Jun 28

Voltec Could go Mainstream in 5 to 6 Years

 

The Opel Ampera is the twin sister car to the Chevy Volt.  The primary difference is rebadging with Opel styling cues, the platform and powertrain will be identical.   Canadian parts supplier Magna International is in negotiations with GM to become a partial owner of Opel.

There are apparently some snags in the negotiations.  It is well known that Magna intends to become a leader in the electrification of the automobile.  Ownership in Opel could potentially give them access to Voltec intellectual property.  Sources indicate that “Magna is asking for access to future technology such as fuel cells, hybrids and future GM models that go beyond what the company is offering in the deal.”  As such GM is now in new negotiations with buyout firm RHJ International SA and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.

Reports out of Europe cite GM sources as saying this uncertainty has led to a plan to introduce the right-handed Chevy Volt at the same time as the Opel Ampera in Europe in 2012, effectively putting them in competition with one another.

However, the reports suggests this competition may only be brief, as GM’s future Voltec plans are made clearer.  GM sources told Autocar that in the future “there won’t be a Volt or Ampera mark two, the powertrain will effectively become mainstream.”  As an example this source said the sixth generation Opel Astra could get the Voltec powertrain  “in 5 or 6 years.”

If this were true one could envision a similar paradigm developing in North America, where new future GM compact cars could come as standard gas combustion as well as Voltec versions.

Source (Autocar) and (Bloomberg)

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2009 at 9:13 am and is filed under Next Generation, Opel, Voltec. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 109


  1. 1
    Biodieseljeep

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (9:22 am)

    (click to show comment)


  2. 2
    john1701a

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (9:29 am)

    Mainstream has simply meant a sustained minimum production quantity of 5,000 per month.

    To become the next standard, a volume of at least 10 times that much is required.


  3. 3
    Ray

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (9:31 am)

    I like the grill / front end of this car much more than the Volt


  4. 4
    zipdrive

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (9:48 am)

    The Voltec technology makes sense on so many levels it can’t help but become the Standard of the World. (No offense meant to Cadillac – it will have Voltec too).


  5. 5
    jdsv

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:02 am)

    I like the Benz-ish styling, but I’d still prefer to sit in a car with the Volt styling (though the Ampera is slick as can be, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m in the minority). The Volt’s a bit tougher-looking, and doesn’t appear too extravagant. I love the thought of a beautiful yet affordable mainstream electric car.

    More Voltec = more smiles. Competition or no, either plotline will likely end well.

    NPNS!! =D~


  6. 6
    Dan Petit

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:07 am)

    From the day that I first saw that VOLTec open chassis, and, I had tested the astonishing technology of an A123 developer’s pack (of the small “c” sized cells), containing their advanced Lithium nano phosphate battery power density, I was 100 percent convinced when GM said that

    “The majority of GM vehicles will contain this technology”,

    that incredibly-reliable electrification of the auto would indeed be the future.

    Now, it seems, that other major companies want to rush into being GM’s business partners. The Federal loans should help GM to retain as much leverage and control of the proprietary research as much as possible.

    THAT is what the Federal Loans are doing for GM,
    AND, for the rest of us too!!

    Keep those jobs and proprietary technologies here in America to maintain and produce American Jobs!!

    This would also suggest what is likely to happen to GM stock.

    Dan.


  7. 7
    Muhammad

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:17 am)

    By the way, the car shown in the pic is the Astra not the Ampera…


  8. 8
    hayley

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:19 am)

    Forgive me but I actually lol’ed at this


  9. 9
    Thomas Gilling

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:23 am)

    I prefer the old Astra, it was more sharp. The old one was done by the sheffield based designer who now works for Ford, where as the new one is just done by a London’er.


  10. 10
    Dave G

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:24 am)

    For Voltec to become mainstream or standard, it has to have real competition. No other major manufacturer has announced a production date for an EREV-40. In my mind, this is the most serious issue surrounding Voltec and EREVs in general. Having other manufacturers compete in this space will validate the user model and seriously improve cost and quality.


  11. 11
    Thomas Gilling

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:25 am)

    But there is going to be an electric Vauxhall/Opel Astra.


  12. 12
    ThombDbhomb

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:37 am)

    I give it creativity points


  13. 13
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:41 am)

    Companies are competing to make a “green” car that people will buy. In that sense, Voltec has competition. Purchases will validate the user model.


  14. 14
    NZDavid

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:44 am)

    I agree with you Dan, I have maintained for a long time, that Voltec is the future for GM. Synergy drive is the way Toyota will go.

    Eventually both will wind up producing mainly EV’s, but, I suspect, not for many years yet!

    Mexico is heading towards zero net oil exports by 2012, so EV’s can’t soon enough for me. If you are a major car company not in the EV business, you are a company with a short life span!

    In NZ some 1/3 of our national debt last year went on oil imports to maintain our habit. What a waste.

    NO plug, NO sale.
    LJGTVWOTR

    /Talked to Mitsubishi the other day about the i-MiEV, apparently there are 5 of them over here, and they get most of the info about them of the net! Talk about corporate secrecy.


