May 15

Consumer Reports says Volt and Focus EV compromised, unlike ‘purpose-built’ EVs

 

In the process of checking out the electric vehicles at this year’s EVS26 Symposium in Los Angeles, Consumer Reports has observed that purpose-made EVs trump ones adapted from conventional internal-combustion models.

The influential publication called out the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus Electric as being among those that are “full of compromises” having been “built from gasoline models,” thus having higher center of gravity and sacrificing interior space. The Volt, CR observed, shares its chassis with the Cruze, and the Ford Focus EV is based on, well you guessed it, the Ford Focus.

“The primary reasons to base an electric on a gasoline platform is to save money and race to market-both fair business objectives,” CR said. “But that approach smacks of lower commitment by those automakers to building electric cars.”

2012leafEV

 

In contrast, CR praised the design philosophy of the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S better as these pack batteries low under the floor.

“The sleek Tesla Model S has impressive space efficiency, with a flat interior floor that’s wide open in front and gives generous legroom in the rear,” CR said. “It has a spacious hatchback big enough for a rear-facing third-row seat, and a trunk up front where the engine would go.”

And believe it or not, CR gave kudos also to the Coda electric sedan. Even though it is based on a 2000 Mitsubishi Lancer, “the company found a way to sandwich most of the batteries under the floor,” CR said.

After reading through Consumer Reports analysis, one could just as well summarize it by saying the publication appears to be increasingly coming to favor the inherent design advantages of the EV “skateboard” design, or the nearest equivalent.


Tesla Model S “skateboard” chassis.

 

The advantages of stowing batteries low and out of the way are several. For one, it does not necessitate sacrificing a fifth seat passenger as the Volt does. Nor does it sacrifice usable trunk space such as the Focus EV does by loading batteries in the back. In fact it leaves engineers free to design the vehicle with much less encumbrance from bulky batteries fitted into a conventional chassis.

And from a handling, braking and ride quality standpoint, the argument is made that the lower center of gravity afforded by flat batteries slung along the floor is the way to go.

That is, the heavy batteries ride low, and Tesla for one, has gone on record saying its Model S will be a superb handler among sedans in part for this reason.

“We’ll be looking for more purpose-built electric cars in the future,” Consumer Reports said, having inadvertently defined a new metric.

But while true the Cruze and Volt share much, it’s also been said GM built the Volt based on its 2007 concept vehicle and it has been called purpose built in some respects. Perhaps some could say it was sort of purpose built, but GM based it on a conventional design, and also spun off the Cruze that has since become a cash cow, while the Volt took the place of a halo for the New GM.


Nissan places batteries less obtrusively below the Leaf’s floor.

 

The Ford Focus EV is another issue, however. It undeniably came out of an existing model, has been called a high-efficiency “compliance car” to improve the company’s fleet fuel consumption and emissions average, and Ford has shown a nominal commitment to it thus far, so we’re more inclined to see CR’s points there.

Not addressed by CR however is crash-worthiness. Those batteries and related hardware are expensive, and would compound the complexity of any body shop repair if smashed in an accident.

Aside from much-amplified reports about the Volt’s battery potentially smoldering if crashed and left still charged, its battery is shielded from side-impact damage by being so buried in the center of the car. So that might even be an advantage for this one aspect of post-crash repair – depending on how hard it is hit, of course.

On the other hand, we’re not sure how protected the batteries would be from the side with electric vehicles with a skateboard design. No doubt all vehicles must be designed to protect occupants to acceptable standards – in fact the inherent weight of electric vehicle tends to help them do comparatively better in crash test results – but how would their electric underpinnings fare after an impact?

Maybe OK? Maybe not? More light will be shed on this question after these vehicles have had more time on the road, and more of them have had enough real world crashes for patterns to emerge.

But what do you think? Consumer Reports opens its article saying “The difference could not be more stark” than between converted ICE vehicles and those made from their inception as EVs. Is it right, off base, or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

Consumer Reports

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 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: 52


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    May 15th, 2012 (6:19 am)

    Here’s yet another instance in which Consumer Reports lacks adequate experience in the design, marketing and performance evaluation of new products necessary to make a correct assessment. It has long concerned me that both the Tesla S & Leaf placed their batteries in a single plane (i.e., not stacked), with many cells located VERY close to the car’s exterior at the side(s). Even if safety issues are disregarded, positioning high-value, vulnerable components where they’re vulnerable to damage in crashes is poor design practice!

