Jan 07

GM Begins Mass Production at Volt Battery Assembly Plant Today

 


[ad#post_ad]Today the first Chevrolet Volt lithium-ion battery pack moved through the assembly line at GM’s newly developed dedicated GM Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant in Michigan.

This truly historical milestone day takes place exactly three years to the date after the Chevrolet Volt concept car was unveiled to the world, and marks the beginning of Chevrolet Volt production.

In attendance are US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre, and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

This is the first production pack to be built at what GM calls the first lithium ion battery pack manufacturing plant in the U.S. operated by a major automaker.

The site is minutes from Detroit airports where the raw lithium cells will be delivered from LG Chem’s plant in Korea.  After the packs are assembled at this facility they are then hauled to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the Volts will be assebled.  Production there is set to begin in March.  LG Chem also plans to begin building a lithium-ion cell factory in Michigan beginning later this year

GM invested $43 million in developing this battery assembly plant, at a site chosen a year ago and where construction work first began last summer.

The facility is 160,000 square feet and divided into three primary assembly areas: battery module pre-assembly, final assembly and the battery pack main line.

Each Chevrolet Volt pack contains 16-kWh of lithium-ion cells of which 8 kwh is usable.  There are 288 3.5 volt cells placed into 4 to 6 groups known as modules.  The T-shaped pack is about 6 feet long, weighs 200 kg and operates at 360V.

According to Volt director Tony Posawatz the facility “is capable of producing all requirements for VOLT vehicles and has the bandwidth to grow capacity in the future.”

It employs 100 workers though most of the assembly process is automated using robotics.

Placing this historical event on the world’s stage is yet another chapter in GM’s commitment to transparency about the Volt program that also began on that January day 3 years ago. I would like to give special thanks to GM’s Rob Peterson of Volt communications for being that architect of transparency and for his countless hours, months, and years of dedication to it. Rob has been a crucial behind-the-scenes support to my efforts here at GM-Volt.com as well.

And on this day our country takes a major leap forward into a future free from oil.

PRESS EVENT VIDEO:

VIDEO OF PACK ASSEMBLY

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 7:15 am and is filed under Battery, Production. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 253


  1. 1
    Rashiid Amul

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:27 am)

    Lots of progress on the Volt front.
    I think the non-believers have disappeared.


  2. 2
    Paul

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:30 am)

    I think you might be right Mr. Amul.. :-)
    This is getting exciting…


  3. 3
    JohnK

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:31 am)

    not much to say except YaaaaaY!


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    Dave K.

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:33 am)

    Please pass the salt.

    =D~


  5. 5
    FME III

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:39 am)

    Lyle, I believe you, too, had something today with this opening day day becoming a reality.

    If not for the passion for the Volt that you corralled on this site, GM’s brass might well have declined to go forward with the Volt once it learned how impractical it was to produce the original concept.


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    JohnK

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:40 am)

    Re: the specs: I am SO proud of GM for being so conservative about the battery. This is a BIG differentiator. Using only 50% of the useable charge, to protect the battery – it protects an investment that the customer makes in it. Including protection from much cheaper technology. With the Leaf, yes, there may be a newer, cheaper battery in 5 years, but at the end of 5 years (maybe sooner) your investment in the battery is burned through (no, leasing does NOT protect you from this). So, even if I buy a Volt with $8000 worth of battery included and want to upgrade the battery and even if there is no market for the used Volt battery IN VOLTS, at least it can be fully used as secondary storage in homes and/or power companies. I have not lost the investment (maybe devalued a little). So, I’m an early adopter. Big deal.


  7. 7
    Randy

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:43 am)

    SInce the Govt is part owner of this company they should mandate 90% + domesic content. people need to have jobs to buy a new car.


  8. 8
    nasaman

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:44 am)

    Kudos once again for your up-to-the-minute reporting, Lyle! I’ll be here at 10 AM ET to watch this momentous event take place! :)


  9. 9
    JohnK

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:44 am)

    Seems like another business opportunity. Kits to turn used Volt batteries into home backups and cost savers. Charge the batter during off hours, use the battery during the day to reduce demand from the grid during peak usage times. Also a kit to use the Volt genset as power for the house during power blackouts.


  10. 10
    CDAVIS

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:46 am)

    ______________________________________________________
    Lyle said: :”…I would like to give special thanks to GM’s Rob Peterson of Volt communications for being that architect of transparency and for his countless hours, months, and years of dedication to it. Rob has been a crucial behind-the-scenes support to my efforts here at GM-Volt.com as well…”
    ——–

    Great job Mr. Peterson…+1 for you!

    The transparency GM has provided in allowing the public to join the journey of the development of the Volt will go down in the text books as one of the key contributors to the Volt’s success. It has allowed GM to build an army of grassroots Voltec Heads (average guy enthusiasts) before the first Production Volt rolls off the assembly line; brilliant. It will serve GM well if GM continues (and expands) this style of development transparency after Zero Day (326 days from now)
    ______________________________________________________


  11. 11
    Van

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:52 am)

    What a wonderful day, the first of what we all hope will be many energy storage production facilities located right here in the USA. And soon we will have an additional large cell production facility too. Now if the cell researchers can just manage to double the energy density without diminishing shelf and cycle life, we will have the key to foreign oil independence, and it will be a Chevy! Go Volt.


  12. 12
    CDAVIS

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:07 am)

    _____________________________________________________
    Small Typo in #10 CDAVIS:

    “It will serve GM well if GM continues (and expands) this style of development transparency after Zero Day (326 days from now)”

    should read:

    It will serve GM well if GM continues (and expands) this style of development transparency BEYOND Zero Day (326 days from now).
    ______________________________________________________


  13. 13
    Schmeltz

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:19 am)

    “According to Volt director Tony Posawatz the facility is capable of building enough packs to produce 60,000 Volts per year, and has enough additional space to at least double that if demand requires.”

    I’m hoping demand requires them to expand the space ten-fold! This is great news and truly a milestone for the company and the automotive electrification movement. Outstanding!


  14. 14
    Kup

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:25 am)

    (click to show comment)


  15. 15
    zipdrive

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:30 am)

    “And on this day our country takes a major leap forward into a future free from oil.”
    ———————————————–

    Especially foreign oil!

    What a great day for the automotive world and for America!


  16. 16
    Joe

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:32 am)

    Another great automobile historical event to help wean the world of oil!!

    Keep up the great work GM!!


  17. 17
    tom

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:36 am)

    “According to Volt director Tony Posawatz the facility is capable of building enough packs to produce 60,000 Volts per year, and has enough additional space to at least double that if demand requires.”

    What I wonder is if GM just said right now that they are going to commit to 120,000 Volts per year and committed to a ramp up to that volume, then what would the cost of the vehicle be (as opposed to 60,000 per year)?


  18. 18
    Right Lane Cruiser

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    Fantastic! I’m delighted to see this achievement in our wonderful country. I sincerely hope this is a turn-around point for GM and that they pursue this new line of transportation technology for most of their market offerings in the not so distant future.


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    Loboc

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:38 am)

    All I can add is:

    Great Job Lyle! and Great Job GM!


  20. 20
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:44 am)

    tom: What I wonder is if GM just said right now that they are going to commit to 120,000 Volts per year and committed to a ramp up to that volume, then what would the cost of the vehicle be (as opposed to 60,000 per year)?

    120,000 volts at $40,000 is 4.8 billion dollars, that should give GM some cash flow Current rebate of $7500 is only for first 250,000 cars. So thats 10 billion for GM, 1.8 BILLION IN GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES. At least 5 billion and probably a lot more money that won’t go to buy foreign oil.

    Production starts today, it starts the slow ramp up. What is needed now is the lobbying along with public support to expand those government rebates.

    I am confident we are on the path, but we’ll go alot faster if the government would expand those rebates from 250,000 to a million GM EREVs and make them cash at purchase.

    That would guarantee GM couldn’t make the first million volts as fast as folks wanted to buy them, and by the time the subsidy ran out there would be better cheaper batteries.


  21. 21
    mikeinatl.

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:46 am)

    60,000 batteries a year means 5000 VOLTs per month. If evenly distributed over the 50 states that would only be 100 new VOLTs a month in each state. Blended in with the millions of other cars on the roads, this is not a lot of VOLTs.

    Although VOLTs will not be distributed evenly around the US in such a way, seeing an actual VOLT in the wild will be a rare treat indeed for some time to come.

    And if you actually own one, you and your VOLT will be celebrities wherever you happen to drive. Now that would be fun!

    Congratulations to GM for reaching this milestone and many thanks to Lyle for his tireless work in helping us witness the development. I think we should award the good Doctor a Board Certification in VOLT!

    GO VOLT!


  22. 22
    BillR

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:57 am)

    I think most of us agree that the big challenge for the Volt was not an electric drive system (EV1 and Fuel Cell Equinox already have that). It also wasn’t the development of electric AC or finding low rolling resistance tires.

    The key element in making the Volt a success was the battery pack.

    And here today we see GM starting production at a dedicated facility (not the corner of some fab shop), with robotics and a highly automated process (not a low volume manual process), taking the critical step into the Volt’s production.

    As Lutz has said, “The electrification of the automobile in inevitable!”.


  23. 23
    kdawg

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:02 am)

    I would have loved to work on the robotics for the assembly. Any more detail on this? When will the first pack roll off the line?

    (also Brownstown isn’t that close to the airport, if you are talking about DTW that is)


  24. 24
    muv66

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:03 am)

    This battery plant is a huge milestone for the electrification of the automobile. I may be a dreamer, but I’m also hoping for big announcements in other battery technologies such as EESTOR.


  25. 25
    BillR

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:06 am)

    To build upon the battery production issue, in a video interview with Bob Lutz about 1-1/2 years ago, he indicated that the typical automotive battery only has about 4 minutes of direct labor in its production. That’s how automated the battery manufacturing process is.

    We don’t have all the details, but my guess is at this time they will build the battery packs working one 8 hour shift. This is about 2000 hours per year, which equates to 30 battery packs per hour (one every 2 minutes).

    If the labor rates (with benefits) for the 100 workers average about $60 per hour, then the labor cost for the Volt’s battery pack assembly is ~ $200.


  26. 26
    Jason M. Hendler

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:08 am)

    Transparency cannot be understated in the success of the Volt development effort. Secrecy would have allowed too many individuals to subvert the process and hide their misdeeds. It’s amazing how affective daylight is at scattering the cockroaches.


  27. 27
    VOLTinME

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:19 am)

    Let’s do it!! Yahoo.


  28. 28
    EESoon

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:29 am)

    muv66: but I’m also hoping for big announcements in other battery technologies such as EESTOR

    Keep hoping for another 18 years for a big battery announcement from EESTOR.
    What happened to the hype/BS the followers of Baghead were pumping today GM was to make an announcement of purchasing EESU’s from EESCAM to power the volt. Another hype/BS that blew up in EESCAM pumpers face.

    Muhahahahahahahahahahah!


  29. 29
    BLDude

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:32 am)

    Two things came to mind reading this post:
    1. This is the first day of a production process that will be always with us going forward.
    2. If the battery factory is up and running today, then all the other suppliers of Volt parts and technology are also probably up and running somewhere in order to make the March milestone for vehicle assembly.


  30. 30
    Kurt

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:36 am)

    Great news!
    I have always been concerned with the supply of lithium for that incredible volume of packs, but I guess LG Chem knows a lot more than I do about their supply line, because nobody seems to be concerned with availability or demand cost.
    EESCAM of course is not happening, but other breakthroughs will little by little change battery chemistry/required materials/efficiencies. Good to hear these bits of news in one place! Great article.


  31. 31
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:43 am)

    Kurt: I have always been concerned with the supply of lithium for that incredible volume of packs

    100,000 ELECTRIC cars a year won’t matter much to lithium supplies, not until they are making millions of electric cars a year, then it is significant. For now Lithium is used in many millions of smaller batteries, millions of laptops, millions of cellphones, hand drills etc.

    The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we are making millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors, whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china. China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which could require redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motors from china.

    Its always something.


  32. 32
    Jackson

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:46 am)

    tom: The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we are making millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors, whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china. China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which could require redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motors from china.

    The motor used in the Volt is an AC induction type which does not require permanent magnets. The rare earths issue you mention does have ramifications for the Prius, however.


  33. 33
    RonR64

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:47 am)

    I really have to hand it to GM. When they go about trying to convince everyone that they really are going to build this Volt they are pulling out all the stops! I mean come on! An actual battery assembly plant? This has got to be the most elaborate vaporware charade ever! If I didn’t know better I would almost swear they are actually going to build this thing.

    For those who are bit slow on the up take – that was all sarcasm!


  34. 34
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:48 am)

    tom: 100,000 ELECTRIC cars a year won’t matter much to lithium supplies

    In fact, SQM the leading producer of Lithium lowered their price for Lithium a couple months ago for 2 reasons. 1) to spur Lithium battery development 2) to discourage others from getting into lithium mining at this time. They are thinking long term and they want the most market share when the demand picks up in a few years.


  35. 35
    Rashiid Amul

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:49 am)

    tom:
    120,000 volts at $40,000 is 4.8 billion dollars, that should give GM some cash flowCurrent rebate of $7500 is only for first 250,000 cars. So thats 10 billion for GM, 1.8 BILLION IN GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES.At least 5 billion and probably a lot more money that won’t go to buy foreign oil.Production starts today, it starts the slow ramp up.What is needed now is the lobbying along with public support to expand those government rebates.I am confident we are on the path, but we’ll go alot faster if the government would expand those rebates from 250,000 to a million GM EREVs and make them cash at purchase.That would guarantee GM couldn’t make the first million volts as fast as folks wanted to buy them, and by the time the subsidy ran out there would be better cheaper batteries.  

    I agree. But make the rebate only for American car purchases.
    Who is that today? GM & Ford? Let’s support America for a change.


  36. 36
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:52 am)

    Jackson: The motor used in the Volt is an AC induction type which does not require permanent magnets. The rare earths issue you mention does have ramifications for the Prius, however

    Seems like GM is thinking ahead already then. All these components can be tweaked and improved as we go. The point I guess is today is day 1 of production. And from here on over the next 100 years it will always be a continual process of improvements, just like the last 100 years with the ICE cars.

    The only thing is the rate of improvements which will be tied to production volumes. Thats why my first post stated my focus now is on the government rebates. I would like to see that sweetened to guarantee the faster ramping up. Huge difference between GM making 60,000 a year versus 120,000, or 200,000 a year. Thats why I’d like to see the credit extended to first million EREVs from GM.


  37. 37
    Loboc

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:55 am)

    tom: whose magnets use rare earth elements

    AC motors use magnets? I thought that was only DC motors.

    Either way, rare earth elements are not rare in the US. We just stopped mining them because of demand.

    The same thing with lithium. There was no demand, so, nobody was looking for it. Now that there is some demand, we shall see what the mining companies do. Lithium can also be extracted from sea water if no other sources are found. Plus, every gram of lithium built into a battery is fully recyclable.


