Some of the cases of 'employee stealing' highlighted in your April 28 issue rub me the wrong way.
If an employee is so valuable to a company that his/her loss to another company is viewed as stealing, shouldn't that person's work have been valued more highly at the first company?
Those talented employees own their skills and abilities, not either employer.
I am talking about expertise and experience, not proprietary lists or formulas. That is clearly the case in some of the instances cited in the article.
If companies respect the individuals with those skills, those employees will be less likely to jump to another company.
MATTHEW IAN LOEW
Rochester Hills, Mich.
Better benefits/better salespeople
I read Rick Kranz's May 26 column about his problems in shopping for a van, and I read Jack Leopold's June 9 letter, 'Ex-dealer decries poor salesmanship.'
The dealers and the automotive industry have only themselves to blame for the deplorable state of retail sales. Give the sales personnel the same working and retirement benefits as other professionals, and watch things change. Right now, these people are little more than indentured servants.
The writer is a retired Buick salesman.