Oct 03

No new Voltec models before 2015

 

For those of you waiting for a generation 2 Chevy Volt, Voltec CUV, coupe, or any other vehicle based on the Volt’s powertrain, you may have to hold on for three more years.

Last week, several media outlets picked up on a quote given at the Frankfurt motor show by GM of Europe head Nick Reilly, who said 2015 is the year to look forward to for Volt derivatives.

“We won’t do it with this generation, and that will run to 2015,” Reilly said in response to a question by Automotive News about whether GM will build variations on the Volt platform. “You’d have to wait until after that until you see it.”


2011 Volt.

Although the media are just now cuing in on Reilly’s statement, we commented on similar hints in August when he said the second generation Ampera would not be out until 2015, and we noted at the time this could mean the Volt is included too.

It would seem now our hinted-at guess was right but even we did not suppose GM would put a moratorium on all Voltec variations.

Reasons provided by Reilly were GM needs that long to recoup expenses incurred from building the Volt, given a slow U.S. Volt ramp up, and limited sales in other markets of variations of the Volt and its sibling, the Ampera.

As has been also reported, GM is working to get the Volt’s production costs down. It is particularly focused on reducing the single biggest cost driver – the expense of its thermally managed lithium-ion battery pack.

Reilly confirmed GM has made significant headway on this front, without specifying how, and said the battery is now estimated at around $8,000 for the second generation car.

But the knife of cost cutting and conservativeness seems to be slicing into what began as an outrageously bold initiative to build the Voltec platform – and what enthusiasts hoped would quickly lead to a series of vehicles based on the pioneering Gen 1 Volt.

Perhaps the misbegotten EV1 introduction and recall over a decade ago, and more recent financial woes from a bankruptcy and bailout have also contributed to a conservative stance.

At any rate, it would appear GM again wants to take the electric vehicle tech lead with the Volt, although this time without overstepping boundaries or repeating mistakes.

Speaking of which, GM executives have also said the company is working hard to build a “fortress balance sheet.” Although GM has the cash to buy back the 26 percent share of its own stock held by the U.S. Treasury at a discount compared to the IPO price, it has resisted this move as well.

Perhaps considering the pain GM endured being cash poor, its desire to preserve capital on a few major fronts is understandable – or will some consider its latest decision to delay Voltec introductions to be a vote of limited confidence in their marketability?

We don’t know. What do you think? Do you think it is possible Reilly’s pretty unambiguous quote could nonetheless be proven incorrect?

Or do you think the chance GM took on quickly building the Volt during tight times was big enough, and promoting it and the Ampera will be enough, as GM plots a more sedate course through to 2015?

Automotive News

This entry was posted on Monday, October 3rd, 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: 90


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (6:28 am)

    Because Reilly hasn’t mentioned the Cadillac ELR (i.e., Converj) go-ahead, I’ll hazard a guess that GM’s decided to shift a few more “eggs into the ELR basket”. This could be a very prudent strategy for several reasons…

    1) The Voltec drive train design team will be working on the ELR and could obviously be spread too thin, increasing R&D risk

    2) Experience gained in designing the ELR could be invaluable in improving performance/reducing cost of later Voltec variants

    3) The Voltec development cost recovery that the ELR selling price should achieve should permit GM to more aggressively pursue gen 2, 3, etc

    4) The ELR should remove (or at least reduce) any car-buying-public doubts in the reliability and “anti-golf-cart” prestige of the Voltec* concept

    *IOW, the Caddy ELR, with improved performance & refinement, should become a “super halo” car and achieve wider public acceptance of the Voltec drive train


  2. 2
    Jim I

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (7:20 am)

    I think the Caddy ELR will be produced in the short term, because it will be pretty much the Voltec platform. However, it will be priced at $15K – $20K more, which will mean that it will make a profit for GM.

    What most people are looking for is the significantly lower cost Volt. It will take time to wring out costs, without sacrificing quality. This part has to be done correctly. If GM puts out a $25K Voltec, and it has problems or appears to be a cheapo junker, GM loses the lead in a program that they worked very hard to own.

    So IMHO, if it takes three more years to get it right, spend the time. GM won’t get any more chances from the buying public…………….

    OT:

    My car should be in Youngstown today or tomorrow at the very latest! It left the factory on Friday morning. So I should be a Volt owner by Wednesday!!!!!! Further updates as I get them.

    :)


  3. 3
    Dave K.

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (7:24 am)

    GM employees have done a great job with the gen1 Volt. I stopped by Paradise Chevrolet in Ventura Friday afternoon to look at the 2012 Volt. They have one in black leather. Heavy with options. Stickered at $44k before tax credit. The only change from the 2011 that stands out is the gear position white lettering next to the shifter.

    Never thought I would own a Cadillac. Seriously considering an ELR in 2014. My wife will have to sell her Accord and move into my 2011 Volt. She’ll just need to rough it (grin).

    ELR over the Model S? Yes.

    No Plug, No Sale!


  4. 4
    Nelson

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:19 am)

    It’s obvious the price and availability of the Volt is deliberate and well thought out. What do you think would happen to sales of regular ICE cars if the price of the Volt was 32K before tax credit? The only safe path I see for the moment, is keeping the price high and availability low. Of course if GM doesn’t move fast enough they will have Tesla and Fisker breathing down their backs ready to kill ICE only sales. The best way for GM to move forward on Voltec is to provide each brand with an expensive variant. Cadillac will get the coupe Voltec, Buick should get the SUV. Doing this will also allow them to prime other plants with Voltec manufacturing experience and tooling. If the variants prices are kept at around 60K they won’t affect ICE sales by much.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  5. 5
    Tom W

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:30 am)

    So is the $8,000 estimate for a 2015 battery pack of 16Kwh the Wholesale or Retail cost? Thats still 3-4 years away, there could be break throughs in the next 12 months that could find there way into a 2015 battery pack. So is that an estimate based on current tech and just manufacturing improvements?

    When the issue of moving slowly comes up I always bring up the way the $7500 credit is structured.
    Basing the credit on number of vehicles FORCES the companies to move slowly because they want to maximize their profits over those first 200,000 cars, just makes sense.

    If the credits were based on the calendar, GM and Nissan in particular would be RACING for market share and economies of scale (and the pretenders like Fisker wouldn’t bother and waste tax payers dollars).

