Apr 21

Will Honda’s Clarity Plug-in Hybrid Be the Volt’s Toughest Competitor Yet?

 

Since late 2010 the “extended-range electric” Chevrolet Volt has set a standard other plug-in hybrids have yet to match, but its toughest competitor to date may be here soon.

To be launched later this year by the company whose 2000 Insight was America’s original modern-era hybrid car, the 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid promises some Volt-topping attributes and comes close to the Volt’s claim to fame – all-electric range.

The main reason people spend extra to buy a plug-in hybrid over a regular hybrid is for EV-like electric driving, and the Volt’s 53 miles has been comfortably heads above other automakers’ 20-some miles, but the Clarity is expected to offer 42 miles electric range.

At the same time it’s significantly roomier, has Acura-level refinement and features, to whom it may concern it has “Honda” on the grille, and evidence the market is chomping at the bit for more is plain to see.

Just this week Kelley Blue book upset some readers in naming the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid with just 25 miles range its top pick over the Volt, and now here comes this luxurious 42-mile Honda.

In originally explaining the rationale for the Volt, General Motors emphasized 40 miles was enough for three-quarters of all drivers’ daily needs. Its first-generation Volt had 35 miles through 2012, and 38 miles from 2013 through 2015, meaning the Clarity is right in line with what justified the Volt’s existence.

Pile on a bunch of other tangible and intangible qualities Honda is baking into the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, and buyers may be hard pressed between the two.

Known Specifications

Unveiled at the New York Auto Show this month, Honda’s plug-in Clarity is to be the “volume” leader of the “3-in-1” Clarity platform that includes an already launched fuel cell variant and an 80-mile range all-electric version due later this year.

Honda released only core powertrain specs for the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid but we managed to get a few more facts from Honda public relations representative Chris Martin.

Honda projects it will sell 75,000 Clarity variants in the next four years. Most will be the Plug-in Hybrid.

Martin prefaced all comments saying engineers are still finalizing details, and efficiency and performance projections may change. The core powertrain is known however, and readers may conjecture at will.

Under the hood is essentially a variant of the dual motor hybrid system from the Accord Hybrid, albeit with 1.5-liter engine instead of 2.0-liter, and a largish 17-kWh battery for electric only driving.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid Review – Video

The engine is based on a next-generation Honda 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine first used in the 2015 Honda Fit, according to Honda’s Natalie Kumaratne, Environment & Safety Public Relations.

2017 Accord Hybrid shown. Interestingly, system torque of 232 pounds-feet is the same as for the Clarity, but horsepower of 212 is higher. Accord EPA economy is 49 mpg city, 47 highway, and 48 mpg combined.

“However, for the application to the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid the engine has been optimized for the unique requirements of a plug-in vehicle using the Atkinson cycle, where it functions primarily to generate electricity,” said Kumaratne, “but can also serve as a direct power source under certain driving conditions in parallel with the electric motor.”

The Clarity has three drive modes – Normal, Econ, and Sport which let drivers maximize efficiency or driving performance. A fourth HV mode maintains the battery’s state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes.

Included is Honda’s Sensing suite.

Its electric motor produces 181 horsepower and 232 pounds feet of torque. The battery recharges in 2.5 hours when fed 240 volts suggesting a faster on-board charger than what comes in the Volt which takes 4.5 hours to recharge its 18.4-kWh battery.

The Clarity’s horsepower otherwise compares to the compact Volt’s lower 149 horsepower and higher 298 pounds-feet from a 1.5-liter engine and electric power.

Open Questions

While it’s been speculated at the Volt fan site GM-Volt.com the Clarity works on the Volt’s “EREV” principle of keeping gas engine off under full acceleration, this may not be correct, but officially the company has not said.

That would be a critical question as other “blended PHEVs” – like the Prius Prime, Ford Energis, Hyunda/Kia PHEVs, etc. – feed in gas power to achieve maximum acceleration.

This off-topic comment came with breaking news about the Clarity. They voted it up, and suspect Honda is chasing GM – which it is – but we’ll see if the Clarity really works like an “EREV.”

