Aug 19

Breaking: Buick Compact Crossover Cancelled, 2-Mode Plugin Drivetrain Still Lives On

 

The complex saga of GM’s 2-mode plug-in SUV continues to take new turns.

The program was initially announced in 2006, six months before the Volt, and was supposed to beat it to market as a plug-in Saturn VUE. When Saturn was sold off to Penske, another host vehicle was needed.

GM then announced it would be reborn in the body of an upcoming unnamed compact Buick crossover and a teaser image was revealed to the public.

At the GM 230 event, members of the media and public, including myself were given a preview of full scale models of many of GM’s upcoming vehicles. Included among them was this Buick compact crossover.

I didn’t mind the look of it. It seemed a conservative if somewhat uninspired rebadging of the VUE with the addition of the classic Buick waterfall grille.

Apparently GM’s plan for the event was to take our actual feedback to make some decisions.

According to GM vice chairman Tom Stephens, “The Buick crossover we showed received consistent feedback from large parts of all the audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick.”

As a result of this, he went on to write:

Last Friday, reaction to the Buick crossover was discussed at the meeting of our Executive Committee, the newly formed group that steers product decisions, and it was decided that if it didn’t belong, it didn’t belong. Buick crossover canceled. Fritz Henderson, Bob Lutz and I and the rest of the committee decided to take swift action to prevent a potential underperformer from reaching the marketplace. And we decided that the important plug-in hybrid technology would be applied to another vehicle, at no delay, that we’ll discuss in the very near future.

So there you have it, the plug-in Buick has died before it was born, and once again we are left wondering which SUV will get the plug.

The basic engineering architecture is a 3.6 L DI engine, two 55 KW electric motors, and an 8kwh lithium pack which orchestrated together via complex transmission and software controls should allow double the fuel economy of a standard gas version compact SUV.

The car is still slated for production in late 2011, regardless of its host.

Source (GM)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Buick, PHEV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 147


  1. 1
    Electroman
    Electroman Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:15 pm)

    Forget the SUV’s, I’m looking for a voltec pickup truck.


  2. 2
    ash
    ash Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    get on it


  3. 3
    MattZ
    MattZ Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:17 pm)

    I wonder if it will end up being the Chevy Orlando that gets the plug.


  4. 4
    Dave K.
    Dave K. Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:18 pm)

    This change of direction is understandable. And displays that although NGMCO is a large company it can still be nimble.

    Keep looking to the future and push toward it. Good move NGMCO.

    =D~


  5. 5
    ash
    ash Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:19 pm)

    Concentrate all your time, resources on Volt Gen 2. Try to get it get 50 Miles on all Electric, Charge in 30 Mts, cost close to 30 K.

    And make millions of them a year.


  6. 6
    Bowguruds
    Bowguruds Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:21 pm)

    YES.. Let`s have a Silverado1500 ER-EV


  7. 7
    doggydogworld
    doggydogworld Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:25 pm)

    Quick decision-making is terrific unless it leads to wrong decisions. And rapid-fire flip-flopping in public is not terrific even when it does lead to a correct decision.

    I personally never saw the point of a two-mode PHEV with 10 mile range. But GM will apparently still build it, I guess as a Chevy Equinox?


  8. 8
    Jeremy
    Jeremy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:35 pm)

    I think this is a good sign. It seems to me that this is exactly what we want to see in the new GM. The old GM would have pushed out a non competetive platform instead of listening to customers and dealers. ( Pontiac Aztec anyone? ).


  9. 9
    Jim F.
    Jim F. Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:38 pm)

    I’ve followed both the Volt and the Vue/Buick/?? development with interest. I very much would like to see a GM 2-mode hybrid CUV. I will continue to wait for one.


  10. 10
    CorvetteGuy
    CorvetteGuy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:39 pm)

    That would be my vote. The Orlando is very cool. Except for the name.


  11. 11
    JackFlash
    JackFlash Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:49 pm)

    That would be my guess as well; my friend just bought a 2010 Equinox after looking at about eight other vehicles in that segment. It is a nice ride and a perfect candidate for the plug.


  12. 12
    SAm
    SAm Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    MAKE IT THE CHEVY EQUINOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  13. 13
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:54 pm)

    Gimme a Truck PHEV, that’s all I really need. Or a BEV.


  14. 14
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:55 pm)

    Just curious, whay have two differen’t “Hybrid” models? Isn’t the Voltec the more superior as everynone claims? So why take a step backwards?


  15. 15
    CorvetteGuy
    CorvetteGuy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (4:58 pm)

    After announcing 230 MPG for the VOLT, adding this one to the Equinox would be a mistake. Better to let dead dogs lie.


  16. 16
    Van
    Van Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:01 pm)

    Sounds like Toyota’s plan for a lithium battery hybrid minivan might have killed a car with more cost and less utility. As others have observed, it appears Voltec is superior to Toyota’s HSD, but the two mode according to the market is not.


  17. 17
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:11 pm)

    Ditto.


  18. 18
    Paul Stoller
    Paul Stoller Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:14 pm)

    Why would adding this to the Equinox be a mistake? I think it’s the most likely to get the two-mode added to it, it’s the only place left. They said that this change will not affect the roll out, if this is true they will have to put into a vehicle with the same platform as the VUE, what’s left if it doesn’t go into the Equinox.


  19. 19
    GM Volt Fan
    GM Volt Fan Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    Make it either a 2010 Chevy Equinox or perhaps a GMC Acadia. I like the exterior styling of the Acadia. The 2010 Equinox exterior styling looks pretty good too.

    GM definitely needs to start dominating in the small/medium sized SUV market vs. the Toyota RAV-4, the Honda CR-V, etc. A small/medium sized Voltec SUV that gets 230 mpg CITY/124 HIGHWAY (or whatever it will ends up being) is definitely going to get people’s attention.


  20. 20
    JackFlash
    JackFlash Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:26 pm)

    What kind of mileage can you expect from this setup? If it isn’t at least 32 mpg or better I would say yeah let it die. The DI 4 banger already gets 32 mpg; so even 32mpg for the hybrid would be a waste of time.


  21. 21
    Koz
    Koz Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:27 pm)

    Not for $10K w/o a plug. If they were offering the current two-modes with a plug and 8KWH battery for $12K premium, they would be selling a lot better. Instead of having reasonably better fuel economy, they would have eye popping numbers that would get people’s attention and open their wallets.

    The problem is that they will probably try to charge a $15-20K premium. If it is a Equinox, they probably throw some other crap in the package and try to get $45K. If they get smart and offer a more basic model for $38K and try to build volume for later profits, they could sell them. Particularly while the tax rebates last. They problem with this is that it will be using up rebates that would have gone to Voltec vehicles and they may not want that to happen.

    This all may be the beginning of a dance with gov oversight to let them drop it altogether.


  22. 22
    Bruce
    Bruce Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:30 pm)

    Another casualty of the bankruptcy.


  23. 23
    ArkansasVolt
    ArkansasVolt Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:31 pm)

    I agree. If the two-mode PHEV is as good as they claim, imagine how good it will be in the most fuel efficient CUV on the market.


