May 09

GM’s Rob Peterson talks to industry peers about ‘managing expectations’

 

When GM Spokesman Rob Peterson outlined key marketing strategies Chevrolet is employing with the Volt at the EDTA conference a few weeks ago, the fourth point he said was, “last, but definitely not least.”

He titled it, “Managing expectations of both our products but also the EV movement itself.”


Matt Stehouwer is one person who knows what to expect from his Chevrolet Volt. Peterson acknowledged him for having flown into New York during a snowstorm to buy the car, then drive it home to Lansing, Mich.

Peterson said this is a defensive measure – and a necessary one – given the number of critics and other antagonists postured against the Volt and EVs in general.

Managing Expectations

“Most importantly, our greatest opportunity isn’t an opportunity to actually move the football past the goal line. It’s an opportunity to make sure that we don’t lose any ground,” Peterson said. “This is very important. There’s no question that our industry – this movement, EVs – is in the cross hairs of people that want to challenge the relevance of electric vehicles.”

GM’s intentions to build on the Voltec platform are seen as holding no water by those who are moved by a different agenda, Peterson said.

“There are groups out there – pundits and detractors – who desperately want to see this not succeed. I don’t want to say fail, they just don’t want to see it succeed,” Peterson said, “They will go to great lengths to try and challenge the success of what we’re trying to achieve here. We can’t do anything about it, quite frankly, except to protect our ground, but what we can do is make sure that we that we manage our expectations, and customers in the industry and of our dealer force appropriately.”

He highlighted some of the items on GM’s Voltec preparation to-do list.

“These are things such as making sure that we fully optimize our infrastructure; making sure that the understanding of the utilities and how utilities will work with charging in garages, and making sure that our production guides [are properly communicated to the public],” Peterson said.


Chevrolet Vice President U.S. Marketing Rick Scheidt holds the 2011 World Green Car award for the Chevrolet Volt at the New York International Auto Show Thursday, April 21, 2011 in New York City.

On this last topic, Peterson noted some of the flak and misunderstanding GM has had to contend with from some in the media.

“For us at General Motors, our product plans 10,000 units this year. We have a great deal of demand but we don’t have the supply, but we continually get challenged by media and others that, ‘your sales aren’t enough,’” he said, “Our sales are exactly where we want them to be.”

The need to qualify some of the realities of production EVs is also there, Peterson said.

“And then performance. There are certain elements of battery electric vehicles that physics dictates and we can’t overcome,” he said, “We need to make sure that we appropriately communicate the challenges and that we educate our customers, and we educate the media and those alike, so that they understand what those are – because there are significant benefits that people want to overlook in order to keep us in the cross hairs.”

GM’s intention to lose nothing gained, he said, includes holding onto its marketing point number one – building strategic relationships, as well as points number two and three pertaining to customer testimonials, which we featured earlier, and he summarized once more.

“So managing expectations. It’s not the high point. We have other things that we can do to tell our story. But the last thing we want to do is lose any ground that we’ve gained already,” he said, “So from a Chevrolet perspective, again, four areas of marketing that we’re looking at as we go forward: Relationships, we need to continue to build them throughout the industry. And we need to continue to build them as we launch this vehicle; make sure the customer ownership experience remains satisfying – above satisfactory, in fact, closer to remarkable.”


Rob Peterson (L, facing), and Tony Posawatz (R, profile seated) are a dynamic team representing the Volt.

Sharing plausible testimonials is core to accelerating EV proliferation, he said.

“And our ownership stories, and the people that have the passion and credibility – that their stories will be heard and shared, and that we properly manage the expectations of everybody that’s interested in electric vehicles,” Peterson said, “If we can do these four things successfully going forward, we have the chance to move this segment into the mainstream much faster.”

As he wrapped up, Peterson reiterated GM’s dedication to ushering in a new paradigm.

“We obviously at General Motors are very committed to electric vehicles. I think we have proven to those detractors and doubters who questioned our commitment in 2007,” Peterson said, “We’ve obviously invested significantly in bringing the Volt to market, but we’ve also invested significantly in the development of electric vehicle technology that will bring other electric vehicles to market as well. So this is of great interest to our company, and obviously to the other panelists here.”

This entry was posted on Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 64


  1. 1
    Raymondjram

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (6:53 am)

    Nice article.

    When will GM announce the other Voltec vehicles, especially the “Orlando” based small SUV? Since the Equinox has a excellent sales volume, I believe that it wound not be modified yet, and that GM will prefer to introduce a new SUV for the Voltec technology.

