Dec 03

Bob Lutz Announces Chevy Volt Production Volume Plan

 

lutz-la
[ad#post_ad]GM vice president Bob Lutz gave the keynote speech at the LA Auto Show in place of the suddenly ousted former CEO Fritz Henderson.

His speech focused significantly on the electrification transformation underway at GM.

“GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”

Lutz summarized the Volt’s three-year development voyage and highlighted the fact that GM has decided to make pack assembly a core competency.

Even though GM will be sourcing the generation one Volt’s electric motor from a supplier, this won’t be the case in the future.

“We also determined that the design, development, and production of electric motors and power electronics need to be core competencies for GM – and we’re moving in those directions, too,” said Lutz.

Lutz spelled out GM’s plan to roll out the Volt gradually in limited selected US markets beginning with some in California. He admitted demand is likely to far outstrip supply initially.

He also publicly verified for the first time ever the actual production numbers GM is planning.

“In the first few months we will be producing 4000 to 5000 Volts,” he said. ” In the first full year we will make eight to ten thousand.”

“We are going to ramp it up slowly becasue it is all uncharted terrain for all of us once we start turning out (battery) packs in very high rates,” he said.

He also said full production capacity will be 50,000 to 60,000 Volts per year.

Lutz predicts the total plug-in car market including BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS will be about 250,000 to 300,000 per year in five years. “They will mostly be our products,” he joked.

Not confirming the Converj is production-tracked, he said there are “many products” in the pipeline.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 at 7:29 am and is filed under Production. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 193


  1. 1
    Lunoir

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Lunoir
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:40 am)

    Great news!
    Numbers are what we expected from a while now. This is more confirmation.
    Lutz is right in saying the move to electrical drive train is radical, but i’m sure in 20 years we’ll see it as if that was already overdue for the whole automobile industry.

    NPNS!


  2. 2
    JohnK

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:45 am)

    This is good news. But it means a lot of us must wait 2 years or more. I’d rather that they get it right than get one to each of us and then have lots of flaws. Ramping up production is something that GM knows about, but this is new and so far they have been doing a good job. I’m willing to have faith that they will keep doing a good job. Go GM! Go Volt. And Lyle, thanks so much for your efforts. Hope you get some rest.


  3. 3
    Dave K.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:47 am)

    “In the first few months we will be producing 4000 to 5000 Volts,” he said. ” In the first full year we will make eight to ten thousand.”

    Any mention of test drives for the public? About 2000 (?) Volt units being tested in California. This leaves 2 Volt for each Chevy dealership in the other 49 states during model year 2011. And 1000 for overseas shipment.

    _____________________

    “…will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles.”

    This probably includes multi-mode hybrids.

    =D~


  4. 4
    Rashiid Amul

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:48 am)

    Good morning. Lyle. Thanks for the article.

    Ramping up slowly, while irritating due to lack of product, is an excellent idea when trying to debug something. A problem can be fixed at the factory while building new Volts. I strongly support the idea of making this car as near perfect as possible. This is one way to ensure this will happen.

    I am extremely excited to see Mr. Lutz talking about the future and talking about moving GM to focus on electrically driven vehicles. This is important for our country and for the free world.


  5. 5
    Jackson

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:49 am)

    Since I had to replace a car this year, and am forced to wait; this sounds like good news overall. I don’t think that GM has really appreciated the pent up demand that is out there, and that 50 – 60,000 a year will turn out to be worst case. Here’s hoping that ramping volumes and moving more of the components in-house will result in lower costs sooner than anticipated.


  6. 6
    Herm

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:51 am)

    This is news..They are outsourcing the motor/generator/inverters, this is the reason they are paying near $10k for these in the Volt (include in that the electro-hydraulic brakes, probably outsourced also).

    I tought GM (and it was implied by a previous engineer interview on this site) made all this in-house and had the expertise since the EV1 days.

    This would be equivalent to a major car company not making their own engines, something that does not happen.

    I guess it was naive of me that they would internally source this, why would they?.. no previous demand for it. Lots of potential cost reductions in Volt II and III.

    This also means that even if they wanted to ramp up production they may not be able to do so, since all the electric components are outsourced.

    Statik, it would be interesting to find out who this stuff got subcontracted to… and how much $$.


  7. 7
    Rashiid Amul

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:51 am)

    From the article:
    Lutz predicts the total plug-in car market including BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS will be about 250,000 to 300,000 per year in five years.

    ——
    USA or world? This number seems low to me.
    If the market is this low, I think the reason will be the lack of product, not the lack of consumer desire.


  8. 8
    Jason M. Hendler

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jason M. Hendler
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:53 am)

    I agree this is the right business strategy for GM, unfortunately, they will not be able to compete with foreign suppliers of those major components. The big 3 business model was based on 20th century economics / politics – it will not survive the 21st century.


  9. 9
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:59 am)

    Off topic. I have a question about regenerative braking.

    Example:
    Mount Washington in New Hampshire is almost 100% braking on the way down. Does regenerative braking mean braking only, or does it also mean it regenerates by the wheels rolling. On the way down Mount Washington, it would be perfect for the Volt to capture electricity from the spinning tires.

    When I was a kid, I had a light on my bike. It didn’t have batteries. It got all its energy from a generator resting on the front tire. So I’m thinking the same thing could apply here, but only in certain situations.


  10. 10
    Dave K.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:02 am)

    Rashiid Amul: Ramping up slowly

    This will make for some very long waiting lines. It will also support a higher initial sticker price.

    =D~


  11. 11
    Neil

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Neil
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:02 am)

    I think it’s the right idea for GM to proceed this way but at the same time I can’t disguise my disappointment. Looks like the Volt will be something I can’t get for some years to come.

    If GM is to succeed in this new space they’re carving for themselves, they’ll need to find better peace and cooperation with the labor unions and the US itself will need to be a little more protectionist towards American companies. The net result, unfortunately, of that is increased prices. But if you look at the rest of the world, we’re one of the few countries which doesn’t have a lot of protectionist policies for domestic industries.


  12. 12
    Tom C

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom C
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:04 am)

    Great news
    I can wait a few years till the local dealer in my area can order my black Volt.
    so all the problems would be worked out and
    I know Iowa is not high on the list on GM’s release plan
    But if I can find one that’s in the area I’ll beat feet to it
    I could live with some problems, small problems
    Tom


  13. 13
    Schmeltz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Schmeltz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:05 am)

    Regarding the Converj, I thought that was official that it was to be made? Or perhaps it was un-officially official? Just don’t get what the feet dragging is all about with the Converj–it’s such a no-brainer to me.

    All of the other news is pretty good news I think. I agree with Lutz that the Volt should be ramped up slowly to catch any problems immediately. Good stuff.


  14. 14
    KUD

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    KUD
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:13 am)

    Wrong coast for me ;( , but I do understand it. I guess my Wife will be happy …. the new car payment got pushed back a few years :)


  15. 15
    ardvark

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ardvark
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:15 am)

    It seems to me that Mr Lutz is giving us a good news, bad news kind of post. As good news, Volt is proceeding to California. They will be real products, not just demos.

    As bad news, most of us will never be able to buy a Volt, as volume is small and increasing very slowly. So few will be made in 2010 as to not even satisfy demand in California, much less the world. By the time gm has volume, there will be many other products, and the automotive market may have moved on.

    Frankly I’m worried about the new management’s support for gm’s Voltec programs. All one hears from the new CEO is more profit and faster. Everything he says urges maximum focus on sales and profits in the short term. Voltec may be forward looking and get good PR, but it will not generate big profits or increase market share in the short term. It may be that Mr Lutz backed off some announcements about locations or volume that might have been made, under Fritz. So the logical consequence of the new CEO’s stance is to give maximum emphasis to those products that do, and these will be the more expensive cars and trucks.

    It is paradoxical, as Whitacre obviously represents the federal government’s wishes, but their wishes are conflicting — small cars, lower emissions, but make money right away to pay back the loan.


  16. 16
    tom

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:18 am)

    Lutz mentions “ramp it up slowly becasue it is all uncharted terrain”. I don’t thing the uncharted terrain is a factor. They could run with what they have and it would be a good product. The next few years will see significant improvements in the battery and other electrical components, and it will be easier to incorporate design and component improvements by ramping up slowly.

    Unfortunately ramping slowly loses economies of scale, but makes it easier to incorporate the design and component improvements. This means they won’t be able to sell the car without government subsidies (i.e. the government will need to make the EV Credit at time of purchase to keep demand higher than supply).


  17. 17
    Herm

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:22 am)

    Rashiid Amul: Does regenerative braking mean braking only, or does it also mean it regenerates by the wheels rolling.

    The motor is turned by the wheels, generating electricity and charging up the battery with it.. the drag of the motor as it generates power is what slows the car down…you may end up with a full battery by the time you get to the bottom.

    It is possible that if the battery is full then the Volt will have to re-route that recovered brake energy by turning over the engine with the starter motor but without using fuel.. the engine will act like an air pump to dissipate the excess energy.

    In diesel-electric locomotives they use large banks of resistors to do this.

    Its called regenerative braking because it recaptures (regenerates) SOME of the energy lost to stopping the car… the reason why city and hwy mileage are so similar… also makes the brake pads last a long time.


  18. 18
    tom

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:28 am)

    I probably will end up buying something other than a Volt in Ohio because I can’t see it being available here by 2012 with the numbers they are talking about. I am determined to buy something by second half 2012 that I can drive without Gas, even if it means buying the Leaf.

    I just hope gas prices don’t explode before I can get my hands on an EV. I can’t see Isreal waiting past next summer to begin massive attacks in IRAN to obliterate their Nuclear program (OBAMA won’t don anything to stop it), and this will probably to a large and long period of conflict in the middle east. Oil prices would certain go well over $200/barrel if Israel determines they cannot survive with a nuclear Iran.

    If this happens it will really mess up our economy further. And we only have ourselves to blame. We’ve had many years. It would only take a 5 year program to reduce most of our oil imports. Unfortunately we won’t start the 5 year program until Oil is at $200/barrel.

    We need to put credits in place that will get millions of EVs sold every year.

    We need to put credits in place to convert 18 wheelers to natural gas.

    We need to give credits to homeowners to convert from fuel oil.

    And we need to drill for more oil in the gulf and Alaska.

    If we had put a plan like this in place in 2008 we could probably have talked Israel into waiting at least until 2012 to start the next middle east war giving us enough time to prepare for $200 / barrel oil.


  19. 19
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:31 am)

    “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”

    “Lutz predicts the total plug-in car market including BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS will be about 250,000 to 300,000 per year in five years.”
    ____________________

    Is Lutz TELLING GM’s long term goals/market forecast or is this a speech pandering to the federal overlords?

    Personally, I’d rather Lutz just SHOW me an affordable electric car.


  20. 20
    ardvark

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ardvark
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:31 am)

    18 tom: We need to put credits in place that will get millions of EVs sold every year.
    We need to put credits in place to convert 18 wheelers to natural gas.
    We need to give credits to homeowners to convert from fuel oil.
    And we need to drill for more oil in the gulf and Alaska.

    There’s a lot to be said for taking these steps, but there seems to be little chance of our political leadership doing what would be required to make these things happen. They are focused on other goals.


  21. 21
    GM Vice President Bob Lutz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    GM Vice President Bob Lutz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:34 am)

    “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”


  22. 22
    cybereye

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    cybereye
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:34 am)

    “Lutz predicts the total plug-in car market including BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS will be about 250,000 to 300,000 per year in five years.”

    That seems to be only 6 to 7 models of cars in BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS. We have a hint that sometime after 2011 the Volt will start cranking out 60,000 per year.


  23. 23
    Herm

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:35 am)

    ardvark: Frankly I’m worried about the new management’s support for gm’s Voltec programs. All one hears from the new CEO is more profit and faster.

    Vs. the old boy network that has existed in GM for many decades and drove the company into ruin.. if GM cant make a profit what is the point?

    One way or another the Volt will make a profit, some say it already paid for itself by facilitating the bailout. In any case the development cost of the Volt was paid by Old GM.. the one that is being liquidated now… its a freebie now.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=av3qqKPBylWY

    “We need to hurry every chance we get,” Whitacre said Nov. 10 in an interview from his office in San Antonio. “This is about a turnaround, this is not business as usual. This is about a new GM, a new way of doing business.”


  24. 24
    ardvark

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ardvark
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:35 am)

    19 carcus1: “Lutz predicts the total plug-in car market including BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS will be about 250,000 to 300,000 per year in five years.”
    ____________________
    Is Lutz announcing GM’s long term goals/market forecast or is this a speech pandering to the federal overlords?  

    Another way of looking at Mr Lutz’s statement is to see it this way. He is forecasting that even after 5 years the fraction of the automotive market that is electric will be small.


  25. 25
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:40 am)

    I’m curious if in June of 2012, if they sell or pre/sell all 60,000 units for that year, and still have more people wanting to buy, will they add another line at Hamtramck? It’s hard to predict demand, there are so many variables. Obviously most of us here are very eager to buy a Volt, and the 50K on the list would satisfy 1 year’s worth of production, but what about the following year? Are there enough ppl out there like us to continue the snowball? What if gas prices drop again? What if the economy tanks further? (there’s lots of what if’s) Its wise to be cautious in this environment, especially when its new territory, with a whole new set of bugs/problems to deal with. I can be patient, yet hopeful I’ll be driving a Volt in 2012 sometime. Baby steps… baby steps…


  26. 26
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:46 am)

    carcus1: “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”“Lutz predicts the total plug-in car market including BEVs, PHEVs, and EREVS will be about 250,000 to 300,000 per year in five years.”____________________Is Lutz TELLING GM’s long term goals/market forecast or is this a speech pandering to the federal overlords?Personally, I’d rather Lutz just SHOW me an affordable electric car.  (Quote)

    Define “affordable”.


  27. 27
    zipdrive

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    zipdrive
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:47 am)

    I said this in my last post when Fritz left – Mr. Lutz is the de facto face of GM and I think they should just make it official and make him CEO.

    The guy has star power. Exactly what GM needs in a leader.


  28. 28
    Kevin R

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kevin R
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:49 am)

    I’m excited but also a bit disappointed. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get a Volt when my current car needs to be replaced. I’m estimating that I can get away with keeping it until 2011 sometime. It’s going to be way past 260,000 miles by that time and that is of great concern to me. I’m saving like the dickens for a Volt but if I can’t get one in Mid-Michigan by 2011 I’ll be forced to buy a competitors product and don’t want to.

    However, need will trump want by then. Either way, I won’t be buying another ICE automobile. It’s got to be electric….period.


  29. 29
    Guy Incognito

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Guy Incognito
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:49 am)

    To quote Bob Lutz, from the third paragraph:
    “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”

    Bob-
    If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?
    When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?

    Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the Chevy Volt is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.

    Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?