That gas engine power wrecks the whole experience of driving “EV when you want to with gas back up when you need it.” To date, only the Volt in this price segment is a pure extended range EV (EREV), with one exception being the BMW i3 REx which has a tiny gas tank for limited range, and less than full power in extended-range operation.

Martin said at this stage he has not been told by Honda’s engineers whether they are targeting the Volt ‘s EREV principle of gas engine off under full acceleration, but they may not, he said.

The nearest thing to the Clarity was the 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid, and a firm foot to the floor did kick its engine on, so it would be only speculation until further notice that the Clarity will do otherwise and match the Volt in this regard.

That said, the dual-motor architecture could in theory be set up to run in EV only regardless of accelerator position.

But casting further doubt, Martin also noted a full accelerator input signals an “emergency” event, so the decision may come down to which is quicker – EV only, assuming the battery and motor can deliver, or battery plus gas in series hybrid mode.

This will be the engineer’s call, and enthusiasts for now can only hope as that is another of the Volt’s attributes that even GM-Volt forum members suspect Honda will match.

2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. Top speed in EV mode is not known at this stage.

Martin also was not privy to the performance numbers for the Clarity, but odds may be good that the Volt will be quicker as it’s smaller and has more torque. Its 2.6 second 0-30 time beats even the Chevy Bolt EV’s 2.9 seconds, and its 8.4 seconds from 0-60 is respectable. That it does this in pure EV mode, and does not need to turn the gas on would put it ahead of the Clarity if Honda does things little different than the others.

We’ll see what the Honda says closer to launch, but its lower power and higher curb weight – Martin says it’s penciled in at approximately 4,000 pounds, around 450 pounds more than the Volt – suggest its power-to-weight ratio lags the Volt.

Expect a little less zippiness from the Clarity compared to the Volt, but likely acceptable and not anemic power.

Another mystery that plug-in hybrid buyers will want to know is the Clarity PHEV’s fuel economy in gas-electric hybrid mode. The Volt is EPA rated at 42 mpg which is OK, but far less than the class champ Prius Prime’s 54 mpg rating.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Need To Know About The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

It’s also less than the Honda Accord Hybrid’s 48 mpg from its 2.0-liter dual motor hybrid system.

Because Honda carried forward system architecture from the Accord into its new Clarity – with smaller engine and big 17-kWh battery to feed more electric drive – it would not be improbable for it to deliver mid 40s or possibly better.

Notable is the Clarity’s engine is a 1.5 liter versus the Accord’s 2.0, and the two cars are aimed at slightly different driver expectations.

The Malibu uses a more-expensive permanent magnet AC generator motor with rare earth metals rather than the Volt’s ferrite permanent magnet AC motor. This was done to improve hybrid mode efficiency whereas the Volt’s motor works well in dual motor mode in EV driving, and was “good enough” for hybrid driving. GM has also said this powertrain could theoretically be made a PHEV. Could they fit an 18.4 kWh battery like the Cadillac CT6 PHEV gets, without undue cargo space loss and competitively priced? If so, the Clarity would have a stronger competitor.

SEE ALSO: Why the Chevy Malibu Hybrid Gets Better MPG Than The Chevy Volt

For its part, Chevrolet made its 46 mpg hybrid Malibu better in its gas-electric operation than the Volt because the Volt was biased toward staying off of gas altogether. The Malibu was instead tuned for mpg while the Volt was tuned for “electric” drive feel even when burning gas.

Whether Honda’s engineers and bean counters approach the Clarity’s hybrid mode efficiency the same also is another open question.

Driving Dynamics

Based on the same chassis as the Clarity fuel cell vehicle, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid uses a stiff body structure with strategic use of high-strength steel, optimized weight distribution, and it promises a relatively controlled drive experience.

The next-generation body rivals that of the Accord’s if not surpassing it.

It may yet do alright as the Accord is a solid, if not in sports car territory, and the Clarity is in league. Further, if you haven’t noticed, a lot of family sedans these days are competent handlers.

The Volt’s fans like to emphasize it has a fun-to-drive factor, but both it and the Clarity are eco cars focused on efficiency, and may be within realm.