  24. 24
    Dan Petit
    Dan Petit Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:34 pm)

    Wouldn’t it be terrific to have an Equinox that has EV range options? 30/40/50? I think that would be just the market-ticket for just about all E-REV needs. Just order the pack you need for your particular situation. This would really be a competition-killer all the way around I think!

    What would the math be on a 50 mile EV range Equinox per the new EPA formulation?

    The Cd would be higher, but still, the overall values for a 50 mile EV range might possibly offset it a lot, don’t you think? There would be a lot more space for more cells, or, the newer battery chemistry and advancement technologies might be applied to it sooner in that particular separate production cycle. This intrigues me a lot.


  25. 25
    coffeetime
    coffeetime Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    Heck, Chevy should bring back the El Camino with Voltec drive. My wife and I recently attended an old car show in Port Orchard, WA, and they had several restored El Camino’s on hand. Sweet!


  26. 26
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (5:56 pm)

    I’m curious on why it is even a consideration if the Voltec is supposed to soo much more superior? wouldn’t GM be competing technologies against themselves? 2mode vs. Voltec?

    Is it too hard to make a commitment?


  27. 27
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:03 pm)

    I like that idea Dan. Allow the customer to scale their car by AER. Personally a 10AER will work fine for me. I reset my mileage trip counter this morning and my commute from home to son’s school was 9.5miles. Then I can charge at work and go again with 10AER, vioala, no gas for less cost of the car.


  28. 28
    nuclearboy
    nuclearboy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:04 pm)

    my 2 cents.

    1. In the MD/DC area, the 2010 Equinox is selling like hotcakes. I am trying to drive one and the dealers are selling them as fast as they come in. This is a very hot vehicle right now.

    2. The plug in hybrid would be a six cylinder that could tow something. The 32mpg 4 cylinder does not come with a towing option.

    3. The plug in Vue should get about 50-60 mpg until the battery is depleted. This is pretty cool for those who don’t drive too far on a typical day. Add this to the nice interior and looks of the 2010 Equinox + towing and you have your winner….


  29. 29
    nuclearboy
    nuclearboy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:05 pm)

    Definitely!!!


  30. 30
    nuclearboy
    nuclearboy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:07 pm)

    The two mode is cheaper and the battery is smaller. Instead of using no gas for the first 30-40 miles, you get double your mileage for the first 20-30 miles.

    Still a good deal for some.


  31. 31
    Noel Park
    Noel Park Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:07 pm)

    10-88.

    LJGTVWOTR!! NPNS!


  32. 32
    GM Volt Fan
    GM Volt Fan Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:18 pm)

    Toyoter is runnin’ skeered in the race to “go electric”. :)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/business/energy-environment/20electric.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    “And more often than not in the history of innovation, a change in the dominant technology means a change in the market leader.

    “Electric cars are a disruptive technology, and Toyota knows that,” Mr. Shimizu said. “I wouldn’t say Toyota is killing the electric vehicle. Perhaps Toyota is scared.”

    Toyota’s timidity in electric car R&D is going to give GM a real nice head start in 2011 when people are clamoring to get their hands on a Volt. If gas prices are well over $120 a barrel or so, you KNOW people are going to be lining up at Chevy dealerships asking about the Volt at least. People might bid up the price of a 2011 Volt on Ebay purely because they are furious at Wall Street schemers, OPEC, and “Big Oil” companies like Exxon. Who knows? :)

    People aren’t too wild about getting their monthly budgets trashed by sky high gas prices. It feels a bit like getting mugged at the gas pump. It ticks people off bad … especially the people in big gas guzzling trucks that need to drive around town for their work.


  33. 33
    Nelson
    Nelson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:21 pm)

    Here is a simple formula for NGMCO to follow.

    1. If it doesn’t improve mileage over existing line-up by 5 mpg, don’t build it.

    What does this mean?
    If the 2010 Chevy Equinox gets 22 / 32 mpg, the 2011 better get at least 27/ 37 mpg otherwise don’t cry about not selling any SUV’s.

    NPNS!


  34. 34
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:23 pm)

    So if I can’t afford the Volt when gas is $2.00/gallon, tell me how I can go “Clamoring” to afford/buy a Volt when its $10.00/gallon?

    Is my income directly proportional to the price of gas?


  35. 35
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:26 pm)

    Thanks for the info. Can you post a link on how the 2mode works? I have to plead ignorance on the subject because……..well, I know nothing about it…lol.
    Benn offline busy with Union negotiations and shit for the past few weeks. Not fun.


  36. 36
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:30 pm)

    Correction…
    “my commute from home to son’s school was 9.5miles.”
    Is supposed to read….
    “my commute from home to son’s school then to work was 9.5miles.”

    lol…..ooopsie.


  37. 37
    Dave K.
    Dave K. Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:36 pm)

    CJS #17.2 …

    The lowest price for pump gas here in Santa Barbara is $3 (08/19/09).
    _______________________

    Did I read that the gasoline capacity for the Volt may be as high as 11 gallons? This is hard to believe being that the former GM stated time after time, “the Volt will drive over 300 miles on a full tank AND a full charge”. It’s that big AND which is key. This indicates a minimum of about 280 miles on gas added to the initial 35+ for the battery.

    280 / 11 = 25.5 mpg (huh ?)

    Hopefully NGMCO is staying with the rumored 6-8 gallon capacity at 50 mpg ICE. So if you’re flying along on the freeway you’ll need to refuel each 3-4 hours.

    280 / 6 = 46.7 mpg

    =D~


  38. 38
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:37 pm)

    The two mode system would probably be a little too much power for the Orlando….. they could probably scale it back some, but my bet would be like the Equinox


  39. 39
    jdsv
    jdsv Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:37 pm)

    Just a quick note: 50 mile AER is not a goal of Gen II and as of right now will not be pursued. One point of price reduction will be providing 40 AER for cheaper by means of better battery technology. The quick charge is not a Gen II goal yet, but may turn out to be. The $30,000 could be a goal, I suppose.. by my understanding, lowering the price of the car is one of the ‘must-achieve’ targets for the Gen II machine.

    NPNS!!! =D~~~


  40. 40
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:40 pm)

    Voltec is superior for some applications.

    A Voltec System for a CUV though… especially one that required the ability to tow an object… would be very expensive. Probably more in the Range of a 24 kWh to 30 kWh battery… the 60,000 Voltec Vue is not really that attractive…


  41. 41
    iRoc
    iRoc Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:40 pm)

    Make every vehicle with a Voltec option.

    I mean EVERY VEHICLE, including pickup trucks, SUV’s, crossovers, sedans, coupes, roadsters, hatchbacks …

    get on it NGMC

    NPNS


  42. 42
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:42 pm)

    A PHEV would do the SAE J1711 type evaluation as done for the Chevy Volt.

    MPG figures would likely be 50+


  43. 43
    omnimoeish
    omnimoeish Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:42 pm)

    Wow, interesting. I think if they’re going to make a plug in 2 mode SUV with a 3.6L engine, they might as well make it pretty decent size so that it not only has the power to tow, but the braking and handling necessary to tow larger trailers.

