Jul 19

GM assigns team to keep eyes on Elon and co.

 

A few decades ago American automakers were caught off guard by the rise of the Japanese after having been dismissive of them, but GM CEO Dan Akerson does not intend to let that happen with Tesla Motors.

According to a Bloomberg interview with GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, the executive says his boss has assigned a team to study how it could be threatened by Tesla Motors and Elon Musk.

 

“He thinks Tesla could be a big disrupter if we’re not careful,” Girsky said of Akerson. “History is littered with big companies that ignored innovation that was coming their way because you didn’t know where you could be disrupted.”

Tesla is already benefiting from a former GM NUMMI plant that was a joint venture with Toyota and now Tesla is in partnership with Toyota innovating from a place GM left behind.

And Tesla is building its Model S and pending Model X on a “skateboard” chassis GM designed in 2002 for its fuel cell vehicles that have yet to come to market.

“In the old days, they would’ve said, ‘It’s a bunch of laptop batteries and don’t worry about it and blah, blah, blah,’” Girsky said. Akerson’s “view of the world is this kind of thing can change, can impact our organization. It may not be in his lifetime here, but it will be in somebody’s lifetime. And we need to be prepared.”

Akerson is described also as generally dismissive of his own company’s culture – a company which the former telecom executive took the helm of as part of the restructuring led by the U.S. government.

GM is not short on talent or money for research and development, but Akerson was quoted as being a wet blanket at a GM celebration of its innovations. Instead of cheer-leading, he observed so many innovations GM has come up with have never seen the light of day for all the trouble people went through to develop the potentially marketable ideas.

“We had people with 20 and 30 patents,” Bloomberg noted Akerson told a crowd in Houston this year. “I was kind of a downer. I said, ‘How many have we commercialized? How many are in our cars?’ None.”

Akerson has decried GM’s so a called “committee culture” and its “fiefdoms” but the implications are GM is not out of those bad-old-days woods quite yet, even if it does point to its technological innovations such as the Chevy Volt, Cadillac ELR, and Spark EV.

2013 Tesla Model S and 2014 Cadillac ELR.
 

Among these, the Cadillac is still pending, and he Spark is just launching to a limited market. Only the Volt has been in production long enough to establish a following and track record, and of late the Tesla Model S – thanks in part to a backlog of orders – has outsold the Volt for some of the months this year although it costs twice as much or more.

And pictured in the lead photo, the Spark EV is the only pure electric car GM yet is marketing, and for now only to Oregon and California. To say it is not in the same league as what Tesla offers is more than a mere understatement.

But now GM is saying it does not want to be left behind.

Not clear from the Girsky interview is what GM will do now that it is formally focused on an innovator in its midst that in ways is already running circles around it – and with a limited budget, but making up for it with lots of chutzpah and cleverness.

GM does have many advantages as a global giant, and is working on innovations that it keeps out of the public view, but Akerson is demanding more.

That GM is so concerned about an upstart could be seen as telling. Tables have turned before, and in today’s environment, it appears the potential for that is as ripe or riper than it has ever been.

Bloomberg

This entry was posted on Friday, July 19th, 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: 151


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (6:24 am)

    As a guy who’s been personally surrounded by innovators most of my life (eg, GE’s Vail Lovell, who invented magnetic levitation when I was 14, NASA’s von Braun, who pioneered rockets for space travel when I was 23, etc), my advice to Mr. Akerson is to find a visionary leader —from inside GM
    or not— to lead a “red team” of innovators. Unlike most observers, I do NOT view the EREV concept as “a bridge technology to pure EVs” —but rather precisely the opposite. GM has a vitally-important head start on the very concept —highly-effective redundancy— which is what made the early US space program (APOLLO, etc) so successful by contrast to what von Braun’s team (and later, the USSR’s team) had been forced to do in WWII Germany. The tasks I would assign to this GM Red Team would be 1) to highly refine the EREV drive train to eliminate all possible single-point failures (at minimal cost impact), such that any failures within the Electrical drive system would NOT affect the performance of the fueled Generator drive system —and vice versa; 2) to maximize the efficiency and reliability of the entire drive train whether operating in EV mode or in ER mode; and
    3) to minimize the cost of this refined EREV drive train without compromising either task 1 or task 2.

    Additionally, I would advise Mr. Akerson to create a separate Red Team to develop a detailed GM approach to weight reduction —by extensive use of CFRP (carbon fiber), aluminum, titanium, high-strength steel, etc.— much as BMW has done in support of its coming breakthru i3 and i8 models.


  2. 2
    James

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (6:27 am)

    = CAN THE DAVID DEFEAT THE GOLIATH? –

    On another site yesterday, Kdawg suggested GM could profit greatly modeling
    Tesla’s Supercharger network and batt swap model at many of it’s 2,000 dealerships
    nationwide.

    Kdawg, as usual – is spot on!

    Charging stations at GM dealers will bring folks right to the dealer’s door.

    GM surely has to study Tesla. Everything from the conveniences of the car -
    no key startup and walk-away – Supercharging and batt swap – and everything
    in-between. GM – study the direct-sales advantages. Cut out the middle man,
    give the consumer the best product in the world.

    Model YES is rolling into Europe as we speak. Soon, the Germans will be very
    scared also. I’m predicting some major ( false ) pushback soon – perhaps
    contrived Tesla explode and burn scenarios. Also, GM could just try to buy
    the company and put it to bed. Elon has already suggested he could pull a PayPal with Tesla soon after the BlueStar is off the ground.

    GM is a truck and SUV machine. It’s nearly all of it’s business plan. EV advocates
    have been screaming for GM to build Voltec trucks and higher-utility family sedans. So far – they’ve piddled with an inferior hybrid tech, slowly rolled out
    a S. Korean city EV Green credit machine 2 years behind the competition, introduced a diesel that definitely is no “game changer”, debuted the completely senseless $60,000-80,000 Cadillac ELR which looks pathetic next to any Model S.

    GM’s game-changing Prius-beater was Volt. The price of the battery pack makes profitability a challenge, yet after most of Volt’s development team has left the building – sadly the beancounters and labor unions are again showing their muscle to drive the company away from innovation.

    Captain Akerson’s task is to turn the giant mega-ship GM into a Corvette ( fast maneuvering WWII coastal, speedy warship ). Seemingly GM could toss a bigger battery pack into an extended Cruze and go Tesla hunting – in a big beauracracy like GM, that’s a humongous task. Too much for any one CEO to achieve.

    GM and all others should be “scared” – Scared into catching up to the Left Coast
    upstart that is oft-called the “Apple of autos”.

    Message to all automakers: Build an affordable EV/PHEV truck, SUV and sedan
    with 200-300 mile range, and we will come. They all know they can do this
    with economies of scale. GM and Toyota are tops on this list. Toyota already has
    an in with Tesla. GM —- Get cracking!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    pat

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (6:38 am)

    Agree. GM has the resources, $$ and engg people to come up with technological innovations in the cars it produces at its plants. GM must produce quality in their cars and bury the perception of its checkered past. It can only do so by consuming passion across its organization to produce Quality product. Look at BMW its product costs consistently more than any other brand but folks pay for it. I will not buy BMW – cant afford it plus non-american, we as a nation must make efforts to buy american made products or it will lead to economic ruin for us. Why buy BMW. Lexus or Infiniti when we can buy american brands such as cadillac etc. GM has made lot of efforts in quality production so give them a chance and buy american product such Volt, Spark, ELR.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (6:40 am)

    Don’t underestimate the power of a spark.


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    Darius

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (6:55 am)

    The larger vehicle the more electrification makes sense. GM should benefit of having strong SUV and pickup product lines:
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/06/bosch-20130618.html#more


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    jim seko

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:00 am)

    Slightly OT. I have a hunch the Cadillac ELR will sell quite well and might even outsell the Volt. An overwhelming majority of people love the design of the ELR and let’s face it, great styling sells cars.


  7. 7
    James McQuaid

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:02 am)

    Dan Akerson is a great CEO, quite possibly the best G.M. has ever had.


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    James

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:03 am)

    I’ll present some food for thought. ELR was supposed to represent Volt V1.5. Being that
    it’s basically the same powertrain with reworked software programming, and will be
    limited-production and MSRP for $50,000-80,000 – How can Volt V2.0 outshine it?

    In other words, we all have optimistically assumed Volt gen 2 will not only cost less,
    but have enhanced capability. That really doesn’t make sense in that will surely make
    ELR out for what it is, a leather-lined, 2.5 seat coupe for folks who’ve never heard of
    Tesla. The working man’s brand, Chevrolet cannot outdo the corporation’s elite division, Cadillac.

    GM was remarkably transparent with Volt’s development. Every step was telegraphed
    and publicized from here to eternity. Volt 2.0 is shrouded in secrecy, or is it? Is 2015-16
    Volt kept under wraps for patent security and the protection of trade secrets, or – as my
    heart is beginning to feel – Because it will decline into a $32,000 Ford Fusion Energi fighter with a 20 mile AER and 3-across rear seating?

    GM invents a lot of things. As Akerson points out with his “downer” speech. The skateboard
    concept made the auto show rounds internationally – showing GM’s engineering prowess
    for naught. Tesla actually sells a skateboard that serves well as a platform for S and future
    X models. The skateboard was literally shown off as much as GM’s “Impact” models were.
    There was a lead acid version, a NIMH version and a Hydrogen fuel cell version. Of course,
    these all culminated in the EV-1, and we all know where that went.

    We all know Volt’s problem is price and profitability. Beancounters cannot see the forest
    for all the trees. It’s by economies of scale that giant GM has the ability to roll out – that
    these costs become manageable and profits become great. Lutz, Laukner, Weber and
    Posawatz have left the building. I credit the actual building and eventual selling of Volt
    almost completely to Bob Lutz. It was the deal Mr. Wagoner made with Lutz contractually
    that gave Lutz power to push a project like Volt through the red tape and beancounter buzz. Now Lutz gives GM an “in your face” with VIATRUX – built on GM’s millions-selling fullsized truck, SUV and van. This shows GM and the world how it’s done. The engineering is nearly done – the EREV architecture fits inside the truck frame rails like butter – and economies of scale in the top-selling big truck category would make them attainable to the common man.

    Will GM do these things? I doubt it. GM has returned a great deal back to the company it
    was before bankruptcy. It’s sleeker, slimmer and a bit more efficient, but the unions and
    number crunchers, the “fiefdoms” Akerson refers to – reign supreme again. It takes time
    for a behemoth to turn around. Tesla is agile and young – fresh and full of new ideas.
    GM is really not prepared for such a thing. In it’s past GM has used it’s money and clout
    to defeat new technology that threatens it. The words, “concerned”, and “scared” have been
    used to describle GM’s feelings towards the Silicone Valley upstart.

    It’s really sad that GM feels it has to go all NSA on Tesla now. Paranoia is not becoming, GM.
    Instead – listen to Akerson’s words. Go back to that award-winning innovation you’ve
    shown off like a dog-and-pony show and actually build some world-changing vehicles and
    like the saying, “build a better mousetrap”. Legions of car and truck buyers will then again
    make you the largest corporation on earth and the world’s number one carmaker.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  9. 9
    James

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:24 am)

    In the introduction to Bob Lutz’s best-selling book: Car Guys vs. Beancounters, he
    say GM has built an international best-selling car ( I’m assuming he’s referring to
    the Cruze ) and has now begun working on the next generation. Since the book
    came out, the new Cruze testing in camouflage has been photographed many times.
    Lutz states that GM executives and money-managers suggested they capitalize on
    the car’s success and de-content it – say in materials and features – to increase
    profitability. These are Lutz’s own unmasked words. What he is saying is what Akerson
    is fearing – and that is GM slipping back into it’s old ways – the ways that eventually
    led them to bankruptcy and bailout.

    Lutz goes on to say his argument at GM in his last days was – you don’t open a
    restaurant and become wildly successful serving people quality food in a high
    caliber way, only to begin to cut portions and cheapen the experience after you’ve
    won over a large audience. Somehow Domino’s Pizza comes to mind. I remember
    being so pleased with my delivered food and doing much business with them – only
    after they sold out – the pizzas became cheap and awful and I never, ever went back.
    Today – I notice their new ad campaign, something to the tune of – “quality is back!”.
    It’s too late Domino’s – you lost me! Lutz seems to be pointing the way of future
    GM – and if it’s so – expect Volt gen 2 to be a big disappointment to all of us hoping
    it would be better.

    Just trying to read the tea leaves. Hopefully Akerson’s “come-uppance” will start
    the momentum returning back to the positive side.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  10. 10
    nasaman

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:34 am)

    James: …Will GM do these things? I doubt it. GM has returned a great deal back to the company it was before bankruptcy. It’s sleeker, slimmer and a bit more efficient, but the unions and number crunchers, the “fiefdoms” Akerson refers to – reign supreme again. It takes time for a behemoth to turn around. Tesla is agile and young – fresh and full of new ideas. GM is really not prepared for such a thing…

    I agree, James. However, NASA is also a behemoth saddled with unions, bureaucratic challenges
    and agencies scattered from JPL in Pasadena to KSC in Florida —and in countless occasions it has overcome these admitted obstacles. Result? Thousands of breakthrough inventions that have kept
    us the world leader in space for over five decades. I truly believe GM can do as I suggest in post #1.