Interior Space

Both the Volt and Clarity are well contented, but the Clarity may prove more refined.

Initial drive reviews of the Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle already on the market have won it praise as being nice enough to be an Acura, and the Plug-in Hybrid is expected to be the same.

Materials such as ultrasuede, and standard Honda Sensing suite make it a premium package indeed, but where it is hands down the winner is interior volume.

Honda says it will release specs closer to launch later this year, but the three Clarity variants were built to satisfy focus groups who said a sedan should comfortably fit five.

The compact Volt’s rear seat technically also fits five, but its knee room is less, and space abroad is also. Honda media rep Chris Naughton also let on the Clarity is a bit roomier than the Accord Hybrid which is on the large scale of a midsized class car.

Honda’s press kit showed where it wanted to satisfy focus groups. Photo of rear seat without passengers in gallery.

Martin emphasized also the Clarity will top the Volt in cubic feet for cargo and passenger by a significant margin.

“We expect it will have the most interior volume of any of the versions of Clarity,” said Martin of a provisional projection of around 121 cubic feet of passenger plus cargo space topping the Volt’s 100.9 total cubic feet, “and the cargo volume, the Volt is 10.6. we’re at 19.1.”

Looks

Attractiveness is subjective, but both ought to get their proponents and detractors.

The Volt is more “mainstream” and actually looks like a Cruze with some differences, and while we’re at it, it shares hints of the Honda Civic, Kia Forte, and other vehicles by automakers conspiring to make vehicles both attractive and ordinary all in one stroke.


That is, they blend in, and the Clarity meanwhile is a bit away from that mold. Like it or not, its rear three-quarter view with semi-faired in rear wheel reminiscent of the original Insight which set the tone 17 years ago as an odd looking green car (see gallery).

Some will groove on the originality, others may see it as awkward or stylistically tone deaf, if not as much as some have disliked Honda’s Japanese rival’s car, the Prius.

Brand

Chevrolet has proven the Volt’s quality and it is the leading plug-in hybrid both in terms of cumulative sales – thanks also to its head start – and monthly sales.

That’s stated preemptively because people with long memories may otherwise sneer at a GM product or American brand in general. To who think along those lines, just the fact the Clarity is a Japanese Honda is enough to settle any question.

Pick a Chevy or a Honda? That’s a no brainer to those of a certain mindset – pun intended. Honda has long been a darling of Consumer Reports, and its reputation for quality, durability and resale value is high.

Beyond that, Chevrolet has won more awards than an other brand for the past three years, and it is on a mission to remake its name after GM’s federal bailout and restructuring embarrassment of last decade.

The Volt is a pinnacle product and so if you are just catching up, it actually is the more proven of the two. Now in its second generation, among plug-in fans it is a premium nameplate, even if there is a “bowtie” on the front of the grille wearing silver “braces.”

Price

The Volt starts at just below $34,000 and is eligible for a $7,500 federal credit and state incentives as the case may be. Honda says the Clarity, eligible for the same subsidies, will start in the mid 30s, so that may mean very close or a couple thousand or more above the Volt.

SEE ALSO: 2017 Chevy Volt Review – Video

Enthusiasts are speculating after credits it could be below the critical $30,000 mark, but this is not definite until Honda tells us.

Jury’s Out

We could have contemplated more variables, but the above are some of the high points.

Steven Center introduces the new Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Electric at the 2017 New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

In sum, Honda appears to have an edge in several if not all departments, and the incumbent Volt will have its own subjective and objective advantages.

More will have to be disclosed, drive reviews will need to verify impressions from the fuel cell car carry over to the Plug-in Hybrid, but so far, the Clarity may be the Volt’s strongest contender yet.

HybridCars.com

This entry was posted on Friday, April 21st, 2017 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

COMMENTS: 68


  1. 1
    firehawk72

    +22

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    firehawk72
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:07 am)

    OK, I am a Volt fan, but this is where GM needs its but kicked. Honda has put together what many of us have been asking for, more room and standard safety across all models. GM is great at making a new product that pushes the edge with technology. The Japanese have been great at taking a product that someone else invents, listening to customer complaints, and then improving on it. Honda has simply built a fantastic true mid-size sedan that happens to be a EREV. Chrysler has done this with the Mini Van with the Chrysler Pacifica, and GM just keeps making them smaller and smaller with the Volt and now the Bolt. Guys, I am as big a fan as it gets with the Volt and Bolt, but competition is a wonderful thing and GM is finding itself losing sales to a lot of customers it should have already had.