  15. 15
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:47 am)

    Off topic musing…

    A battery has to propel a heavy sedan and its passengers 40 miles at highway speeds. From my experience with battery-powered gadgets (cell phones, power tools, r/c cars, lawnmowers, vacuums, etc), it amazes me that it can be done.


  16. 16
    omegaman66

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:53 am)

    Just a side note. For the Volt EREV to spread among many models doesn’t require a battery nearly as large as the volts. Price will be a big issue and having a huge battery will lock out a lot of new car buyers. I look forward to seeing volt like erev’s with batteries much much smaller so that GM can compete with cheap cars and trucks but still be electric.


  17. 17
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:53 am)

    No this is the next Astra (My own Astra is the current model, said Astra H, born in 2004, it is said the third generation Astra, (after Astra F (the first, and G) so the one pictured above sould be the fourth.
    But some people even inside Opel say that the Kadett (the previous compact Opel) is in fact an Astra, and there has been 5 generations.of Kadetts (named A, B, C, D, E) so the above pictured Astra should be the ninth or I) generation …Source :http://media.gm.com/intl/opel/en/company/c_history/2000/index.html

    I do not know what to think about the 6th gen. of Astras.

    JC NPNS.


  18. 18
    statik

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:56 am)

    I just want to touch on the Magna end of this because any predictions about what is ‘mainstream’ in 5-6 years are practically written in sand.

    Magna is actually close to home for me as well, and I am fairly familar with thier maturations, and more than a few people that work at the Aurora HQ live closeby.

    The fact is Magna is weary (maybe even scared) of the deal now, even as they have a ‘understanding,’ in place…especially with all the posturing, delays they are getting from GM and the German government.

    The problem is cash. Opel has little and they are still burning what they have left at a crazy pace…and that is including the just over 2 billion the German government reluctantly put in, and they are pretty firm on not ‘donating’ any more. Now that Magna is getting a real good look at what they signed on for, they don’t believe that the cash drain is going to slow down nearly as much (or a quickly) as was represented to them.

    On top of the issue of cash burn, Magna has received at least 1 (if not a lot more) threats from other automakers that if they go through with the deal and become a major manufacturer of their own cars, they will not allow Magna to produce parts for them and compete at the same time.

    Sidenote: There are some other issues as well, like what is going to happen to Sberbank’s third of the company. They are just looking for a ‘quick flip’ and will sell to anyone at all, once they fill Magna has stabilized and brought value back to Opel. GM is worried if they sign agreements of understanding to let Magna do whatever it wants with the lineup as it is now, and the future ‘tech’ ie) hybrids, Voltec, etc. it could end up virtually anywhere (…but most likely in Russia under the GAZ flag, selling Magna modified Opels)

    Because the agreement of understanding is not legal in any sense pertaining to penalties for withdraw, it could very well fall apart. BAIC (chinese auto) would be all to happy to take Magna’s place, and they are offering to let the German gov’t completely off the hook….but that opens up a whole other ‘kettle of fish,’ that scares just about everyone in the EU (and elsewhere).

    /apologies if this is considered a sidetrack


  19. 19
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:03 am)

    By the way, I contacted our national Chevrolet importer, and I got his clear anwer :

    “The Chevrolet Volt will be on sale in Belgium by 2011, that is in close competition with the Opel Ampera.”

    and this is confirmed by the official website of Chevrolet Belgium :
    (in French sorry : http://www.fr.chevrolet.be/a-propos-chevrolet/a-propos-chevrolet-actualites-16.html)

    Regards,

    JC NPNS


  20. 20
    k-dawgski

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:14 am)

    Wide adoption of the Voltec… next step, BEV? These are old topics, but once again it depends heavily on price of the car/price of gas/performance of batteries.

    I see gas here in Russia is about 90 roubles/liter. I think this works out to about $2.50~2.80/gallon. Looks like there’s not much pressure here to convert to electric. I guess it helps to be an oil exporting country.

    Im betting the UK/Europe to be the first main-stream adopters of EV’s on a percentage level. We’ll see. I’ll be an early American adopter, once i have a chance to buy something.


  21. 21
    DonC

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:24 am)

    Voltec is not a slam dunk. There are many unknowns. Over the longer haul some combination of Voltec and bio fuels (higher conversion of sunlight into biomass and more efficient separation of sugars from the biomass) may be the best solution.

    One big problem is that Americans are quite bad at looking at costs over a term longer than about six months. For example, the Cap & Trade bill which just passed the House is estimated to cost the average family 22 cents to 50 cents a day. it will probably have a positive effect on jobs and will do quite a bit to reduce health costs. it will definitely move us away from dependency on foreign oil. But from the shrieking you hear you’d think this was a huge burden which has to be resisted at all costs. Rather than passing easily with bi-partisan support, it ends up being a primarily Democratic bill that passes by a few votes.

    This attitude, which here is frequently demonstrated here by the “Prius vs. Volt” or “Civic vs. Volt” cost comparisons, overly discounts the value of later benefits. Hopefully as a country we can move towards taking a longer view.