    Here’s what they need to do. Ask themselves, what are the 3 best selling vehicles we have, then make a plug in version of those. That’s what a smart company does. They are guaranteed to make a splash. If they throw this expensive tech and engineering into a vehicle that isn’t moving anyway, they are wasting a lot of money.


  44. 44
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:47 pm)

    A 50 miles AER CUV would likely exceed 200 mpg on SAE J1711, provided its CS mode was similar to Equinox Highway at ~30 mpg.


  45. 45
    Dan Petit
    Dan Petit Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:47 pm)

    You are very right, Cap’n Jack,

    Do you remember in the 60′s, when a customer for a Chevy Nova could order anything from a beefy-little-4-banger, to a Monster 454?
    Those were definitely the exciting days that I’d bet Bob Lutz remembers fondly (me too). It was all in customer customization in areas that really really mattered to them.

    (The commercial I laugh AT, (NOT WITH) most, is that one where the guy with the really big nose tells the salesman that
    “I like the CD player” , “How do I look in it”, and then, they wheel a 6 foot by 12 foot mirror out for him to look at himself in the car. (I don’t remember what make). That OEM wanted to have people convinced that the CD and “how I look” was all that mattered. NOT!!

    The real deal is customer customization. That will take education of the consumer in that what they really only need is what matters most. I drive 90 percent of my (18,000) miles on Monday through Friday. 8 percent on Saturday. Two percent to church on Sunday. Optioning-in as well as optioning-out segmentations of battery capacity might be a really great way to bring the ’60′s performance (AER) characteristics excitement into the new GM century.
    30/40/50 miles of adjustable pack segments would be astounding.

    Question for GM engineering. What pack do you recommend for me in a Transverse (or a future Volt if it had that option)?

    Remember the days when the salesperson would be able to actually recommend to people the type of VEHICLE, not just be there to be “whittled down” on price alone?

    Exciting things are most definitely coming from GM for us in the near future. Other OEM’s ought to be panic-stricken by now if they are not on a very similar pathway as is GM.

    On another matter. It has been the hottest Summer on record here in Austin Texas. Somewhat distressingly, however, the record has not been broken average-wise by just a typical one-quarter to one-third of a degree, IT HAS BEEN BROKEN BY ONE POINT THREE DEGREES!
    While my dad up in New England (and some friends in Seattle) say that in their areas, the weather has actually been averaged as record cool, I believe I may have an explanation that might make sense of that disparity to those actual valid differences of “How can our cooler weather be ‘global warming’”.

    It might be something related to the very smaller ice caps in the Arctic are so much very smaller to not be able to reflect so much sunlight/heat, that the “contracted-containment” of the colder/frigid air is less likely due to smaller area of polar ice reflecting, as well as smaller area of polar ice keeping cold air contracted so much up there in the farther North. (Explanation for Bob).

    Technicians all around Austin are becoming subjected to heat stroke in the service bays. (I think my roofer, a terrific guy, has had a minor one, and doesn’t sound well at all).
    I have polled many of my techs (456 of them) who relent that “global warming disputes are not any longer valid”.
    These techs are working in bays that measure 120 degrees!! (OSHA please note.) (I recommend cheap 220 volt 24k btu cooled SPOTS directed at the tech, which would cost only about 1.21 a day for the three hours).
    The condition of heat stroke occurs when the body is at 105 degrees!! They are there for about 3.5 hours when that 120 degree temperature is attained.
    When I teach Advanced Diagnostics to techs, they are required to sit in the vehicle with the AC on to heat load, electrically load, and dynamically load the engine while performing analysis with 12 waveforms, three at a time, for 25 minutes. I do not have anyone arguing with that, and, the results are consistently valid. AC is a safety item here now.


  46. 46
    CaptJackSparrow
    CaptJackSparrow Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:48 pm)

    ABG article states the highway mpg is 100….
    http://green.autoblog.com/2009/08/19/chevy-volts-230-mpg-rating-ad-campaign-comes-under-fire-from-b/

    So if it gets 300 miles and it gets 100mpg then the tank is 3 gallons? Huh?

    Yeah, i’m gonna quit doing math for a while. :-P


  47. 47
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:50 pm)

    Yes and no.

    Throughout the past 25 years, Average American Incomes have steady risen at a slightly faster rate than inflation. People sometimes feel poorer not because they earn less or things cost more, but because we have more expenses these days includings cells, internet, fancy TV, etc.

    Gas is part of a CPI basket of goods that defines inflation. If gas rose to 10 dollars a gallon and stayed there, within a few years, most people would be getting huge raises to cover thier increased cost of living. The inbetween time would be terrible though


  48. 48
    CorvetteGuy
    CorvetteGuy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (6:58 pm)

    The “Hybrid” (using term loosely) Chevy Malibu got 2 MPG better than the regular Malibu and cost like $3000 more.

    If the Plug-In VUE or Equinox (whatever) does not get significantly better mileage (to the tune of 20MPG or more better) then I see the dealerships stuck with those things sittin’ around like the Malibus AND the Tahoe Hybrids until the rebates get so rediculously large that any fool would buy one just to get the extra cash to use as a downpayment.

    Just because it says “Hybrid” on it does not make it great.


  49. 49
    CorvetteGuy
    CorvetteGuy Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:02 pm)

    If it has the word “Hybrid” in it, then it should be 10 to 15 MPG better.


  50. 50
    Dan Petit
    Dan Petit Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:15 pm)

    PS. The refrigerated 24k btu units could be shut down at 3 pm when the peak demand comes online from folks coming home.
    But techs in service bays are now in highly significant danger, it is very clear to me. (Those cheap units only cost about 375 bucks, and are really not whatsoever any great burden to the shop in relationship to the triple return on productivity they ALWAYS produce.)


  51. 51
    Dan Petit
    Dan Petit Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:16 pm)

    Thanks steel,

    I had a hunch it would be nearly as good!


  52. 52
    Carcus1
    Carcus1 Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:27 pm)

    Lyle,

    How about a “guest post” from Statik on this one?


  53. 53
    Dale
    Dale Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:46 pm)

    Looking forward to an Equinox plug-in AWD, maximized for mpg yet retaining the ability to tow.
    Also does it make sense to include a block heater to keep the engine from starting to stay warm in the winter (like my HIghlander Hybrid does, which just reduces the mpg in the winter)?


  54. 54
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:55 pm)

    Especially if that means you’ve gone to test drive charge-sustain mode. Woo hoo!


  55. 55
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (7:58 pm)

    Include a bottle of dishwashing detergent with every purchase. I can see the promotion now: Chevy Orlando and …

    … never mind.


  56. 56
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:02 pm)

    If a light truck is too far out front to handle, I think a modern El Camino might be an interesting idea to pursue. They’d need to do a lot of market research, to gauge the pent-up El Camino / “I want a plug-in truck even it if looks like a car” demand.

    I agree that a smallish truck is the best answer. You could plug it in for the M – F commuting, depend on two mode beefiness for weekend-warrioring. It would be the new answer for the ‘lifestyle’ truck: thrifty on Monday, haul boats on Sunday.