    Credit should be like 8K through 2012
    7K in 2013
    6K in 2015
    5k in 2014
    4k,,,,,


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    ziv

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:34 am)

    I am still trying to figure out the part about the battery ”coming in at around $8000″ for the second generation car in 2015. So they are going to get the price down from $625 per kWh as per Patil in 2009 all the way to $500 per kWh in 2015? Or was Patil talking about the production cost and Reilly about the replacement pack sales price? There is no Moore’s Law for battery packs but the prices have been dropping pretty rapidly. If GM thinks that anyone is going to pay more than $400 per kWh with a good pack management system by even 2014, they haven’t been paying attention to their competition.
    All in all, I have nothing but respect for what GM’s engineers have done developing their EREV technology, and little but contempt for the management at GM for botching what could have been the development of a game changing group of cars. Even if all GM did was offer the Converj in a dressed up version like Lincoln did with the MKZ (derived from the FFH) GM could have sold more and decreased their cost of producing each vehicle. Not to mention how popular a EREV MPV or SUV would be.
    GM now seems determined to sit on a slow, quiet EREV development program, instead of riding it to the front of the pack. They started by really stressing getting it to the market by the end of 2010, which was very fast, but everything they talk about since then is sitting on that advantage. The competition won’t be waiting until 2015.


  7. 7
    Pat Joy

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:38 am)

    I hope that in doing the ELR that there be a clear difference between the ELR and the Volt. things such as an a traction motor on the rear axil to make it 4 wheel drive, a larger battery to handle the extra load of 4 wheel drive. Upgrade the motor for the same reason and make the car even quieter then it is now. Motor should be supper smooth also.

    It does not surprise me that Voltec development is 1 to 2 years later, because I think they are timing it with the world economic situation. Which I think is prudent.

    Volt #1921


  8. 8
    Tim Hart

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:43 am)

    This news makes buying or leasing a Volt NOW an even better idea. Waiting until 2015 for any significant change is too painful to even consider! I can’t wait for my dealer to get his loaded demo to see if I want to add any extras to the base model I have on order. Some say the back-up camera is almost a must-buy due to difficulty seeing thru the back window. Any opinion on that from you Volt owners?


  9. 9
    Pat Joy

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:44 am)

    ziv,

    Cost of the battery pack may included the cost of the external components of the thermal management system. If you were to exclude this cost then the cost may be closer to the 400 dollars that you quote.


  10. 10
    ziv

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:02 am)

    Pat, GM has been very cagey about what they say about the Volt, and rightfully so. But over the past 3 years there have been a few glimpses behind the curtain, and Patil gave a few of those and Lyle was pretty tenacious in posting them here. Patil seemed to say in 2009 that the pack price would be around $625 when the Volt was built, including the pack management system.
    I don’t think anyone would include any external components in that price. And Deutschbank has been publishing industry estimates of what packs cost per kWh for several years, and each year their estimate is trending down. Not just a year on year improvement, but they are dropping their prices faster than their earlier estimates called for reductions. I think Nissan is leading this, but the rest of the pack are dogging Carlos’ heals. It looks like the Volt pack costs around $500 per kWh now, and the Nissan pack costs around $400 per kWh right now, though you can get LiIon batteries for $200 per kWh automotive intent batteries cost nearly twice as much and GM has a much more robust pack management system than Nissan. So I think GM has already gotten some significant, perhaps unlooked for, reductions in just 2 years. And having seen the stink on Autobloggreen the other day when Nissan mentioned that their packs AER would degrade by around 20% in 5 to 6 years, I think GM has the right idea.
    But the crux of the matter is that pack prices seem to be dropping around 7% a year, which is a small change in one year but a huge change in the 3 to 4 years we are talking about here.
    I think the next 4 years are going to be a LOT of fun for EREV’s/BEV’s.
    Ziv

    Pat Joy,


  11. 11
    Schmeltz

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:09 am)

    The Cadillac ELR was not mentioned, and that is supposed to be a pretty important product in and of itself. I recall reading that the ELR will utilize a “Voltec 1.5″ version drivetrain. If the ELR hopefully comes before 2015, than that may be enough to keep the conveyors at Hamtramck going although I still think GM is moving like molasses on this. The first wave of other competitors are swiftly coming on-line within the next year. We’ll have the Plug-in Prius, the Ford Focus EV, Hyundai’s rumored PHEV, Tesla Model S (maybe), and possibly a few more that are being kept under wraps, not to mention the build-up of the Nissan Leaf. GM has the lead for the moment, but that could swiftly change depending on some of the wild cards that are being developed by other manufacturers.


  12. 12
    George S. Bower

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:21 am)

    article quote:

    “or will some consider its latest decision to delay Voltec introductions to be a vote of limited confidence in their marketability?”

    Absolutely and w/o a doubt.

    This announcement (article) leaves me with a “not so good feeling”.


  13. 13
    George S. Bower

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:28 am)

    News flash:

    Model S to be offered in a hot rod version that can do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2011/10/02/tesla-model-s-quicker-than-a-porsche-911-slideshow/


  14. 14
    Kup

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:33 am)

    Tim Hart,

    I got the basic Volt and I would say that general visibility isn’t all that great. I’m 6 feet tall and when I’m first at the light it can be difficult to see the light and I have to duck ever so slightly to see it. The way the front of the car is sloped it is also very difficult to know for sure how far you have until you hit a curb since you literally can’t see the hood of the car. The A-pillars on the side are also rather large and are hard to see around when you are on a sweeping curve like I am on everyday in my neighborhood.

    The visibility out the back is also not great and so I can understand why some people really like the camera system. With all that said, I do not regret for a moment not getting the camera. All these visibility issues I got used to rather quickly and it just becomes a part of the driving experience. They don’t particularly bother me now and the aerodynamic or safety benefits that are the reason for the somewhat low visibility is a good trade off in my book. In addition, since the Volt was probably out of my real price range anyway I was looking for nothing but the basic model and am extemely happy with my purchase despite the very real world issues mentioned above.

    Thus, my basic recommendation is that if money is an issue at all, you will absolutely fine without the rear view camera. But if money isn’t a real issue then it’s an extra little toy to play around with that helps out in some situations but that really isn’t necessary.


  15. 15
    kdawg

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:36 am)

    ziv: I am still trying to figure out the part about the battery ”coming in at around $8000″ for the second generation car in 2015.

    Under-promise, over-deliver?


  16. 16
    John in Atl

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:04 am)

    Nelson:
    It’s obvious the price and availability of the Volt is deliberate and well thought out.What do you think would happen to sales of regular ICE cars if the price of the Volt was 32K before tax credit?The only safe path I see for the moment, is keeping the price high and availability low.Of course if GM doesn’t move fast enough they will have Tesla and Fisker breathing down their backs ready to kill ICE only sales.The best way for GM to move forward on Voltec is to provide each brand with an expensive variant.Cadillac will get the coupe Voltec, Buick should get the SUV.Doing this will also allow them to prime other plants with Voltec manufacturing experience and tooling.If the variants prices are kept at around 60K they won’t affect ICE sales by much.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    I think Nelson is on to something here. ++


  17. 17
    Tim Hart

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:31 am)

    KUP,
    Thank you so much for your feedback. I’m in pretty much your same situation. The Volt is the only car I would ever consider at its price which will be a big stretch for us. I was pretty sure the visibility issues would be something that would be OK after driving it for a little while. I know I’ll be happy with the base model and will resist any temptations to upgrade. Thanks again for your input.