  38. 38
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:55 am)

    Rashiid Amul: I agree. But make the rebate only for American car purchases.
    Who is that today? GM & Ford? Let’s support America for a change.

    Of course all us americans agree with this. But in reality if the car is built in America we probably shouldn’t deter innovation. The Leaf will be built in Tennessee so I’m ok with credits for that car. Remember if americans build it, and it doesn’t use foreign gas, we all win.


  39. 39
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:58 am)

    Loboc: Either way, rare earth elements are not rare in the US. We just stopped mining them because of demand.

    I agree, I’m not worried about EV/EREVs failing because of lack of supply of elements. Innovation and demand will take care of that.
    Of course oil is at $83 a barrel and heading exponentially higher in a few years and we aren’t ‘mining’ oil in Alaska and the Gulf like we should so maybe I shouldn’t be so confident.


  40. 40
    CorvetteGuy

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:58 am)

    Attention Trolls:

    Please move from the ‘Denial Stage’ to the ‘Acceptance Stage’.

    Thank you.


  41. 41
    CorvetteGuy

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    mikeinatl.: 60,000 batteries a year means 5000 VOLTs per month. If evenly distributed over the 50 states that would only be 100 new VOLTs a month in each state. Blended in with the millions of other cars on the roads, this is not a lot of VOLTs.

    I would be happy to sell you guys 100 VOLTs per month. :)


  42. 42
    Tim Hart

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    Truly fantastic! What’s so impressive is GM’s ability to stick to the timetable they talked about from the very beginning. For us super EV enthusiasts, it is going to be tough to keep our shirts on for the rest of the year as it gets closer to launch date! Thanks again Lyle for your groundbreaking efforts.


  43. 43
    Jackson

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:02 am)

    All I’ve got so far is “buffering.” Has anyone else got a working feed?

    EDIT: I can’t find gmvoltage.com. Did they take it down? Take a look at what might have replaced it:

    http://www.chevrolet.com/pages/open/default/future/volt.do?seo=ysm_|_2009_Chevy_Awareness_|_IMG_Chevy_Volt_Phase_2_Branded_|_GM_Voltage_|_voltage_gm


  44. 44
    Kevin R

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:04 am)

    All I know is that I want to buy one. I’ve been lecturing about this vehicle and the technological advances to my students since spring 2007. I would dearly love to be able to show them this car when it goes on sale but I’m sure it won’t be available in mid-Michigan until sometime in 2011.


  45. 45
    SteveK9

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:06 am)

    tom:
    100,000 ELECTRIC cars a year won’t matter much to lithium supplies, not until they are making millions of electric cars a year, then it is significant.For now Lithium is usedin many millions of smaller batteries, millions of laptops, millions of cellphones, hand drills etc.The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we are making millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors, whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china. China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which could require redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motors from china.
    Its always something.  

    This is a generic comment, so no data, but can you name a mineral resource that we have run out of? We may actually be getting there on oil, but that is it. Humans have been pretty good at finding what they need in the Earth’s crust. I would not worry about Li or rare earths. When prices go up, people look harder, and they find stuff, or improve methods of extraction or both.


  46. 46
    BillR

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:07 am)

    Kurt:
    Great news!I have always been concerned with the supply of lithium for thatincredible volume of packs, but I guess LG Chem knows a lot more than Ido about their supply line, because nobody seems to be concerned withavailability or demand cost..  

    From GM document “Battery 102″ on its Volt site:

    …14-30 million tons of lithium reserves exist on the planet as brine,
    ore, or clay, according to FMC Lithium,Western Lithium, Orocobre,
    Keith Evans, geologist. That is estimated to be enough for billions of
    hybrid and electric vehicles, based on a 16 kWh battery pack. There is an estimated 4 pounds/2 kilograms of lithiumin each Volt pack.


  47. 47
    Rob

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:08 am)

    As a Michigander I’m proud that not only the Volt but its power pack will be assembled in the Peninsula State. We’ve taken hard knocks for poor decisions on the part of the Big Three in recent decades but hopefully there will be a brighter future for many of our citizens.


  48. 48
    Jackson

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:09 am)

    Still nothing. Is anyone able to watch the feed?


  49. 49
    Gwido

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:10 am)

    Jackson: Still nothing.Is anyone able to watch the feed?  

    Nothing yet


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    Bill

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:11 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Attention Trolls:Please move from the ‘Denial Stage’ to the ‘Acceptance Stage’.Thank you.  

    I would add to that: “Resistance is futile”


  51. 51
    tom

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:13 am)

    Rob: As a Michigander I’m proud that not only the Volt but its power pack will be assembled in the Peninsula State

    I’m from Ohio, and Michigan is the enemy. But I would be thrilled in a few years to see over a million EREVs (of different models) a year roll out of Michigan Assembly plants.

    I also think in addition to different models, and even with battery improvements, the magic number of 40 needs some variations to fit with different folks needs.

    A 15 miles variation to wipe out the plug in prius competition.
    A 40 miles would still be the most common.
    A 60 mile for folks that regularly drive that much but don’t have the ability to charge during the day (or just want to charge at night with cheaper rates).


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:15 am)

    Tim Hart: Truly fantastic! What’s so impressive is GM’s ability to stick to the timetable they talked about from the very beginning.

    Agreed. This was described as a moon shot with little room for slippage right from the start. Then the economy tanked, GM went bankrupt, and there have been all sorts of turmoil but the Volt is still going.

    Great Job GM !!!!


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    nuclearboy

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:17 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Please move from the ‘Denial Stage’ to the ‘Acceptance Stage’.

    This still could all be an elaborate scheme to get more money from the Govt.

    Not.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:21 am)

    Whitacre’s comments just ended. Battery recycling and motor suppliers were mentioned.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:22 am)

    By the year 2020, there could be 40,000 jobs created in Michigan by the battery supply chain alone.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:23 am)

    tom: The only thing is the rate of improvements which will be tied to production volumes. Thats why my first post stated my focus now is on the government rebates. I would like to see that sweetened to guarantee the faster ramping up. Huge difference between GM making 60,000 a year versus 120,000, or 200,000 a year. Thats why I’d like to see the credit extended to first million EREVs from GM.

    I totally agree with you, Tom. Instead of making it a tax credit, it should be a cash incentive and I think it should be more than $7,500; it should be around $15,000, IMO. That would bring the Volt into the mid-$25K range (assuming GM still wants to have a $40K MSRP, though we still don’t know).

    But we have to be careful with government incentives. I heard that during the cash-for-clunkers incentives, the dealers jacked up the prices of the cars because they figured that they were going to sell them anyway, so why not charge more and make more money? The dealers cannot be allowed to price gouge the Volt.

    But GM needs to be encouraged to ramp up production as quickly as possible, so they can get the Volt to as many people as they can.

    The Volt has the potential to be a “million-a-year-hot-seller” at the minimum, but the price has to be right and the volumes have to be high. High volumes will lower the cost and price and create more jobs in this country.

    I would love to see the Detroit/Hamtramck plant operating 24/7 with Chevy Volt’s literally flying off the assembly lines.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:25 am)

    Secretary Chu: “This is truly a great day.”


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    DonC

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:32 am)

    There should be a +1 for all the optimists today!

    Still looking for Tag but in his absence CorvetteGuy gave me a great laugh. Special +1 for his wit at #40.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:38 am)

    William: it should be a cash incentive and I think it should be more than $7,500; it should be around $15,000, IMO.

    I agree with cash at time of purchase, but I think $7500 is plenty to make the car pay for itself with all of the enegry savings. Remember the first several hundred thousand sales will be driven by true believers that would buy it anyway, and after that the price will be lowered so everyone can afford.

    Also the $7500 is easily demonstrable to pay for itself by creating jobs, and keeping oil money from leaving the country. It is harder to justify $15000 credit based on a 10 year payback.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:42 am)

    tom: Also the $7500 is easily demonstrable to pay for itself by creating jobs, and keeping oil money from leaving the country. It is harder to justify $15000 credit based on a 10 year payback.

    True. The reason I suggested $15K was because I was thinking about what the Ontario, Canada provincial government is doing for the Volt ($10K cash incentive), so I just thought of $15K because I was thinking it might make it more competitive.

    But you’re right. If it’s a 10 year payback, $7.5K is plenty. I just hope GM initially prices it far lower than the $40K that has been suggested by the media.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:42 am)

    Loboc: AC motors use magnets? I thought that was only DC motors.
    Either way, rare earth elements are not rare in the US. We just stopped mining them because of demand.
    The same thing with lithium. There was no demand, so, nobody was looking for it. Now that there is some demand, we shall see what the mining companies do. Lithium can also be extracted from sea water if no other sources are found. Plus, every gram of lithium built into a battery is fully recyclable.  

    The Volt’s motor does not use rare earth materials.. the generator may use them but we dont have any details on it..


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:45 am)

    This battery pack is the HEART of the VOLT.

    And one might say, the HEART is now BEATING! Congratulations to all involved!

    PS. I **love** that photo with the smart carts. May they become the busiest little buggies on Earth!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:46 am)

    CorvetteGuy: I would be happy to sell you guys 100 VOLTs per month.   (Quote)

    Where is your dealership located? Mike and I are both in Atlanta.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:48 am)

    Whitacre: “….we think (voltec) will quickly become a major part of GM”


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:51 am)

    Whitacre: “….(Voltec) can work in ANY vehicle”


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:52 am)

    I’m disappointed.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:52 am)

    At 10:48am EST or so, I think it was Governor Granholm (? … not sure of the voice, but it was a woman) was repeating the 230MPG mantra again.

    I wish people would stop harping on that. If anything, that should never be spoken without the proviso “YMMV-SMTYBE” … short of course, for “Your mileage may vary – so much that your brain explodes.” Not everybody will be able to charge regularly enough to get that ridiculous, and truthfully, rather pointless number.

    At least break the numbers down, as so many smart people have suggested, into CSM MPG and AER on a charge. At the very least, this is a -lot- more easily verified by a Volt owner.

    Sorry folks, I guess I’m in crabby-old-man mode this morning. I just don’t want people to be (inevitably?) disappointed.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:54 am)

    Following the short Q & A session, a woman’s off-camera voice could be heard just before the sound was turned off:

    “We really shouldn’t be live!”


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:56 am)

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:56 am)

    Did Ed Whitacre say that the pay caps have been a Godsend because it’s sped up the executive shakeup process so that they could reach down and get younger people in there? Pretty funny.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:57 am)

    nasaman: Whitacre: “….(Voltec) can work in ANY vehicle”  (Quote)

    He also said, “We’ll see. This is a better question for a few months from now.” He was getting grilled pretty good, towards the end.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:58 am)

    I like the automated carts, They look complex in nature.

    It’s a great day to see these things come tougher. I assume the draws are for tools?

    I think GM needs to really push this education to the customer because a lot just don’t understand it and again I still think GM need to make just a few special volts without engines or special orders just so people get the idea this is really a true electric vehicle.

    The press is always annoying!! Asking stupid questions and I really think the higher GM EXC need to take some sales classes. It’s time the people know how to handle the press and make the press a tool, to take an attack from the press and turn it around to use them for the advantage.

    ED W seemed a bit dry and unexcited in his responses. We need some good sales guys in the front leading this release!!

    Overall I am excited but we need more excitement from the top guys!!


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:59 am)

    Jackson: Following the short Q & A session, a woman’s off-camera voice could be heard just before the sound was turned off:“We really shouldn’t be live!”  

    I wonder why. Big secrets afoot? Gotta scratch her butt? What?


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:00 am)

    Jackson:

    tom:The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we aremaking millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors,whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china.China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which couldrequire redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motorsfrom china.

    The motor used in the Volt is an AC induction type which does not require permanent magnets.The rare earths issue you mention does have ramifications for the Prius, however.  

    Jackson,

    Do you have a source that states GM will use an induction motor in lieu of a PM motor?


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:02 am)

    Thanks for that link, Mike-o-matic. Jim Campbell up, now.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:04 am)

    BillR:
    Jackson,Do you have a source that states GM will use an induction motor in lieu of a PM motor?  (Quote)

    It was revealed here fairly early on, from sources at GM:

    http://gm-volt.com/2007/09/14/clarification-chevy-volt-electric-motor-is-ac/

    Consider that a motor powerful enough to address all driving needs would require a prohibitively large quantity of magnetic material (both in terms of cost, and weight).


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    Jim in PA

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:08 am)

    tom: The Leaf will be built in Tennessee so I’m ok with credits for that car. Remember if americans build it, and it doesn’t use foreign gas, we all win.

    I have to admit, that’s a dicey issue for me. American’s tend to romanticize the blue collar worker, but what about the engineers and other white collar workers that design, fund, and market the vehicles? Which is more American…. an American assembled Nissan LEAF or a Mexican assembled Ford Fusion hybrid?

    Actually it’s a trick question; the answer for me is any car that is both designed and built in the US. That would mean a Volt or (in the future) an electric Focus or the like.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:08 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Attention Trolls:Please move from the ‘Denial Stage’ to the ‘Acceptance Stage’.Thank you.  

    +1 for the advisory, but truth be told, I’m eagerly looking forward to the “please move to he ‘Holy Cow!’ stage” notice that should be offered when they hit 100,000 Volts per year sold.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:08 am)

    I am sure GM had a memo no live events because of the last mess with the dancers. Which I may ad were for the kids of the autoshow not adults.

    Even known not related, I can understand their new policy that every little comment recorded can be taken out of context by the mongers!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:09 am)

    Nasaman, I agree so much with this statement. It really sounds like Whiteacre gets Peak Oil. Voltec will rock. IMHO

    For all those who worry about Li supply, think about this. Each and every year we (the planet) consume about 1 cubic mile of oil. We have drilling rigs that can go down 5+ miles to produce the stuff. Check out ONE 5 Billion dollar rig. http://www.oilrig-photos.com/picture/number94.asp

    Lithium is mined on the surface for cents in the dollar.
    Lithium is recyclable. And, its the 12th most common element in the world.
    It really is a non issue Kurt et al.

    nasaman: Whitacre: “….we think (voltec) will quickly become a major part of GM”  


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:09 am)

    Jackson: Thanks for that link, Mike-o-matic. Jim Campbell up, now.  (Quote)

    And now, Tony Posawatz


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:09 am)

    Mike-o-Matic: FYI – Jon Lauckner on live now, here:http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives/2010/01/live_webcast_milestone_technology_event_for_chevrolet_volt.html

      Alert! Tony Posawatz is coming on now.

    EDIT: Jackson: Uh, yeah, what you said!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:11 am)

    My wife wants us to bid on and move to a new house that uses FUEL OIL. It does have 220 already in the garage however. And landenough for a wind turbine.

    If we were to get this house I’d be able to switch it from oil to electric, put in a wind turbine and buy 2 EREVs.

    So I could be displacing over 3,000 gallons of gas/fuel oil a year.


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    Lyle

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:16 am)

    Added Autoline Interview and Chat Box for questions at end of post.