    PS: GM’s marketers seem to be starting to promote the advantage of EREV in this latest TV ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQvvygOSQ0&feature=share&list=PL19CFF0D0E9DED54B


  11. 11
    taser54

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:36 am)

    James,

    “GM has returned a great deal back to the company it
    was before bankruptcy.” You make a ton of bald assertions like this.


  12. 12
    James

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:55 am)

    taser54:
    James,

    “GM has returned a great deal back to the company it
    was before bankruptcy.”You make a ton of bald assertions like this.

    “Bald”? OK, I’m losing some of my hair – but I’m not going to the Hair Club For Men -
    NO WAY!
    :) If by “bald” you mean, unfounded – I refer you to Bob Lutz’s book entitled:
    Car Guys vs. Bean Counters. In this book he lists the tragedies at GM and other
    car companies when they begin to see success as a reason to milk more
    profits by reducing costs over customer satisfaction. He also states that this strategy has never worked and never will. Looks good on paper – but doesn’t result in long-term prosperity.

    Lutz refers to 2nd gen Cruze without naming the car by name. He states many at
    GM suggest the road to success is to decontent the successful car.

    If you know your history – you know why GM failed. You know they put out
    ungawdly awful product like Aztek and Cimmarron and ran the business into the
    bloody ground. If you don’t know GM’s history and are just a big GM fan – Do
    some research before you call me a bald-faced accuser.

    Thanks,

    James


  13. 13
    Loboc

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:57 am)

    Musk is an entrepreneur. Akerson is a CEO.

    Eventually Musk will need to hire a COO to transition from cowboy to customer service. Or sell Tesla. (3000 cars per month is a proof-of-concept not a car company.)

    GM R&D needs to go more cowboy or decline into automotive history.

    There needs to be a balance to go from mere good to great/excellent.


  14. 14
    James

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:03 am)

    nasaman: I agree, James. However, NASA is also a behemoth saddled with unions, bureaucratic challenges
    and agencies scattered from JPL in Pasadena to KSC in Florida —and in countless occasions it has overcome these admitted obstacles. Result? Thousands of breakthrough inventions that have kept
    us the world leader in space for over five decades. I truly believe GM can do as I suggest in post #1.

    PS: GM’s marketers seem to be starting to promote the advantage of EREV in this latest TV ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQvvygOSQ0&feature=share&list=PL19CFF0D0E9DED54B

    Yet where is NASA today?

    Budget cuts and no replacement for the Shuttle. We pay Russia hundreds of millions
    to ferry our astronauts to the ISS, with no solution in sight. Meanwhile Russia decides to
    stick it to us by raising it’s prices.

    No Moon program.

    No Mars program.

    Agreed NASA does some fantastic research work and the Curiosity mission, space plane, plus the hypersonic scramjet aircraft look exciting.

    Private enterprise is leading the way in space travel and exploration. Bezo’s Blue Origin, Paul Allen’s space plane, and of course Scaled-Composites – Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic all working towards privately-funded space businesses. Again, Space-X has the most successful reusable spacecraft program to date.

    Space-X has now sent two Dragon spacecraft to the ISS. He’s working full-speed on
    manned versions. Again, private enterprise. Meanwhile – on the side – Musk sends GM
    running around in circles, sending spies to examine what Tesla is doing. A gaming website
    just ran a large article on a 7 day experience with Model S. They gushed. They swooned.
    They told all their geeky, snot-nosed gamer geek crowds that the Tesla was the iPhone
    of autos. This is the stuff of legend. This is who is NOT buying into current advertising – and
    sees the value in tech.

    The best GM has achieved to reach the new generation of future car buyers is clinics and
    one-off car show concepts to test the waters of what the youth want. If you’ve seen the
    concepts you can rightly assert GM HAS NO CLUE HOW TO REACH THOSE MARKETS. These
    new drivers – the next generation want a new kind of car. A smartphone on wheels. Basically,
    they want a Model S – but one they can afford. GM could definitely do this. They also could
    easily build a GMC/Sliverado VIATRUX EREV with a $45,000 MSRP – well within what some
    F-150 and Silverado buyers pay for a loaded 4X4 truck.

    I know GM can do it – the huge question is will they – or will they soon enough to save the
    company?

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  15. 15
    Dave G

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:07 am)

    nasaman: Unlike most observers, I do NOT view the EREV concept as “a bridge technology to pure EVs” —but rather precisely the opposite.

    Hear, hear! +1


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    jim seko

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:16 am)

    I got voted down because I have a hunch the Cadillac ELR will sell well? Why?


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    kdawg

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:24 am)

    ‘How many have we commercialized? How many are in our cars?’ None.”

    Who’s fault is that? Not the engineers.

    “And pictured in the lead photo, the Spark EV is the only pure electric car GM yet is marketing, and for now only to Oregon and California. To say it is not in the same league as what Tesla offers is more than a mere understatement.”

    I would say GM is also behind Nissan in BEV’s, who has a worldwide one. GM is ahead of everyone in EREV’s.

    Basically GM needs to get their Bluestar fighter (or is it Blue Starfighter) out by the same time Tesla does, if not sooner.

    (I wonder how the GM committee plans to collect data on Tesla.. Hi guys! :) )


  18. 18
    Melvin

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:36 am)

    This is a really good review of the Tesla Model S from a non-car-guy techie perspective.

    This was sent to me – and I found it a very good read – hope you feel the same.

    I also was surprised at some of the responses to the article. But note: These are sometimes
    snot-nosed punk kids who came to a gaming review site and don’t like the fact they’ve
    strayed into new territory and reviewed A CAR. Just my point as to who and why Tesla is
    breaking new ground. As you know – many game nuts are big, successful adults with lots
    of expendable cash. Not only this – but the “legend” of Teslas smoking BMW Ms, Mercedes
    AMG’s and Corvettes gets a life of it’s own online – AND SELLS LOTS OF NEW CARS.
    Also Tesla becomes a seed in the minds of the young – they may dream of the car watching
    videos and reading articles in Study Hall ( like I did as a kid ). The planted seeds become
    aspirations – and aspirations become future sales. Why do Porsches sell so well to both
    young and old who’ve reached success?

    Good in-depth perspective read + videos:

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/18/tesla-model-s-review

    If you ever doubt these types have money. Check out an episode of “Toy Hunters” on cable, and watch in amazement as 30-40something guys buy $17,000 “vintage” Star Wars action figures!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    nasaman

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:36 am)

    PS to my post #1: I’ve just emailed the entire post to Dan Akerson at his GM email address.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:37 am)

    James: Somehow Domino’s Pizza comes to mind. I remember
    being so pleased with my delivered food and doing much business with them – only
    after they sold out – the pizzas became cheap and awful and I never, ever went back.
    Today – I notice their new ad campaign, something to the tune of – “quality is back!”.
    It’s too late Domino’s – you lost me!

    I feel the same way about Dominos. It’s never been the same, and they aren’t even on my radar anymore, no matter what they try in their TV ads. They would be better off changing their name.

    Crap.. that was OT. Um.. Maybe if Dominos started using Spark EV’s as delivery vehicles I’d buy from them again :)


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:38 am)

    GM has many objectives to target. Electrifying its entire model line is the primary objective, because every vehicle owner wants to save money and not burn gas. One objective that it is still missing is a EREV or a BEV CUV. Many here will say that the Volt fulfills most vehicle needs, but I think it falls in the low end of the common need. The middle point is the CUV or small SUV, since most families in the U.S. (notice that I didn’t say “America” – I will explain later) have small children, need to carry three or more, and need to carry some cargo. This is the middle market that GM has some success with the Equinox/Terrain/ Encore line and others such as the Traverse/ Enclave on the high end and the Captiva on the low end. All of these vehicles must be the next EREV and BEV targets!

    On the small vehicle market, we need more than one small city EV. I lived in New York City and I presently live in a medium size city (population 250,000 or more). We need city cars, because we have slow bumper-to-bumper traffic and many parking issues. The imports from European and Asian manufacturers cover this market completely (over 85%), but in America (now I am adding all the other nations in the American hemisphere), there are very few offers that fulfill the city market. GM only has the Spark (gas and BEV) and it is basically South Korean. The Open line has the Adam and maybe others. Ford has the Focus (in many styles, even a wagon version), and Chrysler has the Fiat 500 (very successful in few years). GM must expand here, because it has other small vehicles worldwide but they are captive in the nations they are manufactured and sold. These same city cars should be “world cars”, and offered everywhere! The Ford Focus is already a “world car”, has a BEV version, sold everywhere, and recognized as the most sold American car in 2012 (over one million), and the third most sold car in the world. GM must do the same!

    Tesla touched the high luxury and sport market, where vehicles are most costly. GM only has the Corvette supercar, and a few special Cadllacs. The next GM special is the Cadillac ELR, but that is not enough. This is the market that has the highest return on sales, and GM has more competition here. I believe that GM should not reach this market until it has covered the other two markets (the CUV/SUV and the small city) where there are many more customers and more area to sell.

    GM, if you understand my long post, please stop developing ICE vehicles and expand the EREV and BEV models for the CUV/SUV and city markets!

    Raymond


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    kdawg

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:41 am)

    nasaman: PS: GM’s marketers seem to be starting to promote the advantage of EREV in this latest TV ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQvvygOSQ0&feature=share&list=PL19CFF0D0E9DED54B

    Thanks for the link, I hadn’t seen that one before. It’s good GM is getting away from the green-ad stuff and showing the technology.

    I really like this Spark EV ad, comparing it to a Ferrari.
    http://youtu.be/bYlToxn9Mhs


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    kdawg

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:47 am)

    James: If you know your history – you know why GM failed. You know they put out
    ungawdly awful product like Aztek

    There was nothing wrong w/the Aztek except it’s price. It was ahead of its time and I see them driving around every day in my neck of the woods. My cousin loved his for over 250,000 miles and was sad the day he had to say goodbye.

    The Aztek had among the highest CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) scores in its class, and won the appellation of “Most Appealing Entry Sport Utility Vehicle” in 2001 from J.D. Power and Associates, an independent consumer survey organization


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    kdawg

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:51 am)

    James: The best GM has achieved to reach the new generation of future car buyers is clinics and
    one-off car show concepts to test the waters of what the youth want.

    I’d say the Chevy Sonic is very geared toward the youth. It’s styled after a motorcycle and is very low cost.

    I’m sad Pontiac is gone. When I was younger (and still today) I thought their vehicles had the most youth appeal.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:55 am)

    jim seko:
    I got voted down because I have a hunch the Cadillac ELR will sell well? Why?

    Jim, that was me. I probably shouldn’t have negged you – so I am sorry for that.

    I wrote a response to your assertion that ELR would sell well, or even outsell Volt -
    but GM-Volt’s spam filter made it disappear. When that happened, I reread
    the post and felt that I hadn’t succeeded in sounding non-car-snobbish, and I have
    no idea what your knowledge or experience is with the car market or cars in
    general. So I didn’t try to repost my response.

    If you truly want to see my comparisons of Volt, Model S 60kwh and ELR – I’ll
    contact Jeff to extract my comments from the filter and post ‘em.

    Basically, Jim – at $60,000-80,000, the ELR is only a Volt with minor software
    tweaks and a stiffened suspension – plus some nifty paddle-shifted regen.
    It seats 2.5 with two doors and just doesn’t cut it for 99% of the driving public.
    Basically, ELR is a White Elephant. I compared an ELR purchase to the base
    Model S and/or Volt.

    GM said ELR would be a very limited run car. I don’t see over 5,000 selling in
    any year – no matter the discount. Model S excels when you check every single
    box. It is also a very sweet looking machine. Looks does not a successful car
    make. A car at that price range has to display merits in performance and capability equal or superior to it’s rivals. ELR just falls flat.

    I’m glad someone unchecked my neg. Again, sorry – I’ll restrain myself in the
    future. :)

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (8:57 am)

    James: GM HAS NO CLUE HOW TO REACH THOSE MARKETS. These new drivers – the next generation want a new kind of car.A smartphone on wheels.

    The Spark uses Siri and ties into all your smartphone aps.

    Also: “Chevrolet developed Siri Eyes Free with Apple to let the driver use Siri safely for phone calls, text messages, Internet services like Pandora and Tunein radio and more.

    A number of other automakers are working with Apple, but Chevrolet is the first to get Siri Eyes Free on the road. Expect it in more Chevys soon.

    In addition to the popular Pandora and Tunein apps, you can download BringGo for navigation. It performs just as well as onboard nav systems priced at more than $1,000 for a cost of between $51 and $61, depending on how many database updates you want.”


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:09 am)

    Eco_Turbo,

    “It only takes a spa-a-ark to get a fire a go-o-ing …”


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:20 am)

    With apologies for a re-post, there are a few of us who think that VIA has a more-than-tenuous connection with GM, and actually represents a tentative step of the General towards large-scale EREV. This comment was originally posted near the very end of the Cruze Diesel thread:

    George S. Bower: so what makes you guys think GM will buy Via??
    Just because BOB has something to do with it?
    I doubt it.