    CR, you’re sorely mistaken in this conclusion as regards both the Leaf and the Tesla S model! Both GM’s Volt and Fisker’s models employ floor-mounted batteries —the batteries in each are installed & replaced through the car’s underbody!


  2. 2
    James McQuaid

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    May 15th, 2012 (6:41 am)

    CR’s grouping the Volt together with the Focus in a comparison with vehicles using the skateboard chassis is predicated on a deliberate failure to acknowledge the Volt’s inherit benefit of providing both gasoline and electric propulsion. This constitutes bias.

    CR’s gratuitous assertion that the Volt was derived from the Cruze is false, and a simple facts check is needed here.

    CR tipping its hat to Coda on design is laughable.

    I don’t know what CR pays its writers, but they are not getting their money’s worth…


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    Koz

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    May 15th, 2012 (6:50 am)

    CR ignores the fact that the Volt is an EREV, both an EV and a ICE in one. This is the biggest tradeoff in space but it is intentional and has a tremendous benefit lost in their analysis. There is also a thermal advantage in cold weather operation to having a battery pack design like the Volt’s versus a skateboard. Having said this, I do feel (and have previously stated) that GM needs to design an EV or EREV specific platform for weight and packaging purposes. The value of decreasing the platform weight is different for EVs and EREVs than it is for ICE only vehicles, as are the values of other design criteria.

    A dedicated platform is one of the big advancements and commitments for GM to make.


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    Bonaire

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:02 am)

    People don’t need to view compromise as “bad”. I think their issue is negating a valuable design effort to build cars that people want to drive and don’t deem them as “too far out” like the Aptera.

    Volt is a purpose-build EREV – it’s not a BEV.

    I don’t mind compromise. In fact, in life where “everything is a business model”, the Volt’s design does make a lot of sense and as sales numbers show, it is “putting a whoopin on the Leaf” in 2012.


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    Roy_H

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:12 am)

    The Volt had no design constrictions, and is definitely a purpose build EREV. What it shares with the Cruze is convenience as it was targeted at the same size. GM made the decision to put the battery pack in the center because they felt this was the safest configuration, not because it was the only place it would fit in the Cruse. In fact if you started with a Cruze, you would not be able to add the battery there at all. Clearly whoever wrote the Consumers Report article did no research at all but simply decided that the batteries should be flat in the floor and any car not built that way must be a compromise. I take it that Consumers Report considers the Fisker Karma to be a compromise, being adapted from…?

    In a side impact collision the LEAF and Model S battery packs will clearly be destroyed, and not be salvageable. This will increase the cost of repair, but has safety been compromised? Obviously there are differences of opinion here. Any time you have a large amount of stored power and the container is broken, there is potential danger. Will that energy get released somehow? Tesla and Nissan say no, the broken battery pack is designed to fail benignly with sub-modules shutting down. GM and Fisker decided not to take any chances. The LEAF has already passed its crash certification with flying colors, and I expect the same from Tesla, but it will take years of real life accidents before any real conclusions can be drawn.

    It is unfortunate that Consumers Reports does not consider research to verify statements as facts to be performed before publishing opinion.


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    Loboc

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:23 am)

    Purpose-built = expensive. Sharing parts across drivetrains means higher volume and lower unit cost.

    I kind of like Ford’s approach. Go in and check off the features you need and get a Focus that is purpose-built for your needs.


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    GSP

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:36 am)

    I think if CR did a little digging, they would find that both the Volt bad the Leaf were designed from the ground up as EVs (or EREVs). They both share a platform with an ICE car, but both platforms were designed to accept the EV components from the beginning.

    Fruthermore, the Volt has a low center of gravity and 50/50 weight distribution. It is equipped with good performing tires and is tuned to be sporty. Much better than the Leaf in this regard, so Nissan is not buying much sportiness with their below floor location.

    The Model S will be sporty, and it’s platform was not designed to accommodate an ICE, so it will have some advantages compared to the Volt and Leaf.

    The Focus EV is a converted ICE car that was not designed to accept EV components. It is not in the same league as the others.

    GSP


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    Malcolm Scott

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:45 am)

    The Cruze is not a spin off of the Volt. The Cruze was for sale in non US markets long before the Volt and Cruze in the US.