  22. 22
    NZDavid

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:31 am)

    Not a sidetrack at all, I was hoping to get an Ampera over the Volt.

    So Magna is looking at lots of cash going out and less coming in if they buy Opel. Not a happy place to be.

    The way you describe it I imagine they are looking for the exit.


  23. 23
    Tagamet

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:35 am)

    Well, THAT’S good news. If they are available there that soon, I’d assume that their North American release would have had to be substatntial. No?
    Remember that Independence Day release.
    As far as the idea that the platform would expand, wasn’t that the plan all along?
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    LJGTVWOTR!!***************NPNS


  24. 24
    CDAVIS

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:37 am)

    ______________________________________________________
    Lyle’s Article:
    “…where new future GM compact cars could come as standard gas combustion as well as Voltec versions…”
    ————-

    Is the following a better approach for future GM compact cars?

    Kill the standard ICE power train…don’t make it an option.

    Power Train Options:
    1) Voltec Basic (small battery)
    2) Voltec Plug-In (large battery)

    Design all new future GM compact cars to have the Voltec power train whereas the upgrade option for those cars is “Plug-In” (a higher capacity t-battery).

    Voltec Basic (small battery):
    A Voltec Basic power train would be the exact power train platform as the Voltec Chevy Volt power train but with a much smaller battery (just large enough to serve as a buffer). Therefore a Voltec Basic would always be running in Range Extension mode and have no plug. A Voltec Basic power train would still be capable of the very high Chevy Volt RE mpg (~48mpg ) which is better than if being powere by a standard ICE setup. Because battery capaicty is the major cost of a Voltec Plug-In, the much small battery capacity of the Voltec Basic would be much lower in cost.

    Voltec Plug-In (large battery):
    The Voltec Plug-In would only be different from the Voltec Basic in battery size and plug. For production efficiency, economy of scale benefits, and the benefit of a consumer being able to later upgrade from a Voltec Basic to a Voltec Plug-In, the Voltec power train would be identical except for the storage capacity of the t-battery. Make it possible for a guy with Voltec Basic to visit the dealership and easily upgrade to a Voltec Plug-In simply by removing the smaller capacity t-battery and replacing it with the larger capacity t-battery.

    The above approach has other benefits:

    1) Excellent PR for GM

    2) CAFÉ friendly

    3) Because of economy of scale, the Voltec Plug-In will be quicker come down in cost.

    4) Better engineering/development efficiencies because a car model won’t have to both support Voltec & old-school standard ICE.

    5) It better opens the door for a future VOLTEC BEV power train option. It’s just a matter of time before battery capacity and battery cost improves to the point that it will make sense for GM to offer a higher capacity t-battery that allows consumers the ability to go 150+ miles BEV. This will open the door for GM to offer a Voltec BEV as a power train option; the exact same Voltec power train sans ICE RE.

    6) The Voltec Basic / Voltec Plug-In approach is very KISS and allows GM to better consolidate and focus its resources to survive the profound challenges that automakers will soon face in the quickly evolving Electric Car Revolution.
    ______________________________________________________


  25. 25
    Rick W

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:37 am)

    Going mainstream may be wishful thinking. Number one the price is too damn high. Number two many existing cars (i.e. all prius, mini cooper, smart4two, etc…) can be modified for much less than Voltec price and they will get far far better range than the Volt’s arbitrarily limited 40 miles. So with all the new upcoming electric models in the next 5 years from
    powerhouses like Daimler, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, etc.., niche makers like Fisker, Tesla…and all the retrofit options for existing car conversion Voltec proliferation is not guaranteed by any means. If the price does not come down they will be screwed in the marketplace.


  26. 26
    zipdrive

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:37 am)

    Dave G:

    I believe that GM is probably piling up proprietary stuff on the Voltec.
    This will (I trust) give GM a leg up on the rest of the manufacturers and create somewhat of a barrier to entry into the EREV-40 world.

    Let the others try to compete with their Hybrids and we’ll see what happens.


  27. 27
    tom gray

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:39 am)

    It would seem unlikely that a chasis could be produced that could easily morph from gas to Voltec. The differences are rather large.
    If possible, though, it would help on costs while battery prices remain high.


  28. 28
    Rick W

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:43 am)

    The most important thing to do if GM is serious about getting global acceptance for Voltec powertrain is to startup plants in other part of the World were they have cheaper labor, superior workforce and better manufacturing facilities. The current plant that GM is modifying to make up to 100K/year will not be their most efficient plant. They wanted to build a brand new modern facility but it was axed for political reasons, just another episode of GM mismanagement that continues today on the back of the taxpayers.


  29. 29
    George K

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (11:58 am)

    Remember what the original front end looked like. Perhaps there was a problem bringing the glass down so far. Though I really liked the look:

    http://www.opel-ampera.com/english/?page=technology

    =D~~~~


  30. 30
    sheet4brains

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (12:03 pm)

    (click to show comment)


  31. 31
    CS Guy

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (12:41 pm)

    It’s a win-win for us all if it helps get us (I mean globally this time) off of our sick dependence on oil.

