May 10

Consumer Reports says Model S is near perfect, but cannot recommend it

 

Presupposition 1) According to Consumer Reports, it offers sound advice to would-be shoppers based on very careful testing and wise reasoning. Presupposition 2) Its recommendations are given with the intent that they be followed.

Given the above implicit presuppositions that the consumer voice of authority works under, if everyone were to follow Consumer Reports logic, there would not be one more Tesla sold even though it may be the “best” vehicle Consumer Reports has ever tested.

CR_Model_S_test
 

Further, in theory if CR had been its first customer, Tesla may never have sold many Model S units beyond the one CR bought for evaluation – of which it turned around and said the car is almost perfect, but it “cannot recommend it” because it has no track record.

Further, by logical extension, if prudence dictates that a product with no track record automatically cannot be recommended, then by this Catch-22, is it a stretch to say all innovation would forever be stifled due to the lack of a market if everyone followed CR’s logic?

Early adoption? Sorry. Can’t recommend that, it’s too risky.

One might ask, how then does a new company start sales of a new innovative product?

Of course, Consumer Reports knows there will be consumers that do not heed its advice, and will buy the Model S anyway, but what if its advice to hold off really was followed? It does intend its advice to be followed, doesn’t it? …

The almost perfect car you should not buy

 

We’ll let you answer the above, but we’re prompted to follow the logic through implied from Consumer Reports’ just-released Model S road test. The consumer watchdog did indeed say it may be the best car it has ever tested, but cannot recommend it.

While the review gushes with praise for the car that “takes everything you know about cars and stands it on its head,” keeping to a tradition of conservatism, it essentially says do not be an early adopter, let others go first.

“Another concern is investing in a new car and startup company with no track record for reliability or resale value, and a skimpy (although growing) service network,” offers the publication in its full review published yesterday. “So, yes, despite its stratospheric road-test score, we can’t recommend the Model S until we have sufficient reliability data.”

For EV advocates this might be the most disconcerting portion of Consumer Reports’ evaluation, but the rest is so overflowing with praise for the startup company’s product, many a reader may be tempted to overlook the cautious advice.

“Slipping behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S is like crossing into a promising zero-emissions future,” opens the review. The car is “brimming with innovation, delivers world-class performance, and is interwoven throughout with impressive attention to detail. It’s what Marty McFly might have brought back in place of his DeLorean in ‘Back to the Future.’”

CR_chart_Model_SSee anything missing? No black and red circles to rate past performance. The Model S thus cannot be recommended. Imagine if all consumers were as cautious.
 

What exactly did Consumer Reports like about the Mode S it purchased for $89,650 plus $1,200 high-powered wall charger before $7,500 federal tax credit? Everything except it lacked a lane departure warning system, and had limited range compared to internal combustion cars, long charging times, limited access, visibility, and some controls.

Overall, the Model S still scored 99 out of 100, and the magazine said it had an internal debate over whether it was the best car it has ever tested, some saying yes, some maybe or no.

By comparison the Porsche Panamera previously tested scored 84, and the Fisker Karma scored 57.

Actual range recorded by the 85-kwh model tested was “roughly 180 miles on cold winter days to about 225 in more moderate temperatures.”

Zero-to-60 mph time for this version just below the top Signature Performance model was tested at CR’s test track at 5.6 seconds.

The ride is “luxury car” smooth, said the publication, and it is “the quietest car we’ve tested since the Lexus LS.”

Handling is “pinpoint” and “reminiscent of a Porsche.” (Presumably a Porsche Panamera, not a Cayman or 911, etc.).

Braking also is excellent, says the report, as are cabin storage, cargo space, practicality with such innovations as the front trunk or “frunk” and optional two-small-person rear jump seats expanding the seating to seven.


 

In short, Consumer Reports has jumped on board being wowed by the 85-kwh Model S like many other reviewers.

The publication prides itself on fastidious protocols, says it has no conflict of interest in reporting because it purchases its own cars, and its reviews are held as reliable by many.

Others have noted even with all the safeguards in place to maintain objectivity in its evaluations, opinions given by Consumer Reports are ones they would not agree with, to put it in benign terms.

In this case, CR is not bucking trends as it did when it initially came out panning the Chevy Volt, a couple years ago. But keeping to its roots of being at least somewhat contrarian, it does say to withhold purchase of the Model S until a sufficient track record is established by others.

Consumer Reports

This entry was posted on Friday, May 10th, 2013 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: 111


  1. 1
    Raymondjram

    +16

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (7:26 am)

    I sent the CR article and another from CNN about the Model S to a former workmate who drives Mazda RX sports cars. He was “wowed”. My conclusion was:
    “This is the beginning of the end of gasoline sports cars.”

    Now I expect GM and Ford to follow Tesla Motors.

    What I don’t like was this phrase: “.. it essentially says do not be an early adopter, let others go first.”

    If the early Volt adopters didn’t risk their money in 2010 and 2011, we would not be reading any news on the 2013 Volt now. We need early adopters to take the risk and begin the conversion of our transportation to electric.

    Raymond


  2. 2
    Bobc

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bobc
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (7:29 am)

    Reputed objectivity aside, Consumer Report cannot refute the effects of personal tester bias and cannot be taken seriously when evaluating ground breaking and rapidly changing technology advances. They often fail when evaluating consumer electronics and I don’t expect them to improve their methods when evaluating EV’s or EREV’s. They could easily have toured the factory, evaluated the company test research and made a projected conclusion about reliability, but instead they chose their standard Modus Operandi which is to just buy the car, put it on heir test track don’t review any manufacturers test data and pump out an evaluation to the public, justified or not.


  3. 3
    Mark Z

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (7:55 am)

    CU should use the data from user reports to fill in the gaps during the wait for reliability reporting. If a vehicle has serious issues, CU will give a “NOT recommended” warning. It was frustrating to see the first AP news report on Thursday give both the highest score and the “WE can’t recommend” comment from CU.

    After 7,726 miles I can report that the Model S has been extremely reliable. The panoramic glass roof will “squeak” a bit on very bumpy roads on a hot day. Axle nuts required tightening to eliminate a slight swerve during acceleration bursts above 60 mph. Wheel alignment was not perfect at delivery but finally adjusted (for free) a month ago at my request (normally as part of the yearly service policy.) Many tweaks to the software have occurred during multiple software downloads through the 3G service allowing for new features to be added.

    My only frustration has been with the 21 inch wheels getting cosmetic damage with curbs and metal pipes at the touchless car wash. Regular car washes are a no-no with 21 inch wheels and Tesla recommends only the touchless systems. The other issue is a leather trim piece that sticks out behind the arm rest of the doors. Drivers and passengers brush against it at entry and exit causing wear. This is a case where an identical plastic substitute would have been more appropriate. It can be seen when visiting a Tesla Store as the part shows wear from prospective buyers sitting in the car. I am protecting the trim with a small piece of Glad brand Press ‘n Seal sealing wrap.

    The full reliability reports can be found by scanning the Tesla Model S forum (click Enthusiasts) where Tesla Motors has allowed all the issues and concerns to be freely posted by the owners and buyers. For more detail, the Tesla Owner’s Club web site has exhaustive data to help answer any question.


  4. 4
    James

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:05 am)

    I totally took CR’s evaluation as a grand slam homerun for EVs and PHEVs.

    Look – most headlines yesterday were: “Consumer Reports says Tesla
    Best Car They’ve Ever Tested”.

    Even Oil News, er…Fox News said… “the expensive Model S was gushed over
    by Consumer Reports, saying it was the best car they’ve ever tested – gee, I
    bet lots of people are running over there and buying stock”…
    Even though they interjected “expensive” – they seemed impressed…and
    I think that goes for a whole lot of people.

    It seems CR also gave the Lexus LS 460 a 99 out of 100 score a couple years
    back, but wow – 2 cars out of all the cars they’ve ever tested – that’s pretty
    rarified air. Now – I don’t consider Consumer Reports the be-all-end-all in
    consumer savvy or car expertise – but you have to admit they have a
    respected voice out there.

    The Recommendation will come later when the car has a track record with owners.

    Great job, Tesla!

    Plug It In, Plug It In!,
    James


  5. 5
    steve

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    steve
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:33 am)

    Even an average car can manage the 400-500 mile road trip I took recently. Tesla would have taken much longer.

    Axle nuts loosening up at less than 8k miles isn’t what I’d consider trouble free or even safe.


  6. 6
    Tim Hart

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tim Hart
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:49 am)

    As great as the Tesla is, our Volts are a much bigger technological achievement since the Voltec drive system is way more complex than a pure electric system. That being said, it is wonderful that an electric car is getting such great press.


