Dec 31

December 2014: Volt & EVs; a whimsical look back at 2014

 

By Jon Gundersen

“The visionary sees the past and makes the future.” – Anonymous

We all love to speculate as to what the next EV improvement will be! Let’s recap “2014” to give us a hint a what the future of EVs and specifically the Volt might hold.

First and foremost we saw the introduction of the 2015 Volt at dealers in September. And not to be forgotten, 2014 will be another year of record breaking EV sales even without the December numbers. Drum roll please … 2013 saw the breaking of the 100,000 number, in 2014 there will be over 135,000 electric and plug-in vehicles sold in the USA.

January 2014 started out with a rush of EV announcements with plug-in hybrids and extended range vehicles grabbing most of the spotlights. And of course the January announcement in Detroit on the long awaited Volt II that production would begin in August for the 2015 Volt II. Toyota let us know the next generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid, due later the year as a 2015, will have a larger battery and expected EV range of 24 miles. Rumor had it Ford would soon announce a similar EV range upgrade boosting the C-MAX Energi to 32 miles EV range. Ford followed thru with the announcement in February.
 


 

On the extended range EV front, BMW’s i5 and i8 began selling nationwide in March after decent sales in California and Virginia. The Fisker Atlantic also saw its production begin in April. Reviews have been positive. Sales have been a little slow but steady. Similarly, Tesla is still struggling to ramp up its Model X production with total sales so far of about 2,000 units. GM, holding its cards tight, had no early announcements about the specifications of the Volt II.

In May GM announced the rollout plans for the much rumored 2016 Buick Electra SUV.
The plans calls for production to begin mid year 2015. The Electra will use a beefed up Voltec drivetrain. No information on EV range or battery size has been made.

Volt II rollout excitement began to build in June, once all the EV manufacturers released their upcoming model year specifications and pricing. Everyone knew the Volt II was coming but the rumor mill was dry. Our wants and desires were not, GM noticed and delivered. So just prior to the 4th of July the party began with a bang. On a relatively little Web site, GM announced its plans for the Volt II, our own GM-Volt.com.

The 2015 Volt would be available for order in August with first deliveries in late September. The biggest surprises, the addition of five passenger seating and two available batteries – the standard 16.5 kwh and a new 20 kwh battery with EV ranges of 40 and 50 miles respectively. A new lighter more efficient 1.2-liter generator made in the U.S. delivering 140 horsepower and the much sought after 50 mpg when run in a new eco mode. A new more efficient electric heat exchanger will be used in the climate control systems.
 


 

And the biggest surprise announcement was the new battery will maintain the same footprint and work in all prior Volts. A notch was removed from the battery pack just below the T top to allow for the fifth seat, the total battery footprint remains the same. Great engineering GM! GM’s 2013 plan to use more common components across all its vehicles also made it showing in the 2015 Volt. A larger display and more configurable entertainment and NAV system and the upgraded GM voice recognition command center. Other improvements and options included full sun roof, available run flat tires, motorized seat adjustments and heated steering wheel.

In August we learned of the new base price for the 2015 Volt, $37,499. Many anticipated that price point and proves GM wants to bring Volt sales to the next level. In the next year or so the $7,500 tax credit will be ending for the Volt as the Volt reaches 200,000 units sold. In anticipation of that I believe GM is shooting for monthly sales of 10,000 Volts, 2,000 ELRs and 3,000 of the new Electra SUV. Volt’s November sales almost matched that and once the 2015Volt becomes easily available in all markets it looks like that number will be easily attainable.
 


 

On the awards front the news was also spectacular. For the first time ever two cars will share the Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.

The 2015 Volt and the 2015 BMW i5 share the honors this year.

The Volt and new BMW also won the Top Safety Pick by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Euro NCAP Five Stars Award.

And this just in, VIA Motors and GM have reached agreement on a plan to sell the VIA Motors PHEV pickup, SUV, and Van in GM dealerships beginning this coming year in California.