    GM also has development/prototype experience with the scateboard design affording flexible above floor designs (there is very good video of this on the Net somewhere). With the benefit of lessons learnt from EV1 and the scateboard approach, GM has the data to make optimal business case decisions.

    Success is anything but a compromise


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    Schmeltz

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:46 am)

    “The influential publication called out the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus Electric as being among those that are “full of compromises” having been “built from gasoline models,” …

    right….and we should believe Consumer Reports because they are experts on EV’s and have been engineering and building EV’s for…wait a minute!


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    Schmeltz

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:49 am)

    I wonder if Consumer Reports is as willing to give the makers of blenders and toasters such sage advice being that they are now the experts on everything? Watch out Kitchen Aid, they are coming after you next!


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    kickincanada

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    May 15th, 2012 (7:51 am)

    Well I saw the Model S this past weekend and was very impressed. To the point where I’m having a hard time not thinking about it. The space in this vehicle was incredible, almost unreal, and if it lives up to its handling performance, range, and 0-60 times, the Model S seems like a bargain considering its only $20K more than a Volt – even less if you option out a Volt. That said crash worthiness in the Model S is a concern. I am wondering if the Model S will feel as sporty as the Volt as when I drove the leaf with its platform design, although it was quick off the line, it handled like a dog.

    And the Volt while sharing components with the Cruze is pretty much purpose built in my books. CR got this wrong lumping it with the Ford Focus.


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    Nelson

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:17 am)

    “The Volt, CR observed, shares its chassis with the Cruze,”….
    ….“The primary reasons to base an electric on a gasoline platform is to save money and race to market-both fair business objectives,” CR said. “But that approach smacks of lower commitment by those automakers to building electric cars.”…
    …..”In contrast, CR praised the design philosophy of the Nissan Leaf”

    That’s funny I always thought the Leaf was just a Versa with a different front bumper, headlights and taillights.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  13. 13
    DonC

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:21 am)

    The CR report is a crock. These people have no idea what they’re talking about. For example, the Nissan Leaf seats five not because it’s “purpose built” but because Nissan choose NOT to have a thermal management system for the battery. Nissan engineers have explained that had they chosen to have a TMS system then they would have lost the fifth seat. No idea why CR would say it has ANYTHING to do with being purpose built. Also, the Leaf is built on the SAME platform as the Versa. Everyone knows that. So again, no idea why CR is making such wildly inaccurate claims.

    The fact is, the Volt is every bit as purpose built as the Leaf. The Focus is not, which is why it doesn’t have a trunk. Of all of the EVs out there, only the Tesla S doesn’t share a platform with some other car, and that’s because Tesla didn’t have a platform to begin with. Along these same lines, yes the Volt has a little less cargo space than a Leaf, but GM had to fit in an ICE drive train and chose not to have small wheels and the outline of a Leaf, which, while not very attractive, does give you the most cargo space for the footprint.

    As for the T battery pack design, that design came from the EV1, which was the only purpose built electric car of its time.

    CR needs to go back and do some research before coming up with this stuff.


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    May 15th, 2012 (8:22 am)

    If the Ford Focus and the Chevy Volt were named Toyota, Consumer Reports would be raving about them. I keep close track of what CR reports and they are the most bias organization out there. The sad part is many people who do not know much about cars, put their trust in them.


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    James McQuaid

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:28 am)

    The CR article is a joke. Its error of context is to digress to wordplay in comparing “electric vehicles”, and to not distinguish between EREV and BEV.

    The following joke illustrates the same type of wordplay, but is more humorous:

    What did the Hindu say to the Chicago hot dog street vendor?
    “Make me one with everything.”

    Ha Ha.


  16. 16
    Kevin R

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:31 am)

    Consumers Reports is so biased towards foreign cars that I stopped subscribing to their magazine some six years ago. I also never consult their magazine or website for any purchase I make, as they are not unbiased and not impartial. They’re fools and morons.


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    Tim Hart

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:31 am)

    Consumer Reports is last on the list for objectivity and expertise. Their only concern is selling magazines and anybody who listens to them needs to get a life!


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    joe

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:33 am)

    James McQuaid:
    CR’s grouping the Volt together with the Focus in a comparison with vehicles using the skateboard chassis is predicated on a deliberate failure to acknowledge the Volt’s inherit benefit of providing both gasoline and electric propulsion.This constitutes bias.