  57. 57
    Joe
    Joe Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:06 pm)

    Electroman,….as much as you wish it, a Voltec pickup truck is not feasible. Battery technology has not gone far enough, yet. Maybe someday, but not today or the near future. Pulling loads is not what an electric vehicles is good at.
    But,the two mode hybrid is designed to do so.


  58. 58
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:08 pm)

    That would be a great ultimate goal to hold out for Volt + 10 years. If everything goes perfectly for GM, I doubt they could do it in less time.

    Though I think EREV is going to be the new ‘mainstream,’ one of those many products in 10 years’ time probably ought to be a BEV.


  59. 59
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:10 pm)

    Not if they still have plans to produce the vehicle. This seems like a thumbs-down for Buick as a venue for the CUV (which always did have an odd ring to it for my taste); and not for the crossover itself.


  60. 60
    Ed M
    Ed M Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:10 pm)

    Me too, I wonder if a pickup could be invented that runs on battery and tows on gas ?


  61. 61
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:18 pm)

    **THREADJACK**

    I posted this late in the last thread when conversation turned to Electric Utilities, “smart grids” and better alternatives to using electric cars as load-levelling battery banks. This is worth a read in it’s own right:

    http://www.heraldextra.com/news/article_b0372fd8-3f3c-11de-ac77-001cc4c002e0.html

    This could be a (primarily) non-EV battery breakthrough which will still end up having a profound effect on the electric vehicle’s future.

    This is a follow-on article to the Ceramatec “low temperature” Sodium Sulfur battery for houses that someone posted about last week. It’s a Utah paper reporting about a Utah company, but this could still be the industry-transforming development that the article claims.

    **END THREADJACK**


  62. 62
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:22 pm)

    … and to prove it’s really me, here’s my gravatar (lol).

    As a bonus, they briefly touch on the test being done with wind turbines using “ordinary” high-temperature Sodium Sulfur cells which I often cite when someone brings up P2P, or “smart grids” (as a being a better idea for utilities than trying to utilize batteries in cars).


  63. 63
    kdawg
    kdawg Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:24 pm)

    Or maybe a Cadillac?


  64. 64
    Me Here
    Me Here Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    my vote is for a plug in HHR.


  65. 65
    Loboc
    Loboc Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:33 pm)

    My tank is 24 gallons. I rarely put more than 19gal on a fillup. I think that nobody sane would use the last drop of gas in their tank unless it was accidentally.

    Speculating about the highway gas mileage of a car that hasn’t even been tested by the EPA is not worth the dots on the screen.


  66. 66
    Me Here
    Me Here Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:36 pm)

    The equinox gets 32 hwy (4cyl, 6speed), so not sure what you are looking at here, V6 and AWD combined 32?


  67. 67
    Me Here
    Me Here Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:38 pm)

  68. 68
    Loboc
    Loboc Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:39 pm)

    A CUV is not based on a truck chassis. You cannot tow a 4,000 + trailer with a class I hitch unless you want to end up on the evening news.


  69. 69
    Me Here
    Me Here Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:40 pm)

    The number that sticks in my mind was $43k for the Vue Plugin (that may be coming from saturnfans.com or another source)


  70. 70
    texas
    texas Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:42 pm)

    Great decision! I’m starting to feel real good about the new GM team.

    Now, does GM really need a poor-man’s plug-in drivetrain? If so, why? Is it better than Voltec? If so, why have Voltec?

    The consumers will get confused, as will the media. Competitors will use it against GM.

    As I keep saying, Nothing less than Voltec. Move forward because the past is already dead. Pick up your sunk costs, close your eyes and throw them over the cliff edge. After it’s done it feels so good.

    Let the spirit of the Volt and the Volt team be the guide for the new company culture. You can almost smell the success!


  71. 71
    Me Here
    Me Here Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:44 pm)

    interesting idea, thanks for posting.


  72. 72
    Koz
    Koz Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Tows on both? Battery to assist with the high power starts. How about a through the road parallel plug-in?


  73. 73
    JEC
    JEC Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:18 pm)

    Just a shout out to nuclearboy. I just got around to reading posts of yours a couple blogs back. Your post were you begin by indicating you know not what you speak, was very interesting.

    This was regarding just how efficient an ICE with a generator vs. ICE with a transmission would be. This is a very intriguing issue, and hopefully we will all become more educated on this subject soon.

    Thanks for throwing that out. It made for a good read.


  74. 74
    Build It
    Build It Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:33 pm)

    Build the Buick Rivera Concept…drop a two mode in it.
    Watch GM hire more accountants to count the profits roll in.

    Who ever proposed the vehicle in the pic at the top of this thread should be shot and buried in an Aztek.
    It’s got Old Man written all over it and smells like moth balls.
    That kind of design is what people associate with the Buick name and why people are surprised GM kept the name plate.
    It only lives because by pure luck it’s a great name translated in the Chinese culture where Buick is booming.

    Get rid of Tiger Woods, Build the Rivera Concept and you might change the grating harsh sound of BUICK like Hyundai did…is doing.


  75. 75
    Loboc
    Loboc Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:35 pm)

    Sorry, I disagree with almost every point of this post.

    Unemployed people do not make more than their average much less keep up with inflation. (Currently ~10% of the population.)

    Companies in general will fire older more-well-paid workers (or force them out some way) when the unemployment rate is high. These folks will never get back to above-inflation income.

    The 40-hour work week is eroding. We are currently at about 32 hours per week per employed. 32 x $ is less than 40 x $ plus O.T. Zero hours per week (unemployed) pays much less.

    Companies in general do not give ‘cost of living’ (inflation-based) increases unless they are making money. If gas (and oil by association) triples in price companies will not make money and therefore will not increase base pay. Currently, companies are decreasing payroll costs (thus more unemployed).

    Cells, Internet and HDTV did not exist before and therefore cannot count as necessities. Furthermore, all of these are in the Moore’s law realm and get cheaper (not inflated) as technology advances. These technologies are replacing older more expensive ones. Who uses land-line any more? Cell and VoIP is cheaper. A 32″ LCD uses half the electricity of a 19″ CRT. A 15Gb connection is more efficient than 2400bps (lookup Bell208). It’s the content (300 vs 3 channels, tweets, texts, PPV) that causes these to seem much higher in price.

    Items made of steel and oil increase in price faster than inflation because these items are based on oil economy commodities. Transported goods (like food) prices are also tied directly to fuel prices.

    And on and on and on. There are very few people that are more well off now than any time in the last 25 years. If you are one of them, count your blessings.


  76. 76
    Mark Bartosik
    Mark Bartosik Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:39 pm)

    I’m with you on this one CorvetteGuy

    If I’m paying more for hybrid or plugin I want something significantly better in the MPG range, having more power performance and towing capability is not even on my horizon. Indeed if I’m paying more for hybrid or plugin then I’ll happily sacrifice performance and towing capability for better MPG and more electric only range or higher electric only speed.

    The market for those who buy SUV or CUV who actually fit a toe bar and use it for towing is much smaller than the market for those who buy SUV or CUV because they like it but will never use it to tow.

    GM: How about you
    1) Take a look at how many after market toe bars are fitted, or chosen as an option when it is a “stand alone” option requested by the customer, i.e. not part of a package with a moon roof or something else.

