Feeds

Wagoner: EVillain or EVictor?

Will former General Motors CEO be remembered for Volt or EV1?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

'Leccy Tech So it's goodbye to Rick Wagoner, General Motor's youngest ever CEO and a man whose legacy will have people arguing long into the evenings.

Following what must have been an interesting chat with President Obama – or more likely one of the heavy hitters from the President's Auto Task Force – it was apparently agreed that whatever GM's future, Wagoner didn't feature in it. So he makes way for GM president and COO Fritz Henderson to assume the role of CEO.

Leaving aside the simple fact that GM is currently on its knees and dependent on either massive handouts from the US taxpayer and/or a short, surgical bankruptcy for its survival, Wagoner will be remembered among the electric vehicle community as the man who killed the EV1 and gave birth to the Volt. And that's quite a dichotomy.

GM's departing CEO, Rick Wagoner

Wagoner and Volt: too late?

Despite all the conspiracy theories about the death of the EV1 – not least those given rather too free a reign in Chris Paine's film Who Killed The Electric Car - it is unfair to see Wagoner as some sort of evil genius rubbing his hands with glee at the demise of the project.

The EV1 was a hugely expensive project that was only launched to comply with the State of California's zero emissions mandate. Once that was overturned the project was probably doomed. With less than 1200 cars on the road by the end of 1999, the EV1 project never made commercial sense and it's questionable if GM ever really saw it as much more than a wide-scale engineering evaluation project and the cost of doing business in the state.

GM's problem with the EV1 wasn't that it cancelled it, but rather how it cancelled it. As an exercise in hubris and stupidity it takes some beating, even in the annals of US corporate history. The refusal to discuss buy-outs with lease owners; the haste with which it crushed the surviving cars; the refusal to simply explain the reasoning behind its decisions and actions. The whole situation was so poorly handled it's hardly surprising that people saw the dark shadow of a vast conspiracy between Big Auto and Big Oil.

Last year, Wagoner twice went on the record to state that killing the EV1 was the biggest mistake he ever made – presumably right up there with using the GM corporate jet to visit Washington to ask for Federal aid. Whether or not he actually meant it, or had an eye on kissing up to the environmental lobby, is, of course, another matter.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.