Total Volt EV miles driven: 350,000,000 and climbing fast.

In this wishful look back at 2014 I hope I have included some of the most desired wishes for the next generation Volt. Got more? Let us know. And let’s hope GM is listening.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 31st, 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: 34


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (6:53 am)

    From above article: “In this wishful look back at 2014 I hope I have included some of the most desired wishes for the next generation Volt. Got more? Let us know. And let’s hope GM is listening.”

    My primary suggestion to GM is a high-performance version of the Volt ll, the “Volt SS”.

    PS: Wishing everyone a very Happy & Prosperous New Year!!!


  2. 2
    Mark Z

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (6:55 am)

    I was shocked when California governor Jerry Brown stopped the sale of all gas powered vehicles after his reelection in November 2014.


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    GSP

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (7:12 am)

    We should get a hint of the Volt 2.0 specs in about 2 weeks, when GM introduces the ELR at rhe Detroit auto show.

    GSP


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (7:32 am)

    When Volt ESS was announced, many people thought the two extra electric motors on the rear axle might eat into the AER. To everyone’s surprise, GM said the motors would actually increase AER! They said the biggest challenge was increasing AER, without giving the Volt ESS a faster 0 to 60 time than Corvette or Camaro.


  5. 5
    George S. Bower

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (8:44 am)

    Building on the success of the peppy little Spark EV and the ELR, GM announced the new Volt SS with a 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds. GM engineer George Bower said: About all we had to do was plop in a couple permanent magnet motor generators in place of the existing A/C synchronous motors and we were there with essentially no other changes to the drive train. GM says that these new motors produce a whopping 450 ft lb of torque within the same physical size limits as the old A/C synchronous motors. These new motors are only available in the Volt SS. The standard Volt still uses the old motor design.


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    Matt

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (8:46 am)

    All those years of research to reduce the price of the Volt leads to a $2500 price reduction? I think GM will have to do better than that.


  7. 7
    kdawg

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (9:07 am)

    LOL, thanks for the entertainment & positive outlook.

    On my wish-list for Volt 2 is the option of wireless charging.

    On my wish-list for EV’s in general is a either a breakthrough in the batteries or significant cost reductions so more people will join the EV world.

    (Note: I read this article in the manner of Conan O’Brien’s “In The Year 2000″)
    http://youtu.be/4g-s7XN20HE

    Conan-Obrien-year-2000.jpg


  8. 8
    kdawg

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (9:59 am)

    Matt: All those years of research to reduce the price of the Volt leads to a $2500 price reduction? I think GM will have to do better than that.

    Assuming the $7500 tax break is still around, they will at least have to match that because they *should* be getting close to 200K Volts/Sparks/ELRs sold mark sometime in the year 2015. (in my optimistic view)


  9. 9
    Bonaire

     

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (10:22 am)

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    jcook

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (10:59 am)

    This is a bit off topic but this year I went back home and visited my father and drove my volt. He works at a GM dealership that does not sell volts in a small town. The owner of the dealership had to eat crow after driving mine because he thought it was a great car. My concern is while I was there they all told me at the dealership that a technician had died at the volt training center in Michigan while working on a volt. I have scoured the internet looking for evidence of this and have found none. I was wondering if anyone knows about this and second, if it is just a rumor that has spread it worries me that in some places of this country they will just make up stories. The people at the dealership were making comments like “if you have a pacemaker don’t get to close” and “Obama liked the car too!”. When I opened the charge door one mechanic was looking at it from a distance as if it was going to have a lightning bolt come out and get him. I am an electrical engineer and tried to explain the car was safe but in small towns myths are stronger than anything. If anyone has heard of a technicians death please let me know because if not I plan on writing a letter to my father and their dealership to please stop propagating rumors.