    2) Also go around a few large car parks and count how many cars in the target category have toe bars fitted, you might even look for scratches on the ball to show whether that they’ve actually been used.

    I think that you’ll find a minority with tow bars.

    That leaves the issue of performance…
    Well just look at the ratio of 8 cylinder to 6 and 6 to 4 cylinder sales when these options are offered. If you are selling more of the lower category then clearly performance is not the key issue. The trouble is such things as trim levels are too often linked to other options to encourage up selling.

    Initially (like for next 5 years at least) those paying extra for hybrid and plugin I’m sure prefer efficiency over performance. Just look at the various web sites (like this) and look at the ratio of discussion of MPG, electric range etc, compared with discussion of power and towing ability.

    Go and ask other hybrid owners what’s more important, mpg or performance. I doubt you’ll find many Prius owners saying they paid extra for the towing capability!

    I’m sure you find a large section of the public that will say they would like Prius like MPG or something close (maybe 40 mpg) but don’t want to give up the space, upright ride, perceived safety, and trunk space of their CUV or SUV.

    Worse case have two modes in the software, Eco and Tow. Then have the button position logged and reported at servicing or via OnStar. Use that to feed into the next generation.

    The Equinox 4 cylinder already gets good MPG, so your target should be to significantly beat that. By significantly, I mean that the MPG needs to be around 40 mpg or better just from a marketing perspective the MPG needs to be “40 something” as opposed to existing products that get “30 something” or “20 something” otherwise the improvement is just lost in the mind of many consumers. It has to be at very least close to 40 MPG so that people mentally round it up.


  77. 77
    ccombs
    ccombs Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:51 pm)

    I agree… DON’T increase the AER until the price comes down substantially. Even then I don’t think most people will need anything above 50-60 solid miles in the near future since anything past that offers diminishing returns. I drive waaay less than 40 every day and then occasionally drive very long distances. For me a moderate AER is best since I just moved close to work, although I can see why some people want more.


  78. 78
    ccombs
    ccombs Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:54 pm)

    I disagree. At this point if you want a moderately powerful tow-capable vehicle you can’t use Voltec. Vehicles in this segment will have to settle for being two-mode PHEVs in the near future until batteries and Voltec advance.


  79. 79
    Volt45
    Volt45 Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (9:54 pm)

    Sweet spot:

    A plugin Tahoe with a sub 40mph, 20 mile AER and a tow rating of 6000 #.

    Too much to ask?


  80. 80
    alex_md
    alex_md Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (10:11 pm)

    Tell this to Komatsu with their super performing electric dump trucks. Those trucks are essentially Volts minus battery multiply by 50. Electric drive trains are very robust (look at Mars rover, locomotives, huge dump trucks)). The problem is if you only have a battery. Does not matter though if you have a gen running all the time. So we may not see pure EV truck soon, but EREV sounds like a perfect solution for high load applications.


  81. 81
    nasaman
    nasaman Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (10:24 pm)

    I’m with you fully on this, Jim!


  82. 82
    alex_md
    alex_md Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (10:28 pm)

    High load application with the need to an instant torque particularly suitable for EREV . The generator will have to be much more powerful. The battery alone will not be able to supply the power needed for the vehicle. So the setup will have to be redone. Generator and the battery in parallel feeding the motors. Battery working only to level the load. Most of the power comes from a V8 or turbo V6 or TDI, gas turbine. When not needing full power, battery can supply the whole thing and provide gas-free operation. Scrap the transmission, just put four motors in the hubs like in Komatsu dump truck with electronic AWD.


  83. 83
    RamZ
    RamZ Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (11:05 pm)

    GM, Make it a 4×4 Chevy Equinox. I would love to have one in my garage next to my Volt,


  84. 84
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (11:06 pm)

    Sorry to disappoint you, the facts just are not on your side.

    http://www.inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Rate/CurrentInflation.asp

    Inflation has been a relatively steady <4% for the past 25 years or so. This is all based on the -same- basket of goods.

    Here is Inflation Adjusted Real Median Income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Household_income_65_to_05.png

    Its true, 2008 and 2009 have been terrible years. And people are generally worse off than in 2006. But over 25 years, the median -real- inflation adjusted income per household has risen significantly… as much as 10%.

    The basket of goods people consider “necessities” has also risen. Which was my point. The Inflation basket has not “increased” to include a house with internet + phone + cell. Its still just phone only.

    So please, stop all the gloom and doom. I am not going to cry about the 10% of people, most of whom will have a job within a year or two. Don’t get so absorbed by the present that you lose sight of the whole picture.


  85. 85
    jeffhre
    jeffhre Says

     

    Aug 19th, 2009 (11:48 pm)

    Steel, it does appear that, “Throughout the past 25 years, Average American Incomes have steady risen at a slightly faster rate than inflation.”

    However, this is broadly skewed by the top five percent of the population who have actually enjoyed the bulk of the rise in earnings growth leaving many in the midlle class stagnant or falling backwards in real terms.

    Similarly true is, “People sometimes feel poorer not because they earn less or things cost more, but because we have more expenses these days includings cells, internet, fancy TV, etc.” Although many workers also feel the pressure of more and faster job changes and layoffs in the new economy through reognizations and globalization, and a greater need for retraining due to technological advancements and job category losses. These changes make the likelihod of job loss more acute than ever before leaving even high paid workers feeling insecure.

    Also, the trend toward less benefits raises the employee portion of expenses for fast rising costs like health and eduction. Retirement packages are now slimmer with defined benefits replaced by 401k’s, and Social Security seems iffy as currently funded, requiring employees to dig deeper than in the past to fund replacements for their retirement.

    Also for parents the fancy computers, TV’s, and phones leave many feeling like their kids will be left behind vs the capabilities of their peers with out these purchases.

    Although in your favor the CPI rate is generally thought to overstate inflation, leading to even more buying power with rising incomes at the macro scale, in application, the poor and middle class don’t seem to get nearly the same benefits as the highest earners.


  86. 86
    DonC
    DonC Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:00 am)

    That was a quick decision. Probably the right one as well. I don’t think the issue was the plug-in version so much as the standard ICE version. If the car isn’t going to be a great car it’s better not to waste the time and resources doing it.

    Hopefully the need for speed will carry over into other areas as well.


  87. 87
    solo
    solo Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:14 am)

    I think G.M. may have made a good decision here. They showed a mock-up of a vehicle, it got lukewarm reactions, and G.M. said we won’t build it.

    G.M. needs, above all other things, to make money selling cars. If this particular vehicle wasn’t going to sell well, don’t make it.

    On the other hand, they need to make SOMETHING, especially if they invested hundreds of millions on the technology. These 2 mode hybrid vehicles, from G.M. (and even Chrysler which also owns the technology) will, in the long run, be implemented. It will be necessary to hybridize SUV’s and pickup trucks to meet upcoming fuel economy standards and give customers a vehicle they actually want to drive, as apposed to cars the current government thinks we should drive.