    P.S. That Honda is UGLY, fugly, down right weird…but many will buy it because it says Honda.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  2. 2
    Dave G

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:23 am)

    Jeff,
    Thanks for the shout out!

    firehawk72: P.S. That Honda is UGLY, fugly, down right weird…

    My wife said the same thing.

    From the article: Martin prefaced all comments saying engineers are still finalizing details, and efficiency and performance projections may change.

    Right.

    In the past, we’ve seen many car makers over-promise and under-deliver on all-electric range.

    With the Volt, back in 2007, GM originally said it would be 40 miles, but when the real product arrived in 2011, it was only 35 miles. More recently, the Cadillac CT6 PHEV also had a similar over-promise and under-deliver issue with the electric range.

    Back in 2015, Toyota leaked that the next Prius plug-in would have 30-35 miles electric range:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1099222_next-toyota-prius-plug-in-hybrid-to-have-30-to-35-miles-of-range-source
    but when the real Prius Prime specs were announced, it was only 25 miles AER.

    Also, if I remember correctly, when Honda announced their Accord PHEV several years ago, they originally said it would have over 20 miles electric range, but ended up with only 13 miles AER on the real product.

    So this is why I keep saying IF the 42 miles is real…

    By contrast, Chrysler originally promised 30 miles AER on the Pacifica Hybrid, but actually delivered 33, so that was a pleasant surprise.

    And let’s not forget, the Gen2 Volt promised 50 miles AER, and delivered 53.

    I’ll be VERY interested to see the final EPA rated electric range for the Honda Clarity PHEV.

    This is especially important because these types of range differences are on the steep part of the curve. If it were 60 vs 55 miles AER, the difference would be a lot less, as you can see below.

    curve_zpsy2jwhctv.jpg

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  3. 3
    Big Game James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Big Game James
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:41 am)

    I imagine that Steven Center is a bright guy, but he really needs a haircut to get away from that 1970’s look.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  4. 4
    Dave G

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:51 am)

    Not sure if this was mentioned already:

    Chevrolet FNR-X plug-in hybrid crossover concept debuts in Shanghai
    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/chevrolet-fnr-x-concept-is-like-a-plug-in-camaro-on-stilts/
    chevrolet-fnr-x-concept-1.jpg

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  5. 5
    Nelson

    +16

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:55 am)

    GM needs to consider pairing the BoltEV battery with Voltec power train in a larger Sedan and or SUV.

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  6. 6
    MnVikes

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MnVikes
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:57 am)

    So far it’s the one car I’ll consider replacing my Volt.
    It does have one feature I wish the Volt had. Hold mode should be in conjunction with Sport if I want. Just because I’m saving battery for later doesn’t mean I want to lose the fun to drive factor.

    To me the larger interior space and maybe storage makes up for some AER. If GM announces a Malibu EREV or SUV option then I may stay with GM.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  7. 7
    Mark Z

    +11

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (7:50 am)

    IMHO, the Honda Clarity is better looking than the Prius Prime.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  8. 8
    Nelson

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (8:30 am)

    Dave G: With the Volt, back in 2007, GM originally said it would be 40 miles, but when the real product arrived in 2011, it was only 35 miles.

    My 2011 did and still does 40-43 miles AER in the Spring months in NJ.

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  9. 9
    MnVikes

    +13

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MnVikes
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (8:31 am)

    Mark Z:
    IMHO, the Honda Clarity is better looking than the Prius Prime.