  11. 11
    bobchr

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (11:00 am)

    Matt,
    Here is why that is an unreasonable expectation. As the automotive industry ramps up to meet future EPA targets, the average cost of all automobiles will and this is before accounting for inflation. GM would be wise to take the Apple approach and bring out more advanced models at the current price points sell older models at a discount with a new designation of economy as bare bones models for fleet sales . Most people aren’t taking into account total cost of ownership vs similar priced autos at the before tax credit price. By 2015 there will be solid cost of ownership data on the original Volts. We will be able to compare these cost with cars of similar prices before and after tax credit. What I think is we will be pleasantly surprised at the saving a $37000 Volt in 2015 over a similarly priced ICE car. If you start with the 2010 model year and project inflation at 4% per year for a $31000 priced ICE auto by 2015 the average price of the same car comes out to almost $38000. Electric motors are more reliable. Range extenders will have less hours than traditional ICE’s , maintenance schedules will be way down. All we would need is advances in tire technology to make cars almost maintenance free for up to 8years. The next big break through for EREV’s will be will be the natural gas cassettes with a 5 and 10 gallon capacity, giving ranges of 250 and 500 miles in addition to a 7 gallon gas tank allowing for on the fly switching of fuels.
    We will see EREV’s with 700 to 1400 mile ranges and the NG cassettes will swap out for $10 and $20 a piece depending on capacity but purchase of an empty cassette would be $100. I think you could form an instant distribution channel where ever they sell Propane in tanks right now, Wal-mart, Blue Rhino distributors in hardware stores etc. Demand for for gas would drop almost overnight.


  12. 12
    kdawg

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (11:10 am)

    jcook,

    While we are looking towards the future, others are content living in the past. Some people don’t like change, especially big change.


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    kdawg

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (11:12 am)

    I wonder how many people are visiting this site for the first time and think the picture at the top is the 2015 Volt Concept?


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    john1701a

     

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (11:15 am)

    Matt: All those years of research to reduce the price of the Volt leads to a $2500 price reduction? I think GM will have to do better than that.

    The target mentioned often by GM intially, now frequently by other automakers, is delivering a profitable plug-in for $30,000. The tax-credit difference must be offset before it expires. That will only be enough to maintain status-quo… which is far from business-sustaining profit, a necessity to continue the investment. To complicate matters, the competition wlll not be standing still. They too will benefit from battery advancements and technology refinements.

    I see the growing variety of plug-in choices as a mixed blessing. Some will be helped. Some will be harmed. The winner will be decided by middle-market consumers, of which Volt currently does not target. What aspects of Volt will be modified to appeal more to buyers who’s priorities for speed/power & efficiency aren’t at the top of the list?

    Replacing high-volume traditional sellers is the ultimate goal. The next generation of plug-in vehicles must directly address that. They will be competing on the same dealer lots for the same group of people. No longer will their be just competition from outside. It will come from inside and with increasing pressure. GM will be competing with itself.

    Long story short, painting a rosy picture for 2015 without ways of supporting it brings about haunting memories of 2010 with added complications. Intent must be very clear. The opportunity to delay will be gone. Remember the previous goals?


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    montgoss

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (12:23 pm)

    After 1.5 years with my Volt and going into my second Indiana winter, a slightly bigger battery and/or more efficient heating would be a godsend.
    Oh, and can we please have heated cloth seats?? I don’t want leather, but I want heated seats! And it has nothing to do with the cost premium of leather. I just don’t want it. Leather is hot and sticky in the summer and cold in the winter…
    In the summer the 16 kWh battery is enough for my driving almost everyday (using less than .5 gallons a month), but once winter hits, my AER drops drastically and anything but to work and back requires gasoline. And that annoying “Engine is running due to temperature” condition pops up too!


  16. 16
    Bonaire

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (1:19 pm)

    2013 cloth seats can be had with heaters.


  17. 17
    Jackson

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (1:22 pm)

    Matt:
    All those years of research to reduce the price of the Volt leads to a $2500 price reduction?I think GM will have to do better than that.

    It will.