    This may be an aside but here is an article from noted EV enthusiast Doug Korthof wherein he states that the amount of energy used in extracting the oil and refining it to gas is MORE than the amount of electricity and natural gas needed to drive the same number of miles if all our vehicles were powered by electric and natural gas.

    http://evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1715

    Now if that aint a kick in the teeth I don’t know what is. We could have done away with the oil industry (as a transportation fuel, I know about their vital importance to plastics and medicine, etc.) in the 1990s if GM, Ford, Toyota and Honda had really gotten behind their electric vehicle programs. Or at least by now.

    I think this subject (exactly how much energy is wasted in making gasoline) demands further study.


  32. 32
    Monroe

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:00 pm)

    Voltec has a lot of potential. The combination of electric motor propulsion, energy efficiency of regen and grid power, and range extension is great. One could vary this setup with ultracaps in place of batteries, larger batteries for more efficiency or power, smaller batteries to save cost, larger generator for more muscle, alternative fuel for the generator etc. It’s simpler, more versatile, more efficient, and more powerful than parallel hybrids and could eventually take over the market, I think.


  33. 33
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:11 pm)

    HI, Tag

    On the GME blog “Driving conversations”, several weeks ago we had an interesting conversation about internal GM competition in Europe :
    Captiva vs Antara, Cruze vs Astra, Aveo vs Corsa, and Volt vs Ampera, we got an official answer, if you have the time look for instance at this link :
    http://drivingconversations.gmblogs.com/2009/03/the-road-to-the-future.html
    Regards,

    JC NPNS


  34. 34
    DonC

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:11 pm)

    As a follow up to the discussion of the size and location of the new charging port on the IVR, here’s a good shot of the plug. As you can see it’s fairly large and definitely round. The size of the plug was the reason given for eliminating the previous chic but rectangular charging port.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/06/28/underwriters-laboratories-approves-sae-j1772-charging-plug/


  35. 35
    Herm

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:15 pm)

    You have not been to a radio controlled model airplane field lately.. electrics have taken over and do amazing things.. all powered by lithium cells.


  36. 36
    Dan Petit

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:16 pm)

    Statik,

    Good to have this insight from your part of the woods.

    Great content on the biz side of the deals.

    Greatly appreciated, my friend.

    Dan.


  37. 37
    alex_md

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:20 pm)

    If you drive EV in Russia you could be jailed for treason since you are effectively trying to erode the very foundation of the Russian new found power – western dependence on fossil fuels. I am sure Duma will have no objection passing such a law. (only half kidding)


  38. 38
    lektriktadpole

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (1:38 pm)

    I believe Chrysler has shown prototypes of EREV minivans and Jeeps. The only non-EREV out of their ENVI group was the pure BEV Lotus body sports car. Will they have the money to actually to produce one is a real issue, but they did announce a battery deal with a123. Others just won’t admit the superiority of this architecture until they have one to sell.


  39. 39
    CDAVIS

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (2:25 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    hahahahah….I love that comment!
    Thanks…you just made my day.

    Actually I have a Masters in Business….but I agree the screws are not very tight…which has served me well business wise…tight screws make for poor innovation….

    I’ll make you a friendly wager that my “loose screw” idea is what GM will be announcing inside of three years.

    Side Note: Have I broken the thumbs down record with that #13 post?…lol
    ______________________________________________________


  40. 40
    Tagamet

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (2:52 pm)

    Thanks for the links, JC. Interesting letters/opinions posted. It sounds a little like you are looking to a similar setup as we have in the USA where each state carries the same “spread” of vehicles, while in Europe each country has it’s own “mix”. Please correct me if I misunderstood though. Does each country in Europe have the same emmission standards? In the US we even have ~18 different formulations for FUEL (my pet peeve), while we end up going with the lowest State’s emmission standards toward which all the cars themselves are manufactured. Boy, this is almost as clear as mud.
    Be well,
    Tagamet
    NPNS**********LJGTVWOTR!!


  41. 41
    statik

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    Thanks David/Dan, I kind of though maybe I was running amuck this thread after I posted it (and so close to the top when it was new)…so I added the ‘sorries’ at the end.

    /have a good one


  42. 42
    statik

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:07 pm)

    It wouldn’t shock me to see the Ampera get shelved at some point with what is going on at Opel atm, and them just bring it to market ‘as is’ ie) Volt


  43. 43
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:08 pm)

    Hi Tag,
    Thanks for your answer, well my own one will be mitigated :
    1 :emission norms for engines are fixed for all the EU by the European Council (or Parliement, or Commission, it depends on the author) by the EURO norms like Euro4; Euro5; Euro6, if you like law writing, you could look at : http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:171:0001:01:EN:HTML.
    That is progress especially for car manufacturers.

    2. Pollution norms however are fixed not at the state level but at the regional level (in Belgium where I live there are 3 region, in Europe 271 I think see http://www.aer.eu/publications/tabula-regionum-europae.html) so this is a little complicated and confusing.
    But the authorities are speaking of harmonization, patience, my friend is a virtue …

    Regards,

    JC NPNS


  44. 44
    statik

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:10 pm)

    So…I’m guessing comments collapse at negative double digits now? Or is that something you did CD?