  7. 7
    Mark Z

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:49 am)

    steve,
    Steve, very few reported the swerve issue. Tesla has a service bulletin on this so it was caught early and should not affect current production. My Model S was in the first 1,000 produced and the problem didn’t show up until about 4,000 miles were on the car. I drove it for a couple of weeks after first noticing it. Felt like a gust of wind hit the car while changing speed above 60 mph. One call and it was fixed the next day. Lock washers were replaced in addition to the tightening. Searching the web shows U bolt axel nuts being loose to be an occasional problem with other makes and models.


  8. 8
    kdawg

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (9:04 am)

    Good thing they didn’t Broder it on their test drives.

    So who’s gonna win Consumers Reports owner satisfaction survey? Volt 3 years in a row?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/29/us-consumerreports-volt-idUSBRE8AS0UL20121129

    And here’s a vid of CR reviewing the 2011 Volt for reference. I wonder if CR had some of the same cold weather complaints about the Tesla? Did they even drive it in cold weather?
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/video-hub/cars/hybrids–alternative-fuel/chevrolet-volt-review/14786539001/1113098456001/


  9. 9
    kdawg

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (9:14 am)

    Bobc: Reputed objectivity aside, Consumer Report cannot refute the effects of personal tester bias and cannot be taken seriously when evaluating ground breaking and rapidly changing technology advances. They often fail when evaluating consumer electronics and I don’t expect them to improve their methods when evaluating EV’s or EREV’s. They could easily have toured the factory, evaluated the company test research and made a projected conclusion about reliability, but instead they chose their standard Modus Operandi which is to just buy the car, put it on heir test track don’t review any manufacturers test data and pump out an evaluation to the public, justified or not.

    True, 1 or 2 data points (aka opinions from CR people driving the car for a day) does not justify a valid review of a car. Volt has scored a 93% and a 92% on customer satisfaction, the last 2 years, according to CR. I find this to be a much more valid review.


  10. 10
    Dave G

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (9:55 am)

    From the article: Presupposition 2) Its recommendations are given with the intent that they be followed.

    No, I don’t think Consumer Reports believes that their recommendations will always be followed. They rate many features, and come up with a combined rating. They know that some features don’t matter to some people, so these people will be perfectly happy to buy something with a lower combined rating, as long as that product rates well for the features they care about.

    For cars, reliability is one such feature. People who switch cars every 2-3 years aren’t as concerned with reliability. People who keep their cars for 7-10 years care much more about reliability.

    Bottom line: Consumer Reports is just saying that they have no reliability data for the Model S, so they can’t put they’re “recommended” seal of approval on it until they have more data.


  11. 11
    Jeff Cobb

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (9:57 am)

    Dave G: From the article: Presupposition 2) Its recommendations are given with the intent that they be followed.

    Dave G: No, I don’t think Consumer Reports believes that their recommendations will always be followed. They rate many features, and come up with a combined rating. They know that some features don’t matter to some people, so these people will be perfectly happy to buy something with a lower combined rating, as long as that product rates well for the features they care about.

    My answer to this …

    Also from the article: Of course, Consumer Reports knows there will be consumers that do not heed its advice, and will buy the Model S anyway, but what if its advice to hold off really was followed? It does intend its advice to be followed, doesn’t it? …

    I’m fully aware of myriad variables, and this was an exercise in critical thinking in fewer words, not more.

    I did not state that CR “believes” its recommendation will be followed, nor was that a question asked, or the point of trying to clearly state presuppositions. I said in theory it intends not “believes” as you state.

    My following paragraph you did not give weight to actually says “Consumer Reports knows there will be consumers that do not heed its advice,” so does this statement not show that I never asked the question you answered suggesting it was being asked?

    And … Of course the review is overwhelmingly positive, and I say as much.

    From the article: … but the rest is so overflowing with praise for the startup company’s product, many a reader may be tempted to overlook the cautious advice.

    Most people are only cuing into the positive, this is true.

    Regards,

    Jeff


  12. 12
    James

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (10:09 am)

    Dave G:

    Bottom line: Consumer Reports is just saying that they have no reliability data for the Model S, so they can’t put they’re “recommended” seal of approval on it until they have more data.

    Exactly! +1

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  13. 13
    Jim I

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (10:11 am)

    Does anyone know how CR originally rated the Prius?

    That would be an interesting comparison. If they did the same type of rating – excellent car, but don’t buy it because it is not proven – then I am OK with what they did with Tesla.

    If they just gushed and gushed and then said – go buy it now! – then I claim bias………..

    JMHO

    C-5277


  14. 14
    joe

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (10:32 am)

    The words coming from Consumer Reports are not worth the paper it’s written on…..that’s what I think of Consumer Reports. They think they are doing a service to the consumers, but in reality, they are doing a disservice by confusing the public.


  15. 15
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (10:39 am)

    CR may have it’s “fastidious methodology,” but it also depends on the surveys sent out to it’s subscribers. These are clearly prejudiced by opinions formed during GM’s past, less-than-stellar performance (’70s ’80s crap-mobiles); while the current cars’ records are not considered. Small wonder then that the Volt was panned and the Tesla exalted: There is little negative Tesla bias at large, and no subscriber ownership experience to speak of. Once owners start reporting potential shortcomings, or let Tesla come out with a turkey, and the tide could well begin to shift.

    Even if the S does turn out to be “almost perfect,” a limited charging network in and/or out of California (and the time required for home charging) will elicit some negative responses, IMO.


  16. 16
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (10:57 am)

    Who’s evaluating Consumer Reports, and all the other “valuation” companies?

    Interesting article about books, but it’s the same point regarding cars/consumer products.

    Who Reviews the Reviewers

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/09/26/who-reviews-the-reviewers/


  17. 17
    kdawg

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:04 am)

    Jackson: CR may have it’s “fastidious methodology,” but it also depends on the surveys sent to it’s subscribers. These are clearly prejudiced by opinions formed during GM’s past, less-than-stellar performance (’70s ’80s crap-mobiles); while the current cars’ records are not considered.

    Nice article on the problems with CR.

    Statistical problems of Consumer Reports auto ratings

    “Of over 4 million questionnaires sent this year, the magazine received responses regarding about 480,000 vehicles,” wrote Detroit News. If most people reported on two cars (because most families have two or more cars), that would put the response rate at 6%. Even assuming one car per family – a highly dubious assumption – we have a tawdry 12% response rate.

    And

    CR does not draw their data from the general public, only from subscribers….They have to prove that their data represents the general public, and they haven’t.

    And

    Inconsistencies
    John Phillips wrote: “A few years ago, they had the [2 domestic nameplates and one foreign nameplate all of the same car] owner’s satisfaction. The [domestic nameplate] had the least owner satisfaction of these three. Next was the [other domestic nameplate]. The best owner support was for the [foreign nameplate]. There was a fair spread between them. Funny thing: all of these are built at the same American plant, only varying, primarily, in “hood ornaments.” How can the same car be perceived differently when the only real difference was the label?”

    Full article
    http://www.allpar.com/cr.html


  18. 18
    Jackson

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:15 am)

    OT:

    I am seeing more Volts in my area at last. I saw a Viridian Joule Volt this morning with the GA license “JENIUS” (If the owner is reading this, please add a comment).

    I am also seeing more LEAFs. The Karma I sighted a couple of times over a year ago has not reappeared since.


  19. 19
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:20 am)

    I’m not interested in Tesla and I don’t care what Consumer Reports says. Next case.

    Go GM! Go Volt!


  20. 20
    Noel Park

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:25 am)

    Jackson: I am seeing more Volts in my area at last.

    #18

    Yeah, me too. +1

    The increase in sightings over the last couple of weeks has been encouraging. I dunno what’s going on with the sales figures, but there really are a lot more showing up around here lately.


  21. 21
    CaptJackSparrow

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:36 am)

    steve: Axle nuts loosening up at less than 8k miles isn’t what I’d consider trouble free or even safe.

    One can say the same thing for Ford, Chevy, Chrysler, Honda, Toy, etc…..


  22. 22
    CaptJackSparrow

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:38 am)

    Jim I: Does anyone know how CR originally rated the Prius?

    Not flamin you bro, but how would comparing the “comparison” of a BEV to a hybrid be worth anything?


  23. 23
    CaptJackSparrow

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:42 am)

    Mark Z: My only frustration has been with the 21 inch wheels getting cosmetic damage with curbs and metal pipes at the touchless car wash.