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    Bud

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:16 am)

    All this sounds great but I just read that Congress passed legislation halting the closure of GM dealerships that supposedly would have put GM on sound financial footing. Apparently politicians want GM to take another look at these dealers that make GM unprofitable. This is what I pretty much expected from a government bailout, Congress trying to manage the company with the goal of getting them re-elected. GM will never be profitable and will never get off the government dole. This will mean a money losing mediocre company that I won’t want to buy a car from. I love the Volt and the concept but take me off the list.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:18 am)

    Mike-o-Matic: Mike-o-Matic: FYI – Jon Lauckner on live now, here:http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives/2010/01/live_webcast_milestone_technology_event_for_chevrolet_volt.html
    Alert! Tony Posawatz is coming on now.
    EDIT: Jackson: Uh, yeah, what you said!

    I really think that John McElroy (the reporter on this stream) must read this site; he seems precisely focussed on the key issues (with Posawatz, at least).

    EDIT: GM has confirmed that they’re going to do the Cadillac Converj!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:23 am)

    Mike-o-Matic:   Alert! Tony Posawatz is coming on now.EDIT: Jackson: Uh, yeah, what you said!  (Quote)

    Denise Gray (battery pack engineer) up now. Wow, that Posawatz interview was great stuff.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:24 am)

    tom: What is needed now is the lobbying along with public support to expand those government rebates.

    #20

    Amen. +1


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:24 am)

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:27 am)

    Jim in PA: Actually it’s a trick question; the answer for me is any car that is both designed and built in the US. That would mean a Volt or (in the future) an electric Focus or the like

    I agree, but also there are only 2 american car companies, and I don’t want to stifle innovation. As I said, with the leaf it is stil win/win, as it will be built by Americans and save Americans importing oil.

    With GM it is win/win/win as we also have the white collar engineers and upper managment as you say. But that brings up another problem, even American companies are outsourcing to offshore much of their IT, engineering etc., we are losing jobs every which way.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:28 am)

    Rashiid Amul: I agree. But make the rebate only for American car purchases.
    Who is that today? GM & Ford? Let’s support America for a change.

    Amen to that too. +1


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:29 am)

    YEEEEHAWWWW!!!!!

    DETROIT (Dow Jones)–General Motors Co.’s long-awaited Chevrolet Volt may cost less than the expected $40,000 price tag, a company executive said Thursday.

    The company, looking to make a big splash with it’s first mass-market, battery-powered car, expects to launch the vehicle later this year.

    Critics have said the Volt’s anticipated cost, higher than other cars in the segment, would be a barrier to making the Volt a mainstream hit, even factoring in federal incentives help lower the cost of green vehicles.

    Jon Lauckner, GM’s head of global program management, said the Volt’s price could be notably lower than the anticipated $40,000. “We have until this summer to figure that out,” he said, speaking at a ceremony to mark the start of Volt battery production.

    As GM finalizes plans to launch the Volt, the company’s board is weighing an earlier, albeit limited, launch to win bragging rights over rivals also racing to sell electric vehicles, according to people familiar with the discussions.

    The Nissan LEAF electric vehicle is set to launch late this year. The Volt initially was expected to come out late this fall, but the first cars could be on the road by late summer or early fall, these people said. An early launch would involve few vehicles and would likely be on a lease basis or involve a corporate fleet.

    The Volt is powered by a lithium-ion battery, and also has a small gasoline motor on board to extend the vehicle’s range for longer trips.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:34 am)

    Jackson: By the year 2020, there could be 40,000 jobs created in Michigan by the battery supply chain alone.  

    The thing is, once GM gets comfortable with the battery pack assembly, they will no doubt start thinking of moving pack production off shore and closing this new plant. A large component of this plant’s location in Michigan is political as well as logistics. Unless there is significant political pressure maintained, those 40,000 new jobs could easily be created in Mexico, or Canada, or Korea, or China, or Brazil, or…


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:35 am)

    #31

    tom:
    100,000 ELECTRIC cars a year won’t matter much to lithium supplies, not until they are making millions of electric cars a year, then it is significant.For now Lithium is usedin many millions of smaller batteries, millions of laptops, millions of cellphones, hand drills etc.The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we are making millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors, whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china. China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which could require redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motors from china.
    Its always something.  

    Raser Technologies and GM teamed up to electrify a Hummer using Raser Technologies 200 kW Symetron Enhanced AC induction motor. Electric motors have been about 86% efficient but the Japanese have developed AC induction motors that are 92% – 96% efficient.

    If China does hord its neodymium, then we will have to go to induction motors. They will just force our country to redevelop our own manufacturing to a great degree which is what we should be doing anyways.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:35 am)

    The news just keeps getting better!

    Way to go, GM. Good job staying on track, while so many are throwing stones at you.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:39 am)

    Rob: . We’ve taken hard knocks for poor decisions on the part of the Big Three in recent decades but hopefully there will be a brighter future for many of our citizens.  

    10:08 am

    Man, I sure hope so. Best regards from CA.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:44 am)

    Jackson: Secretary Chu: “This is truly a great day.”  

    10:25 am

    Amen to that too!! It absolutely is, when you think about it. On so many levels. The beginning of a “sea change” in a whole industry, I devoutly hope. +1 to all.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:44 am)

    Jackson: Denise Gray (battery pack engineer) up now. Wow, that Posawatz interview was great stuff.  (Quote)

    “Reducing the pack cost by half (of it’s current cost) is something we consider feasible.” She also confirms that the pack cost is currently lower than the often-cited $10,000 (but is still “expensive”).

    I hope every word of these interviews ends up posted online, somewhere. Sadly, the “number of viewers” counter is barely topping 500.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:45 am)

    #35

    Rashiid Amul:
    I agree.But make the rebate only for American car purchases.
    Who is that today?GM & Ford? Let’s support America for a change.  

    Ditto.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Mike-o-Matic

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:45 am)

    Perhaps I have a talent for overstating the obvious, but this is a VERY moving and important day in the evolution of the Volt.

    And now, some potentially good news about pricing… wow!!

    I’m FIRED UP!!
    .
    .
    .
    PS. EDIT: “ONE HUNDREDTH!”
    (“First” is so last decade :-) )


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:46 am)

    Rashiid Amul:
    I agree.But make the rebate only for American car purchases.
    Who is that today?GM & Ford? Let’s support America for a change.  

    Here, here! It sickens me to see our federal tax dollars sent to empower and aid foreign companies. Cash for Clunkers was a fiasco IMO. Lets help our guys out for a change. I know, I know, protectionism bad blah, blah, blah. We’re losing. On every front. Let’s support the home team for a fuggin’ change.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:50 am)

    Jackson:
    Denise Gray (battery pack engineer) up now.Wow, that Posawatz interview was great stuff.  

    The whole time I’ve been watching this broadcast, I don’t think anybody concluded their interview without almost dragging the microphone along with them afterward. LOL! Good thing it’s not cordless or they’d have an intern chasing people down trying to find it!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:54 am)

    #43

    Jackson: All I’ve got so far is “buffering.”Has anyone else got a working feed?EDIT:I can’t find gmvoltage.com.Did they take it down?Take a look at what might have replaced it:http://www.chevrolet.com/pages/open/default/future/volt.do?seo=ysm_|_2009_Chevy_Awareness_|_IMG_Chevy_Volt_Phase_2_Branded_|_GM_Voltage_|_voltage_gm  

    I tries at 9:20 Central Time and had the same problem.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:58 am)

    DaV8or: The thing is, once GM gets comfortable with the battery pack assembly, they will no doubt start thinking of moving pack production off shore and closing this new plant. A large component of this plant’s location in Michigan is political as well as logistics. Unless there is significant political pressure maintained, those 40,000 new jobs could easily be created in Mexico, or Canada, or Korea, or China, or Brazil, or…  

    11:34 am

    Over my dead body, after we put up $60 BILLION to save them from liquidation. That would be the last straw for me.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:03 pm)

    Jim in PA:
    I have to admit, that’s a dicey issue for me.American’s tend to romanticize the blue collar worker, but what about the engineers and other white collar workers that design, fund, and market the vehicles?Which is more American…. an American assembled Nissan LEAF or a Mexican assembled Ford Fusion hybrid?Actually it’s a trick question; the answer for me is any car that is both designed and built in the US.That would mean a Volt or (in the future) an electric Focus or the like.  

    Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:04 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: I tries at 9:20 Central Time and had the same problem.Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.  (Quote)

    I didn’t get to see the actual assembly (the thing I really wanted to see), either; just the talking heads. I expect someone will put that portion up on THE SITE WHICH MUST NOT BE NAMED.

    The Autolane broadcast saved the morning, however (thanks again to Mike-o-matic).


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    Tagamet

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:04 pm)

    DonC: There should be a +1 for all the optimists today!Still looking for Tag but in his absence CorvetteGuy gave me a great laugh. Special +1 for his wit at #40.  

    I’m here DonC, just enjoying the positive tone today (I read every post). Sometimes I feel like my posts draw out the trolls or those pesky rational people that want us to “do the math” (and other irrelevancies)(g).
    I *AM* excited at the development today and especially curious about the Volts that will be produced between the beginning of March until Independence Day. That’s a lot of Volts that will need to be used for something.
    Lyle (again) needs kudos for all his hard, heroic work over the years! I wonder whether he has kept a journal. He can note that the exact date of the opening coincides with the beginning of the campaign, so it may well be that he’s chronicled his/the groups efforts. It would be an incredibly interesting “read” IMO.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:06 pm)

    Jackson:
    It was revealed here fairly early on, from sources at GM:http://gm-volt.com/2007/09/14/clarification-chevy-volt-electric-motor-is-ac/Consider that a motor powerful enough to address all driving needs would require a prohibitively large quantity of magnetic material (both in terms of cost, and weight).  

    Note this only states that the motor is AC, not whether it is induction or PM.

    This link from 2007 Scientific American states that the Volt’s motor will be a permanent magnet motor (sorry, Dave G).

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gm-resurrects-its-electri


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:07 pm)

    Yeah Tag, it’s a good day.

    Maybe even better for some in the frigid north. For all those of you from Michigan, Lauckner said the roll out of the Volt would be in California AND Michigan! So sign up!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:07 pm)

    Amazed: Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.  (Quote)

    “Except that the battery pack lithium ion cells for the Volt is are engineered and produced by a Korean company and is are[assembled into battery packs] (in America)

    Fixed that for you.

    Question: How much of the oil used in American cars is extracted and processed here? It’s not zero, but it isn’t 100% either.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:11 pm)

    Amazed:
    Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.  

    The cells are produced by LG Chem. The battery pack was designed by GM.

    Looks like Jackson beat me to it!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:11 pm)

    OK. Just got to view the live feed with John Luckner. Great news! He announced that GM will be selling them in the California market and ALSO Michigan at the end of the year! Roll out will come to other markets next year. So as it stand now, those on the West coast will be able to buy one in California while those on the East coast will go to Michigan GOOD LUCK TO ALL in November.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:12 pm)

    Amazed: Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.

    Not to nitpick, but I thought that LG engineered the cells and that GM engineered the pack. Isn’t that right? Either way, you touch on a valid point that no complex object is sourced entirely from one country any more. For example, the LEAF will not be “manufactured” in America, so much as it will be “assembled” here with many foreign (and some domestic) parts. But the bottom line is that you can still buy American cars that are designed in the US, assembled in the US, and comprised of >80% American components. Cars like that are usually near the top of my list when car shopping.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:14 pm)

    DonC: Maybe even better for some in the frigid north. For all those of you from Michigan, Lauckner said the roll out of the Volt would be in California AND Michigan! So sign up!

    OH yes, i will be on the first list available to me.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:15 pm)

    BillR: Note this only states that the motor is AC, not whether it is induction or PM.
    This link from 2007 Scientific American states that the Volt’s motor will be a permanent magnet motor (sorry, Dave G).
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gm-resurrects-its-electri

    Not much attention was ever brought up about the generator. You may be correct. This is a subject rarely visited.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:16 pm)

    Jackson:
    “Except that the battery pack lithium ion cells for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company …”Fixed that for you.Question:How much of the oil used in American cars is extracted and processed here?It’s not zero, but it isn’t 100% either.  

    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip.asp

    Right now, we produce about 5.5 million bpd of crude, and import about 9 million bpd.

    Most of our finished products are refined in this country, however, we do import some gasoline, diesel, etc. See above link.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    Jackson:
    Where is your dealership located?Mike and I are both in Atlanta.  

    Southern California. We are still waiting to see if GM will cooperate with Lyle’s Want List. It seems only fair that this group gets the cars ahead of Schwarzenegger’s friends in Hollywood.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:19 pm)

    Amazed:
    Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.  

    I thought it was just the cells that were Korean designed? The Pack is GM’s doing, is it not?


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    kdawg

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Jim in PA: Not to nitpick, but I thought that LG engineered the cells and that GM engineered the pack. Isn’t that right? Either way, you touch on a valid point that no complex object is sourced entirely from one country any more. For example, the LEAF will not be “manufactured” in America, so much as it will be “assembled” here with many foreign (and some domestic) parts. But the bottom line is that you can still buy American cars that are designed in the US, assembled in the US, and comprised of >80% American components. Cars like that are usually near the top of my list when car shopping.

    There’s a snowball effect too. The picture at the top of this article shows the Smart cars made by a Jervis Webb. They are desiged and built here in the US (my brother used to work there). This is just 1 example. The more things you can keep in the US, the more it snowballs into jobs here.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:22 pm)

    DonCLauckner said the roll out of the Volt would be in California AND Michigan! So sign up!

    Yeah! I heard that too! Hope it wasn’t a boo-boo!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:23 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: Electric motors have been about 86% efficient but the Japanese have developed AC induction motors that are 92% – 96% efficient.

    Please elaborate. I was under the impression that 95+% efficient motors have been available for decades, but the battery packs have been the limiting factor.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:26 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Did you guys / gals (carcus1) see this?!?!?!?!
    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100107-708608.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

    Regarding the $40k price drop; I wouldnt be surprised if GM didnt price the Volt so that it came out to $29,500 (after the Gov rebate). Being under 30K is a psychological barrier for a lot of people.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:26 pm)

    OK! Live feed as I type with Tony Posawitz on the battery pack. He say that they have built in an onboard doctor for the battery; i.e., through OnStar they monitor battery health and will be able to let the owner know there is problem with the battery. One GOOD reason to pay for OnStar after the first free year of use.

    Tony states that the hardware is fully developed and only softgware tweaking will be done between now and roll out.

    GM intend to service the owners with battery upgrades.

    Volt has blended regenerative breaking unlike others do.

    Tony highlights the Volts extended range capability.

    Cadilac Converj is progressing.

    Updated on roll out: other market other than California and Michigan will be announced in about two weeks.

    Happy trails to yo ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:29 pm)

    Loboc: The same thing with lithium. There was no demand, so, nobody was looking for it. Now that there is some demand

    Folks have worried about that, but you’re right, with billions of cameras, cell phones, camcorders, hobbyist rigs, 1850 cell type roadsters, computers, back-up systems, LED flashlights, conversion kits, hand held power tools etc, I imagine one relatively small line in Brownstown won’t have a dramatic effect on demand…yet.

