Mar 20

Lutz: 94.5% Confident Chevy Volt in Production by November 2010

 

nyvoltnation05a.jpg

Soon after the Volt concept was first announced in January 2007 GM vice chairman Bob Lutz told the world he was 90% confident it would be built by 2010. This has become my favorite question to ask him each time I get the chance because it is a good gauge of the programs development and momentum.

Having the spectacularly cool opportunity to share the stage with him at Volt Nation, and getting to be the last one to ask a question, guess what I asked?

This time he upped it to 94.5%. He also said there is a zero percent of it never getting built. Vehicle line executive Frank Weber chimed in the background “100%”, for his confidence level.

You will soon be able to see all of this, including the Q and A and other interviews beginning tonight on video. Our videographer’s having some “technical difficulties” but assures me progress is being made.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2008 at 2:01 pm and is filed under Production, Timeline, Volt Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 38


  1. 1
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jean-Charles Jacquemin
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (2:20 pm)

    Good news Lyle, I must say I enjoyed a lot to see you on stage near Bob Lutz. Thanks for your involvement in this wonderful adventure.


  2. 2
    thomdbhomb

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    thomdbhomb
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (2:31 pm)

    He went from 90% confident to 94.5% confident. But, the easter mules laid an egg. If we are more on-track for 2010 than ever, but  intermediate milestones are missed, something gets compressed. What would it be? (Maybe this question was answered at the first Volt Nation conference)


  3. 3
    noel park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    noel park
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (2:45 pm)

    Well I sure hope so.  Our local Shell station posted $3.99.9 for 87 octane this morning.  I saw $4.09.9 somewhere in the LA basin yesterday.  Time’s a wastin’!

    I have never hesitated to disagree with Mr. Lutz when I thought what he was saying was "a crock of s**t" but, if he makes this happen, I will be one of the first to line up to kiss his foot.


  4. 4
    voltman

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    voltman
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (2:48 pm)

    >I have never hesitated to disagree with Mr. Lutz when I thought what he was saying was "a crock of s**t" but,

    Hes certainly right about one thing, energy independence is a much bigger issue.


  5. 5
    Jon P.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jon P.
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (2:51 pm)

    Lyle,
     i’m glad to see i’m not the only one all fired up what is that 4 post in 1 day.

    I think it would have to be GM’s overall confidence in the batteries. Not 1 but both of them, Lutz was carrying around pictures in his breast pocket.

    The one thing that jumped out at me was all of the GM guys insistance that they were not going to rush this thing out, that when it came out it would be 100%.

    So for all you guys that want to join the gold rush, there’s a decent chance this thing won’t roll out till 2011. Please save the ev-1, GM tricked us crap. GM isn’t trying to trick you but they don’t want to hurt you either.

    EREV are the future and we are part of the infancy. A bad call by GM to rush and something happens, and the EV car is doomed as a death trap forever.

    Patience, at the top of this hill you will be able to see the whole world.


  6. 6
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (3:23 pm)

    Noel Park, #3,

    $3.99 for 87 octane?!  And here I am whining about $3.37 for the same thing.  The Volt can’t get here fast enough.

    Noel, you would have enjoyed VoltNation.  It was amazing how much we could talk to the engineers one-on-one.  I asked questions about the FOB and the heater draw.  Others asked about solar panels, motors like windshield wiper, etc.
    It was just as much fun to listen to answers for other peoples questions, than it was listening to my questions being answered.  It was a learning experience and a lot of fun to be there.  I hope there is another one on the other coast so you West Coasters can enjoy it too.


  7. 7
    noel park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    noel park
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (3:35 pm)

    #5 Rasiid Amul:
    Well all credit to all of you who made the effort to attend.  It had to make a huge impression on the GM folks that people were willing to travel such distances to particpate.  Well done.


  8. 8
    Eric

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eric
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (3:42 pm)

    Still can’t believe I missed this event… Hope there will be others, I’d love to meet the GM execs and everyone else who posts on here and reads the blogs so often…


  9. 9
    kent beuchert

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kent beuchert
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (4:55 pm)

    At this point, considering all the positive news about the battery packs, I’d have to agree that the probability of the Volt not getting built would be near zero. Only some unforeseen battery development before 2010 that makes the Volt and all hybrid plug-ins obsolete could possibly kill the Volt’s production plans. That seems unlikely, even though we all hope it would happen.