  18. 18
    George S. Bower

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:33 am)

    Kup,

    Kup,

    That input works for me too. I just asked my wife if she could live w/o the camera in the Prius we own and she said yes. I have a bare bones Prius now and do not regret alot of upgrades. I am tempted to only do the color upgrade and leave the rest out.


  19. 19
    James

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:35 am)

    It’s striking how similarly the Volt story is playing out in relation to the story of the Toyota Prius. The first gen Prius was metered out very slowly in it’s home market in Japan, four years later ( 2001 ) 16,000 or so were sold in North America. We all know what happened when a greatly improved ( in every way ) gen 2 Prius appeared in 2004.

    I would think the Japanese had much the same reservations and cost explanations with HSD that GM is now having with Voltec and future derivitives. To look upon it pessimistically, I’d say, “wake up, GM, HSD was a resounding success for Toyota!” Yet truly I must look at this news positively – and hope the Volt story mirrors the Prius story even though, as Tom Petty once sang: “The Waiting Is The Hardest Part”. In the meantime we may have a Voltec 1.5 ELR to fawn over.

    One other observation is competition. Car companies talk. Talk is, of course, very cheap. Ford’s C-Max Energi plug in is due next year, as is PIP ( Prius with plug ). Ford may have some secrets up it’s sleeve, yet all manufacturers will watch PIP with interest and also Volt sales. If the public demands a plug, there certainly will be manufacturers to fill that need. GM would have to act, in that case, in a manner much faster than the public statements they are now issuing.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTECS! ,

    James


  20. 20
    Loboc

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:40 am)

    “Reasons provided by Reilly were GM needs that long to recoup expenses incurred from building the Volt…”

    I don’t believe this for a second. There is no way that each model has to make a stand-alone profit. Some are sold at a loss to do things like meet CAFE. How did they recoup the expense of building the EV1 or all those H2 Equinox’? Not.

    I think they are being ultra-conservative given the market volatility right now. With ~9% unemployment (and some are saying it is really much higher), I personally wouldn’t risk getting into an unknown product line too deeply.


  21. 21
    Loboc

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:55 am)

    James: Car companies talk. Talk is, of course, very cheap.

    Agreed.

    The Volt has basically zero competition right now. GM has no incentive to burn through the tax credits too quickly. If there is ever real competition, GM will need those credits in their back pocket.

    I think GM priced the Volt too low. They should have built a decent profit in from the git-go. I seriously doubt that they would have a problem selling a couple hundred a month even at $60k per copy without a tax credit.

    Of course, I’m a nerd not a marketing genius, so, this post may not mean a lot :) . I read somewhere that if you price the initial offering too low or too high it would negatively affect sales going forward. Too cheap, and people will think the offering is cheaply made. Too expensive, and your future competition will eat your lunch.


  22. 22
    Jim I

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:00 am)

    OT:

    My 2012 Volt Update:

    My sales rep, Beth, from Sweeney Chevrolet in Youngstown, OH just called me to tell me the truck just came in and my Volt was being unloaded as we spoke on the phone!

    She told me they wanted today to get it all cleaned up, charged up, and ready for me.

    So tomorrow morning is it!!!!

    It will be a long day today…………..

    :)


  23. 23
    Anthony

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:09 am)

    The most disappointing thing is the 5 years between generations. If we want the world to be driving plug-in cars, we need to speed up innovation. I read about “new battery breakthroughs” every day but we’re slowly plodding along at 7-8% annual battery improvement. I guess I was hoping by 2015 we’d have a gen 2 Voltec powertrain that was a substantial improvement – 8% compounded over five years is 47%, so does the battery drop in size by half, or even a third? Does the battery capacity shrink while maintaining range through higher depth of discharge for even more savings? Or was there such a small margin built into gen 1 Voltec that GM would rather expand that margin than keep the margin the same and cut costs.


  24. 24
    kdawg

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:19 am)

    Loboc: “Reasons provided by Reilly were GM needs that long to recoup expenses incurred from building the Volt…”
    I don’t believe this for a second. There is no way that each model has to make a stand-alone profit. Some are sold at a loss to do things like meet CAFE. How did they recoup the expense of building the EV1 or all those H2 Equinox’? Not.
    I think they are being ultra-conservative given the market volatility right now. With ~9% unemployment (and some are saying it is really much higher), I personally wouldn’t risk getting into an unknown product line too deeply.

    I can kind of understand this, but I also think they are being very conservative too. We already know they are working on Gen 2 & Gen 3 now. What we don’t know is how different they will be from Gen 1. If it requires all new tooling, this could be expensive. There may be some amount “X” of cars that need to be made to justify the cost of the tooling & engineering. I dont know what this value would be, but at 60K/year, maybe its 250,000?


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    Noel Park

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:26 am)

    Jim I: My sales rep, Beth, from Sweeney Chevrolet in Youngstown, OH just called me to tell me the truck just came in and my Volt was being unloaded as we spoke on the phone!

    #22

    A great day for a loyal fellow blogger! +1 Congratulations. Enjoy.


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    kdawg

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:28 am)

    Jim I: OT:
    My 2012 Volt Update:
    My sales rep, Beth, from Sweeney Chevrolet in Youngstown, OH just called me to tell me the truck just came in and my Volt was being unloaded as we spoke on the phone!
    She told me they wanted today to get it all cleaned up, charged up, and ready for me.
    So tomorrow morning is it!!!!
    It will be a long day today…………..

    Take note of the EV miles and Total miles before you drive off the lot. Im just curious.


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    Noel Park

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:33 am)

    Tim Hart: Some say the back-up camera is almost a must-buy due to difficulty seeing thru the back window.

    #8

    I’m sure that you could get along without it, but it really is handy. I only got it because it was packaged with the parking assist feature, which I REALLY like. How much was it? $625? I would have paid that without the backup camera, LOL. I mean, it’s a $40K+ car. I have a long history of cheap cars, but even I can throw in an additional $625 when I’m buying a car that I can’t possibly afford anyway, LOL.

    Plus, it’s quite likely the last daily driver car I’m ever going to buy, so what the hell!


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    Noel Park

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:35 am)

    kdawg: Take note of the EV miles and Total miles before you drive off the lot. Im just curious.