  30. 30
    Van

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Van
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:50 am)

    If they make 4000 in 2010, then make 4000 in 2011, one could almost guess that the next model year production will begin mid year. Does this mean a smaller lighter ICE will be available then, or a more powerful traction motor, or better yet a battery with twice the energy density? Time will tell


  31. 31
    tom

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:55 am)

    ardvark: There’s a lot to be said for taking these steps, but there seems to be little chance of our political leadership doing what would be required to make these things happen. They are focused on other goals.

    Yes they are. It is sad that they could spend a trillion on their failed stimulus program. But for a fraction of that they could have done a 5 year plan to save our country from the risk of a middle east war bringing our economy to its knees, and done much more to create jobs and a strong economy in the future.

    Our Leadership in this country just continues to fail us.


  32. 32
    carcus1

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:57 am)

    ardvark: Another way of looking at Mr Lutz’s statement is to see it this way. He is forecasting that even after 5 years the fraction of the automotive market that is electric will be small.  

    My post at 19 dealt with BOTH of Lutz’s quotes.

    To be clear, I want GM to make a profit NOW. Do it with whatever sells and get off the govt. teet. AND I think an affordable electric car (i.e. lightweight BEV) would sell right now — so does every just about every other auto manufacturer in the world (except GM).


  33. 33
    BillR

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BillR
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:58 am)

    Sounds like they plan to make about 2000 cars per month. This makes 4 to 5K for the first few months, and then 2000/month until June, when they close the factory for the model year changeover. Note that this is about 100 cars per day, based on a 5 day work week.

    Doesn’t seem like any “ramp up” in this period, but a steady production rate.


  34. 34
    carcus1

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:01 am)

    kdawg: Define “affordable”. 

    How about “comfortably under $30,000″. (without uncle sugar rebates)

    /I could see lightweight BEV’s in the low $20′s, maybe even under $20 as soon as the novelty wears off and production comes up.


  35. 35
    Nick D

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nick D
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:12 am)

    Tom C: Great newsI can wait a few years till the local dealer in my area can order my black Volt.so all the problems would be worked out andI know Iowa is not high on the list on GM’s release planBut if I can find one that’s in the area I’ll beat feet to itI could live with some problems, small problemsTom  (Quote)

    Tom – Looks like I have some competition for the fist Volt in IA…. What part of the state are you in?

    Nick


  36. 36
    kgurnsey

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:13 am)

    Van: If they make 4000 in 2010, then make 4000 in 2011, one could almost guess that the next model year production will begin mid year. Does this mean a smaller lighter ICE will be available then, or a more powerful traction motor, or better yet a battery with twice the energy density? Time will tell  (Quote)

    Don’t expect any major design changes from 2010 to 2011. In fact, don’t expect any changes at all. GM will still be working on ramping up to full production with the design they have.


  37. 37
    BillR

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BillR
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:16 am)

    For more on these topics, see the videos at:

    http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/videos.html

    One video is the speech by Bob Lutz. It is informative and entertaining. Bob mentions 5 miles per kWh for Li-Ion batteries, and also discusses the production rate being 8 or 10K units through the MODEL year. Up to 60k per year thereafter.

    In addition, he discusses the high cost of EV’s, and suggests that this country may need to consider a tax on gasoline to drive consumers to electric vehicles.

    The 2nd video to see is on the Volt and the Cruze. At 5:40 in the speech, the speaker mentions that you will be able to program the charging routine for the Volt to get the best rate, but that you will be able to do that either in the car or from a remote device. See the presentation prior to this point, as it demonstrates (in a quick fashion) some of the instrument panel and also quickly flashes a hand held remote device that looks like a small cell phone.

    In addition, some interesting news on aerodynamics. This attached link discusses some of the aero features,

    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/11/30/2011-chevrolet-volt-quick-spin/

    “Looking back at the EV1, that car featured a long tear drop tail to help ease the air stream off. Because of the need to make the Volt a four-seater with a real trunk, that shape was not a practical alternative.

    Instead, the aerodynamicists spent many hours in the wind tunnel carefully shaping that trailing edge to get the air to come off in a controlled fashion. The result is some interesting detailing at the Volt’s hind quarters. A sharp edge runs vertically down each corner while a lump in the lower body also contributes, and a full belly pan empties out into a diffuser under the rear bumper. The overall effect with the rest of the car is a fairly aggressive stance and a surprisingly attractive overall shape.”

    In conjunction with this, at about 14:00 in this video, it is mentioned that the Volt is almost as slippery as the EV1, the most aerodynamic car GM has ever built. It’s Cd was 0.195.


  38. 38
    Koz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:19 am)

    ardvark: Another way of looking at Mr Lutz’s statement is to see it this way. He is forecasting that even after 5 years the fraction of the automotive market that is electric will be small.  (Quote)

    …but still bigger than the HEV market today. He is being cautiously optimistic (probably realistic in GM’s eyes but overly cautious in mine). This is fine as long as they position themselves to take advantage of a larger market, if it comes to fruition. They are still stuck in the EV’s are too expensive to be mainstream mindset, while being true in a broad sense, it is an oversimplification. Yes, components prices are very high now and need to be brought down. Yes, GM has made good commitments in theory to help bring these costs down. However, even at today’s costs there are segments of the market more suited to electrification. They should focus more on these segments in the near term and worry less about the cheaper, broader markets as costs fall.


  39. 39
    Koz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:23 am)

    BillR: Instead, the aerodynamicists spent many hours in the wind tunnel carefully shaping that trailing edge to get the air to come off in a controlled fashion. The result is some interesting detailing at the Volt’s hind quarters. A sharp edge runs vertically down each corner while a lump in the lower body also contributes, and a full belly pan empties out into a diffuser under the rear bumper. The overall effect with the rest of the car is a fairly aggressive stance and a surprisingly attractive overall shape.”
    In conjunction with this, at about 14:00 in this video, it is mentioned that the Volt is almost as slippery as the EV1, the most aerodynamic car GM has ever built. It’s Cd was 0.195.

    Bob Boniface also said in an interview that the Volt’s Cd is 2 counts less than the new Prius.


  40. 40
    CDAVIS

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CDAVIS
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:25 am)

    ______________________________________________________

    #27 zipdrive Said:
    ” said this in my last post when Fritz left – Mr. Lutz is the de facto face of GM and I think they should just make it official and make him CEO…”
    ———————-

    Scenario #1:
    If Lutz believes that GM will need to go back to the taxpayer trough then Lutz would not accept the CEO position because the then CEO will need to be publicly executed as part of the process of GM reaching out for more taxpayer cash. Under a GM knowing they will need more cash scenario, GM will need to find a “qualified” CEO that is at peace of knowing he will be executed provided he gets a nice go-away package. Therefore, Lutz not next CEO means GM knows they will be asking for more cash.

    Scenario #2:
    If Lutz believes that GM will not need to go back to the taxpayer through, then the board will put on a good show that they are looking high and low for a “qualified” CEO then will announce that after reviewing all the candidates that Lutz was the most logical and qualified choice. Therefore, Lutz next CEO means GM (and Lutz) believes they can make it w/o more taxpayer cash. To clarify, I mean the obvious big grab kind…not the numerous small amounts that will continue to be given to GM such as the $30,000,000 Volt Demonstration Project funding.

    Who GM selects as the next CEO will tell us a lot. The irony of it all is that if GM selects Lutz then the next GM CEO will be both the guy that initially hatched the Volt and also the guy that believes the Volt is a niche “Salad Bar” car appealing to “West Coast Elites”. By irony I mean that in fact Middle America is solidly supporting the Volt (as evidenced by this sites user statistics) which absence of said support would have probably grave-yarded the Voltec Program.
    ______________________________________________________


  41. 41
    Koz

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:25 am)

    carcus1: How about “comfortably under $30,000″. (without uncle sugar rebates)/I could see lightweight BEV’s in the low $20’s, maybe even under $20 as soon as the novelty wears off and production comes up.  (Quote)

    Get real, the only BEV to hit the road anytime soon for under $20K will be 2-wheelers or a NEV.


  42. 42
    BillR

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BillR
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:30 am)

    .
    Bob Boniface also said in an interview that the Volt’s Cd is 2 counts less than the new Prius.  

    I hadn’t heard that. Thank you.


  43. 43
    Koz

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:31 am)

    Guy Incognito: To quote Bob Lutz, from the third paragraph:“GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”Bob-If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the Chevy Volt is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?  (Quote)

    I’m thinking when those advertising dollars have an opportunity to turn into sales $. They have to be in production of EV’s in order to sell them.

    How much of the money they don’t have should they be spending on advertising for a product that they don’t yet offer?


  44. 44
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:32 am)

    Herm at #17

    Thanks Herm. I was hoping that was the answer.


  45. 45
    Texas

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Texas
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:38 am)

    It amazes me that Mr. Lutz, who is no spring chicken, so completely understands where the world is going. This kind of vision is usually shown by the new generation.

    Lutz for CEO!


  46. 46
    D.

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    D.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:45 am)

    tom: I probably will end up buying something other than a Volt in Ohio because I can’t see it being available here by 2012 with the numbers they are talking about. I am determined to buy something by second half 2012 that I can drive without Gas, even if it means buying the Leaf.I just hope gas prices don’t explode before I can get my hands on an EV. I can’t see Isreal waiting past next summer to begin massive attacks in IRAN to obliterate their Nuclear program (OBAMA won’t don anything to stop it), and this will probably to a large and long period of conflict in the middle east. Oil prices would certain go well over $200/barrel if Israel determines they cannot survive with a nuclear Iran.If this happens it will really mess up our economy further. And we only have ourselves to blame. We’ve had many years. It would only take a 5 year program to reduce most of our oil imports. Unfortunately we won’t start the 5 year program until Oil is at $200/barrel.We need to put credits in place that will get millions of EVs sold every year.We need to put credits in place to convert 18 wheelers to natural gas.We need to give credits to homeowners to convert from fuel oil.And we need to drill for more oil in the gulf and Alaska.If we had put a plan like this in place in 2008 we could probably have talked Israel into waiting at least until 2012 to start the next middle east war giving us enough time to prepare for $200 / barrel oil.  (Quote)

    I know this is off topic but…
    Wish the folks in the ME, and here at home, could realize that war and occupation is not the answer. Neither is nuclear power( way too expensive). Drilling the anwar will leave little wilderness for future generations. solution is in renewables, costs of
    which are now reaching grid parity(at least in the Sunbelt),I believe.
    And prices are falling as we speak.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2009/11/12/thin-film-solar-panels-to-double-their-share-of-the-market-by-2013/


  47. 47
    LandKurt

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LandKurt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:48 am)

    Koz:
    I’m thinking when those advertising dollars have an opportunity to turn into sales $. They have to be in production of EV’s in order to sell them.
    How much of the money they don’t have should they be spending on advertising for a product that they don’t yet offer?  

    Even once they are available the first year’s run of eight to ten thousand can probably be sold to EV enthusiasts purely be word of mouth. They also need to avoid implying that 99% of their 2011 line is obsolete junk. Initially there won’t be enough Volts to really need any advertising. Maybe in 2012 when production is ramped up advertising for the Volt would be money well spent.


  48. 48
    Ray

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ray
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:50 am)

    I guess that means a Volt in my driveway (central Alberta, Canada) will happen in 2014 +.. I am glad I bought the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid in August…. By the time the Volt gets here… I will be looking at replacing the Fusion Hybrid….
    In the mean time….. 5.8 – 6.1 L/ 100 KMS…. around 48 – 50 MPG Canadian (40 ish MPG US)..


  49. 49
    Tagamet

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tagamet
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:00 am)

    JohnK: This is good news.But it means a lot of us must wait 2 years or more.I’d rather that they get it right than get one to each of us and then have lots of flaws.Ramping up production is something that GM knows about, but this is new and so far they have been doing a good job.I’m willing to have faith that they will keep doing a good job. Go GM! Go Volt.And Lyle, thanks so much for your efforts.Hope you get some rest.  

    Well put. Gm *must* get the Volt spot on correct or it could give the company (and the electrification movement) a black eye.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  50. 50
    Tom M. S.A. Tx.

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom M. S.A. Tx.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:03 am)

    Good Morning ,

    I cannot see where the numbers mentioned will sustain GM financially.
    My question is why are we not looking at NG engines which I have used for years on the ranch? The infrastructure needed to fill your vehicle is already in place. The conversions for these engines is not that expensive. We need to look at all forms of energy to get this country back on track.
    God Bless America,
    Tom


  51. 51
    Tagamet

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tagamet
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:08 am)

    ardvark:
    Another way of looking at Mr Lutz’s statement is to see it this way.He is forecasting that even after 5 years the fraction of the automotive market that is electric will be small.  

    I agree that the percentage will be small 5 years from now but growth *takes time*. We’ll be moving in the right direction and I believe that the growth won’t be linear, but exponential. Even with exponential growth there needs to be at least a small beginning.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  52. 52
    Biodieseljeep

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Biodieseljeep
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:13 am)

    tom: II can’t see Isreal waiting past next summer to begin massive attacks in IRAN to obliterate their Nuclear program (OBAMA won’t don anything to stop it), and this will probably to a large and long period of conflict in the middle east. Oil prices would certain go well over $200/barrel if Israel determines they cannot survive with a nuclear Iran.If this happens it will really mess up our economy further. And we only have ourselves to blame. We’ve had many years. It would only take a 5 year program to reduce most of our oil imports. Unfortunately we won’t start the 5 year program until Oil is at $200/barrel.We need to put credits in place that will get millions of EVs sold every year.We need to put credits in place to convert 18 wheelers to natural gas.We need to give credits to homeowners to convert from fuel oil.And we need to drill for more oil in the gulf and Alaska.If we had put a plan like this in place in 2008 we could probably have talked Israel into waiting at least until 2012 to start the next middle east war giving us enough time to prepare for $200 / barrel oil.  (Quote)

    Tom, two notes:
    Good News:
    -Isreal will not bomb Iran until after Jan 1 2010, Obama almost specifically asked for that scenario, and Isreal will abide. So you have at least a month before $200/barrel oil

    Bad News:
    There is no practical method to compress Nat Gas to the point where it is feasable to do long-hual on trucks. (See previous the energy density and storage discussions). Ditto for foreseeable batteries or hydrogen. You are right that the time was 8-10 years ago to implement a national program to reduce exposure to foriegn oil problems via large scale, government sponsored solutions (fill in your pixie dust solution here).

    Full disclosure: I work for a Pixie Dust company (biodiesel). I will be cleaning up next year with diesel at $4 but with the tinge of regret knowing that more could have been done….


  53. 53
    Tagamet

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tagamet
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:15 am)

    LandKurt: Koz:
    I’m thinking when those advertising dollars have an opportunity to turn into sales $. They have to be in production of EV’s in order to sell them.
    How much of the money they don’t have should they be spending on advertising for a product that they don’t yet offer?

    Even once they are available the first year’s run of eight to ten thousand can probably be sold to EV enthusiasts purely be word of mouth. They also need to avoid implying that 99% of their 2011 line is obsolete junk. Initially there won’t be enough Volts to really need any advertising. Maybe in 2012 when production is ramped up advertising for the Volt would be money well spent.