  45. 45
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:14 pm)

    Hi Statik

    I share you opinion, time will tell, my Opel dealer is sellig a lot of Insignia’s those days and prays to get the new Astras as soon as possible.

    No news from the Ampera since several weeks, …

    Regards

    JC NPNS


  46. 46
    Juicy Fruit

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:43 pm)

    Voltec to go mainstream.

    ROTFLMAO
    ;-) :-) ;-)


  47. 47
    Tagamet

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:44 pm)

    271 REGIONS???? I thought that we had it tough with 50 states (lol).
    Patience may well be a virture but in some situations it’s closer to insanity.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    NPNS**********LJGTVWOTR!!


  48. 48
    RB

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:52 pm)

    The battery is roughly 4′ by 4′ (though oddly shaped) and provides the car with about the same amount of motive power as 1 gallon of gas. With a car that is small enough, has hard tires, is aerodynamic, and does not go too fast, the battery (or 1 gallon) can provide the car enough energy to go 40 miles, a useful but relatively short distance.


  49. 49
    Lyle

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (3:57 pm)

    Yup I threw in the -10 cutoff, you can still see it if you click it.


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:01 pm)

    Yes Tag, look at the Balkans for instance,
    but progress is being made.
    One political science respected professor, David Bell wrote some 10 years ago “Nations are too big for the small problems and too small for the big problems”.
    Right but he didn’t propose a way to measure the “bigness” of a problem …

    Regards,
    JC NPNS


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    RB

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:08 pm)

    DonC — Thanks for the link to the pictures of the plug that is to be used to charge the car. The plug looks large in the pictures. Every cable I’ve ever used that had a plug that was like this one (large, multiple pins) proved difficult to put on and take off, especially if used outside.

    I hope this one will be the exception. If not, that will be the reason people do not charge their car each night. It is a little thing in a way, but people are not going to undertake a project night after night when it is late and they are tired. It has to be smooth and easy or it is not going to happen, and the plug can be make or break.


  52. 52
    ccombs

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:13 pm)

    Mainstream = excellent


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    statik

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    I like it.

    I thought when you said collapse, you meant it disappeared forever.

    /I look forward to not reading more of CDAVIS’ posts in the future. Just kidding, I always read your posts…the collapsed ones actually make me want to read it more, lol.


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    RB

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:33 pm)

    One wonders what is on the other end of the cable, with 5 pins.


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    Lurtz

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:33 pm)

    Darnit, I hit the “-1″ button on your original post when I meant “+1″.

    Anyway, have an internet hi-5 instead.


  56. 56
    Larry McFall

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:36 pm)

    Looks good. I would aspect GM to employ the VOLTEC in all GM’s electric vehicles. This is not news. VOLTEC will become the standard and with advance technology in the development of batteries, VOLTEC is the practical application.

    Good luck!


  57. 57
    Dave G

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:41 pm)

    Right. Chrysler has shown 3 prototypes, and said they would produce one of these three by 2012, but they didn’t say which one.

    GM has said that EREV SUVs and Minivans are not commercially viable with current battery technology, and I believe them. So I strongly suspect that the one ENVI car Chrysler will actually produce will be the pure BEV sports car. This requires the least amount of NRE and is the easiest to sell at a profit, which is the reason Tesla started there as well.

    Bottom line: It’s fairly easy to build a prototype, but a production EREV from Chrysler – I believe this is just smoke and mirrors. I hope I’m wrong…


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    Dave G

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (4:50 pm)

    There was actually some talk of a Volt/Ampera plant in Austria (next to Germany & Switzerland).


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    statik

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    When are you back stateside k-dawg’ski’?


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    DonC

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (5:44 pm)

    The two additional plugs are for communication with the grid so it shouldn’t be too difficult to have an adapter for standard 3 prong outlets. The cord may be fairly thick. I think it’s 45 mm (but it will handle 80 amps).


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    RB

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:23 pm)

    “…have an adapter for standard 3 prong outlets.” Do you know if this adapter is something that exists, or is it something to come? Sounds a little tricky, if the Volt is to plug into a standard electrical outlet.


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    RB

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:27 pm)

    Maybe Lyle can tell us what the cable is like for his Mini.


  63. 63
    Monroe

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:43 pm)

    This is a good idea. The Basic option might be better if the battery were replaced by an ultracapacitor, which can give greater power assist and capture more regen braking energy. (Perhaps the plugin one too if EEStor happens.)

    I like the standardization idea. The Voltec system seems very flexible, and I could see it being adapted to something other than cars too. But is there any reason why this is superior to parallel hybrids like the Prius in terms of energy efficiency?


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    Marinko

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:46 pm)

    CDAVIS, I think it is a great idea. The only difference I would add is that the Volt Basic should have some ultracapcitors in place of or in addition to the battery.

    I think the key for GM is to mainstream the electric driveplan (electric motor, controller and the option of plug). Whether there is a generator or battery or both powering the motor will be a fn of cost and marketing angle.