    CaptJackSparrow: Did you guys / gals (carcus1) see this?!?!?!?!http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100107-708608.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines  (Quote)

    From the article, “Critics have said the Volt’s anticipated cost, higher than other cars in the segment, would be a barrier to making the Volt a mainstream hit, even…” – What are the other cars in the segment?

    Jim in PA: Which is more American

    Did you really say, which is more American :)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    BillR: Note this only states that the motor is AC, not whether it is induction or PM.This link from 2007 Scientific American states that the Volt’s motor will be a permanent magnet motor (sorry, Dave G).http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gm-resurrects-its-electri  (Quote)

    For now, you’ll just have to trust me. What Scientific American said 3 years ago isn’t going to trump the argument, either. I’ve heard some of the AC motor details, but can’t provide a concise link at this moment. Stay alert, and you’ll find it for yourself in due course.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:33 pm)

    Live Feed

    Denis Gray, Director of Battery (Development?)

    GM has been committed to battery development for a long time. When the idea of the Volt came online the whole area picked up.

    Discussion of how to develop a battery that last 10 years. Aging of battery from high temperature and exercising were big concerns.

    Lost the feed.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:37 pm)

    Mike-o-Matic: I wonder why. Big secrets afoot? Gotta scratch her butt? What?

    Gov. Granholm didn’t want anyone to hear the Ion il battery powered Dremel they are using to grind that pesky nodule off hear cheek.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:40 pm)

    BillR (sorry, too late for edit):

    I realize that Popular Mechanics lacks some of the scholarly panache of Scientific American, but this article has the advantage of being only 3 months old instead of 3 years:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4338192.html

    It mentions that the Volt’s AC motor is 3-phase induction. This jibes with what I recall.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    LRGVProVolt: Live FeedDenis Gray, Director of Battery (Development?)GM has been committed to battery development for a long time. When the idea of the Volt came online the whole area picked up.Discussion of how to develop a battery that last 10 years. Aging of battery from high temperature and exercising were big concerns.Lost the feed.Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.  

    Thanks for the updates. I didn’t get the live feed.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:45 pm)

    Amazed:
    Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.  

    My understanding is that only the individual cells are designed and built in Korea. The design and manufacture of the pack assembly (including the battery management circuitry, sensors, temperature control, and packaging) is in the US.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:46 pm)

    Amazed: Except that the battery pack for the Volt is engineered and produced by a Korean company and is American assembled.

    That is true. BUTTTT!!!!
    Compared to OPEC juice, the Li batt packs can be reused/recharged. OPEC juice has to be refilled with OPEC juice. The batt pack is a one time purchase that we can theoretically use for 10 years. A tank of OPEC juice get’s refilled daily.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:49 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow:
    That is true. BUTTTT!!!!
    Compared to OPEC juice, the Li batt packs can be reused/recharged. OPEC juice has to be refilled with OPEC juice. The batt pack is a one time purchase that we can theoretically use for 10 years. A tank of OPEC juice get’s refilled daily.  

    AND the lithium is completely recyclable.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:50 pm)

    Was the video feed choppy to you guys? Mine was like a dang slideshow.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:50 pm)

    I suspect the price intitially will be something like 37,900 before the tax credit. The prices for the first year is totally for PR. They won’t sell enough for it to matter, as they know there are plenty that will buy at 37,900 minus the rebate. They just don’t want to get the bad press of selling it over 40K.

    Once they’ve sold about 50,000 they might lower the price a little, but until they can make them fast enough to meet demand and the 250,000 government rebates are still there they have no incentive to lower the price much.

    Bigger issue is will dealers with limited quantities sell them at what GM lists them at.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:52 pm)

    Actually a lot of the rare earth metals can be found right here in the United States, but with China doing the same thing for cheaper most of the American mines closed because they are so destructive to the surrounding areas. Already some of these mines are set to reopen in the next few years and I’m sure if things get as bad as you stated more brand new ones will come online.

    tom:
    100,000 ELECTRIC cars a year won’t matter much to lithium supplies, not until they are making millions of electric cars a year, then it is significant.For now Lithium is usedin many millions of smaller batteries, millions of laptops, millions of cellphones, hand drills etc.The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we are making millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors, whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china. China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which could require redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motors from china.
    Its always something.  


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (12:53 pm)

    DaV8or: The thing is, once GM gets comfortable with the battery pack assembly, they will no doubt start thinking of moving pack production off shore and closing this new plant. A large component of this plant’s location in Michigan is political as well as logistics. Unless there is significant political pressure maintained, those 40,000 new jobs could easily be created in Mexico, or Canada, or Korea, or China, or Brazil, or…  (Quote)

    GM could do that, but they would be extremely unwise to do so. They would surrender the flexibility to adapt to new cell technologies and battery developments as they hit the market. There is a research aspect to pack manufacture, too; they have to be able to adapt to new versions of the LG cell, evaluate other manufacturers’ cells, even new kinds of chemistries. I could see them outsourcing a static, fixed design; but the Volt pack will probably never fit that description.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:10 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Volt Notably Lower Than $40,000 and Early Bird Launch?

    “General Motors Co.’s long-awaited Chevrolet Volt may cost less than the expected $40,000 price tag, a company executive said Thursday…Jon Lauckner, GM’s head of global program management, said the Volt’s price could be notably lower than the anticipated $40,000”…

    AND

    “…As GM finalizes plans to launch the Volt, the company’s board is weighing an earlier, albeit limited, launch to win bragging rights over rivals also racing to sell electric vehicles, according to people familiar with the discussions…”

    Source: The Wall Street Journal – January 7th, 2010
    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100107-708608.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines
    ______________________________________________________


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:15 pm)

    CDAVIS: ______________________________________________________
    Volt Notably Lower Than $40,000 and Early Bird Launch?“General Motors Co.’s long-awaited Chevrolet Volt may cost less than the expected $40,000 price tag, a company executive said Thursday…Jon Lauckner, GM’s head of global program management, said the Volt’s price could be notably lower than the anticipated $40,000”…AND“…As GM finalizes plans to launch the Volt, the company’s board is weighing an earlier, albeit limited, launch to win bragging rights over rivals also racing to sell electric vehicles, according to people familiar with the discussions…”Source: The Wall Street Journal – January 7th, 2010
    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100107-708608.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines
    ______________________________________________________  

    I seem to remember someone here posting some incredibly optimistic events re the Volt. Wait, er, that was me. (lol).
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:18 pm)

    tom: The bigger issue than lithium once we get to the point where we are making millions of electric cars will be the actual electric motors
    , whose magnets use rare earth elements that comes mostly from china. China is rumored to be considering NOT exporting these which could require redesign of electric motors or purchasing all electric motors from china.

    Its always something.

    Most, if not all, of the big electric car mfgrs are using AC Induction.
    The Prius uses NdFeB in their mootors.

    For the Volt, I have always wondered which they used. But the fact that the RPM range for the Genset is about 1000 – 4000rpm leads me to believe that it is AC Induction. Most PMG’s are much lower in rpm and not as a broad range like above.

    So even if NdFeB is rare, it shouldn’t affect the Volt or Tesla, ot Th!nk or Leaf EV projects.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:22 pm)

    Good, no shortage of Lithium. I need it for my “condition”
    http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/meds/moodstabilizers.htm

    Loboc:
    The same thing with lithium. There was no demand, so, nobody was looking for it. Now that there is some demand, we shall see what the mining companies do. Lithium can also be extracted from sea water if no other sources are found. Plus, every gram of lithium built into a battery is fully recyclable.  


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:33 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: Attention Trolls:Please move from the ‘Denial Stage’ to the ‘Acceptance Stage’.Thank you.  (Quote)

    I’ll bet that you’re a bit premature for them. Good try though.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:45 pm)

    Jackson: EDIT: GM has confirmed that they’re going to do the Cadillac Converj!!

    This is big news!

    There’s a huge difference between a show-and-tell type concept car and giving the green light for full production.

    Now we’re talking about a line of EREVs from GM, not just one car.

    Lyle, if you can get any more info on this announcement…

    Hey, maybe it’s time for a new URL to mirror this one. It looks like http://www.voltec.com is not taken.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:45 pm)

    tom: 120,000 volts at $40,000 is 4.8 billion dollars, that should give GM some cash flow Current rebate of $7500 is only for first 250,000 cars. So thats 10 billion for GM, 1.8 BILLION IN GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES. At least 5 billion and probably a lot more money that won’t go to buy foreign oil.

    Production starts today, it starts the slow ramp up. What is needed now is the lobbying along with public support to expand those government rebates.

    I’d rather they get HOV lane stickers from California…It doesn’t cost very much (since they’re already issuing new stickers), and GM can’t be accused of getting unfair government support since the Prius and the Honda Civic GX already got them.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:49 pm)

    Jackson: GM could do that, but they would be extremely unwise to do so. They would surrender the flexibility to adapt to new cell technologies and battery developments as they hit the market. There is a research aspect to pack manufacture, too; they have to be able to adapt to new versions of the LG cell, evaluate other manufacturers’ cells, even new kinds of chemistries. I could see them outsourcing a static, fixed design; but the Volt pack will probably never fit that description.

    You would think that the events of the past year would have taught them the wisdom of keeping certain assets closer to home…


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (1:53 pm)

    LauraM: I’d rather they get HOV lane stickers from California…It doesn’t cost very much (since they’re already issuing new stickers), and GM can’t be accused of getting unfair government support since the Prius and the Honda Civic GX already got them.

    Yet another reason to buy Voltec.

    One thing I hate is GM always pairing the Volt with phrases like “eco-enthusiast”. GM doesn’t get it. Most Volt buyers probably won’t be eco-enthusiasts. There are a ton of other reasons. GM is in for a big surprise here.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:07 pm)

    LauraM: I’d rather they get HOV lane stickers from California…It doesn’t cost very much (since they’re already issuing new stickers), and GM can’t be accused of getting unfair government support since the Prius and the Honda
    Civic GX already got them.

    Easy small perks if perfectly fine.
    As long as the logistics on how to get them is efficient. It is the State of CA after all.
    lol…….WE”RE BROKE!!!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:17 pm)

    This is great news, the Volt is just the tip of the spear. Look at that battery plant its huge, They could crank out 120K in a minute. And ramp up to over 300K in short order with a 24/7 run rate.


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    art1000

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:22 pm)

    Fantastic. Go USA. Go Volt. Go Michigan.

    NPNS

    Just imagine what Toyota is thinking right now. The Prius is a dead duck – or is it? Maybe they are going to bring out plug-in version that does 50 miles AER and costs $10,000 less. They will have to respond.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:25 pm)

    Dave G: Yet another reason to buy Voltec.

    One thing I hate is GM always pairing the Volt with phrases like “eco-enthusiast”. GM doesn’t get it. Most Volt buyers probably won’t be eco-enthusiasts. There are a ton of other reasons. GM is in for a big surprise here.

    Lol. Well, I’m an eco-enthusiast, and we eco-enthusiasts really want those Volts. And I think that’s where the real money is. People will spend large amounts of money for “green cred.”

    But I absolutely agree that GM should aim for the widest audience possible. And the Volt’s appeal goes well beyond it’s environmental benefits.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:31 pm)

    Mike-o-Matic: EDIT: “ONE HUNDREDTH!”(“First” is so last decade )  (Quote)

    I approve! I think it’s a hoot to shout 1st, 100th or whatever.


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    Dave K.

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:32 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Was the video feed choppy to you guys?

    Yes CJS, it was choppy with a premium cable line.

    The events of today have provided a reassurance of true progress. Good going GM for committing to a noble move forward.

    =D~


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:34 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Easy small perks if perfectly fine.
    As long as the logistics on how to get them is efficient. It is the State of CA after all.
    lol…….WE”RE BROKE!!!!

    That easy small perk is worth up to $4000 on a used car. Maybe even more if they don’t renew the old Prius ones. I think GM should get every benefit for the Volt that Toyota did for the Prius.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-03-25-hybrid-carpool-stickers_n.htm

    And it’s not like they’re not already issuing stickers…And California does have a major air quality problem…


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:39 pm)

    If that pack is six feet long then I estimate the workers at over eight feet tall….


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:40 pm)

    ______________________________________________________
    Lutz smacks down Ghosn’s Nissan Leaf…

    “…Ghosn, 55, who turned Nissan into the most profitable of the world’s seven biggest automakers in 2005 and made Ghosn-san a Japanese household name, is placing the auto industry’s biggest bet yet on electric vehicles…Ghosn’s first electric car, the Leaf, can travel only 100 miles… He’s going all out to populate the planet with electric vehicles, starting in December 2010 with the Leaf…”

    “He’s rolling the dice,” Lutz, 77, says of Ghosn’s battery-only tack. “I don’t see it happening.”

    Source:
    Business Standard – Tokyo Jan 08, 2010
    http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/ghosn-overruling-electric-engineers/382035/
    ______________________________________________________


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    DonC

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:42 pm)

    Dave G: One thing I hate is GM always pairing the Volt with phrases like “eco-enthusiast”. GM doesn’t get it. Most Volt buyers probably won’t be eco-enthusiasts.

    I find this misplaced as well. They obviously have identified two psycho-demogrphics: “eco warriors” and “new tech”. They are completely missing the third, which I’d call “patriotic” (which would include national security but also economics). The first two were identified by Toyota when it developed the Prius, and GM doesn’t seem to have caught on that times have changed.

    The other piece that can be missed is how large each of these psycho-demographics are. I think all three, but particularly the “eco warriors” and the “patriotic” are now much larger than they were a decade ago when GM was trying to sell the EV-1.

    The final piece is that in Venn diagram terms there is probably a fairly large overlap between two or even all three of the sets. This shrinks the universe a bit but as the intersections also mean that people will be more motivated, and you need more motivation to overcome the price premium.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:43 pm)

    Dave G: Dave G Says:
    January 7th, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    Jackson: EDIT: GM has confirmed that they’re going to do the Cadillac Converj!!
    This is big news!
    There’s a huge difference between a show-and-tell type concept car and giving the green light for full production.
    Now we’re talking about a line of EREVs from GM, not just one car.
    Lyle, if you can get any more info on this announcement…
    Hey, maybe it’s time for a new URL to mirror this one. It looks like http://www.voltec.com is not taken.

    Wasn’t this announced like a month ago? Greenlight for the Converj. Maybe i was just dreaming.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:47 pm)

    KenEE: If that pack is six feet long then I estimate the workers at over eight feet tall….

    Yeah, they all play for the Pistons.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:49 pm)

    DonC: I find this misplaced as well. They obviously have identified two psycho-demogrphics: “eco warriors” and “new tech”. They are completely missing the third, which I’d call “patriotic” (which would include national security but also economics). The first two were identified by Toyota when it developed the Prius, and GM doesn’t seem to have caught on that times have changed.

    I dont think they want to start pulling the thread on that sweater. There’s just too much room for pot-shots. I think they will connect most of the dots and let the American consumer come up w/the rest.