    CR’s gratuitous assertion that the Volt was derived from the Cruze is false, and a simple facts check is needed here.

    CR tipping its hat to Coda on design is laughable.

    I don’t know what CR pays its writers, but they are not getting their money’s worth…

    I think Toyota pays CR writers.


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    kdawg

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:52 am)

    Umm does CR not realize there’s an ICE under the hood of the Volt? If they want to bash GM (as they usually do) they can say the Chevy Spark should have been a purpose-built EV. The Volt is an EREV.. different animal.

    Also, GM designed many new *purpose-built* devices to make the Volt. For example all the components that were driven by belts that are now driven electrically. Maybe CR just looks at the shell of a car to make it’s decisions “Oh look, that one is a pretty color”.

    OT: Volt miles is over 65 MILLION miles now, and at 2,127,800 gallons of fuel saved.


  20. 20
    kdawg

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    May 15th, 2012 (8:54 am)

    Schmeltz: I wonder if Consumer Reports is as willing to give the makers of blenders and toasters such sage advice being that they are now the experts on everything? Watch out Kitchen Aid, they are coming after you next!

    I would like to form a 3rd party evaluation group, that evaluates 3rd party evaluation groups. CR would get rated low by my group.


  21. 21
    Eideard

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:01 am)

    CR has been as useful as the vermiform appendix for decades.


  22. 22
    Mike

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:06 am)

    (click to show comment)


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    Schmeltz

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:14 am)

    kdawg: I would like to form a 3rd party evaluation group, that evaluates 3rd party evaluation groups. CR would get rated low by my group.

    Yeah I know. I wonder if they actually realize how their babbling truly effects the selling rates of truly good, conscientiously-made products? They have no business spouting opinions about product engineering or design. Their forte is in how the products function in everyday life. That is where they need to stay IMO.


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    nasaman

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:23 am)

    DonC:

    The CR report is a crock. These people have no idea what they’re talking about. For example, the Nissan Leaf seats five not because it’s “purpose built” but because Nissan choose NOT to have a thermal management system for the battery. Nissan engineers have explained that had they chosen to have a TMS system then they would have lost the fifth seat. No idea why CR would say it has ANYTHING to do with being purpose built. Also, the Leaf is built on the SAME platform as the Versa. Everyone knows that. So again, no idea why CR is making such wildly inaccurate claims…”

    LOVE your opening “Lutzism”, Don! …And I’ll venture a “Churchillism”… ‘Leaf’s designers must have been drunk as louses & their car is as ugly as sin, but although their drunken stupor may have worn off eventually, their design is still unbearably, sinfully UGLY!’ …Any surprise its sales are plummeting? Sorry, despite your past successes & enormous wealth, you screwed up BIG TIME this time, Carlos!


  25. 25
    George S. Bower

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:30 am)

    The Volt IS a purpose built EV. CR is full of ka ka.

    However, I have often wondered why GM placed the batteries as they did as it eats up so much interior room. The only conclusion I could come to was that it was a hold over from the EV1 design.

    Hopefully when GM comes out with the MPV they will put the batteries in the floor as I have suggested here many times before.


  26. 26
    George S. Bower

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:43 am)

    nasaman:‘Leaf’s designers must have been drunk as louses & their car is as ugly as sin, but although their drunken stupor may have worn off eventually, their design is still unbearably, sinfully UGLY!’ …Any surprise its sales are plummeting? Sorry, despite your past successes & enormous wealth, you screwed up BIG TIME this time, Carlos!

    I usually agree w/ your statements but I definitely have to go w/ a -1 on that one. (I’m sure Statik would agree w/ me.) PS I’m not sure but I think DonC also has a Leaf in addition to a Volt.


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    joe

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:44 am)

    I believe Consumer Reports figures this Chevy Volt thing is getting too popular and is not good for their Asian partners. Time to instill some negatives to slow it’s sales.

    I’m not trying to be facetious, I actually believe that’s Consumers Reports motive. That’s the kind of outfit they are.


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    DonC

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    May 15th, 2012 (9:58 am)

    Mike: CR has had a lot of good things to say about the Volt, but this issue is talking about passenger and cargo space – not the Volt’s strong points.
    If the Leaf is actually based on the Versa, CR will have a bit of back-pedaling to do on their purpose-built theory.