    Raymond


  2. 2
    Tom

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (7:44 am)

    I told my next door neighbor I was going to get a Volt when they are available hear and he actually launched into don’t do that mode he was convinced it would make his electric bill go up. He told me just think what would happen if a small number of the people buying gas start using electric instead.

    I did not have the information to convince him charging would be mostly at night when there is lots of extra capacity.

    We will have people mad at us for costing them money.
    Tom


  3. 3
    Tim Hart

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tim Hart
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (8:33 am)

    I have a lot of respect for the way GM is handling the rollout of the Volt. As Rob said and we have seen ourselves, there is a lot of abuse about the Volt and other EV’s that is hard to understand but nevertheless a reality. Most of the impatience comes from all of us that want one real bad but can’t have one yet. The vast majority are still just beginning to understand what the Volt is and how it works. GM’s approach to building a strong foundation in infrastructure and relationships, resisting the temptation to rush ahead before the time is right is the way to go.


  4. 4
    storm

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    storm
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (8:53 am)

    Tom: I told my next door neighbor I was going to get a Volt when they are available hear and he actually launched into don’t do that mode he was convinced it would make his electric bill go up. He told me just think what would happen if a small number of the people buying gas start using electric instead.

    I did not have the information to convince him charging would be mostly at night when there is lots of extra capacity.

    We will have people mad at us for costing them money. Tom

    Any idea why he thought that your using electricity would increase his bill?


  5. 5
    RB

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    RB
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:07 am)

    Peterson’s comments have a very defensive tone. Wonder what’s bothering him.


  6. 6
    Dan

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:10 am)

    I can relate to Matt….I flew into the same snowstorm and drove mine back to Chicago! Would have been funny to pass each other on the highway.


  7. 7
    Mark Z

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:17 am)

    The concept of a vehicle like the Volt that plugs in and fuels up is now a reality and proven technology. While there will always be negative news to fight, the number of positive news stories and awards is proof that GM got it right.

    If GM keeps quality number one, the success of the Volt and Voltec technology could be as popular as the iPhone.


  8. 8
    Dan Petit

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:28 am)

    Expectations will ultimately manage themselves via expressed customer experience. The details contained within the extended warranty clauses are the foundation for expectations for the long term.

    I would like to see built into the extended warranty (the cost still not yet “expected” to be known, lol), various forward-thinking options for warranted very-discounted battery replacement cost for, say, ten years out. This would help a lot. (Especially for us high annual mileage drivers. (24,000/yr. in my case.))

    Most people don’t think about very long term outlooks, but if GM did that, it would be stating some extremely confident things about what GM itself expects for the Volt in it’s future.

    Here, as we discuss the various things regarding what we think about Voltec, it is also important to realize that we are also helping GM to manage its own expectations. Creative beneficial clauses within **one** and only **one** available GM extended warranty could possibly be a true way to maintain “ground” for the public expectations for such a new product.

    Writing the text of the warranty so that it is reflective of both interests of GM and the dealership service department, as well as for the customers perspectives can most certainly be done. I plan to sit there all day performing a line by line exegesis for each sentence, and am looking forward to being very impressed.


  9. 9
    mfennell

    -21

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    mfennell
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:30 am)

    (click to show comment)


  10. 10
    lousloot

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    lousloot
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:33 am)

    Managing expectations — Reminds me of planned–unplanned computer outages where I used to work. If we don’t crash the system every now and then, mgmt wouldn’t appreciate us. I sure hope they aren’t de-tuning the Volt to keep expectations low…

    I hope no one is surprised that people do not get it yet. EVs are new which = scary for many people. Luckily, each bit of confusion can be a teaching moment.

    I believe that the tide has turned — and even if the Volt and L.E.A.F aren’t hits, gen 2 or Ford’s answer or… will be.

    Bad things will happen, people will be outraged… yawn, nothing to worry about.


  11. 11
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:48 am)

    I’m curious about this statement: “And then performance. There are certain elements of battery electric vehicles that physics dictates and we can’t overcome,” he said.

    I wonder what he’s talking about. All electric range? The Volt may not be the perfect car but the drive train sure delivers. The low rolling resistance tires mean it’s not the best in corners but no big deal. And it’s not the fastest car I’ve ever had but if I’m willing to drive aggressively I can leave everyone in the dust — people don’t drive like they’re in a race when they’re going to the grocery store. It’s also very quiet and the smoothest drive you’ll ever find.