    So much for “touchless”. :-P


  24. 24
    CaptJackSparrow

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:44 am)

    I was actually hoping for Volt news today. I’m kind of Tesla’d out. They’re all over the place…..lol

    /still waiting for a Voltec Pickup *Colorado* quad cab. :-)

    /call it a “Voltorado” (MuddyRoverRob came up with that name)


  25. 25
    pjkPA

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjkPA
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:52 am)

    Funny how the price isn’t getting any press?
    When the Volt came out that’s all I heard …

    What about some GM-Volt news?
    SUV version being tested?


  26. 26
    Bobc

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bobc
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:57 am)

    kdawg,

    I believe Lee Iacocca reported the same thing in the 80′s when he brought Chrysler back from the brink the first time about the Mitsubishi , Laser; Dodge Charger twins produced I the same US factory, the Mitsubishi car continuously got higher marks from its Dodge counterpart.


  27. 27
    CaptJackSparrow

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (11:59 am)

    pjkPA: SUV version being tested?

    A Voltec Terrain would be great!
    Even if it just had 20 AER. Needs to fit 5 though.


  28. 28
    George S. Bower

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:08 pm)

    OT
    Solar Impulse landed in Phx earlier this week. I missed the showing as all few tickets had been snatched up. However an enthusiast friend of mine Rick did get tickets and was able to ask some questions about the plane and snapped some good photos:

    First the Photos:
    SolarImpulse1_zps5247bdd4.jpg

    SolarImpulse3_zps8673d55e.jpg

    SolarImpules2_zps56129420.jpg

    Here are the answers to some tech questions on the plane. One I thought was interesting was the location of the batteries which are in the engine nacelles NOT in the fuselage:

    ” The batteries are not stored in the fuselage, but in each engine nacelle. One battery for each motor driving a prop maybe 8 ft. in length. Each battery weighs 220 lbs. Amazingly, each motor produces a max output of 10 HP. There is a gear reduction and the props rotate at a mere 200-400 RPM. The batteries are the main weight of the craft and are more that 1/4 of the plane’s total weight. The craft is huge and the tail assembly is the most rudimentary design ever, but the rudder is easily 10 ft. tall. I held the solar panels in my hand (maybe 1/16 of an inch in thickness), plastic structure of the leading edge ribs and a square section of the composite structure used to form the basic structural members. I counted about 56 ribs per wing.

    The solar cells are SunPower Maxion solar cells (mono-crystalline photovoltaic). There are 12,000 of these atop the wings and are 22.7% efficient. The undersides of the wings are a flexible film. It was hard to ask questions because the employees were constantly busy taking questions from others and did not seem to be technical types (merely crew members answering the typical questions of the common folk). Also, there was a language barrier as all of the guys were Swedes and had a little trouble with English.

    I was able to find out a few interesting facts, nonetheless. Max altitude is 28,000 ft.. The props do not feather for the gliding portion of the flights (too much weight addition). The engines disengage for this portion and the props windmill. Total craft weight is somewhere between 3-4,000 lbs.. The main landing gear retracts during flight and the outrigger wheels never touch the ground upon landing and are never used. They are flimsy, at best, and are only there for emergency use. Six people are aligned on each side of the runway during landing and whoever is closest to the craft upon landing is expected to run up to the outside of the wing and support it with a pole. Crazy stuff.

    If you watch the takeoff and landing videos, you will see that the take-off run and landings are very short. The plane lifts off at a mere 27 MPH. I did not ask the cruising speed, but you can watch flight details live on their website while it is in flight. The craft was expected to depart on Thursday, but wind forecasts may delay this according to the guy I talked to.”

    Her’s a link to the Solar Impule web site. Watch the video of the night landing in Phx.
    http://www.solarimpulse.com/en/tag/Across-America


  29. 29
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:09 pm)

    Saw a red Tesla S this morning.

    Actually I almost collided with him/her. They were driving with no lights in the fog and passed me on the right preventing my signaled lane change.

    I guess owning a Tesla doesn’t improve your driving skill.

    Maybe Tesla should install DRLs.


  30. 30
    Charlie H

    -9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:15 pm)

    Jackson,

    Except that D3 vehicles rated by CR’s surveys were bought by people who *wanted* a D3 vehicle and are therefore biased towards the D3.

    In other words, you can stop making excuses for the D3′s poor showing. If you want a D3 car, fine; buy one. Many people do, often with satisfaction and those that subscribe to CR will report that satisfaction, or lack of it, to CR.


  31. 31
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:17 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: I’m kind of Tesla’d out.

    Just for you :)

    Tesla stock up another 12% today at $77.60/share


  32. 32
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:33 pm)

    pjkPA: Funny how the price isn’t getting any press?

    #25

    Yeah, I wonder if it “pencils out”, LOL. +1


  33. 33
    Mark Z

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:38 pm)

    Loboc:
    Saw a red Tesla S this morning. Actually I almost collided with him/her. They were driving with no lights in the fog and passed me on the right preventing my signaled lane change. I guess owning a Tesla doesn’t improve your driving skill. Maybe Tesla should install DRLs.

    I have fog lights, but Tesla Motors DROPPED them without a notice. The customers screamed and they will return. It is an option so not all Model S have them. All of them do have LED running lights, but it is easy to turn the option off with the touchscreen.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/open-letter-mr-elon-musk-regarding-fog-lights?page=4


  34. 34
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:40 pm)

    George S. Bower: Solar Impulse landed in Phx earlier this week.

    #28

    AWESOME! I heard about it on the radio this week, but these are the 1st photos I have seen. Thanks.


  35. 35
    Noel Park

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:44 pm)

    Charlie H: If you want a D3 car, fine; buy one. Many people do, often with satisfaction

    #30

    That would be me.

    “Buy American, the job you save may be your own”


  36. 36
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:45 pm)

    Loboc: I guess owning a Tesla doesn’t improve your driving skill.

    #29

    Hey, when you’re entitled you’re entitled. Outta the way lesser mortals, LOL. +1


  37. 37
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (12:58 pm)

    Noel Park: #29

    Outta the way lesser mortals, LOL. +1

    That’s the way I feel when I’m in the Volt.


  38. 38
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (1:08 pm)

    Mark Z,

    Most Chevrolets have an ‘auto’ setting so that DRLs come on during the day and regular lights come on at night. Nice feature to have until you drive under a bunch of bridges in the fog and the lights keep thinking “day oops night oops day oops night….)”.

    I hit a deer with my ’88 Cougar because of the auto dimming high beams. I came to a flashing light, my lights flashed in sync, the deer was spooked and the rest is history.


  39. 39
    Mark Z

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (1:32 pm)

    Loboc:
    Mark Z,
    Most Chevrolets have an ‘auto’ setting so that DRLs come on during the day and regular lights come on at night.

    The Tesla DRL and headlights are automatic. But the user can shut them off separately. If I am making a turn the DRL light shuts off on that side to allow more visibility for the turn signal.


  40. 40
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (2:44 pm)

    Loboc,

    2nd leg of the “Across America” Solar Impulse is from Phx to DFW. I think that is where you are from. If you’re interested you should get a ticket to see it.


  41. 41
    Jackson

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (2:56 pm)

    Charlie H: In other words, you can stop making excuses for the D3′s poor showing.

    “D3″?


  42. 42
    Nelson

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (3:13 pm)

    If CR can’t recommend new products from new manufacturers because they don’t have history, then they should not review such products. Waist of time and money.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  43. 43
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (3:25 pm)

    Jackson: “D3″?

    #41

    Good question, LOL. +1

    His comment was pretty clearly some sort of a derogatory reference to GM, Ford, and Chrysler, hence my response. “Detroit” maybe?


  44. 44
    Jim I

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (3:36 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: Not flamin you bro, but how would comparing the “comparison” of a BEV to a hybrid be worth anything?

    Capt:

    I think you missed my point, which was if CR gave the original Prius sold in the USA in 2000 a “Buy It Right Now” kind of rating, but is giving the Tesla a “Nice But Don’t Buy It”, then they look kind of suspect. Because since the Prius Hybrid drive was a brand new technology in 2000, they should have rated it the same.


  45. 45
    Jim I

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (3:48 pm)

    Jackson: “D3″?

    A “cutsie” way of talking about the Detroit Three Automakers.

    How come Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are never called the Tokyo Three????

    :)

    C-5277

    I will still take the Volt over any other available electric car!

    I took a disbeliever for a ride today. When she got out of the car, all she could say was “I had no idea that Chevy had done such an amazing job on the Volt!”

    That is what GM should be advertising……..


  46. 46
    Jim I

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (3:55 pm)

    Mark Z @ #3: “My only frustration has been with the 21 inch wheels getting cosmetic damage with curbs and metal pipes at the touchless car wash. ”

    ================================

    You are putting your brand new $100K car through the car wash??? Are you kidding me? Around here we even consider the touchless units as going through the grinder!!