    #26

    Yeah, and keep CAREFUL track of your gas consumption from the get go. I didn’t, and I really regret it. It will make for great bragging rights and cocktail party conversation.


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    gwmort

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:36 am)

    I don’t put much stock in comments like the one that is relied upon for the article.

    I mean, what if he had said “a much improved Voltec vehicle at considerably less price will be available in 2013″ What would have happened to 2012 sales? [not saying its true, but there have to be market pressures not to reveal when the new model is coming too soon]


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:40 am)

    And BTW, I can’t fault GM for being conservative on new model proliferation. Look at all the threads and blogs screaming that Volts aren’t selling. If I was GM I guess that I would think long and hard before investing a few hundred million more in another model until I really knew what was going to happen.

    I have to confess to screaming long and loud along with CaptJack and others for a Voltec pickup or small van, but still I can totally see GM’s point. And if they are investing in cars like the Sonic, of which I think they are going to sell a ton, I don’t presume to second guess them.


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    Noel Park

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:41 am)

    gwmort: I mean, what if he had said “a much improved Voltec vehicle at considerably less price will be available in 2013″ What would have happened to 2012 sales?

    #29

    True that. +1


  32. 32
    Tom W

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:42 am)

    Loboc: GM will need those credits in their back pocket.

    As I said in my first post, the tax credits are the main problem. The tax credits SHOULD NOT BE X cars per manufacturer, but phased out by year.

    If GM lowered the prices from 40k TO EVEN 36K, they would blow through their 200,000 so fast, then they would be stuck facing competition that still have the $7500k credit.

    As i’ve been saying for years, the structure of the TAX credit is putting a brake on GM exploiting their time advantage.

    So GM will work on engineering and planning future models, but they can’t price the car at 36K to get the volumes that would truly lower cost with huge economies of scales because they will get burnt big time facing competition that still has the $7500 credit.

    They have to hold back and wait for Nissan to catch up.


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    Mitch

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:53 am)

    OT – Went to the neighborhood Chevy dealer becasue they have the new Orlando in (Canada) …NICE..make it Voltec and GM will have a sweet combo.


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    pjkPA

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (12:05 pm)

    How can you say GM is slow rolling out the vehicles when you compair GM to all other mfrs who have nothing rolling out right now? GM is ramping up production and working on Gen II plug ins while all others are scrambling to come out with Gen I ?

    How GM has gotten in the lead so far in a “Global market” that is almost totally rigged against them and in a depressed market is a testiment to how good they really are.

    How many Prius’s would have been sold if Toyota had the same conditions to contend with? How many Prius’ s would be sold today if we put a $20,000 tariff on each one like they do to VOLT?

    GM is in the lead with the best engineered car on the road… they are doing the right thing to be very carefull to keep the quality up as the no.1 one goal.

    I’ve heard that the Milford Proving Grounds .. the largest automotive test facility in the world … has hired back experienced former employees and even hired back employees that were already retired to test new parts that are coming in. I’m sure these new parts are part of the new EV’s. No company does more real world testing than GM.

    As far as telling the “MEDIA” about company plans… I wouldn’t tell them anything considering how the media treats American companies. And .. considering how the government and banks treat American companies .. I think building a fortress balance sheet is also a good idea. Popular belief is that the government “bailed out” GM when in fact all they did was correct just one of the messes they created by ignoring UNFAIR TRADE and BANKS that were out of control.


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    Mark Wagner

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    I don’t know of any previous GM statements that contradict this new statement. Sure they introduced some alternative Voltec concepts, but I don’t believe they ever committed to building them sooner than 2015. Basically I think this was always their plan because additional models will increase their upfront costs and risk before they get real payback on the first model(s). (I don’t think the Opel Ampera and Chevy Volt are not substantially different models).

    I think it is a prudent strategy to initially push a single mass market compact vehicle (i.e. “Volt/Ampera”) and wait until cost reductions are in place before adding additional models in an attempt to increase sales. They should first establish that demand is strong for the technology and produce sufficient volumes of the initial model to nearly meet demand for the initial (compact) market segment before investing more money to add new models in an attempt to expand into additional market segments.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    pjkPA: How can you say GM is slow rolling out the vehicles when you compair GM to all other mfrs who have nothing rolling out right now?

    I believe they don’t have to price the car on what it cost in 2010 but what it will cost in 2012 and beyond. They could lower the cost to 36k before rebates and make profits in future years, but my point would be they can’t do that because at 36k with the rebate, the car is a real cost saver for millions of people (with garages and electric rates 15cents / kwh or lower).

    But if they did that they would blow through their 200k rebate in less than 2 years and then they would be competing without the rebate against Nissan, Ford and others.

    So because of the rebate GM HAS to go at this rate or even slower.

    Thats why I keep wishing the rebate would be set to GM would go full speed again, price the car at 36k in 2012 and gradually lower the cost of the car to match a gradually diminishing rebate, i.e.
    2012 8k
    2013 7k
    2014 6k
    2015 5k
    2016 4k
    2017 3k
    2018 2k
    2019 1k
    2020 no more importing of oil hoping that we’ve spent these 8 years increasing domestic oil production as well). Then we could mothball a few aircraft carrier tasks groups unless the rest of the world wants to just pay us to keep the oil shipping lanes open for THEIR OIL.


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    DonC

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (12:37 pm)

    I think cost estimates of the battery are off. Jeff says that “Reilly confirmed GM has made significant headway on this front, without specifying how, and said the battery could come in at around $8,000 for the second generation car.” But the Automotive News article, such that it was, only says that the current battery is estimated to be $8,000 and that Reilly said that cost will be sharply reduced. (I’d quote exactly but the article is no longer available from the link — maybe the link was wrong).

    How does this square with what we know? Well we know that the current pack costs about $8K for the cells and another $3K+ for the electronics. (That comes from the Patil interview but also from GM’s presentation at the end of 2008). Given the cost of the cells in the current pack is $8K, it seems highly unlikely that the goal for the next generation would be to cut the cost to $8K for the cells. Conceivably Reilly might be talking about cutting the cost of the whole pack to $8K but more likely there is some confusion here between the cost of the current and next generation packs.

    The date is also confusing because there are calendar and model years — 2015 could be the 2015 calender year or it could be the 2014 calender year with a 2015 model year. If it’s calender year 2014 then we may see the ELR coming out then as well. This in fact seems probable because it’s difficult to imagine GM releasing an ELR with the expectation that one year later its technology will be a full generation behind new technology released for the Gen II Volt. It seems more likely that the ELR would be released at the same time or, less likely but possible, that the ELR will be released sooner.