    Given I’m not seeing any issues with performance I’m a little confused and would like him to be a bit more specific.


  12. 12
    crew

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    crew
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (10:07 am)

    DonC: I’m curious about this statement: “And then performance. There are certain elements of battery electric vehicles that physics dictates and we can’t overcome,” he said.

    I wonder what he’s talking about. All electric range?

    Weight.

    For 5 star safety IIHS and gov ratings, the catch to meeting all demands to be at the top of the class is the cost vs. the benefit of materials used to reduce weight.

    Sometimes we forget that no other vehicle in the weight class of the Volt can beat it for real world energy economy. But who else really knows that with all of the Prius/Leaf comparisons out there?
    Does GM need to be wedded to a 4 passenger or larger vehicle and the weight that comes with it? I’ve owned 2 seat cars before and I see no reason for GM not to build a 2 seat Voltec if not for an excellent reason of getting that Prius/Leaf beating efficiency numbers and ruling the green economy class.

    But to stick to the battery itself, the one the Volt uses must be babied. If it has performance numbers stretched, the battery doesn’t last long. If the temperature isn’t controlled, it becomes a brick. If the size is increased, so must be the temperature controls and car body components improved to handle the extra weight.

    These changes cannot be made without changing the type of battery technology used. And if you want a miracle battery, well, there are plenty of glossy press releases out there for them.


  13. 13
    DonC

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (10:09 am)

    mfennell: 230MPG!
    50MPG on GAS!
    ICE never drives the wheels!
    Please. GM has been its own worst enemy here. If they had managed to keep their marketing department under control during development, there would be far less criticism of the car.

    Well I’ve gone 1200 miles and used .23 gallons of gas. That’s a decimal followed by two numbers. So the 230 MPG number doesn’t bother me. The claim that the ICE never drives the wheels likewise is a non-issue for me. First what was said was that the ICE didn’t directly drive the wheels. That’s 100% accurate. Unless you want to make an issue out of it, having the small motor-generator provide torque when the engine is already running isn’t the same as having the engine directly attach to the planetary gearset and turn the wheels during CD Mode. Moreover it’s hard to take this argument seriously because those propounding it usually follow it with the absurdity “just like the Prius”, which is the most clueless of claims given that the Prius does connect the engine directly to the gearset.

    My biggest criticism in this respect is the “refrigerator” claim. Several times there were presentations about how a Volt wouldn’t use any more juice than a refrigerator. Are you kidding me? What kind of refrigerator do they use? One for storing meat for the Empire State building? If you’re generous, a Volt can go four miles on a kWh of electricity, so a thousand miles requires 250 kWh. A modern refrigerator uses may 350 kWh a year. IOW this claim doesn’t pass the laugh test.

    Other than this I think all the whining about misrepresentations is completely FOS. As you go through a development process things change. Mostly for the worse but sometimes for the better. Happens all the time. If you want to compare the Volt with the Tesla Roadster, when you go back for the Roadster claims they were all off by huge amounts. If you want a development process to be transparent you need to understand that the end result will probably NOT fit the plan announced before the process started.


  14. 14
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (10:21 am)

    crew: I’ve owned 2 seat cars before and I see no reason for GM not to build a 2 seat Voltec if not for an excellent reason of getting that Prius/Leaf beating efficiency numbers and ruling the green economy class.

    The Leaf gets 99 MPGe. The Volt 96 MPGe. Who cares? Actually I PREFER that the Volt has more mass since it makes the car safer (along with several other more important things of course). This is actually one of the points that people find salient. Yes if you drove 12,000 all electric miles you’d use 100 kWh more electricity in a Volt than a Leaf. Those 100 kWh cost $12. Isn’t having your family be safer worth $12/year?

    And yes mass makes the 0-30 and 0-60 times lower but, as I’ve mentioned, the three or four times I’ve tried it I’ve left every other car in the dust (when you’re close to home with lots of EV range you can afford to be sassy). Just not seeing the big deal with the mass.


  15. 15
    Mark

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (10:21 am)

    Dan: I can relate to Matt….I flew into the same snowstorm and drove mine back to Chicago!Would have been funny to pass each other on the highway.

    We flew into Long Island the day after Matt picked up his Volt from Neal Diamond. It was very cold, but very sunny on the trip back to Florida in Volt #951.


