Jun 04

Volt total sales still lead top-three plug-in cars, yet it’s falling behind this year

 

The Volt’s 1,607 sales were up in May, but did not match Nissan’s sales of 2,138 Leafs, and now calendar year to date (YTD) the Volt’s sales are also trailing as third place among the plug-in top three.

While the Volt’s total volume since launch lets it remain the top-selling plug-in car in the U.S., the longstanding rivalry between it and Nissan’s Leaf saw a trading places for this calendar year with the Leaf yet believed to be trailing Tesla’s Model S YTD.

VoltNatPlugInDayAustin
 

Officially, YTD sales for the Leaf are now at 7,614 units sold versus the Volt’s 7,157.

Along with General Motors reporting the company’s highest overall sales month since September 2008, the Chevrolet Volt’s 1,607 units sold in May was higher compared to 1,306 units sold in April. May’s results do however lag 4.3-percent behind the Volt’s May 2012 sales of 1,680 units.

Unofficially Tesla Model S YTD sales may be somewhere around 8,850 based on April estimates of 6,850 sold and assuming 2,000 sold for May.

To the annoyance of some commentators, Tesla has not officially divulged month by month sales numbers since its July 2012 conservatively begun launch, but assuming 6,850 sold though April, it would have needed to deliver only 765 units in May to top Nissan’s 7,614.

There is a fudge factor built into Tesla estimates given its adamant policy of selectively releasing info that most flatters it, but denial of some info that would allow a more granular analysis of its maverick business model, but we are reasonably certain our sales estimates are not off by hundreds of units.

The hood and lighted rear charge port are popped on this Model S Signature Performance at the King of Prussia, Pa. Tesla store just opened last month. Customers are encouraged to fiddle with the semi-exotic cars on display.
The hood and lighted rear charge port are popped on this Model S Signature Performance at the King of Prussia, Pa. Tesla store just opened last month. Customers are encouraged to fiddle with the semi-exotic cars on display.
 

Previous reports have said Tesla’s Fremont, Calif. factory is filling all orders on a customer waiting list as fast as it can, which is around the 2,100 unit per month mark, so Tesla is enjoying an exceptional success story for a car costing easily double the Chevrolet or Nissan respectively.

Without a doubt Tesla is riding an ideal surfing wave for which it hopes it can sustain momentum, and is doing all it can to alleviate perceived concerns in order to keep its pipeline filled with patiently waiting buyers.

Tesla’s upsets to the usual way of doing automotive business include guaranteeing its Model S resale value for a 36-39 month term, offering free Supercharger access for life to a quickly expanding network, and being otherwise soft sell in many respects all in its efforts to augment its growing popularity, and reduce buyer concerns. This is combined with the fact the Model S is generally reviewed as a stellar car, capable of 200-300 miles range depending on configuration and usage patterns, and it has won many top awards.

 

As for Nissan, this is a story just as newsworthy in its own right, and its upsurge this year represents a significant turnaround that should make the wiser among naysayers less outspoken in panning its insufficiency or predicting its failure.

The Leaf’s sales were lagging the Volt’s by less than half by the end of 2012, but that’s now apparently fading like into memory in light of a mid-cycle 2013 Leaf upgrade, U.S. manufacture of the car, and significant price decreases.

Renault-Nissan has invested billions in its push for this and other Renault, Nissan, and sooner-or-later expected Infiniti electric cars, and has remained determined to sink or swim.

Compared to the Volt, the latest news for the Leaf is especially poignant, as it has scored a trifecta of record sales months for March, April and now May one after the other with complete consistency since U.S. assembly began in March.

In contrast, recent months have seen the Volt set back compared to previous record highs in the 2,000-unit to nearly 3,000-unit mark, although it did make a decent gain this month.

For now, the big picture shows the Volt is still ahead of them all, however.

The Volt is an enjoyable mid-distance electric car with gas-powered extended range. It has had its better sales moments, but yet leads the pack albeit with competitors looking to change that.
 

Since its December 2010 launch, the Volt’s total U.S. sales exceed Nissan’s estimate since its launch the same month, although the Leaf’s global sales far outnumber the Volt’s and European Ampera variant with somewhere over 62,000 Leaf units sold as of April.

If you want a clearer perspective into year by year U.S. results, a perusal of the HybridCars.com December Dashboards for successive years since the era for modern mainstream-maker electrified cars virtually began could prove instructive.

In 2010, the Volt sold 326 versus the Leaf’s 19. In 2011, the Volt lagged the Leaf with 7,671 units versus the Leaf’s 9,674. In 2012, the Volt stomped on the Leaf with 23,461 versus the Leaf’s 9,819.

Volt sales since launch are therefore 38,615 versus the Leaf’s 27,126. To strip the Volt of its overall lead, Nissan will have to continue to do even better than it has month-by-month for the remaining seven months this year.

p,s,. Many thanks to all of you who refrained from pre-posting Volt sales news under yesterday’s comments. I was tempted late morning to put up a Volt sales story, but the GM quality control story was a positive one, so I let it ride. GM has many resources and capabilities, and that’s positive news for Voltec fans

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 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: 93


  1. 1
    Dave G

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:49 am)

    The Volt sticker price is too high. With dealer discounts, rebates, and tax credits, the price is more reasonable, but the sticker price scares most people off.

    The Volt is a great car, but in many ways it’s over-designed. For example, the gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck. GM has hinted that the battery pack is probably over-designed as well.

    Also, as I understand it, many of the Volt’s parts are expensive because GM negotiated the price for these parts during their bankruptcy process.

    GM needs to cost reduce the Volt ASAP.


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    Bonaire

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (7:29 am)

    Nissan is buying their customers. With the cheap lease deal, people can lease a Leaf and still keep their existing car(s). Many times, people trade in or sell an existing car to buy a new one. Leafs are cheap enough to get one just for the novelty to try it out for two years.

    Honda seems to be doing the same with their Fit EV just to help stave off the monetary hit of their ZEV credits which are valued higher than the discount they are offering (ie. see Tesla for the big money they made in Q1 selling these credits – maybe Honda will match that activity).

    GM will have to do something to compete, perhaps writing off a discount to ramp up sales to enact enough cost of scale for suppliers to decrease Gen-2 input costs. Especially LG Chem’s battery part. Or, perhaps, GM is resigned to sell 45,000+ Silverado pickups per month to keep the lights on. Comeon GM – use the recent general gains of sales as a catalyst to decrease the Volt price and get them selling. Stop alienating dealerships with $10K tool costs and denial of Volt sales if they don’t buy that.

    But, just maybe, the general population does want the situation of “a second car BEV for commuting and a Suburban for weekend fun”. In that case, the Volt wouldn’t work for many families who would rather try an EV out than commit to the longer-range EREV. That is a signal that GM should be looking to build that 100-mile BEV sedan that Dan Ackerson was hinting at during one of his mind-farts earlier this year.

    In any case, Canada has had a hard time getting Volts and they could have sold double the units if they were made available and at a good price. Might also sell double in the USA too if the MSRP was starting at $34,950 (theoretically, it is lower than that now with dealer cash and finance rebate but the population DOES NOT KNOW THIS – many consumers think that the Volt is a $43K car…very far from the real cost). When I tell people I paid $25K for my Volt, they are shocked. Yet, anyone can pay net-25K right now for a base-volt if they can claim the tax credit and use the $6K off sticker that is what we see right now at volume dealers. Even lower when using state rebates (IL, CO, PA, etc.) and GM Card earnings.