  38. 38
    Jeff Cobb

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:30 pm)

    DonC: But the Automotive News article, such that it was, only says that the current battery is estimated to be $8,000 and that Reilly said that cost will be sharply reduced. (I’d quote exactly but the article is no longer available from the link — maybe the link was wrong).

    I slightly amended my wording, and by no means intended to deviate from the intent of the first writer.

    Here is the actual quote as the Automotive News writer put it:

    “He said GM expects to reduce sharply the cost of the Volt’s battery, now estimated at about $8,000, for the next generation.”


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    This being a Volt enthusiasts’ site, it’s no wonder there is a lot of disappointment with the slowness of GM’s Voltec development. Count me firmly in that camp. I’d say GM, after taking all things into acct., concluded that a much slower timeline is best. Much slower as in vs. the version 1 development, which was, admittedly, very fast and exciting.

    So, in the meantime, the excitement passes to Fisker, Tesla, BMW, Ford, etc. That blows.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    None of this precludes the possibility of a left-drive Ampera being offered here as a Buick (and even, with some additional minor styling modifications), since it is not a new model … except in the US.

    The lack of ELR in Reilly’s comment may indicate that nothing like it will be offered before 2015 in Europe. We’re used to hearing about cool things being done only in Japan on the part of Toyo or Honda … but now it could be our turn! :-)

    On the other hand, news of mechanical energy transfer from the engine in CS-mode came from European sources first, and were later confirmed …


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    James

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:38 pm)

    Jim I: OT:My 2012 Volt Update:My sales rep, Beth, from Sweeney Chevrolet in Youngstown, OH just called me to tell me the truck just came in and my Volt was being unloaded as we spoke on the phone!She told me they wanted today to get it all cleaned up, charged up, and ready for me.So tomorrow morning is it!!!!It will be a long day today…………..

    Jim, it’s incredibly satisfying to hear your day is here! You’ve definately been one of us “long suffering” Volt future owners. It’s SO GREAT you will have your Volt tommorrow!

    VOLT, IT’S MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC! ,

    James


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:44 pm)

    Jim I: So tomorrow morning is it!!!!

    James: Jim, it’s incredibly satisfying to hear your day is here! You’ve definately been one of us “long suffering” Volt future owners. It’s SO GREAT you will have your Volt tommorrow!

    Jim:

    There might even be a GM-Volt article in it (hint hint), if you can take time off from driving victoriously through your neighborhood! :-)


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    DonC: This in fact seems probable because it’s difficult to imagine GM releasing an ELR with the expectation that one year later its technology will be a full generation behind new technology released for the Gen II Volt. It seems more likely that the ELR would be released at the same time or, less likely but possible, that the ELR will be released sooner.

    True, since Cadillac’s model development process generally seems slow. It seems we’ve been hearing about the ATS development as long as we’ve heard about Volt’s development.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Tall Pete

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    Loboc: I think GM priced the Volt too low. They should have built a decent profit in from the git-go. I seriously doubt that they would have a problem selling a couple hundred a month even at $60k per copy without a tax credit.

    Should I remind you the debates we had on this site about the price of the Volt way back when it was unknown ? It started out at around 32K, dixit Bob Lutz, and moved its way up to 41K amid outcries.

    Now in a subtle way, it’s even a little more than that because of the options that were removed from the standard package to ‘lower’ the starting price. But nobody’s fool.

    Still, as soon as I can, probably next year, I will get myself one cause I can’t stand to send my dollars to foreign economies anymore. I went for a test drive a week ago, part of the GM Tour. There is enough headroom for my 6’4″ but when I get the seat way back, there is not much left for a passenger behind me. Well, nothing is perfect I guess…

    The GM representative said that all of 2012 allocation is sold out in Canada. So I will have a 2013 it seems.


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    Tall Pete

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    Noel Park: Look at all the threads and blogs screaming that Volts aren’t selling.

    Again : The GM representative I spoke to during the GM Tour said that all of 2012 allocation was sold out in Canada.

    If they aren’t selling in the US, send the Volts to Canada. They will sell like hotcakes. Did I mention that we pay hefty taxes on gas up here ?


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    Tom W: The tax credits SHOULD NOT BE X cars per manufacturer, but phased out by year.

    IMHO : the tax credit should have been for X cars TOTAL, with no regard to the manufacturer. The sooner a manufacturer get in the game, the more cars it will be able to sell.

    The goal is to get 1 million plug-in cars on the road ? There’s your X cars TOTAL you want to subsidize.

    Only GM and Nissan can provide that many cars in a very short time span? That’s too bad…


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (1:59 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Here is the actual quote as the Automotive News writer put it:
    “He said GM expects to reduce sharply the cost of the Volt’s battery, now estimated at about $8,000, for the next generation.”

    Thanks Jeff. I’m thinking that “sharply reduced” means at least 30% and maybe 50%. As to the how part, the most obvious way would be if the NMC battery has more capacity and doesn’t cost any more to produce. That gets you there in a hurry.

    Note however that the tax credit is $7.5K and realistically they won’t be able to cut $7.5K from the battery. As we move forward reducing the cost by 50% will yield smaller and smaller total dollars.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    Jim I: So tomorrow morning is it!!!!

    Congrats on the car Jim!


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    Tall Pete

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    pjkPA: Popular belief is that the government “bailed out” GM when in fact all they did was correct just one of the messes they created by ignoring UNFAIR TRADE and BANKS that were out of control.

    +10 to that if I could.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:01 pm)

    Loboc: I think they are being ultra-conservative given the market volatility right now. With ~9% unemployment (and some are saying it is really much higher), I personally wouldn’t risk getting into an unknown product line too deeply.

    From a first person perspective, I can lend credence to this. I want a Volt, but cannot think of getting one. I expect there are many in my position, in this economy.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:06 pm)

    I finally visited the Model S website–WOW! Caddy better make the Converj awesome…

    http://www.teslamotors.com/models/features#/safety

    Hey, they hijacked GM’s Skate configuration. Congrats to them for commercializing it. Thinking can-do bastar*s. lol


  52. 52
    Mark Z

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:14 pm)

    The current model Volt is amazing on a road trip, so the lack of a new model until 2015 should not affect the demand for Voltec during the next few years.

    Drove the Volt to the Tesla Model S Beta ride event in Fremont, CA. My nephew drove most of the way and the performance of the car on the two day, 916 mile drive was spectacular. With only 1 charge at the start, the mpg was 37.4 with 70 to 80 mile speeds the majority of the time. Got the low fuel indicator after Gorman on the way home, but the downhill regeneration gave us back 3 miles before filling up with 9.4 gallons 25 miles later! Loved the way the Volt displayed nearby fuel stations on the center screen when the fuel hit low. (The long drive lowered lifetime mpg from 131 to 97.1 with the odometer now at 6477.)