    My Volt is 19 months and 1 week old today, and I have never even considered a car wash for # C5277. It is hand washed and waxed by me.

    :)

    C-5277


  47. 47
    rdunniii

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    rdunniii
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (4:54 pm)

    Nelson:
    If CR can’t recommend new products from new manufacturers because they don’t have history, then they should not review such products.Waist of time and money.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671

    I agree. Why create a paradox of buying and testing an automobile as an early adopter when you cannot recommend early adopter cars.


  48. 48
    Mark Z

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (5:00 pm)

    Jim I,
    LOL. I always washed the Volt by hand too.

    The benefit of a few wheel scrapes is that I am now relaxed over the issue. I’d feel even worse if I put a scratch on the paint by washing by hand. The front rubber bumper has a dent too. Can’t get it near anything without that little extra bumper getting some kind of damage.

    One more thing… Tesla Motors trained us how to close the Frunk. If you push too hard in the wrong place then a dent can appear. Strange that CU didn’t drop the rating for that issue. Maybe the reviewer owns some Tesla stock. ;-)


  49. 49
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (5:23 pm)

    Jim I:

    My Volt is 19 months and 1 week old today, and I have never even considered a car wash for # C5277.It is hand washed and waxed by me.

    C-5277

    I always wash my Volt by hand also but that’s just because we don’t have a car wash in Tonto Basin.


  50. 50
    john1701a

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (6:14 pm)

    pjkPA:
    Funny how the price isn’t getting any press?
    When the Volt came out that’s all I heard …

    Who is the market for Volt?

    Now it should be clear why that question kept being asked.

    Tesla was not targeting the same consumers as GM.


  51. 51
    Kent

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kent
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (6:24 pm)

    john1701a: Who is the market for Volt?

    Now it should be clear why that question kept being asked.

    Tesla was not targeting the same consumers as GM.

    Who is the market for the Volt? You mean besides all those people who traded in their Prius’?

    BTW….Have you found that person who’s traded in a Volt for a Prius yet?


  52. 52
    john1701a

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (7:01 pm)

    GM still wants to target Volt at middle-market consumers, those who would otherwise purchase (and have been recently) another one of their mainstream cars… like Malibu, Impala, or Cruze. The gen-2 system will be designed to reach those buyers, so traditional production can reduced as Volt sales grow.

    Tesla seeks out consumers who desire a specialized vehicle and are willing to pay a high premium for it.

    The difference is quite significant. Not seeing that will pose challenges for gen-2.


  53. 53
    Noel Park

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (7:04 pm)

    Jim I: I will still take the Volt over any other available electric car!

    #45

    Me too. +1


  54. 54
    Noel Park

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    Kent: Who is the market for the Volt?You mean besides all those people who traded in their Prius’?

    BTW….Have you found that person who’s traded in a Volt for a Prius yet?

    #51

    Funny how you keep asking that and never get a response, never mind an answer. Stay with it bro. +1


  55. 55
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:41 pm)

    Noel Park: #51

    Funny how you keep asking that and never get a response, never mind an answer.

    Well I know that both James and I (families) have both. When we got our Prii new we thought it was the hot ticket (LOL)

    After you drive a Vot you can’t go back.


  56. 56
    Kent

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kent
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:45 pm)

    Noel Park: #51

    Funny how you keep asking that and never get a response, never mind an answer.Stay with it bro.+1

    The Volt-to-Prius convert is as elusive as bigfoot!


  57. 57
    Kent

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kent
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (8:48 pm)

    George S. Bower: Well I know that both James and I (families) have both. When we got our Prii new we thought it was the hot ticket (LOL)

    After you drive a Vot you can’t go back.

    I don’t have a Prius but I drive one regularly through my work. It’s not even in the same league as the Volt (no offense to those who own one, not even you-know-who).


  58. 58
    Sean

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Sean
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (9:46 pm)

    Hey speaking of the Tesla Model S look at the ad above the article for the 2013 Volt it says it gets EMPG 101 though shouldn’t it say 101 MPGE?

    If so shouldn’t the new Volt be the cleanest car out there or does it go by the strictest rules when it comes to no gas tanks?

    No offense just wondering but wouldn’t it be great to see if we could see comparisons of what vehicle is the best?

    What vehicle do you think is the best?

    Tesla Model S

    Or

    2013 Chevy Volt.

    You’d be the judge.


  59. 59
    Sean

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Sean
     Says

     

    May 10th, 2013 (10:06 pm)

    Also I hope in the future that Consumer Reports will get out smarted in the next four or five years and go wow!

    The cheapest and best EV with the best range for the mass that can afford I hope that happens one day?

    Let’s hope so.


  60. 60
    john1701a

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (12:15 am)

    George S. Bower: After you drive a Vot you can’t go back.

    Back to what? All we ever get references to are conquests sales. GM’s own product-line is never addressed. Seeing how those who currently own a GM vehicle aren’t being mentioned tells an interesting story of intended market, for gen-1. There’s an obvious avoidance of the topic.

    For gen-2, the goal of significantly dropping cost seems like an excellent decision. But seeing how that would drop the price to roughly what it is currently at (with the expiration of the federal tax-credit), the question remains of who it will appeal to.

    What high-efficiency choices will those interested in purchasing from GM actually buy? It still looks like there won’t be anything equivalent to GM’s own mainstream traditional vehicles. How will production change?


  61. 61
    kdawg

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (12:44 am)

    john1701a: Back to what?

    Back to something that burns gas all the time.

    Speaking of future markets, when will Toyota get serious about EVs? Ever? Their pathetic attempt at a PHEV, that only gets minuscule EV miles, is pointless. And the market agrees as they can’t sell them. Same with the RAV4 EV. $50k, no wonder no one wants it (even after the price drop). And Toyota couldn’t even come up with an EV drive-train on their own, borrowing one from Tesla. It’s no surprise they are dropping out of the EV game altogether. They are so far behind, they will probably have to swing more deals in the future if they will ever be considered a real player.


  62. 62
    john1701a

    -5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (1:02 am)

    kdawg: Their pathetic attempt at a PHEV, that only gets minuscule EV miles, is pointless.

    Calling the choice of limiting battery-capacity to an affordable size tells us product-gap GM has will continue to remain unfilled.

    Using words like “pathetic” and “minuscule” and “pointless” confirms that mainstream needs are not being addressed.

    It’s amazing to watch the same missteps be repeated.


  63. 63
    kdawg

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (1:15 am)

    product gap“? Speak for Toyota. As I said before, they aren’t even a player in the EV game. Where is their product? How many more missteps will they make? How many more comments will their leaders renege on? This is GM-Volt.com. The Volt is not a hybrid that burns gas all the time, yet you continue to try to push this as a weakness. I don’t think you understand why people who bought/own Volts love them so much. Maybe you never will. Keep pumping gas.


  64. 64
    john1701a

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (2:08 am)

    GM offers an affordable 35 MPG eAssist system and an expensive +150 MPG Volt system. There’s nothing in between! Changing the topic to Toyota is a dead giveaway that situation is not being taken seriously.

    Don’t you want that big product-gap to be filled with a model of Volt?

    Do you really want Volt sales continue to be lost to GM’s mainstream cars?


  65. 65
    Mark Z

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (3:20 am)

    A great GM product to compete with the Tesla Model S would be a 4 door luxury chassis, flat battery underneath and powerful electric motor with E-REV engine. Have the performance of the Tesla with an 80 mile battery and gas E-REV for a 480 mile range total. Luxury, speed and coast to coast range.


  66. 66
    James

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (4:59 am)

    George S. Bower: Well I know that both James and I (families) have both. When we got our Prii new we thought it was the hot ticket (LOL)

    After you drive a Vot you can’t go back.

    You got that right! :)

    The funny thing is the household fight over the Volt —- And how sometimes
    I take the Prius with the kids because I don’t want sippie cups, sticky,
    gooey food or crumbs in the back of the precious Volt! :) One day my
    daughter was frustrated at my locking her rear power windows so she
    would stop fussing with them – So she pried and pried at the Prius’ window
    button until it just broke and fell into the armrest, leaving a gaping hole!
    I still haven’t fixed that little detail yet – when I examined it, I was
    shocked how a little kid like her could break that button so easily. Prius
    are definately lightweight in their construction – far more so than any other
    Toyota I have ever owned. I know lightweight = better mileage, but Prii
    really are very flimsy. One niggle with the Prius is the center console armrest.
    This is a part of the car you come in contact every single time you drive it.
    From day one it jiggled and rattled, and when you place your arm on it
    it just had this gap that lended to a very poor quality feel. I used black
    Gorilla tape, to match the shiney black plastic latch, and I Jerry-Rigged
    a little pad that took up the gap causing the issue. From time-to-time,
    I have to retape the thing as it wears down. Now this isn’t quality that
    Toyota is known for.