    The Volt is a screaming deal. But the Leaf and Fit EV are even screamier right now and at a price point of a “cheap, new car” lease.


  3. 3
    Tim Hart

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:36 am)

    The sticker price is for sure a hindrance to increased sales but I think an even bigger issue is the lack of understanding that the Volt is WAY better than the car they are currently driving and how much less expensive it is to drive and maintain. The vast majority of people I talk to still don’t have a clue about how the Volt works.


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    nasaman

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:41 am)

    Dave G: The Volt sticker price is too high. With dealer discounts, rebates, and tax credits, the price is more reasonable, but the sticker price scares most people off.

    The Volt is a great car, but in many ways it’s over-designed. For example, the gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck. GM has hinted that the battery pack is probably over-designed as well.

    Also, as I understand it, many of the Volt’s parts are expensive because GM negotiated the price for these parts during their bankruptcy process.

    GM needs to cost reduce the Volt ASAP.

    You’re absolutely right, Dave, and your post deserves to be emphasized and repeated!


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    nasaman

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:46 am)

    Also, GM needs to offer a Volt SS using the Caddy ELR drive train & distinctive, sexy styling!


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    Roy_H

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:54 am)

    Just did a quick search for Volts within 100km of Mississauga, Ontario Canada. 4 used at $28,900 to $31,985 and new for $49,260 less $8k rebate. The used cars of course don’t qualify for the rebate. My local dealer says they sell about 1 Volt per month. They have one on the lot, so they are available, just not competitively priced.


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    Roy_H

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:07 am)

    I suspect that many people are expecting a major price drop for the 2014 model, and are waiting to purchase.


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    Mark

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:21 am)

    Roy_H,

    I am seeing more volts on the road around Toronto these days, I have even seen a tesla in my neighborhood ! Times they are a changing. What we really need is for one of the local GM dealers to take the plunge and get a dozen or more in at a time, instead of the one offs that seem to drift north on their own. The volt just dosnt generate the maintenance revenue for the dealers, so to make money you need sales volume, and for that you need them on the lots !


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    George S. Bower

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:23 am)

    There is another story here.

    I just got done reading about Ford and GM’s total sales figures for ALL cars. What we see is that Ford is hitting on all cylinders but GM is not. GM’s POOREST performers were its Malibu and Impala with numbers down some 35%. The article said that Cruze maintained its sales number (wish I had the exact percentage).

    Malibu, Impala, Cruze all look the same. People rarely comment on my Volt. They don’t even notice it’s a Volt. To them it looks like a Malibu, Impala, (Yawn).

    So I think there may be a little bit of a styling problem with the Volt in addition to the other problems which are mentioned here ( non existent marketing and high sticker price).

    Ends up being a triple whammy.


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    Loboc

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:27 am)

    Nissan does a ton of LEAF TV advertising. Volt … Not.

    I wonder why sales are low.


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    George S. Bower

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:42 am)

    Dave G:

    The Volt is a great car, but in many ways it’s over-designed.For example, the gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck.GM has hinted that the battery pack is probably over-designed as well.

    GM needs to cost reduce the Volt ASAP.

    Agreed Dave G.

    The easiest way to decrease the Volt’s build cost is to go after the highest price components in the car.

    That would be:

    the battery

    the 4ET50 transmission

    We now have enough data on fleet that one could calculate the effect of just going to a pure series machine in extended range mode. We know that in extended range mode MPG would drop by 10% if we went pure series. Then take into account that (around 60%) of the Volt’s drivers rarely use the range extender. So on a fleet basis the effect of going pure series would probaly only be around 4% or so. Thus the fleet MPG would only drop from 160 to 153……a negligable amount

    As much as I resist the idea, I think GM should consider going pure series.

    With a cost reduced transmission plus expected lower battery prices they could get the cost of the Volt down to the point it would be more affordable for the average Joe.


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    kdawg

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:46 am)

    As many have stated (here and other places), a price drop will equal more Volt sales.

    The really good news is that accumulative sales for all PHEV’s is over 102,000 in the USA!
    Let’s keep the snowball rolling.

    (ps: I’m updating my charts at kdawg.com, still waiting for Ford’s info)


  13. 13
    kdawg

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (9:50 am)

    Also, it should be noted that the US Volts are just shy of 200,000 EV miles. It’s at 197.5k as of yesterday.

    It would be nice to have stats on Nissan Leaf miles and Tesla miles (another way to compare impact).


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    Bobc

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:02 am)

    Dave G,

    What you’re saying might have a spec of truth Dave but I seem to me there are other issues, attacks from the ludicrous right not withstanding, many on this post have stated that the ride I the Volt compares favorably with a mid $40K German car with its solid construction and quiet ride and superb handling. If it weren’t for the nameplate and was offered by BMW or Audi we would probably hear no complaints about the cost of the Volt. I think the fact that its a Chevy turns a lot of people off, I know this for a fact that if I had not tested the Volt during a road show held by GM at the Nassau Colosseum I would have difficulty ponying up that kind of cash. I bought my Volt from a dealer that sells Cadillac and Chevrolets. And when I saw fully appointed Cadillac slightly larger than the Volt listed for $37,000 it did not help me make my decision. Marketing is one of GM’s big problems with the Volt, perception is the other. People have to sit down and really do the math, we still make the majority our buying choices on automobile on false economies and emotions. The low lease price of the Volt is what sold me on making the jump. I was leasing a GM SUV for $458 per month and getting 16-18 mpg overall. Now I’m paying $358 per month and getting 100mpg and climbing. We can’t expect GM 3 years out of bankruptcy to jump into bet the farm behavior and neglect their other product lines the Volt still sells better than the Corvette and from a technology stand point can rightfully be considered GM’s other halo car.
    I think GM is at the same state as Apple was when it released the first iPhone . Apple got a lot of ridicule and criticism , no keyboard, no open software development , after you sell to Apple fans who do you sell to? You want how much, $600 for a phone with no keyboard? Yet Apple could not keep up with demand. Selling EREV’s in this ICE parallel hybrid world is a little different but I think the merits of the serial hybrid drive train has shown superior promise and a judicious selection of an optimized range extender technology can bring this bridging transportation technology a long way.


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    George S. Bower

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:16 am)

    kdawg:

    (ps: I’m updating my charts at kdawg.com, still waiting for Ford’s info)

    Wow, very vivid when the data is plotted that this months Volt sales are not just an off month. There is clearly a down trend in sales since last October.

    That’s 7 months of declining sales!!

    Whew….what’s GM going to do about it…..looks like nothing so far.


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    Bonaire

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:38 am)

    Public think:
    “Volt is a $40K car and costs GM $100K to make…” (thanks to continued Fox News “education”)

    Reality:
    “You can get a Volt for net-$25K, or less, out of pocket…”

    How to educate Joe-Public? Tesla advertises “misleading” leasing numbers on their website to lure people in. Why can’t GM? :)


  17. 17
    Kent

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:43 am)

    Dave G:
    The Volt sticker price is too high.With dealer discounts, rebates, and tax credits, the price is more reasonable, but the sticker price scares most people off.