    Jackson: A former GM executive is modding GM vehicles according to the EREV principle he championed at GM. BOB is taking the risk that GM won’t (or can’t afford) in order to prove a market for the full-size EREV that businesses and well-heeled individual buyers say they want. I can just hear the back-channel conversation: “If you can pull this off, we’ll offer VIA as an option under GMC (high-end working vehicles already). If that works out, we’ll pay generously for your company.” If VIA fails, GM is out nothing.

    There is at least an implicit relationship with GM, with perhaps some Voltec engineering support (above or below the table). I used the word “suspicion” because it is all, well, suspicious (though admittedly nothing more).

    If it were Colonel Mustard modding Fords, you wouldn’t be able say any of this: so yes, BOB is a big piece of the puzzle, though not the only one.

    Now, consider this in the light of Akerson’s comments at the top. GM also has a history of innovation through acquisition of smaller, innovative companies. Could this be a case of planned assimilation?


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:20 am)

    kdawg: The Spark uses Siri and ties into all your smartphone aps.

    Also: “Chevrolet developed Siri Eyes Free with Apple to let the driver use Siri safely for phone calls, text messages, Internet services like Pandora and Tunein radio and more.”

    Yet are you comparing a SparkEV to a Tesla? There’s a WHOLE DIFFERENT DEAL GOING ON THERE.

    So far, anyway – SparkEV sold only in CA and OR seems only the compliance and EV green
    credit CITY machine. It’s not a lustworthy ride – not in the least. It’s plastic-fantastic interior – and
    “I want to be crushed by a Suburban!” size does not a quite make a LEAF fighter. It’s range
    and quickness is impressive, but it’s lack of a speedy charger is a big ( ?! ). Probably the
    best ( non lease-only ) city car out there – But if it were down in my decision-making to a
    SparkEV – I may pursue obtaining a Twizy with plastic doors to do the same chores.

    For the upcoming techies on a Ramen noodle budget – It’s a bit spendy for what’cha get, man.
    Not “aspirational” but more like “If Mom and Dad who live in the upper-middle ‘burbs’ll spring
    for it, I’ll drive it and be cool and green!”

    As far as infotainment and smartphone connectivity – Yes, I believe this level of tech is inviting
    if one is perusing an EV.

    Tesla has it’s huge 17″ touchscreen with all the bells and whistles young’uns have come to
    expect on a smart device. Even with Siri and the best connectivity ( more than a few apps ) still
    give most auto systems far less usability than even a bargain smartphone. Look how swift
    Google Maps works on Tesla.

    I made some comments on another site to your observations re: infotainment where I agreed
    with everything you said and added perhaps a hybrid system would work best wherein a
    curved touchscreen OLED as displayed in next-gen smartphones by Samsung at CES would work
    best. The smartphone being the most brains – yet the easily upgradable 4G LTE onboard system
    is compatible and the car system still handles the onboard duties like sunroof, suspension settings and HVAC.

    Nothing worse than “latest thing” GPS Nav and apps that are immediately outdated the minute
    you drive home to your house! The hybrid idea would mean each new phone you purchase
    automatically makes the car system up to date*.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James

    * Well, perhaps not the latest-greatest HD screen capability ( 4K TV comes to mind ) – but definitely still adequate.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:22 am)

    I’ve had some time to think about this since yesterday.

    What I said yesterday was that GM could build a Tesla fighter if they had the ambition….and I still think they could

    However, could they build one at a competitive price???

    I’m not sure that would be quite so easy for them at this point. They don’t have the production facilities to build in either carbon composite (BMW i3) or in aluminum (Tesla). …and these things don’t happen over night.

    Also, even though Tesla gets panned for using 18650 cells it does allow them to build a pack for less money than GM’s “toaster cell” format.

    So GM is definitely behind the curve if they want to build a Tesla competitor.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:28 am)

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:34 am)

    Loboc:

    GM R&D needs to go more cowboy or decline into automotive history.

    I think it’s more like GM needs to actually put some of its R&D projects into production.

    They invented “skateboard” but never followed thru.

    Tesla put it into production.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:36 am)

    Melvin: Yet are you comparing a SparkEV to a Tesla?

    Not trying to compare a Spark and a Tesla, just commenting your statement that GM is out of touch with the youth who want a iPod on wheels. That is basically what GM has done in the Spark. And let’s face it, no kid is going to buy a Tesla (unless it’s with daddy’s money). The regular Spark is only $12k. Also, kids are not as attached to driving large behemoths like the soccer moms are.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:37 am)

    kdawg,

    Tesla as a “smartphone on wheels” ( see article linked to post #18 ) more definitely
    means the entire car as a system – rather than some modern-tech features on
    the infotainment/nav system.

    For example: Tesla touchscreen enables suspension settings – sunroof operation. Tesla, like
    a smartphone requires no thinking in entry/exit of the car. Door handles magically extend-
    retract to your presence. Suspension auto-lowers at 50mph So many reviews of Model YES ask the question: “So why haven’t other carmakers ever thought of this?!! – It’s so easy and seems so straight-forward.” Adam Corolla said – “So doesn’t it make one wonder why other guys didn’t think of this and a brand-new car company gets it the first time?!” – or to that effect. With the S you hear this again and again and again. Other smartphone/iPhone references to the design of the
    interior – so simple and understated, but as you live with the car a few days makes so much
    sense – i.e.: No center console, yet center area is so handy for…STUFF, like messenger bags,
    laptops and women’s big-ass purses.

    It’s like on the West Coast, we think differently, more casually and many trends start in California
    and spread nationwide in one to two years. Not to start some online East Coast/West Coast
    gang brawl ( heh heh ) but Detroit, tight-assed engineers sometimes go the too-analytical route
    to achieve basically the same result – but more complicated.

    These are broad generalizations so don’t come out here and kill me- OK? I dig the East and
    East Coast. Perhaps IBM vs. Apple might be a good analogy. Or IBM vs. Microsoft. Out here -
    blue jeans and a polo – over there – blue suits and neckties, baby! Out here – 12 hour days
    with free lattes and snacks – and random bouts of crazy Nerf gunfights – Over there: Long
    meetings and static deadlines.

    ? ,

    James


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:38 am)

    George S. Bower: Loboc:
    GM R&D needs to go more cowboy or decline into automotive history.
    I think it’s more like GM needs to actually put some of its R&D projects into production.
    They invented “skateboard” but never followed thru.
    Tesla put it into production.

    No risk, no reward.

    no-risk-no-reward.jpg


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:40 am)

    George S. Bower,

    “To that end, the new Dx22 or Du22 (as it is known in the US) – a new global platform, was rushed into development, and bring about the new Cruze’s arrival, along with the 2nd generation Chevy Volt, which would likely be introduced a model year later.”

    Perhaps the answer is to bring out the Gen II Volt first, and then the Cruze. First, there is a lot of innovation-investment at stake; and Second, GM is reluctant to update the high-selling Cruze anyway.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:41 am)

    kdawg: There was nothing wrong w/the Aztek

    Yeh no kidding BMW copied it for the I3 LOL


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:47 am)

    Jackson: George S. Bower,

    Perhaps the answer is to bring out the Gen II Volt first, and then the Cruze.First, there is a lot of innovation-investment at stake; and Second, GM is reluctant to update the high-selling Cruze anyway.

    Yeh or just start putting the battery and RE improvements into the existing Volt. Who says they need to wait for D2xx?


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:53 am)

    jim seko:
    Slightly OT. I have a hunch the Cadillac ELR will sell quite well and might even outsell the Volt. An overwhelming majority of people love the design of the ELR and let’s face it, great styling sells cars.

    In order to outsell Volt, the ELR needs at least as much AER (the improved performance comes at the expense of range). To be considered alongside the Model S, it needs more (and at a low enough price, perhaps not a lot more). This doesn’t seem likely even at Volt 1.5. Styling sells cars, but technology sells EREV. The Volt is already a nice looking, very luxurious car that costs less than the Cadillac, and conforms to the original premise that most people drive <=40 miles a day (as opposed to 30).

    I agree with GM's assessment: Limited edition.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:53 am)

    kdawg: Not trying to compare a Spark and a Tesla, just commenting your statement that GM is out of touch with the youth who want a iPod on wheels.That is basically what GM has done in the Spark.And let’s face it, no kid is going to buy a Tesla (unless it’s with daddy’s money).The regular Spark is only $12k.Also, kids are not as attached to driving large behemoths like the soccer moms are.

    OK, I gotcha. Agreed.

    $12k and youth – and this is attainable whilst only being a bit of a life-risk being you’re
    larger than a Smart and can seat 4.

    I was referring to the SparkEV, of course.

    And then again, tiny cars could catch on – like Tiny Houses – another trend started in the
    West and Southwest. I’m fascinated by tiny homes, floating homes and all situations
    where things need to perform multiple duties in limited space. There are many urban
    situations where the Spark could park and save you circling the block for hours lookin’
    for a spot.

    We’ll see if SparkEV is rolled out nationwide – as many assume it will be. Sure beats the
    Mitsu “I” as one-up on the whole golf cart image. Mitsu “I”s can still be found out here on
    lots for severely low cost. If I just wanted to buy a 1 or 13 mile grocery EV – that might
    be a fun, economical way to do it. I won’t get the full tax credit though, which kinda
    ices the whole thing.

    As of today, the wife and I fight over the Volt – and sometimes I get left holding the
    Prius ( er – the stick! ) :)

    Electricity is a state of mi…. ( Charge! ) ,

    James


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:54 am)

    nasaman:
    As a guy who’s been personally surrounded by innovators most of my life (eg, GE’s Vail Lovell, who invented magnetic levitation when I was 14, NASA’s von Braun, who pioneered rockets for space travel when I was 23, etc), my advice to Mr. Akerson is to find a visionary leader —from inside GM
    or not— to lead a “red team” of innovators. Unlike most observers, I do NOT view the EREV concept as “a bridge technology to pure EVs” —but rather precisely the opposite. GM has a vitally-important head start on the very concept —highly-effective redundancy— which is what made the early US space program (APOLLO, etc) so successful by contrast to what von Braun’s team (and later, the USSR’s team) had been forced to do in WWII Germany. The tasks I would assign to this GM Red Team would be 1) to highly refine the EREV drive train to eliminate all possible single-point failures (at minimal cost impact), such that any failures within the Electrical drive system would NOT affect the performance of the fueled Generator drive system —and vice versa; 2) to maximize the efficiency and reliability of the entire drive train whether operating in EV mode or in ER mode; and
    3) to minimize the cost of this refined EREV drive train without compromising either task 1 or task 2.

    Additionally, I would advise Mr. Akerson to create a separate Red Team to develop a detailed GM approach to weight reduction —by extensive use of CFRP (carbon fiber), aluminum, titanium, high-strength steel, etc.— much as BMW has done in support of its coming breakthru i3 and i8 models.

    nasaman, judging from your responses and past experiences with NASA, I believe you could be a very valuable asset to GM as a paid part time planning analyst…..and I do mean this. Of course, only if you would like doing something that.

    Being retired from GM, myself, I believe GM would hire someone like you, maybe even working from your home. If I were you, I’d check that out.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (9:57 am)

    Melvin: For example: Tesla touchscreen enables suspension settings – sunroof operation.

    Just putting buttons on a touchscreen doesn’t make them “new”. In fact, many people don’t want non-traditional buttons (or buttons at all as the Cadillac automatically changes the suspension, and even Buick allows the operator to adjust steering response and suspension on the fly). Also, the more widgets you add the more stuff costs, that’s one reason why the Model S is out of the price range of most. Look at Cadillac. It has so much safety stuff & sensors on it. Heck, the seat vibrates if you are going to back into something. All of this cost $, and why it’s in a Cadillac. Speaking of the regen paddles; paddle shifters is something you will find in hi-end cars. Why didn’t Tesla think of this? (you know for being the trend-setters they are). Note the Spark EV’s intake louvers automatically adjust with speed.

    I don’t know the point of this conversation, but I’ll end with you get what you pay for. I don’t see Tesla doing anything crazy new. I do like some of their graphics, but that is a just software thing. And I think they need to make the screen smaller so it looks like it belongs in the car. Maybe separate it into 2 screens, one for car functions and one for infotainment. Also, Tesla needs to look at getting rid of the frunk, and making an AWD version, which is another thing important to many drivers.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:00 am)

    jim seko:
    Slightly OT. I have a hunch the Cadillac ELR will sell quite well and might even outsell the Volt. An overwhelming majority of people love the design of the ELR and let’s face it, great styling sells cars.

    Maybe. The Corvette is a great looking car, but there are a number of other reasons I don’t own one.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:16 am)

    Melvin: As of today, the wife and I fight over the Volt – and sometimes I get left holding the Prius ( er – the stick! ) :)

    Whenever my wife drives the Volt, I have a (Honda) Fit. ;-)


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:29 am)

    IF GM wants to expand it electric sales they might try selling the spark in more than 2 states.
    Or didnt anyone think of that.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:30 am)

    George S. Bower:
    I’ve had some time to think about this since yesterday.