    I haven’t had these issues with the Volt. Sure, they make shortcuts
    to uber luxury in the back seat, where there’s enough hard plastic
    to start a WalMart, but it’s solid, and utilitarian. We who are Voltsers
    know they had to cut corners, and they still lose money on every one.
    Thing is, with Prius vs. Volt – the Volt parts are solid – just like it
    rides and drives – solid – you know, a quality you cannot describe
    unless you own one or have driven one. Prii are NOT SOLID. They
    drive like a tin can on narrow wheels and they turn like a hot dog cart.
    I know – I OWN ONE! It’s all about mileage and that’s it – PERIOD!
    Volt, on the other hand, has driving dynamics and a feel on the road
    that give it a much more satisfying appeal all-around. PLUS – it shames
    the Prius in mileage! HOW CAN YOU ARGUE THAT?!!!

    So it costs more. BIG DEAL. If that’s all John and Charlie got – it’s
    fairly easy to call them blowhards. George and I own both – yet
    Charlie and John just stonewall us when we ask him about this
    phantom Volt owner who traded his Volt for a Prius – or the now
    five times I have asked John if he has ever driven a Volt.

    How corny can you get Prii fanboys?!!!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  67. 67
    James

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (5:09 am)

    There are things I still like about the Prius – such as the little
    nubby shifter and it’s smooth operation to B mode. I also prefer
    it’s steering wheel HVAC controls and button placement to
    the Volt’s. The Prius’ extremely nice tight turning circle is my
    other fave thing about our Toyota. I find second-gen Prius’
    touchscreen far better than the 3rd gen. They went to cheaper
    displays further from the drivers’ eye in the 3rd gen. I wouldn’t
    trade “Touch-Tracer” for my 2nd gen touchscreen’s operation.

    Toyota had a groundbreaking mileage machine in 2004, and
    that’s why I bought my 2007. It’s not a bad little car – and
    now when the weather is warmer I’m easily getting 44+ mpg
    without a lot of strain ( like in winter months ). That aint bad,
    until you compare it with the quicker, much more solid Volt
    at over 250+ mpg where I’m at now! :)

    And I am an American, and I take pride that Volt
    is MADE IN USA. You can’t beat it, really.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  68. 68
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (8:55 am)

    Mark Z:
    A great GM product to compete with the Tesla Model S would be a 4 door luxury chassis, flat battery underneath and powerful electric motor with E-REV engine. Have the performance of the Tesla with an 80 mile battery and gas E-REV for a 480 mile range total. Luxury, speed and coast to coast range.

    That’s an original idea!
    I like it.
    Oh but GM would have to scale up Voltec and that would take some effort.
    So much for that plan.


  69. 69
    john1701a

    -6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (9:18 am)

    Rather than address need, the response is to change the discussion topic instead.

    The effort to avoid answering questions about GM’s own product-line speaks for itself.


  70. 70
    Raymondjram

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (10:25 am)

    George S. Bower: That’s an original idea!
    I like it.
    Oh but GM would have to scale up Voltec and that would take some effort.
    So much for that plan.

    Maybe a second generation Cadillac ELR or a bigger ELR (ELZ?) can beat the Tesla Model S!

    Raymond


  71. 71
    Charlie H

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (11:21 am)

    kdawg,

    The product gap is in the numbers. Cars that do not sell, do not matter. Toyota has a purpose-built hybrid car that sells over 10K per month, a family of pupose-built hybrid cars that sell about 20K per month and addtional hybrid options on more vehicles that sell about 5K per month.

    GM has… a car that sells in low, unpredictable quantities when aided by more rebates and perks than you can shake a stick at. Then they have some other stuff that the market largely ignores. GM chose to stake out the plug-in market as theirs, with a bold “leapfrog” strategic move over Toyota. In that one market segment, they are losing ground to a Silicon Valley startup and to Nissan.

    Go to Jeff Cobb’s other site, hybridcars.com, and look at the monthly dashboards. The pie charts tell you what it means to dominate a market.


  72. 72
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (11:38 am)

    Charlie H:

    Go toJeff Cobb’s other site, hybridcars.com, and look at the monthly dashboards. The pie charts tell you what it means to dominate a market.

    I looked and last month Ford sold 8000 hybrids (including plug ins) and GM sold 4000 (including e-assist). So GM is clearly getting their asses kicked. Also we have had this discussion here a million times about the big hole in GM’s product line.

    So why don’t you just tell us what you would do to fill the hole:

    Just license HSD from Toyota?? Get serious about the 2MT70? Expand Voltec? Give e-assist away at no additional cost on all their cars? Just do the best that they can w/ fuel efficient gas cars like Ford? Do some of the above? Do nothing?

    Quite frankly I see them doing NOTHING right now which is somewhat bothersome.


  73. 73
    Jackson

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (11:57 am)

    George S. Bower: I looked and last month Ford sold 8000 hybrids (including plug ins) and GM sold 4000 (including e-assist). So GM is clearly getting their asses kicked. Also we have had this discussion here a million times about the big hole in GM’s product line.

    So why don’t you just tell us what you would do to fill the hole:

    Just license HSD from Toyota?? Get serious about the 2MT70? Expand Voltec?Give e-assist away at no additional cost on all their cars? Just do the best that they can w/ fuel efficient gas cars like Ford?Do some of the above? Do nothing?

    Quite frankly I see them doing NOTHING right now which is somewhat bothersome.

    What direction does the Spark EV suggest (or is it just another flavor of status quo)?


  74. 74
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (1:00 pm)

    James: How corny can you get Prii fanboys?!!!

    #66

    Plus tiresome. +1

    I just don’t dignify their s__t by reading it any more.

    As someone at the Actors Studio might ask, “What’s your motivation?”


  75. 75
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (2:37 pm)

    To get things back to some semblance of on-topic:

    The real question seems to be, “Does CR respond to consumer attitudes, or attempt to guide them?” I think the answer is: a little of both. They complete a vicious cycle of initial attitude, feedback/amplification resulting in more set-in-stone attitude; and around it goes again.

    GM is attempting to affect a change in consumer attitude, but this is proving to be maddenly slow. We don’t have any control over CR. The answer is probably education, but this brings us right back to GM’s abysmal advertising (at least where the Volt is concerned). The same old “Feelings first, Fun second, logical case last (if any)” won’t get us there. The case for the EV is an intellectual exercise first and foremost.

    Boosters and owners like us can make a difference, but there are still too few to take the message down individual streets, over backyard hedges, or to co-workers. This is why I’m always gratified to see more Volts “in the wild.” This is where the tide can turn; but ‘critical mass’ is yet to be achieved.


  76. 76
    Charlie H

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (2:39 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    Some years ago, my advice was different… Now… things have changed a lot.

    For the next Volt, or a Prius-fighter, GM needs a purpose-built HV, PHEV, RE-EV or BEV platform. Never mind style; drag, effectivness and packaging are the top design considerations. Building on top of a hacked Delta did not result in a great or low-cost car and compromised utility and CS mode economy. Much of what makes the Prius so effective is the platform. The Tesla also has great utility and excellent CG, due to sitting on top of a skateboard of cells. They may end up with a car shaped like a Prius, which was an idea Lutz loatched but it’s not the end of the world, that’s just the direction of high-efficiency design.

    I’d also suggest they develop an Atkinson-cycle horizontally-opposed twin with as many efficiency tricks as they can manage, especially if they want to go all-in on their RE-EV idea. The Volt Faithful don’t see premium fuel and poor CS fuel economy as a problem… but it is. Downsizing to a better engine would allow for significant weight decrease. A properly balanced engine should be smooth enough.

    The combination of a purpose-built platform and a better, lighter ICE would allow them to build a vehicle that could go significantly further on 10KWH of electricity. If I were GM, I’d be looking at a design goal of 35 miles EV using a significantly smaller battery and I’d settle for 30 miles if I could develop a vehicle with better than 45mpg CS mode fuel economy by doing so.

    They should take another look at the battery pack. If they can find a way to ditch the liquid cooling, they’d save a bunch on build cost and, probably, significant weight.

    GM probably should look at licensing HSD. I wonder what sort of licensing arrangements they did require for the Volt. Anybody remember this:

    http://gm-volt.com/2010/06/30/combustion-engine-does-not-and-will-not-turn-the-volts-driveshaft-ever-got-it/

    ?

