Saturday, March 10, 2012

As Volt Halts Production, Sustainbility Summit can Look to Human Power

Monday is Salem-Keizer Sustainability Summit at the Conference Center.

With PGE the lead sponsor, a significant theme will be on electric vehicles.

EVs won't get us out from congestion, though. But human power can! And of course it is the most efficient and sustainable.

Robert from the Bike Peddler will be there to represent!

If you're going to be at the summit, stop by to say hello! He'll have a couple of bikes, even.

Another thing that's really encouraging about the summit is the focus on food. Both the big (relatively speaking), in Dave Dahl and Dave's Killer Bread, and the small, in Marion-Polk Food Share Community Gardens and Kitchen, will be represented by panelists. The way food production does and does not scale, the way it moves from farm to table - that's a way to get at the deep structures of sustainability in a way that focusing on the latest energy-efficient gadget does not.

Back to EVs, the Chevy Volt just halted production and it's interesting to learn why an EV fan thinks that's a good idea:
To rationalize that $40K price (or $350/month lease), GM has to match supply with demand. Otherwise it will be forced to add incentives to move the iron in the same way it does when it has slow-selling pickups, SUVs and sedans. The result would be to devalue the perceived value of the vehicle and add to the losses that GM is sustaining with each sale (by their own admission). The first two months of 2012 Volt sales were disappointing – 676 in January and 1,023 in February for a 850/month average. That's better than last year's average, which included a production shut-down for model change-over. But it's a pace that will be painted as a failure by many because of high-volume projections by GM (and repeated by our federal government, GM's shareholder). To compound that "failure" by having declining retail prices and "fire sales" to move excess iron would be to seriously tarnish the image of GM's plug-in car (and by extension this just re-born industry).
Also, the new Salem area bike map may be out! Cherriots and Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study have been working on it, and this may be its debut! Stay tuned.

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