    In it’s own way a waiting list is *fantastic* advertising once the Volt’s wheels hit the road. People tend to really want something they can’t have or that is in limited supply. The Prius waiting lists actually increased demand (at least in my area). It’s just smart business to release the initial Volt in low number in case something significant needs to be addressed (not implying that they are total junk). Once the Volt has some wind in it’s sails (pun intended) they can ramp up the numbers.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  54. 54
    kgurnsey

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:19 am)

    Tagamet: I agree that the percentage will be small 5 years from now but growth *takes time*. We’ll be moving in the right direction and I believe that the growth won’t be linear, but exponential. Even with exponential growth there needs to be at least a small beginning.Be well,TagametLet’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS   (Quote)

    That’s a very good point, that a lot of people fail to see. Exponential gorwth doesn’t look like much at first, but when you hit a certain point it starts to take off. I can see the adoption of EVs and EREVs following this growth pattern. It’s more about groups of similar minded customers than individual people. The slow growth at first will come from enthousiasts and early adopters, but as soon as enough of them are out in the real world, such that mainstream media and the mass market take notice, the demand will swell quickly as the masses as a group start to clamour for them all at once.

    The point is to get the growth happening, even if it seems small, so that it can eventually take off.


  55. 55
    Dave G

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:27 am)

    I see this as bad news. GM is way under-estimating the demand here.

    They know demand for the 2011 model year will be high, but they expect this to taper off in 2012 and beyond. GM is in for a big surprise. Demand will only increase. I hope they can react quickly…


  56. 56
    Jim I

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:28 am)

    It sounds like “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” to me.

    I understand the production being low for the first year. But after that, if there are no problems, then why limit production to 60K units, especially if there is customer demand? And this would be easy to gauge, if GM would do test demo drives around the country and then take deposits for new orders.

    If there is no real production, then how can there be any real sales? IMHO, GM has to decide if this is really the direction they want the company to take, and then move forward, full speed ahead. I certainly hope this is not just designed to be a niche product to get a green halo. The words say “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.” So why is full production only 50K-60K units per year? They can build 20K Cobalts per month at Lordstown. Something doesn’t add up….

    With productuion numbers like this, I guess I will have to wait for Gen-2 or some other manufacturer before anything is available in Ohio.

    I do not see this as really good news for us at gm-volt.com, at least for the next few years…..


  57. 57
    redeye

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    redeye
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:31 am)

    The good news, there will be a Volt.

    The bad news, here in middle of USA we probably won’t even get to see one for a few years.


  58. 58
    Loboc

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:32 am)

    Lutz will probably not be selected as CEO because he is old-GM.

    The speech is new-GM mantra and I don’t believe Lutz is on board with getting rid of V-8 power yet. See also Ford updating Mustang with more HP. Gasoline won’t be dead for some time especially at $2.50/gallon.

    As far as ‘going slow’, 10k cars is way more than all the electrics out there right now. I don’t see this as going slow.

    As a software developer, I am well aware of the pitfalls of brand new code going public. GM needs a few years of beta testing this platform to get it right. You can’t do all your testing in-house.

    The car is basically a largish mobile computer farm. I’m not worried about all the normal car stuff (steering, brakes, a/c, etc) it’s all these new computers and software (software especially) that needs a good beta test shakedown.


  59. 59
    tom

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:33 am)

    #52 Biodieseljeep: Bad News:
    There is no practical method to compress Nat Gas to the point where it is feasable to do long-hual on trucks. (See previous the energy density and storage discussions).

    In #18 post I mention CNG in trucks. I would be interested to know more why it isn’t practical. There are currently buses and other large vehicles that use CNG. What are the drawback of replacing some of the demand for diesel with CNG? Is the range between fillups limited, how long does it take to fill the tanks. Why couldn’t all interstates have CNG filling stations every 50 miles pretty easily? Just curious. I’m not suggesting all diesel be replaced by CNG nor would I want that. Just thought it would be practical in many areas to take a byte out of demand.

    Electric cars can certainly take a big byte out of imported oil as can home conversions of fuel oil. We obviously need to up our Oil production over the next 30 years while other replacements are explored.

    It may be too late to save our country from economic take over from China and other countries, but I keep hoping if we could get focused on not importing oil we can still divert enough money into our economy to rebuild it.


  60. 60
    BLDude

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BLDude
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:44 am)

    Nick D:
    Tom – Looks like I have some competition for the fist Volt in IA….What part of the state are you in?Nick  

    Tom & Nick: I’m in Iowa (Des Moines) and I’d join you both in buying a Volt as soon as its available around these parts.


  61. 61
    Biodieseljeep

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Biodieseljeep
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:48 am)

    tom: In #18 post I mention CNG in trucks. I would be interested to know more why it isn’t practical. There are currently buses and other large vehicles that use CNG. What are the drawback of replacing some of the demand for diesel with CNG? Is the range between fillups limited, how long does it take to fill the tanks. Why couldn’t all interstates have CNG filling stations every 50 miles pretty easily? Just curious. I’m not suggesting all diesel be replaced by CNG nor would I want that. Just thought it would be practical in many areas to take a byte out of demand.Electric cars can certainly take a big byte out of imported oil as can home conversions of fuel oil. We obviously need to up our Oil production over the next 30 years while other replacements are explored.It may be too late to save our country from economic take over from China and other countries, but I keep hoping if we could get focused on not importing oil we can still divert enough money into our economy to rebuild it.  (Quote)

    Cars, which typically are not driven very long distances per day, are great candidates for batteries or CNG. So are busses, which can add on extra weight with not too much decrease in usability. But a long hual carrier can not refill every 50 miles because, just as you say, there would have to be a huge growth of stations, which is massively expensive . Then add the 0-time…lets say 10-20 minutes on every hour for a 50 mile range (check ou the trucks in 1 hr diesel lines on the NJ turnpike someday….ouch!). City Busses, which typically don’t go far from any one point, can have a central filling station. CNG taxis are popular in Japan/Hong Kong. Most warehouse fork-lifts are also CNG.

    Increasing CNG storage onboard comes at a huge cost to cargo storage and weight.

    We’ve had a similar discussion on this list before. When it comes down to it, Petroleum is a really amazing substance: Huge energy density and nice easy storage, relatively easy to source. Far outstrips most competitors…no suprise it became so popular. Drawback is that it takes millions of years to make.


  62. 62
    Tagamet

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tagamet
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:50 am)

    Even as the Optimist in Residence, I do think it’lll be a couple years before we can walk into a dealership anywhere in the USA and pick out the Volt in the color of our choice. My belief, however, is that even given a “slow start”, popularity will absolutely *drive* the supply upward (once the computer farm is humming along – great term, btw). Exponential growth doesn’t take much time to become significant within a larger population (all vehicles). The institutional inertia of the ICE will be a larger hurdle than the availability of the Volt and other electric vehicles (IMHO).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  63. 63
    ClarksonCote

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ClarksonCote
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:50 am)

    Dave G: I see this as bad news. GM is way under-estimating the demand here. They know demand for the 2011 model year will be high, but they expect this to taper off in 2012 and beyond. GM is in for a big surprise. Demand will only increase. I hope they can react quickly…  (Quote)

    Agreed, Dave G. If demand is projected to far outpace supply, I wish GM would try to react quicker and produce even more initial vehicles. At the same time, I guess I see their concern for unchartered risk.


  64. 64
    RVD

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    RVD
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:54 am)

    The production ramp obviously make sense. To deal with extra demand is easy – setup eBay auctions and sell Volts to highest bidders. Whichever amount they are eager to pay. Two goals will be achieved in a very efficient way:
    1) Dealer middlemen are out of the profit chain
    2) Top dollar for every Volt sold


  65. 65
    Dale

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dale
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:03 am)

    Looks like a Tesla Model S for me – too long a wait for the Volt to be available


  66. 66
    Dave G

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:12 am)

    Biodieseljeep: There is no practical method to compress Nat Gas to the point where it is feasable to do long-hual on trucks. (See previous the energy density and storage discussions). Ditto for foreseeable batteries or hydrogen…

    Right.

    Plug-ins are a big part of the solution. But let’s not forget the big picture.

    There are around 40 million registered cars in the U.S., so 1 million by 2015 is still a small percentage. The hope is with 1 million on the road, there will be enough volume so that plug-ins become affordable and ramp up in a big way.

    The United States imports around 2/3 of the oil we consume. Oil consumption breaks down roughly as follows:
    • 44% gasoline (mostly for passenger vehicles)
    • 17% diesel (mostly for heavy duty long distance travel)
    • 5% jet fuel
    • 15% fuel oil (home heating and industrial)
    • 19% other (petro-chemical, plastics, fertilizer, etc.)

    Let’s say plug-ins got to 80% market penetration. The Volt would eliminate about 80% of the gasoline used in those cars. The total amount of oil consumed by the U.S. would be 28% less (80% * 80% * 44%). While this is a big deal, it’s less than half the amount of oil we currently import.

    So it’s obvious to me that we need other solutions in addition to plug-ins. These would probably include:
    • Ethanol from non-food sources ( http://www.coskata.com )
    • Bio-diesel from algae ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxNeBQCRv1c )
    • More domestic oil production (stripper wells, oil shale, tar sands, offshore drilling)
    • Conservation


  67. 67
    stuart22

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:13 am)

    Bob Lutz is real valuable for GM and I hope they take care of him. His value is not as CEO but as their Obi-wan Kenobi – the guy with all the wisdom who hangs around in the shadows, stepping out into the light when needed to help move the company away from trouble and towards success.

    His image shimmers brightly and GM should protect it – and not have it tarnished by the hard & dirty tasks facing the next CEO of GM.


  68. 68
    Herm

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:15 am)

    tom: In #18 post I mention CNG in trucks. I would be interested to know more why it isn’t practical. There are currently buses and other large vehicles that use CNG. What are the drawback of replacing some of the demand for diesel with CNG?

    CNG, compressed natural gas at around 3600 psi, is four times as bulky as diesel.. thus the fuel tank would have to be about four times bigger. Interesting that CNG is 15% lighter than diesel for the same energy content. I dont think there is a big deal to converting an 18 wheeler to CNG.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_natural_gas


  69. 69
    kgurnsey

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:17 am)

    Jim I: It sounds like “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” to me.I understand the production being low for the first year. But after that, if there are no problems, then why limit production to 60K units, especially if there is customer demand? And this would be easy to gauge, if GM would do test demo drives around the country and then take deposits for new orders.If there is no real production, then how can there be any real sales? IMHO, GM has to decide if this is really the direction they want the company to take, and then move forward, full speed ahead. I certainly hope this is not just designed to be a niche product to get a green halo. The words say “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.” So why is full production only 50K-60K units per year? They can build 20K Cobalts per month at Lordstown. Something doesn’t add up….With productuion numbers like this, I guess I will have to wait for Gen-2 or some other manufacturer before anything is available in Ohio.I do not see this as really good news for us at gm-volt.com, at least for the next few years…..  (Quote)

    Don’t worry, as demand ramps up, GM will respond with more lines and plants. This is likely a current production capacity number, at one plant on one line. Or at least the number they have currently set as thier production goal, if the current line is capable of higher rates of produciton. Like all things, it is not written in stone. It can change on a dime if GM sees higher potential sales, but the investment in another complete line must be justified by real demand, not just conjecture. I think GM is taking a good stance on thier production ramp up. They will be able to adjust to the real demand that is out there once Volts start hitting the road. Until then, it’s all just guessing.

    Don’t forget, not everyone buys swoopy aerodynamic fastbacks. The mass market has more than just NPNS in thier buying criteria. As more variants of the Voltec drivetrain emerge, production for Voltec will increase in different forms, even if the produciton of Volts remains the same. This is just as good, Volt by any other name, or body style, is still an EREV on the road.

    Also, we are also still just talking about Gen I. We have no idea what the production volumes will be for Gen II, which will be more affordable and thus reach a larger audience.


  70. 70
    LauraM

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:18 am)

    Guy Incognito: Bob-
    If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?
    When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?
    Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the Chevy Volt is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.
    Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?

    Because they’re focusing their limited advertising dollars on products they actually have on sale right now? I’ve never understood the point of advertising a product that won’t be available for another year. All that leads to is customer frustration.

    Besides, it’s not like the Volt isn’t getting tons of free publicity. And, as Lutz said, demand will almost certainly outstrip supply for at least the first two years. The point of advertising is to increase demand. They already have more than enough right now.


  71. 71
    LauraM

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:26 am)

    carcus1: To be clear, I want GM to make a profit NOW. Do it with whatever sells and get off the govt. teet. AND I think an affordable electric car (i.e. lightweight BEV) would sell right now — so does every just about every other auto manufacturer in the world (except GM).

    I’m sure it would. And I’m sure GM knows that it would. But the last time they rushed something to completion and put it on the market before it was ready, it completely destroyed their reputation. And they’re still paying for it. I’m not saying the Cadilac Cimmaron era is the only reason they get less per car than the Japanese and German brands, but it’s a major part of it, IMHO. Personally, I’d rather they not make the same mistake twice.


  72. 72
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jean-Charles Jacquemin
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:34 am)

    Guy Incognito: To quote Bob Lutz, from the third paragraph:
    “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”Bob-
    If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?
    When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?  

    Thanks Guy, you wrote what I’m thinking.

    regards,

    JC NPNS


  73. 73
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:35 am)

    D.: Wish the folks in the ME, and here at home, could realize that war and occupation is not the answer. Neither is nuclear power( way too expensive). Drilling the anwar will leave little wilderness for future generations. solution is in renewables, costs of
    which are now reaching grid parity(at least in the Sunbelt),I believe.
    And prices are falling as we speak.

    #46

    Thank you.


  74. 74
    kgurnsey

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:35 am)

    LauraM: Because they’re focusing their limited advertising dollars on products they actually have on sale right now? I’ve never understood the point of advertising a product that won’t be available for another year. All that leads to is customer frustration. Besides, it’s not like the Volt isn’t getting tons of free publicity. And, as Lutz said, demand will almost certainly outstrip supply for at least the first two years. The point of advertising is to increase demand. They already have more than enough right now.  (Quote)

    Very true. As a matter of practicality, GM still needs to keep the lights on, both before and after the Volt is launched, in order to keep producing Volts. That means selling Cruzes, Tahoes, Enclaves, ‘sclades, Malibus, and whatever else they can shove out the door to maintain and hopefully increase revenue. The beast needs to be fed, and all the altruistic intentions in the world won’t keep the doors open.

    Sell what you have. Advertize what you sell. The Volt is getting lots of press for it’s stage of development. Even when launch time comes, you can’t expect GM to dump all of it’s advertizing into one product, especially a low volume product that is already well known to the customer base that will buy out all of the the available production for the first two years. As much as we may like to think so, GM is not a one car company. They will still need to sell the rest of thier lineup too. As the initial demand starts to wear off, and production ramps up, then you can expect an advertizing push to start opening up the mass market.

    Even if GM manages to convert thier entire lineup to EV or EREV in the future, the future is not now. They need to sell cars to get to the future, and the bulk of the revenue for the forseable future will come from non-Volts.