    Boats, campers, and tradesmen aren’t going away. Heavy duty vehicles are still needed and wanted by the public. 2 mode drive trains may be the only way to deliver. If this technology fails, boaters, campers, and tradesmen will be forced into an even larger class of vehicle. Forget 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton and and 1 ton(dually) pickups. Joe 6 packs will have to drive Kenworth and Peterbuilt based trucks to get around the new fuel economy regulations.


  88. 88
    Vincent
    Vincent Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (1:41 am)

    Keep Buick overseas….that name is terrible here. Should have put the current new generation Buick’s under the Pontiac name.
    Put the 2 mode in the new GMC Cross Over. It’s very nice.

    If they were going Buick it will likely end up Cadillac for better accepted higher sticker price. Oh man thank God GM listened to how uninspiring the Buick proposal was. Good looking out GM. Your learning.


  89. 89
    Chris
    Chris Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (2:20 am)

    The Equinox is pretty much a twin of the old Vue so I bet it will be the new 2 mode host as well.


  90. 90
    Sun Li Ping (Lily)
    Sun Li Ping (Lily) Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (2:53 am)

    Steel ,

    Maybe they could make it a Serial Hybrid , oops , I mean cereal Hybrid powered by Kellogg s


  91. 91
    Keith
    Keith Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (3:11 am)

    Captain, I really would like to know how you made out with that Electric Ford Truck Dealer in Vancouver Canada that I sent you to . I am just curious as to what information they sent to you .
    I know that they are one of the biggest Ford dealers in Canada so they don’t play any games with clients.


  92. 92
    Dave K.
    Dave K. Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (4:41 am)

    Thursday August 20, 2009, 1:35 am EDT

    On Wednesday, the contract jumped $3.23 to settle at $72.42 after the Energy Information Administration said crude in storage fell by 8.4 million barrels last week. Gasoline held in storage fell as well.

    “The outlook for the US economy looks pretty strong,” Christoffer Moltke-Leth, head of sales trading at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore. “We expect a recovery in the second half, and that helps crude.”

    Oil prices will likely test $75 a barrel soon, Moltke-Leth said.

    =D~


  93. 93
    nuclearboy
    nuclearboy Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (5:55 am)

    If you search for 2-mode plug-in vue on this website called http://www.gm-volt.com you will find a variety of stories on this vehicle. Some have a little tid bit of information and if you read them all you begin to see a picture emerge.

    The cliff notes summary is this.

    1. The standard two-mode V6 hybrid should get 25-30+ miles per gallon. I did not look up the exact numbers.

    2. The plug in option adds a modest sized battery that can be charged up at home. This can actually drive the car electrically at some speeds but the real key is that the car is programmed to use the electric motor selectively to improve the gas mileage of the car. We assume GM can figure out where a little electric boost will help save gas.

    This approach can double the mpg of the vehicle for the first XX? miles driven while the battery is still charged.

    Once the battery is depleted, you are back to a standard two mode hybrid setup.

    For people who run errands (my wife drives about 5-15 miles per day running the kids around) this setup would give you SUV versatility and with better than Prius like mpg. Basically, you are replacing some of your gas usage wity electricity which you obtain at home.


  94. 94
    RB
    RB Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (6:21 am)

    The canceled Buick is going to be missed, but no doubt gm will replace it with something even better.


  95. 95
    Rashiid Amul
    Rashiid Amul Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (6:27 am)

    I concur. We need a light 4X4 pickup truck for dump runs and Home Depot runs. Towing is another matter.


  96. 96
    nasaman
    nasaman Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (6:35 am)

    …Or maybe a Cadillac?

    Not a bad guess. And if memory serves, GM may have considered the SRX a possibility. The plug-in Vue uses a 3.6L V-6 very similar to the famed CTS engine, which along with the 8 KWh battery and 2-mode transmission would make Chevy Equinox or Orlando versions pretty pricey.

    BTW, Tom Stephens’ comment, “….it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick,” might have been a deliberate diversionary tactic to imply they’re not even considering the Caddy! ;)


  97. 97
    Loboc
    Loboc Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (6:42 am)

    High oil prices are good for the Volt and other electrics.


  98. 98
    texas
    texas Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (6:58 am)

    Joe said:

    “Pulling loads is not what an electric vehicles is good at.”

    I, for once, am speechless. lol.

    I hope you mean that the battery does not have the energy density to pull heavy loads for extended periods of time. Is that what you meant, I hope?

    Of course we know that electric drivetrains are ideal for pulling extremely heavy loads, just check out electric-diesels locomotives and heavy mining equipment. Massive torque can be generated with electric motors. Beautiful, asphalt ripping torque.


  99. 99
    nasaman
    nasaman Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:01 am)

    I agree, RB. How about a plug-in Caddy SRX (see my comment in #3 at 6:35 am)?


  100. 100
    Dan Petit
    Dan Petit Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:07 am)

    Jackson,

    Thanks for the link. That looks EXTREMELY promising as a possible Volt storage capacity (at lower grid costs at night with digital metering).

    I like the fact that the Ceramatec sodium-sulphur battery operates at below 170 degrees F, and, that the metals remain solid, not “molten” at 350 degrees C.

    Now that there has come about some sanity in the investing into other technologies instead of fossil, we might somehow have a greater chance to survive the coming future.


  101. 101
    RB
    RB Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:17 am)

    nasaman –> plug-in Caddy SRX would be a very nice car at the right price level and broadly attractive.


  102. 102
    jbelmonte
    jbelmonte Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:17 am)

    GM really thinks members of the media and public at the GM 230 event represent the buying public in general? Really? I think the problem has nothing to do with this particular CUV. The real problem is GM doesn’t have a good idea what to do with Buick. Buick has a small line-up and US sales were lower than Saturn and Pontiac. They want Buick to be a “high-end” name plate, but out of Cadillac, Buick, BMW, Mercedes, Infinity, Lexus, and Acura, which one is not like the others. I bet they put this drive train in a small Chevy CUV.


  103. 103
    nuclearboy
    nuclearboy Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:19 am)

    Thanks for the note.

    I too hope to find out more on this subject as we move forward.


  104. 104
    RB
    RB Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:23 am)

    jbelmonte –> Buick does really well in China, a huge market. In the USA Buick will do well if its lineup can regain more of the cutting edge ‘Buick racing car’ aura, and even recently there have been high-performance models. Buick’s quality reputation is outstanding, and its sense of being dated can readily be overcome.


  105. 105
    RB
    RB Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:26 am)

    Where was it posted? I’d like to go back and read (or read again).


  106. 106
    Shock Me
    Shock Me Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:26 am)

    Pontiacs have has an even worse name here than Buick. I think they made the right choice and we will probably see the wonderful G8 in Buick skin very soon.


  107. 107
    Mitch
    Mitch Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:30 am)

  108. 108
    Joe
    Joe Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (7:33 am)

    GM is now using the same reverse psychology tactics of Toyota. My thought is, GM probably never seriously thought of building this Buick crossover. Now, GM claims to have change their mind due to the criticism of the consumers. That’s how Toyota won it’s wonderful perception aside it’s quality. I’m all for it! Now GM, under-promise and over-deliver….and don’t tell all too soon in advance. Let the competitors guess what you are up to. Just imagine, if GM had just announce the Volt today instead of two years ago, what a surprise to the world it would have been! Any company can have secret projects so I think they still could have gotten the loans.