    What I said yesterday was that GM could build a Tesla fighter if they had the ambition….and I still think they could

    However, could they build one at a competitive price???

    I’m not sure that would be quite so easy for them at this point. They don’t have the production facilities to build in either carbon composite (BMW i3) or in aluminum (Tesla). …and these things don’t happen over night.

    Also, even though Tesla gets panned for using 18650 cells it does allow them to build a pack for less money than GM’s “toaster cell” format.

    So GM is definitely behind the curve if they want to build a Tesla competitor.

    I think GM’s biggest problem is the shape of their pack and getting it up to 200 miles. Maybe Akerson knows something I don’t about Envia’s progress, but if they could get the pack out of the way and not eat into the truck too much, that would be huge. If I was an engineer at GM, I would love the challenge of making a brand new EV to compete w/Tesla.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:31 am)

    James,

    Respectfully, other than a single passage from Lutz’s book about discussions about the upcoming cruze, you have little support for your point that GM is slipping back to it’s old means. You reach back to before the bankruptcy to cite the aztec and the cimmeron. Those cars do not support your point.

    Look at many of the vehicles introduced by GM since the bankruptcy. 1. Volt 2. Cruze 3. Cadillac ATS 4. C7 Corvette 5. Sonic 6. Spark, Spark EV 7. Impala 8. Malibu. 9. Camaro

    Granted, the Malibu was a flop, but, never before has GM released such an onslaught of quality vehicles.

    J.D. Power just ranked GM number 1 in initial quality among automotive manufacturers. All GM brands had less initial problems than the industry average. That is a far cry from GM before the Bankruptcy.

    An GM is not resting on it’s laurels, it is working a long-term vision. Quaility and common platforms. GM is finally moving toward common world-wide platforms (most noteable the cruze, volt, equinox). So they are moving away from past practices to cut production costs, but that does not mean they are decontenting. This is finally adopting the practice that made Toyota dominant before their quality issues hurt them.

    In sum, there is little to support the assertion that GM is reverting to it’s pre-bankruptcy patterns. GM is looking forward, not backward, as we all should look forward to Volt 2.0.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:39 am)

    When Chevy showed off the Cruze some years ago, it reminded me of the ’82 Cavalier… better than the competition and enough better than the competition that I would cheerfully pay extra for it (and I bought an ’82 Cavalier and I did pay extra for it and I was perfectly happy to do so). The Cruze, like the Cavalier, got a lot of good press, which it deserved (well, the turbo 1.4′s, anyway, the 1.8L was not so great).

    Winner! But now…

    1) It occurred to me, as it has to Jay Cole and others, that this shift would allow resources to go into other things, possibly including the Volt. But I think the Volt as beneficiary is only a very remote possibility.

    2) I think delaying the Cruze redesign is a mistake. The Cruze has been selling against a minimally updated 2001 Toyota Corolla for the last 4 years. That’s about to end, the new Corolla is due out pretty soon (I forget the exact date) and it’s to Chevy’s advantage to provide an answer to that as soon as possible.

    With the Cruze, Chevy has finally gotten some real traction in the small car market. It would be a shame to lose that momentum now. Everybody here likes the Volt but GM is not a charity, it’s a car business and the Volt is not making money. They need to maintain market share in the volume segments as their #1 priority and the Cruze is one of the most successful aspects of that business.

    GM didn’t keep the Cavalier, that impressed me so much in 1982, at the front of the pack, either, and it became the go-to car for rental companies and people with low credit scores and no cash reserves who had to quickly replace a dead vehicle on which they were upside-down. The Cavalier was cheaped out in some surprising ways (no transmission dipstick?!) and ended its life with razor thin (probably negative) margins as one of the cheapest cars on the market in every way possible.

    Towards the end of its life, I had a choice between buying a new Cavalier and a 5 year old Toyota for not very much less money and I went with the Toyota because, even after 5 years, it was a far nicer car. That’s how far the Cavalier had fallen.

    Yes, I do doubt that GM is going to let the Cruze go like that but the situation does bring up unwelcome memories.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:47 am)

    kdawg,

    kdawg: I would love the challenge of making a brand new EV to compete w/Tesla.

    Me too. Shit they already have the gearbox. All they need to do is scale up the Spark EV gearbox. Then just turn the existing cells on their side and put em into the floor.

    The biggest holdup would probably be the platform as it would have to be a unique one and not shared as the existing plan w/ D2XX which I see as a big draw back anyway. If they share w/ D2xx it means they can’t go skateboard, they have to stick w/ the tunnel T pack design.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:47 am)

    I predict that in 3 years of production, they will sell just 3,000 ELRs. This is largely based on my guess that the press, which acts kind of like a mob, will eventually settle on the sound bite that the ELR is a “reskinned Volt at twice the price”, while the Tesla S will remain the darling of the upscale green set and continue to get all the positive headlines.

    Every sign seems to be pointing the way toward GM losing this whole electrification game, and if it turns out that way it’s their own fault. News of the likely delay of Volt gen-2, and the strong possibility that there will be no significant mid-cycle-enhancement of the current Volt, makes me very bearish on GM’s future. All the wrong decisions, for all the old GM reasons. So go ahead and vote me down here, you might as well shoot the messenger to get out your GM frustrations.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:50 am)

    Thanks guys, for mentioning the review at IGN. I watched all the videos and read the copy. It is about 99% accurate. If Ryan had known to use the voice control for navigation and Slacker radio, then he would have added a video showing how you can find any business and play any request, while driving! His excitement over the car duplicates what the buyers are enjoying everyday.

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/18/tesla-model-s-review

    My suggestion for GM is to have all their designers read and watch the review then drive Model S until they hate their current designs. It should only take a few days.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:02 am)

    volt11: So go ahead and vote me down here, you might as well shoot the messenger to get out your GM frustrations.

    “Bang!”.. just kidding

    I think GM should leak some information to let the world know they aren’t sitting still. I know they are keeping hush hush (except when something explodes in the battery lab http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1075296_gm-battery-lab-explosion-attributed-to-gases-from-a123-cells), but even something simple as a few tweets would help their image (see Elon’s tweets = viral advertising)


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:08 am)

    Mark Z,

    Mark does Tesla plan to go to 4G, like GM is going to do?

    Also, any reports from Model S owners in snowy states on any door handle problems? GM is dropping the little solenoid lock for the Volt charge port in the 2014 model. Living in cold Michigan, I was one of the people who had to take my car in to get the port opened by a tech. I wish I could have my Volt retrofitted, removing the auto-open feature. Its cool, but not when its froze shut.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:21 am)

    kdawg:
    Mark Z,

    Mark does Tesla plan to go to 4G, like GM is going to do?

    Also, any reports from Model S owners in snowy states on any door handle problems?GM is dropping the little solenoid lock for the Volt charge port in the 2014 model.Living in cold Michigan, I was one of the people who had to take my car in to get the port opened by a tech.I wish I could have my Volt retrofitted, removing the auto-open feature.Its cool, but not when its froze shut.

    It’s not clear to me how the push-to-open redesign is going to keep it from freezing shut.

    Maybe I’m out on a limb here, but I think making the charge access less sexy instead of more sexy is the wrong direction to be going in. The original Volt concept had a cool, electric door in the black panel ahead of the driver’s side mirror. Then in production that became a conventional but remote controlled door that resembles a gas filler. Now that’s becoming, well, a gas-filler door. Even the Leaf has a cooler charge access door.

    There’s probably a big mantra going around the Volt studios, “make it cheaper, make it cheaper!” There’s a point where what you end up with is just plain cheap. :-(


  55. 55
    Jackson

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:23 am)

    kdawg,
    In the Deep South, this is not as big an issue; and it turns out I have the opposite problem: I have trouble remembering to close the charge door. If I’m heading out over the expressway, it may be a few minutes before I can pull over to close it and make the notification go away. I’d like an auto-close feature. Given the choice between the two, I’d take the closer over the opener; but the motor / gear drive this would require could be able to apply more force to open the door than a solenoid and spring, and might be enough to force it open against a coat of ice.

    And while we’re on the topic of charging ports, I’d like a small light near or inside* the J1772 socket that activates whenever the door is open. I don’t need the cool light-show that some EVs have, just some help attaching the plug in the dark.

    *This could be placed behind the locking tab at the bottom of the socket for little extra cost.


  56. 56
    George S. Bower

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:34 am)

    Jackson: kdawg,
    I have the opposite problem:I have trouble remembering to close the charge door.

    Join the club


  57. 57
    stuart22

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:38 am)

    Tesla has positioned itself on top and is now working its way down. GM has fallen to the bottom, and is now working their way up.

    I do not see the Tesla kind of success happening for GM. Tesla was a newcomer who carried no baggage; they chose a lofty objective and went after it with a clarity and certainty, as success built upon success their superstar image was created. They aimed high, and now are reaping the spoils of their success. If they have any vulnerabilities, they would be if complacency gets in the way of progress; if technology advances are made in directions they are not following, creating a perception of obsolescence in their approach and opening the door for competitors (GM, BMW, Toyota, etc.) to exploit and profit from.

    GM is a once-revered giant who had plummeted to a disgraceful level. They are like a giant ocean liner that needs lots of time and space to make a U-turn. Low public perceptions which exist will take several Volts and ELRs to turn around. GM could have made a Model S, but the likelihood it would have equaled Tesla’s raging success would have been improbable, IMO.

    GM’s got to continue working their way to the top by consistently coming out with standout products that perform well. Be the American BMW – not necessarily the fastest, but on balance when all is added up, always showing up as being among the best.

    I’m excited about the Spark EV because it follows this formula – it performs very well on the road and all-around. It is a standout among EVs not only at its price level, but in general. If GM follows up this kind of success with consistency in the products they’ll bring to the market in the coming years, their reputation will grow in stature, their stock value will rise, and the public will make a profit on the bailout loan GM will eventually pay back.


  58. 58
    Mark Brooks

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:44 am)

    The CEOs job is to push people out of the 9 to 4 routine with a vision of the future.. This is very hard to do when things are going well, and right now GM is on a roll. TESLA is providing an opportunity to GM to shock itself into the next level of product quality and performance. Many other auto makers will be doing the same, but can they really change? Can their dealers change?

    Can the dealers refocus on selling cars first and auto parts and service second?

    Can they get use to the idea that they may only see a customer once every couple of years?

    And how many dealers will go out of business as the need for service drops dramatically?

    Its going to take a hardnosed CEO to ride the GM dragon into a world dominated by EVs…

    lets hope the man has what it takes.


  59. 59
    imanjunk1963

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:49 am)

    based on those pics above I like the catty better.


  60. 60
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:50 am)

    The Spark EV seems squarely aimed at the LEAF; with a similar range and price. To sweeten if further for younger buyers, it offers much better performance. It’s greater efficiency seems aimed at the home Solar-charge pioneers. An S-fighter would be a completely different animal, both in design and intended demographic.

    I wonder what GM platform could be used for the anti-S? I doubt the larger pack(s) could be squeezed onto the Cruze platform.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:51 am)

    nasaman: Additionally, I would advise Mr. Akerson to create a separate Red Team to develop a detailed GM approach to weight reduction —by extensive use of CFRP (carbon fiber), aluminum, titanium, high-strength steel, etc.— much as BMW has done in support of its coming breakthru i3 and i8 models.

    #1

    Amen to that. +1

    It’s got to happen if they are going to get to 52 mpg CAFE.


  62. 62
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:53 am)

    pat: we as a nation must make efforts to buy american made products or it will lead to economic ruin for us.

    #3

    Amen to that too. +1


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Melvin:
    “……at that price range has to display merits in performance and capability equal or superior
    …to it’s rivals. ELR just falls flat.”

    Melvin/James, Please allow me this suggestion: Don’t use your “Enter” key to end each line as you type. It makes your posts “right-hand ragged”, harder to read & makes them look somewhat longer.


  64. 64
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:02 pm)

    nasaman,

    I have to disagree. One long paragraph is so imposing and difficult to read that I usually pass those comments by. My advice to “James Melvin:” work on making your comments shorter (take my advice, I’m not using it! ;-) )


  65. 65
    kdawg

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    volt11,

    Jackson,

    Maybe we all just need inductive chargers and these problems become moot. :)

    Volt11 – it’s not so much that the door froze shut, but the little solenoid locking pin would not release. You can push on the door a little bit and bust up any ice.

    Jackson – I’ve bitched about the lack of a light since day 1 of getting my Volt exactly 1 year ago today. Just one little fricken LED is all I want. I agree about the external port LED’s and have commented on how Ford’s looks tacky. I don’t want this ring of cheap plastic on the outside of my sheet metal. If people really wants to see something is charging, put flashing lights on the charger plug handle.


  66. 66
    Raymondjram

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    Randy:
    IF GM wants to expand it electric sales they might try selling the spark in more than 2 states.
    Or didnt anyone think of that.