    I haven’t seen ANYTHING positive out of CR about the Volt. In fact their “car guy” said the Volt was a lousy car.

    FYI it’s not a question of “if the Leaf is based on the Versa”. It is. You can actually lay an image of the Leaf over the Versa and they match up exactly. The fact that CR doesn’t understand this just makes them look ignorant, which is pretty much what they are. My guess is that CR won’t respond or correct the inaccuracy — it will just ignore it. However, having said that, I think it fair to say the Leaf is purpose built. Sharing a platform is not much of a factor in deciding whether an EV is purpose built or not. Another thing CR doesn’t seem to understand.

    As for cargo and passenger space, you can’t compare an EREV that has an engine and a thermal management system for the battery pack to a BEV of the same size that doesn’t and act surprised when the BEV has more interior space. Duh!


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    joe

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    May 15th, 2012 (10:00 am)

    nasaman,

    And where are the zillions Leafs that you were going to sell, Carlos? GM didn’t meet their Volts sales goal last year and the media has been very critical about it. Why is this not happening with the Leaf? I’ll tell you why.

    The media being a circus run by the clowns who are more interested in entertaining, than imparting factual news to the audience.

    The totally perverse attitude of the American media, (Consumer Reports in particular) to denigrate anything developed, designed and built in the USA shows stupidity and ignorance, all of which gets heaps of praise, publicity and cheerleaders.

    Let’s hope someday our Country can regain pride like we had decades ago!


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    DonC

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    May 15th, 2012 (10:11 am)

    George S. Bower: PS I’m not sure but I think DonC also has a Leaf in addition to a Volt.

    I have a Leaf but I wouldn’t claim it has elegant design. You can describe the Leaf’s design in several ways, one of which is “butt ugly”. (I think of it as “homely”).

    Personally I’m OK with the design because it’s very practical. I think there is an interview with Bob Boniface where he says that if you want to maximize interior space you end up with something like a Leaf or a Prius. You start with small wheels which helps with efficiency and then go with an egg shaped hatch with a kammback. This gives you maximum interior room for the area that you have at the expense of limiting the design options. If pretty is as pretty does then this works.

    The biggest drawback I’ve noticed is that the small wheels do encourage people to cut you off. It’s positively amazing.


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    kdawg

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    May 15th, 2012 (10:23 am)

    nasaman: LOVE your opening “Lutzism”, Don! …And I’ll venture a “Churchillism”… ‘Leaf’s designers must have been drunk as louses & their car is as ugly as sin, but although their drunken stupor may have worn off eventually, their design is still unbearably, sinfully UGLY!’ …Any surprise its sales are plummeting? Sorry, despite your past successes & enormous wealth, you screwed up BIG TIME this time, Carlos!

    At least Nissan (Infiniti) has a *sporty* version coming out. And some other models.

    01-infiniti-essence-live-630.jpg

    That got watered down to this:

    Infiniti-LE-Concept-front-three-quarter.jpg


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    Steve

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    May 15th, 2012 (10:26 am)

    Sometimes Consumer Reports is just wrong. The biggest compromise allows the Volt to have no BEV range limitation and doesn’t require any special infrastructrue. The “no compromise” BEVs can’t do this. You have to be an idiot not to understand this. They aren’t doing consumers any favors by stupid comments like this.


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    Bill Cosworth

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    May 15th, 2012 (10:46 am)

    Consumer Distorts has never been a great place to get car reviews. They are Just OK in the past they have made massive errors. They also get donations to write who ever is paying them more.

    Use Car and Driver or other publications to make car decisions. CR’s reliability ratings are all wrong too, typically totally wrong. There sample data comes from only there readers who have been ” pre conditioned”

    Many people have lost respect for consumer reports and there respect is getting worse and worse over the years. This recent article is a horrible write up.


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    Mark Z

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    May 15th, 2012 (11:49 am)

    If CR wanted to complain about Model S it would be how you cannot place your left foot beyond the break pedal. Tesla has designed in a foot pad so close that there is no room to stretch your left leg as you can in the Roadster or even the Volt.

    Sure there is plenty of room for cargo, but not for the driver’s left leg!


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    kdawg

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    May 15th, 2012 (11:58 am)

    Bill Cosworth: Many people have lost respect for consumer reports and there respect is getting worse and worse over the years. This recent article is a horrible write up.