    I don’t know if I’d go that far 🙂

    The Volt has them both beat in the looks department.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  10. 10
    Darius

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Darius
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (8:37 am)

    17 kWh too small for 80 miles AER. May be they claim cycling capacity but still 80 miles looks unrealistic.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  11. 11
    Nelson

    +11

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (8:46 am)

    Nelson: GM needs to consider pairing the BoltEV battery with Voltec power train in a larger Sedan and or SUV.
    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

    Let me clarify. The new Voltec set up should increase the battery size from 18.4 kWh to 30 kWh, which is half the size of the BoltEV battery. Very doable in larger Sedan or SUV while maintaining >50 AER in a larger format vehicle.

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  12. 12
    Schmeltz

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Schmeltz
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (8:55 am)

    These are the positives and negatives for the Clarity as I see them:

    POSITIVES
    1. Finally an eye to eye challenger with the Volt in terms of electric range and overall principle. It validates the Volt and gives GM reason to keep pursuing improvements to the Volt.
    2. It’s a genuine 5 seat sedan with more seating room in the back than a Volt. A huge plus.
    3. Honda reputation for quality.

    NEGATIVES
    1. Why oh why can’t these manufacturers design a good looking car? The Prius will beat the Clarity for ugliness, but not by a lot.
    2. The dash is just unimpressive to me. The Bolt EV has one of the best dash and screen combinations going in my opinion. Honda would have been better to copy the Bolt in that regard.
    3. I’ll predict that simple availability of this car will be extremely scarce. Honda probably won’t produce these in large numbers. Even if you want a Clarity, you probably will struggle to get one. Honda did this nonsense with their Accord Hybrid 2 years ago. They had people with money in hand ready to buy, and they either kept stringing them along until the customers gave up, or bought another Honda on the lot.

    Bottom line, I think it will be another low selling plug-in on the monthly sales charts that gives Honda the halo effect of having a competitive plug-in vehicle to boast about, but few people will be able to buy anyway.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  13. 13
    Schmeltz

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Schmeltz
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (8:57 am)

    Dave G: Chevrolet FNR-X plug-in hybrid crossover concept debuts in Shanghai

    Chevrolet FNR-X concept should be the next gen. Volt in my opinion.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  14. 14
    Kdawg

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kdawg
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:09 am)

    Where is this car built? Is it imported from Japan? Who’s cells are they using?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  15. 15
    jbakerjonathan

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jbakerjonathan
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:17 am)

    MnVikes: I don’t know if I’d go that far
    The Volt has them both beat in the looks department.

    I agree. Compare how the hood and fenders sweep up into the roof of the Volt and then look at how disjointed the transition is in the Clarity. Look at how the Volt is poised for a race and compare that stance to the Clarity that, to me, looks like a brick on wheels. The interior style of the Volt has it all over the Clarity, too. I’m trying not to be biased here. 8^)

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  16. 16
    Dave G

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:26 am)

    Nelson: My 2011 did and still does 40-43 miles AER in the Spring months in NJ.

    After 75,000 miles, our 2013 Volt still does over 40 miles AER in the Spring months in NJ, and still does around 27 miles AER in the winter, below freezing.

    But once or twice, I actually got over 50 miles.

    In any case, these variations are all somewhat meaningless. To compare models, we need a common yardstick. That’s where the EPA estimates come in, and I trust them.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  17. 17
    Loboc

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:45 am)

    This should increase Volt sales if they actually have Clarity models for sale. Competition spawns cross-shopping.

    I see this as similar to Johan’s take on EV and hybrids. They are a checkbox on the order sheet. Problem is that CT6 PHEV is in limited supply.

    Gas prices are increasing. A LOT for premium. Like 50c in a month.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  18. 18
    firehawk72

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    firehawk72
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:49 am)

    Dave G: After 75,000 miles, our 2013 Volt still does over 40 miles AER in the Spring months in NJ, and still does around 27 miles AER in the winter, below freezing.

    But once or twice, I actually got over 50 miles.

    In any case, these variations are all somewhat meaningless.To compare models, we need a common yardstick.That’s where the EPA estimates come in, and I trust them.

    I drove my 2016 Volt to work this morning. It is exactly 8.9 miles. My Volt estimates I have 65 left on the battery. Holy Smokes batman…

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  19. 19
    realdb2

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    realdb2
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:49 am)

    Good article, thanks.