    The Volt is a great car, but in many ways it’s over-designed.For example, the gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck.GM has hinted that the battery pack is probably over-designed as well.

    Also, as I understand it, many of the Volt’s parts are expensive because GM negotiated the price for these parts during their bankruptcy process.

    GM needs to cost reduce the Volt ASAP.

    I wouldn’t disagree with you that the Volt is over-designed, but I sure wouldn’t complain about it. As a result, we have a much better car.


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    Kent

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:47 am)

    Bonaire:

    The Volt is a screaming deal.But the Leaf and Fit EV are even screamier right now and at a price point of a “cheap, new car” lease.

    I agree completely. My co-worker, who was looking at a Volt and Leaf, was ready to lease the Leaf because of the cheap lease deals. However, no Nissan dealership had those cheap Leafs in stock. Last week, he got an email that the Fit EV leases have dropped significantly and he went to pick one up yesterday. Nissan and Honda are practically giving their EVs away.


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    Kent

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:51 am)

    kdawg:
    Also, it should be noted that the US Volts are just shy of 200,000 EV miles.It’s at 197.5k as of yesterday.

    It would be nice to have stats on Nissan Leaf miles and Tesla miles (another way to compare impact).

    I think you’re missing 3 zeros there.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:11 am)

    Kent: I think you’re missing 3 zeros there.

    kdawg: Also, it should be noted that the US Volts are just shy of 200,000 EV miles. It’s at 197.5k as of yesterday.

    Time period?


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    kdawg

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:26 am)

    Kent: I think you’re missing 3 zeros there.

    Oops good catch. First day back at the office, still getting the tear-gas out of my head.


  22. 22
    Jim I

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:26 am)

    Off Topic:

    I just got back from two weeks at our home in Boca Raton, FL.

    I saw a white Volt in downtown Boca, a blue Volt on I-95 S, and a black Tesla Model S at the corner of Glades Road and 15th Ave. I have to admit that the Tesla is a beautiful car!

    I am just happy to see electrics on the road!!!!

    C-5277


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    kdawg

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:29 am)

    jeffhre: Time period?

    GM started posting data on 4/25/2012. They started at ~32 million miles. I assume they were collecting data from day 1, in Dec. 2010.

    chart is at kdawg.com


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    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:30 am)

    Kent: the Fit EV leases have dropped significantly

    Honda hybrids have battery problems. I know one person personally who has had a warranty replacement pack for his Civic, and have heard of others. I would want a lot of independent assurance before buying a Fit EV (even though it is a different kind of battery technology). And, I say this as a satisfied conventional Fit owner. Please keep up with your co-worker’s experiences if you can.

    It’s not just about the money.


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    Bonaire

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:34 am)

    But, the Fit EV is far far away from any of their existing Hybrid options. It’s a totally different drive-train and doesn’t use the same battery chemistry as the Hybrid offerings.

    The Honda Fit EV, if available here, would do well. I see Honda’s everywhere around SE PA. In fact, I see one in my garage (wife’s new leased CR-V). I have to turn in my wife’s car at a local dealership today (her old Sebring convertible) but may stop on the way at Honda to see if the EV is available for offer/order here. If they have one and will match my wife’s sale value at Car Sense (much like Car Max, who had an offer of 1/2 of the Car Sense offer) – I would see if they can order up a leaseable Fit EV for us to have to mess around with. We could supplement our Volt usage with buzzing around town with the BEV. Not interested in the Spark EV at this time (Korean built, not available nationally for a long time, wacky colors, etc.)


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    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:38 am)

    Jim I: Off Topic:

    I just got back from two weeks at our home in Boca Raton, FL.

    I saw a white Volt in downtown Boca, a blue Volt on I-95 S, and a black Tesla Model S at the corner of Glades Road and 15th Ave. I have to admit that the Tesla is a beautiful car!

    I am just happy to see electrics on the road!!!!

    C-5277

    The neighborhood Fisker has showed up again in Marietta after a long absence (parked way, way back by itself from the entrance of the East Cobb Kroger. Expensive EVs can have their own problems, perhaps?)


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    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:41 am)

    Bonaire: But, the Fit EV is far far away from any of their existing Hybrid options. It’s a totally different drive-train and doesn’t use the same battery chemistry as the Hybrid offerings.

    Yes, I understand that, as I said.* Nor are my suspicions limited to pure engineering concerns. Was it a corporate decision to let those hybrid batteries on the road?

    I think Honda’s battery situation is probably a legacy of the disastrous Insight II; which was offered as the first hybrid which made sense purely on an economic basis. What cost-cutting was done for the sake of making this claim? What cost-cutting has been allowed for the sake of offering a competitive Honda EV (regardless of chemistry)?

    What is the source for the Lithium cells, do we know?

    * May have edited while you were writing this, I’m bad about over-editing.


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    Noel Park

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:47 am)

    kdawg: The really good news is that accumulative sales for all PHEV’s is over 102,000 in the USA!
    Let’s keep the snowball rolling.

    #12

    I’m a pretty strong Volt partisan, but you’re right, that’s the way to look at it IMHO. +1

    And I’m definitely NOT a Leaf partisan, but I grudgingly have to admit that strong(er) Leaf sales are a good thing as well. !@#$%^ Carlos is looking pretty smart at the moment.

    Kent: Nissan and Honda are practically giving their EVs away.

    That’s also true. +1

    #199/month, and didn’t I read the other day the Nissan had done away with the 12K mile a year limit? If that’s true, even I would be tempted, if I didn’t already own my full MSRP Volt, LOL (cry?).


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:51 am)

    Bonaire: Not interested in the Spark EV at this time (Korean built,

    #25

    Yeah, pretty tough to swallow for me.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (11:59 am)

    Jackson: Honda hybrids have battery problems.I know one person personally who has had a warranty replacement pack for his Civic, and have heard of others.I would want a lot of independent assurance before buying a Fit EV (even though it is a different kind of battery technology). And, I say this as a satisfied conventional Fit owner.Please keep up with your co-worker’s experiences if you can.

    It’s not just about the money.

    I tried warning him off of the Leaf and Fit but he just couldn’t resist the cheap price. Plus he’s not too concerned since he’s only leasing the Fit (I think the Fits are only available for lease).


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    pjkPA

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:01 pm)

    Dave G: gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck

    “gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck” I’d like to know where this info came from?

    It would make sense since the Volt and a full size pick-up are the same weight. 3800lbs.
    Why would that surprise you?

    My caprice had the engine from a full size pick up?
    You think all mfrs make trannies for each model? not.

    GM has done a excellent job with the VOLT.

    .. it’s UNFAIR TRADE that’s killing our industries.
    If GM had the markets any Japanese or German mfr. had .. they would be untouchable.. this is why the huge tariffs.. they cannot compete without them.
    The Germans, Japanese .. Koreans are our “friends”… just try treating their companies the way they treat ours… then see how good of “friends” they are!


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    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:02 pm)

    Kent,

    The Fit EV is probably a safe bet as a lease.

    Information about the car’s actual performance and reliability is pretty hard to come by, which is why I’d like anyone on this board to report experiences from any personal Fit EV connection.

    As a Fit driver, I’d like to see the EV version make good; but wariness is an attribute of advancing age, perhaps.


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    Bonaire

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:07 pm)

    What is the source for the Lithium cells, do we know?

