TO THE EDITOR:
The April 19 special section on the General Motors EV1, "A legacy in a new light," was excellent history, but it insufficiently explained why GM killed the vehicle off — or why, by doing so, GM set itself on the path to its 2009 bankruptcy. GM still clings to economics that were erroneous even 25 years ago.
In 1996, GM — and nearly every automaker — clung to the myth that consumers would not buy fuel-efficient cars in the then-age of cheap gasoline. Simultaneously launching a niche vehicle which it would only lease, not sell, to willing buyers guaranteed an early demise of the EV1 — as Toyota, Honda and Nissan ate GM's U.S. sedan lunch by doing what GM said couldn't be done: selling fuel-efficient cars with gasoline under $2 per gallon. GM car sales tanked, and the easiest casualty became the EV1.
A permanent change has taken place from "peak supply" oil economics to "peak demand," especially for gasoline. The International Energy Agency has acknowledged this shift, which creates a level playing field. Every power form begins from zero to create and define the parameters and economics of the energy age that none of the oil companies, oil producers or automakers saw coming. Electric vehicles have as good a chance of creating these economics as do internal combustion vehicles.
NORMAN HIGBY, President, WMP Forecasts, Menlo Park, Calif.