  75. 75
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:37 am)

    LandKurt: Even once they are available the first year’s run of eight to ten thousand can probably be sold to EV enthusiasts purely be word of mouth. They also need to avoid implying that 99% of their 2011 line is obsolete junk. Initially there won’t be enough Volts to really need any advertising. Maybe in 2012 when production is ramped up advertising for the Volt would be money well spent.

    #47

    I agree.


  76. 76
    Noel Park

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:46 am)

    LauraM: Because they’re focusing their limited advertising dollars on products they actually have on sale right now? I’ve never understood the point of advertising a product that won’t be available for another year. All that leads to is customer frustration.
    Besides, it’s not like the Volt isn’t getting tons of free publicity. And, as Lutz said, demand will almost certainly outstrip supply for at least the first two years. The point of advertising is to increase demand. They already have more than enough right now.

    #70

    Again, I totally agree. If there’s any money to spare, spend it on product development and increasing production capacity IMHO.


  77. 77
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:51 am)

    kdawg: Define “affordable”.

    $29,000.00 or below.
    $43,000.00 is not affordable for what they initially said was for “the masses” or “Pat Q Pubic”


  78. 78
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:52 am)

    Koz:
    Bob Boniface also said in an interview that the Volt’s Cd is 2 counts less than the new .  

    A count is a thousand, so two counts would be .002. Realistically that’s not much difference. As a comparison, for every inch you increase the ride height you increase the drag coefficient by about 10 counts or .01.


  79. 79
    CaptJackSparrow

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:53 am)

    Noel Park: LandKurt: Even once they are available the first year’s run of eight to ten thousand can probably be sold to EV enthusiasts purely be word of mouth. They also need to avoid implying that 99% of their 2011 line is obsolete junk. Initially there won’t be enough Volts to really need any advertising. Maybe in 2012 when production is ramped up advertising for the Volt would be money well spent.

    #47

    I agree.

    lol…
    We all know the first run will be scooped up by celebs and high mucky mucks. I’d be surprised if anyone of us here got one the first 4 months!


  80. 80
    Kurt

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kurt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:53 am)

    Does anyone foresee a lithium availability problem here? That’s a lot of battery…I don’t want to keep importing oil, but I don’t really want to simply shift our reliance to another country or area.


  81. 81
    stuart22

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:55 am)

    It will be good for dealers to have a car they can sell at or even above a $40K list price. It could help reduce the discount levels they’ve been having to give out on the other cars in their showroom that list out at $20K-$30K.


  82. 82
    Rashiid Amul

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:57 am)

    Guy Incognito: To quote Bob Lutz, from the third paragraph:
    “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”Bob-
    If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?
    When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the Chevy Volt is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?  

    Well, he did say eventually. ;)


  83. 83
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:58 am)

    #76 Jean-Charles Jacquemin:

    Last night I was looking at a book we have had for years on the history of Ferrari. It was part of the entrant package at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in 1994, when Ferrari was the featured marque. I haven’t looked at it in years, as I have a bit of trouble reading it, as it is all in Italian! Even so, the photos and artwork are stunning, and I can sort of suss out the photo captions because I recognize the race venues, the drivers and the cars dating back to the beginning of the Scuderia before WWII.

    I instantly though of you because the first illustration is a full page reproduction of a beautiful art deco poster advertising the Belgian Grand Prix of 1908, if memory serves. It’s in French, but motor racing has sort of an international language of its own, so the message is clear.

    Sorry to be off topic but, as you know, I treasure the international flavor that you and many notable others bring to this site.


  84. 84
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:02 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: lol…
    We all know the first run will be scooped up by celebs and high mucky mucks. I’d be surprised if anyone of us here got one the first 4 months!

    #79

    More like 14 IMHO. Or maybe 24, if we’re lucky. Somebody got it right above though. My wife will smile and say, “Oh boy no car payment.” or maybe “Oh boy no check for $50K OTD.” As you always point out, the $7500 doesn’t come back until a year later.


  85. 85
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:03 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: Well, he did say eventually.

    #82

    LOL


  86. 86
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:08 pm)

    kgurnsey: That means selling Cruzes, Tahoes, Enclaves, ’sclades, Malibus, and whatever else they can shove out the door to maintain and hopefully increase revenue. The beast needs to be fed, and all the altruistic intentions in the world won’t keep the doors open.

    #74

    Well it looks like Tiger’s gonna need a new ‘scalade, so that’ll help out a little.


  87. 87
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:09 pm)

    Dave G:
    Right.Plug-ins are a big part of the solution. But let’s not forget the big picture.  

    I’d say the big picture is that vehicles need to be lighter and more aerodynamic. VW showed the Up!Light at the LA Auto Show. http://green.autoblog.com/2009/12/02/volkswagen-up-lite-concept-at-2009-la-auto-show/ It’s a conventional vehicle except it gets 80 MPG rather than the 30 MPG it might get if built using standard materials.

    The focus on energy sources is fine but, as the Rocky Mountain Institute was saying a decade ago, making cars lighter and more aerodynamic reduces energy consumption for whatever source is used to power the vehicle. IOW the best approach reduces the demand for energy at the wheels.

    Lighter materials are available. That’s really not an issue. Right now it’s a chicken and egg problem. Because demand is low you have niche products at low volumes and relatively high prices. If demand were higher then volume would be higher and prices lower, which would increase demand.


  88. 88
    LauraM

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:12 pm)

    Jim I: I understand the production being low for the first year. But after that, if there are no problems, then why limit production to 60K units, especially if there is customer demand? And this would be easy to gauge, if GM would do test demo drives around the country and then take deposits for new orders.

    Unfortunately, I think GM needs more than one year on the road to iron out all the bugs. This is a brand new technology, and these things take time.

    I also think they’re probably fast tracking gen 2, and that might require different tooling.

    I agree that they should start with the waiting lists sooner rather than later. It’s the only real way to gauge demand. On the other hand, they might have a lot of unhappy customers if they have to wait three years to get a car….


  89. 89
    kgurnsey

    +11

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:18 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: $29,000.00 or below.$43,000.00 is not affordable for what they initially said was for “the masses” or “Pat Q Pubic”  (Quote)

    The Volt was designed as a car for the masses in concept, but the Volt we are all waiting for, the Gen I, is definitely not meant for the masses. It won’t be in production in large enough numbers to matter. They will sell out production at the listed price. That is simply the reality, and complaining about the price won’t make any difference. When Gen II and Gen III start to be produced in real mass quantities, then we should expect a price more in line with what the masses can afford.

    That’s right, I said it. If you’re complaining about the price, then the Volt wasn’t meant for you. Deal with it, and get in line for Gen II or Gen III. I don’t mean to be harsh, but when reality meets fairy dust and dreams, dust a dreams take can a beating. It’s not that GM hates you, or is ignoring you because you’re “the little guy”, it’s just that the Volt is bloddy expensive to build, it will take time to bring the price down. Accept reality and move on. Go forward knowing that at least GM is intending to get the price down in time, instead of producing the Volt as a boutique car, meant to be forever a toy of the rich, and be glad. And patient.

    No one is entitled to a Volt. Instead of complaining about how expensive it is, just be glad that they are (hopefully) being bought by enough well-heeled people to keep them in production and justify further development and refinement that will lead to better prices. Patience. Eventually, in time, if all goes well, you will get yours too. When you do get yours, at a price you can afford, go thank someone who blew twice as much keeping the dream alive. Be thankful there are those in the world who can afford to subsidize things like the Volt, and choose to do so.

    GM is a business, people, not a charity. The fact that they are producing a car that could be a major leap forward in terms of solving some of the world’s ills does not change this fact. Technology takes time to come down in price to a point where the masses can afford it. The fact that GM is supposedly building an EREV for the masses does not change this fact. The Volt is packed with cutting edge technology, it will be expensive. Until the technology comes down in price, GM is not in a position to give it away. They will charge for it, and only those who can afford it will be able to buy it. Period.

    So endeth Reality 101.


  90. 90
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    Guy Incognito: Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?

    Advertising works best when you’re selling standard products. PR works far better when introducing new products. So advertising would be the ticket for something like the LaCrosse but the ticket for the Volt is PR.

    Consumers find PR more believable and they pay more attention to it, and you get far more bang for the buck with PR than you do with advertising. You’d always prefer to use PR rather than advertising, it’s just that when a product is no longer “new” the PR opportunities dry up. Nissan and GM are right in concentrating on PR and eschewing advertising for the LEAF and Volt introductions, and Toyota is right to advertise its new Prius. It’s just the product cycle.


  91. 91
    kgurnsey

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    Noel Park: #74Well it looks like Tiger’s gonna need a new ’scalade, so that’ll help out a little.  (Quote)

    LOL. Very true. Good for GM, good for the Volt. Thanks Tiger!


  92. 92
    Biodieseljeep

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Biodieseljeep
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    Herm: CNG, compressed natural gas at around 3600 psi, is four times as bulky as diesel.. thus the fuel tank would have to be about four times bigger. Interesting that CNG is 15% lighter than diesel for the same energy content. I dont think there is a big deal to converting an 18 wheeler to CNG.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_natural_gas  (Quote)

    A gas cylinder tank that is 4 times as big as the current diesel tank BUT is strong enough to hold 3600 PSI is one heck of a load to carry. Now make it pass crash testing, and you got most of the cargo weight. Consider that the cargo carrying weight limit (for petroleum trucks, which is all I know) in many states is 10,000 lbs or less.

    How much does a big ole’ high pressure gas cylinder weigh that holds 4 times the volume of the big deisle saddle-bags? I don’t know off-hand, but you can bet it is a pretty significant amount of that 10,000 lbs.


  93. 93
    carcus1

    -7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:28 pm)

    Koz: Get real, the only BEV to hit the road anytime soon for under $20K will be 2-wheelers or a NEV.

    Ok. Like I said, until the novelty wears off — that’s the “anytime soon” part.

    A little further down the road. . . take a car like the Nissan Versa (base price $10,000) Pull out the ICE, gas tank etc.. etc.. and put in the much simpler control electronics, motor, and battery management system — probably roughly equivalent to all the ICE components in price. So you’ve got a $10,000 EV sans batteries. There’s evidence that LiOn is dropping to sub $400/kwh. That puts a 22kwh BEV version of a Versa down to $18,800.

    There’s just not that much to a BEV. No where near as complicated as an ICE car. It’s all about the battery price.


  94. 94
    carcus1

    -7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:34 pm)

    kgurnsey: So endeth Reality 101. 

    For Reality 102, see my post at 93.


  95. 95
    Islander

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Islander
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:41 pm)

    Cool. Living in the bay area I might have a chance…

    With Fritz gone it will be interesting to see if GM makes any changes in direction on increasing other Voltec or strong hybrid vehicles in the near future. Many, including myself, would love a small SUV Voltec or STRONG hybrid.

    Slightly off topic: I went to the San Francisco car show last week. GM had a Volt shell there and it was very exciting. However, it was tucked way back against the wall with little fan fair or attention it deserves. A seriously missed opportunity!
    I also checked out the GM Terrain and Equanox. Interesting but still too big and city gas mileage too low. They are definitely making the effort but still missing the mark. I have faith they will get it right. Maybe drop more of the old guard and get things moving at a faster pace. They do not have time to play around here.

    Thank for the great info Lyle.


  96. 96
    Schmeltz

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Schmeltz
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:41 pm)

    Tagamet: Even as the Optimist in Residence, I do think it’lll be a couple years before we can walk into a dealership anywhere in the USA and pick out the Volt in the color of our choice. My belief, however, is that even given a “slow start”, popularity will absolutely *drive* the supply upward (once the computer farm is humming along – great term, btw). Exponential growth doesn’t take much time to become significant within a larger population (all vehicles). The institutional inertia of the ICE will be a larger hurdle than the availability of the Volt and other electric vehicles (IMHO).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Wow–well said my friend! Agreed on all counts.


  97. 97
    CaptJackSparrow

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:45 pm)

    DonC: A count is a thousand, so two counts would be .002. Realistically that’s not much difference. As a comparison, for every inch you increase the ride height you increase the drag coefficient by about 10 counts or .01.

    If aerodynamics plays a good part, why not “Dimple” the car. Myth Busters did it and the results shocked the hell out of them. Google it and watch the video. It’s halarious dumbfounded they were on the results.
    Sure it’s not attractive but slap the “Titliest” logo or “Ping”, “Wilson” or “MaxFlite”. Then have Tiger Woods drive it around. Or should he now be caller “Cheetah Woods”?
    Getit? Cheated on wife? Cheetah?

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!

    Serious though, the dimples worked.


  98. 98
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:52 pm)

    kgurnsey: That’s right, I said it. If you’re complaining about the price, then the Volt wasn’t meant for you. Deal with it, and get in line for Gen II or Gen III.

    lol….
    Dude, that was my SWAG of a BEV price, not the Volt or EREV.
    It’s OK thogh hommie, no beef.
    I’ve already posted many time I’m gonna have to be a Gen 2 buyer. But I highly doubt the price will go down.


  99. 99
    tom

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:54 pm)

    LauraM: I think GM needs more than one year on the road to iron out all the bugs

    I still feel the bigger issue (then worrying about bugs), is the antipiated rapid improvement in batteries and other ‘new’ components.

    A really bad scenario is ramping up Gen 1 to a very high level in 2011-2012, then everyone realizes Gen 2 in 2013 will be much cheaper and much better. Thats another reason why Gen 1 needs to ramp slowly unfortunately.

    Possibly the Leaf will get around this by leasing the battery separately, so that won’t keep folks from buying their Gen 1 if it is designed to drop a gen 2 battery in it down the road.


  100. 100
    james

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    james
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    When the Volt is priced it will be priced at a price point that makes GM a profit on each one sold. They will sell out of the 60k a year rate at 50 thousand dollars or more. It will be a gotta have item for certain people. The new CEO is not going to give cars away at a lost, when profits can and will be made for the stockholders. A person who can afford 38 to 45k for a Volt can afford to pay 50 or 55k. A lot will pay cash for the Volt. If I wanted a Volt no one would stop me from getting one, when the Caddy version comes out it will sell out at over 55k. GM should not and will not sell Volts at a lost, when the profits are on the table.


  101. 101
    JohnK

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    I have to add my 2 cents worth (and I have not read half of today’s posts yet), but I read Lutz’s announcement as VERY positive. It means that when they start puting cars together in March that even though they will be “going slowly” most of those built by November will be available for the general public. The tough news (if there is any) is that during 2011 they will build only 10,000, which is still pretty much the same slow build rate. I’m guessing that Hamtramk can pump out 50,000 without much difficulty, but the new battery plant needs a learning curve. Also, getting enough motors and control units from suppliers may also be what limits production. But one thing that I take away from all of this is that earlier info suggested that during all of 2010 there would be only 2,000-3,000 made. Seems like that has been moved up to 4,000-5,000 by November/December. So challenges to deal with: 1) suppliers, 2) feedback from the market, 3) changes for Gen2, 4) building their own electrics/electronics.
    Pretty much good news. Much more to come.