    One Volt problem surfaced with the GPS in the bay area. Many times two different suggestions were made for freeway ramp connectors. It would suggest the wrong ramp a mile away, then switch to the correct one at the last minute. Very strange, and it did cause some concern at times.

    My initial comments about the Model S are here:

    http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?9333-Tesla-Making-Faster-2012-Model-S-0-60-In-Under-4.5-Seconds&p=90471#post90471


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:32 pm)

    Jim I: …told me they wanted today to get it all cleaned up, charged up, and ready for me.
    So tomorrow morning is it!!!!
    It will be a long day today…………..

    Congratulations Jim—enjoy!


  54. 54
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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:39 pm)

    I’d like to contribute my two cents as someone who worked in the automotive industry as a quality engineer. One way to play it safe, quality wise, is to not make a lot of changes to new models. Honda is known for using this strategy and it shows in their quality numbers. Obviously this minimizing of change also helps in cost reduction over the long term. It’s possible to be too conservative because consumers love to own the latest, newest, hippest products. A good compromise is to change the way a car looks on the outside and keep the mechanical changes to a minimum. This is why the Cadillac ELR is a great strategy.

    At the risk of sounding hypocritical there are a couple of mechanical changes I’d like to see. I’d like the engine to be upgraded to incorporate direct injection and Atkinson cycle. This would significantly improve the fuel efficiency in CS mode. Direct injection would also benefit the Cruze and development costs could be shared with a high volume model.

    I have a question I hope someone can answer. If GM produces the ELR will it be considered a totally separate model for purposes of the EV tax credit? In other words will ELRs count toward the 200,000 limit for the tax credit of the Volt or will the counter be reset for the ELR?


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:43 pm)

    pjkPA: How can you say GM is slow rolling out the vehicles when you compair GM to all other mfrs who have nothing rolling out right now?

    #34

    No s__t! +1


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:43 pm)

    Jim I, don’t forget to register here either… http://www.voltstats.net/


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:49 pm)

    jim1961: If GM produces the ELR will it be considered a totally separate model for purposes of the EV tax credit? In other words will ELRs count toward the 200,000 limit for the tax credit of the Volt or will the counter be reset for the ELR?

    Yes because it’s vehicles per manufacturer not models.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (2:52 pm)

    Tall Pete: Again : The GM representative I spoke to during the GM Tour said that all of 2012 allocation was sold out in Canada.

    #44 & 45

    Yeah, I caught that. Very encouraging. +1 to both.

    I think that all of the grizzling about Volt sales is just people flapping their gums. I was just trying to put a context around GM’s conservative approach.


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    David Donnelly

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (3:12 pm)

    The biggest change I want to see for the 2nd generation Volt is a smaller engine. One that is designed for the car, not taken off a shelf. More rear leg room would be nice too, as I have a lot of passengers.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (3:32 pm)

    Sept 2011 Sales

    Volt 723
    Leaf 1031
    Prius 9325


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    Ron Gremban, CalCars' Technology Lead

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (4:17 pm)

    Kup,
    I want to chime in and disagree on one point: I do not recommend buying the Volt without the camera option. Two days after receiving my Volt last December, I backed at 1 mph into a truck that was out-of-view to the side of my car in my driveway, requiring a $1500 replacement of my rear bumper. I bought the camera but was not yet used to watching it instead of turning around to look out the rear when backing up. There are huge blind spots on either side of straight back which require extreme caution during lane changing, too. All cars nowadays, including the Volt, seem to have super-easy-to-damage, very expensive plastic bumper veneers — but that’s another story.


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    larry4pyro

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (4:17 pm)

    I’d like to see a Volt SS. Is there any reason both of the Voltec motors couldn’t be used at the same time to generate 225 hp and 400 ft/lbs of torque?

    Since battery tech is getting cheaper, put more capacity in the battery to support the extra power draws when driven hard, but 50 range if driven easy.


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    N Riley

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    Before reading any one’s comment, I will say this: I believe GM will stick with the 2015 plan unless two things cause them to move faster. One would be that every Volt they build sells and demand remains high. Second, that old change driver call competition can do marvelous things to a company’s plans.

    We will just have to wait and see. Won’t we?


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (4:39 pm)

    Mitch: Orlando

    Is that your only comment about the Orlando? Did you really like it? Did you sit inside of it and if so, how did it look and feel inside? Inquiring minds would like to know.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    Enjoy your new Volt starting tomorrow, Jim. Very happy for you. I know you will keep us abreast of your experience.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Ron Gremban, CalCars’ Technology Lead,

    I don’t plan on buying the camera option for $700. Even with the camera I will do a head check; it’s just how I am. Did you use your side mirrors and do a head check, and still miss the truck behind you? Can someone that owns a Volt take a photo from the driver’s head position looking backwards toward the rear window?

    Thanks.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (5:21 pm)

    Jim I: My sales rep, Beth, from Sweeney Chevrolet in Youngstown, OH just called me to tell me the truck just came in and my Volt was being unloaded as we spoke on the phone!

    She told me they wanted today to get it all cleaned up, charged up, and ready for me.

    So tomorrow morning is it!!!!

    It will be a long day today…………..

    …and it must seem a VERY long wait since we both went to NYC to test drive a Volt on Mar 29, 2010! Congrats, Jim, and I’m sorry to say my ENVY-colored green feels lots more intense than your green post looks to me!!! PLEASE don’t post any photos to make me feel worse, OK?!? :)


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    john1701a

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (5:33 pm)

    Noel Park: I think that all of the grizzling about Volt sales is just people flapping their gums. I was just trying to put a context around GM’s conservative approach.

    Let’s not forget that all the hype about sales expectations this time last year was the flapping. Now, things are finally starting to take a realistic outlook. Too bad it took so much downplay to finally get there.


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    DonC

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (5:50 pm)

    kdawg: I don’t plan on buying the camera option for $700. Even with the camera I will do a head check; it’s just how I am.

    The camera is very handy. When you’re backing up with vehicles on both sides you simply can’t, as a physical matter, see until the front seats clear the back of the vehicles. The camera is a fisheye mounted on the rear bumper so you can see to the sides as soon as your back bumper is even with the back of the vehicles. That’s long before you could see without it.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (5:51 pm)

    David Donnelly:
    The biggest change I want to see for the 2nd generation Volt is a smaller engine. One that is designed for the car, not taken off a shelf.