    Not GM-Volt.com’s finest moment. The article quoted an Opel source:

    “We are considering driving the wheels directly from the petrol engine,” said Andreas Voight, an Opel project engineer. There are a number of different ways we could do it, but the whole thing is subject to some intellectual property rights negotiations so I can’t say any more,” said Voight.

    Posawatz seemed to flatly deny that the engine would drive the wheels. And when it was delivered…

    So, to achieve this, has GM already licensed HSD? Or something from someone else? After the battery goes flat, the most effective way to use the ICE is to power the car directly. Even the flat twin I recommend should be mechanically linked to the wheels. If they haven’t licensed HSD and they need it to get better CS mode fuel economy, they should probably license it. Automakers license stuff from each other all the time; it’s not a loss to do so, it’s just a cost of doing business. Getting Lutz’ ego out of the way should be a big help.

    One of the advantages Mullaly brought to Ford was that he was good at getting things built but he wasn’t invested in particular automotive solutions and had no prejudices to overcome. This should have been one of the advantages of hiring Akerson. It may yet work out that way but at the moment, I don’t have much confidence in Akerson to ignore how GM did business in the past (and we can see where it got them) and encourage new lines of thought and ways of doing business going forward.

    It would also help GM a great deal if they could build a HEV/PHEV/RE-EV system for trucks. Toyota and Ford are working together on this. The GMT900 solution is unworkably expensive. BMW and Chrysler were in on it and both have abandoned it (Chrysler actually built a few hundred hybrid Aspens, which were taken off the market). Lutz was smart enough to realize that improving the fuel economy of a 15 mpg truck to 20mpg was a huge win, financially, but he let GM take a bad path to achieving that. If Ford and Toyota jointly develop a cost-effective system before GM does, this will be very bad news for GM.

    Until then, GM should leverage aerodynamic imrpovements, DI and VCM in their trucks – all their vehicles – to the maximum extent possible. THis is the real tragedy of the Volt program; it stole resources from development opportunities that could have made GM a lot of money.

    There are also some systems issues to consider. My understanding is that Honda can now develop a new car in 2 years. The original Prius took about 2.5 years. The Volt took nearly 4 years. GM has got to figure out how to reduce the time to market for a car and maintain good quality.

    One of my old pieces of advice for GM was to figure out how to do flex manufacturing. They have improved in that regard, tremendously, and it’s no longer a big advantage for them. But I think they still need to do more, particularly in reconfiguring parts manufacture for flexibility.


  77. 77
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (2:47 pm)

    john1701a: GM offers an affordable 35 MPG eAssist system and an expensive +150 MPG Volt system. There’s nothing in between! Changing the topic to Toyota is a dead giveaway that situation is not being taken seriously.
    Don’t you want that big product-gap to be filled with a model of Volt?
    Do you really want Volt sales continue to be lost to GM’s mainstream cars?

    I don’t see a product gap between a 35mpg car and 50mpg car. There’s not much gas savings. When you start talking about EVs, you arent talking about “MPG”.. they dont use the stuff. That’s the difference. There’s no gap because they are not on the same page. It’s like saying there’s a product gap between bulldozer and a jet.

    If someone doesn’t buy a Volt or any other EV, I don’t really care what they buy, other than preferably something with 30mpg +. Wasting time & money making another 30-50mpg car is not the answer IMO. Getting the cost down on EV’s is. That’s the EV game that Toyota has opted out of, which is sad.


  78. 78
    Charlie H

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (2:55 pm)

    Jackson,

    CR’s influence in guiding taste has far less impact than Autoweek, Car and Driver, R&T or Motor Trend. People don’t go out and buy SUVs and pickups that they don’t need because of the influence of CR. If CR had that kind of influence, we’d all be driving sensible sedans, hatchbacks and automakers would still build wagons.

    I don’t recall what CR said about the Volt in print but I re-watched the video and it’s very fair. If driving electrically is important but your driving is unpredictable and fast refuel is important, the Volt is a good choice. But it’s expensive and the utility is limited by the battery pack and other considerations. Then, driving electrically is important for about .05% of the population. And even that segment of the population has other priorities besides EV miles.

    Even me. I’m very much into reducing GHGs but driving electrically is not at all a priority, it’s just a solution I’d consider.

    CR is not the Volt’s problem. The Volt is the Volt’s problem. Too much price, aimed squarely at a small segment of the population, not enough utility.

    D3 = Detroit 3. Somewhat obsolescent since Chrysler is now owned by the Europeans. But Chrsyler still does most of its own egnieering, marketing and manufacturing, so it’s a Detroit product.


  79. 79
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (2:55 pm)

    George S. Bower: Quite frankly I see them doing NOTHING right now which is somewhat bothersome.

    Not to me. I don’t care about hybrids. They are a step in the wrong direction.


  80. 80
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (3:20 pm)

    kdawg,

    Bulldozer vs Jet is a bad analogy. They have entirely different purposes.

    The difference between 35 and 50mpg is in the operating cost, not in the utility or purpose. If they were otherwise the same, especially on price, 50mpg wins, no contest. Even at a price disadvantage, 50mpg wins often enough to make for a decent business.

    The EV and the ICE-V serve the same purpose so, aside from a few hard-core EV intenders (many of which were put off by the price), the decision iinvolves the price, operating cost, utility, style and other, traditional, discriminants.

    In the market, consumers think there’s a big difference between 30 and 40 mpg and then between 40 and 50mpg. It’s true that the savings diminish but the savings are not insignificant and 50mpg, even 40mpg, is psychologically powerful.

    You’ll notice that GM worked overtime to get the Cruze highway rating over 40mpg, even if it’s just one particular model with a stick?

    And you should remember what I said about being a results bigot. At its current selling rate, the Volt hardly matters; the Prius has had a far greater impact on oil consumption and will continue to do so until GM starts selling over 10K/month. At $24K, the Prius is the more cost-effective solution to reducing oil consumption.


  81. 81
    Raymondjram

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (4:01 pm)

    Charlie H:
    kdawg,
    At $24K, the Prius is the more cost-effective solution to reducing oil consumption.

    No, it is not! Any EV that is produced in America is more cost effective, because when you buy a Prius or any import, you are still sending money overseas! Or, are you Japanese and you favor their products?

    An American EV or EREV consuming American electricity is the one and only solution!

    Raymond


  82. 82
    Charlie H

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (4:11 pm)

    Raymondjram,

    I suppose you spend a lot of time picketing Wal*Mart?


  83. 83
    Charlie H

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    kdawg,

    Until there are no more ICEVs on the road, HVs are a step in the right direction. Not the step you prefer, maybe, but your preferred step isn’t selling very well, is it?


  84. 84
    john1701a

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (6:13 pm)

    kdawg: I don’t see a product gap between a 35mpg car and 50mpg car.

    I say between 35 and +150 MPG, you change it to 35 and 50 MPG.

    Each attempt like that further confirms there is a indeed a gap.


  85. 85
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    Charlie H,

    I like the horizontally opposed RE design. I can see a utilitarian Vehicle with batteries in the floor and that horizontally opposed RE.

    However, I think I’d ditch the power split and go pure series with a slightly larger pack than the Volt now has.

    I don’t see any vision in Akerson. Mullaly I do…but I guess that’s cuz I’m an aerospace guy and Mullaly is from Boeing.

    PS GM didn’t license anything to get the 4ET50 power split design. They have a patent on it. So since they have so much invested in the 4ET50 then it makes sense to keep with it rather than going pure series. What we are talking I think is a practical platform, utilitarian Voltec with batteries in the floor. Not sure why GM isn’t moving in this direction. Instead we see ELR. Very frustrating.


  86. 86
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    john1701a: I say between 35 and +150 MPG, you change it to 35 and 50 MPG.
    Each attempt like that further confirms there is a indeed a gap.

    I group 35 with 50… and the “gap” is to infinity.

    150mpg or MPGe is useless.


  87. 87
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (6:48 pm)

    kdawg: I don’t see a product gap

    So let’s see. We have e-assist and then the Volt. How can you say there is no product gap. James would back me up on this. He says the same thing.


  88. 88
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (6:51 pm)

    Charlie H: Until there are no more ICEVs on the road, HVs are a step in the right direction. Not the step you prefer, maybe, but your preferred step isn’t selling very well, is it?

    No, it’s a step in the wrong direction regarding developing new technology. HV’s are old tech. We have much better technology now, and that is what should be pursued. EV’s are in their baby steps. Some automakers (toyo) aren’t even in the game. Once everyone is on board, manufacturers and consumers, we can talk. Goals are to get costs down at this point and increase range, decrease charging times, etc.