    GM did the same type of limited introduction with the Volt in late 2010. Either you weren’t at this forum during that time, you didn’t learn about the Volt until later, or you just forgot how the Chevy Volt began. BTW, they promised the Spark EV in July (now). They arrived in June and sold all of them. Isn’t that good news?

    GM will sell the Chevy Spark EV nation wide, but the assembly plant at South Korea has to make gas Sparks, too. Just wait and see.

    I wish that GM puts up a new Spark EV assembly here in the U.S.

    Raymond


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:12 pm)

    volt11: There’s probably a big mantra going around the Volt studios, “make it cheaper, make it cheaper!” There’s a point where what you end up with is just plain cheap.

    My mantra is “make it work, make it work”. Robust designs are the best.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:17 pm)

    kdawg: There was nothing wrong w/the Aztek except it’s price.

    #23

    We had a neighbor who bought one. I happily joined the chorus in dumping on it until I happened to drive it one day. Then I instantly understood what a handy and useful vehicle it was. Alas, done to death by conventional wisdom and ignorance, not unlike the poor Corvair. +1


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:20 pm)

    Jackson: I’d like a small light near or inside* the J1772 socket that activates whenever the door is open.

    I wonder if I could attach one of these somewhere. They last 8hrs, so maybe 10 seconds each day = 8 years of life.

    http://www.batteryoperatedcandles.net/balloon-light-p-party-equipment.html

    balloon-light.jpg


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:23 pm)

    BTW gas prices in Montreal Canada hovering around $6.12 usg for premium and
    $5.67 usg for regular for the last coupla weeks………..
    haroldC


  71. 71
    Raymondjram

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:23 pm)

    George S. Bower

    To all you Volt owners that forget to close the charge door, I have a question:
    Did you leave the fuel door open on your gas cars, too?

    Raymond


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:31 pm)

    George S. Bower: Join the club

    #56

    Yup.


  73. 73
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:32 pm)

    Raymondjram: To all you Volt owners that forget to close the charge door, I have a question:Did you leave the fuel door open on your gas cars, too?Raymond

    I think what’s different about the gas door is that you have a strong financial and safety incentive to close the cap, and then flipping the door is just learned behavior. With the charge door, there’s a task in your head to return the charge connector to its holder, and then it’s easy to forget to return to close the door, especially when on your way to do that is the actual door into the car.

    Also people commented on the Focus EV charging ring. I basically agree, it’s not pretty. Looks like the ELR will show green LED’s in the mirror-embedded turn signal lights while charging, but it’s not clear if that will also indicate fill level. Will those lights stay ELR exclusive? We’ll see.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:33 pm)

    Raymondjram: To all you Volt owners that forget to close the charge door, I have a question:
    Did you leave the fuel door open on your gas cars, too?

    Raymond

    #71

    Yeah, but I plug in twice a day and only used to buy gas about once a week, so I have 14 times more opportunities to screw up.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:37 pm)

    Melvin,

    #18
    Or Manuel Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes F1 car for $29,600,000! Yikes!
    haroldC


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:39 pm)

    Mark Brooks: Its going to take a hardnosed CEO to ride the GM dragon into a world dominated by EVs…
    lets hope the man has what it takes.

    I doubt it will be in Akerson’s time, so hopefully the next guy gets it. Ghosn does, but I think even he as said it will not happen in his time. At least he’s doing what he can now.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:40 pm)

    I can’t remember who said it, but I thought that yesterday’s drollest comment was something to the effect that Askerson had castigated GM’s “committee culture” and then formed one to study Tesla, LMAO. Old habits die hard.


  78. 78
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:43 pm)

    Breaking: Will the Gen 2.0 Chevy Volt be delayed to MY2017?* If so, could the Akerson task force regarding the threat from Tesla be involved by offering expected significant improvements in EREV?

    * See: http://insideevs.com/did-the-next-generation-of-the-chevrolet-volt-just-get-pushed-back-a-year-looks-like-it/


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:46 pm)

    Jackson: nasaman,
    I have to disagree. One long paragraph is so imposing and difficult to read that I usually pass those comments by. My advice to “James Melvin:” work on making your comments shorter (take my advice, I’m not using it! )

    I think what nasaman is saying is,

    Do this:

    Jim, that was me. I probably shouldn’t have negged you – so I am sorry for that.

    I wrote a response to your assertion that ELR would sell well, or even outsell Volt – but GM-Volt’s spam filter made it disappear. When that happened, I reread the post and felt that I hadn’t succeeded in sounding non-car-snobbish, and I have no idea what your knowledge or experience is with the car market or cars in general. So I didn’t try to repost my response.

    If you truly want to see my comparisons of Volt, Model S 60kwh and ELR – I’ll contact Jeff to extract my comments from the filter and post ‘em.

    Instead of this:

    Jim, that was me. I probably shouldn’t have negged you – so I am sorry for that.

    I wrote a response to your assertion that ELR would sell well, or even outsell Volt -
    but GM-Volt’s spam filter made it disappear. When that happened, I reread
    the post and felt that I hadn’t succeeded in sounding non-car-snobbish, and I have
    no idea what your knowledge or experience is with the car market or cars in
    general. So I didn’t try to repost my response.

    If you truly want to see my comparisons of Volt, Model S 60kwh and ELR – I’ll
    contact Jeff to extract my comments from the filter and post ‘em.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:48 pm)

    kdawg: I doubt it will be in Akerson’s time, so hopefully the next guy gets it.Ghosn does, but I think even he as said it will not happen in his time.At least he’s doing what he can now.

    #76

    I find Carlos Gohsn very hard to like, but he does force me to respect him. He turned Nissan’s culture on its head and saved them. One could argue that it was tougher than changing GM. And, as you so correctly point out, taking on the EV challenge probably takes as much vision and guts as fixing Nissan.

    Not to repeat the obvious, but probably one of the greatest services Mr. Askerson could perform for GM, and all of us if we could just appreciate it, would be to pick the right “next guy”.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:50 pm)

    Raymondjram: I wish that GM puts up a new Spark EV assembly here in the U.S.

    Yes, it doesn’t really make sense to me how the logistics work out. The motors come from Whitemarsh, Maryland. The battery comes from wherever A123 is making them? And the car is assembled in Korea, then shipped to the US.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:51 pm)

    Raymondjram: To all you Volt owners that forget to close the charge door, I have a question:
    Did you leave the fuel door open on your gas cars, too?

    No, but I wasn’t doing that daily, or at 7am before the coffee has kicked in :)


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (12:58 pm)

    nasaman: Breaking:

    George broke that at post #32

    Also, i try not to repost too much stuff from Inside EV’s site here because it may be the next daily topic here at GM-Volt.

    They are constantly updating articles, where here the pace is more of 1 topic a day, which we all discuss, and go off on crazy tangents. :)


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (1:02 pm)

    “A few decades ago American automakers were caught off guard by the rise of the Japanese.. ”

    Without UNFAIR TRADE on their side the Japanese would be nothing.
    Their greatest invention was “targeting”… still in use today.. and now used by the Germans.. Koreans etc.
    Suck billions out of the big dumb USA while keeping them out of your markets.
    Nothing will change for GM and our economy until we deal with this…. the giant is still sleeping.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (1:05 pm)

    Noel Park: Not to repeat the obvious, but probably one of the greatest services Mr. Askerson could perform for GM, and all of us if we could just appreciate it, would be to pick the right “next guy”.

    I think Joe nominated Nasaman at post #41 :)


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (1:15 pm)

    kdawg: Yes, it doesn’t really make sense to me how the logistics work out.

    #81

    No s__t. +1

    They probably use as much fuel hauling that stuff all over the world as the poor little Spark saves in its whole life, LOL.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    pjkPA: Suck billions out of the big dumb USA while keeping them out of your markets.

    #84

    Two words – “Chalmers Johnson” He said it all in “The Sorrows of Empire”. +1


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (1:44 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    As we’ve seen by the spy shots, exterior sheet metal for the Cruze appears set. Cruze, Volt, Crossover. What if the delay is to make the entire platform Voltec? The only differences? battery pack size and EV motor performance.

    Now word of this delay was known in March, What has GM hinted at since then? Batteries with triple energy. Cutting the Volt cost by $10k. Three cylinder range extender.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (1:48 pm)

    kdawg,

    Oh.

    Does this mean he shouldn’t work on shortening his comments? :-P


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:00 pm)

    My initial reaction is that a good leader does not dump on his team in public. Have to give Akerson an “F” on leadership skills on this one. On the technology front, GM has nothing to learn from Tesla. On the marketing front they have a lot to learn. They also have to fear the Tesla sales model of not using dealers, not so much because of Tesla but because of other foreign entrants.

    George S. Bower: Also, even though Tesla gets panned for using 18650 cells it does allow them to build a pack for less money than GM’s “toaster cell” format.

    I don’t think using the 18650 cells is cheaper. The cells are cheaper per kWh, no question about that. But then you have to match, connect, and maintain thousands of these cells. Not a trivial task. Then there are the reparis. Hasn’t Tesla experienced a 20% failure rate on the packs in the Roadsters? Replacing those can’t be cheap. This is especially true since the price of the cells are dropping far faster than the cost of connection, maintenance, and repair.

    Noel Park: Yeah, but I plug in twice a day and only used to buy gas about once a week, so I have 14 times more opportunities to screw up.

    This is an absolutely profound point. If you do something enough times you’re bound to screw it up sooner or later. For charging it’s a reason why wireless charging makes sense.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:06 pm)

    Jackson: kdawg,
    In the Deep South, this is not as big an issue; and it turns out I have the opposite problem:I have trouble remembering to close the charge door.If I’m heading out over the expressway, it may be a few minutes before I can pull over to close it and make the notification go away.I’d like an auto-close feature.Given the choice between the two, I’d take the closer over the opener; but the motor / gear drive this would require could be able to apply more force to open the door than a solenoid and spring, and might be enough to force it open against a coat of ice.

    And while we’re on the topic of charging ports, I’d like a small light near or inside* the J1772 socket that activates whenever the door is open.I don’t need the cool light-show that some EVs have, just some help attaching the plug in the dark.

    *This could be placed behind the locking tab at the bottom of the socket for little extra cost.

    http://www.pluglesspower.com

    Wireless charging especially for you. Evatran in cooperation with Bosch could provide full installation service and leasing options. Net price around $3000 including installation. But seems you can avoid installation cost of regular 240 V charger.
    I think this will be standard option for EREV. I missed this topic on gm-volt. It seems useless but I predict a big future. If you forget plug or charging once per month the wireless could pay back losses and gasoline. Conductor flexing wire could not last for ever and pose some risk outside garage.


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    Streetlight

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:15 pm)

    nasaman: As a guy who’s been personally surrounded by innovators most of my life

    You know we’re dating ourselves. Lovell’s patent’s 1946. My engineering frame runs from vacuum tubes (USAF-SAC B-47 FCS); NSA’s first solid state computer; leading to working with many of the legendary “names” who built Silicon Valley. One of whom backed my first company. At the time IBM was the 800 pound guerrilla. Looking back– an engineering Camelot.

    Today’s topic: While Silicon Valley is synonymous with innovative successes; at the same time a much less visible history are the tens-of-thousand company failures strewn across innovation road. I point this out as the auto industry likewise has, of course going back over a century, hundreds of failed auto makers.

    Generally speaking, its all about sales. Packards, Studebakers, Hudsons, Kaiser (I owned a 1953 Manhattan) all gone. They couldn’t sell what they made. That’s what makes TESLA special. Elon knows how to sell. To ensure a happy buyer TESLA developed a world class electronics engineering team. That resonates with CEO Akerson.

    Now, my take on VOLT is it IS a necessary and in fact the gold standard for transition to EV.

    One other point. My engineering priority is to make things work first and then get into commercialization. TESLA took this to that kind of level. Here’s the vision. Now make it work. It isn’t that the auto world couldn’t see how to build an EV, its that no-one had the conviction–an idea backed by cold hard cash to risk undertaking. Isn’t that what the Akerson Doctrine is about…


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:16 pm)

    kdawg: George broke that at post #32
    Also, i try not to repost too much stuff from Inside EV’s site here because it may be the next daily topic here at GM-Volt.

    Just a note that Henry in the forums “broke” the story and asked this question two days ago. It wasn’t an Insideev exclusive.

    Jay usually knows what’s going on at GM so if he says there will be a delay I’ll go with that. Assuming that they’ll be sharing parts it does make sense, though maybe kdawg can tell us if an early run of parts at low volumes helps suppliers work out the production kinks. Next question is whether that means the ELR will have another year of production.

    But back on the topic of today. If we assume the next gen Volt will be delayed because the Cruze is being delayed, we have the perfect example of why GM can’t emulate Tesla. Tesla doesn’t have another car or production schedules or a large supplier network to worry about. It has one model and a singular focus. Given that Akerson would have to sign off on the Volt delay, it’s more than slightly ironic that his approval of the delay would be furthering the “big company” approach he’s publicly complaining about.


  94. 94
    George S. Bower

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:42 pm)

    Raymondjram: To all you Volt owners that forget to close the charge door, I have a question:
    Did you leave the fuel door open on your gas cars, too?

    Raymond

    No I didn’t.