    The Honda Fit EV batteries are Lithium-Titanate. Quite a nice cell. The cells are appx. 2.1V rather than 3.0+ like other Lithium blends. Also, very stable like the A123s (so they don’t burst into flames 3-weeks after a crash). Made by Toshiba: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2011_11/pr1701.htm

    Fast recharging, good for larger-scale applications too like fast-charging taxis and busses. Could have legs as a technology.
    This is interesting: http://colbytrudeau.com/2013/02/07/honda-fit-ev-battery-pack-replacement/


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    George S. Bower

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:24 pm)

    pjkPA: “gearbox is from a Silverado hybrid truck” I’d like to know where this info came from?

    Dave K stretched it a bit. The Volt’s 4ET50 trans is an off shoot of the LITTLE 2 mode transmission (2MT75 I think) which was to go in the Saturn Vue 2 mode hybrid. The big 2 mode is used in the Silverados and is more complicated. It has 3 planetary gear sets vs 2 PG sets in the Little 2 mode. The Volt tranny has 1 PG set but shares the same transaxle case as the little 2 mode.


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    kdawg

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:37 pm)

    Had some free time at lunch…

    Whatitis_zps097514eb.jpg


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:44 pm)

    I think the other issue is that people like myself who might LOVE a Volt but can’t jump on it because of the reduced seating & small cargo area. We have a nearly 10 yr old Hyundai Elantra wagon that I’d love to replace but I need something that’s slightly bigger than the Volt. Which is making me turn my attention to cars like the Prius V or the upcoming Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:49 pm)

    When John & Mary Public feel a Hyundai or Kia is a sound choice over a GM product, marketing has failed to do their job. Especially given the reputation of Kia & Hyundai 10 years ago. I can say (from experience) the GM dealer experience still leaves a lot to desire due in large part to poor product knowledge and post sales service.

    Bobc:
    Dave G,

    What you’re saying might have a spec of truth Dave but I seem to me there are other issues, attacks from the ludicrous right not withstanding, many on this post have stated that the ride I the Volt compares favorably with a mid $40K German car with its solid construction and quiet ride and superb handling. If it weren’t for the nameplate and was offered by BMW or Audi we would probably hear no complaints about the cost of the Volt. I think the fact that its a Chevy turns a lot of people off, I know this for a fact that if I had not tested the Volt during a road show held by GM at the Nassau ColosseumI would have difficulty ponying up that kind of cash. I bought my Volt from a dealer that sells Cadillac and Chevrolets. And when I saw fully appointed Cadillac slightly larger than the Volt listed for $37,000 it did not help me make my decision. Marketing is one of GM’s big problems with the Volt, perception is the other. People have to sit down and really do the math, we still make the majority our buying choices on automobile on false economies and emotions. The low lease price of the Volt is what sold me on making the jump. I was a GM SUV for $458 per month and getting 16-18 mpg overall. Now I’m paying $358 per month and getting 100mpg and climbing. We can’t expect GM 3 years out of bankruptcy to jump into bet the farm behavior and neglect their other product lines the Volt still sells better than the Corvette and from a technology stand point can rightfully be considered GM’s other halo car.I think GM is at the same state as Apple was when it released the first iPhone . Apple got a lot of ridicule and criticism , no keyboard, no open software development , after you sell to Apple fans who do you sell to? You want how much, $600 for a phone with no keyboard? Yet Apple could not keep up with demand. Selling EREV’s in this ICE parallel hybrid world is a little different but I think the merits of the serial hybrid drive train has shownsuperior promise and a judicious selection of an optimized range extender technology can bring this bridging transportation technology a long way.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:58 pm)

    kdawg: Had some free time at lunch…

    #35

    Wow! I’m impressed. You are going from strength to strength. +1


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (12:59 pm)

    Bonaire: Not interested in the Spark EV at this time (Korean built, not available nationally for a long time, wacky colors, etc.)

    How do you come up with wacky colors?

    (black FTW)

    SparkColors_zps1acfbcfe.jpg


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:00 pm)

    Bonaire: (so they don’t burst into flames 3-weeks after a crash).

    #33

    Well the Volt’s battery didn’t exactly “burst into flames” as I understand it. Is sort of smouldered and gave off some smoke. And wasn’t it 6 weeks?


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:03 pm)

    kdawg: How do you come up with wacky colors?

    #39

    Same answer. Awesome! +1


  42. 42
    Jonathan Baker

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:12 pm)

    Is the division of responsibility too widely spread at GM for the Chevy Volt to be successful? At Tesla, there is Elon Musk who calls the shots. At Nissan, there is Carlos Ghosn who put his reputation on the line over the Leaf. Who at GM has enough skin in the game to make the Volt a success? I can’t think of a name.

    A price reduction would make sales leap. A concerted national ad campaign that educated the buying public would make sales leap. A GM leader with skin in the game would make sales leap.

    No skin, no win.

    I love my Volt!


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:26 pm)

    Bonaire: may stop on the way at Honda to see if the EV is available for offer/order here. If they have one and will match my wife’s sale value at Car Sense (much like Car Max, who had an offer of 1/2 of the Car Sense offer) – I would see if they can order up a leaseable Fit EV for us to have to mess around with. We could supplement our Volt usage with buzzing around town with the BEV. Not interested in the Spark EV at this time (Korean built, not available nationally for a long time, wacky colors, etc.

    Note the Fit EV only comes in 1 color, “Reflection Blue Pearl” (which I consider somewhat wacky). It is not made in the USA. It is not available nationwide. It leases for $259/mo (after a recent lease price drop) where the Spark EV is only $199/mo. Fit only has 189 ft-lb of torque vs the Spark’s 400 ft-lb. Fit = 92kW motor, Spark = 96kW. The Fit does have a 6.6kW charger vs. the Spark’s 3.3kW, but the Spark will be available with DC quick charging.

    I dunno, to me it’s no contest, but beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder.


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    qwerty

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:28 pm)

    I expect Volt sales do drop more. I’m guessing all the “Early Adopters” have been fulfilled.
    With GM not expected to drop prices till next year or MY2015/14, sales will start to drop.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:39 pm)

    Jonathan Baker:

    No skin, no win.

    Akerson’s got plenty of skin on the top of his head. That guy does not project much of an image. GM needs some one like Ford’s Mulally, or Elon Musk to fix GM’s seemingly directionless approach to their product line.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:42 pm)

    qwerty,

    It might be better to say, “Early Adopters” are or are about to be siphoned off by Tesla. The Volt has, hopefully, a lower-cost future; I doubt very much that the “S” does.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (1:45 pm)

    kdawg: Note the Fit EV only comes in 1 color, “Reflection Blue Pearl” (which I consider somewhat wacky).It is not made in the USA.It is not available nationwide.It leases for $259/mo (after a recent lease price drop) where the Spark EV is only $199/mo. Fit only has 189 ft-lb of torque vs the Spark’s 400 ft-lb.Fit = 92kW motor, Spark = 96kW.The Fit does have a 6.6kW charger vs. the Spark’s 3.3kW, but the Spark will be available with DC quick charging.

    I dunno, to me it’s no contest, but beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder.

    My co-worker just came in and I went out to check out his new Fit EV. The blue is a very nice color…I actually wanted this color for my second Volt, but it (and the red) was all sold out that day.