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    BillR

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (2:51 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow:
    Most, if not all, of the big electric car mfgrs are using AC Induction.
    The Prius uses NdFeB in their mootors.
    For the Volt, I have always wondered which they used. But the fact that the RPM range for the Genset is about 1000– 4000rpm leads me to believe that it is AC Induction. Most PMG’s are much lower in rpm and not as a broad range like above.
    So even if NdFeB is rare, it shouldn’t affect the Volt or Tesla, ot Th!nk or Leaf EV projects.  

    I believe GM will use a modified 2-mode to achieve the results they need. With the planetary gear sets in the FWD version, they can obtain an electrically variable gear ratio to keep a PM motor within a narrow speed range. The RWD 2-mode gear ratio can be varied from ~1.70 to 0.5.

    Since the Saturn Vue plug-in used a modified FWD 2-mode, I see GM as staying with a proven component, and modifying it for the Volt. Note that the FWD 2-mode uses 2 actively-cooled PM motors. They are also packaged in a very compact space.

    http://www.che.ncsu.edu/ILEET/phevs/plug-in_2008/1A-1_GM%202-ModePHEV%20VUE.pdf

    Lyle has driven both the Volt and the Vue, maybe he has some comments on their similarities.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:01 pm)

    I looked at the video carefully and maybe its just what they can show.

    It looks like the folks are just testing the pack no actual building is taking place.

    They put a few screws in the cover that`s about it.

    Seems like kinda of a waste of space for such a big plant>??

    Does anyone have specific data on what they actually do besides test the pack?


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:16 pm)

    In The VoltAge video it looks like there are the same three employees running around doing all the battery assembly tasks. Time to hire some more workers! LOL.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:20 pm)

    Cap’n Jack,

    Here is some more reasoning behind my speculation on the Volt’s drive system:

    From Alex Cattelan,

    “It’s actually not additive for power, it’s actually the way it’s architected, and a lot of this is proprietary so I can’t get into the full architecture, but what it does is optimize the rotating speed and the losses of the motors so in certain states its better to operate both to propel the vehicle and in some states its better to utilize more of the generator and less of the traction motor. In some states its more efficient to use more of the generator and have more of the traction motor actually be a generator. That would be for example in coast down situation often we use our traction motor as a generator on regen.

    We do have the ability to utilize both motors in propulsion mode.”

    http://gm-volt.com/2009/11/09/engineering-design-of-the-chevy-volts-two-electric-motors/


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:27 pm)

    art1000: Just imagine what Toyota is thinking right now. The Prius is a dead duck – or is it? Maybe they are going to bring out plug-in version that does 50 miles AER and costs $10,000 less. They will have to respond.

    Prius would never go beyond their current 12.3 AER, because beyond that, whats the point of having all the other hybrid stuff, going much beyond 12.3 aer you either go all BEV, or go EREV.

    GM on the other hand should consider a 15-20 AER volt to wipe out the prius


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:34 pm)

    LauraM: Lol. Well, I’m an eco-enthusiast, and we eco-enthusiasts really want those Volts. And I think that’s where the real money is. People will spend large amounts of money for “green cred.”
    But I absolutely agree that GM should aim for the widest audience possible. And the Volt’s appeal goes well beyond it’s environmental benefits.

    We are having 3rd straight colder than average winter in Ohio.
    I’m afraid that soon Al Gore will come out and say that the next ICE AGE IS starting and if we dont start all driving whatever large cars that are made by the company he just invested in then all of north america will soon freeze over.

    My point is I think the economic and geopolitical national security issues are pretty hard to argue against. It is a different world we live in. Cheap Oil is why we fought all those wars. Now we are going to protect the middle east for expensive oil, it doesn’t make much sense anymore.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:35 pm)

    DonC: I find this misplaced as well. They obviously have identified two psycho-demogrphics: “eco warriors” and “new tech”. They are completely missing the third, which I’d call “patriotic” (which would include national security but also economics). The first two were identified by Toyota when it developed the Prius, and GM doesn’t seem to have caught on that times have changed.

    The other piece that can be missed is how large each of these psycho-demographics are. I think all three, but particularly the “eco warriors” and the “patriotic” are now much larger than they were a decade ago when GM was trying to sell the EV-1.

    The final piece is that in Venn diagram terms there is probably a fairly large overlap between two or even all three of the sets. This shrinks the universe a bit but as the intersections also mean that people will be more motivated, and you need more motivation to overcome the price premium.

    Well, I never used to care if something was Made in America or not. So you can count me in as a relatively new entry to the “patriotic” demographiic.

    But you left out the “I don’t want to be blindsided by $10 a gallon gasoline” demographic. And the “don’t want to wait inline if there are shortages again” demographic. And then there’s the “going to the gas station is so inconvenient” demographic.

    There are lots of reasons to want a Volt. And, personally, I’m hoping California adds the “I want access to the HOV lane” group.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:45 pm)

    tom: We are having 3rd straight colder than average winter in Ohio.
    I’m afraid that soon Al Gore will come out and say that the next ICE AGE IS starting and if we dont start all driving whatever large cars that are made by the company he just invested in then all of north america will soon freeze over.

    My point is I think the economic and geopolitical national security issues are pretty hard to argue against. It is a different world we live in. Cheap Oil is why we fought all those wars. Now we are going to protect the middle east for expensive oil, it doesn’t make much sense anymore.

    There’s more to air pollution than just carbon dioxide. Car emissions include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. All of the above have a direct impact on human health. NOx in particular causes acid rain and smog. The Volt doesn’t emit any of the above.

    Also, even if, for the sake of argument, the scientific community is wrong about global warming, there’s no way they’re going to change their minds before the Volt comes out. It’s about average temperatures. Not any specific temperature in any given location at any specific time. In fact, it’s supposed to make some places colder in the short term.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:46 pm)

    The Prius isn’t going away any time soon. Toyota’s development costs are largely paid for, and beyond the 12-mile plug-in version the only real remaining frontier for the make is cost reduction. Remember, the base production infrastructure is already in place, another asset.

    The disadvantage is, given Toyota’s prior investment in the system, and traditionally conservative Japanese engineering practices, they are likely to be late joining pure BEV and EREV markets.

    tom: Prius would never go beyond their current 12.3 AER, because beyond that, whats the point of having all the other hybrid stuff, going much beyond 12.3 aer you either go all BEV, or go EREV.

    I think that the Prius (and future stylistic variants) will become the Corollas of the future, as newer approaches (such as the Volt) take over the role of “Benz owner’s second car.” Hopefully, the Volt will expand beyond that role faster than the Prius did.

    Remember: The cheapest, most numerous Model T model ever offered was at the end of it’s run, and I think it will be the same for the Prius. It’s ironic perhaps that the Prius may displace the most oil as it moves off the automotive stage. We’re years away from that.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:54 pm)

    Bob G:
    Please elaborate.I was under the impression that 95+% efficient motors have been available for decades, but the battery packs have been the limiting factor.  

    Sorry Bob, I can’t find the link to the Japanese research lab that made improvements to their design; my comment related to motors that don’t use permanent magnets like AC motors if China limits export of the rare earth minerals they have.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:55 pm)

    Any word if they plan on taking our GM-Volt wait list???? That would be HUGH news!!!!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:55 pm)

    LauraM: There’s more to air pollution than just carbon dioxide. Car emissions include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. All of the above have a direct impact on human health. NOx in particular causes acid rain and smog. The Volt doesn’t emit any of the above.
    Also, even if, for the sake of argument, the scientific community is wrong about global warming, there’s no way they’re going to change their minds before the Volt comes out. It’s about average temperatures. Not any specific temperature in any given location at any specific time. In fact, it’s supposed to make some places colder in the short term.

    I was just trying to make a Joke at Uncle Al’s expense.

    As you said there are a zillion reasons to buy the volt, but I think the most pressing are economic and national security.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (3:59 pm)

    tom: We are having 3rd straight colder than average winter in Ohio.I’m afraid that soon Al Gore will come out and say that the next ICE AGE IS starting and if we dont start all driving whatever large cars that are made by the company he just invested in then all of north america will soon freeze over.My point is I think the economic and geopolitical national security issues are pretty hard to argue against. It is a different world we live in. Cheap Oil is why we fought all those wars. Now we are going to protect the middle east for expensive oil, it doesn’t make much sense anymore.  (Quote)

    Sitting at my computer, just outside Atlanta, I could look up at snow falling as I read this comment.

    LauraM: There’s more to air pollution than just carbon dioxide. Car emissions include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. All of the above have a direct impact on human health. NOx in particular causes acid rain and smog. The Volt doesn’t emit any of the above. Also, even if, for the sake of argument, the scientific community is wrong about global warming, there’s no way they’re going to change their minds before the Volt comes out. It’s about average temperatures. Not any specific temperature in any given location at any specific time. In fact, it’s supposed to make some places colder in the short term.  (Quote)

    I agree, Laura. Reducing “good old-fashioned” air pollution is a laudable enough goal without invoking “antropogenic climate change.” I’m not in it for the CO2-coolness, but the Volt is rare in that it answers many issues at once. It has patriotic, tech-y, economic and instability mitigating advantages all at the same time.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:06 pm)

    #128

    Tagamet:
    Thanks for the updates. I didn’t get the live feed.
    Be well,
    TagametLet’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS   

    Your welcome Tag. This thread has been hectic today and the other day with one about EREV and EV going to be dead.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    George A. Klein

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:08 pm)

    I guarantee you one thing…… Ten years from now, we will look at that video clip of that battery pack and say, “Good Lord!!! That battery pack is ENORMOUS!!!” Then we’ll say, today’s (2020) battery packs are one-fourth that size with ten times as much juice!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:18 pm)

    $160

    BLDude: In The VoltAge video it looks like there are the same three employees running around doing all the battery assembly tasks. Time to hire some more workers! LOL.  

    The Brownstown Battery Plant has 100 employees! The plant is largely automated with robots doing the assembly of cells into modules.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:26 pm)

    LRGVProVolt:
    Your welcome Tag. Thisthread has been hectic today and the other day with one about EREV and EV going to be dead.Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.  

    Yes, quite a swing of the emotional pendulum. I’ve been lurking all day and following the conversation.
    I’m still very curious about the fate of those Volts produced between March and Independence Day. I’m sure that GM has something in mind. As always, time will tell.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Greg Simpson

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:33 pm)

    NZDavid: lithium (12th most abundant element)

    A small correction: Wikipedia says lithium is the 25th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. In any case it’s certainly not 12th.

    There is no worry about the long term supply of lithium, but temporary shortages would not be surprising if the demand shoots up.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:38 pm)

    #159

    bill cosworth: I looked at the video carefully and maybe its just what they can show.It looks like the folks are just testing the pack no actual building is taking place.They put a few screws in the cover that`s about it.Seems like kinda of a waste of space for such a big plant>??Does anyone have specific data on what they actually do besides test the pack?  

    “The GM Brownstown Battery Assembly facility will include three primary assembly areas: battery module pre-assembly, final assembly and the battery pack main line. The pre-assembly area is where cells are processed and installed into one of three battery modules, which comprise a single battery pack. The module final assembly area is where final assembly and testing of the three modules required for each battery pack takes place. In the battery pack main line area, the battery receives its final dressing including attachments of hoses, straps and electrical connections. The main line is also where battery pack final testing, verification and packaging for shipment takes place.”

    http://green.autoblog.com/2009/08/13/officially-official-gm-lithium-ion-battery-plant-goes-to-bro/

    Based on this description, I would say you are correct in your assumption except that there would be machine operators on hand to monitor the working of robots and automated assembly machines and engineers to find out what goes wrong if the machinery malfunctions. It appears that any problems were addressed during start-up and pilot production. In addition to those people assembling the packs, there are those you should have seen moving the packs to shipping crates and those other people working in the warehousing section of the plant. The fact that GM uses automated robot for assembly assures better quality of the packs being built. They have also designed the plant “will use flexible manufacturing layouts as well as equipment, which will enable the plant to quickly respond to volume or product changes in the market”.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (4:44 pm)

    $174

    Tagamet:
    Yes, quite a swing of the emotional pendulum. I’ve been lurking all day and following the conversation.
    I’m still very curious about the fate of those Volts produced between March and Independence Day. I’m sure that GM has something in mind. As always, time will tell.
    Be well,
    TagametLet’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS   

    I thought I had seen a post or article that said they would be distributed as fleets to ulitilies but I can’t remember where I saw that in order to go back and check.

    Happy trails to you ’til we meet again.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:06 pm)

    VaBchJim: Any word if they plan on taking our GM-Volt wait list????That would be HUGH news!!!!  

    You can’t be series about that ;-)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:07 pm)

    BLDude: In The VoltAge video it looks like there are the same three employees running around doing all the battery assembly tasks. Time to hire some more workers! LOL.  

    Well, most of the work done in the plant IS said to be largely robotically-performed. Maybe they didn’t want to expose that technology and thus the video is limited to the “hands on” portions? Just a thought.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:21 pm)

    VaBchJim: Any word if they plan on taking our GM-Volt wait list????

    Oh, I hope they do! There are thousands of us who would love to have a Volt and GM needs to pay attention to that fact.

    I am also thrilled to see what I saw in an earlier post about GM considering a much lower price for the Volt. As I’ve been saying, they need to get the volumes way up and the price way down.

    I really hope they have a Volt at the St. Louis Auto Show at the end of the month! I looked on the website and they mentioned GM will be having test drives for their new products, but the Volt wasn’t mentioned. Hopefully it’ll be there on static display and we’ll be able to go inside of one, at least.

    GM needs to give the Volt as much public exposure as they possibly can.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:22 pm)

    Hey checkit out…

    “This hybrid system is rumored to return more than 60 mpg. And apparently, it’s cheap enough to produce that Toyota will still be able to price the car around $15,000.”

    http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2010/01/scion-iq-hybrid-to-come-in-5-door-hatch-sedan-body-styles.html

    I had no idea the Scion brand was having trouble. As many as I see on the road, I thought they were doing fine…..but what do I know….eh?


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    Redeye

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    3 Cheers for The Volt !

    I’m pretty sure Lyle will have good coverage of the day the first Volt comes off the assembly line.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:47 pm)

    Hey!

    Why isn’t Maximum Bob Lutz there for the battery plant opening????

    Now what will statik have to talk about, if there is no pink tie up on the stage???

    Let’s start the chant:

    Bring back Lutz!!!! Bring back Lutz!!!!

    :-)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (5:53 pm)

    Aw, forget the volt. I want one of those smart carts. I could just lie around on it (drinking eggnog) while it ferries me around to places. ;)

    Just kidding. Cool news. :)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:05 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I had no idea the Scion brand was having trouble. As many as I see on the road, I thought they were doing fine…..but what do I know….eh?