  10. 10
    Grizzly

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Grizzly
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (4:55 pm)

    I’m probably more confident in the 0% than I am the 94.5, but I can’t say that’s not good news.   Maybe it’s just me, but I always held out that the board of directors could still kill the Volt for any stupid reason.

    Did anyone ask or hear any questions about when we’ll get a look at the final version of the Volt design?


  11. 11
    MetrologyFirst

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MetrologyFirst
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (4:57 pm)

    "Frank" on one of the other recent threads here mentioned the idea of GM doing a roadshow with the car.

    The more I think about it, the better I like that idea, at least later when actual true production prototypes are built. Imagine the interest generated in the general public if they move these things around the country, maybe pre-scheduled events in shopping malls, colleges, etc. Just the sheer nature and publicity of such an effort would imply to people that this is something significant; that GM is serious about getting off gasoline and oil dependence. They could run them around the country like the NASCAR guys do their show cars, along with maybe a video presentation and someone to answer questions, let people see the motors and batteries, show off the car’s looks, etc.

    Something like this might go a long way in changing the public biases of GM. It also would get the target market, the common person, up close and personal with the car. Maybe take some of the concerns and uneasiness with the technology away. Show them the fuel saving benefits, conveniences, etc.. You can’t just look at a picture. You need to stand beside this car to appreciate it. Not to mention a relaxed atmosphere absent the salesman pitch.

    One of GM’s biggest problems is overcoming the public preconceived opinions about their cars. Being such a game changer technologically, this car may also offer a game changing opportunity to the historical paradigm about how the car is marketed and how GM is viewed by the public.

    Of course all of this depends on a timely and substantial initial release and production. Any one else like this idea?


  12. 12
    Jeff M

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff M
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (5:07 pm)

    GM needs the Volt production to start 2010, or early 2011 the latest.  2012 and I think they’ve missed the window and will be playing catch up.

    GM and the others need to get something out there soon… I just replaced one of my ignition coils and the spark plug on my 8 year old Volvo, but the check engine light is still on.  I’m sick of ICE’s and just hope it will hold out for 2-3 more years so I can get one of these EV’s!


  13. 13
    Tagamet

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tagamet
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (5:18 pm)

    @Meteorologyfirst
    Lyle, can you have this idea deleted, please? We’ll NEVER get a VOLT if everyone wants one (g)


  14. 14
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (5:21 pm)

    Tagamet,  you are too funny. :)


  15. 15
    Luke

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Luke
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (5:48 pm)

    Excellent!  I look forward to test-driving a Volt in January of 2011!  (About the time my local dealer is likely to get one…)

    Any news on the (bio)diesel powered Chevy Colorado?


  16. 16
    Tayloe

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tayloe
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (6:39 pm)

    So, I just found this community today and I have to tell you how excited I am to see such enthusiasm for the Volt.  I had all but given up on American Automakers when the Volt made its debut.  I have to admit I initially wrote it off as "too little too late" and most likely just a publicity stunt, but the more press that comes out of GM the more it sounds like its going to actually happen!  This is so exciting!


  17. 17
    mmcc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    mmcc
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (7:16 pm)

    I think this has been mentioned before but GM should give us on the GM-VOLT waiting list first dibs on a the car when it’s released to the public.  If they build 10k in 2010 but only have 4k to release to the general public, then start with #1 on our waiting list and go from there.  It could be initiated with a simple email stating "GM anticipates having a car for you, if you still want it send a deposite for $xxxx.  to PO Box Volt, Detroit, MI, etc."  The price should be set in stone… i.e.  "It will cost you $35, plus local/state taxes and have xxx options and this color.  The car will be at your local dealer on xxx ready for pick-up."

    I have check book and pen in hand.


  18. 18
    Dave B

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave B
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (7:27 pm)

    For those of us that want to do something now, we can ramp up the legislative efforts TODAY.

    http://www.pluginamerica.org/ has two links for emails to the Governor and CARB especially for California regarding the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate that was terminated–basically killing EV efforts some years back.  I’d recommend everyone here, including non-Californians send emails to give Plug-in America a hand.  Plug-in America is also promoting the Volt on their website.