    I just want to add that the $259 lease includes unlimited mileage and collision insurance (he only needs liability insurance, which is cheap). Also, this lease deal requires no cash down. He also mentioned that the dealer said they have a waiting list with 500 names on it (although we all know that not everyone on a waiting list is actually going to get one).


  48. 48
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    Jun 4th, 2013 (2:02 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    I doubt that Carlos Goshn will have his job for long if the Leaf fails. He pushed for the Leaf and it’s his baby. He is doing what is required to make the Leaf project successful. That’s skin in the game.

    I doubt that Elon Musk’s ego would allow the Tesla venture to fail. And he is smart enough to do what is necessary to protect (and expand) his ego, not to mention his monetary investment. That’s skin in the game.

    Akerson – not so much. Will he lose his job if the Volt project fails? I doubt it. Has he exposed himself to ridicule? I haven’t seen it. When was the last time he was mentioned in the media? Where is his ownership, his ego?

    The Volt had a spokesperson, someone with ego, someone who fought for the Volt at GM, someone with skin in the game. And he retired. I don’t see his replacement anywhere. That is the basic problem for the Volt project from which all other problems stem.

    No skin, no win.


  49. 49
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    Jun 4th, 2013 (2:13 pm)

    I think people know the 2014 Volt is coming soon and so sales are trending down until that comes. It will be interesting to see how anticipation for Gen 2 affects sales. Generally a new generation of car coming in a year isn’t that big of a deal. If someone likes the car the way it is, they buy it. The new gen might be uglier or might not be as comfortable to sit in, or whatever. With the Volt, however, there’s 125 reasons to wait for Gen 2 – 5th seat? weight reduction? longer battery range? better extended range mpg?, more advanced longer lasting batteries with a wider usable kWh window? more efficient electrical components (ie heater an AC)? more sporty body style? better economies of scale when combining with Cadillac component sharing, faster charging? renegotiated battery contract taking into account the new Holland MI battery factory that is just now getting up and running? Manufacturing improvements? Whatever other overengineering needs to be taken out?

    I do like Dave G’s idea of a pure series hybrid with no gigantic transmission. Removing that extra cost (along with associated compounding interest), weight (along with all that entails ie tires wear out faster, less efficient, lower performance, beefier suspension required), complexity, maintenance (how nice would it be just knowing that you’d never have to worry about transmission problems ever again?), tooling, warranty liability factor, etc. It really can’t be cost effective overall when you actually figure most people shouldn’t use much if any gas either way and right now a lot of people have to run their engine a little just to burn gas to prevent it from going stale which would be less common if they were burning a little gas more often.

    I also wonder if they’re ever going to get rid of the 12V battery?

    Drop the MSRP to $25k for Gen 2!


  50. 50
    Charlie H

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (2:35 pm)

    pjkPA,

    I always get a laugh out of that, thanks.

    I don’t hear the Germans complaining about the Japanese market and I don’t hear the Japanese complaining about the European market.

    The Japanese built a better car and had the right mix of fuel-efficient vehicles in place at key times. Detroit was building quick-rusting junk, secure in their home market, surrounded by people who derided Asian cars as “Jap Crap” (there was a post with just this phrase in it today, elsewhere) and, much to their surprise, people goaded by fuel prices, discovered that cars didn’t have to suck down 9mpg or self-destruct in 4 years.

    Detroit continued to build cars that didn’t last as long or run as reliably and yawned while the Japanese ate up market share with cars that did the job. Google for DesRosiers Longevity Report and see what the current situation is… Detroit has not yet won.

    The Europeans, on the other hand, carved out niches that worked pretty well:

    Volvo – became a byword for safety. In fact, it was a pretty safe car and they leveraged that… but it was a small niche and they didn’t have the legs to carry it on. Nowadays, most cars are persuasively safe and Volvo’s share is in decline.
    Saab – Another Volvo… except wrecked by GM.
    BMW, Mercedes – Luxury German touring machines. The last word in engineering from the guys that brought you the V-2 rocket and Leica cameras.
    VW – Unique, low-cost, simple transportation. I believe you could fix just about anything with an adjustable wrench, two screwdrivers and industrial-strength duct tape.

    Now, let’s look at Japan. What are the two biggest selling cars in Japan? I’ll save you the lookup… it’s the Prius and the Prius C (known in Japan as the Aqua). Close to 40% of the JDM are Kei cars. Almost everything in Japan is a small car, which can often be described as “premium.” Their minivans are nothing like the Sienna and Odyssey, they’re narrow and tall. Their pickups are the size of a 1995 Nissan Frontier. They drive on the left.

    Look back at Detroit… What cars does Detroit produce that Japan would want? The answer is, pretty much none. They have nothing like the Fit, Prius or any Kei car and that probably defines 85% of the market right there.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (2:44 pm)

    MotoEV,

    Lets not forget that Hundai and Kia took their lumps when ther first entered the market. Hundai having entered the US market at the same time as the ill fated Yugo with a $4995 barn burner special had tons of takers as people viewed them as throw always. They spent billions upgrading their quality and rebuilding their image, offering the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty before getting the perception. I do agree that GM’s dealership network has done it no favors in the past which is probably why a significant number were cut during the bankruptcy transition. I rented a Hindai Genesis one and was amazed at the refinement. I thought it compared favorably with Toyota and Honda, but I try to buy American. I feel it only fair as I’m only doing what the fair citizens of Japan or Korea would do to support their auto industry.


  52. 52
    Bobc

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (2:55 pm)

    “I do like Dave G’s idea of a pure series hybrid with no gigantic transmission. Removing that extra cost (along with associated compounding interest), weight (along with all that entails ie tires wear out faster, less efficient, lower performance, beefier suspension required), complexity, maintenance (how nice would it be just knowing that you’d never have to worry about transmission problems ever again?), tooling, warranty liability factor, etc. It really can’t be cost effective overall when you actually figure most people shouldn’t use much if any gas either way and right now a lot of people have to run their engine a little just to burn gas to prevent it from going stale which would be less common if they were burning a little gas more often.”

    I’m a little at a loss to see where this gigantic transmission is in the Volt, also the Volt has full torque at 0 RPM if you were to put a standard ICE transmission in the Volt you might be in for a disaster as the stripping of gear teeth ensues as you mash the throttle in Sport mode.
    Just sayin it may not be as over designed as you think.


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    Steverino

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:00 pm)

    I used to spend more per month on my cell phone than the cost of leasing a Leaf.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:19 pm)

    Bobc: I try to buy American. I feel it only fair as I’m only doing what the fair citizens of Japan or Korea would do to support their auto industry.

    #51

    Amen. +1


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:30 pm)

    Jonathan Baker,

    Totally agree. The Volt is a motherless child now that Bob is gone.

    Oh well GM is selling lots of them pick’em up trucks again and after all that’s what they do best!


  56. 56
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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:44 pm)

    kdawg: Note the Fit EV only comes in 1 color, “Reflection Blue Pearl” (which I consider somewhat wacky).It is not made in the USA.It is not available nationwide.It leases for $259/mo (after a recent lease price drop) where the Spark EV is only $199/mo. Fit only has 189 ft-lb of torque vs the Spark’s 400 ft-lb.Fit = 92kW motor, Spark = 96kW.The Fit does have a 6.6kW charger vs. the Spark’s 3.3kW, but the Spark will be available with DC quick charging.