  16. 16
    crew

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    crew
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (10:28 am)

    DonC,

    I understand your point of discounting mass for that mpg-e rating. The power to weight efficiency number in comparing the Volt to the Leaf is pretty good for the Volt.

    But it doesn’t travel 70 miles on a charge!
    To do that, it needs a heavier battery.

    It doesn’t get 50 mpg.
    To do that, it needs to loose the plug-in range (and the weight that came with it).

    Yes, weight is a valid argument in the world of marketing. But until another decent 40 mile plug comes out, the Volt bears the burden of poorly argued, uneducated comparisons.

    ps. performance for an EV isn’t just 0-60, it’s mpg-e and range. Having the Volt go 40 miles on 10 kwh is good, but cut that weight by a half ton in a two seater and what would you get? Better performance numbers in all measures! Do you remember how tiny the original Civic was and the Tesla is?


  17. 17
    Kevin R

    +19

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kevin R
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (10:36 am)

    All I can say from a owners perspective (three weeks now and no gas) is that they have delivered a vehicle that I am completely satisfied with. I took it to the dealer for check and they treated me like royalty. They and my GM Volt Advisor can’t do enough for me. GM needs to treat all their customers this way as it makes me never want to buy another manufacturers car again. The car rides splendidly…I”m getting 41-47 miles on every charge and love driving it. Can’t imagine every owning a gas powered vehicle ever again.


  18. 18
    mfennell

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    mfennell
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:13 am)

    DonC: Other than this I think all the whining about misrepresentations is completely FOS. As you go through a development process things change. Mostly for the worse but sometimes for the better. Happens all the time. If you want to compare the Volt with the Tesla Roadster, when you go back for the Roadster claims they were all off by huge amounts. If you want a development process to be transparent you need to understand that the end result will probably NOT fit the plan announced before the process started.

    Don, I agree with you on all points, but that doesn’t change the situation – GM made a big deal about this car, knowing they would be under far more scrutiny than Tesla or even Nissan (who seem to get a pass on battery range, lack of thermal management, etc). They were their own worst enemy in this respect. The protestations about the “direct link” were a particularly poor decision.

    Regardless, the car has exceeded my expectations in every respect.


  19. 19
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:24 am)

    Raymondjram: Nice article.

    #1

    Second the motion. +1


  20. 20
    Noel Park

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:26 am)

    Tom: We will have people mad at us for costing them money.

    #2

    We will actually be saving them money by doing our part to reduce the demand for gas, and hence at least slowing the rise of the price.


  21. 21
    Noel Park

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:28 am)

    Mark Z: If GM keeps quality number one, the success of the Volt and Voltec technology could be as popular as the iPhone.

    #7

    God send that it shall be true! +1


  22. 22
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:40 am)

    crew: Weight.

    #12

    Right. +1


  23. 23
    Noel Park

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:45 am)

    DonC: Other than this I think all the whining about misrepresentations is completely FOS.

    #13

    Well my policy is usually strictly PDNFTT, but I have to agree with you on all counts here. +1

    My display showed historical 207 mpg this morning, and I drove it about 40 miles on the RE yesterday. Not too shabby! Much better than I expected actually.


  24. 24
    Mike-o-Matic

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mike-o-Matic
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (11:52 am)

    Tom: We will have people mad at us for costing them money.

    There’s a good chance this person has no idea how the power generation infrastructure in this country works. You probably can’t argue with that kind of ignorance! Buy your Volt, go forth, be happy :-)


  25. 25
    N Riley

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    N Riley
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (12:14 pm)

    Noel Park: #13

    Well my policy is usually strictly PDNFTT, but I have to agree with you on all counts here.+1

    My display showed historical 207 mpg this morning, and I drove it about 40 miles on the RE yesterday.Not too shabby!Much better than I expected actually.

    Hey, Noel.. That is looking good. Keep us posted on your driving of the Volt. Thanks and a +1 to you, too.


  26. 26
    Raymondjram

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (12:17 pm)

    Mark Z:
    If GM keeps quality number one, the success of the Volt and Voltec technology could be as popular as the iPhone.

    This means that as every smartphone is compared with the iPhone in features and prices, the other manufacturer’s vehicles will be compared with the Chevy Volt in features and prices. If the iPhone became a symbol of cellphone quality, so will the Volt in vehicle quality.

    Do we expect to see Volt 2 and Volt 3 soon?