    I think it’s having trouble selling to the intended “yooth” market. I never saw anyone under 40 driving the original xB which I saw a lot of. Since they redesigned it to look more “gangsta” it’s true I’ve only seen the target market driving them, but I think only like 2 of them. :)

    My suspicion is that Scion’s fundamental problem is that they want to attract young buyers with no money without attracting more established buyers that would otherwise buy their more expensive Toyota branded cars. Inevitably, they wind up making models that either hurt sales of their more expensive cars or don’t sell.

    They may have the same problem with their new mini hybrid, too. Probably a lot of 40 year old commuters will buy it that would have otherwise bought a Prius for $10k more. :) The others will buy Volts, of course. ;) (That would be irony if the high end prius buyers buy volts and the low enders buy the iQ instead…)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:07 pm)

    tom: GM on the other hand should consider a 15-20 AER volt to wipe out the prius

    I’ve brought that up before. “Tier” the AER for a lower cost model.
    If half of the cost of the Volt is the battery then cutting down AER to half should significantly reduce the cost. That would cover cheap knuckleheads like like me.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:09 pm)

    Price speculation. I am hoping Toyota will be able to offer the Prius PHV for around $29,000 (or $26,000 after rebate). So for the Volt to blow its doors off, the Volt would be priced at $33,500 ($26,000 after rebate). Now just how many more thousands a buyer would pay for the additional AER is also a guess, but my guess would be less than $4000. So GM can win this by bring in the Volt at less than $4000 more than the Prius PHV after rebate, or lose it by being too pricy. Time will tell.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:23 pm)

    This is great… this is a video of a AMERICAN PLANT …. Those are AMERICANS doing work to bring money INTO the US! That Plant IS paying US taxes .. unlike the Japanese plants that ARE NOT paying US taxes and sucking money OUT of the US.
    Yes .. this is progress in the right direction… the next step would be to put a $20,000 tariff on each Prius… because that’s exactly what the Japanese will be doing to the Chevy Volt.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:38 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I’ve brought that up before. “Tier” the AER for a lower cost model.If half of the cost of the Volt is the battery then cutting down AER to half should significantly reduce the cost. That would cover cheap knuckleheads like like me.  (Quote)

    This really has been done to death.

    While it be great to have a “20″ AER Volt, the truth is that for -Serial- Hybrids, the Battery has to be able to provide 100 kW of power at a time. (Or more, the maximum essentially, but its hard to imagine a car having a peak power less than 100 kW that is also functional). The larger the Battery, the easier it is to get up to 100 kW of power.

    Going with a Smaller Battery that is capable of the same power output results in either higher cost or reduced life or worse, both. A 20 AER Volt might save 25% or less in actual Battery costs while giving up a significant marketing point. I just don’t see GM going down this path with a Volt sized car. Maybe with a B-segment class…


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:45 pm)

    steel: This really has been done to death.While it be great to have a “20″ AER Volt, the truth is that for -Serial- Hybrids, the Battery has to be able to provide 100 kW of power at a time. (Or more, the maximum essentially, but its hard to imagine a car having a peak power less than 100 kW that is also functional). The larger the Battery, the easier it is to get up to 100 kW of power.Going with a Smaller Battery that is capable of the same power output results in either higher cost or reduced life or worse, both. A 20 AER Volt might save 25% or less in actual Battery costs while giving up a significant marketing point. I just don’t see GM going down this path with a Volt sized car. Maybe with a B-segment class…  (Quote)

    True enough at the moment, but the hope is that batteries will improve swiftly. It might be better to say that the 20 AER Volt is a project for another day. I also agree that it shouldn’t be a “Volt” at all, but some new less expensive (less flashy, fewer bells & whistles, Cap’n) Voltec offering with a different Chevy name. Perhaps … the Sparrow? :-)

    Personally, I’m looking forward to a 60 mile AER model (same deal, don’t hold your breath — but maybe someday).


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:53 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Hey checkit out…“This hybrid system is rumored to return more than 60 mpg. And apparently, it’s cheap enough to produce that Toyota will still be able to price the car around $15,000.”http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2010/01/scion-iq-hybrid-to-come-in-5-door-hatch-sedan-body-styles.htmlI had no idea the Scion brand was having trouble. As many as I see on the road, I thought they were doing fine…..but what do I know….eh?  (Quote)

    Maybe the US market has changed… but the Scion IQ reminded me of… the Original Honda Insight. Although 15,000 is cheap, the Scion IQ will be lined up against gasoline cars that start in the 10K range and come well equiped for 15K. The entire market for the “B Segment” in the US has traditionally this decade been between 250,000 units and 500,000 units (With HIGH gas). Skim away the Mini’s, the Rental Fleet Sales, etc and your looking at more like 100,000-300,000 of private sales… Low cost people can go Hyundai, etc. The Fit seems to be much more car for the money than the IQ. The Fiesta/Mazda2 will likely be alot more fun to drive. End of the day, the IQ will likely be a niche car that fits in the 50K-100K band in the US IF its extremely sucessful. (BTW, the “more than 60 MPG” is likely a pipe dream or based on other cycles than EPA. Even a Aktinson style engine would have difficulty returning more than 70 MPG from the US’s E10 gasoline even if 100% of power is used for forward motion. More likely is a 55-58 City MPG/50-52 HWY, which probably make people think “Why Bother” over a Prius. 30 or so gallons a year isn’t alot of cost savings)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (6:56 pm)

    Jackson: True enough at the moment, but the hope is that batteries will improve swiftly. It might be better to say that the 20 AER Volt is a project for another day. I also agree that it shouldn’t be a “Volt” at all, but some new less expensive (less flashy, fewer bells & whistles, Cap’n) Voltec offering with a different Chevy name. Perhaps … the Sparrow? Personally, I’m looking forward to a 60 mile AER model (same deal, don’t hold your breath — but maybe someday).  (Quote)

    Actually, I see the reverse. 60 AER and 80 AER could be possible, as energy densities improve, since battery costs will likely be less per 1 AER for 60 and for 80 than for 40. (IE, smaller proportional “Top” End needed. Lower average cell power draw = more reliable = maybe smaller proportional reserve) A 60 AER battery might only be 30-40% more expensive than a 40 AER battery.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:00 pm)

    steel: Actually, I see the reverse. 60 AER and 80 AER could be possible, as energy densities improve, since battery costs will likely be less per 1 AER for 60 and for 80 than for 40. (IE, smaller proportional “Top” End needed. Lower average cell power draw = more reliable = maybe smaller proportional reserve) A 60 AER battery might only be 30-40% more expensive than a 40 AER battery.  (Quote)

    I think both options will appear at the same time. Less expensive, higher performance batteries will enable both greater electric range models, and low-range cost leaders.


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    Genfixer

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:20 pm)

    More good news for GM and Ford from (of all places!) Consumers Reports. It seems that people are finally starting to recognize the vast improvement in the quality & reliability of GM & Ford product (not so much Chrysler).(http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10007/1026355-185.stm). Today’s been a good day!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:34 pm)

    Kurt: Great news!
    I have always been concerned with the supply of lithium for that incredible volume of packs, but I guess LG Chem knows a lot more than I do about their supply line, because nobody seems to be concerned with availability or demand cost.  

    There really isn’t that much lithium in a lithium battery. Most of the mass comes from the other components.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:39 pm)

    bill cosworth: I looked at the video carefully and maybe its just what they can show.It looks like the folks are just testing the pack no actual building is taking place.They put a few screws in the cover that`s about it.Seems like kinda of a waste of space for such a big plant>??Does anyone have specific data on what they actually do besides test the pack?  

    They really do make the pack there, but it appears they don’t want to show the assembly to the public yet. All I saw people do was wiggle some wires and put a few screws into an already assembled pack.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (7:57 pm)

    Jackson: I think both options will appear at the same time. Less expensive, higher performance batteries will enable both greater electric range models, and low-range cost leaders.  (Quote)

    The unfortunate truth is that if GM was able to offer a 20 AER plug-in Today, its cost would only be ~3,000-4,000 less than a 40 AER plug-in. Using the standard methods for SAE/EPA testing by the ANL suggests more like 125 MPG + 18 kWh/100 Miles… which would make most American’s wonder why not get the Larger Volt Hybrid. (Using consumption figures of .8 gallons/100 miles and .434 gallons/100 miles would be more favorable, but still fits in my mind into the current gen Insight Verus the Prius)

    As battery costs come down, I see the cost gap between a 20 AER and a 40 AER shrinking rather than growing. If we look at the future where the Volt’s 40 AER (16 kWh) pack costs 6,000 (Estimate 12,000 today). A 20 AER (~12 kWh) pack might still cost 4,500. At less than 2,000 dollars, it really just doesn’t make sense go 20 AER versus 40 AER. However, if in the Future a 60 AER pack (~20 kWh) costs more like 7,500, I could see that being a viable “upsell”.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:10 pm)

    On the Korean/American issue raised by several posters, some points to consider:
    *LG Chem is building the batteries in Korea today, but they will be building a factory in the US to build them here in the next two years, thanks in part to a large DOE grant
    *GE could have built the battery itself, but it didn’t want to get involved in a complex design process for a commodity good. As high-tech as li-ion batteries have become, they are still very simple parts. For GM to have built its own battery, it would have had to invest additional hundreds of millions of dollars into something that is the equivalent to a screw or a piece of sheet metal. Taking ownership of the battery pack, however, allows GM to participate in the building of a very cutting-edge, high-tech piece of equipment that has high margins.
    *In the long run, it is inevitable that most of the batteries used in North American cars will be manufactured in North America. The reason is weight. An 800 lb., 6 foot long battery pack costs as much as $100 to ship overseas. Higher labor costs in the US are probably less than that.
    *If we have to import the batteries from somewhere, isn’t South Korea a good choice? They are solid allies of the US, they have sent their soldiers to fight in wars that we started (primarily out of a sense of loyalty to us) and they are a solid democracy surrounded by totalitarian states. Much better than buying them from China, eh?


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:19 pm)

    steel:
    Actually, I see the reverse.60 AER and 80 AER could be possible, as energy densities improve, since battery costs will likely be less per 1 AER for 60 and for 80 than for 40.(IE, smaller proportional “Top” End needed.Lower average cell power draw = more reliable = maybe smaller proportional reserve)A 60 AER battery might only be 30-40% more expensive than a 40 AER battery.  

    I agree with your reasoning about the smaller proportional cost for a 60+ AER, but it may prove to be the case that GM’s abundance of caution re insuring that the battery is fully functional for 10 year period, is actually being *over*cautious. Even without the inevitable improvements in energy densities that will be seen, it may be that it will require VERY little extra investment to field an AER 60+ Volt (or Converj, etc.). JM(ever optimistic)O.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Still Pissed

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:23 pm)

    I’m not trolling but….

    As much as I would LOVE to buy a plug in car (hybrid or otherwise), I can’t buy another GM vehicle. All of the GM cars that I or my family or friends have owned for as long as I have been alive (40 years) have been absolute garbage. While other car companies were using technological advances (in materials, performance, manufacturing processes, etc) to make their cars better, GM was using those advances to make their cars cheaper (and I don’t mean less expensive).

    Separately, I would have been driving an EV1 for the last decade if they hadn’t ripped them from the loving hands of the EV1 drivers/leasers. Instead I drove Nissan, 2 BMWs (made in South Carolina), and now a Prius.

    Separate from all that, they have produced millions of cars with dangerous known defects (like the brakes in vans and camaros that cause high speed spins under emergency braking, or the fuel tanks in full sized trucks that were mounted in the crumple zones outside the frame rails, or numerous others) and continued to pump them out and pay for attorneys instead of engineers.

    Separate from all of the preceding facts, GM and other US car companies took billions from the US Govt to make hybrids back in the 90s, but they chose not to build them after they took the money for R&D. But GM did manage to get the Hummer H2 on the market soon after taking all that money. Toyota meanwhile (in response to the US government’s efforts to help the US companies position themselves for the obvious future wherein there would be high gas prices and environmental concerns) got to work on the Prius and now they can’t build enough of them to keep up with demand. Plus the Prius is a *really* cool car.

    Every time GM has had an opportunity to do something great they have spent all their money on lobbyists and lawyers instead of getting down to the business of designing and building a great car. When new fuel economy standards, safety standards, or any other requirement comes out that forces them in the direction they should have been headed in the first place, GM calls their legal team instead of their engineering team; trying to change the rules instead of changing their ways.

    I think any hybrid or electric car will be better for the world than any pure ICE vehicle, so I’m glad the Volt is coming.

    However, I don’t trust GM. I don’t trust them to design it right or build it right; and I don’t trust them to sell it right or service it right. I don’t trust them not to pull the plug on the project after a few years. I don’t trust them to market it properly.

    I don’t like the way GM does business. I don’t like their values. I don’t believe anything they say (unless it’s something candid like when Bob Lutz said that global warming is a “total crock of shit”.)

    I’m glad that so many US jobs were saved in the GM bailout, but the company really should have been allowed to die and go away after it failed so completely. From those ashes a better US automotive industry would have arisen. Without GM ratfucking potential competitors, threatening suppliers, and otherwise manipulating the market the country would have been better off in the long term.

    But I am willing to give GM another chance… They have been building crappy, unsafe vehicles and sodomizing their customers and anyone that has to share the road with them for at least 40 years. So if the Volt is the first step in GM turning over a new leaf, then I am willing to give them another chance – if they can not be assholes for 40 years in a row, I’ll consider buying one of their cars. That seems fair.


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    Texas

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:24 pm)

    Fantastic video! Great Job GM and Lyle.

    We are almost at the Hundredth Monkey.

    Note: For those that are wondering, the Hundredth Monkey is the effect in nature where a large group will wait until a certain number of animals (including humans) adopt a technology. As soon as the hundredth monkey adopts the technology, they all do almost simultaneously.

    This observation came after nuclear bomb testing back in the day. The scientists had to teach the monkeys to wash the coconuts before they ate them (due to radiation fallout). At first only a few did, then slowly more and more. However, when the hundredth monkey started washing the coconuts, the entire group of 10,000 monkeys joined in and also started washing coconuts.

    I wonder if GM has reached the hundredth executive or manager that really believes in the electrification of transportation. When they do, get out of the way.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:24 pm)

    FANTASTIC !

    Wish GM would show more than just final assembly though…
    WELL DONE! Love the work.

    PS don’t bother watching the press event – it’s a local political mutual stoking session unfortunately.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:32 pm)

    Test 1 2 3 4. I’ll check in with you tomorrow.
    LJGTVWOTR!!