    I’ve heard this type of comment many times and it’s time to set the record straight. The 1.4 liter engine is roughly half the size of what’s required for an ICE-only vehicle that weighs 3800 lbs. When the battery is depleted and the Volt is running in charge sustaining (CS) mode it’s not much different than a hybrid such as the Prius or Insight. The Prius weighs roughly 700 lbs. less than the Volt. The Prius ICE is 1.8 liters. The Honda Insight weighs roughly 1000 lbs. less than the Volt. The Insight ICE is 1.3 liters. Furthermore, if the ICE in the Volt were oversized there would be no need for “mountain mode”.


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    DonC

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    john1701a: Let’s not forget that all the hype about sales expectations this time last year was the flapping. Now, things are finally starting to take a realistic outlook. Too bad it took so much downplay to finally get there.

    As a factual matter GM is doing exactly what it said it would. The only difference is that they’re planning on making and selling 15K more units than they said they’d make and sell last year at this time. Seems like this has exceeded rather than simply matched “the hype” your’e talking about.

    The disappointment for some is how fast Gen II is arriving. That’s a different question. For all we know, it may represent more significant progress than expected. That would BTW be my guess.

    Not to rub it in too much, but what MPG do you get with your Prius? I’m closing in on 1000 MPG, all in a quick incredibly smooth and super quiet car.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (6:03 pm)

    jim1961: I’ve heard this type of comment many times and it’s time to set the record straight. The 1.4 liter engine is roughly half the size of what’s required for an ICE-only vehicle that weighs 3800 lbs.

    There are two of these. One is “why did they make the engine so big?” You’ve answered that. The other one is “Why is the battery so big”? That has to do with what C you want to use during discharge and the fact that the tax rebate goes down with the size of the battery pack.


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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (7:10 pm)

    I guess I just don’t believe it. I would bet that the Volt battery pack is close to $10k now and will be below $8k by January 2013, and this “by 2015″ date is just to get us to think slower (most of us expect near instant reductions in price). Also, just because 2nd gen Volt won’t be out until 2015, that doesn’t mean there won’t be other models introduced sooner like the ELR. They will continue to concentrate on price reductions of this generation of the Volt.


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    john1701a

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (7:21 pm)

    Not to rub it in too much, but what MPG do you get with your Prius? I’m closing in on 1000 MPG, all in a quick incredibly smooth and super quiet car.

    Bragging rights don’t change the reality of “too little, too slowly“.


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    Ron Gremban, CalCars' Technology Lead

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (7:42 pm)

    Tall PeteIMHO : the tax credit should have been for X cars TOTAL, with no regard to the manufacturer. The sooner a manufacturer get in the game, the more cars it will be able to sell.

    The tax credit was originally going to be for 200,000 cars total, but got expanded by a last-minute amendment to ‘per manufacturer’, which allows for far more incentives but has the aforementioned unintended consequences. In terms of pricing, GM may be using any immediate savings to make a little profit preparatory to dropping the price by $3750 when, after 200k delivered, the federal incentive is halved. As usual, it will be up to grassroots pressure to ‘pull’ new models and higher production out of GM. Let’s continue to promote the heck out of plug-in vehicles of all sizes, shapes, and kinds. My rule of thumb is that any size or kind of well-designed PHEV will displace 30-50 gallons of fossil fuel per year for each kilowatt-hour of available battery capacity (e.g. 300-500 gallons/year for a Volt; half that for Toyota’s plug-in Prius; huge amounts for a short-range plug-in tractor-trailer).
    Two unrelated Volt points: After 9 months and 5k miles, I can unequivocally say that the Volt is the best car I’ve ever owned (well, unfortunately I had to lease instead of buy it) — a true luxury sports sedan — with a driving experience even beyond that of my formerly beloved BMW 535i, which cost $780/mo for 7 years (but was still running great after 242k miles). My girlfriend is now driving my Prius — another great, though less sporty, car. With its ’04 plug-in conversion now upgraded to Plug-in Conversions, she regularly gets 100+ mpg, while my Volt’s lifetime mileage hovers around 150 mpg despite longer trips, including from Marin Co. to Reno. I can still count gas station visits on one hand. The navigation with real-time traffic is a real boon. I loved that it can play Audiobooks, but gave up and use my Droid for that after my driving felt dangerous from trying to deal with the player’s brain-dead user interface.
    I recently had the chance to drive a Fisker Karma, which was a great experience in two ways. It is a wonderful, gorgeous, super-luxurious, very expensive pure series hybrid sports sedan weighing 5300 lbs (43% heavier than the Volt). A steering wheel switch starts the engine for top performance. On batteries, it seems barely higher-powered than the Volt; with the engine running (noisier than the Volt’s), it’s like a rocket ship. But it also made me appreciate my Volt even more, as despite only 1/3 the cost, my Volt has nearly the same overall driving feel — and its electric and gasoline fuel economy are both considerably better.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:35 pm)

    Remember, this is from the same people who told us the gas engine would not drive the wheels. Please realize I have no complaint about that, but just a Voltec transmission with small battery, in every FWD car GM makes, would be a bigger game changer than the Volt itself.


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    George S. Bower

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (8:38 pm)

    DonC: There are two of these. One is “why did they make the engine so big?” You’ve answered that. The other one is “Why is the battery so big”? That has to do with what C you want to use during discharge and the fact that the tax rebate goes down with the size of the battery pack.

    The whole thing is that when you go into CS mode and you want it to be “undetectable” you need the power for” coffin corner” conditions. We did the same things w/ APU’s on the Boeing and Airbus.

    The GM engineers have a computer model to design the system accordingly.

    If you want a less powerful ICE then you have to go get in the right lane w/ the truckers when you go in CS mode up a steep mountain grade.

    The HP of the Volt’s ICE is correct given the mission profile.

    GSB


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    James

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:05 pm)

    john1701a: Let’s not forget that all the hype about sales expectations this time last year was the flapping. Now, things are finally starting to take a realistic outlook. Too bad it took so much downplay to finally get there.

    Don’t worry John, we didn’t miss you one bit. And I’ll not argue with you – because I know you’re just smarting over Toyota’s announcement that the Prius with a plug will cost forty grand when equipped like a well-optioned Volt. Oh yes, and you realized that, even though the Big T is claiming 15 all-electric miles for the PIP – you know if you step on the accelerator with any authority ( or there are hills were you live ) the ICE kicks in anyway….and, of course, the fact that, at 15 miles you’ll still have to use gas on your commute to work.*

    At least the decision between PIP and Volt is much clearer now than before. If you drive really long distances daily, the PIP may be better for you, but if you drive like 85% of Americans and Canadians, the Volt is the ONLY choice for 40 gs** before tax credit!