  109. 109
    Mitch
    Mitch Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (8:01 am)

    a contraction of Pontiac Aztek is Prozac

    LOL


  110. 110
    Starcast
    Starcast Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (8:18 am)

    Volt45 You are right on the money. I have poste the same basic thing many times.

    GM Needs to add plug to their current 2modes. Tahoe and PUs.

    I would even be happy with 10 AER.

    Many of us still need a large tow veh.

    One size will not fit all.


  111. 111
    Jackson
    Jackson Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (8:51 am)

    In my opinion, GM is to be lauded for it’s openness in the Volt program. Pre-bankruptcy, when people on this board were pointing out that the Volt wouldn’t save GM, I responded that while this was true in the near term, the Volt demonstrated the reason GM should be saved. Given the public nature of the proceedings, I really wonder if the government brokered bankruptcy would have proceeded the way it did without the Volt project.

    However, I believe that they are still doing pretty much what you said when it comes to mpg in charge-sustain mode. Look for some startling news, here.


  112. 112
    N Riley
    N Riley Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (9:04 am)

    Interesting development. I can understand GM’s desire not to bring to market a vehicle that would damage Buick’s reputation. Too bad that wasn’t done many, many years ago. It is also surprising that they seemed to place such weight to the comments of the visiting group of journalist and others at the 230 announcement. That does signal quite a change in policy and thinking. Plus fast action after considering the comments. Good job, Lyle. And to you, GM, we will be waiting for your 2-mode compact SUV decision. I hope it is a good one that people can actually afford. I had been considering buying the Buick 2-mode over the Volt. Now, I will wait and see.


  113. 113
    Mitch
    Mitch Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (9:34 am)

    Bull..
    I regularly tow 4000 in my 98 S10 with a 4 banger…just be careful as braking takes a bit more…rated and actual are MILES apart. they list a more than safe (read you cant sue us) rating for tow capacity.

    (if you you want specifics/ 24′ trailer, massey furguson 65 farm tractor, 6′ blade, mower and tiller..gross weight (per scale) 4083.7#)


  114. 114
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (9:36 am)

    I’d love a plug in wagon, but I’m not a fan of the HHR. I like the way the HHR looks from the outside, but I rented one during a trip down the west coast.

    At first, I had a very positive impression of the car. It was quirky but attractive. The inside was great, and I really liked the LED dome lights, and the ergonomics of the controls were good. It seemed like a great size and shape for a family car. Sounds like a great car for the right buyer, right?

    But, there’s one thing that torpedoes the whole design for me. I didn’t notice it the first day, but halfway throught he second day, it became obvious that the windows are tiny! Those thick pillars create a lot of unnecessary blind spots, and there are an awful lot of them! Both myself and my now-wife have written off the HHR as a possibility, because of the poor visibility — and poor visibility means poor safety to us.

    Also, the mileage was in the mid 20s, which is about the same as my pickup truck. I’d requested a small car (for the mileage on that trip), and they “upgraded” me to the HHR, which meant that the trip cost more than planned.

    So, with those thick pillars, an HHR would be a tough tough sell. But if they fix the windows/visibility, and an E-REV HHR with roofracks would be a great fit for my needs. Just don’t make it too tall, since I’m short and I plan to actually use the roofracks.


  115. 115
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (9:50 am)

    Sure, but by putting the V6 into the vehicle, it seemed overpowered. That’s not going to sell to people who want the best possible efficiency, and those of us who want the best mileage are the same people who are going to pay the premium for a hybrid drive system.

    So, make the engine more modest, bring the costs down, improve the non-plugin mileage, introduce it as a Chevy, and maybe it’ll be ready by the time I need a car that can haul two kids, a dog, and luggage. :-)


  116. 116
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (9:57 am)

    I can’t imagine me ever needing or wanting a Tahoe, no matter how electrified, for anything…

    Other people’s needs and tastes seem to vary quite a lot.


  117. 117
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (10:11 am)

    The overpowered drivetrain from the Buick plugin CUV would be perfect for the Colorado! No changes necessary!

    Plus, the mileage numbers would be leaps and bounds better than everyone else, in a compact pickup truck.


  118. 118
    Vincent
    Vincent Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (10:54 am)

    Pontiac has tremendous sales compared to Buick.


  119. 119
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (10:59 am)

    Ed M

    You just described 2 mode.


  120. 120
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:01 am)

    If you have a family and a boat or camper your perspective would change quickly Luke.


  121. 121
    Vincent
    Vincent Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:02 am)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RLwpqIfur4

    This is the only way to bring Buick back in the USA
    Enough Said! Build it GM Wake the F up!


  122. 122
    Joe
    Joe Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:03 am)

    Laugh all you want. We all know electric motors are great work horses provided they are next to the electrical grid. Otherwise, be prepared to have huge batteries at a great cost (you must have heard how expensive batteries are). Batteries so huge that the idea is not practical. Maybe in the future, but not now.
    If your idea is so good, I’m sure someone will jump on it.


  123. 123
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:03 am)

    Groan…


  124. 124
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:05 am)

    Or unless they had 20 miles of electric range to use after they run out?

    But gas tanks aren’t usually designed to pull every last drop out of the tank.


  125. 125
    Joe
    Joe Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:05 am)

    The two mode hybrid pickups will fit this bill.


  126. 126
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:06 am)

    With the exception of overpowered I agree with you.

    You need that power to pull a camper up a mountain.
    (That IS where people camp after all…)


  127. 127
    Noel Park
    Noel Park Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:07 am)

    Amen.


  128. 128
    Joe
    Joe Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:16 am)

    Nasaman….I totally agree with you.


  129. 129
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:17 am)

    Which could be perfect for a lot of us!

    Little to no gas usage on a short commute and can haul the camper on the weekend!

    Of course an upsized Voltec system could at least in theory do the same job, it’s a matter of current costs.

    A Volt as the car for sure, but an affordable 2 mode Equinox that can tow the camper ‘could’ force a handle change on me…
    MuddyEquinoxRob?


  130. 130
    DaV8or
    DaV8or Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:20 am)

    Last year, Pontiac announced it was going to be selling a re-badged Holden Ute to be called the G8 ST for Sport Truck. It was a reborn El Camino for sure. However, long before it was announced that Pontiac was to be no more, they pulled the plug on the G8 ST. Turns out there really isn’t that many people interested in a car based pick up anymore. I personally witnessed public reaction to the car at the LA auto show, it was pretty underwhelming. It was a curiosity, but no buzz and little interest. Another flop was the CTS Sport Wagon IMO, but they seem to be going ahead with that one.


  131. 131
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:50 am)

    OK.

    But… Trucks are what drive the economy.

    Your plumber drivers a what?

    Either a pickup or a van right?

    So does your electrician, carpenter, welder, take your pick of the trades. These vehicals run all the time all over doing their jobs using a large amount of gas.

    Want to REALLY save some fuel and get off the import the oil treadmill? Improve the gas mileage on these necessary machines.

    Right now 2 mode is the best answer.

    In a few years Voltec HD will come down the pipe and supercede 2 mode, but right now 2 mode is the right tool for the work truck space.