    What could that mean?


  95. 95
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:47 pm)

    nasaman: Melvin/James, Please allow me this suggestion: Don’t use your “Enter” key to end each line as you type. It makes your posts “right-hand ragged”, harder to read & makes them look somewhat longer.

    Jackson: nasaman,

    I have to disagree.One long paragraph is so imposing and difficult to read that I usually pass those comments by.My advice to “James Melvin:” work on making your comments shorter (take my advice, I’m not using it! )

    Melvin,

    I like Melvin’s posts.

    Sure their long, but hitting the enter key a lot makes for shorter pieces of info. Those shorter pieces of info are easier for somewhat depleted mind to absorb


  96. 96
    George S. Bower

     

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (2:50 pm)

    Noel Park: #71

    Yeah, but I plug in twice a day and only used to buy gas about once a week, so I have 14 times more opportunities to screw up.

    Whew,

    I’m glad that’s the reason.

    I was starting to worry about my mind.

    I feel much better now.

    See how hitting the enter key helps with readability!


  97. 97
    Jackson

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (3:10 pm)

    George S. Bower,
    I never said I didn’t like Melvin’s posts, just that they tend to get longwinded (I know, I’m one to talk; but I have been working on shorter comments). They aren’t as bad as Dan Petit’s were in the beginning (I almost never read his whole comments then); but he got much better before dropping off the earth. None of this is intended to be a stab at anyone, just some style observations and advice drawn only from my opinion.


  98. 98
    volt11

     

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (3:30 pm)

    DonC: But back on the topic of today. If we assume the next gen Volt will be delayed because the Cruze is being delayed, we have the perfect example of why GM can’t emulate Tesla. Tesla doesn’t have another car or production schedules or a large supplier network to worry about. It has one model and a singular focus.

    They have already announced a delay (a year I think?) in producing the Model X, so there is some similarity to GM there. And I think their lower-priced sedan is also behind schedule. As to suppliers, I would think they have a bunch, in fact I seem to recall that they listed (in their annual report) one or more crucial, single source suppliers in their parts chain that could defeat their whole business model.

    The car business is complicated. That’s what makes Tesla’s success so far all the more remarkable. I suppose they could stumble, but they’re making all the established brands look a little clumsy by comparison, including GM. That’s not really a knock– I think all of these companies have been around for so long that they’ve developed stifling beaurocracies, legacy processes, and then there are the union issues, which drag them down. Like if anyone believes Toyota is any lighter on its feet than GM, I think they’re suffering delusions.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (3:45 pm)

    Streetlight: “…You know we’re dating ourselves. Lovell’s patent’s 1946…”

    OT: I actually worked for William Vail Lovell for several years at Lovell Research Lab in Sanford, FL beginning as a High School freshman at age 14. His US patent #2,566,221 for Magnetic Levitation was awarded on Aug 28, 1951. (This early start in scientific research was extremely fortunate, and led to my degrees in Physics & Astrophysics, then on to my long career in the US space program.)


  100. 100
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (3:53 pm)

    DonC: But back on the topic of today. If we assume the next gen Volt will be delayed because the Cruze is being delayed, we have the perfect example of why GM can’t emulate Tesla. Tesla doesn’t have another car or production schedules or a large supplier network to worry about. It has one model and a singular focus. Given that Akerson would have to sign off on the Volt delay, it’s more than slightly ironic that his approval of the delay would be furthering the “big company” approach he’s publicly complaining about.

    That’s why GM needs a purpose built EV. Along with Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, etc. Stop making EV versions of ICE cars.


  101. 101
    kdawg

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (3:57 pm)

    Jackson: They aren’t as bad as Dan Petit’s were in the beginning (I almost never read his whole comments then); but he got much better before dropping off the earth.

    You mean you didn’t read the 5 paragraphs describing how to put a special grease on your 12V battery terminals?

    J/K Dan.. where did you go?


  102. 102
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (4:02 pm)

    volt11: They have already announced a delay (a year I think?) in producing the Model X, so there is some similarity to GM there. And I think their lower-priced sedan is also behind schedule. As to suppliers, I would think they have a bunch, in fact I seem to recall that they listed (in their annual report) one or more crucial, single source suppliers in their parts chain that could defeat their whole business model.
    The car business is complicated. That’s what makes Tesla’s success so far all the more remarkable. I suppose they could stumble, but they’re making all the established brands look a little clumsy by comparison, including GM. That’s not really a knock– I think all of these companies have been around for so long that they’ve developed stifling beaurocracies, legacy processes, and then there are the union issues, which drag them down. Like if anyone believes Toyota is any lighter on its feet than GM, I think they’re suffering delusions.

    Speaking of Tesla announcements, don’t they have to give their 2nd quarter report on July 22nd (Monday)? I guess we’ll see how “successful” they are.


  103. 103
    Kent

     

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (4:08 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    Melvin,

    Those shorter pieces of info are easier for somewhat depleted mind to absorb

    Yeah….that would be me.


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    Streetlight

     

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (5:21 pm)

    nasaman: then on to my long career in the US space program.

    Maybe we’re within a couple years of each other. After military, I worked for Burroughs, then building NSA’s Haviland computer (After Dr. Haviland of GE) from where by happenstance I landed at Chicago’s Y. And attended presentations of NASA recruiting (cir. 1961) engineers. Later, (Chicago before Silicon Valley) I joined with what then was the sole digital electronics company in the midwest–building (designed by my mentor) a series of digital instruments and systems. We sold mainly to AEC first tier corps and nat’l labs. (like Western Electric/Bell Lab)


  105. 105
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (5:23 pm)

    Noel Park: #71

    Yeah, but I plug in twice a day and only used to buy gas about once a week, so I have 14 times more opportunities to screw up.

    So you admit leaving BOTH doors open on your Volt?

    Raymond


  106. 106
    Raymondjram

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (5:33 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    It simply means that closing the door as soon as you take the charge plug out is the same step as closing the fuel door when you pull out the hose. So if you did close the fuel door on the Volt, you would do the same for the charge door. Both are doors!

    And on the Volt the fuel door is on the passenger side, which is on the right side, right? This is just a friendly reminder that any open door is an aerodynamic drag on the Volt and one should conscientiously close all exterior doors.

    On older cars of the 1950s and 1960s the gas filler was at the rear bumper, behind the rear plate, or in one of the tail fins. Safety designs of the 1970s eliminated them.

    Raymond


  107. 107
    rdunniii

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (5:45 pm)

    +1 for James

    First Tesla had to figure out how to design a production car from scratch. Then Tesla had to figure out how to build a production car from scratch. Tesla is still figuring out how to support a production car from scratch. Next Tesla will have to figure out how to build two production cars from scratch. Delays, yes, but George Blankenship knows first hand how well Steve Jobs took to delays (he didn’t, people got fired, up and down the chain of command) after something was announced.

    I say scratch because Tesla does not accept the conventional wisdom as wisdom and starts everything from a clean sheet.

    The GM machine cannot do that. They have years of baggage to overcome.

    My prediction based on GM’s past. 2015 will be Voltec’s last year. They will look at their data, tell themselves they did their best but it is just too expensive for the market and kill it. GM didn’t want to make it in the first place. The fact that they made it a $40K+ Chevrolet rather than a Cadillac just reinforces that.

    I think the ELR is probably the nicest looking car Detroit has designed since maybe the ’64 Mustang. But if GM and/or Cadillac thinks it competes with $70K+ cars out of the gate they’re nuts. Or, they know it doesn’t but, they also know there will be only 2 years of the car and as such can sell the number they want at a crazy premium.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (6:55 pm)

    Raymondjram: So you admit leaving BOTH doors open on your Volt?

    Raymond

    #105

    No. I did it once in awhile when i was driving ICE cars and trucks. I haven’t put gas in the Volt enough times yet to slip up, LOL. I plug it in at least 100 times for every time I add gas.


  109. 109
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:00 pm)

    Raymondjram: This is just a friendly reminder that any open door is an aerodynamic drag on the Volt and one should conscientiously close all exterior doors.

    #106

    Thanks for the good advice. The point is that the mind is an imperfect device. As aerodynamically aware as I’m sure we are all here, once in a great while even the smartest of us forgets.

    Hits enter key twice. Short paragraphs are good.

    I have thought of carrying something like a back scratcher in the car so that I could reach out and shut the door without getting out of the car, but it hasn’t gotten frustrating enough yet. Maybe there’s a business opportunity for Volt accessory manufacturers. No charge for the idea, LOL.


  110. 110
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:04 pm)

    rdunniii: My prediction based on GM’s past. 2015 will be Voltec’s last year.

    #107

    I agree with you about 99% of the time and have given you many “+1s” in the past.

    This is where we part ways. -1 which I usually reserve only for John and Charlie, LOL


  111. 111
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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:18 pm)

    The plug door is behind the rear view mirror after I disconnect the plug so I don’t see it. If I didn’t have to go back and put the gas cap on I would forget that too.


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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:19 pm)

    Noel Park: #106

    The point is that the mind is an imperfect device.As aerodynamically aware as I’m sure we are all here, once in a great while even the smartest of us forgets.

    I’m aerodynamically aware.
    My mind is also imperfect:

    Sterilize

    Sterilize

    Imperfection

    Must sterilize.

    (It’s a star trek episode)


  113. 113
    rdunniii

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (7:23 pm)

    Noel Park: #107

    I agree with you about 99% of the time and have given you many “+1s” in the past.

    This is where we part ways.-1 which I usually reserve only for John and Charlie, LOL

    Te He,

    If you don’t get them every once and a while your just a yes person, which I have never been accused of being.

    And that is most definitively not what I want to see. But then I didn’t want to see the EV-1 or the Fiero go away. I didn’t want the aluminum block engine in the Vega turn into the iron duke either. And for a company which is supposedly so good with diesel engines can you say Ciera.


  114. 114
    Jackson

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    Jul 19th, 2013 (10:49 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    33fgr4m.jpg 2istvna.jpg

    The episode was called “The Changeling,” about a space probe from Earth (programmed to seek out new life forms) which fuses with an alien one (programmed to take rock samples and sterilize the imperfect ones); which of course results in “Nomad” seeking out and sterilizing imperfect life forms. You know, like the ones on the Enterprise. D’ohh!

    The episode is credited with inspiring the plot of “Star Trek The Motion Picture” (Voyager 6 gets souped up by an alien, robotic civilization and then returns to Earth to give it’s readout … uh oh.

    /Recovering geek :-P


  115. 115
    Mark Z

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (12:27 am)

    kdawg,
    4G has been discussed several times and could be a software update. The Signature owners still get 3G free. The software team is working on the foreign release software. That has slowed the new features.

    Not sure about heated locks. One could lower all windows with the key fob and open the door from the inside if needed.


  116. 116
    omnimoeish

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (2:39 am)

    I’m glad Akerson notes that GM is innovating all over the place but never puts a single one in the cars. This is probably why GM gets the target on their back when people think of being in bed with oil companies etc. When I hear stories like how GM is promising HCCI technology and how close it is to production and then the years go by and go by. Why don’t they offer auto stop/start in every car. I heard that can save you like 15% mpg and costs like $100. There’s so many mild hybrid features that should be just standard but somehow just get forgotten about, or GM charges like $2,000 for them and nobody gets them because they don’t want to pay extra and have the weird car or whatever. Their marketing is always about how GM reminds you of the good old days when you could leave your diesel rig running while you shopped at the store or whatever.

    seriously…where is HCCI?


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    Anthony A LaPenta

     

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (5:48 am)

    jim seko,

    That looks Sweet! I wonder what the price point will be? I would think around 60,000


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (5:49 am)

  119. 119
    Raymondjram

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (9:13 am)

    Jackson,

    William Shatner wrote a follow up story after “Generations” where an alien entity recovered Captain James T. Kirk (body and soul) and revived him. The entity mentions “We are V’ger” and later was the beginning of the Borg. So in another word, the events of “Star Trek: The Movie” was the birth of the Borg (merge of organisms and technology).

    Since you brought the “Star Trek” topic, I wish to add a trivia that few people (and few Trekkers) know. I am a “Star Trek” fan since 1966.

    Raymond


  120. 120
    Melvin

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (10:27 am)

    Noel Park: #106

    Thanks for the good advice.The point is that the mind is an imperfect device.As aerodynamically aware as I’m sure we are all here, once in a great while even the smartest of us forgets.

    Hits enter key twice.Short paragraphs are good.

    I have thought of carrying something like a back scratcher in the car so that I could reach out and shut the door without getting out of the car, but it hasn’t gotten frustrating enough yet.Maybe there’s a business opportunity for Volt accessory manufacturers.No charge for the idea, LOL.

    Have you seen the capless fuel filler on Fords? If one has to put liquid fuel in a car -
    - this is another one of those, “Why haven’t they thought of this before?” no-brainers.

    http://www.popsci.com/bown/2008/product/ford-capless-fuel-filler

    Happy Electric Driving This Weekend! ,

    James


  121. 121
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    Jul 20th, 2013 (10:29 am)

    Mark Z:
    Thanks guys, for mentioning the review at IGN. I watched all the videos and read the copy. It is about 99% accurate. If Ryan had known to use the voice control for navigation and Slacker radio, then he would have added a video showing how you can find any business and play any request, while driving! His excitement over the car duplicates what the buyers are enjoying everyday.

