The media makes a big deal about the value of GM stock being back where it was in 1954, but its not clear to me if they are correcting for inflation as well as stock splits. But that is not what I am writing about.
While posting this observation
Where is the alliance between GM and the U of M and Michigan State physics and engineering departments on cost-effective Lithium-Ion battery production methods? When will those Pointy-Haired Bosses at GM realize that they could build a Chevy Volt with NiMH technology and develop it on the highway with bleeding edge techno types like those of us who bought a Honda Insight in 2000 at a price well below cost? Its not like they couldn't upgrade it later, but they don't think like that even at $10 a share.
at the end of a followup comment on the Quantum Pontiff's blog, I remembered what really pisses me off about the absurdly slow development of products like the Chevy Volt.
The bombing of Hiroshima.
Not the fact that Mazda made my car in that city, despite its having been leveled by an atomic bomb, while it took GM more than a decade to try to make something even comparable to it. No, the fact that NOTHING used to carry out that mission EXISTED just three years earlier. I don't think history books get across the magnitude of what the US managed to accomplish in a few short years during WW II.
In August 1942 there was no atomic bomb, just 20 pages or so of general notes that constitute the Los Alamos Primer. There were no factories to separate uranium and no reactors to produce plutonium. There was a log building at Los Alamos. There were no B-29 Superfortresses, which were being prototyped and designed at about the same time that summer, for a September test flight. Its engines were a joke. Airborne radar in the cm range had been developed just a year or so earlier, but using it to trigger a bomb at a specific altitude had not been tried (or maybe even thought of).
Nothing except a lot of vaporware.
Yet three years later, the sky was blackened with 400 or more B-29s over a single Japanese city, and we were on track to produce an atomic bomb with a radar trigger every few months. The comparison to the MRAP program for Iraq is not a very favorable one. And just as "shade tree mechanics" produced the first up-armored Humvees out in the field in less time than it took to think we needed to draw one, garage operations have produced working plug-in hybrids while GM looks to market something in another couple of years (current goal is the end of 2010). We built an atom bomb in less time than that! Sell it to me for 20 grand or so and I will test the batteries for you for free! And guess what: since there are probably thousands of people who would do the same thing, that is 50 million dollars GM could have that they don't have today.
It can be done.