    I dunno, to me it’s no contest, but beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder.

    Speaking generally about BEVs, I have to admit that I underestimated the utility, market and appeal of these cars. However, with the niche being subdivided further and further I can’t help but wonder about the prospects for any one model. It’s interesting to see how the spectrum of BEVs is already beginning to spread out to appeal to different buyers. There are small ones, hot ones, medium sized ones, pokey ones and luxury ones … with more to come.


  57. 57
    George S. Bower

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:45 pm)

    Kent:

    I just want to add that the $259 lease includes unlimited mileage and collision insurance (he only needs liability insurance, which is cheap). Also, this lease deal requires no cash down. He also mentioned that the dealer said they have a waiting list with 500 names on it (although we all know that not everyone on a waiting list is actually going to get one).

    Wow that’s pretty impressive. Honda is coming on strong out of the starting gate. A lease that includes insurance???? Never heard that idea before.


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    Focher

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:48 pm)

    I don’t buy the argument that Volt sales have been impacted by the pending release of the 2014. The sales problem started in Q4 last year. The May numbers are simply the latest in a long line of poor months.

    Price could have caught up with GM, with early adopters already having been covered. It has always been a stretch to have a $40k MSRP on a Chevy branded car. I don’t think the problem is that it isn’t $40k car, but putting a mainstream branding on it was probably a mistake in the long term.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (3:56 pm)

    Colors item above – well I thought the Spark EV would have the same ice-cream based colors of the Spark ICE. The colors shown are not wacky. They are somewhat plain, though.

    I was looking at some paperwork for my wife’s Chrysler Sebring Convertible that we bought in late 2003. I had 60 payments of $488 to buy it with a 12,000 deposit. OMG! What were we thinking? We sold it outright today for $4700 with 58200 miles on it (nearly 10 years old). Would have done a private sale for more but the wife is all about convenience.

    Volts are *cheap* compared to the pre-recession years.

    winchipper (Rick) posted a $4000 rebate for cash buyers on the forum today. If that is in addition to a GM dealer rebate for volume dealers – (which I don’t know is) – could be one awesome deal. I am sure that it is now up to dealers to advertise this and it won’t be advertised nationally by GM. If they would do that and make sure every single Volt dealership is onboard with these rebates – then they will move some Volts.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:27 pm)

    kdawg,

    OK, thanks…Umm, tear gas? Or should I even ask.

    On topic, anyone else think its time for a Volt refresh. I’d even call a price drop and some new marketing a refresh at this point.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:36 pm)

    Jackson: There are small ones, hot ones, medium sized ones, pokey ones and luxury ones … with more to come.

    Yes, it’s interesting to see a new form of car being fleshed out in the market at real time. Contrary to mass opinion cars are not developed to be, the be all and end all for every automotive need. Even the most popular mass market cars are basically sold to fill a (really really large!) niche. No matter how large the mainstream market they are sold into, there are about 260 other cars that they failed to push out of the market.

    They are built because someone loves the concept and pushes it through the corporate ringer. (And hopefully not after some committee waters it down with what it’s heard in a focus group, and is looking for someone or anyone to run with it.)


  62. 62
    Dave - Phoenix

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:36 pm)

    George S. Bower: Agreed Dave G.

    The easiest way to decrease the Volt’s build cost is to go after the highest price components in the car.

    That would be:

    the battery

    the 4ET50 transmission

    We now have enough data on fleet that one could calculate the effect of just going to a pure series machine in extended range mode. We know that in extended range mode MPG would drop by 10% if we went pure series. Then take into account that(around 60%) of the Volt’s drivers rarely use the range extender. So on a fleet basis the effect of going pure series would probaly only be around 4% or so. Thus the fleet MPG would only drop from 160 to 153……a negligable amount

    As much as I resist the idea, I think GM should consider going pure series.

    With a cost reduced transmission plus expected lower battery prices they could get the cost of the Volt down to the point it would be more affordable for the average Joe.

    This is one of the better suggestions I have heard, especially considering that the transmission is only used when going 75 MPH or more in range extended mode.

    This would only impact highway MPG. City MPG would be the same). GM can help make up for the loss of highway MPG with a new engine package…

    Question: The Volt has 2 electric motors. What transmission is required to use the both electric motors?


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:43 pm)

    The GM culture has never accepted champions. I forget the name of the Vega champion who disappeared soon after the engine started having problems. Then there was John Delorean. Then there was Pontiac’s Hulki Aldakacki (I don’t remember how to spell this name) that basically lied to GM about the Fiero inorder to produce it. Then there was the Saturn EV-1 guy whom I don’t remember either. And as soon as Bob Lutz showed some stones supporting the Volt he didn’t last very long either.

    I agree that without someone with some skin in the game the Volt and Voltec are in trouble long term. Nissan is basically making the Leaf a throwaway car today and probably not making any money on them. It’s called a loss leader.

    And I believe the serial discussion means removing MGA only. Everything else would remain the same. Yes? No?

    GM builds vehicles that make them money today. Why else would they actually make civilian Hummers? Because a significant portion of the American market wants to buy tanks. And the bigger and heavier and the more like a tank the better. Look how many people on this forum want GM to produce Voltec tanks. Yes, it might be a short term view but quarterly reports are what count to American companies. Nissan and Honda don’t have that problem.

    And if GM wants to sell more cars in Japan then they need to build them in Japan with Japanese labor. Turnabout is fair play. The only reason the Japanese manufacturers started building their cars in the US in the ’70s was because the big 3 whined so loudly to their congressmen about unfair competition that they had no choice. Those of us who remember the ’70s remember the days when “what’s good for GM is good for America” was still around. The days when GM felt it could tell the market what it wanted, not the other way around. Those days when it was so obvious that GM (and Ford and Chrysler) were pissed by the government telling them they had to meet pollution and safety standards that they built the worst junk possible and said they had no choice, it was all the government’s fault.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:45 pm)

    Focher:
    I don’t buy the argument that Volt sales have been impacted by the pending release of the 2014. The sales problem started in Q4 last year. The May numbers are simply the latest in a long line of poor months.

    Price could have caught up with GM, with early adopters already having been covered. It has always been a stretch to have a $40k MSRP on a Chevy branded car. I don’t think the problem is that it isn’t $40k car, but putting a mainstream branding on it was probably a mistake in the long term.

    Not only have we run out of early adopters, but the Volt is no longer the only game in town.

    There are more EV and PHEV options now on the high end and the low end of the price spectrum…


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    Bonaire

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:50 pm)

    For # 63:
    Civilian Hummers? Hummer was almost sold to a Chinese company in 2010. But they are no-more.

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/02/24/news/companies/hummer_chinese/

    Maybe we need to support a tarriff on specific import models unless 40-50% are made in the USA. How many Priuses are made in the USA? Zero. Try to sell a Volt in Japan? Won’t it cost something like $70K due to tarriffs? That’s not really very fair even after the USA let in so many Japanese companies to take over a sizeable portion of the market.