    To me, this looks like a really good trend for just the first 2 years of EVs. You obviously are not an EV person, so stay in the past and keep pumping gas.

    sales2012-13_zps4d620795.jpg


  89. 89
    Bonaire

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (7:07 pm)

    Efficiency at a premium still doesn’t draw in the general public. If they need to save money,they buy used cars. If they want new cars, a 40mpg unit at 18k is better than a Prius at 24k and 50 mpg. You would need to drive the Prius 20k miles a year for 7 years before the payback. The USA is producing numerous 37 to 42 mpg hwy cars right now. Lots of people will still pay more to get slightly better mpg and send most of that money to Japan. Kind of sad to see that.


  90. 90
    kdawg

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (7:08 pm)

    George S. Bower: So let’s see. We have e-assistand then the Volt. How can you say there is no product gap. James would back me up on this. He says the same thing.

    I see it differently. It’s like saying we have horses & we have Model-T’s and there’s a gap between them, and instead of working on better Model-T’s, car companies should try to make something between a horse & a car. If the EV barrier is cost, then what happens when you can buy an EREV-50 for the same price as any hybrid or ICE? If the barrier is performance, what happens when an EV can beat any ICE car off the line (we are pretty much there now with the Model S & Roadster)? If the barrier is utility, what happens when we have full size EREV trucks (VIA is doing this now)? With all these barriers gone, who would buy the “horse”? I understand car companies need to make money, and will continue to sell ICE cars, as EV techonology matures, but I do not want GM, or any car manufacturer, to waste R&D money by throwing it into the past.


  91. 91
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (7:18 pm)

    George S. Bower:

    So since they have so much invested in the 4ET50 then it makes sense to keep with it rather than going pure series.

    I would add that they go with a new casting.,,,,but keep the same interior layout as the 4ET50. They could easily do this.
    We did it all the time at AiResearch (Honeywell).


  92. 92
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (7:28 pm)

    kdawg: I see it differently

    Well if you were emperor, what would you do??

    Please submit a design

    I have one. I go with Charlies horizontally opposed 2 cylinder atkinson engine with a new 4ET50 gearbox layout ,integrated into a flat skateboard with batteries in the floor.

    Then just switch out bodies.


  93. 93
    john1701a

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (7:46 pm)

    kdawg: No, it’s a step in the wrong direction regarding developing new technology. HV’s are old tech. We have much better technology now, and that is what should be pursued.

    That’s extremely vague.

    Hybrids increase & improve the production of traction motors and automotive-grade batteries, not to mention the hardware & software to support them. While at the same time, they draw the mainstream away from traditional vehicles… paving the way for higher efficiency with each new generation.

    How can that possibly be wrong?


  94. 94
    pjkPA

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjkPA
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (8:20 pm)

    ….another thing that is not getting any press is the fact that this is Toyoda… how many are sold in Japan and do they put the same non tariffs on it as they do to the Volt?


  95. 95
    Charlie H

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (8:47 pm)

    kdawg,

    In a centrally planned economy, you could certainly look at it that way. In our economy, which is almost entirely driven by capitalism, in spite of any hyperbole you might hear to the contrary, you must build a product that will sell and you must find investors to develop the future product that will sell.

    When we switched from horses to the Model T, I don’t recall any government program that installed gas stations all around the country to nurse the nascent technology along or provided cash incentives to buyers of gassummobiles. However, we’re currently doing a lot of that for EVs. So, focus your attention on getting better cars built that will sell within that framework and otherwise looking for opportunities to reduce oil consumption by any means possible.

    To that end, an HV is, most definitely, a step in the right direction.

    By the way, that’s a lovely chart, as long as you’re actually counting some sort of “K.” For best communication of whatever your idea is, you might put some sort of useful label on that vertical axis and describe what’s being charted. I expect it’s cumulative EV sales. In which case, I invite you to also chart cumulative HV and ICEV sales. You’ll need more paper. You might want to use a log scale.


  96. 96
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (8:56 pm)

    Noel Park,
    Noel,
    Went to Corvette get together in Payson.
    Duntov replicar really trick. I didn’t know about Duntov’s racers but I’m sure you did. I know it’s just a replicar but it was way more interesting than Shelby Kits.
    Tubular Chassis.
    Hopefully the photos will work.

    Read the description on the front windshield.

    CAM00072_zps44b809f5.jpg

    CAM00070_zps99769062.jpg

    CAM00066_zps4ea98dfa.jpg

    CAM00067_zpsd15b5042.jpg


  97. 97
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (9:07 pm)

    George S. Bower: Well if you were emperor, what would you do??
    Please submit a design
    I have one. I go with Charlies horizontally opposed 2 cylinder atkinson engine with a new 4ET50 gearbox layout ,integrated into a flat skateboard with batteries in the floor.
    Then just switch out bodies.

    Not a bad one. If I were emperor, I definitely would start spreading the technology over much more vehicle styles. Compact, subcompact, CUV, SUV, Truck.. etc. This will bring in more customers, make plug-is more familiar, and help drive down the costs. I’ll leave it to the mechanical engineers to design the best range extender. It will be interesting so see if BMW’s i-whatever motorcycle engine works and the public reaction after owning it. I would love to be a fly on the wall at GM to see what they have been throwing around.


  98. 98
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (9:15 pm)

    Charlie H,

    It’s PHEV sales and “k” stands for 1000 (metric system). The shape of the trend is what is important and is what I was referring to.
    Let’s talk in 15 years and let history be the judge.


  99. 99
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (9:24 pm)

    john1701a: How can that possibly be wrong?

    The problem is HV’s still focus on the engine first and the battery to assist. To me, it should be the other way around, 100% battery drive, gas engine only when it’s needed (sometimes never).

    Priorities should be placed on the EV-drive part. Why didn’t Toyota use a larger battery in the Prius? Cost? Why don’t they focus on that? Change the design, eliminate ICE drivetrain costs so that a larger battery could be included at the same price, or whatever they can come up with, but make that a target.


  100. 100
    john1701a

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (10:52 pm)

    kdawg: The problem is HV’s still focus on the engine first and the battery to assist. To me, it should be the other way around, 100% battery drive, gas engine only when it’s needed (sometimes never).
    Priorities should be placed on the EV-drive part…

    We know the traction motors in C-Max, Fusion, Camry, Highlander, and Accord all give Volt an electric driving challenge.

    Whatever the definition of “HV” supposedly is, it’s a matter of semantics at this point… since there are several examples now of how configurations can be altered for different results.

    In the end, it boils down to the same thing: SALES.

    What actually reaches the mainstream consumer’s driveway is what makes the difference, not bragging rights from more power or electric purity.


  101. 101
    john1701a

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 11th, 2013 (11:04 pm)

    kdawg: To me, it should be the other way around, 100% battery drive, gas engine only when it’s needed (sometimes never).

    This evening, I’ve been running errands. Now done, I’m sitting at the coffeeshop responding to posts. The driving was 100% battery.

    kdawg: Change the design, eliminate ICE drivetrain costs so that a larger battery could be included at the same price, or whatever they can come up with, but make that a target.

    How would that accomplish the goal of significantly reducing emissions & consumptions?

    The continued disregard for automaker product-line is disturbing. Not looking at the outcome of the entire fleet is a very big problem. Remember how often that point was brought up in the past?

    How many Volt are required to offset the sales of Malibu, Impala, and Cruze?


  102. 102
    john1701a

    -4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (9:48 am)

    Middle-Market consumers don’t have money available to purchase a Tesla. If they did, the automotive industry wouldn’t face such a big struggle to make high-efficiency technology affordable. This is why the example of Prius is so often discussed. Toyota’s effort to deliver a plug-in hybrid using only 4.4 kWh of battery met the objective.

    Going from 35 to 75 MPG, driving the standard annual distance of 15,000 miles, you’d use 229 gallons less of gas. At $3.89 per gallon, that’s $891. Using my own real-world data, including recharging losses, that comes to about $206 worth of electricity at 0.12 per kWh. The difference is roughly $685 per year.

    That easily covers the goal making the system cost-competitive with traditional vehicles. As price drops for lithium battery-packs and the price rises for gas, the appeal of 35 MPG fades.

    GM is now painfully aware of how important that affordability aspect of a vehicle really is. They thought the thrill of EV driving alone would compel mainstream buyers to spend more. That didn’t happen. The sacrifices made for range & power weren’t enough. Even the explanation of savings hasn’t worked.