  102. 102
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (12:57 pm)

    carcus1: There’s evidence that LiOn is dropping to sub $400/kwh. That puts a 22kwh BEV version of a Versa down to $18,800.

    I have heard from LifePO4 importers that next spring prices will drop a little more. Other cathode doping methodologies will come out as well that will increase capacity but as I understand it “Power” delivery will be relatively the same but cycle time will also increase. I can’t give you numbers because I wasn’t given any.


  103. 103
    carcus1

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    tom: Possibly the Leaf will get around this by leasing the battery separately, so that won’t keep folks from buying their Gen 1 if it is designed to drop a gen 2 battery in it down the road. 

    **ding, ding**…… we have a winner!

    /still dislike the idea of leasing the battery, but there’s lots of reasons for it. If the lease isn’t too binding (i.e. you can totally get out of it in say 2 years without penalty) i’d might go for it. By then there will probably be aftermarket sources that would sell you a battery (that fits, specifically for the Leaf) outright.


  104. 104
    LauraM

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    In other news, GM is in talks to sell part of its stake in it’s Chinese business to its Chinese joint-venture partner. This will take it’s share below 50%. They’re also selling them half of their India operations.

    This is big news on the financial front. And, honestly, it’s not good news. GM has got to be desperate to do this, IMHO. Apparently, they made a bad bet on Korean currency, and that’s going to have major repercussions.

    http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/03/gm-to-sell-stakes-to-china-partner/?scp=7&sq=GM&st=cse

    I don’t know how this will affect the Volt or their North American operations. They are one of the few companies that might bring profits earned abroad back home. (Not because they wanted to, but because they kind of had to. Also, given their massive losses, they probably don’t have to pay taxes on it…) But I’m sure there are other consequences in terms of economies of scale…


  105. 105
    kgurnsey

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kgurnsey
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:05 pm)

    carcus1: For Reality 102, see my post at 93.  (Quote)

    Agreed, save that EREVs are more complicated and expensive. First, you’re not taking out the ICE, second, you have to add more controls and do more R&D to get the two powertrains to talk, and three, the batteries take more of a beating so you currently need to oversize them to get the same performance/lifespan.

    In the world of BEVs I would agree that battery price dictates cost to a large degree. EREVs are a whole different kettle of fish. GM has done well to keep the retail price down to a reasonable sum, and I expect will continue to push the price down over time. It will, however, take time, which was my original point.


  106. 106
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:05 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I have heard from LifePO4 importers

    I’ve almost given up trying to stay up with the latest battery developments …it’s happening so fast.

    /not that I understood even half of what I was reading, anyway.
    //The “upgradeable” portion of the Leaf (post at 102) would be a significant factor in my decision to purchase. I’d hate to be an early adopter and then find out my batteries were worthless 2 years later due to obsolescence.


  107. 107
    Khadgars

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Khadgars
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    Guys, the Leaf will be just as hard, if not harder to come by than the Volt.

    We’re basically looking at 15,000 units sold in the first year, thats not to bad if you think about it. The following year we will have 60,000 units. They haven’t even sold that many Camaro’s so I’m not sure why every one is sweating 2012.

    If you really want a Volt, 2012 should be your year for the average joe, if not 2013 easily. Thats not bad for brand new technology, I think every one is tacking on the three years of development as part of the waiting game, which is crap.


  108. 108
    LauraM

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:15 pm)

    tom: still feel the bigger issue (then worrying about bugs), is the antipiated rapid improvement in batteries and other ‘new’ components.
    A really bad scenario is ramping up Gen 1 to a very high level in 2011-2012, then everyone realizes Gen 2 in 2013 will be much cheaper and much better. Thats another reason why Gen 1 needs to ramp slowly unfortunately.

    At the anticipated production numbers, I don’t see that being a problem. Not even if they doubled capacity.

    However, due to rapid improvements in battery tech, GM probably wants to move to gen2 as quickly as possible. That means they won’t want to invest too much in producing gen1.


  109. 109
    Tagamet

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tagamet
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:34 pm)

    I agree with LauraM’s reasoning for keeping Gen I small, in the hope that Gen II+ will be where the price cut and production ramp up is likely to occur. It’s tough to even consider waiting even longer for our affordable Volts, but it’s a little like parenting – front-loaded effort in the hope that great things are to come.

    /schmeltz: thanks for the kind words

    Be well,
    Tagamet

    Let’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS


  110. 110
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:34 pm)

    On electric cars and upgrades.

    I expect (or hope that) my EV purchase to be similar to how I purchase computers. I typically buy the latest “hardware shell” (so to speak) equipped with very few accessories (i.e. small hard drive, no PCI cards, etc.) knowing that over the years I will upgrade with the latest components and try to stretch the usability of my “hardware shell” out as long as possible.

    I’m currently typing on a 2002 computer that’s fairly well maxed out with upgrades, . My machine’s still hanging in there, and I expect to get another 2 years out of it.

    This is how I think car companies should approach BEV’s. Make money on the upgrades to come to make up for the lost revenue in maintenance. Electric car OEM’s need to make sure their products are made with the words “upgradeable and expandable” in mind. (imo)


  111. 111
    stuart22

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    kgurnsey:
    If you’re complaining about the price, then the Volt wasn’t meant for you.Deal with it, and get in line for Gen II or Gen III. It’s not that GM hates you, or is ignoring you because you’re “the little guy”, it’s just that the Volt is bloddy expensive to build, it will take time to bring the price down.Accept reality and move on.Instead of complaining about how expensive it is, just be glad that Volts are (hopefully) being bought by enough well-heeled people to keep them in production and justify further development and refinement that will lead to better prices.Patience. Be thankful there are those in the world who can afford to subsidize things like the Volt, and choose to do so.GM is a business, people, not a charity.  

    Such tough love! Truer words cannot be said about the Volt. Telling whiners to HTFU wins points in my book.


  112. 112
    stas peterson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stas peterson
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:42 pm)

    Batteries are expensive. Or haven’t you heard?

    BEVs will be a long time becoming price competitive. If you want to take a Volt and remove the engine-generator and substitute three times the battery size, (40 miles x 3 = 120 miles range) all you have to do is add $10,000 to $15,000 to the Volts price tag.

    BEVs are not yet cheaper and won’t be for a decade or more. Too bad, but wishing won’t change it. The Leaf is THE true PR stunt… by Nissan/Renault, on the ropes, and way behind in hybrid technology.

    Who buys a car without an engine? Yet Nissan talks as if you would pay $25-$30k for a car without a battery. The battery cost is so high, that in addition to the monthly car payment, you will sign up for an additional and bigger monthly payment for the battery lease or buy?

    Dream ON !


  113. 113
    CaptJackSparrow

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:43 pm)

    LauraM: due to rapid improvements in battery tech, GM probably wants to move to gen2 as quickly as possible. That means they won’t want to invest too much in producing gen1.

    Just as improvements and better technology is currently expensive, they will be just as expensive on the next latest and greatest in batt tech. This is where I don’t see the price dropping for batt tech. What I see is the new tech will force the old tech down in price marginally. My experience in “Contracting” a technology is, if you contract for a specific batt with a specific chem makeup, the batt sole source must not deviate from the contract therefore the cells will always stay very close to the same price from the begining. Sure LG Chem can come up with a new high cycle high power/storage chemistry for LiMn but the contract holds firm and technically LG Chem doesn’t need to do any more than what it is delivering now.


  114. 114
    Unni

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Unni
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (1:44 pm)

    2 typical foolish questions :

    If a Volt shell (body ) is put on a Cruze, How much mpg improvement will happen

    Same if they put the old EV1 body on Cruze, how much mpg improvement will happen.


  115. 115
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:08 pm)

    Khadgars: If you really want a Volt, 2012 should be your year for the average joe, if not 2013 easily. Thats not bad for brand new technology, I think every one is tacking on the three years of development as part of the waiting game, which is crap.

    Exactly, the ‘waiting list’ starts when the first one hits a showroom. And development for a brand new platform includes a beta rollout which in this case is model year 2011. I don’t see GM allowing pre-orders until 2012 model year (late 2011).

    This is a whole new ball-game. If GM has ANY recalls during the first model year, it will sour the market for all electrics for some time to come. I expect that they will OnStar the crap out of the first couple thousand to keep tabs on any issues that need swatting. And I mean a full-on SWAT team. Getting a tech on-site or transport for free to the nearest one.

    We do this in the software world all the time. We set up a war-room and all customer calls go directly to development. There is no middle-man between customer and fix.

    I was a first customer for AT&T cable Internet back when Internet access was V.92 modems. They had three technicians and a supervisor to do the install. They were there for two days and replaced all the pole cable back to their pop to make sure it was solid. I received several customer-service follow-ups (they called me, not the other way around!) within the first month of service.

    This is the kind of on-site presence they will need at the first dealers. Keeping the geography fairly compact (So. CA only) is a smart move.


  116. 116
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:10 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Serious though, the dimples worked.

    Yes but (1) Mythbusters is not exactly science and (2) hopefully your Volt isn’t going airborne while rotating end over end — could be a very bumpy landing! LOL


  117. 117
    JohnK

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:16 pm)

    Just doing some back of the envelope calcs.
    If “first few months of production” (4,000-5,000) is March to Oct of 2010 then that is 500 per month.
    If “first full year of production” (10,000) is Nov, 2010 to June, 2011 then that is 1,250 per month.
    If “2012 model year” (50,000) is July, 2011 to June, 2010 then that is 4,200 per month.
    That is not bad. That is a fairly agressive ramping up. I would expect minimal changes to be done during this time to recoup tooling costs. I would then think that Gen2 starts then, unless serious economies are achieved by developments in technology. But even new developments in battery technology can hurt if it means retooling the battery lab or then new battery plant. Also building plants to build electric motors and control electronics can cost a lot in development costs. I doubt if Gen2 will be a whole bunch cheaper. But eventually it will get there.


  118. 118
    JohnK

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:20 pm)

    Also, I’ve seen a report on the web stating that the world supply of lithium is due to run out before the supply of petroleum. Currently one of the biggest sources of lithium is Argentina. I am hopeful though that battery technology will improve to get better use of lithium and that other sources of lithium will be found. Who knows, maybe even supercapacitors will become real?


  119. 119
    StevenU

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    StevenU
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:24 pm)

    Guy Incognito: If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the Chevy Volt is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?  (Quote)

    Hard to advertise products that will not be sold for another year. Have you seen advertizing for the LEAF?

    I have not seen any advertizing for Camaro. I have seen Cobalt, Malibu, Equinox, and pickup ads.


  120. 120
    a-bit-sceptic

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    a-bit-sceptic
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    Planning to sell 50.000 – 60.000 Volts per year?
    The price for the car is about 40.000 USD. For what? A Chevrolet Cruze sized car?
    That could become harder than one might think.
    I am going to watch the Volt closely after it is released, but I don’t expect it to be sold very often, or to be a hellishly good deal for those who buy it, it is going to be an expensive little toy, nothing the mass-market really has waited for.
    And as it looks today, that is about the same as GM expects it to be.

    Good luck to gm-volt.com and the team developing the Volt
    Florian
    Germany


  121. 121
    JeffB

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JeffB
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    stuart22: Such tough love! Truer words cannot be said about the Volt. Telling whiners to HTFU wins points in my book.  (Quote)

    I say…so called “whiners about price”…keep it up. I cannot recall any model from any automaker decreasing a significant amount in price in subsequent model years.

    At the speculated starting price of $40K, a $10K drop to the highend watermark of an affordable mass market vehicle of $30K is a 25% price decrease.

    Can anyone name the last mass produced vehicle to drop 25% in price?

    “Priced nicely below $30K” is more like a mainstream vehicle. If the Volt cannot meet this criteria, it WILL NOT become mainstream. GM needs to consider a less capable EREV. It seems Toyota might be designing toward a more “mainstream priced” vehicle with a 10 mile PHEV. Toyota would just need to figure out how to ramp volume to make it mainstream.


  122. 122
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:52 pm)

    JeffB: Can anyone name the last mass produced vehicle to drop 25% in price?

    lol, dude, I brought that up in the past. The general consensus was that all these ICE cars were already so mature in tech that there was no room for much more to reduce cost. I highlt disagree.
    Mfgr’s will just keep adding junk sh|t like onstar and some other crap to keep the price relatively the same as before, or a small tweak of tech and say it costs more. Hey, that’s just like my old college books, buy the new edition but little change but you have to buy it anyway. There will never be a one to one model comparison and that’s “by design” in the industry so they can keep prices high/stable.


  123. 123
    Herm

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Herm
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (2:58 pm)

    DonC: A count is a thousand, so two counts would be .002. Realistically that’s not much difference. As a comparison, for every inch you increase the ride height you increase the drag coefficient by about 10 counts or .01.  

    You need an active suspension that lowers your car when you are on the hwy at speed.. but then you run into a dead cat, not good!


  124. 124
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:04 pm)

    OT, but speaking of fuel efficiency and price:

    2011 Ford Fiesta Preview—2009 LA Auto Show
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4338501.html?nav=RSS20&src=syn&dom=yah_buzz&mag=pop

    If the Fiesta meets the projected 30 city/40 hwy mpg, then it will be #4 on the Epa list of small cars ranked by fuel economy, behind: 1. Civic Hybrid, 2. Insight Hybrid, 3. Jetta TDI Diesel. Notably, this would make the Fiesta #1 on the list of “conventional small cars” ranked by fuel economy.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byMPG.htm

    Pricing TBD, but I’m betting the Fiesta isn’t a budget buster. Wonder how the Cruze will compare?

    /the european diesel version is rated at about 62 mpg eurocycle, which should be about 47 mpg US — that’s stepping well into “hybrid territory”.


  125. 125
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:12 pm)

    carcus1: Pricing TBD, but I’m betting the Fiesta isn’t a budget buster. Wonder how the Cruze will compare?

    “2011 Ford Fiesta priced from $13,320, special deal for reserving early”

    On ABG right now.


  126. 126
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:17 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: “2011 Ford Fiesta priced from $13,320, special deal for reserving early”

    That’s pretty cheap. Less than I would have guessed.
    /ok, just looked, to get to the better looking hatchback and fuel saving tranny it ends up around $18k.
    //still, that 13,320 for the base is freakin cheap


  127. 127
    Guy Incognito

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Guy Incognito
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:29 pm)

    Koz: “I’m thinking when those advertising dollars have an opportunity to turn into sales $. They have to be in production of EV’s in order to sell them.”

    Yeah well you can’t sell them unless people know about them, thus advertising. You’re not seeing it: As the Volt Program ramps up, so to should the advertising campaign ramp up. This is’nt happening at the rate is should Koz; trust me on this, I know what I’m talking about here.
    This is why I continue to question GM’s commitment to the Volt…sorry if this pisses any of you off, I’m all behind the Volt and I’ve been here since Lyle started this site.

    Koz: “How much of the money they don’t have should they be spending on advertising for a product that they don’t yet offer?”  

    Agreed, money like that is better spent on the Camaro.