  66. 66
    George S. Bower

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (4:53 pm)

    Dave – Phoenix,

    This is what I would do for Gen 2 Volt to get the cost down:

    Use the same concept/ layout as the spark EV shown below:
    sparkcoaxialgearbox.jpg

    Put the range extender at the other end of the car. Simple series setup with engine hooked directly to ICE crankshaft. Use a BMW R series opposed 2 cylinder layout or the old K series “flying brick” layout to keep the engine low as not to obtrude into the passenger compartment.

    Then put the batteries in between. This would result in a perfect weight distribution. and a much lower cost design.


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    Jun 4th, 2013 (5:00 pm)

    jeffhre: OK, thanks…Umm, tear gas? Or should I even ask.

    I dealt w/this all last week. Fun stuff till a canister is shot and lands at your feet.

    http://www.watchlistnews.com/2013/06/03/riots-rage-into-the-evening-in-istanbul/

    turkey2n-1-web.jpg

    130602080748-01-istanbul-protests-0602-horizontal-large-gallery.jpg


  68. 68
    Jonathan Baker

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (5:27 pm)

    Dave – Phoenix,

    I had been making the same mistake regarding when the ICE is engaged directly through the ring gear set to the wheels. The reality is that it can happen at speeds as low as 40ish mph, according to Pamela Fletcher of GM, depending on operating parameters.


  69. 69
    Charlie H

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (5:47 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    I presume you meant “with the *generator* hooked directly to the ICE crankshaft?”

    Then, the only means of power transfer to the wheels is via electric power, right?


  70. 70
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (5:50 pm)

    Anything reflecting a major change in the Volt’s presentation will add time and cost if only in terms of engineering and testing. GM has a system that works, and is proven to hold up in actual use today. Is it really all that easy to go “serial?” I have my doubts that the state-of-the-art is ready for a good all-around vehicle at a reasonable price. I’d suggest that changing to true serial drive would amount to producing a very different car; using a system which has resisted implementation anywhere else (probably for very good reasons).

    Styling refresh? I think this would be a waste of scarce economic resources. It’s not just “come up with a sexy shape and slap some new paint on it,” for any EV it’s about the aerodynamics. Then there are new dies, major sub-assembly changes, etc. Let’s see GM make an honest effort to sell the current Volt before “freshening” it.

    I’m all for improvements, and I don’t think that the current Volt is the last word; but if any modification delays, or diminishes cost reductions, I’m against it. Some of the suggestions I’ve heard above offer only speculative savings at best. There are likely much more attainable ways to reduce Volt cost and increase performance.

    We should also be all about discouraging GM from cheapening the Volt as they reduce it’s price.


  71. 71
    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:05 pm)

    Charlie H:
    George S. Bower,

    I presume you meant “with the *generator* hooked directly to the ICE crankshaft?”

    Then, the only means of power transfer to the wheels is via electric power, right?

    Slaps head-yeh to the generator…and yes pure series no mech link (see #11)


  72. 72
    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:19 pm)

    Jackson,

    Yes Jackson,
    your probably right. so really all we can do to get the cost down is get cheaper batteries. If you notice, my (not so) brilliant suggestion in #66 still has a PG set in it and 2 motor generators as well. About all that is eliminated is 2 clutches and a gear reduction set. The Volt as now configured has a 3.24/1 reduction in the PG set and another 2.16 reduction downstream. When they did the Spark they eliminated the 2.16 reduction and just went with 3.24 (roughly) and a motor with about twice the torque. The higher torque motor allowed them to do that.

    That said though the little spark coaxial unit is a super nice package and it must be relatively inexpensive judging by the low cost of the Spark EV. So I think my proposal still has some merit…..but like you say it’s a clean sheet redesign of the Volt and it probably is not in the cards for the reasons you pointed out.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:24 pm)

    kdawg: I dealt w/this all last week. Fun stuff till a canister is shot and lands at your feet.

    #67

    Did you see the photo of “the lady in red” on the MSN news page? Pretty scary stuff. It reminded me of the campus police pepper spraying the kids at UC Davis.


  74. 74
    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:24 pm)

    Jackson,

    re styling refresh:
    It doesn’t have to be expensive. The Volt already has a nice rear end look compared to the Cruze/ Malibu/ Impala. All they would have to do is change the grill to a Buick look….which is probably what they should have done anyway for a car of this price and caliber. The Volt really is a super quiet nice riding car more like a Buick/ Caddy anyway.

    If they can’t make it cheaper then just upgrade it into the next up product line.


  75. 75
    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:26 pm)

    Jackson: Some of the suggestions I’ve heard above offer only speculative savings at best.

    #70

    I agree. +1

    I’ve got my Volt for better or worse. I’m content to wait and see how GM’s strategy plays out.


  76. 76
    Dave G

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    Bobc: many on this post have stated that the ride I the Volt compares favorably with a mid $40K German car

    While this is true, the Volt is not marketed as such.


  77. 77
    Tim Shevlin

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:35 pm)

    I keep reading: “then I drove the Volt and I was hooked”. So, how do you get Chevy buyers to drive a Volt? How about pay a SERIOUS buyer a $25 bounty to just get in an take a 20 minute drive? But–unless the sales rep makes more money selling Volt, why would he bother?
    A recent Volt ad emphasized relief of range anxiety. Now, what market might that be? How many Prius and Leaf converts do we know of? Any Volt owners trading for Leafs?
    I like the Volt hardware the way it is, but do something, anything, to get the 0-60 time cut by a second or two. Some kind of parallel hookup maybe? Just for bragging rights.
    If the Fed continues debasing the currency, the Volt price will be just about right in a year or two.
    Last question: Volt was #1 in owner satisfaction for 2 years. Remind me: what did it score this year? Is the percentage of happy owners rising?
    Tim Shevlin Anaheim ’13


  78. 78
    Dave G

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:37 pm)

    Kent: I wouldn’t disagree with you that the Volt is over-designed, but I sure wouldn’t complain about it. As a result, we have a much better car.

    A heavier car, certainly. That gives it a smooth ride. But, if it were lighter, it would have more range and better acceleration.

    I guess it depends on what you consider “better”.


  79. 79
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (6:45 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    Wasn’t intending to single you out (and this comment is really for everyone):

    I also saw the now obligatory references to an SS, the CUV (I think, maybe it was just an after-image ;-) ), and I’m sure someone isn’t far away from suggesting an EREV truck. Another new model is not a good idea at this time. Perhaps there were a couple of other major modification proposals; all of which may come, but only if the Volt overcomes it’s present hurdles. IMO, price and decent advertising is the winning formula for now.

    There has been some discussion of “Early Adopters,” but it’s actually “Early Adopters Available at This Price Point.” Lower the Volt’s cost, make the public more aware, and the supply of “Early Adopters” is likely to magically replenish itself.

    I like the idea of a Buick, but hopefully it will come along with a more reasonable Chevy EREV.


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    Kent

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (7:22 pm)

    Dave G: A heavier car, certainly.That gives it a smooth ride.But, if it were lighter, it would have more range and better acceleration.

    I guess it depends on what you consider “better”.

    Better than if they had not “over-designed” it. That’s all I meant.


  81. 81
    Bonaire

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (7:38 pm)

    Jackson,
    I picked my daughter at school today with my wife. We sat in a pickup line with about 20 other “cars”. Those cars were 70% CUVs and most were over 30k priced including a suburban and a few others. The market is ready for a cuv and perhaps an EREV cuv might have been a better idea than doing the smaller spark EV. But the spark EV is a world car while the volt and ELR really are not.