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/18/tesla-model-s-review

    My suggestion for GM is to have all their designers read and watch the review then drive Model S until they hate their current designs. It should only take a few days.

    yw +1 Exactly!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  122. 122
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    Jul 20th, 2013 (10:37 am)

    rdunniii:
    +1 for James

    My prediction based on GM’s past.2015 will be Voltec’s last year. They will look at their data, tell themselves they did their best but it is just too expensive for the market and kill it.GM didn’t want to make it in the first place. The fact that they made it a $40K+ Chevrolet rather than a Cadillac just reinforces that.

    +1

    I hope Noel reconsiders his neg vote. Why?

    Because of the late-breaking news that GM has delayed the next Cruze one year.

    They’re saying late 2015 production – early 2016 introduction as a 2017 model – Even though Cruze has been seen road testing in camouflage for a while now. Since Volt 2.0 would’ve been on this platform, it doesn’t make sense GM would introduce it before the Cruze debuts.
    This would push back V2.0 Volt to 2016 – This isn’t likely.

    Today we see deep discounts on Volt, and they’re piling up on lots in my area.
    Meanwhile I see LEAFs everywhere. I see twice the Model S in my area than
    Volts, and ten times more LEAFs. GM is already losing a considerable amount
    on each Volt it sells – I cannot see this continuing right up through 2016 –
    no way. Sadly :( , and I hope I am dead wrong – This means Volt 2.0 may just
    be dead. Either that, or they’ll shelve it with no new Volts for 2 years until
    V2.0 bows.

    I know it’s news all of us Volt owners and fans hate to hear. But GM is going
    backwards – and accountants and quick-profit numbskulls rule the roost
    in Detroit – which coincidentally went bankrupt this week, the largest city yet
    to do so.

    I HOPE I AM DEAD WRONG! ,

    James


  123. 123
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    Jul 20th, 2013 (11:02 am)

    Vital to note the reason why GM delayed new Cruze one year .

    GM says the current Cruze is selling too well for it to replace it now. This is
    the old GM, folks. This is exactly what Bob Lutz said. This indicates that the
    numbers guys at GM rule now, as before. Lutz pointed out that this philosophy
    has never worked, and never will. Milk the current car and release the fully-
    developed new model later. Why does this stink? Let’s look into the crystal
    ball – Cruze is long-in-the-tooth. It’s already been in production two years
    past what most makers consider a model run. Cruze was developed by
    S. Koreans and Germans and sold in those markets long before it came here.
    GM tweaked the car for American tastes, added an Eco model and introduced
    it only to find it selling behind Corolla, Civic and Focus. Gradually it has
    gained market share, until now when they’ve claimed a first month on top
    of that class. This must’ve given the accountants at GM’s Ren Center a
    cargasm!
    They’re so pleased – they’ll cancel Volt and delay the new Cruze
    they already have in the can ( film talk for ready to go ). Sadly, what’ll
    happen is Cruze sales will now decline as new ( new gen )Corollas and Civics are
    ready to ship and GM’ll lose it’s pants as Cruze sales flatline. Meanwhile,
    Volt dies a slow and painful death of deep discounts and no new production.

    It’s a lose-lose scenario. GM just cannot help itself – looking for the quick buck.
    Haven’t they ever heard of famous actors and athletes who smartly quit while
    they’re on top? Not the greedy ones who stay on way too long and end up
    making B monster movies – the type that go straight to the rental market and
    never hit the big screen. So relegate Cruze to the airport rental car fleet – and
    Volt dead – or non-existent for a year or two while they spool up Cruze platform
    production.

    So now do ya’ll see where I’m coming from? Lutz says GM is full of fellas that
    want the quick profit – like day traders. Profit and run. This is not how you
    run a long-term auto corporation that lives and dies upon reputation and the
    ability to be one step ahead of their competition.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (11:07 am)

    Jackson: George S. Bower,
    I never said I didn’t like Melvin’s posts, just that they tend to get longwinded (I know, I’m one to talk; but I have been working on shorter comments).They aren’t as bad as Dan Petit’s were in the beginning (I almost never read his whole comments then); but he got much better before dropping off the earth.

    . . . one day later . . .

    Melvin: yw +1 Exactly!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James

    Don’t overdo it. ;-)

    I probably shouldn’t have been quite so outspoken yesterday, I apologize.


  125. 125
    George S. Bower

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (11:16 am)

    Melvin: +1

    . Since Volt 2.0 would’ve been on this platform,

    Having Volt gen 2 be based on the Cruze platform is a big mistake anyway. It means that they will just put a tunnel “T” pack into gen 2 which is a mistake.

    Volt and any other electrics GM builds need their own platform and they need the batteries in the floor.


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (11:24 am)

    George S. Bower: Volt and any other electrics GM builds need their own platform

    Ultimately, you’re right: in fact, they’ll need several to encompass different size-classes of EV. In the near term, this isn’t likely; since GM may be re-evaluating the profitability of the market, as rdunniii said; and is also still in the position of having to count pennies.

    Future EREVs will eventually need not only dedicated platforms, but dedicated gas engines which take full advantage of a buffering EV drive; to maximize efficiency in extended range.


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (11:45 am)

    rdunniii: My prediction based on GM’s past. 2015 will be Voltec’s last year. They will look at their data, tell themselves they did their best but it is just too expensive for the market and kill it. GM didn’t want to make it in the first place. The fact that they made it a $40K+ Chevrolet rather than a Cadillac just reinforces that.

    If GM takes such an ill-advised step, those Volts on the road (our Volts) will still prove out both the market and technology for other manufacturers, eventually forcing GM back into the marketplace to compete (though without the commanding lead they now enjoy, and this will be far more difficult for them than keeping and evolving the Volt).

    As for making the first EREV a Chevy first, this is a consequence of Bob Lutz’s infamous “people’s car, comfortably under $30,000″ comment: by the time a higher price was inevitable, it was likely too late to change course. Alternatively, the initial tech was not deemed ready “for the Cadillac Experience.”


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (12:17 pm)

    Jackson: Ultimately,

    With all due respect Jackson, you are starting to sound like a GM bean counter. I think instead of “ultimately” the more appropriate word would be “yesterday’.


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (12:22 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    You’re talking about what we want. I’m talking realities of what we’re likely to get. I’m not against the development of such things, but GM ain’t gonna take that plunge as things stand today. You can make book on it.


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    Jackson

     

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (12:24 pm)

    (was locked out under “Jackson” earlier)


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    Noel Park

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (12:33 pm)

    Melvin: I HOPE I AM DEAD WRONG!

    #122

    No problem there, LOL.


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    Melvin

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (1:10 pm)

    Jackson: . . . one day later . . .

    Don’t overdo it.

    I probably shouldn’t have been quite so outspoken yesterday, I apologize.

    It should be quite obvious by now I could give a flying *&^@ if anyone reads my
    posts or not. If I offer insight and food for thought, it’s a good thing. If folks ignore
    my posts due to their length, so be it.

    I feel this week’s developments indicate gen.2 Volt will most definitely be delayed,
    but more likely the entire program scrapped – and I believe this is worthy subject
    material for this place.

    Bottom line – folks don’t have to read it.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James

    We live today in a sound bite – ADD world.


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    Jul 20th, 2013 (1:24 pm)

    As for making the first EREV a Chevy first, this is a consequence of Bob Lutz’s infamous “people’s car, comfortably under $30,000″ comment: by the time a higher price was inevitable, it was likely too late to change course.Alternatively, the initial tech was not deemed ready “for the Cadillac Experience.”

    The first mistake was flying the Gulfstream private jet to the Congressional hearing.
    By the second, more humble hearing in D.C., the writing was on the wall, GM would
    go bankrupt. Much was said during those hearings about Volt. Without government
    intervention GM was done – stick a fork in ‘em. Thusly, Volt would be built, and had
    to be the affordable brand, Chevrolet – yet sadly at not such an affordable sticker price.

    I think George is completely right – Volt should be it’s own platform. If they do this, and
    inside GM, Volt V2.0 is on track and will debut as a 2015 model, God bless ‘em. Word
    has been, though, that it would be on Cruze II’s platform. If this is so – Volt may be
    history.

    Akerson’s sobering words do not seem to indicate this is the case.

    GM may wipe the board clean and start again from scratch, developing an EV/PHEV
    platform that’ll work for many different types of vehicles.

    Guess we’ll have to “stay tuned”.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Dan Petit / Petit Technical College

     

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (4:19 pm)

    Anything that can be easily incorporated to gain more ER ought to be considered by all OEM’s

    There is an SAE approved additive for PAG (not electric A/C compressors) lubricated belt-driven A/C compressors that is a performance enhancer. It is called “ICE 32″. It changes the way that the coating of refrigerant oil transfers heat. If this could be made compatible with electrically-driven A/C compressors (if it is not already potentially so), the driver can feel very chilled far more quickly when the A/C or Comfort system is turned on, and, feels quickly compelled to turn the blower down to the lowest speed. Cycling then takes place far more rapidly, saving precious wattage.
    We have used this additive all Spring and Summer for A/C overhauls, and owners are extremely pleased with the “better than new” performance characteristics of this additive.
    We do not know how long it will last, but it is indeed worth checking out. The company that makes it is in Garland Texas.

    Dan Petit
    Petit Technical College


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (6:26 pm)

    Look at the photo of the Spark and compare it with the Tesla and ELR, then think about the next generation of car buyers and what they are buying now. I think GM marketing is alive and well.


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    Raymondjram

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    Jul 20th, 2013 (8:22 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:
    Look at the photo of the Spark and compare it with the Tesla and ELR, then think about the next generation of car buyers and what they are buying now. I think GM marketing is alive and well.

    What I see is that GM has missed the middle market: families with two or more children that won’t fit in a Spark or Volt, but cannot pay for a Model S. That is where GM has to fill, and a EREV or BEV CUV is the sweet spot. I propose again the Equinox, GM best selling CUV and one of best in the world!

    Raymond


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    James

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    Jul 21st, 2013 (2:33 am)

    kdawg: That’s why GM needs a purpose built EV.Along with Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, etc.Stop making EV versions of ICE cars.

    Hear! Hear!

    YES!!!! ( lots of applause ) –

    We keep begging GM for choices. All EV, EV + Range Extender, 50/50 EREV,
    EREV truck, EREV van, EREV CUVs – and everything in-between.

    Raymond is close with his EREV or EV Equinox – Just make it NOT an Equinox, you know? Give it it’s own identity.

    CHARGE! ,

    James


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jul 21st, 2013 (8:07 am)

    Raymondjram,

    I think (hope) when the Spark generation is ready to move up, the battery technology for cars like that will be available.


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (12:23 pm)

    James:
    = CAN THE DAVID DEFEAT THE GOLIATH? –


    On another site yesterday, Kdawg suggested GM could profit greatly modeling
    Tesla’s Supercharger network and batt swap model at many of it’s 2,000 dealerships
    nationwide.

    Kdawg, as usual – is spot on!

    if kdawg actually made this comment, then i would say that kdawg is “spot off”.

    first of all, it appears that a big part of the tesla business model for profitability comes through the selling of green energy credits, but aside from that, everything in the tesla business model is directed toward high net worth customers who can afford to spend 6 figures for what is basically a second car.

    that is not the customer base for the chevrolet volt.

    if you read between the lines of musk’s press conference promoting the battery swap idea, it is telling that he didn’t have answers for many of the implementation-level questions. but you can bet that the idea is going to be pretty expensive, but this is less of a big deal to the customer base being targeted by tesla.

    addressing the tesla version first; the idea of having to store spare batteries at numerous stations will involve large sunk costs. from a financial perspective, you can make the ebitda look pretty good while the ebit will probably look horrible (because in this model, you get killed on depreciation; something that ebitda conveniently hides). if there is any saving grace in this, it would come through the idea of a true battery swap, i.e. you trade your battery for whatever is in the station’s battery swap inventory. if you are also going to implement the idea of letting a person lay claim to the battery after the swap (such that it could be returned at a later time), then the costs go through the roof; for no other reason than the station battery inventory would have to be large enough to provide one battery to each person who stops for a swap between inventory restock times – TIMES TWO (because it will take some time for the people to do swap to return the swap battery for their battery, so you have to double the inventory to provide a buffer).

    so to this proposed idea of having battery swap stations at gm dealerships. the problem with this idea is two fold: 1) gm dealerships are nowhere near as ubiquitous as service stations; and 2) the bigger problem is that dealerships do not operate 24/7. what happens when you need to swap when the dealership is closed? no don’t!


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    no comment,

    My actual comment was in regards to comparing Telsa to GM, and who has the EV selling advantage. Tesla has (or is building) a nationwide supercharging network of which some will have swap capability. However GM has many more sales & service offices (dealerships) which gives car buyers a better sense of security and the EVs get more presence.

    GM will take advantage of DC fast chargers, but will rely on someone else to build the infrastructure.