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    CDAVIS

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:50 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Darn….it looks like some of my fellow Voltec Heads have voted my #13 Loose Screw idea up and out of Collapse Comment…I was starting to enjoy being Collapsed!
    ______________________________________________________


  66. 66
    Vincent

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:52 pm)

    Hey Magna,
    If you think you get the technology….then we the ones that saved GM with a bail out expect shares of stock sent to our homes promptly.
    Thanks for your fairness and ethics.


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    JEC

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (6:54 pm)

    CDAVIS

    I think it is possible that GM could attempt to set a new path, and offer the Voltec, but I really doubt they would do it across the board.

    For one thing, the Voltec really only makes sense for smaller vehicles and vehicles that are not power hungry. Trucks, especially will be a definite problem for Voltec. If your buying a truck to use as a truck, you will be hauling and trailering a lot of loads. You need power, and using the battery to provide this power will be less than ideal.

    You want to use the Voltec in passenger transport applications, not utility applications.

    Also, as we know GM makes a ton more money from truck sales then small to mid-size car sales, and they are not going to drop this golden goose.


  68. 68
    CDAVIS

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (7:27 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Monroe asked:
    “…is there any reason why this is superior to parallel hybrids like the Prius in terms of energy efficiency?…”
    ———–

    Monroe,
    I’m not enough of an engineer to understand or explain why a series setup is more energy efficient than a parallel (Prius setup) but my good friend at Jaguar Tata tells me that their testing indicates series setup is more fuel efficient by a significant margin when comparing against a parallel apples to apples (meaning both setups sans plug-in). He predicts that all hybrids (including Toyota Prius) will eventually adopt the series setup. He also says that because of the less complex linkage inherent in a series setup, that series is cheaper to manufacture and lower in after purchase maintenance for the consumer. Finally he claims parallel will never be able to match the smooth linier power band transition of a series.

    Perhaps some of the engineering types on this blog can better explain the more technical aspects.
    ______________________________________________________


  69. 69
    Texas

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (7:28 pm)

    Putting a hybrid powertrain in a “normal” model has been tried before and usually the move was not successful. Why? Because then the cost of the powertrain become evident to the consumer.

    If Voltec shows that this is a great financial move (difficult because it takes many years to justify the cost of that huge battery) then the drivetrain will spread quickly. If it’s not a no-brainer, then I would stick with the dedicated model. Use the Prius as the case study.


  70. 70
    BillR

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (8:01 pm)

    The amount of energy required to transport, refine, and distrubute oil is referred to as the well-to-tank (WTT) analysis. About 20% of the energy content of the crude oil is consumed in the process.

    This linked document from the DOE is very exhaustive, but the executive summary provides this data.

    http://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analyses/pubs/NETL%20LCA%20Petroleum-Based%20Fuels%20Nov%202008.pdf


  71. 71
    Bubba Clinton

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (8:21 pm)

    Last time I checked Voltec was a series-hybrid technology. This has not been proven viable in the small car market. The only proven technology has been parallel-hybrid in this space. The Ford Fusion is an excellent example of this proven technology. Until GM demonstrates the long-term viability of this expensive approach it would be better to stay with the parallel-hybrid approach which has hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road. Also the large engine that has NOT been designed for this e-gen role in the Volt will be most inefficient compared to the competition. Just one more reason to stick to a proven design. The series-hybrid is good for trains but not so much for smaller vehicles.

    Bubba


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    Jackson

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (8:37 pm)

    Option one (“Plug Free Volt”) requires a battery* with a much higher energy density to provide useful peak power in it’s smaller size. Such devices are either rumored or in the research stages, and are no where near being fielded in a consumer product.

    I think there is some merit to the idea if such battery* technology matures quickly.

    *or something, such as EESTOR, which stores electricity but is not technically a battery.


  73. 73
    Jackson

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (8:38 pm)

    Is that you again, “no name?”


  74. 74
    statik

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (8:42 pm)

    Actually, they said one of the original three will be to market in 2010. They also said they will have 3 (of the 5) to market in 2012….actually they said ‘three by 2013,’ which is the same thing.

    I do believe you are right in assuming the pure BEV will be what they do first. A lot easier on the tech, and easier to just ‘borrow’ the Lotus bodies.

    Source quote:

    “Introducing five distinct vehicle platforms with ENVI’s electric-vehicle technology from Chrysler Group LLC. We’ve been hard at work updating the three ENVI-powered Electric Vehicles (EV) you first saw in September 2008. Plus we’ve added two more exciting products to our production-intent lineup. ENVI’s electric-vehicle technology enables a new standard of quiet, smooth and efficient operation.

    What That Means For You:

    Ability to own one of these electric vehicles as soon as 2010
    At least three more models available by 2013

    Linky from ChryslerLLC website:
    https://www.chryslergroupllc.com/en/innovation/envi/overview/index.php


  75. 75
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (8:53 pm)

    “Voltec Could go Mainstream in 5 to 6 Years”

    In the words of (the original) Captain Kirk: “That ought to be just about right.”