  19. 19
    Tom

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (7:30 pm)

    First, thanks to Lyle for putting together Volt Nation, and to the GM execs who came and answered questions.  I was delighted with the open dialog and the breadth of ideas expressed by the attendees, some of whom already run fleets of EVs.  Scouring the hall for bits of conversation after the formal presentation I heard these very interesting snippets:  "…some drivers may use their ICE so rarely that they have to put additives into the fuel to keep it from getting stale."  and "…we’ve (Volt Team) even thought it might be necessary to program the car to start the IC Engine every two weeks if it has not been run…  But some owners may not want that…."  It’s beginning to feel like some of us (me included, I hope) will be able to own one late in 2010. 

    This was brilliant guerilla marketing on the part of GM.  Mr. Lutz comment that this is a fundamental change for GM is right on the mark.  As I talked up the Volt at work today I could see that ordinary folks "got it."  GM has designed Mr. Lutz’ 21st century Model-T and it is a winner.

    Well done!

    –Tom


  20. 20
    McLovin McFly

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    McLovin McFly
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (8:08 pm)

    Referencing the Model T is a good analogy.  Maybe they should call it the Model V ?

    Kudos to Lyle and everyone who made the trip.

    Looking forward to the video !


  21. 21
    GM Volt Fan

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    GM Volt Fan
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (8:20 pm)

    I just read some good stuff about carbon fiber and "carbon fiber-filled thermoplastics".  GM ought to be talking to the major players in the carbon fiber industry and try to get some supply agreements going for the E-REVs they’ll be building in the next 10 years. 

    Carbon fiber might be too expensive for the Volt coming out in 2010, but once these new carbon fiber production facilities get built, there could be a lot of supply out there and hopefully the prices will go down. 

    The E-REV cars like the Volt will be perfect cars to gradually introduce new materials into like carbon fiber, more aluminum, magnesium and so forth … to make an already high tech car even more high tech.  I hear Ford is already working hard with lighter weight materials.  GM’s gotta keep up with the competition you know.  Unfortunately, there’s the reality of the price of these new lightweight materials …. major bummer for us non-rich folks who are looking for electric cars in the 20-40K range.  Hopefully, carbon fiber will be super cheap in 5-10 years.  Who knows?  If so, it will revolutionize the auto industry nearly as much as electrifying the drivetrain and all the other nanotech advancements coming down the pike.

    I agree with Amory Lovins who wrote "How to Win the Oil Endgame" that newer low weight materials in cars and trucks will revolutionize the auto and truck industries …. and a bunch of other industries too.

    http://www.oilendgame.com/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMTCNOlozTA&feature=related 

    Imagine the kind of electric range we could get if the Volt weighed about 1/3 less and yet was just as strong as steel.  Us Volt fans should be rooting for these carbon fiber companies like Zoltek as well as GM …. so they’ll build those factories and get some massive carbon fiber supplies on the market. 

    http://www.zoltek.com/products/panexindustries.php 

    GM ought to get some agreements early and lock in some supply before companies like Boeing and Airbus get all of it at decent prices.  The new Boeing 787 is 60% carbon fiber and the Airbus A380 is 50% carbon fiber.  The new wind energy blades use a lot of carbon fiber too.  Clearly, carbon fiber is getting VERY popular.  In fact, some analysts are saying the carbon fiber market is about to explode.  Here’s an article on carbon fiber I just read:

    http://www.compositesworld.com/hpc/issues/2008/March/112691


  22. 22
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (8:21 pm)

    Did anyone think to take a group picture of all of us at VoltNation?  Stupid me just thought of it now.  I should have done it.


  23. 23
    Koz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (8:22 pm)

    Your idea is a good one MetrologyFirst. Since you mention NASCAR, I would like to add the prospect of putting the car on display at races. I’m not a big fan but there are a LOT of them. GM could display the showcar at some of the major races. Voltnation was great and I’m glad I went but the direct sales benefit to GM are limited since most of those attending were sold already. It is the general population that needs to be sold. Frank Weber acknowledged this is a MAJOR concern for GM. They feel the general public needs some "educating" to properly understand and appreciate the Volt. What better way than to bring it to the masses that attend NASCAR. Also, GM was touting the no compromises performance and design of the Volt. Both of which would particularly appeal to racing fans. Perhaps GM can begin lobbying now to make the first Volts pace cars.