  128. 128
    Khadgars

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Khadgars
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:32 pm)

    carcus1: That’s pretty cheap. Less than I would have guessed./ok, just looked, to get to the better looking hatchback and fuel saving tranny it ends up around $18k.//still, that 13,320 for the base is freakin cheap  (Quote)

    The same thing applies to the Prius, the base price might be $22k but every one pays $30k for one.


  129. 129
    Geronimo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Geronimo
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:35 pm)

    Tom M. S.A. Tx.: Good Morning ,I cannot see where the numbers mentioned will sustain GM financially.
    My question is why are we not looking at NG engines which I have used for years on the ranch? The infrastructure needed to fill your vehicle is already in place. The conversions for these engines is not that expensive. We need to look at all forms of energy to get this country back on track.
    God Bless America,
    Tom  

    Natural gas supplies in N. America, and even C. and S. America, are close to peaking. That’s why many companies are busy planning, and trying to win approval for, large LNG (liquid natural gas) terminals on the coasts around the country, and getting on the long, long waiting list for new LNG tankers. One problem with these LNG terminals is that if they explode, by accident or terrorism, the resultant energies cause a mushroom cloud, like a nuclear explosion. This has already happened a few times. Even if only a few thousand people die, the visuals of a mushroom cloud in the US will be the death of LNG, and insurance rates will reflect this.

    Substituting imported LNG for imported oil is hardly a long-term solution, but its true natural gas supplies (global) should not peak and decline for a decade or two after oil does so.

    The largest reserves in the world by far, which could supply LNG supply lines, are in Qatar, Iran (a huge field in the Persian Gulf, between the two), and in Russia.
    I hear that Europe is not too happy with Russia controlling their natural gas supplies…


  130. 130
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    Khadgars: The same thing applies to the Prius, the base price might be $22k but every one pays $30k for one.

    As I recall, the $22,000 priced was for “Fleet” sales only. I think that’s pretty sh|tty if you ask me. I’m just a plain bare bones guy. If that was avail for the general public, I would’ve scooped one up. $28,000 – $30,000 would make me live uncomfortably beyond my means.


  131. 131
    Bill Cosworth

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bill Cosworth
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:37 pm)

    GM really needs to come up with three options for thet volt

    -One with Range extender
    - One without Range extender
    - Inductive charging so no plug required. A mat under the vehicle in your garage.

    That way Nissian can stay quiet and not say they are the first all electric vehicle.

    EVEN if gm has a limited amount of all electric it still would help them in marketing.


  132. 132
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:45 pm)

    Quick story on “bare bones” and pricing.

    When I bought my new pickup early this year, I got to chit chatting with the lady closing out my paperwork. The dealership’s been there since the 1950′s and she seemed like she could have been there from the beginning. Anyway, we got to talking about extended warranties, and I mentioned how I thought engines and tranny’s had gotten more reliable over the years and I wasn’t too worried about it. She then told me how things have changed and that the biggest part of their warranty work was “right here” (hand gesture pointing down the center of the dash).

    /p.s. my pickup’s got no nav, no sync, hand cranked windows……upgraded engine , upgraded tranny 3v 4.6, 6 spd, averaging 19 mpg on 4,900 lb and 290 hp (woot!)


  133. 133
    ardvark

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ardvark
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    23 Herm: One way or another the Volt will make a profit, some say it already paid for itself by facilitating the bailout. In any case the development cost of the Volt was paid by Old GM.. the one that is being liquidated now… its a freebie now.

    Agreed that gm has to make a profit. Exactly when is not so clear.

    Regarding the Volt’s development costs there is a technical accounting aspect that makes what you said unlikely. The Volt development costs likely were categorized as a capital asset, anticipating that asset to be depreciated over time.

    The new GM likely inherited this asset. As the asset depreciates, which will occur as cars are sold on the basis of the development done, the depreciation expense will go to the new gm. One would not want the capital asset to stay with the old gm, as then the new gm would owe it payments.


  134. 134
    coffeetime

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    coffeetime
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (3:52 pm)

    Herm: This is news..They are outsourcing the motor/generator/inverters, this is the reason they are paying near $10k for these in the Volt (include in that the electro-hydraulic brakes, probably outsourced also).I tought GM (and it was implied by a previous engineer interview on this site) made all this in-house and had the expertise since the EV1 days.This would be equivalent to a major car company not making their own engines, something that does not happen.I guess it was naive of me that they would internally source this, why would they?.. no previous demand for it. Lots of potential cost reductions in Volt II and III.This also means that even if they wanted to ramp up production they may not be able to do so, since all the electric components are outsourced.Statik, it would be interesting to find out who this stuff got subcontracted to… and how much $$.  

    You know, one could say that hard drives and memory chips are essential elements for computers, but virtually every hardware component of your Apple, Dell, HP, etc. is outsourced. If GM does the DESIGN of precisely what they want and then puts that out for bids vs. building it themselves, I think that is the way to do it these days. With their balance sheet, why tie up even more capital in manufacturing capacity that won’t break even for decades – indeed, if ever – down the road? Just look at the preponderance of excess plant that GM is already saddled with (including the old GM).

    GM can still include “batteries” and “electric motors” as their core competency. Just design it here, build it elsewhere, and above all, save precious capital for the really big job of getting GM profitable again, paying off the loans, and taking it public again.


  135. 135
    LauraM

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:04 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Just as improvements and better technology is currently expensive, they will be just as expensive on the next latest and greatest in batt tech. This is where I don’t see the price dropping for batt tech. What I see is the new tech will force the old tech down in price marginally. My experience in “Contracting” a technology is, if you contract for a specific batt with a specific chem makeup, the batt sole source must not deviate from the contract therefore the cells will always stay very close to the same price from the begining. Sure LG Chem can come up with a new high cycle high power/storage chemistry for LiMn but the contract holds firm and technically LG Chem doesn’t need to do any more than what it is delivering now

    There are other expenses associated with the Volt that I’m sure GM can reduce. Bringing the engine development in house should help. (I can’t believe they were outsourcing it to begin with.) And they’re not bound by that contract with LG forever…


  136. 136
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:10 pm)

    LauraM: And they’re not bound by that contract with LG forever…

    yeah, I wanna say 4-5 years starting early this year.

    I still think they should’ve come out with the BEV version and/or at least a lower priced PHEV20.


  137. 137
    old man

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    old man
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    OT

    Regarding the Leaf and leasing the battery. I have trouble coming up with a reason that would intise a finance company to front $18 to $22 thousand for a battery and then lease it to me with an easy out. One way or another that battery has to be paid for and at a profit for the leasing company.

    At the end of the day I think the Leaf monthly payments will be close if not higher than the Volt.


  138. 138
    Vlad the Impaler

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Vlad the Impaler
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:13 pm)

    Lutz may be old school, but he “gets it” ie. he can see the future of the automobile industry. He is a visionary and a leader and he also has class.

    He may have one foot still planted in the old stuff, but he has seen the light. Besides, the ol’ piston engines will still be around for awhile.

    He would be great for GMs image.

    Loboc: Lutz will probably not be selected as CEO because he is old-GM.The speech is new-GM mantra and I don’t believe Lutz is on board with getting rid of V-8 power yet. See also Ford updating Mustang with more HP. Gasoline won’t be dead for some time especially at $2.50/gallon.As far as ‘going slow’, 10k cars is way more than all the electrics out there right now. I don’t see this as going slow.As a software developer, I am well aware of the pitfalls of brand new code going public. GM needs a few years of beta testing this platform to get it right. You can’t do all your testing in-house. The car is basically a largish mobile computer farm. I’m not worried about all the normal car stuff (steering, brakes, a/c, etc) it’s all these new computers and software (software especially) that needs a good beta test shakedown.  (Quote)


  139. 139
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:19 pm)

    LauraM: There are other expenses associated with the Volt that I’m sure GM can reduce.

    That was my questions at one point on why even now with regular ICE cars there is little to no drop in price from one year or generation to the other. I even pulled prices on the web from cars 1-2 years old and compared the current prices. They showed an increase. I believe Mr. DonC was the one who said that the mature state if the ICE cars leave little to no room for improvements in price reduction. So if that’s the case then the only price reduction in the Volt is technically batt pack, EV motor, Generator and MAYBE Power electronics. I say maybe because once you have a design of a PCB and everything, there’s little to nothing to change and the assembly of the PCB’s are all automated so there really is no where to cut the cost unless you skimp on cheap parts. These are most most likely outsourced anyway.


  140. 140
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:40 pm)

    I jus noticed something in the pic…
    Where’s the Pink Tie?


  141. 141
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:44 pm)

    JohnK: Also, I’ve seen a report on the web stating that the world supply of lithium is due to run out before the supply of petroleum. Currently one of the biggest sources of lithium is Argentina. I am hopeful though that battery technology will improve to get better use of lithium and that other sources of lithium will be found. Who knows, maybe even supercapacitors will become real?

    Lithium has also not been searched that much since nobody needed it until now. For all we know, Utah has more than Argentina. It’s only the ‘known’ reserves that are scarce.

    Also, Lithium is fully recyclable. Once you find it, you can keep using it over and over and over. Unlike oil.

    Supercaps *are* real. They are being used in bus transport right now. EE’s story is not currently real. Nobody is using capacitors to replace batteries except maybe Coleman.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001U8FF5Q/ref=ox_ya_oh_product

    This driver is pretty cool. I have two. I think I will get another one just to take it apart and see how it works. I need a spare because when I take things apart, the smoke usually comes out and it never works again :) . It fully charges in 90 SECONDS.


  142. 142
    LauraM

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LauraM
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: That was my questions at one point on why even now with regular ICE cars there is little to no drop in price from one year or generation to the other. I even pulled prices on the web from cars 1-2 years old and compared the current prices. They showed an increase. I believe Mr. DonC was the one who said that the mature state if the ICE cars leave little to no room for improvements in price reduction. So if that’s the case then the only price reduction in the Volt is technically batt pack, EV motor, Generator and MAYBE Power electronics. I say maybe because once you have a design of a PCB and everything, there’s little to nothing to change and the assembly of the PCB’s are all automated so there really is no where to cut the cost unless you skimp on cheap parts. These are most most likely outsourced anyway.

    The current price probably reflects the low volume. (Yes. I know that’s a catch-22. But they need to keep volume low in the beginning due to bugs regardless.) It also probably has to include profits for the makers of all those outsourced parts. GM is working on building them in house. There are also probably a lot of expensive safeguards built in which may or may not be necessary. (Of course, I suppose that depends on your definition of necessary. But current US safety standards are pretty strict, so I’m not too worried about it.)


  143. 143
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (5:00 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: So if that’s the case then the only price reduction in the Volt is technically batt pack, EV motor, Generator and MAYBE Power electronics.

    You’re right that the areas where you can suck costs out are somewhat limited, but those areas are where the extra costs reside. So all is not lost.

    Also one big surprise for the Volt engineers is how many custom parts they needed. For example, the found that because of the absence of engine noise they couldn’t use standard bushings and had to order custom ones. Add lots of little stuff like that together with things like custom HVAC systems and you end up missing your SWAG price by 30% — which is what happened to Lutz. HIs guess was $30K and the car ended up being more like $40K.

    The other issue which Lauckner has mentioned is that the prices for EV components are higher than usual because there aren’t a lot of suppliers for many of the EV parts so you don’t have nearly as much price competition. This is why GM has said that in order to make EV prices competitive it needs an eco system of EV part suppliers. Looked at this way, the LEAF is not so much a competitor as it is a partner.

    When thinking about prices you also need to consider real versus nominal pricing. Keeping prices flat over time is in fact a price decrease once you’ve factored in inflation.


  144. 144
    Jim I

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (5:15 pm)

    kgurnsey #69 Says: “Don’t forget, not everyone buys swoopy aerodynamic fastbacks. The mass market has more than just NPNS in thier buying criteria. As more variants of the Voltec drivetrain emerge, production for Voltec will increase in different forms, even if the produciton of Volts remains the same. This is just as good, Volt by any other name, or body style, is still an EREV on the road.

    Also, we are also still just talking about Gen I. We have no idea what the production volumes will be for Gen II, which will be more affordable and thus reach a larger audience.”

    ————-

    I agree that people want more than a four seater compact. I would actually prefer a two seater sports car E-REV, as right now I drive a Crossfire and I usually am on the road alone or with my wife.

    But what I am the most is an early adopter of technology. I am what GM needs and should want as a beta tester of this new type of transportation. I am willing to pay, willing to put up with software bugs, and willing to provide feedback on my experiences. As a programmer, I understand the interactions of hardware and software. There are a large number of people on this site that are just like me. Those are the people that GM should target for Gen-1, not the movie stars. If Brad Pitt has a software problem with a Volt, and the press takes pictures of him being towed, it will do far more PR damage to GM and the Voltec idea, than Jim I in Youngstown, OH. That is JMHO.

    Also, I have stated and continue to state that my next car WILL be electric. But if GM thinks I will just sit around for three more years and wait for only a Volt of any generation, they are kidding themselves. Because by then, I am no longer that early adopter, so why only consider the Volt? By that time, who knows what else will be available from M/B, BMW, Tesla, Fisker, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, et al. GM may lose me as a customer, simply by keeping a low production volume and limited delivery area.

    One other thing: I really do not see any well equipped E-REV vehicle ever being priced under $30K. You have all the added hardware of batteries, regen braking, the generator, multiple CPU’s, all electric HVAC, steering, braking, etc. You have all that added software integration to make it work. And you still have all the components of the standard ICE to run the generator. So how is this mass reduction in price going to occur? Except for the battery pack, generator, and maybe the HVAC system, the most of the compnents in the car have been pretty well run through the system to get the best costing available. I keep hearing that the battery pack will drop in price and capacity will increase by factors. If that is the case, why doesn’t a AA battery last 10 years, and cost a quarter? They have had years to make that happen, don’t you think?


  145. 145
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (5:30 pm)

    Jim I: I really do not see any well equipped E-REV vehicle ever being priced under $30K. You have all the added hardware

    That’s what I think, as well. Even sitting there without battery cells installed I would say the Volt is a mid to upper $20k’s car. I just can’t see the Volt ever pricing out below $30k, and I don’t see how Lutz ever truthfully envisioned that either. Not unless he thought the batteries are were going to be dirt cheap.


  146. 146
    StevePA

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    StevePA
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (5:42 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I jus noticed something in the pic…Where’s the Pink Tie?  (Quote)

    A mi tambien senor…LOL when your observation scrolled by…

    Laura M – helpful insights in your posts today on rationale for the slow buildup of Volt production.