    There’s quite a challenge being faced and we are stuck waiting several more years for the next attempt to attract the masses. In the meantime, people are just purchasing 35 MPG vehicles with the intent of driving them for the next decade. This is what the “too little, too slowly” concern was all about.

    The “we’ll find a way to lower costs later” approach is clearly not working. The design must address cost right from the start, initially rolling out with an affordable configuration, leaving the opportunity for capacity increase later when prices drop.


  103. 103
    Raymondjram

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (10:52 am)

    Charlie H:
    Raymondjram,

    I suppose you spend a lot of time picketing Wal*Mart?

    I don’t sponsor Walmart. It has affected the local economy here, too. I know who and what to sponsor. That is why I sponsor General Motors, and not any foreign company, even if my neighbors were assembling their cars! Remember, the parent company gets the most money!

    Raymond


  104. 104
    Raymondjram

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (10:57 am)

    Bonaire:
    Efficiency at a premium still doesn’t draw in the general public.If they need to save money,they buy used cars.If they want new cars, a 40mpg unit at 18k is better than a Prius at 24k and 50 mpg.You would need to drive the Prius 20k miles a year for 7 years before the payback.The USA is producing numerous 37 to 42 mpg hwy cars right now.Lots of people will still pay more to get slightly better mpg and send most of that money to Japan.Kind of sad to see that.

    I totally agree!

    Raymond


  105. 105
    Raymondjram

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (11:01 am)

    Charlie H:
    kdawg,
    To that end, an HV is, most definitely, a step in the right direction.

    As long as that HV is from an American company . not an import.
    Spend American money in American products.

    Raymond


  106. 106
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (11:09 am)

    kdawg,

    When you graph cumulative PHEV sales against cumulative ICEV sales over the same period, you may begin to see the nature of the problem. Auto sales were up a lot in the last rolling 12 months and PHEV sales are not closing the gap. Each of those ICEVs will be on the road for a long time, at 25-35mpg.

    HV sales didn’t keep pace, either, which is tood bad. But HVs don’t get a tax credit equal to a good used car. But the HV vehicles that did sell will be responsible for saving 2400 gallons of gas over the life of the vehicle (30 vs 49mpg, 12K miles/year, 15 year life). Every month, the 10K Prius Classics sold are responsible for reducing fuel consumption by 24 million gallons (then there’s the C and V and other hybrids…).

    Each Volt should reduce fuel consumption by 4900 gallons, over its life (using 160mpg). But the 1400 Volts that sell every month are responsible for just 7 million gallons of reduced fuel consumption – and then the Volt needs a certain amount of electricity, as well.

    What has the greater impact? Which technology could be leveraged, TODAY, to have an even greater impact? The one that can sell more or less competitively? Or the one that uses needs $7500 in tax credits and assorted other incentives to move even 1400 units?

    Until you eradicate the ICEV, the HV matters a lot. Until the PHEV or BEV is price-competitive, the HV matters a lot.


  107. 107
    john1701a

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (11:27 am)

    Bonaire: If they want new cars, a 40mpg unit at 18k is better than a Prius at 24k and 50 mpg.

    $19,080 is the MSRP for the 53/46 MPG Prius C.


  108. 108
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (11:45 am)

    Charlie H: CR’s influence in guiding taste has far less impact than Autoweek, Car and Driver, R&T or Motor Trend. People don’t go out and buy SUVs and pickups that they don’t need because of the influence of CR. If CR had that kind of influence, we’d all be driving sensible sedans, hatchbacks and automakers would still build wagons.

    This assertion violates the business model and intended purpose of Consumer Reports. If people weren’t going to be influenced by CR at all, why would they subscribe? No, readers wouldn’t buy unneeded vehicles (or refrigerators, or chairs etc), but they do seek guidance on which needed thing they want to buy. The ultimate decision is always the buyer’s but your assertion that CR has no influence is patently ridiculous. Their circulation figures say otherwise.


  109. 109
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (12:16 pm)

    The Prius family does have a future; but not as pinnacles of technology, or as holy objects of the Green religion. Other vehicles are beginning to take those mantles away.

    Toyota has excelled at wringing every nickel out of their HSD technology, which has helped them make those cars a sales success (that, and the lack of any effective competition for over a decade). But unfortunately, HSD also a represents a burden when it comes to future innovation. Toyota is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to retaining their “king of the hybrid hill” image, because they are economically bound to somehow retain usage of it’s legacy HSD in whatever hybrid they build. This isn’t all bad for them, though:

    The Future of the Prius is the cost-cellar. This is a traditional Japanese market: one where Toyota has always done well. They may sell more Prii in the future than they have so far, but the patina of “technology leader” will continue to erode as HSD and systems like it spread across more makes and models, while newer tech gets ever more attention. The hybrid will be the last gasp of the ICE as primary motive power, but it will remain viable for years. What Toyota faces is not the loss of the Prius, but the loss of it’s prestige; and this is what upsets our favorite troll the most, IMO.

    We do have to face the fact that our favorite vehicles will take more time to replace hybrids than they will to replace purely ICE vehicles. In fact, I’d say that straight ICE replacement is more likely to be done by Hybrids than by the more advanced EVs (but only if manufacturers eventually come to sell most models without offering a non-hybrid option. The day that this becomes common practice is getting closer, I think).

    There is nothing wrong with bread-and-butter cars (the phrase was coined at GM), but there will always be those who want more. Eventually, the tech at the top will begin to filter down the cost-ladder enough for wider appeal: this is when EREV/EV sales numbers will start to pose a serious challenge to older technologies. In the meantime, when it comes to bragging rights, much of the damage has already been done!


  110. 110
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (1:12 pm)

    Btw, john1701a. I did not cross shop any other GM vehicle when I selected Volt. I cross shopped Dodge. Many Volt buyers are like me. They haven’t been in a GM shop ever or not in a long time.

    The last GM I bought was a ’76 olds.


  111. 111
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    May 12th, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    Jackson,

    First off, there’s no indication that HSD doesn’t have legs. Smaller ICE, larger electrics, bigger battery. Shift parameters and constants in the software and you’re done. It already spans a range of vehicles from 2750 lbs curb weight to over 2 tons curb weight with 3500 lbs of tow capability and AWD.

    Second, the cost-cellar is defined by the complete car. Toyota puts HSD into the Lexus LS600h, hardly the cost-cellar. Toyota also puts engines into the Lexus. Neither item defines cost-cellar. There’s not enough difference between HSD and “Voltec” to cause consumers to identify one as premium and there never will be, the cachet will be in the package. Right now, GM is heavily discounting the Volt. Volt fans like to think of it as a premium car but the sales and opinions of many auto writers tell us this is not so. Partly, this is just because GM tied it to the bread-and-butter brand. This hardly gives Voltec a leg up on being perceived as “premium.” And, even in a luxury car, profits are still defined by the difference between cost and revenue. If Toyota’s building their Avalons and Lexuses with lower cost than GM is building their Impalas and Cadillacs, it’s advantage Toyota.

    Third, the bread and butter brand itself is only bread-and-butter in trucks. There’s little evidence, to date, that GM makes any money on small cars. Toyota, on the other hand, sells relatively few trucks, yet makes a significant chunk of money. I believe their profits are about 2X GM’s this quarter, on similar unit sales. Somebody’s getting significant margins on their small cars and it doesn’t look like it’s GM.

    GM has staked out plug-in territory as theirs. Never mind that they’re failing in that (look at market share), it locks them into a situation where their Voltecs must carry a big battery or the marketing message fails. In a way, this is good, because Voltec, sans battery, probably costs more than HSD and, coupled with their 1.4L engine, isn’t going to get the CS mileage of a Prius. But it locks them into an expensive car.

    But Toyota can still attack both at the short-range EV end (lower MSRP) and on the intercity fuel economy (with superior CS mileage). This puts GM in a spot that’s fairly narrow and shrinking. And it’s shrinking partly becauuse Ford is using a strategy similar to Toyota’s. You might look on Ford’s actions as validation Toyotas approach.

    And Toyota is going to bring more battery to market. They own most of the Panasonic EV Battery joint venture. I believe they own that for a reason.

    In fact, let’s look at the market:

    BEV – Tesla (winner on range), Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Mitsubishi, GM
    Long-range PHEV – GM
    Short-range PHEV – Mitsubishi, Ford, Honda, Toyota
    HV – Ford, Toyota, Honda

    Notice anything? There’s one market that’s just GM. Do they know something? Or are they wrong? Well, if they know something, they should be rewarded with sales, right? And sales are…? The answer is, not bad but not great and not great enough to justify the investment. Both Ford and Toyota have lower sales in PHEVs but they got into that space with very low investments, leveraging existing platforms and they get their sales with smaller tax credits.