    In today’s internet world, with a plethora of information available, I don’t know anyone that uses CR. My friends & family either communicate with people they know about the product, or go to message boards to read reviews. There are also so many other *objective* reviewer websites/companies out there, at your fingertips, that I just don’t see CR as significant anymore.


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    Jackson

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    May 15th, 2012 (12:04 pm)

    Mike: CR is the best source of objective product reporting out there.

    This may be true, but also very sad. “Objective reporting” long ago ceased to be the primary concern of any traditional news or reporting organization; and even the “best” shows it.

    I think what you say may be true in many areas, but clearly not in the automotive.


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    pjkPA

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    May 15th, 2012 (12:21 pm)

    CU may be good at comparing tootbrushes or blenders…. but whoever is involved with their automotive writing is not worth reading. I miss “Smokey” who used to write for Popular Science .. he was a mechanic and wrote some very interesting articles that actually were worth reading. Almost anything written by CU is not worth reading… CU puts out very poor information when it comes to automobiles… even the red dots that do not compensate for the amount of vehicles on the road are very misleading.


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    Noel Park

     

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    May 15th, 2012 (12:44 pm)

    That’s why I don’t read CR. What a bunch of hooey. Next case.


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    George S. Bower

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    May 15th, 2012 (1:08 pm)

    pjkPA:
    I miss “Smokey” who used to write for Popular Science .. he was a mechanic and wrote some very interesting articles that actually were worth reading.

    Thx for that remembrance. I think it was Smokey Yunik and he smoked a pipe.

    ….and in Mechanics Illustrated….remember “Mimi”


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    unni

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    May 15th, 2012 (2:21 pm)

    The key is CR doesn’t know what they are talking about. Ex: leaf : uses Nissan B platform which is shared ( ref : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Leaf )

    I think what they want to talk was compromise of space and utility because of some designs ( its not related to shared parts or not , Even with a flat battery design Volt can go 5 seat – utilize the space )In volt case, it is placement of battery. I am not for the T shaped battery designed for a coupe 2 seater to be put in a compact and restricting its space to term as a good design.

    so Key is design for utility than shared component usage. Shared component usage is very fine if you can design for utility.


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    May 15th, 2012 (2:52 pm)

    So limiting the car range to under 100 miles (Leaf) is not a compromise, but allowing unlimited driving range (Volt) is?

    Perhaps being a CR blogger is a compromise compared to being a real journalist.


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    May 15th, 2012 (2:53 pm)

    Well I don’t really know much about consumer reports but if there ignorant like FOX News is then they should have there last laughs I hate when the media misleads people into something that’s not true at all about the Volt or the Leaf and I’ll say it again I’ve seen two Volts in my neighborhood before.

    A red one and a silver one.

    Also I hope I see more Volts or other EREV, EV’S, and PHEV vehicles in my neighborhood in future?

    That would be great.

    Here’s an article I found on climate change enjoy.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47421743/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.T7KcacV2M_w


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    jeffhre

     

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    May 15th, 2012 (2:54 pm)

    Bill Cosworth: Use Car and Driver or other publications to make car decisions. CR’s reliability ratings are all wrong too, typically totally wrong. There sample data comes from only there readers who have been ” pre conditioned”

    Very good point. CR has always seemed to be by and for folks who think of cars only as an appliance to get from point A to point B, IMO.

    GSP: I think if CR did a little digging, they would find that both the Volt bad the Leaf were designed from the ground up as EVs (or EREVs). They both share a platform with an ICE car, but both platforms were designed to accept the EV components from the beginning.

    The Leaf does not share a platform with any ICE. Was it designed as an extension of another platform?


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    May 15th, 2012 (3:02 pm)

    unni: The key is CR doesn’t know what they are talking about. Ex: leaf : uses Nissan B platform which is shared

    Confusion = Wikipedia says V platform?


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    May 15th, 2012 (3:05 pm)

    jeffhre: Confusion = Wikipedia says V platform?

    The second generation of the B platform is now known as the V platform

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_B_platform#Renault-Nissan_V_platform
    :-)

    That page says : Leaf is based on Renault-Nissan B0 platform.


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    May 15th, 2012 (6:17 pm)

    “We’ll be looking for more purpose-built electric cars in the future,” Consumer Reports said,

    Now… you have to be totally ignorant to make a statement like this.