  147. 147
    JohnK

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JohnK
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (5:47 pm)

    I just have to comment on the Leaf. I don’t mean to be down on it, but if it were software I’d call it vapor-ware. People are correctly stating that the battery is more expensive than the Volt’s. But they are STILL understating it, because the Volt’s battery is being rated for 50% to make the life long, not so the Leaf’s, otherwise the Leaf’s battery would be $40,000. Also, the lease thing is another vapor-ware thing. You can’t get something for nothing. If you lease it you are going to ADD to the cost, yes and spread it out monthly, but what leasing company is going to let you pay on a monthly basis that will let you pay for only 2 or even 3 years so that you can dump them for a “Gen 2″ battery that will be half the cost. If that is a real expectation then any leasing company worth its salt will amortize the cost over 3 years and your monthly battery payment will be $3,000! GM is doing it right with the Volt. No smoke and mirrors. Not cheap. Not fast (enough for us anyway). But done RIGHT! I WILL pay $40,000 to let others get GEN2 at cheaper rates. I just hope that GM does not jack the price up over $40K.


  148. 148
    Dave K.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (6:05 pm)

    JohnK: I WILL pay $40,000 to let others get GEN2 at cheaper rates.

    40 miles battery
    40 mpg CS
    40K price

    2010 is just 4 weeks away.

    =D~


  149. 149
    carcus1

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (6:11 pm)

    JohnK: but what leasing company is going to let you pay on a monthly basis that will let you pay for only 2 or even 3 years so that you can dump them for a “Gen 2″ battery that will be half the cost.

    Answer: A “leasing company” that manufactures the Gen II batteries and already has a ready market for the used Gen 1 batteries.

    Nissan battery sale plan set to cut electric car costs
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e28b7f36-bdd9-11de-9f6a-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss&nclick_check=1

    Nissan, NEC to jointly manufacture lithium-ion batteries
    http://www.automotive-business-review.com/news/nissan_nec_to_jointly_manufacture_lithium_ion_batteries_311208

    /I’d actually be a little surprised if Nissan would let you out of the lease at 2 or 3 years without a penalty. But there is a possibility …. they’re working the battery thing from all directions. I could see them saying, “ok you can get out of the lease at 36 mos without penalty as long as you sign up for a new lease on our gen II batteries. Keep in mind you’re getting 30% more range out of the gen II batteries for only another $15 per month.”


  150. 150
    Luke

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Luke
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (6:16 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: Off topic.I have a question about regenerative braking.Example:
    Mount Washington in New Hampshire is almost 100% braking on the way down.Does regenerative braking mean braking only, or does it also mean it regenerates by the wheels rolling.On the way down Mount Washington, it would be perfect for the Volt to capture electricity from the spinning tires.When I was a kid, I had a light on my bike.It didn’t have batteries.It got all its energy from a generator resting on the front tire.So I’m thinking the same thing could apply here, but only in certain situations.  

    Rashiid, you’re an engineer and already know the answer! Doing anything else would be throwing away energy — and would cause unnecessary wear on the brakes. Also, this is exactly how works on my Prius — within the constraints of how its somewhat smaller battery, anyway, and also within the constraints of not having a way to plug it in. Anything other than charging the battery when the driver asks slow down would be wasteful, and it works well in a real car that I drive regularly.

    But as you know, you can’t get free energy from going down a hill, unless you have an empty battery, and someone else carries the car to the top of the hill for you. If you drove to the top of the hill, you only recover a fraction of the energy you used to get up the hill on the way down.

    I guess your real question is “did they do the regenerative braking thing right, or are they going to keep that battery religiously around the 30% mark in charge-sustaining mode?” I’m just some guy on the Internet, but my unsolicited answer is that “doing it wrong would be dumb, and doing dumb things doesn’t seem to be part of the project spec for this vehicle”.

    :-)

    P.S. The only case where it would make sense to throw away energy is if the battery can’t take a bunch of little charge,discharge mini-cycles. But if a battery can’t take that, I’d argue it is not be suited to an automotive application.


  151. 151
    Dan Petit

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (6:34 pm)

    I might WAG that the gen2 volt might be about ten percent less overall.
    $36,000, with a 15% down payment might run a note for around $650 a month. Then, subtracting what I’d estimate as the gas savings (WAG) of $175 might get your monthly transportation expense net cost down to $475. (But wait! There’s more!)
    But if you are spending lots more (than the electric range for gas), distance-wise with the Volt, you could conceivably
    **********************
    double dip
    *********************
    if you can recharge at 240 volts at your work as well, (because you are a valuable employee, and, your boss is intrigued with your Volt enough to order a 120/240 plug installed for you!! (Possibly a measure.)) (Because she/he wants one too!!! And, you had better keep working dilligently there so she/he can keep studying your Volt!!!);
    Thus, saving maybe even another 85 bucks (for “double daily charge dipping” during the payment term and beyond), may have your Volt transportation monthly net cost “conveniently(heh)” under $400 bucks a month.

    Another brilliant reason why GM wants those charging stations efficiently populated out there. Really smart of GM, wouldn’t you say? (Did you agree with my last post about why GM wants those charging stations out there? (If not, then more great reasons will come to light as Lyle’s topics direct)).


  152. 152
    Nelson

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (6:48 pm)

    I’d like to know whose bright idea was it to release the Volt in the State closest to Bankruptcy. I don’t think CA has much money to spend on improving its electric infrastructure.

    NPNS!


  153. 153
    Dan Petit

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (6:58 pm)

    It’s not the State of California that does this primarily, it’s the private corporations who want to retain valuable employees who are also smart enough (and lucky enough) to get a Volt.

    It doesn’t cost a lot to put in a 120 volt outlet.

    Your employer would pay much more to put in a 240 volt outlet, then, that might be a positive signal, it would seem to me, that your service is valualbe (if the cost of installation of 240 volts isn’t cost prohibitive).

    But a 120 volt GFCI outlet is not a big cost.

    Doing that thousands of times in hundreds of locations spread over the budgets of hundreds of companies is not a significant cost at all. This is what GM was suggesting regarding “infrastructure”, it seems to me.


  154. 154
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:02 pm)

    Nelson: I’d like to know whose bright idea was it to release the Volt in the State closest to Bankruptcy. I don’t think CA has much money to spend on improving its electric infrastructure.

    My SWAG is because there is already charge infrastructure put in place that Tesla put in and some other charge stations of sort.
    Other than that, your’re right, we’re a brokeazz state. But is the “State of Kahl-ee-forn-eeia” gonna be the ones buying the Volt?


  155. 155
    carcus1

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:07 pm)

    OT,

    My favorite concept from the LA auto show so far:

    - Lightweight (1530 lbs, light steel, aluminum, carbon fiber)
    - Diesel tdi
    - 7 speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox
    - 4 seats
    - hybrid
    - pretty good looking

    This one’s got it all (except a plug, but when you’re beating 96 mpg combined, you have to start wondering if it needs a plug):

    VW Up Lite
    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31166_7-10408071-271.html


  156. 156
    Dan Petit

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:12 pm)

    carcus1: OT,My favorite concept from the LA auto show so far:-Lightweight (1530 lbs, lt steel, aluminum, carbon fiber)
    -Diesel tdi
    -7 speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox
    -4 seats
    -hybrid
    -pretty good lookingThis one’s got it all (except a plug, but when you’re beating 70 mpg, you have to start wondering if it needs aplug):VW Up Lite
    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31166_7-10408071-271.html  

    You did write VW (text test). Well, from the servicing needs of them, you had just better get the longest and best extended warranty they sell. Then, 18 months and/OR 15,000 miles before it expires (WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST),

    *****************************************
    *****GET RID OF IT FAST!!!******
    *****************************************


  157. 157
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:16 pm)

    Herm: You need an active suspension that lowers your car when you are on the hwy at speed.. but then you run into a dead cat, not good!

    Forget the cat, look out for the deer! My wife was close behind a semi last year. It went right over the top of the deer but she wasn’t quite so lucky. No real damage but the garage was plenty smelly for a week or so.


  158. 158
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:23 pm)

    DonC: . . . .but the garage was plenty smelly for a week or so.  

    Oh, deer, what’s that odor?!

    Yes.


  159. 159
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:23 pm)

    carcus1: This one’s got it all (except a plug, but when you’re beating 96 mpg combined, you have to start wondering if it needs a plug):

    Not surprising given #87 above, this was a very interesting vehicle. Hopefully more manufacturers will go in this direction. But I think the combined mpg was quoted as 70.


  160. 160
    carcus1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus1
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    DonC: But I think the combined mpg was quoted as 70.  

    96 mpg combined (US), 70 mpg hwy, . Looks like the ABG numbers are incorrect.

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/12/uplite-20091202.html

    p.s. did you make the show? (keep thinking I wanna go to one of these things)


  161. 161
    Dan Petit

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:27 pm)

    DonC:
    Forget the cat, look out for the deer! My wife was close behind a semi last year. It went right over the top of the deer but she wasn’t quite so lucky. No real damage but the garage was plenty smelly for a week or so.  

    Hey DonC.
    I always use preventive driving: Never follow any truck, the large tire tread channels can fling large rocks at your windsheild. And, you can’t see that mile down the rural road in front of you. Let someone cut in in front of you so that their impatience provides you your sheild.

    Don’t drive slower than the speed limit (if conditions permit) if there is a truck coming up from behind you. It can throw a rock at your Volt. If a truck passes you on a road that is not a clean interstate, then slow down for about thirty seconds for needed distance or, so that someone else comes up in front of you for them to be the sheild for your Volt (for rocks).

    This is not being unkind, it is just that older car/light truck drivers may not be as concerned about road hazards because there is nothing really special about them to their owners as much as your Volt would be important to you.


  162. 162
    joe

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:38 pm)

    Guy Incognito: To quote Bob Lutz, from the third paragraph:
    “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”Bob-
    If GM is indeed switching its focus to electrically driven vehicles, why are we not seeing this in the popular media?
    When will we see, in GM’s advertising, mention of this change of focus from internal combustion driven vehicles to electric?Reason why I’m asking this Bob is because the is 361 days from launch, and all the GM advertising I’m seeing still consists of ads for trucks, SUV’s, and of course the Camaro.Bob, when will GM’s new focus on electric driven vehicles begin to manifest itself in GM’s advertising?  

    Wait till the Volt is on the market first. It does not make sense to go hog wash with ads before the car is sold.


  163. 163
    Dan Petit

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (7:41 pm)

    joe:
    Wait till the Volt is on the market first. It does not make sense to go hog wash with ads before the car is sold.  

    I doubt the Volt will need any advertising at all for the first three years. But it really would be nice to see Volt ads on PBS.


  164. 164
    Dave K.

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:01 pm)

    Dan Petit: I doubt the Volt will need any advertising at all for the first three years.

    The Volt will not need advertising until we see 60,000 units per year production. And even then all that is needed is, “The Volt, in stock at your local Chevy dealer”. Volt sales are about word of mouth and price after the tax credit. The product will sell itself.

    =D~


  165. 165
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:02 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: My SWAG is because there is already charge infrastructure put in place that Tesla put in and some other charge stations of sort.

    #154

    I think that there are some public charging stations dating all the way back to the EV1/Rav4 days. I believe that they are going to be uprated to current plug standards as part of this project.


  166. 166
    Roy

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:09 pm)

    I only read about the first 40 posts, but I strongly disagree with the general sentiment that this is good news.

    THIS IS BAD NEWS!!!

    There is no excuse for such small numbers. The more they make the quicker the investment will be paid off and the quicker volume production will bring down the cost of batteries and all those other specialized electric parts like electric power steering.

    GM spent 1 Billion $ on the EV1, and then crushed them because they were more interested in supporting the oil companies than making cars!! I know this sounds like nonsense, and I hope and prayed that that only applied to the old GM. The old GM was largely owned by the same stockholders that owned most of the oil companies. From their point of view, cars were a means to sell gas.

    Now we get this announcement and it looks like the Volt is just greenwashing, what they really want is to continue selling as many gas guzzelers as possible for as long as possible. This painfully slow entry into the electric market will guarantee that they will be a small player in 5 years, and will eventually fail alltogether as people are forced to go to other companies to buy EVs.


  167. 167
    EVNow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    EVNow
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (8:26 pm)

    old man: OTRegarding the Leaf and leasing the battery. I have trouble coming up with a reason that would intise a finance company to front $18 to $22 thousand for a battery and then lease it to me with an easy out. One way or another that battery has to be paid for and at a profit for the leasing company.At the end of the day I think the Leaf monthly payments will be close if not higher than the Volt.  (Quote)

    Leaf battery costs about $10K. Since they manufacture the battery themselfs (with NEC) they have said it costs less than $500 / kwh for them.


  168. 168
    Tom M. S.A. Tx.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom M. S.A. Tx.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:18 pm)

    Geronimo 129
    I am speaking about the Honda Civic GX NGV, which sells for $25,340. This auto can be refuled at home with a unit by Phill out of Canada. The range is 300 miles on a full tank.
    This is one way of doing away with gasoline for in town commuters.
    God Bless America,
    Tom


  169. 169
    LRGVProVolt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LRGVProVolt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (9:52 pm)

    #56
    Jim I: It sounds like “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” to me.I understand the production being low for the first year.But after that, if there are no problems, then why limit production to 60K units, especially if there is customer demand?And this would be easy to gauge, if GM would do test demo drives around the country and then take deposits for new orders.If there is no real production, then how can there be any real sales?IMHO, GM has to decide if this is really the direction they want the company to take, and then move forward, full speed ahead.I certainly hope this is not just designed to be a niche product to get a green halo.The words say “GM is moving from a company that, for 100 years, has been based on mechanically driven automobiles, to one that will eventually be focused on electrically driven vehicles,” he said. “This is a big deal.”So why is full production only 50K-60K units per year?They can build 20K Cobalts per month at Lordstown.Something doesn’t add up….With productuion numbers like this, I guess I will have to wait for Gen-2 or some other manufacturer before anything is available in Ohio.I do not see this as really good news for us at gm-volt.com, at least for the next few years…..  

    It may have something to do with the battery pack plant being able to output only 70,000 packs per year. In order to up the production they will need to build another plant or increase production lines at the current plant. They need to pay off the TARP loans, and see where they can afford to expand before they can commit to higher production of the Volt. That’s not to say they won’t be able to expand. Seems IMHO that they are just being conservative in their statements. It’s better to understate a best case target than guess that everything will enable them to state a higher production latter when the current finances don’t support it.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  170. 170
    Dave K.

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:04 pm)

    Roy: looks like the Volt is just greenwashing

    Let’s look at the facts. Through the 6 month period where GM may have been splintered and bought up by foreign concerns the Volt budget remained in tact. GM has some of their best people working on the development of the Volt. Dozens of IVER cars are being tested 24/7. GM finally has a battery with a sophisticated environment control system. GM also has an oil cooled electric motor which has survived the Death Valley and Pike’s Peak tests. The top Volt engineer states that the vehicle is 65% production ready as of November 2009. Edmunds and other external test bodies have been given access to the development car with solid reviews and no reports of glaring deficiencies. Journalists have reported a very pleasant driving experience with a comfortable and roomy cabin. The Volt is being described as spry, road holding, quiet and smooth. Sport mode is being described as peppy and fun.

    People who wait for the gen 2 Volt will be getting something very special to drive. I give it a 90% chance that a Voltec truck (cross over) will be included in the release of gen 2.