    Raymond


  27. 27
    crew

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    crew
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (12:22 pm)

    Tom,
    Mike-o-Matic,
    Absolutely!!! Grab a kill-a-watt meter and plug it into the neighbor’s home theater, desktop computer, dishwasher, electric tea kettle or toaster. For the seasonal stuff, check out the swimming pool (the hot tub will shut him up pretty quick) and wait ’til Christmas and measure the lawn show. Then show him the Volt (at 110).
    Home charging overnight, after everybody shuts off the power switch, is the way to go!


  28. 28
    Anthony

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Anthony
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:11 pm)

    Tom: I told my next door neighbor I was going to get a Volt when they are available hear and he actually launched into don’t do that mode he was convinced it would make his electric bill go up. He told me just think what would happen if a small number of the people buying gas start using electric instead.

    I did not have the information to convince him charging would be mostly at night when there is lots of extra capacity.

    We will have people mad at us for costing them money. Tom

    Print out part 2 of this PDF and leave it in his mailbox.

    http://www.ferc.gov/about/com-mem/wellinghoff/5-24-07-technical-analy-wellinghoff.pdf

    Electric prices actually GO DOWN with a 60% PHEV penetration rate. Why is that? Higher utilization during off-peak times. If I run a natural gas power plant, which runs for 8-16h a day (depending on time of year) I expect to generate so many MWh per year. But if I have to start leaving it on longer to deal with PHEVs, I’m going to be able to make more revenue per year. I can take the same profits and lower the per-unit profit, which reduces the cost per kWh.


  29. 29
    DonC

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:29 pm)

    crew: I understand your point of discounting mass for that mpg-e rating. The power to weight efficiency number in comparing the Volt to the Leaf is pretty good for the Volt.
    But it doesn’t travel 70 miles on a charge!
    To do that, it needs a heavier battery.

    If you want to accelerate fast then mass is everything. But battery range, not so much. I think the formula is that you gain the same range from shaving 10 counts of Cd as you do shaving 10 Kg. So for comparison, the EV-1′s Cd was 700 counts better than the Volt’s, equal to 700 Kg or 1540 pounds. The relative unimportance of mass for an EV, as compared to an ICE vehicle, is due to the fact that you recapture 30%-35% of the kinetic energy you’d normally lose through regen. You can find the discussion about this relationship here: http://green.autoblog.com/2007/12/12/volt-aero-and-styling-touring-the-e-flex-design-studio-and-gm-w/

    Given the benefits of increased mass for safety and foul weather handling purposes, and the limited benefit derived from reducing mass, to me mass just isn’t such a big deal assuming you’re satisfied with the performance of the Volt, which I am.

    The range issue also doesn’t resonate with me that much. The statistics say that 40 miles captures 80% of daily trips and 100 miles captures 90%. I just don’t see a big reason to more than double the range just to capture 10% of daily trips. I do believe strongly however that the range should be increased to 50 EPA miles, mostly in order to account for foul or cold weather, which would insure the Volt can go about 40 miles in a range of conditions, not just favorable ones. I’ll just note that the Volt battery was more or less created in 2007 and the increase in capacity and energy density should be 8% a year, so adding that range should not be such a difficult task. (Easy for me to say, eh?)


  30. 30
    Noel Park

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:39 pm)

    crew: For the seasonal stuff, check out the swimming pool

    #27

    And the air conditioner, OMG. My neighbor has a pool and AC. His electric bill runs about $400/month in the summer. Mine was about $30 pre-Volt and now is about $70.

    +1


  31. 31
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    Anthony: Electric prices actually GO DOWN with a 60% PHEV penetration rate. Why is that? Higher utilization during off-peak times.

    Great cite anthony and there is an additional reason why prices go down as you add demand. The costs of power include both the raw cost of the electricity AND the cost of building and maintaining transmission lines. The transmission and distribution costs are fixed — the electrical company’s costs don’t change whether it sends 20 kWh or 10 kWh to your house in a day. Consequently, as each home consumes more electricity only the raw cost of the electricity goes up, which means that the total cost of delivering each kWh of electricity goes down. This is a simplified version, there are issues about peak cost and so forth, but so long as the demand from EVs is off-peak then the result, as you’re pointing out, should be lower electrical costs for all customers.

    So yeah, he needs to tell his neighbor to thank him!


  32. 32
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    Anthony: Print out part 2 of this PDF and leave it in his mailbox.

    #28

    Outstanding! +1


  33. 33
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:42 pm)

    N Riley: Hey, Noel..