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    Still Pissed

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:34 pm)

    PS – Just to be clear – when I said “I don’t believe anything they say (unless it’s something candid like when Bob Lutz said that global warming is a “total crock of shit”.)” I wasn’t saying that I believe what Lutz said about global warming, I was just saying that I didn’t think he was lying at that moment – I really DO believe that HE thinks global warming is a crock of shit…. clearly these are visionary leaders.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:39 pm)

    steel: The unfortunate truth is that if GM was able to offer a 20 AER plug-in Today, its cost would only be ~3,000-4,000 less than a 40 AER plug-in. Using the standard methods for SAE/EPA testing by the ANL suggests more like 125 MPG + 18 kWh/100 Miles… which would make most American’s wonder why not get the Larger Volt Hybrid. (Using consumption figures of .8 gallons/100 miles and .434 gallons/100 miles would be more favorable, but still fits in my mind into the current gen Insight Verus the Prius)As battery costs come down, I see the cost gap between a 20 AER and a 40 AER shrinking rather than growing. If we look at the future where the Volt’s 40 AER (16 kWh) pack costs 6,000 (Estimate 12,000 today). A 20 AER (~12 kWh) pack might still cost 4,500. At less than 2,000 dollars, it really just doesn’t make sense go 20 AER versus 40 AER. However, if in the Future a 60 AER pack (~20 kWh) costs more like 7,500, I could see that being a viable “upsell”.  (Quote)

    … so the question may actually be, how long will 40 AER last? Right now, Voltec has to target this figure as a “sweet spot,” the range that would satisfy the greatest proportion of daily commuters based on statistics. In the real world, drivers will want to cut other drivers off, go by a store on the way home, stay cool on a hot day, go out to lunch from their workplace and in general stretch out their daily miles. Also, what about the smaller percentage (but still very large) group of commuters who could meet their daily needs with a 60 AER range? An 80 AER range? They buy cars, too.

    Then there are those, like our Captain Jack, who are looking for the absolutely cheapest way to make a much smaller commute.

    If we are both right, 40 AER may not be “the limit” for much longer. The gap will be between the shortest, and the longest; with no option “in the middle.”

    Here’s another idea I’ve brought out here before:

    There’s no real need to use the highest performance batteries for an entire pack. You need some ultra-high performance batteries (with a much higher cycle life and energy density) to buffer the output of a smaller engine to provide all driving loads. The Gen I Volt design minimizes such buffering as much as possible in order to protect the current LG pack’s life; and a large engine must be throttled to follow the actual CS mode driving loads as closely as possible.

    If you can allow ultra-high performance batteries to cycle more frequently, a much smaller engine can now provide average power requirements without throttling as much. Smaller engine size + narrower power band = much greater CS mode efficiency.

    Yes, these high performance batteries would be expensive, but you would need far fewer of them compared to the number of cells in the current pack. And no, these batteries don’t yet exist — but maybe they could within a decade.

    The combination of a small engine and a small (5kwh or so) but very high performance battery pack might provide a compelling case for a Voltec variant which drives in “CS mode” all the time — with mpg ratings topping 60 or 70. GM might find the temptation to roll out a “Prius buster” overwhelming in this scenario.

    For a true Volt, you would add a storage-type battery (perhaps no better than the current design) which can hold many more kwhs than the small high performance “buffer battery.” These storage batteries would do no buffering at all, and could concievably have a longer lifetime at much lower cost than the future equivalent of today’s LG Li/Ion technology. Remember, it would cycle only when plugged in, and discharged at a modest rate to the buffer battery.

    Now, with two common parts, you can make a “plug-free” HEV car, and a high-range EREV. Make the storage battery half of what is needed for high-range (40 – 50 miles) and you can make three distinctly different kind of vehicles; low range (40 in this case) and high range (80).

    Or, you could use two or three buffer batteries with a single storage battery for an expensive hot rod. Or one buffer with three storage batteries for a BEV. Or … ??


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:41 pm)

    LauraM: I’m hoping California adds the “I want access to the HOV lane” group.

    It would save my wife almost half her commuting time. She doesn’t really need to use as the HOV lane — traffic isn’t that bad — but the on ramp does get backed up. If she had a sticker she could use the HOV access lane and zip right through the on ramp.

    But you’re right, the best sales pitches are like those late night TV ads, where they throw every benefit they can think at the potential customer.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:47 pm)

    Still Pissed: I’m not trolling but….As much as I would LOVE to buy a plug in car (hybrid or otherwise), I can’t buy another GM vehicle. All of the GM cars that I or my family or friends have owned for as long as I have been alive (40 years) have been absolute garbage. While other car companies were using technological advances (in materials, performance, manufacturing processes, etc) to make their cars better, GM was using those advances to make their cars cheaper (and I don’t mean less expensive).Separately, I would have been driving an EV1 for the last decade if they hadn’t ripped them from the loving hands of the EV1 drivers/leasers. Instead I drove Nissan, 2 BMWs (made in South Carolina), and now a Prius.Separate from all that, they have produced millions of cars with dangerous known defects (like the brakes in vans and camaros that cause high speed spins under emergency braking, or the fuel tanks in full sized trucks that were mounted in the crumple zones outside the frame rails, or numerous others) and continued to pump them out and pay for attorneys instead of engineers.Separate from all of the preceding facts, GM and other US car companies took billions from the US Govt to make hybrids back in the 90s, but they chose not to build them after they took the money for R&D. But GM did manage to get the Hummer H2 on the market soon after taking all that money. Toyota meanwhile (in response to the US government’s efforts to help the US companies position themselves for the obvious future wherein there would be high gas prices and environmental concerns) got to work on the Prius and now they can’t build enough of them to keep up with demand. Plus the Prius is a *really* cool car.Every time GM has had an opportunity to do something great they have spent all their money on lobbyists and lawyers instead of getting down to the business of designing and building a great car. When new fuel economy standards, safety standards, or any other requirement comes out that forces them in the direction they should have been headed in the first place, GM calls their legal team instead of their engineering team; trying to change the rules instead of changing their ways.I think any hybrid or electric car will be better for the world than any pure ICE vehicle, so I’m glad the Volt is coming.However, I don’t trust GM. I don’t trust them to design it right or build it right; and I don’t trust them to sell it right or service it right. I don’t trust them not to pull the plug on the project after a few years. I don’t trust them to market it properly.I don’t like the way GM does business. I don’t like their values. I don’t believe anything they say (unless it’s something candid like when Bob Lutz said that global warming is a “total crock of shit”.)I’m glad that so many US jobs were saved in the GM bailout, but the company really should have been allowed to die and go away after it failed so completely. From those ashes a better US automotive industry would have arisen. Without GM ratfucking potential competitors, threatening suppliers, and otherwise manipulating the market the country would have been better off in the long term.But I am willing to give GM another chance… They have been building crappy, unsafe vehicles and sodomizing their customers and anyone that has to share the road with them for at least 40 years. So if the Volt is the first step in GM turning over a new leaf, then I am willing to give them another chance – if they can not be assholes for 40 years in a row, I’ll consider buying one of their cars. That seems fair.  (Quote)

    GM take note.

    There are millions out there who are

    “still pissed.”

    You have to get the Volt right. Then you have to get the Gen 1.5 Volt right. Then you have to get Gen 2.0 right … and yes, all the ICE cars and trucks too, from now on.

    This is what you’re up against.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:48 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow:
    Most, if not all, of the big electric car mfgrs are using AC Induction.
    The Prius uses NdFeB in their mootors.

    ..or did you really want to spell it…..
    ….Prius…………………….”MOOOOT”ors? (lol/g.)


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (8:49 pm)

    Today I shed a tear for every happy thought.
    Go GM Volt
    Go GM Volt
    Go GM Volt Go!

    NPNS!


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    kdawg

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:00 pm)

    stillpissed: I’m glad that so many US jobs were saved in the GM bailout, but the company really should have been allowed to die and go away after it failed so completely. From those ashes a better US automotive industry would have arisen.

    It wasn’t just GM jobs.. the aftermath would have been 3million jobs from alll walks of life. No US company would have stepped up to the auto industry, and you would be buying unsafe Chinese cars from Walmart, and sending more $ overseas. You need to protect one of the last few manufacturing bases we have in this country.

    Also, for every GM horror story you have, I have 10 more for BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda…etc. A lot of the time its operator error.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:02 pm)

    Today My volt starts to take shape


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    DonC

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:11 pm)

    Jackson: This is what you’re up against.

    Good point. Though not everyone has been burned, and some have had good experiences, many hold the view that GM makes poor quality vehicles or, even worse, are sort of evil incarnate.

    My personal feeling is that while GM makes some good cars, and its product is getting better all the time, the product line as a whole lags behind Ford, whose product line is just a notch under that offered by Toyota and Honda. I don’t think the Volt can change the product quality — GM will have to do that car by car and model by model. But it can change the perception that GM is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    As far as product quality is concerned, the best news lately from GM is that the Cruze was delayed so they could fix the drive train. Hopefully they’ve learned that getting the car right is more important than meeting budget or the release date.

    Generally I do see the US car manufacturers as having made enough strides so that they are at least in a position to turn the corner. Just as a personal note, if I wasn’t committed to buying a hybrid or EV as my next car, I’d look at the Buick LaCrosse. A few years ago I can’t think of a GM car I’d even consider. And as for hybrids, I’d look very closely at the Fusion hybrid before I’d look at the Prius — seems like a better and safer car. (I also think that as software becomes a more important part of a car’s appeal the US manufacturers have an opportunity to make some headway against the Japanese manufacturers but that very interesting topic needs to wait for another day).


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    Jon

     

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:16 pm)

    I know that the Volt battery is 16-kwh but only 8-kwh is usable. But if half the battery is only usable then why not make the battary only 8-kwh? Then it would be half the size, weight and cost half as less making the car cheaper.

    Although did they make it 16-kwh so that as individual cells in the battery wear out or not hold a good charge the computers on board the battery know to stop using that cell and start using a cell that not been used out of the remaining 8-kwh unusable side?

    I just want to verify this.


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    pKIO3

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:25 pm)

    Jon: I know that the Volt battery is 16-kwh but only 8-kwh is usable. But if half the battery is only usable then why not make the battary only 8-kwh? Then it would be half the size, weight and cost half as less making the car cheaper.Although did they make it 16-kwh so that as individual cells in the battery wear out or not hold a good charge the computers on board the battery know to stop using that cell and start using a cell that not been used out of the remaining 8-kwh unusable side?I just want to verify this.  

    It’s not that only half the battery is usable. Li batteries have a “sweet” zone for max charge and discharge to maintain battery life. By “doubling” the size of the battery GM insure that battery usage stays in that “sweet” zone. I think GM is being very conservative on this range but rightfully so until we have more real world history.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:30 pm)

    bill cosworth: I looked at the video carefully and maybe its just what they can show.It looks like the folks are just testing the pack no actual building is taking place.They put a few screws in the cover that`s about it.Seems like kinda of a waste of space for such a big plant>??Does anyone have specific data on what they actually do besides test the pack?  (Quote)

    The “testing the pack” is done in Warren MI in the battery lab. I’m sure they do some QA testing, but this factory is primarily an assembly line. GM invested some really big dollars in their battery lab (on the tech center campus). This would be where they do long term testing, stress testing, etc. One of the functions of the assembly process is to measure individual cells and match them up. As cells are wired in parrallel to form a module (several modules in a pack) you want all of the individual cells to have characteristics as close to being matched as possible. This is true of solar cells as well, BTW. If one cell differs then it will act like a partial short circuit and lower efficiency. So it is possible to have one cell that will be terrible for one particular module, but still fine when matched with others close to it. Gee, that indicates that the higher your production the better the possible quality and the easier it is to find matches. I’m sure that computer testing and matching is a big factor in this.


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    pKIO3

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:35 pm)

    kdawg:
    It wasn’t just GM jobs.. the aftermath would have been 3million jobs from alll walks of life.No US company would have stepped up to the auto industry, and you would be buying unsafe Chinese cars from Walmart, and sending more $ overseas.You need to protect one of the last few manufacturing bases we have in this country.Also, for every GM horror story you have, I have 10 more for BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda…etc.A lot of the time its operator error.  

    Totally agree and would add you could probably find just as many good GM stories if people were honest. I’m 54 and have owned nothing but GM vehicles. Most of my family has owned either GM or Ford. I can’t remember any horror stories with them. In fact we look at the Toyota and Honda products and keep coming back to GM. My first car was a ’76 Buick Skyhawk. A really nice solid little car. I’m here today because it survived a 40+ mph head on with a bigger car. I ended up walking away from the wreck and the car was repairable. Not sure I would agree with the unsafe GM car comments.


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    Tagamet

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:37 pm)

    Jackson:
    GM take note.There are millions out there who are“still pissed.”You have to get the Volt right.Then you have to get the Gen 1.5 Volt right.Then you have to get Gen 2.0 right … and yes, all the ICE cars and trucks too, from now on.This is what you’re up against.  

    Well said and worth repeating!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Dave G

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:54 pm)

    DonC: They obviously have identified two psycho-demogrphics: “eco warriors” and “new tech”. They are completely missing the third, which I’d call “patriotic” (which would include national security but also economics).

    And the 4th demographic, which is “comfort/convenience”. Many people hate going to the gas station, which is something that the Volt largely eliminates. Driving electric is dead quiet. And some states may allow the Volt in HOV lanes with a single occupant. I’m sure this list goes on.

    And I would expand the 3rd “patriotic” demographic to include people who have connected the dots between terrorism and oil money.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (9:58 pm)

    Hey Tag,
    Don’t you think it’s really impressive that all these various governmental officials are right there for the first battery off the line?

    This is one of those benchmark moments in history that often goes unnoticed by the general public, but not here, and not by us.

    Profound changes for the far better are almost here.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:05 pm)

    Jim I: Why isn’t Maximum Bob Lutz there for the battery plant opening????
    Now what will statik have to talk about, if there is no pink tie up on the stage???
    Let’s start the chant:
    Bring back Lutz!!!! Bring back Lutz!!!!

    Bob was being interviewed by Fox News at about 9:00 AM. I suspect that he and Witacre avoid each other.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:14 pm)

    Dan Petit: Hey Tag,Don’t you think it’s really impressive that all these various governmental officials are right there for the first battery off the line?This is one of those benchmark moments in history that often goes unnoticed by the general public, but not here, and not by us.  

    Although, yes, I’m glad to see the politicians in attendance, I believe that on SOOOOO many levels our group here truly has a much deeper understanding of the historical significance of today’s event (and the Volt’s development). We owe that to Lyle’s ongoing efforts over these years of watching and waiting.
    If Gm can just avoid “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”, there will be no stopping them. Sometimes my excited anticipation warps into (brief) periods of flat out fear (g). The Volt WILL be spot on and a lot of hearts and minds will follow.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    carcus1

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:22 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Did you guys / gals (carcus1) see this?!?!?!?!
    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100107-708608.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines  

    Thanks for the heads up.

    I looked into this further and was actually able to come up with video footage from inside the GM boardroom where their top accountants were working out the details.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekCnpvG53Fg


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:22 pm)

    Tagamet:
    Although, yes, I’m glad to see the politicians in attendance, I believe that on SOOOOO many levels our group here truly has a much deeper understanding of the historical significance of today’s event (and the Volt’s development). We owe that to Lyle’s ongoing efforts over these years of watching and waiting.
    If Gm can just avoid “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”, there will be no stopping them. Sometimes my excited anticipation warps into (brief) periods of flat out fear (g). The Volt WILL be spot on and a lot of hearts and minds will follow.
    Be well,
    TagametLet’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS   

    I really think its a finished product already. I have a hunch that some people even at GM do not completely comprehend this history-making moment in time. I think they could triple production plans immediately if they wanted. That might be a good idea after a few quarters of production. They might have the software set initially at moderate peaks of performance for those of us who never use the accelerator agressively anyway, identify as many moderate drivers as possible (maybe by those who haven’t had a traffic ticket in, say, what, 20 years? (lol)).