    On the other hand GM could have easily said that the technology isn’t ready. Or that the battery needs work. Or given a number of other excuses if they wanted to artificially delay the progress toward all time electric drive.

    I trust Bob Lutz and will wait to test drive an electric product from GM before looking at competitors offerings. The effort put forth by the Volt team deserves this pledge.

    =D~


  171. 171
    Dave G

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:11 pm)

    DonC: I’d say the big picture is that vehicles need to be lighter and more aerodynamic. VW showed the Up!Light at the LA Auto Show. http://green.autoblog.com/2009/12/02/volkswagen-up-lite-concept-at-2009-la-auto-show/ It’s a conventional vehicle except it gets 80 MPG rather than the 30 MPG it might get if built using standard materials.
    The focus on energy sources is fine but, as the Rocky Mountain Institute was saying a decade ago…

    If we’re talking about the big picture, we have to start with a clear goal.

    For me, the goal is to stop importing foreign oil. This is something everyone can get behind. It’s a national security issue. It’s an economic issue. It will help stop terrorists. And environmentalists realize that converting away from oil allows the possibility of zero emission sustainable fuel sources. So this goal has the best chance of success politically, since there is a broad base of support.

    Let’s suppose that a lot of people’s dream came true and all passenger vehicles were magically converted to EVs. Since this solution doesn’t work for big trucks, ships, or planes, we would only eliminate 44% of our oil consumption, leaving 22% of consumption from foreign oil.

    So if we want to stop importing oil, we need to have a broad range of solutions, including:
    • electric drive cars
    • ethanol from non-food sources
    • bio-diesel from algae
    • more domestic oil production
    • conservation


  172. 172
    LRGVProVolt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LRGVProVolt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:22 pm)

    #59

    tom:
    In #18 post I mention CNG in trucks.I would be interested to know more why it isn’t practical.There are currently buses and other large vehicles that use CNG.What are the drawback of replacing some of the demand for diesel with CNG?Is the range between fillups limited, how long does it take to fill the tanks.Why couldn’t all interstates have CNG filling stations every 50 miles pretty easily?Just curious.I’m not suggesting all diesel be replaced by CNG nor would I want that.Just thought it would be practical in many areas to take a byte out of demand.Electric cars can certainly take a big byte out of imported oil as can home conversions of fuel oil.We obviously need to up our Oil production over the next 30 years while other replacements are explored.It may be too late to save our country from economic take over from China and other countries, but I keep hoping if we could get focused on not importing oil we can still divert enough money into our economy to rebuild it.  

    This is exactly what T. Boone Pickens has been lobbying over with his Army of supporters. He has gained the support of Congress and the Natural Gas Act of 2009 is under consideration.

    http://www.pickensplan.com/ngv/

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  173. 173
    LRGVProVolt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LRGVProVolt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:39 pm)

    #77

    CaptJackSparrow:
    $29,000.00 or below.
    $43,000.00 is not affordable for what they initially said was for “the masses” or “Pat Q Pubic”  

    I wonder where that $43,000 figure for the Volt came from? I heard $40,000; plus deduct the federal rebate of $7500 and in Colorado, $6,000. I guess that makes it affordable in your eyes!

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  174. 174
    Dave K.

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (10:52 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: I wonder where that $43,000 figure for the Volt came from?

    The 43k figure came from me.

    39k + tax~registration~prep~fees = 43k

    43k – $7500 = $35,500

    Changing the tax credit to an instant rebate would lower the price to $34,650.

    39k – $7500 + tax~registration~prep~fees = $34,650

    =D~


  175. 175
    Blind Guy

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Blind Guy
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:19 pm)

    Direct tax credits can be a great tool for promoteing change. Arizona drained it’s treasurey when it tried to promote cng. Hugh loop holes were in the legislation and it pretty much ruined the intent of the program. I fear alot of stimulous money will be wasted in similar ways.


  176. 176
    LRGVProVolt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LRGVProVolt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:35 pm)

    #100

    james: When the Volt is priced it will be priced at a price point that makes GM a profit on each one sold. They will sell out of the 60k a year rate at 50 thousand dollars or more. It will be a gotta have item for certain people. The new CEO is not going to give cars away at a lost, when profits can and will be made for the stockholders. A person who can afford 38 to 45k for a Volt can afford to pay 50 or 55k. A lot will pay cash for the Volt. If I wanted a Volt no one would stop me from getting one, when the Caddy version comes out it will sell out at over 55k. GM should not and will not sell Volts at a lost, when the profits are on the table.  

    Many auto manufacturer’s have a loss leader, usually a small car ( hmmm is the Volt a small car?). They sell them at a loss just to penitrate the market.The Volt won’t be an inexpensive loss leader. But GM will sell them at less profit to gain the cash flow and get the concept of EV off the ground. Nissan is talking about introducing 5000 Leaf EVs in five U.S. cities. They are receiving a lot of grant money through those cities selected at leading the way in charging infrastructure. They may also sell these initial Leaf’s at a loss. Full production from the Franklin, Tennessee plant won’t begin until 2012. The ability to sell a vehicle at a profit comes when production rates rise and together with lower costs for parts, on the same basis of proportional drop per vehicle of plant operating costs. When GM gets to the point of two productions shifts for the Volt, we will see its price drop. So GM will need sales of other vehicles to maintain profitability until the Volt demand and production levels meet each other.Until then GM will sell the Volt at a loss. They can do it because Federal and State subsidies will guarantee it. For the administration to succeed in its goal to finally end our addiction to oil, as promised by administration after administration for the last two decades, the rebates will be needed to make them affordable to buyers. Initially, they will be the more wealthy individuals such as celebs but the price will become affordable to you and I in the near future. The cost to the government for these rebates will be insignificant to the c$25 billion per month for foreign oil. That figure will be higher if and when gasoline prices top $2.50 per gallon.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  177. 177
    LRGVProVolt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LRGVProVolt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:38 pm)

    Dave K.:
    The 43k figure came from me.
    39k + tax~registration~prep~fees = 43k43k – $7500 = $35,500Changing the tax credit to an instant rebate would lower the price to $34,650.39k – $7500 + tax~registration~prep~fees = $34,650=D~  

    I think you missed deducting what subsidies the state where you live will give; of course that depends upon your state being progressive or not.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again


  178. 178
    LRGVProVolt

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    LRGVProVolt
     Says

     

    Dec 3rd, 2009 (11:52 pm)

    #175

    Blind Guy: Direct tax credits can be a great tool for promoteing change.Arizona drained it’s treasurey when it tried to promote cng.Hugh loop holes were in the legislation and it pretty much ruined the intent of the program.I fear alot of stimulous money will be wasted in similar ways.  

    IMHO, the rebates for hybrids and EVs will not be wasted as it will lower our consumption of foreign oil; $25 billion for October! Besides the rebates for EVs are a definite contributor not subject to misuse.

    It looks like Arizona moved on CNG before its time. Congress will be considering the Natural Gas Act of 2009 very soon. T. Boone Pickens has been effectively lobbying to get CNG used for our large truck fleets. CNG for large trucks and electricity for passenger vehicles is the formula for finally ending our addiction to foreign oil which administration after administration for the last two decades has promised but failed to achieve.

    WE MUST begin to use home grown fuels. The shift from petroleum to electricity and CNG will mean the growth of new industry. As we can see, GM is leading the way to this shift. Eventually, the whole industry will move away from petroleum and EV’s will be the norm.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


  179. 179
    ccombs

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ccombs
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (12:27 am)

    I agree that vehicles should be lighter, but it is difficult to see how to accomplish this on a massive scale from a purely technological standpoint. Steel is very cheap, strong, and plentiful. It is doubtful from an economic standpoint you could make large numbers of cars out aluminum or composites in the near future. People keep hyping composites (ie Rocky Mountain institute) but I think they are unworkable at this point as a common auto material due to tooling and supply issues. I work with composites in my job and imho they are not ready for widespread use in cars and there is not enough material production capacity. Fine for a few Apteras, but not for millions of vehicles. As well, they’ll only be adding more safety systems in the future, not taking them away so expect greater weight at least in the near future.

    Aerodynamics are the easier problem to solve but there will be a lot of resistance to the inevitable compromises in styling (or some people’s idea of styling- see Volt concept/production debate). Still I see this as an easy area to improve.

    I think the only real hope to save fuel apart from novel powertrains like Voltec is to convince people they don’t need such huge cars. It may be possible to get people to downsize (Crossovers are a good example). Culturally, however, it won’t be easy for Australians, Canadians, and Americans.


  180. 180
    Ken

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ken
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (1:29 am)

    It is my opinion that the Volt will be manufactured in such small numbers over too long a time that it allows Tesla. Aptera, Fisker, Nissan (Leaf), BMW (eMini) and Toyota (Prius) to gain further marketshare.

    Unfortunately GM has already laid an egg (gone bankrupt) meaning that they need to move carefully into a new market since they do not have another chance to make any more major mistakes. It is this reason that GM will indeed make a great car (Volt) but it will not be made in the numbers necessary to satisify the demand–allowing another automaker to come out ahead.

    People say “just wait” until the Volt arrives throughout the U.S….I say that this time might be too long to wait!


  181. 181
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (1:45 am)

    Dave G: For me, the goal is to stop importing foreign oil.

    More efficient vehicles are the fastest way to achieve that goal. Plus they have the beneficial effect of decreasing energy uses from all sources, which is a very positive thing.


  182. 182
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (2:48 am)

    ccombs: I agree that vehicles should be lighter, but it is difficult to see how to accomplish this on a massive scale from a purely technological standpoint. Steel is very cheap, strong, and plentiful.

    Steel can also be light weight. The steel industry is perfectly capable of producing light weight steel that would significantly reduce vehicular mass. This is not some exotic material, it’s what the steel industry was producing ten years ago. In fact the steel industry so wanted the auto companies to use light weight steel that it developed a concept car, the UltraLight Steel Auto Body. You can read about it here:

    http://www.autosteel.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=ULSAB1


  183. 183
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (7:32 am)

    DonC: Dave G: For me, the goal is to stop importing foreign oil.

    More efficient vehicles are the fastest way to achieve that goal. Plus they have the beneficial effect of decreasing energy uses from all sources, which is a very positive thing.

    I disagree. More efficient vehicles will never achieve this goal. If all cars went away tomorrow, we would not achieve this goal. Big trucks, ships, and planes are not going to get much more efficient. We need other sources of liquid fuel.


  184. 184
    Dr. Ibringdoh

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dr. Ibringdoh
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (8:00 am)

    Here’s to the Tesla Model S. :)

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Ibringdoh


  185. 185
    Guy Incognito

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Guy Incognito
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (2:23 pm)

    Wow, I was quoted 8 times…awesome.


  186. 186
    Arti Choque

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Arti Choque
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    Wow! This was a MAJOR reset! Lyle, since it is mis-programmed, Bob Lutz is GM’s Vice CHAIRMAN – a significantly greater position than VP.

    And isn’t it glorious to see the comittment to electrification GM is making. Motors, power controls and battery packs. Another hundred years for GM to achieve innovation and growth while providing thousands of new jobs.

    Good work GM!


  187. 187
    Helmut

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Helmut
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (8:17 pm)

    It’s actually built on the same platform as the Cruze, but seats 4 instead of 5 and starts around $40,000 or so instead of $18,000. Also, there’s a very real chance that the Volt will get worse mileage than Cruze on the highway in CS mode.

    This is a no brainer, GO VOLT GO GM, GO GO GO rabble rabble rabble.

    a-bit-sceptic: Planning to sell 50.000 – 60.000 Volts per year?
    The price for the car is about 40.000 USD. For what? A Chevrolet Cruze sized car?
    That could become harder than one might think.
    I am going to watch the Volt closely after it is released, but I don’t expect it to be sold very often, or to be a hellishly good deal for those who buy it, it is going to be an expensive little toy, nothing the mass-market really has waited for.
    And as it looks today, that is about the same as GM expects it to be.Good luck to gm-volt.com and the team developing the Volt
    Florian
    Germany  


  188. 188
    Tom M

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom M
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (10:11 pm)

    I bet Nissan is very happy the Volt will be in such limited numbers. This will translate into more Leaf sales for sure. GM has had plenty of time to refine and perfect the Volt. They should be making 50,000 of them next year not 8,000. How come Nissan can pump out 100,000 Leafs (or at least that is what they claim they’ll be making) in the second year of production? GM needs to go all in on this one or the’ll be bringing up the rear, again!


  189. 189
    Matthew B

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Matthew B
     Says

     

    Dec 4th, 2009 (11:50 pm)

    Dave G:
    I disagree.More efficient vehicles will never achieve this goal.If all cars went away tomorrow, we would not achieve this goal.  

    Completely eliminating personal vehicles would actually get us right up to the edge of eliminating importation all on it’s own. Add in some reductions on airplane use and we’re there.

    Big trucks, ships, and planes are not going to get much more efficient.We need other sources of liquid fuel.

    Trains are 6X more efficient than big trucks. Trucks represent about 25% of the oil use, and that number could be slashed just by going to diesel trains. Trains also have the advantage that they don’t have to run on liquid fuel because they can also be directly powered by electricity.


  190. 190
    Dave G

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Dec 5th, 2009 (7:16 am)

    Matthew B: Completely eliminating personal vehicles would actually get us right up to the edge of eliminating importation all on it’s own. Add in some reductions on airplane use and we’re there.

    I disagree.

    Oil consumption breaks down roughly as follows:
    • 44% gasoline (mostly for passenger vehicles)
    • 17% diesel (mostly for heavy duty long distance travel)
    • 5% jet fuel
    • 15% fuel oil (home heating and industrial)
    • 19% other (petro-chemical, plastics, fertilizer, etc.)

    The U.S. imports around 66% of the oil we consume.

    Gasoline fuels the vast majority of personal vehicles. I don’t have an exact figure here, but I’m sure it’s in the high 90′s percent wise. If gasoline went away tomorrow, we would still be importing around 22% of of our current oil consumption.

    So this tells me that, in addition to plug-ins and conservation, we need other solutions to completely rid ourselves of foreign oil.


  191. 191
    Eric E

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eric E
     Says

     

    Dec 5th, 2009 (1:47 pm)

    The low numbers surprise me. I assume they have other vehicles with newer technology in the works that will be released soon after the Volt.
    A $40,000 four seat car cannot dominate the market, GM knows this. I would guess they are working on a full portfolio of EVs and/or EREVs.


  192. 192
    Dan Frederiksen

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Frederiksen
     Says

     

    Dec 6th, 2009 (4:34 am)

    GM ultralite. just do it


  193. 193
    pjkPA

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjkPA
     Says

     

    Dec 6th, 2009 (6:21 pm)

    I think when enough people experience the electric driveline and the reliability and simplicity is noticed (no transmission and one moving part in the motor)… most of the ICE will go away .. when the hydrogen fuel cell gets into cars and trucks… that’s when we will say good bye to oil. I commend GM for being the ones to advance the technology the most. GM has been building deisel-electric transit buses for many years that use half the fuel as standard diesel buses.