  24. 24
    Jose

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jose
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (8:32 pm)

    I just had my hands on the A123 batteries we’re testing as well.

    Wow.

    I’ve been tracking the technology since I raced in GM’s first US SunRayce.

    The future has finally arrived.  Next up: I want my car to fold into a briefcase, like George Jetson’s.

    I suspect Bob’s engineers could pull it off with style…


  25. 25
    BillR

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BillR
     Says

     

    Mar 20th, 2008 (9:07 pm)

    #21 GM Volt Fan

    I believe you mean the proposed Airbus A350 is 50% carbon fiber, because I believe the large A380 is conventional aluminum construction.


  26. 26
    MLRTYME

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MLRTYME
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (12:44 am)

    A touring show would be ideal.  My family and I are a couple of die-hard drag racers, and one of the groups we race with always has a "show" about a day or two beforehand in whatever city we’re racing in to get people excited about seeing cars like ours.  Now, we’re just a bunch of simple race teams racing mostly out of our own pockets, but people see "race car" and they are just drawn to it.  We get more fans out to races with the free shows than we ever would with local radio spots.  When people can see the car, talk to the driver, take pictures by the car…etc…it’s a different experience.  The volt would be a GREAT choice for something like this, in my opinion.

    As for the carbon fiber, it’s a definite possibility.  However, the cost of carbon fiber is getting more and more expensive.  My brother’s build their own funny car bodies, and the raw materials cost approx 5x as much as they did just two and a half years ago.  We need more legitimate producers to expand the supply to meet up with the demand.  With as much carbon as the airlines and military use now, the demand is just continuing to go through the roof…no pun intended!


  27. 27
    rksparks

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    rksparks
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (2:21 am)

    In reference to no. 21 by GMVoltFan.  The effect of carbon fiber in automobiles will be much less than in aircraft, especially when the vehicle is electric drive with regenerative braking.  The carbon fiber affects the overall vehicle weight which affects the energy that it takes to get to a certain speed, not counting friction and air drag.  But with regenerative braking, you get much of that energy right back when you brake.  If regenerative braking was 50% efficient and you cut the weight by half, the weight reduction would gain you 25%
    not 50% relative to a conventional car.  It would be much more cost effective to concentrate on aerodynamic drag reduction, which will be the major source of wasted energy in an electric vehicle.  An electric vehicle with regeneration will already use only about one sixth as much energy per mile traveled as a conventional vehicle.  Lets build lots and lots and lots of Volts out of good modern steels and save the super whiz bang tech stuff for the wind mills and solar arrays etc. that we will need to replace the coal, gas and oil that will still be in use in other parts of our energy economy.  The Volt will truly be a world changer, but it will only get us about one fourth to one third of the way to energy independence and greenhouse gas elimination.


  28. 28
    Frank

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Frank
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (6:37 am)

    I look forward to reading and following the development of the Volt. My 1998 Chevrolet Lumina will be 12 years old in 2010 and have well over 200K miles on it by then so that will be great timing to buy a new Volt.
     
    Thank you Chevrolet.


  29. 29
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (8:32 am)

    Weight reduction is synergistic.  If you reduce the weight of the body and frame, you can reduce the size of the engine and/or motor, battery and other components and still maintain performance.  Carbon fiber could be important and the benefits could be very large.


  30. 30
    Tor

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tor
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (10:30 am)

    I really like the idea of a roadshow.  When can this question be brought up to GM and see if they would consider a stop (or 2) in every state ?

    I would gladly attend. 


  31. 31
    noel park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    noel park
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (10:55 am)

    #17 mmc:

    Amen!

    #29 Charlie H:

    Amen!

    Preach on brothers and sisters!


  32. 32
    Artimus

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Artimus
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (7:34 pm)

    Wow!  How utterly refreshing to read the productive, positive comments on this site.  There is an astonishing amount of pessimism working overtime out there and it is truly a breath of fresh air.  I think that Lyle and the regulars on this site know that it is in good part their groundswell effort that is pushing this project forward.  You all have something to be proud about along with GM and its captains.  Who said it’s never too late to change?  The GM team is doing a tremendous job of listening and responding to the public that wants it to succeed.  With this kind of Volt-age, how could it not?  Keep up the great work – you are all making a difference in the world!