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    Lloyd Unger

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:29 pm)

    8kwh usable battery pack? For a car that is supposed to go 40 miles on battery alone 8kwh is not much power. Hope you like spending $40,000 for a car whose average output is 12 horsepower…


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:37 pm)

    Lloyd Unger: 8kwh usable battery pack?For a car that is supposed to go 40 miles on battery alone 8kwh is not much power.Hope you like spending $40,000 for a car whose average output is 12 horsepower…  

    Hey Lloyd,
    Aerodynamics are super efficient.
    Ed Whitacre will try his best to get our costs down.
    All you need to maintain 60 mph is about 10 of your 12 HP.
    Average output is a composite of all power levels for the trip.

    Thanks for the post. I was dozing off there for a minute waiting for Tag in the post-time-delay.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (10:49 pm)

    Dan Petit:
    I really think its a finished product already.I have a hunch that some people even at GM do not completely comprehend this history-making moment in time. I think they could triple production plans immediately if they wanted. That might be a good idea after a few quarters of production. They might have the software set initially at moderate peaks of performance for those of us who never use the accelerator agressively anyway, identify as many moderate drivers as possible (maybe by those who haven’t had a traffic ticket in, say, what, 20 years? (lol)).  

    I sure hope they use THAT criteria – no tickets in 35 years!
    I agree with the announced game plan of fielding small numbers of vehicles, just in case something unforeseen pops up. At the same time I *believe* that they have so thoroughly tested the preproduction vehicles that their odds of hitting the triple (or home-run) are good. It’s a fine line to walk between ramping up too early and ramping up too late! I *hope* that they take advantage of every opportunity to get test vehicles out there in significant numbers so they can pump up their confidence.
    I’m more than a little biased, but Lyle has basically grown GM’s “seed corn” (US). They can either take advantage of that resource or ignore it….
    We’ll know soon.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    Jim in PA: Not to nitpick, but I thought that LG engineered the cells and that GM engineered the pack.

    LG engineered the cells to GMs specific requirements, and CPI engineered the first battery packs to GM’s specific requirements. “Specific requirements” is another way of saying that GM was heavily involved in the engineering.

    In other words, GM, LG, and CPI all engineered the solution together. Imagine that! International companies working together to make a great product…

    Anyway, I’m not very concerned about importing battery cells from a thriving democracy like South Korea. Compare that to the worlds top oil exporters:
    Country ………………….. millions of barrels per day
    Saudi Arabia …………….. 8.65
    Russia ……………………. 6.57
    Norway …………………… 2.54
    Iran ……………………….. 2.52
    United Arab Emirates ….. 2.52
    Venezuela ………………. 2.2

    Why are people so concerned about imported products, but don’t seem to care about imported oil?


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:05 pm)

    Having an advanced battery facility as Brownstown. Operating just 5 days a week, day shift only. Employees should be able to produce 100 packs a day on a sleep walk. This modest pace equals 25,000 parts per year. A pace of 100,000 parts per year is very achievable by early 2011.

    Will GM be fork lifting these complete batteries to a storage area? Or will the completed cells go into consumer product? Good chance these will go directly into sellable vehicles. 9000 Volt in three months. Ad two months time for parts delays and a month for unforeseen issues. Equals early July 2010.

    I believe Mr. Lutz mentioned the possibility of an Operation Driveway program?

    =D~


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:07 pm)

    Dave G: Why are people so concerned about imported products, but don’t seem to care about imported oil?

    I know that we are not a “normal population”, but I think that most people here ARE concerned about imported oil.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:13 pm)

    Dave K.: Equals early July 2010.

    Like Independence Day?
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Dave G

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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:15 pm)

    Jon: I know that the Volt battery is 16-kwh but only 8-kwh is usable. But if half the battery is only usable then why not make the battery only 8-kwh?

    First, at the end of the battery’s life, the 16kWh it had when new will be down to only 12kWh, but that’s still enough to provide 8KWh usable:

    VOLT BATTERY AGING … New … 5 years … 10 years … End of life
    Total capacity (kWh) ……… 16 …… 14.5 ……… 13 ………… 12
    Charger shuts off at ……… 80% ….. 82% ……… 85% ……… 87%
    ICE turns on at ……………. 30% ….. 27% ……… 23% ……… 20%
    Available kWh ……………….. 8 …….. 8 …………. 8 …………. 8

    Second, you need some battery buffer in change sustaining mode. The generator only supplies 75hp, but the motor is 150hp. The the generator is only supplying average hp. That means the battery still has to provide peak hp in charge sustaining mode.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:36 pm)

    I think that our Texas and Alabama contingents are involved in a bit of football (lol)
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:41 pm)

    Umm, I hate to be a BOBN (Bearer of bad news), but these batteries made now won’t be driven until a year from now…doesn’t that have some kind of affect on it, IDK, ~10% of it’s life span wasted in a holding pattern…??
    On a second subject, I WAAANNT a Volt!!! Of course, I just bought a Civic Hybrid 3 years ago, so I’ll probably wait until Gen 2 so as to not encourage too many new vehicles, awesome as they are. That’ll give me time to find a cushy job, buy a house, throw some DOW CIGS solar roofing shingles up there, then I can charge for my commute with homegrown energy! So I can get to work and make money to pay for all those things that allow me to get to work. Haha…Americans suck sometimes because we have soooo much crap.


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:48 pm)

    carcus1:
    Thanks for the heads up.I looked into this further andwas actually able to come up withvideo footage from inside the GM boardroom where their top accountants were working out the details.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekCnpvG53Fg  

    This is probably what happens in Senate meetings nowadays. Hilarious!


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    Jan 7th, 2010 (11:51 pm)

    Kurt: Umm, I hate to be a BOBN (Bearer of bad news), but these batteries made now won’t be driven until a year from now…doesn’t that have some kind of affect on it, IDK, ~10% of it’s life span wasted in a holding pattern…??

    Where’d you get the idea that the batteries will sit for a year?
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (12:17 am)

    Work tomorrow – will be on late. Congrats to Alabama, and to Texas. Both have a lot to be proud of.
    Night all,
    Tagamet

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


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    LauraM

     

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    Jan 8th, 2010 (1:45 am)

    Dave G: Why are people so concerned about imported products, but don’t seem to care about imported oil?

    Well, if you go by classic mercantalistic economic models, you’re supposed to import raw materials (including oil), and export high value added manufactured goods. That way your country amasses lots of gold and silver and becomes wealthier than other countries. That’s why European countries had colonies. To produce raw materials, and provide markets for manufactured goods. The idea was that economic growth is a zero sum game.

    Adam Smith countered that by proving that trade could expand the economic pie. Which is true. But, contrary to his thesis, free trade doesn’t work when it only goes one way. Which it seems to with most Asian countries. Mainly because they all modeled themselves after Japan, which pioneered the export led growth model. Of course, that model stops working when you run out of countries willing to increase their trade deficits….which is one of the reasons why Japan’s economy is a train wreck, and China’s refusing to allow the renmimbi to appreciate.

    That said, I think most of us agree that imported oil is a major problem. Partially because of where the world’s major oil reserves are located. But also because it’s a non-renewable resource that every economy in the world needs in order to function. And, at some point, demand is going to outstrip supply unless we do something about it.


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (6:37 am)

    LauraM: Well, if you go by classic mercantalistic economic models, you’re supposed to import raw materials (including oil),

    You are suppose to import things if they are cheap or you don’t have them. England in the mercantile age imported raw materials because they didn’t have them. They had coal and they didn’t import that. They imported sugar, tea etc.

    Oil is no longer cheap, especially including the military costs of protecting the sea lanes. There are many many reasons to reduce oil imports, but not can be simpler to understand then it isn’t cheap, it will get more expensive and more scarce over time and we need to have 11 aircraft carriers and hundreds of support ships to keep the oil flowing (not to mention gound wars periodically)


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (6:45 am)

    tom: You are suppose to import things if they are cheap or you don’t have them

    I don’t know why it is hard for some people to understand, that oil no longer is the cheapest most reliable energy source. It is neither cheap nor reliable, though it is still a light weight way to store energy.

    So switching our economy to use home grown energy sources that are CHEAPER can’t happen at a better time because it will create jobs that we sorely need.

    We are done with the importing of cheap energy, and thank goodness because we are importing labor over the internet and we need all the economic development we can get.


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    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Jan 8th, 2010 (9:45 am)

    Dave GWhy are people so concerned about imported products, but don’t seem to care about imported oil?  

    Because when people are addicted to something, they don’t care which pusher sells it to them.


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (9:52 am)

    Timestamp of prior post: 6:45am.
    Timestamp of Lyle’s next article: 7:20am (appx.)
    Timestamp of my post, #240: 9:45am EDT.

    Ergo, nobody is reading any of what I’m writing … LOL!!

    On to the “good news” article!!


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    LauraM

     

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    Jan 8th, 2010 (12:04 pm)

    tom: Oil is no longer cheap, especially including the military costs of protecting the sea lanes. There are many many reasons to reduce oil imports, but not can be simpler to understand then it isn’t cheap, it will get more expensive and more scarce over time and we need to have 11 aircraft carriers and hundreds of support ships to keep the oil flowing (not to mention gound wars periodically)

    Oil was very cheap in the 80s and the 90s. And if we had taxed it and worked on alternatives then, we’d be in much better shape today. It’s dangerous to have your economy rely too much on a natural resource that you don’t control. Regardless of the price they’re currently selling it at.


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (9:42 pm)

    though I want an electric car really bad, and the Volt seems to be coming along, it’s still not too late for GM to ef this up, this battery is so huge and it will barely do 40 miles, these guys need to visit evalbum.com maybe they can learn something


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (11:14 pm)

    Tagamet:
    Where’d you get the idea that the batteries will sit for a year?
    Be well,
    TagametLet’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS   

    Well, they’re due out in November, this is January. Some packs are already assembled, so perhaps 10-11 months would be more accurate. I’m saying for this car it actually makes a difference if it’s sitting at the plant, in a dealer’s lot, or already being used. It will really shake things up for the industry when they are expected to move their supply line and manufacturing a lot quicker with EREVs (as if that’s not enough shaking up already!)


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (11:16 pm)

    Dan Petit:

    Woah. So I started some collegiate chemistry classes so I can be one of the people that makes a breakthrough before EEStor…anyways, I might need a break – I read this as “laughs per gram.” I have no idea what the g is actually for.


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    Jan 8th, 2010 (11:50 pm)

    Kurt: Tagamet:
    Where’d you get the idea that the batteries will sit for a year?
    Be well,
    TagametLet’s Just Get The Volts’ Wheels On The Road!!**********NPNS   Well, they’re due out in November, this is January. Some packs are already assembled, so perhaps 10-11 months would be more accurate. I’m saying for this car it actually makes a difference if it’s sitting at the plant, in a dealer’s lot, or already being used. It will really shake things up for the industry when they are expected to move their supply line and manufacturing a lot quicker with EREVs (as if that’s not enough shaking up already!)  

    It *might* make a difference IF the batteries were just sitting unused. It’s much more likely that the batteries that have been made to date HAVE been used – either for bench testing or in pre-production vehicles. I think that today’s thread about an early release of the Volt would support that idea. If they take advantage of Independence Day as a release date, this is all a moot point.
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    Wayne

     

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    Jan 9th, 2010 (1:40 am)

    Nice video!

    I thought there would be more to putting them together though.


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    Dan Petit

     

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    Jan 9th, 2010 (6:26 am)

    Kurt:
    Woah. So I started some collegiate chemistry classes so I can be one of the people that makes a breakthrough before EEStor…anyways, I might need a break – I read this as “laughs per gram.” I have no idea what the g is actually for.  

    Hey Kurt,
    A small g. means the poster is saying something with a grin (humor). I picked that up from Tag, who has the best humor of anyone here.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath for EESTOR. Although the concept was admirable, the concentration of all those electrons still have to be insulated. And, insulated very safely at those extremely high voltages. All those plates in series and parallel also invite the question of perfected quality control, it seems to me.

    I would not at all be comfortable with a 3,500 volt energy source at such high energy density. But I certainly would think that if all the obstacles EESTOR has to overcome were solved, that a stationary power bank for wind energy and solar energy would be its application, not automotive from my perspective.


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    pjkPA

     

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    Jan 9th, 2010 (6:33 am)

    Bud: All this sounds great but I just read that Congress passed legislation halting the closure of GM dealerships that supposedly would have put GM on sound financial footing. Apparently politicians want GM to take another look at these dealers that make GM unprofitable. This is what I pretty much expected from a government bailout, Congress trying to manage the company with the goal of getting them re-elected. GM will never be profitable and will never get off the government dole. This will mean a money losing mediocre company that I won’t want to buy a car from. I love the Volt and the concept but take me off the list.  

    Bud… if you only knew how much GM’s main competitors have been getting from their governments .. your sentiments would be just the opposite. ie: Hyundai was started by the Korean government…. Toyota got the money to develop and build the Prius from the Japanese government… they put huge tariffs on anything American while building plants in the US and pay NO US TAXES..etc…etc…


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    Dan Petit

     

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    Jan 9th, 2010 (7:40 am)

    One of the important facts that came out of all the videos I saw yesterday was that the newer generation battery packs are
    *backwards compatible* for the generation 1 Volts. This would confer an economy-of-scale backwards to generation 1 when these packs have fulfilled their (first) purpose.

    Note: Also note in the videos that whereas the “t” pack shape itself may be cumbersome for proper second-use placement-adapted applications, the intermal modules (if properly set up) might be more adaptable if slow (stationary) charge/discharge rates are how it is secondarily utilized, as far as spacial compactness is concerned. (Although far more would need to be known about the internal balancing, etc. It may work out that these issues are well known in ten years’ time).


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    Tagamet

     

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    Jan 9th, 2010 (8:48 am)

    Dan Petit: One of the important facts that came out of all the videos I saw yesterday was that the newer generation battery packs are
    *backwards compatible* for the generation 1 Volts. This would confer an economy-of-scale backwards to generation 1 when these packs have fulfilled their (first) purpose.Note:Also note in the videos that whereas the “t” pack shape itself may be cumbersome for proper second-use placement-adapted applications, the intermal modules (if properly set up) might be more adaptable if slow (stationary) charge/discharge rates are how it is secondarily utilized, as far as spacial compactness is concerned. (Although far more would need to be known about the internal balancing, etc.It may work out that these issues are well known in ten years’ time).  

    Amen!
    Be well,
    Tagamet

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


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    volt tuner

     

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    Jan 14th, 2010 (10:16 pm)

    What shocking news about the 16kw, only using half the power.
    Looks like the volt will be a pretty fast drag racer if you could mod the battery pack to give full current.

    And yes people like me will try.

    The will be the new tuner car for the future.