    A really efficient EREV cuv is just what the market needs to get families on board. We leased our Honda cr-v last week because we will be looking for an EREV cuv in three years with similar capability as the cr-v.


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    Dale

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (7:47 pm)

    Dealers are not pushing the volt even hiding them back of the building. They need to advertise in all the newspapers.


  83. 83
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (7:50 pm)

    Bonaire,

    It’s good to want things. I get it that you and many others here are ready; but neither cash-strapped GM or Voltec technology is. A larger vehicle will be heavier, will suffer from worse aerodynamics, need more batteries and will therefor be too expensive for the majority of families to consider. How many of the people in that line would shell out $40,000+ for the little MPV5 (Or do we think it would come in for less than the Volt it’s first year out)? Public opinion, research, design and economies of scale have to change before anything like this happens. These are not factors to be waved away by corporate fiat, or customer desire.

    If we ever want to get to “what the market needs to get families on board,” we’d better make the most of what we have right now. These things may come, but only if the Volt clears it’s current hurdles next year and perhaps the two after that.

    If family buyers really can’t wait, maybe they need to skip a buying cycle and go with a hybrid or another gasser. That’s sad to say, but it is also true.


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:11 pm)

    Jackson: It’s good to want things. I get it that you and many others here are ready; but neither cash-strapped GM or Voltec technology is.

    #84

    Alas, I have to put in with you there. +1 for truth telling, even if it makes me sad.

    When they are only selling 1600 Volts a month and 43K pickups, it’s going to be pretty hard to convince the GM BOD to put up a few $100 million to develop another Voltec vehicle. I was one of those who scoffed at GM for their timidity in introducing the Volt so carefully and beat the drums for higher production. Clearly they were right and I was wrong. I don’t expect to see any more models unless and until Volt sales pickup substantially. And the less said about the ELR the better IMHO.


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    kdawg

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:39 pm)

    Noel Park: Did you see the photo of “the lady in red” on the MSN news page? Pretty scary stuff. It reminded me of the campus police pepper spraying the kids at UC Davis.

    Yes, and I saw worse things in person. The place I rented was 2 blocks from Taksim Square, so I had a front row seat to everything, and I had to make my way through the chaos every time I left home. I hope the UN looks into the police violence. Will be scary if the Prime minister gets elected president next year.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (8:40 pm)

    Noel Park,

    Yes Noel,
    I think your correct in your prediction. I guess we just look at it as if it was the first Corvette. It’s frikin’ perfect and we just wait for people to figure that out……not a bad strategy. (and I’m not being sarcastic).


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 4th, 2013 (10:01 pm)

    George S. Bower: Then put the batteries in between. This would result in a perfect weight distribution. and a much lower cost design.

    Per unit on an existing frame that could be shared across vehicle lines, that could be true. But using “old K series “flying brick” layout” would add many many millions in development costs to the platform, which could not be shared across lines – except perhaps a future ELR. And I don’t think that is the cost reduction route GM would take for the ELR.


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    Roy_H

     

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    Jun 5th, 2013 (12:35 am)

    The best way to get price down is to commit to high volume.
    The easiest way to get higher volume is to spread the technology over more models.

    If we have to wait for a single model like the Volt to prove itself profitable then GM has already lost. GM must add to and promote Voltec technology, or just let it die and declare the whole project as a lost cause. I don’t believe GM is willing to give up on this. I believe the Spark (not the ELR) is proof of GMs commitment to expanding electrification of their fleet. We will see a much cheaper and market competitive gen two Volt (I feverently hope sooner than later) and Voltec technology spread to other models (but I fear slowly).


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    pat

     

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    Jun 5th, 2013 (12:57 am)

    It seems that once Spark starts selling in CA/OR and does well, it will give leaf a run for its money. Spark meant for urban commuters and great torque plus priced right should show some good sales # this year. I hope it does now that the right wing lies, bs propaganda about Volt has moved on to other areas.

    With the current specs for Spark, it seems that this car should do well for commuters. We spend almost 75-85% of our total car travel for commute. Almost 95% of commute is single occupant. Spark fits well for these conditions plus no issues with battery etc unlike for leaf. Go Spark and do well.


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    Darius

     

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    Jun 5th, 2013 (2:00 am)

    Jackson: Bonaire,

    It’s good to want things.I get it that you and many others here are ready; but neither cash-strapped GM or Voltec technology is.A larger vehicle will be heavier, will suffer from worse aerodynamics,need more batteries and will therefor be too expensive for the majority of families to consider.How many of the people in that line would shell out $40,000+ for the little MPV5 (Or do we think it would come in for less than the Volt it’s first year out)?Public opinion, research, design and economies of scale have to change before anything like this happens.These are not factors to be waved away by corporate fiat, or customer desire.

    Yours approach is do nothing and just wait. Besides Bob Lutz idea that the bigger vehicle the more economical EREV is since cost weight in overal vehicle’s cost reduces with size but fuel saving and MPG increase are bigger. Why not supporting Bob’s concept?
    Sharing Voltec with other class models woud be reasonable attempt spining out voltec profitability. The same thing Lutz is making with VIA motors. Respect.


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    omnimoeish

     

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    Jun 5th, 2013 (5:40 am)

    Bobc,

    “I’m a little at a loss to see where this gigantic transmission is in the Volt, also the Volt has full torque at 0 RPM if you were to put a standard ICE transmission in the Volt you might be in for a disaster as the stripping of gear teeth ensues as you mash the throttle in Sport mode.
    Just sayin it may not be as over designed as you think.”

    From what I know, that’s not an issue, have you seen a Tesla or Leaf with that problem? In fact, as I understand it, Tesla couldn’t get a transmission powerful enough to handle their electric motor’s torque so somehow it’s safely dumped straight on the driveline. I don’t think the transmission is even used between electric motor and wheels, only gas engine and wheels. Not sure though.

    I’d love to see WopOnTour and George S Bower make an article about the pure series hybrid idea. I know they did one a while back about the transmission. It’s quite complicated and I’d imagine quite expensive and probably not be very cheap to get fixed.

    http://gm-volt.com/2012/02/24/watching-the-volts-4et50-transmission-shift-gears-in-extended-range-mode/


  92. 92
    Jackson

     

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    Jun 5th, 2013 (9:30 am)

    Darius: Yours approach is do nothing and just wait. Besides Bob Lutz idea that the bigger vehicle the more economical EREV is since cost weight in overal vehicle’s cost reduces with size but fuel saving and MPG increase are bigger. Why not supporting Bob’s concept?
    Sharing Voltec with other class models woud be reasonable attempt spining out voltec profitability. Thesame thing Lutz is making with VIA motors. Respect.

    My approach is to recognize reality over pipe-dreams, and not try to force things along faster than they can go. Wish all you want. Demand ’til you’re blue in the face. GM won’t move ahead to larger EREV vehicles until they can. The people whose approach is to sit and wait to buy a Volt, in the hopes of finding what they want later, are what we need to worry about. The present predicates the future. GM won’t be much motivated to expand the line if current models do not sell.

    It never hurts to keep the pressure on, but don’t expect miracles.


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    www.midwesternbenefits.com

     

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    Jun 5th, 2013 (10:41 am)

    Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post. It was funny. Keep on posting!