  33. 33
    Koz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Mar 21st, 2008 (10:46 pm)

    rksparks is saying in more detail what GM engineers basically said they discovered during earlier development of the Volt. Although, I don’t really understand why it took much testing for this to be determined since it is a simple logical deduction. Carbon fiber and weight reducing features are nice, but are greatly beneficial to cars that don’t have energy recovering capability (e.g. traditional ICE vehicles). I don’t see much benefit from what Charles H mentions. The electric motor only weighs about 70lbs and reducing the capacity also reduces efficiency for A/C indution motors. This is not to say there aren’t benefits to carbon panels, they just are minimized in electrically driven vehicles with regenerative breaking. The biggest benefit would be to performance (acceleration and handling), but  city driving would see mild improvment and highway much less. As rksparks and the GM engineers point out, drag and accessory load become even more important. Personally, I believe that beyond battery development and charging station implementation; drag and the A/C systems are the most important aspects to focus on.

    A lot of attention has also been focused on smaller, lighter, and more efficient ICE’s for the genset. It doesn’t make sense to me to concentrate on this either. With 40 miles range, the Volt will be capable of providing all electric propulsion for 78% of all American daily drives according the GM’s data and I bet it would be a higher percentage for the rest of the world. LI batteries have been steadily improving since there introduction to the market and more recent improvements are even more encouraging. GM is anticipating 50 miles initial range for the Volt which will like be 75 miles for the second generation of their battery pack. Charging stations would double the daily commute range. Not that I think increasing the efficiency of the ICE and/or reducing it’s size is a bad thing, IMO it is just unimportant for the path that the Volt puts drivetrain development on.


  34. 34
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    Mar 22nd, 2008 (1:01 pm)

    33/Koz – The weight is both a performance issue and an efficiency issue.  The lighter the vehicle, the better it can climb hills with a smaller motor and the less fuel it uses in cruise (weight may be less important than aerodynamic or other drag but it’s still in there, I’ll ask a physicist friend about this, sometime).  The lighter it is, the better the acceleration – or the less power needed for a given level of acceleration.  My tastes don’t rule the world but I’m very happy with 0-60 in about 10 and I’ve been perfectly satsified with cars significantly slower than that.  Cut vehiclle weight, engine size and I could have a perfectly satisfying vehicle wiht impressive mileage.


  35. 35
    Koz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Mar 22nd, 2008 (4:46 pm)

    Charlie H, you are correct. Lowering weight does help performance in the same way it does with conventional cars, but with regenerative braking the efficiency gains are lessened compared to conventional cars. There is still rolling resistance in the tires and other weight sensitive losses in the driver train, but thesec are small compared to breaking losses. Regen also doesn’t recapture anywhere close to 100% (e.g. battery loss and other parasitic losses mentioned above plus friction braking for heavy breaking), but it can retain a significant amount of the energy. So, I’m not saying lowering the weight isn’t a good thing. It’s just less important to this type of vehicle and if it’s not worth it for an ICE, it’s certainly not worth it for an EREV. If they get the cost close to conventional body panels, I’m all for it.


  36. 36
    Karl

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Karl
     Says

     

    Mar 23rd, 2008 (7:24 pm)

    It would be perfect if the Volt came out in late 2010…that way they’d be able to work out all of the defects/bugs and I could buy a second generation one when I graduate college in 2011.


  37. 37
    A Clean Way to Play Extreme Peak Oil Scenarios « MrGreen.Biz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    A Clean Way to Play Extreme Peak Oil Scenarios « MrGreen.Biz
     Says

     

    Apr 17th, 2008 (7:59 pm)

    [...] things in order to keep up with the increasing cost of driving will not be able to afford a new Volt or Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, or even my favorite, the Aptera. For people forced out of [...]


  38. 38
    Mark Mullins

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Mullins
     Says

     

    Oct 29th, 2008 (12:04 am)

    I liked the original chevy volt design better. This final design looks like a malibu with it’s trunk cut off…or worse, a 80′s model ford taurus with futuristic accents…..I like the internal engineering though, but if it’s a success, it won’t be for it’s external design.