    There has not been a more “purpose built” car ever built than the Chevy Volt… the purpose is to drive electric when you want AND drive across country if you want .. that’s the PURPOSE. What they are incinuating is that it is not all electric .. well .. like Chevy states… IT”S MORE THAN ELECTRIC.


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    May 15th, 2012 (6:31 pm)

    George S. Bower: Thx for that remembrance. I think it was Smokey Yunik and he smoked a pipe.

    ….and in Mechanics Illustrated….remember “Mimi”

    Not sure if I remember “Mimi”… but it seems very few “automotive” journalists these days are as interesting as Smokey’s routine common sense articles… that’s why I like reading GM-Volt .. real people with some common sense… and some people who really know what they are talking about…. I especially like when I read stories here about every day drivers proving journalists totally wrong. When you drive a vehicle every day for years you will know more than anyone who test drives a vehicle and more often than not the every day driver contradicts most negative journalists.

    I have a friend who was a test driver for GM for 17 years and worked in the assembly plants for 17 years before that.. drove every kind of vehicle extensively clocking over 100,000 miles a year testing every make from every manufacturer. He said that he can’t believe some of the articles written by “Automotive” magazines. So many articles completely off base and totally wrong.

    It is nice to come here for some common sense… Thanks Jeff and everyone who contributes.


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    May 15th, 2012 (8:02 pm)

    Alaways thot highly of CR and its comparison for various household appliances .. Now this report from CR on Volt tells me that their car guys full of bs***. even so their Volt writeup should not have appeared in CR. I have lost faith in CR and its report on cars.


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    May 15th, 2012 (10:35 pm)

    Let’s face it. If G.M. (or Ford or Chrysler for that matter), made a car that ran on salt water or even septic tank waste, CR would find a reason to criticize it. They absolutely HATE American automakers. What the hell do they know about designing ANYTHING. Let them stick to testing toasters and leave automotive testing and evaluating to people who know about cars.

    I love this line:
    “That is, the heavy batteries ride low, and Tesla for one, has gone on record saying its Model S will be a superb handler among sedans in part for this reason.”

    Oh really? Good handling will have nothing to do with suspension design or super expensive tires? What happens if this CR golden ride winds up handling like an overloaded minivan? It hasn’t been TESTED yet. They are making assumptions without actually driving the car. My father-in-law gets CR. He gives me the old ones. I set them by the toilet. They come in handy when the little spool runs dry.


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    May 16th, 2012 (1:00 am)

    For your further amusement, in commenting on the CR blog I also mentioned that the article is incorrect when it says that purpose built EVs like the Tesla Model S use large flat form cells. In fact the Tesla Model S is using cylindrical 18650 cells.

    You do wonder if these guys have to have any qualifications with respect to what they write about.


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    May 16th, 2012 (10:33 am)

    DonC: Personally I’m OK with the design because it’s very practical. I think there is an interview with Bob Boniface where he says that if you want to maximize interior space you end up with something like a Leaf or a Prius. You start with small wheels which helps with efficiency and then go with an egg shaped hatch with a kammback. This gives you maximum interior room for the area that you have at the expense of limiting the design options.If pretty is as pretty does then this works.

    Chevrolet had a “Kammback” design in the Vega lineup since 1970: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:71_Chevrolet_Vega_Kammback_Wagon.jpg

    My 1975 Vega was the Kammback Wagon and it gave me ten years of excellent service. Should GM revive the Vega design for a new EV? It was strong enough to handle a V8 Camaro engine and drivetrain, so probably it can handle the electric motor with batteries and seat five!

    Raymond

    P.S. If the Leaf nose is that ugly, why can’t it be replaced with the Versa nose?


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    May 16th, 2012 (11:17 am)

    It’s sad, but there are many people who still believe that Consumer Reports is objective. I’m not sure what their motivation is, but after many years as a member, I got tired of the glaring errors and the obvious biases in so many of their reviews. They seem to have decided that the only vehicles worth owning are Camrys and Accords (admittedly good vehicles, but they don’t fit everyone’s needs). They rate pickups on ride quality and gas mileage instead of on hauling and towing. And it only seems that they are getting worse.

    While the low center of gravity and space efficiency of a skateboard chassis seems tempting, I think it’s foolish to expose such sensitive and expensive components like that. Safety concerns aside, will hopping a curb, bottoming out, or having a fender bender end up being a $20,000 accident? I think history will show that the Volt battery configuration is safer and more robust.