    Took delivery of my “bridge to the Volt” car yesterday. I needed something new with mileage close to that of my manual transmission Saturn SL2, but with an automatic (my left leg and knee are giving out), safe, and not so expensive as to impair a Volt purchase within 5 years if that becomes feasible (or last seven + years if it doesn’t).

    If I’m going to be in a car 4 – 7+ years, it’s going to be at least a somewhat pleasant experience, if I have any say in the matter.

    What this means is that, as things stand right now, I could not find this car at a GM dealer. I did go to some GM dealers, too.

    It’s a shame on many levels; but one in particular was unexpected. There is, currently, a $2000 “loyalty bonus” if you trade in an old GM vehicle for a new one. I expect this is a glimpse of the future when it comes to limited Volt availability / dealer upcharge. If you trade in a GM car, maybe you’ll get a bonus to counteract a dealer-reaming.

    Bottom line: I’d guess I’ll likely remain Volt-less for 7 or more years. :-(


  76. 76
    DonC

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (9:33 pm)

    So what did you end up with?


  77. 77
    Zach

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:12 pm)

    It’s ‘chosen’, not ‘choosen’ :P


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    grat

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:24 pm)

    True, but on the other hand, a research team just demonstrated a lithium-air battery with (if I recall) 10 times the electrical density of a current lithium-ion cell.

    One could imagine that the number of cells in the Voltec could then drop from 200 to 20, along with a significant reduction in cooling/heating/management. Combined with a purpose-built, low-cost ICE, one could imagine that a Voltec package wouldn’t be that much more than a conventional engine/transmission package.


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    NZDavid

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:27 pm)

    But, DonC, that’s the great thing about Voltec, it allows for alternative means of powering the vehicle. The range extender could run on compressed air, or H2 if it ever becomes viable. As long as the method can generate 53kW when the battery is drained who really cares how it is done?


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    grat

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:28 pm)

    You’re also conflating political and corporate objections– The Republicans would scream bloody murder no matter what the White House proposes.

    GM, for now, has once again realized that pandering to short-term interests will bankrupt them. It’s a cycle they’ve been going through since the late 60′s, and hopefully, this bankruptcy may ring loud enough that 10 years from now, a new CEO doesn’t decide to go back to insisting on instant ROI.


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    NZDavid

     

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    Jun 28th, 2009 (10:45 pm)

    Yep, I voted you up. With paek oil coming on like an express train, I think this system is a no brainer. I think a Voltec lite, perhaps with some cheap Firefly batterys is the way to go at present.

    I think Toyota making their current Prius ‘PHEV capable’ is a brilliant marketing strategy when the next fuel crisis hits Prius owners can just race out and buy the plug in module and off they go again. No wonder they are the top selling car in Japan!

    Lower end Voltec owners would benefit from this approach as well. Time is on our side.


  82. 82
    Red HHR

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (12:34 am)

    In the same situation, we ended up with a Prius, the wife is not to happy with the variable nature of the GM card rebates, funny they offered to let us use them all(on certain models) the day we took delivery of the Prius..

    I briefly considered the H3t… or some Buick. I would really consider a Camaro if all those incentives applied to a new model car. However it is a business and they will charge what the market will bear.

    Anyway she is happy with the Prius . When the Volt arrives it should do as well.


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    Red HHR

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (12:51 am)

    Al Gore will be happy (and rich)

    Why not a straight carbon tax? Or is it? Anyway I am sure that this legislation(whatever it is) will help Voltec be a “Slam Dunk” (Oh no, them words again)

    Cheers


  84. 84
    Red HHR

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (1:09 am)

    Reverse or parallel engineering. Cloning, industrial espionage. there are many ways for the Voltec to go mainstream world wide.

    My question is, will GM get a carbon credit for a Volt clone in China?
    How about a blatant unlicensed knockoff? Just kidding.

    Anyway the key (something the Prius does not have, what word shall I use now) is competition. The ability to manufacture the right car at the right price. If there is one thing GM knows how to do, it is to manufacture vehicles. Let the competitions begin.


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    Texas

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (2:49 am)

    If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, we would all have a very fine Christmas. How about we wait for these “breakthroughs” to actually breakthrough.


  86. 86
    grat

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (6:11 am)

    You’re absolutely right. Let’s go back to our caves, and pound rocks, because it’s much easier to sit back and make wisecracks than to actually *do* something. Given that philosophy, the Volt is a colossal waste of time, since the 2nd and 3rd generation Voltec technology is dependent on exactly these types of breakthroughs.

    And technically speaking, while it hasn’t been made into a production process, the lithium-air cell breakthrough actually has been made: http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22926/

    Combining negativity with cliches has always made me irritable. ;)


  87. 87
    Abattoir

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:10 am)

    “Reports out of Europe cite GM sources as saying this uncertainty has led to a plan to introduce the right-handed Chevy Volt at the same time as the Opel Ampera in Europe in 2012, effectively putting them in competition with one another.”

    Most of Europe drives on the right side of the road, so what does this mean? Are they planning on only releasing the Volt in Britain?