    #25

    Thanks man. Right back atcha! +1


  34. 34
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:51 pm)

    Noel Park: My neighbor has a pool and AC. His electric bill runs about $400/month in the summer.

    Older house? Single pane windows? Or the biggest possible issue … teenagers! LOL


  35. 35
    Loboc

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    “And our ownership stories, and the people that have the passion and credibility..”

    One huge ownership story is that ON AVERAGE Volt owners are going 1,000 miles between fill-ups. (Gleaned from On-Star data.)

    Even though this is *only* 111 MPG (and does not include the price of electricity), the reality to consumers paying over $4/gallon will not be lost.

    The alternate story of some predicting a 75c drop in gas price at the pump is overly exaggerated imho. Oil will go higher in the long run. It has to.


  36. 36
    Jeff Cobb

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (2:05 pm)

    Raymondjram: Nice article …
    Raymond

    Noel Park: #1

    Second the motion.+1

    Thank you!


  37. 37
    Loboc

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    DonC: Older house? Single pane windows? Or the biggest possible issue … teenagers! LOL

    I use 2500Kwh on average every month. House was built in 1951. It has double-pane leaking windows, a pool, three refrigerators, 4 tvs and uncounted game consoles and computers.

    With the kids running in and out of the house (a door is a huge leak!), opening and closing refrigerators etc, it’s not unusual to see $400-$500/month. (I had one for $1,000, but, that was on a ‘variable rate’ plan that varied the wrong direction!)

    That said, a few $10 bills for Volt juice is small potatoes.


  38. 38
    carcus3

    -9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus3
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (2:08 pm)

    Looks like GM better hurry back to the drawing board.

    Toyota’s plug in Prius will will not cost any more than the regular Prius.

    Report: Toyota to price 2014 Prius plug-in hybrid same as regular models
    http://green.autoblog.com/2011/05/09/report-toyota-to-price-2014-prius-plug-in-hybrid-same-as-regula/#aol-comments


  39. 39
    APC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    APC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (2:23 pm)

    Regarding infrastructure.. Visited the Mall of America yesterday. It was a busy day and the parking ramps were absolutely packed, save for 2 spaces right up front that were designated “Electric car charging stations”. Ready and waiting.. Nice to see!

    I think it would help the entire EV market to place these stations around town well in advance, even if they won’t be used quite yet.

    A mall is a great place to put chargers. Other good locations would be public parking structures and transit stations where people park all day for work. Knowing that you’ll have a fully charged car when you get off work would be a big help.

    Slightly more visible, although less useful, would be individual places like Target, Wal-mart, grocery stores etc. Even if that half hour doesnt make or break your range, just knowing the chargers are there would help confidence. If people have been physically walking past these chargers in places they already go, the decision would be that much easier.


  40. 40
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (3:23 pm)

    DonC: The claim that the ICE never drives the wheels likewise is a non-issue for me. First what was said was that the ICE didn’t directly drive the wheels. That’s 100% accurate.

    Please DonC.
    It is 100% NOT accurate. At the 70 MPH cruise condition,82% of the power generated from the ICE is being transmitted mechanically directly to the wheels. The remaining 18% power is being converted into electricity by the generator and then being fed to the main traction motor.

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?5572-Volt-PG-set-Analysis


  41. 41
    crew

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    crew
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (3:27 pm)

    DonC,

    Nah, I’m not buying it. Why is there a mountain mode? How about if you drive alone for about half the Volt range, pick up 3 of your heaviest friends and their coolers (that should be about 800 lbs) and try and make it back before the ICE kicks in? Not happening!
    I really want to believe that EV’s operate within a different set of the laws of physics, but they don’t. Increased mass reduces all aspects of performance. The ICE is comparable only within a very narrow torque band so that can be thrown out as an apple in a bucket or oranges.

    But weight is only one aspect of battery performance limitations in real world vehicles. Using an 80% cycle, maintaining temperature, specific peak output, are all aspects of determining battery performance, including how many years the battery will last. Increasing or decreasing the vehicle weight is the single most important independent variable that can be designed around any battery technology. Reducing wind resistance is great at speed, but getting to that speed is where the real energy is expended.

    Go push a Tesla up to speed and then go push a Volt. Good luck.

    I absolutely love the Volt for a number of reasons. The range for you is just right. I’d like a little more. The same Voltec in a 2,800 lb car would help in increasing range for me, just as in going the other direction of putting the Voltec in a Panamera won’t get 40 miles. I’ve read about all of the models but just as Andrew Farrah has said before: all models are wrong, some are useful. In EV’s, just as in any other vehicle, weight is the enemy.