    We are very near the beginning still, and it all takes time. Remember the recent Bob Lutz (“father of the Volt”) item here …

    http://gm-volt.com/2012/12/27/ev-market-growing-as-slowly-as-bob-lutz-predicted/

    Eventually, the research and sales volumes will have more significant effects, and even the most implacable critic will have nothing real left to stand on. This is a continuing journey, not a destination set in stone at the start. The Volt story (as that of all EVs) is still being written.


  18. 18
    montgoss

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (1:24 pm)

    Bonaire: 2013 cloth seats can be had with heaters.

    You may be right after all. Guess I didn’t look through all of the options packages. Just saw the “Premium Trim Package” with heated seats and thought that was it. Oops.

    They were not an option on my 2011 though… Guess I’ll get them on my 2014!


  19. 19
    Larry

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (1:32 pm)

    It is the year 2222 and Eestor finally works!


  20. 20
    ProfessorGordon

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (2:13 pm)

    Larry:
    It is the year 2222 and Eestor finally works!

    Demonstration scheduled for next Summer!


  21. 21
    kdawg

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (2:16 pm)

    montgoss: Oh, and can we please have heated cloth seats?? I don’t want leather, but I want heated seats! And it has nothing to do with the cost premium of leather. I just don’t want it. Leather is hot and sticky in the summer and cold in the winter…

    How about this?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-Car-Heated-Seat-Cushion-Hot-Cover-Mat-Heat-Heating-Warmer-Pad-Black-/130807507109?_trksid=p3284.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DSI%26its%3DI%26itu%3DUCI%252BUA%252BFICS%26otn%3D21%26pmod%3D150960125324%26ps%3D54

    carheat2.jpg


  22. 22
    N Riley

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (2:16 pm)

    Sounds more like an April Fools article to me.


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    ziv

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (3:03 pm)

    I am with Matt, the MSRP better be lower than $37.4k sooner, rather than later.
    In December of 2010 the MSRP was $40,280 and AER was 35 miles and CS mpg was 37 combined.

    Now the MSRP is $39,145, the AER is 38 miles and the CS mpg is 37 combined.
    July of 2013 the MSRP should be $37,990, AER 40 miles, CS comb mpg 37 mpg, and upgraded motors that allow the regular Volt to go 0-60 in 7.5 seconds, plus an SS version is now available with 6 second 0-60 speeds and a Cadillac CTS-V magnetic drive control system.
    July of 2014 the MSRP should be $36,990, AER 40 miles, CS comb mpg 42 mpg, with an interior refresh that gives an extra inch of legroom in the back. Also both the SS and a LR (50 mile AER) version are now available.
    July of 2015 the MSRP should be $35,500, AER 40 miles, CS comb mpg 42 mpg, with the MSRP dropping to $33,800 when the tax credit expires in late 2015/early 2016.


  24. 24
    Jon

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (3:33 pm)

    The $37.4k price point would tell me GM knows full well the base price for broad adoption has to be around $30k. I guess the point is once the $7500 credit ends there will be some great incentives or an outright price cut. The incentive is not only for the buyer it benefits the manufacturer too by allowing them to earn some of the huge investment back a little faster. I don’t think GM would choose not to use that benefit to the fullest. The competition will too.


  25. 25
    Thomas J. Thias

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (3:45 pm)

    “And this just in, VIA Motors and GM have reached agreement on a plan to sell the VIA Motors PHEV pickup, SUV, and Van in GM dealerships beginning this coming year in California.”

    Via Motors- 100 MPG, K2500 Crew Cab, 4X4, 402 HP, 10,000 lbs tow-

    Yes! Yes! Woooopie!

    Best-

    Thomas J. Thias AKA~ Selling Volts At Sundance

    Sundance Chevrolet

    @AmazingChevVolt

    VoltStats.Net # 38 or so… Amazing Chev


  26. 26
    TedinFortMyers

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (5:01 pm)

    And now in 2015 the new Volt EV with the super battery pack giving the new Volt range of 300 MPC is just in time as gas hits $9.00/gallon and the only people left driving are driving plug-ins. No one else can afford it. I now have 120,000 miles on my 2011 Volt and it still goes 40 miles per charge.