    VOLT, IT’S MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC! ( made in USA ) ,

    James

    *as a 2nd gen Prius owner and HSD fan I know Volt tech is next gen. Plus, the new Prius is butt-ugly, it just is. And Volt drives like a normal car , “planted” is the most commonly used word new Volt drivers use – and “solid – like a normal car”. These are not experiences you, I or any Prius owners know – and all us Prius drivers have to admit it’s a compromise mileage machine.

    ** give ‘r take…


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:39 pm)

    I am bored w/ this generalized discussion.
    Go away and put together a spread sheet and calculate your MPG and your MPGe and make the decision yourself. It is all dependent on your driving cycle.

    Don’t forget to put in a big influence coefficient for the fact that that ICE does not come on even at max speed and max accel.

    Do your homework.


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    Tex-Arl

     

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (9:49 pm)

    pjkPA,

    You expressed my feeling completely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We followed the Volt for almost 4 years all the time the haters and naysayers said it would never happen. Tell me what OTHER car company has been so open.

    I believe GM resurrected their reputation with the Volt as one of the great engineering companies!!!!!!


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    john1701a

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (10:12 pm)

    James: you know if you step on the accelerator with any authority ( or there are hills were you live ) the ICE kicks in anyway

    I know that’s not true. I had a PHV last summer and did plenty of hill climbing in EV without any effort. The ICE did not kick in. But then again, the absolute of no gas whatsoever isn’t the goal. It’s to replace traditional production… which is why there’s a second low-price model available… something that doesn’t sound likely from Volt before 2015.


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    Jerry

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    Oct 3rd, 2011 (11:09 pm)

    Tim Hart,

    Took delivery on Saturday & rear camera is useful as headrests do obscure somewhat & apparently cannot remove them. I had a 120 mile drive, so I put the rear seats down for now, but I drive an RV also, so I am used to no rear view at all (except for sides of course)

    33 electric (probably not 100% charged) / 48 mpg gas / 78 mpg lifetime (which will only get better) (

    33 electric & 115 miles on gas = total miles so far

    ECO AC climate control almost the entire 120 miles (and very comfortable) — up hill was smooth & effortless (several somewhat steep grades on Route 60 (Riverside to Palm Springs)

    All I can say is this car “Rocks” (2012 Viridian Joule with all the “fixins”)


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    Martin

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    Oct 4th, 2011 (12:27 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Martin

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    Oct 4th, 2011 (12:29 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    jim1961

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    Oct 4th, 2011 (2:05 am)

    Martin:
    In my opinion GM is not too serious for volt production… GM has never been sincere to electrify the vehicle. They just made a few volt and they are busy promoting cruze.
    The volt no doubt is the best designed vehicle they should put this tech in all GM vehicle. That should be it. They are giving the consumer piece meal of producing a few hundred vehicles and talking bullshit… I don’t trust GM any more.

    Mass producing any car is a huge undertaking that takes hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of engineers and hundreds more working in procurement, quality control, manufacturing, market research, etc, etc. Many thousands of hours are spent testing prototypes, redesigning and retesting. These cars must pass all vehicle regulations for emissions and safety. These vehicle must be appealing to consumers and the cars must make a profit. Mass producing a state-of-the-art electric vehicle is even more difficult. GM and Nissan are the first two companies in the history of the world to mass produce highway capable electric cars and they both deserve a LOT of credit.


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    DonC

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    Oct 4th, 2011 (2:27 am)

    Ron Gremban, CalCars’ Technology Lead: GM may be using any immediate savings to make a little profit preparatory to dropping the price by $3750 when, after 200k delivered, the federal incentive is halved.

    Two unrelated Volt points: After 9 months and 5k miles, I can unequivocally say that the Volt is the best car I’ve ever owned (well, unfortunately I had to lease instead of buy it) — a true luxury sports sedan — with a driving experience even beyond that of my formerly beloved BMW 535i, which cost $780/mo for 7 years (but was still running great after 242k miles).

    As I read the phase out there are two quarters where the incentive continues. Then there are two quarters where the incentive is 50%. And then a final two quarters when the incentive is 25%. So it’s not totally dependent on the number sold.

    Thanks for the report on your Volt experience! The Volt is a very nice car and your BMW comparison is one that resonates with me. The suspension on the 5 is better but the Volt is quieter and its EV drive train is silky smooth.


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    Koz

     

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    Oct 4th, 2011 (5:09 am)

    jim1961,

    I live in Florida along with 17 or so million other people with little or no need for mountain mode. There are many millions more car drivers with similar wants and needs. Next gen Voltec should be a purpose designed chassis that is lighter as well as a significantly lighter battery pack. Hopefully, there will be a 25-30kw engine option to go along with it.


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    Oct 4th, 2011 (7:27 am)

    George S. Bower: The whole thing is that when you go into CS mode and you want it to be “undetectable” you need the power for” coffin corner” conditions. We did the same things w/ APU’s on the Boeing and Airbus.

    The GM engineers have a computer model to design the system accordingly.

    If you want a less powerful ICE then you have to go get in the right lane w/ the truckers when you go in CS mode up a steep mountain grade.

    The HP of the Volt’s ICE is correct given the mission profile.

    GSB

    You are absolutely correct.

    Never mind what others may say about the size of the ICE, since GM knew exactly how much power in KW the Volt needs to keep a constant speed. They chose the ICE that, as an electric generator, can provide and sustain that power (this is why it is called “Charge Sustaining Mode”), and installed the available ICE that can meet those demands and still be economical. The other EREVs in production (such as the Fisker Karma) have a larger ICE due to the “performance” that adds to the vehicle value. The Volt doesn’t need a bigger ICE for performance. It performs well with just electrical power.

    If GM can find a smaller ICE that complies with CS mode, it will use it. Remember, the Volt was designed to reduce fuel consumption as an EREV. When the range can be extended with a much smaller or no ICE, GM will redesign the Volt.

    Raymond


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    john1701a

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    Oct 4th, 2011 (7:49 am)

    At least the decision between PIP and Volt is much clearer now than before.

    Let’s not forget about the other choices which could muddy the water. For example, the new Camry hybrid uses a 141 horsepower traction motor. That’s quite a bit more electric potential than the 80 in PIP. Combine that propulsion system with a larger battery-pack…


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    Carney

     

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    Oct 5th, 2011 (3:49 pm)

    I’m worried that this means a further postponement of flex fuel as a feature, that is compatibility with E85 ethanol.

    GM originally promised this as a feature to be included in the very beginning. Then it said it would include it a year or two after introduction, at this point model year 2013.

    Now no changes before 2015?

    I’m holding out hope that this recent announcement only reflects changes to the Voltec drivetrain and doesn’t close the door on changes to the internal combustion engine and its related components (fuel tank, fuel lines, etc.).

    But for those of us hoping for a flex fuel Volt (I’m holding out for one), this is ominous.