  42. 42
    Noel Park

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (3:30 pm)

    Loboc: Oil will go higher in the long run. It has to.

    #35

    No question. +1


  43. 43
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (3:33 pm)

    DonC: Older house? Single pane windows?

    #34

    Circa 1971. Same old rattly aluminum framed single pane sliders as mine, LOL. No teenagers, but lots of grandchildren on the weekends using the pool.


  44. 44
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:19 pm)

    Loboc: One huge ownership story is that ON AVERAGE Volt owners are going 1,000 miles between fill-ups.

    And it should be pointed out that those are only 9-gallon fillups (or less).


  45. 45
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:23 pm)

    DonC: I’m curious about this statement: “And then performance. There are certain elements of battery electric vehicles that physics dictates and we can’t overcome,” he said.
    I wonder what he’s talking about. All electric range? The Volt may not be the perfect car but the drive train sure delivers. The low rolling resistance tires mean it’s not the best in corners but no big deal. And it’s not the fastest car I’ve ever had but if I’m willing to drive aggressively I can leave everyone in the dust — people don’t drive like they’re in a race when they’re going to the grocery store. It’s also very quiet and the smoothest drive you’ll ever find.
    Given I’m not seeing any issues with performance I’m a little confused and would like him to be a bit more specific.

    I would say, energy density & charging time. Without a major battery breakthrough, these are the limiting factors.


  46. 46
    DonC

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:39 pm)

    carcus3: Toyota’s plug in Prius will will not cost any more than the regular Prius.

    That’s good news! The only questions are: (1) Which Prius? The $22K or the $38K one? (That’s about what a Prius equipped like a Volt costs) and (2) How many is Toyota going to make?


  47. 47
    Adarondax

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Adarondax
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    As a Volt owner (#1428) I can attest to the many negative aspects of the car. The cup holders are poorly located, the lift-over lip to get things into the rear hatch, wind noise at 55 MPH with all windows 1/2 open, the low front air dam, and the radio comes on with the NAV system. However the negatives pale in comparison to the positives. The car is a joy to drive and best of all I’ve gone 2000 miles on 5 1/2 gallons of gas with virtually no impact on my electricity bill.


  48. 48
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    APC: Regarding infrastructure.. Visited the Mall of America yesterday. It was a busy day and the parking ramps were absolutely packed, save for 2 spaces right up front that were designated “Electric car charging stations”. Ready and waiting.. Nice to see!

    http://www.pennypayday.com/29/section.aspx/833/car-charging-group-otcbbccgid-mall-of-america-charging-station

    “The EV industry is expanding and Mall of America views the installation of EV charging stations as a necessary amenity for our shoppers, as well bolster our efforts to create a high performance green facility,” said Dave Haselman, Executive Vice President, Mall of America.

    Mall of America stations are Level II, 240 volt, ChargePoint(R) Networked Charging Stations for electric vehicles, which are manufactured by Coulomb Technologies, the leader in electric vehicle charging solutions.


  49. 49
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    crew: Nah, I’m not buying it. Why is there a mountain mode? How about if you drive alone for about half the Volt range, pick up 3 of your heaviest friends and their coolers (that should be about 800 lbs) and try and make it back before the ICE kicks in? Not happening!

    Don’t bet on it. If the trip out was uphill and the trip back downhill having those friends in the car would help not hurt! LOL

    Look if 400 pounds ends up costing 2 miles on the City Cycle and 1 mile on the Highway Cycle, just not a big deal IMHO.


  50. 50
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (4:47 pm)

    Crew/DonC

    There was a post (I think 6 months ago-ish) where AF or Tony P stated how much each additional pound of weight resulted in range loss. I’ll do some digging to see if I can find it, but the quote is out there somewhere.


  51. 51
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (5:07 pm)

    kdawg: There was a post (I think 6 months ago-ish) where AF or Tony P stated how much each additional pound of weight resulted in range loss.

    So you’re not liking Frank Weber? He’s my fav for this type of technical issue.


  52. 52
    jim1961

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jim1961
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (5:10 pm)

    RB: Peterson’s comments have a very defensive tone.Wonder what’s bothering him.

    This is an educated guess. Peterson is probably politically conservative and watches Fox News. He probably hears nothing but criticism 24/7.