    Take Care, TED


  27. 27
    TedinFortMyers

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (5:19 pm)

    Just announced the approval for production of the 2016 Corvette and Camaro both with Voltech technology. This is good news after last weeks announcement of the Orlando Minivan and now includes the whole range of vehicles necessary for today’s total cost aware customers.

    Take Care, TED


  28. 28
    Raymondjram

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (5:38 pm)

    For 2016:

    Mr. Fusion develops the first prototypes, and may begin production for 2018. Current power output is 50 KW and my reach over 100 KW for the production model. A MW model may arrive by 2020, permitting the use of levitation systems.

    Raymond


  29. 29
    Eco_Turbo

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (7:18 pm)

    ProfessorGordon,

    I’m gonna work on my procrastination issues…. just you wait and see!


  30. 30
    stuart22

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    Dec 31st, 2012 (11:12 pm)

    Volt SS coupe with neck snapping acceleration and the artistic capability to carve up corners like Michelangelo – aided by an industry-first variable strength regen, driver controlled via a pedal located to the left of the trimmed down brake pedal, or in other words, where the clutch pedal position resides on manual transmission equipped standard ICE automobiles.

    This regen pedal operates much like a brake pedal – the stronger the driver pushes, the stronger the regen effect. With an experienced driver behind the wheel, SS Volts are kicking ass on the otherwise finest handling ICE cars ever available.

    On the more civilized Volt RS models, regen is driver controlled via a paddle located in 4 o’clock position near wiper control stalk which now occupies a 2 o’clock position vis-å-vis the steering wheel. Operated by pull, the stronger the paddle is pulled, the heavier the regen. Initial feedback reports show owners raving over the paddle replacing much of their need to use the brakes, while adding charge to the battery – a true win-win scenario only an electric car can offer.

    GM, please PM me for address to where royalty checks should be sent.


  31. 31
    QB 45

     

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    Jan 1st, 2013 (12:16 am)

    montgoss:
    After 1.5 years with my Volt and going into my second Indiana winter, a slightly bigger battery and/or more efficient heating would be a godsend.
    Oh, and can we please have heated cloth seats??I don’t want leather, but I want heated seats!And it has nothing to do with the cost premium of leather. I just don’t want it. Leather is hot and sticky in the summer and cold in the winter…
    In the summer the 16 kWh battery is enough for my driving almost everyday (using less than .5 gallons a month), but once winter hits, my AER drops drastically and anything but to work and back requires gasoline.And that annoying “Engine is running due to temperature” condition pops up too!

    I completely agree about the leather. I would love to see heated cloth seats!

    Maybe the variable regen would be best utilized with the normal brake pedal, seamlessly transitioning to friction pads as needed when the regen is maxed, like it does now…


  32. 32
    buscador de seguros baratos de empresas en alicante

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    Jan 2nd, 2013 (6:46 am)

    Great post, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You should continue your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!|What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & aid different customers like its aided me. Great job.


  33. 33
    Noel Park

     

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    Jan 2nd, 2013 (3:44 pm)

    Jeff’

    “From your lips to God’s ear” Happy New Year!


  34. 34
    jeffhre

     

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    Jan 6th, 2013 (3:21 am)

    “The 2015 Volt would be available for order in August with first deliveries in late September. The biggest surprises, the addition of five passenger seating and two available batteries – the standard 16.5 kwh and a new 20 kwh battery with EV ranges of 40 and 50 miles respectively. A new lighter more efficient 1.2-liter generator made in the U.S. delivering 140 horsepower and the much sought after 50 mpg when run in a new eco mode.”

    50 and 50 in ’15. Has a nice ring to it – thanks Jeff… :) Let me make that more clear. Thank you for that Jeff, thanks Jon.