    A 2 mode Colorado pickup and a reborn 2 mode Astro van (based on the Colorado truck frame platform) are what is needed here.

    Adding a bigger battery, either as standard or as an option could allow the v6 2 mode to run say 20 miles AER empty or lightly loaded with enough engine power to get the job done when there is work to be done.

    I see it as the best of both worlds.


  132. 132
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (11:59 am)

    The 2010 equinox is rated at 3500lbs towing with the V6.

    https://www.gm.ca/media/vehicles/current/chevrolet/equinox/2010_Equinox_Brochure_EN.pdf

    That means It’ll need to have a class 3 tow bar installed to do that.
    (extra cost of course.)


  133. 133
    steel
    steel Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    “However, this is broadly skewed by the top five percent of the population who have actually enjoyed the bulk of the rise in earnings growth leaving many in the midlle class stagnant or falling backwards in real terms.”

    Sigh. You have no facts or statistics to back this up. Middle class real income has risen steady for the past 25 years. This can be seen in tax records, in consumption levels, in pretty much everything.

    “Although in your favor the CPI rate is generally thought to overstate inflation, leading to even more buying power with rising incomes at the macro scale, in application, the poor and middle class don’t seem to get nearly the same benefits as the highest earners.”

    Of course not, In absolute dollars. But in percentage it favors everyone equally.

    I know its really popular in recession to run around as if the sky is falling and has been for some time. Its just not true.


  134. 134
    Dale
    Dale Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:05 pm)

    A Voltec SUV is what I would like – even more so than the 2-mode SUV – but either is an improvement over any options I currently have.

    The problem with GM is they will be late to the market with either of them and I will be buying a different manufacturers product


  135. 135
    Dale
    Dale Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:14 pm)

    32 Highway – not city where most gas is wasted.

    I have the 2008 Malibu 4 banger. – It does well on the highway but the city milage is terrible for a 4 banger. 19 +/- I live in a steep terrain (Seattle) and the lights go on forever. Increasing the city milage to 30 + or 0 uif you have a short commute is where the savings will be and you still have the great flexibility of towing etc….

    I would love to see the mileage projections for this vehicle with the same formula as the volt.


  136. 136
    Dale
    Dale Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:29 pm)

    Thanks!


  137. 137
    Dale
    Dale Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    I would love the Riviera in a voltec – espeially if they aren’t building the Converj for cadillac


  138. 138
    RSBaker
    RSBaker Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    I think it should be offered in both the New GMC Terrain and in the new Equinox. Later perhaps it can be put in the future Insignia based Chevy Malibu and Buick Regal sedans.


  139. 139
    Ken Grubb
    Ken Grubb Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    How about putting Two Mode Plugin in the Chevy Traverse? No one else appears to be moving to build a 7/8 passenger CUV or minivan and the Traverse already has a 3.6L V6.


  140. 140
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    I doubt it. The Tahoe is an ugly beast. It looks painful to park, due to its excessive size. It’s too tall, too long, and just generally looks like a vehicle would be more trouble than it’s worth throughout my day. Couple that to sub-25 mpg efficiency, and I really can’t see why I’d possibly want one.

    It looks like we can easily fit a kid and the associated stuff into our existing small car. Also, my parents never needed a giant vehicle to transport kids. A vehicle with seats for everyone and a modest cargo area was plenty — and really I don’t expect to have 5 children.

    I can see the towing as being useful, but I’ve looked at and run the numbers on big RVs and boats — and I really don’t think an RV/boat that weighs that much is something that I’d be interested in.

    I see the Tahoe/Yukon/Suburban on the road from time to time, so they must be worth the cost for somebody. But I just can’t see why I would want one.

    Our needs are quite modest.


  141. 141
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (3:46 pm)

    Fair enough.

    I need the towing capability, but really only drive the truck on those occasions.


  142. 142
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (3:53 pm)

    You may need that power to pull a camper up a mountain… But I really just don’t need that, and I’d rather buy a smaller engine and get the extra MPG in my daily driving, at the expense of towing capability.

    For me, the sweet-spot is around 2500lb towing capacity, and I tow rarely enough that the MPG can drop drastically when I’m pulling that kind of a load without affecting my overall efficiency that much. Which is exactly what happens when I tow anything with my 2.5L Ranger — the mileage suffers by something like 30% with a full load.

    And old Subaru Legacy Wagon would do everything that I want to do. But, alas, those don’t have any alternative fuel capability — and the mileage tends to be pretty close to what I get in my Ranger anyway.


  143. 143
    MuddyRoverRob
    MuddyRoverRob Says

     

    Aug 20th, 2009 (4:20 pm)

    I have the luxury of having a dedicated tow unit/offroad toy. I rarely drive it around without a trailer attached. (Land Rover Discovery)

    The current daily driver is a chevy malibu, and my missus has a subaru impreza wagon.

    Hence the desire for something that could be both! A 20 AER 2 mode Tahoe could be that balance and an excellent stablemate to a Volt. As could a 2mode Equinox, the Tahoe would give a much better safety margin when towing though.


  144. 144
    jeffhre
    jeffhre Says

     

    Aug 21st, 2009 (1:03 pm)

    You’re right, you called my bluff, I was just guessing :) You do make some intresting statements by the way.

    But this guy has made a career of answering such questions – ( http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2007.pdf ) I don’t think he has “run around” much due to recessions for a few years now so I won’t worry about objecting to characterizing my 35 years of observations as the sky is falling.


  145. 145
    Luke
    Luke Says

     

    Aug 21st, 2009 (1:29 pm)

    Makes sense!

    We use basically the same household-fleet idea, but our setup is smaller. The Ranger is basically a dedicated “haul things back from the hardware store” vehicle, and the Prius is our daily-driver. We also live close to both of our offices, so I can ride my bike, take the bus, or even walk, on days when there’s no compelling reason to drive. This works very for us, since we’re basically homebodies who enjoy DIY projects.

    I can certainly see the appeal of RVing, but it seems that it’s just not a good match for my lifestyle. My wife claims she won’t go either way, and I like to travel super-light — so when I get the urge to go nature-watching, I’ll just have her drop me off at the trailhead with a backpack and my cell phone, and I’ll give her a gift-certificate to the spa so that she’ll remember why she might want to pick me up again. :-)

    P.S. I’ve test-driven the Subaru Impreza a couple of times, and I really like it! I’ve just never pulled the trigger on purchasing one, since I’m trying to hold out for an alternative-fueled vehicle of some sort.


  146. 146
    jeffhre
    jeffhre Says

     

    Aug 21st, 2009 (1:30 pm)

    From p. 3 of above cite, “As a result, in the economic expansion of 2002-2007, the top 1 percent captured two thirds of income growth. Those results may help explain the disconnect between the economic experiences of the public and the solid macroeconomic growth posted by the U.S. economy since 2002.”

    Although this paragraph appears to account for one of the things I commented on when I was acting in the guise of chicken little, clearly contrary data doesn’t mean much when one’s mind is closed.


  147. [...] Yet less than 2 weeks later, it appeared that the Buick PHEV is dead according to a post at gm-volt.com. [...]