  53. 53
    kdawg

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    carcus3: Looks like GM better hurry back to the drawing board.
    Toyota’s plug in Prius will will not cost any more than the regular Prius.
    Report: Toyota to price 2014 Prius plug-in hybrid same as regular models

    LOL, and in 2014 there will also be a flying Prius! Predictions that are 3 years out should be taken with a grain of salt. I’ll believe it when I see it. Even if they do it, I still don’t see the point of a car that has a max 7-mile radius electric range, and that’s only if I dont go over 62mph or accelerate like a normal person.


  54. 54
    jeffhre

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (5:43 pm)

    “Sharing plausible testimonials is core to accelerating EV proliferation, he (Peterson) said.”

    I wonder if that means this is seen as more important to GM than building more Volts. When asked why no more vehicles are selling, the constant reply is never, “We don’t have enough positive customer testimonials.”


  55. 55
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (6:11 pm)

    DonC: That’s good news! The only questions are: (1) Which Prius? The $22K or the $38K one? (That’s about what a Prius equipped like a Volt costs) and (2) How many is Toyota going to make?

    #48

    For about the 100th time, “I’m from Missouri”. +1


  56. 56
    Tom

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tom
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (6:14 pm)

    storm,

    He thought rates would go up.


  57. 57
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (6:15 pm)

    kdawg: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    #53

    See also #55, LOL. +1


  58. 58
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (6:17 pm)

    jeffhre: “Sharing plausible testimonials is core to accelerating EV proliferation, he (Peterson) said.”

    #54

    I haven’t seen any. I volunteered. Right here on this very same blog. No charge for the talent, LOL. Nobody called. +1


  59. 59
    carcus3

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus3
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (6:19 pm)

    DonC,

    Nikkei via GCC : “To offset the cost of the battery packs and keep pricing in line with current models, TMC will further cut prices on the high-performance motors and other core components, the report said.”

    Even without this report, you know the price of Lithium batteries is coming down, and there’s just not a lot of build in difference between a regular Prius and a a plug in Prius. I would think the additional 4 kwh upgrade wouldn’t cost more than $1,500 or so once the dust settles. I would expect the plug in prius to start at level ii prices.

    Couple this, along with Mitsubishi’s $20,000 ish imiev (that’s where I think this car will end up, even after the credits have been exhausted) and now we’re talking affordable plug in solutions.

    Ford will have answers to both of these but I’m guessing the Fords will cost a few thou (at least) more.

    What about GM? What will they offer for the “normal budget” car buyer who wants a plug?


  60. 60
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (7:55 pm)

    Once the word gets out, I don’t think there will be many people interested in plug-ins with budget performance.


  61. 61
    DonC

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    carcus3: Nikkei via GCC : “To offset the cost of the battery packs and keep pricing in line with current models, TMC will further cut prices on the high-performance motors and other core components, the report said.”

    I think the idea that any company is going to have a huge cost advantage isn’t realistic. If anything, given the tide of currency movements and its reluctance to move production out of Japan, Toyota will be lucky to match GM’s pricing.

    My view is that Toytoa doesn’t have much of a clue. We’ve been hearing about the PIP forever and it’s still not here. Then Toyota says an EV isn’t possible. Then it says it’s a great idea and gets into this screwy relationship with Tesla. Then it announces all sorts of “sons and daughters of the Prius” variants. I think Noel’s point about seeing is believing applies here in spades.

    Would be more than happy to be wrong.


  62. 62
    carcus3

    -6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    carcus3
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:20 pm)

    DonC,

    I see happiness in your future …. and, perhaps, another GM bailout.

    Would be more than happy to be wrong.


  63. 63
    crew

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    crew
     Says

     

    May 9th, 2011 (9:34 pm)

    DonC,

    Try it and see!
    Seriously!
    Post it off of a phone gps! Altitude, acceleration, average speed and everything!

    The Volt competes with public opinion not just of GM but of the economy class vehicles that this wonderful car has been lowered into!

    Perhaps Mr. Peterson is questioning just what people within GM are asking to be done as a response to the idiots that don’t know cars.

    Pushing the limits of EV performance is what I’m asking to see. Pre production Volt suppositions aren’t too useful anymore.


  64. 64
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2011 (2:53 am)

    carcus3: Would be more than happy to be wrong.

    When you look at the numbers and the product in the pipeline you have to think that we’re more likely to see a Toyota bailout before we see another GM bailout.