  88. 88
    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:28 am)

    A bird in the hand…


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:29 am)

    :) :)


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:37 am)

    Sand is too permanent a medium for an analogous comparison.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:47 am)

    That’s really way off – they dont’ have a sense of humor :)


  92. 92
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:55 am)

    A Honda Fit.

    I didn’t want to spend anything extra for current hybrid technology (such as a Prius), I wanted to do the best I could mileage-wise with more-or-less conventional technology.

    I plan for my first “hybrid” purchase to be a plug-in; and preferably a Volt, or Voltec derivative.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:59 am)

    With the addition of right hand drive won’t they have a platform suitable for release everywhere!


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    MuddyRoverRob

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (9:32 am)

    Wow, no-name is busy…


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    Jun 29th, 2009 (9:45 am)

    It sure looks that way to me!

    Since the Ampera as far as we know is just a cosmetic change on the Volt platform it shouldn’t be a huge leap to make that happen.

    Adding the RHD variant to the Volt line makes it a true world car.


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    GM Volt Fan

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (9:45 am)

    I like the front end styling of the Opel Ampera a little more than the Chevy Volt’s. I like the shape and the size of the front grille and the headlight design. It looks cool in the above picture. The wheel design looks good on both the Ampera and the Volt. I also like the idea of putting a spoiler on the back of the Volt as standard equipment. The Volt should be somewhat sporty looking.

    It’s probably too late …. but … maybe GM could adopt this front end design for the Volt and substitute the Chevy bowtie in place of the Opel symbol? If the Chevy Volt can’t get the Ampera’s grille, then maybe it could get the headlight design?

    I’m usually interested in the engineering aspects of cars, but let’s face it, people probably really do make buying decisions based on emotional type things like headlight design, the front end, the tail lights, etc. I just want the Volt to be as SUCCESSFUL as possible. A best seller. An award winning, super popular vehicle that the auto magazines and reviewers like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports will rave about year after year.


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    N Riley

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (9:50 am)

    Voltec going mainstream is what we have all been calling for. I hope GM can get their negotiations going again with Magna. I would rather see Opel be sold to them than the other two mentioned. Especially the Chinese company. I just know that I do not plan on ever purchasing a vehicle from a Chinese company. If I had a choice, I would only buy goods made in the U.S. But that choice has been taken away from me by bad government, bad management, bad employees and bad unions.


  98. 98
    Noel Park

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (10:19 am)

    I tried to click enough +s to bring your comment back, but you can’t. It even puts up a little “You already voted” message, LOL.

    Excellent comment, IMHO.


  99. 99
    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (10:22 am)

    Arrrrggghhhh!!


  100. 100
    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (10:23 am)

    Amen!


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    Newport1980

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    How about a Voltec Silverado? That would blow the doors off of the pickup competition.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (1:43 pm)

    Or how about a 2 mode Silverado at a price somebody actually wants to pay? Make it an option all the way up the line, from Work Truck to whatever it is now.

    BTW, the crew cab with the 6 ft. bed does not work for me. I need a crew cab with an 8 ft. bed. I would even try the 2 mode with the 6.0 in a 2500, if that’s what it took to get an 8 ft. bed.


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    N Riley

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (3:20 pm)

    Do you use an 8-foot truck bed as a work truck or do you just haul personal items that need a long bed? Do you realize how long a crew cab truck with an 8-foot bed would be? I sure would not want to parallel park that dude. But more power to you. I am one person who believes that each and every individual has the right to want a vehicle to his or her liking. And hopefully there would be one manufactured that would meet that need at a cost that person would consider adequate for them. More power to the individual and less power to the government. It always works better that way. As long as someone is watching them, of course.


  104. 104
    jonboinAR

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (7:58 pm)

    Is GM somehow tied or committed to their current battery supplier for a couple or more Voltec generations (no pun)?


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    jonboinAR

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (8:18 pm)

    Will a much smaller battery function properly as a buffer and still have a long lifespan?


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    Dunder Mifflin

     

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    Jun 29th, 2009 (10:35 pm)

    “in 5 or 6 years.”

    delay, delay, delay !!!


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    k-dawg

     

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    Jun 30th, 2009 (8:18 am)

    Oops.. i typed the octane instead of the price. It was 20 roulbles/liter.

    Just got back today (after 24 hours of travel)


  108. 108
    wwskinn3

     

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    Jun 30th, 2009 (7:36 pm)

    How about an affordable 2 seater convertible.


  109. 109
    CS Guy

     

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    Jul 1st, 2009 (7:26 am)

    Not really the same topic but nice link anyway.

    The point I made is that there is no point in using the electricity and natural gas required to make a gallon of gas when simply putting that initial energy into your vehicle drives you the exact same number of miles.

    You either have A to B to C to D to E to F (extract oil, transport to refinery, use electricity to start refining, use natural gas to heat the oil to proper temperature to produce gas, etc., then distribute, then dispense and burn in your engine)

    or you have A to B (make electricity, plug in and drive)

    Which one would you choose?