    Tesla will continue to open more sales/service centers.

    These, what I consider advantages, will erode as time goes on.


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    Ross

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    Jul 21st, 2013 (1:40 pm)

    Great thread guys (& girls?). I was gone toward the end of the week so it was nice reading for Sunday.
    Impressive courtesy as well. I would have personally liked to hear more on what is happening with VIA trucks/vans which Bob Lutz seems to personally be a champion of and why GM seems to have nothing to say on EREV SUVs or CUVs. Would it really be that costly to bring these into production?


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (2:53 pm)

    Melvin: +1

    Today we see deep discounts on Volt, and they’re piling up on lots in my area.
    Meanwhile I see LEAFs everywhere. I see twice the Model S in my area than
    Volts, and ten times more LEAFs. GM is already losing a considerable amount
    on each Volt it sells – I cannot see this continuing right up through 2016 –
    no way. Sadly , and I hope I am dead wrong – This means Volt 2.0 may just
    be dead. Either that, or they’ll shelve it with no new Volts for 2 years until
    V2.0 bows.

    i live in the chicago suburbs and i see more chevrolet volt’s than i see tesla’s or nissan leaf’s.


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (3:20 pm)

    no comment

    “i live in the chicago suburbs and i see more chevrolet volt’s than i see tesla’s or nissan leaf’s.”

    ________________________________________________________________

    That’s great. This is the time of year that hybrids and high mileage cars fly off
    the lots. Cars that sit around all winter and can be found online in droves
    suddenly become vogue when consumers get hit by the pain at the pump.
    Statistics show Americans have a three month memory re: gas prices. So when
    they begin to slide down in fall, by winter we’re back to buying those insane SUVs
    and fullsized trucks.

    GM has discounted Volt $4,000 on top of dealer incentives and, of course, those big
    tax breaks, like $2500 in CA + the $7500 from Uncle Sam. While this breaks up
    gridlock on dealer lots, it doesn’t mean profit for GM. Thus my point. No profit -
    and GM execs begin to entertain thoughts of shelving the Volt. They really are losing
    tons of cash on each Volt sold. Cruze being delayed another year bodes badly for Volt 2.0.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Bonaire

     

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    Jul 21st, 2013 (3:33 pm)

    Don’t forget that GM hurt sales potential at some dealerships by taking them out of the Volt program by not allowing them to sell volts unless they bought the expensive battery tools. Cutting into sales potential, even if it is 2-3 a year per small dealer, is not helpful. They also created high volume dealers through special incentives that cut out helping small dealers who were not selling their quotas. How will the new stuff coming out be affected by these interesting sales tactics? GM needs one price, blanket support for all dealers and a desire to really make this work. Even if most of their sales are pickups, SUVs, Cruzes and others.


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (3:55 pm)

    no comment: if kdawg actually made this comment, then i would say that kdawg is “spot off”.

    first of all, it appears that a big part of the tesla business model for profitability comes through the selling of green energy credits, but aside from that, everything in the tesla business model is directed toward high net worth customers who can afford to spend 6 figures for what is basically a second car.

    that is not the customer base for the chevrolet volt.

    if you read between the lines of musk’s press conference promoting the battery swap idea, it is telling that he didn’t have answers for many of the implementation-level questions. but you can bet that the idea is going to be pretty expensive, but this is less of a big deal to the customer base being targeted by tesla.

    addressing the tesla version first; the idea of having to store spare batteries at numerous stations will involve large sunk costs. from a financial perspective, you can make the ebitda look pretty good while the ebit will probably look horrible (because in this model, you get killed on depreciation; something that ebitda conveniently hides). if there is any saving grace in this, it would come through the idea of a true battery swap, i.e. you trade your battery for whatever is in the station’s battery swap inventory. if you are also going to implement the idea of letting a person lay claim to the battery after the swap (such that it could be returned at a later time), then the costs go through the roof; for no other reason than the station battery inventory would have to be large enough to provide one battery to each person who stops for a swap between inventory restock times – TIMES TWO (because it will take some time for the people to do swap to return the swap battery for their battery, so you have to double the inventory to provide a buffer).

    so to this proposed idea of having battery swap stations at gm dealerships. the problem with this idea is two fold: 1) gm dealerships are nowhere near as ubiquitous as service stations; and 2) the bigger problem is that dealerships do not operate 24/7. what happens when you need to swap when the dealership is closed? no don’t!

    Tesla doesn’t advertise. Just remove the hundreds of millions GM spends per year on
    advertising and you can see where there is room for Tesla to add some batt-swap
    stations at it’s highest-use, highest profile Supercharger stations. I agree that private
    enterprise will eventually fill in all the gaps – and to me, better off people are not
    financially independent because of trust funds, but because they are keen on finances.
    Back in the day when I sold mid-high end autos, I was shocked at how many buyers
    came in to purchase expensive cars wearing holes in their blue jeans and driving
    a beater. In other words, they aren’t stupid.

    A batt swap model for GM could be too ambitious. Quick charges and Lvl 2s make
    a lot of sense at dealerships. Both to showcase that they are green-minded and
    cutting edge, and show off the newest models to a captive audience. Have you seen
    what dealers are doing now? Latte stands and cafes within the store – Some in the
    Midwest have even put beauty shops and indoor putting greens in!!! So this goes
    in the name of customer servicing and good-will – WHICH MOVES A BOATLOAD
    OF METAL – BELIEVE ME. You can never provide too much of a good feeling to your
    customer.

    CHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (4:00 pm)

    no comment: if kdawg actually made this comment, then i would say that kdawg is “spot off”.

    first of all, it appears that a big part of the tesla business model for profitability comes through the selling of green energy credits, but aside from that, everything in the tesla business model is directed toward high net worth customers who can afford to spend 6 figures for what is basically a second car.

    that is not the customer base for the chevrolet volt.

    if you read between the lines of musk’s press conference promoting the battery swap idea, it is telling that he didn’t have answers for many of the implementation-level questions. but you can bet that the idea is going to be pretty expensive, but this is less of a big deal to the customer base being targeted by tesla.

    addressing the tesla version first; the idea of having to store spare batteries at numerous stations will involve large sunk costs. from a financial perspective, you can make the ebitda look pretty good while the ebit will probably look horrible (because in this model, you get killed on depreciation; something that ebitda conveniently hides). if there is any saving grace in this, it would come through the idea of a true battery swap, i.e. you trade your battery for whatever is in the station’s battery swap inventory. if you are also going to implement the idea of letting a person lay claim to the battery after the swap (such that it could be returned at a later time), then the costs go through the roof; for no other reason than the station battery inventory would have to be large enough to provide one battery to each person who stops for a swap between inventory restock times – TIMES TWO (because it will take some time for the people to do swap to return the swap battery for their battery, so you have to double the inventory to provide a buffer).

    so to this proposed idea of having battery swap stations at gm dealerships. the problem with this idea is two fold: 1) gm dealerships are nowhere near as ubiquitous as service stations; and 2) the bigger problem is that dealerships do not operate 24/7. what happens when you need to swap when the dealership is closed? no don’t!

    To address 3 of your comments: 1) At 260 miles AER, and 20-30 Supercharger
    minutes to refill, I do not believe you can lump Model S purchasers in with LEAF, FocusEV
    and SparkEV consumers who most definitely are buying a 2nd, 3rd or 4th car for the
    household. 2) Surveys have shown that folks who buy Volts are more often in the
    six figure and above income level. 3) You’re right that Tesla’s profits from selling green
    energy credits will diminish as carmakers roll out ( SparkEV… ) their own EVs. The timing
    is perfect in that AWD-Falcon-wing-doored Model X will bow just about the time those
    dry up – filling in that gap, and then some.

    If I were you, I’d stop looking at the negatives, and buy some stock. Tesla is proving
    surprisingly bullet-proof.

    CHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (4:23 pm)

    James: To address 3 of your comments: 1) At 260 miles AER, and 20-30 Superchargerminutes to refill, I do not believe you can lump Model S purchasers in with LEAF, FocusEVand SparkEV consumers who most definitely are buying a 2nd, 3rd or 4th car for thehousehold. 2) Surveys have shown that folks who buy Volts are more often in thesix figure and above income level. 3) You’re right that Tesla’s profits from selling greenenergy credits will diminish as carmakers roll out ( SparkEV… ) their own EVs. The timingis perfect in that AWD-Falcon-wing-doored Model X will bow just about the time thosedry up – filling in that gap, and then some.

    If I were you, I’d stop looking at the negatives, and buy some stock. Tesla is provingsurprisingly bullet-proof.

    the problem with BEVs, even those with a reported 260 mile range is what happens when you run out of range. first, to your comment about the supercharger stations: not only is there not a supercharger station on every block, but you only get a half charge at the stations. if it is winter, and you are using your heater, you are going to get a lot less than 260 miles on a full charge and 130 miles on a half charge. so what happens when you need to recharge a BEV? if you have a 120v outlet, then a full recharge of the model s will take a day and a half. the reality is, if you own a tesla, even if it is your “primary use” car, you had better have a backup car.

    my experience with the volt is that during this time of the year, i get 45-50 miles of range on a full charge. but during the winter i was getting more like 25-30 miles of range. so most of my gasoline consumption was during the winter, but because the volt has a generator, i could just drive the car and didn’t really have to think about how much range it was getting or how long it was going to take to recharge.

    so i don’t consider myself to be “negative”, as you have characterized; instead, i think that i am more realistic about the place of the BEV. for the single car model, the EREV is the more practical choice.


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (6:35 pm)

    kdawg:
    no comment,

    My actual comment was in regards to comparing Telsa to GM, and who has the EV selling advantage.Tesla has (or is building) a nationwide supercharging network of which some will have swap capability.However GM has many more sales & service offices (dealerships) which gives car buyers a better sense of security and the EVs get more presence.

    GM will take advantage of DC fast chargers, but will rely on someone else to build the infrastructure.

    Tesla will continue to open more sales/service centers.

    These, what I consider advantages, will erode as time goes on.

    money isn’t available in infinite supply, and it seems to me that a very large amount of cash will be sunk in each supercharger station, so i am very skeptical of the “nationwide” supercharger network claims.

    i agree that gm does have a larger dealer network, but tesla is currently selling to a niche market so i don’t think that is an issue at present.

    as to a tesla vs gm “advantages” analysis, i really don’t pay much attention to the short-attention-span media that tends to get excited about today’s “flavor of the month”. the ign review cited in this thread is an example. today the flavor is tesla, next month it could be bmw.

    for example, i have already seen excitement about the bmw i3. why that is, i can’t tell you; i don’t think that the i3 is a particularly attractive car; i assume the excitement is over bmw offering a (sort of) EREV. from what i can tell, the bmw i3 has a certain amount of available range (which in practice will vary widely according to temperature, terrain, &c) and then offers golf cart like performance when the electric generator engages. this is the kind of thing that gm was trying to avoid with the volt. when bwm offers a car with such a feature people seem to want to rationalize that you’ll never really need to use the generator anyway.

    so give it a couple of more months to talk about how tesla is doing everything right before attention shifts to bmw this fall and then people will talk about how bwm will be doing everything right.

    i actually own a volt and i find much of what i read about electric cars to be ridiculous; i’ve got to wonder what non-owners of electric cars might think…


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    kdawg: I wonder if I could attach one of these somewhere.They last 8hrs, so maybe 10 seconds each day = 8 years of life.

    http://www.batteryoperatedcandles.net/balloon-light-p-party-equipment.html

    Ideally, you’d want a tiny unit that turns itself on automatically:

    http://oseatech.en.made-in-china.com/product/jMZECOlBwHcA/China-Automatic-Magnetic-Sensor-Light.html

    http://jinggoal.en.made-in-china.com/product/ieNxbvGTCIVo/China-LED-Cabinet-Light-JL-604-.html

    I found two-on-a-card similar to this for sale at Home Depot for around $7, and they worked for an indoor project I had; don’t know how they’d hold up inside a charge port out in the heat/cold, or if these are small enough; but if we keep watching the sites we might find something more ideal.

    THANKS FOR THAT LINK. I’ll be perusing that site.


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    Jul 21st, 2013 (9:58 pm)

    no comment: money isn’t available in infinite supply, and it seems to me that a very large amount of cash will be sunk in each supercharger station, so i am very skeptical of the “nationwide” supercharger network claims.

    I have doubted Tesla before, and they have proven me wrong. So far they keep rolling out the stations. Each one is $150K – $300K IIRC.

    I’m a Volt owner too, and think it’s the best value for the money (for me). If I was a 2-car household, or had kids I needed to haul around, then I may have chose something else.

    I do want to get a BEV eventually, but the price/range has to be correct. I’ll rent something for long trips. Or if my BEV happens to be Tesla, maybe I’ll use their supercharger network.


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    Jul 22nd, 2013 (12:25 am)

    Jackson,

    This light should fit, and adhere to the door. Would just have to squeeze it for light.

    http://www.nanolite.net/

    1l-NanoLite-World%E2%80%99s-Smallest-Adhesive-Light-%E2%80%93-Review-and-Giveaway-13.jpg