    If the Clarity will have a lot more space than the Volt, where is the battery stored?

    Also, any mention of a thermal management system for the battery?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  20. 20
    George S. Bower

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:26 am)

    Hate to say it but GM is getting their b*utt kicked in the PHEV department. This Honda is a great example of beating the Volt by besting it’s rather skimpy interior room.

    The Chrysler Pacifica is another example where GM management has dropped the ball.

    I just don’t understand why GM management refuses to put the Voltec power train in a roomier vehicle.

    Oh that’s right. They just want to sell pick ups and big piggy gas SUVs.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  21. 21
    Kdawg

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kdawg
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:39 am)

    George S. Bower: I just don’t understand why GM management refuses to put the Voltec power train in a roomier vehicle.

    It’s called the CT6.. but expensive and not readily available. (just being snarky)

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  22. 22
    American First

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:41 am)

    Kdawg:
    Where is this car built?Is it imported from Japan?Who’s cells are they using?

    Honda builds its cars mostly in Japan. And I suspect that the cells are from a Japanese company such as Panasonic, Hitachi Maxell, NEC Tokin, or Sanyo.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  23. 23
    American First

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:44 am)

    Kdawg: It’s called the CT6.. but expensive and not readily available.(just being snarky)

    And now GM-SAIC will offer the Cadillac XT5 PHEV, which was presented at the Shanghai Auto Show:
    https://www.carnewschina.com/tag/cadillac-xt5/

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  24. 24
    firehawk72

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    firehawk72
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:45 am)

    American First,

    Honda is a Japanese automobile manufacturer and a major producer of automobiles for the world market. While there are Honda cars that are still made in Japan, many are actually built in Mexico and the United States. Depending on the model, if a Honda car is produced for the North American Market, it is most likely produced and assembled at a Honda Facility in either Ohio or Alabama. While Ohio and Alabama do the bulk share of Honda manufacturing in their facilities, there are actually 11 Honda manufacturing plants found throughout the continental US that produce either parts for Honda vehicles or the actual vehicles themselves.

    In fact, Honda has been a company in the United States since 1959 and employs thousands of people all over the US. If you want to know where Hondas are made, it is most likely in one of these four locations for the US market:

    Marysville, Ohio – Honda Accord

    East Liberty, Ohio – Accord Crosstour, Most Honda CRV’s

    Lincoln, Alabama – Honda Odyssey, Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline

    Greensburg, Indiana – Honda Civic

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  25. 25
    American First

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:47 am)

    firehawk72,

    I bet that this Clarity will be built first in Japan, because that was Kdawg’s question.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  26. 26
    eric_n_dfw

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    eric_n_dfw
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:47 am)

    I like the look of the Clarity – as I’ve stated in other threads, from the front it looks just like the latest Accord or Civic.

    Volt isn’t ugly by any means, but I do hate the decision to make that bottom half of the back bumper only available in black – I think it makes the white model odd looking. Not so bad in other colors, but I like white cars.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  27. 27
    MotoBCT

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MotoBCT
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:54 am)

    firehawk72,

    ‘GM is great at making a new product that pushes the edge with technology’.

    I think GM may be better off offering a safety suite as standard across all vehicles instead of constantly marketing the 4G hotspots.

    People assume safety is a given and Toyota and Honda have been promoting it. Maybe when Superdrive gets introduced, that will be the time it is offered / made standard in more GM products.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  28. 28
    Jeff Cobb

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:00 am)

    Dave G: Jeff,
    Thanks for the shout out!

    Sure thing!

    As for carmakers over promising and under delivering on range estimates, that has been true in many cases. More recently after the Prius Prime was unveiled in NY, Toyota put out press releases saying “22” miles range. It later announced EPA said 25, so that was a case of under promising, over delivering.

    Also 2017 and later hybrids are under a tougher test cycle than before so real world range may be incrementally better. The new 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid was tested under a tougher standard, and though revised over the 2015 (no 2016MY), it only saw a minor bump in numbers. If it had been tested under the 2015 cycle, it might have gotten better than 48mpg combined.

    Regarding range for a PHEV, Honda may be as smart as Toyota at this stage in not hyping the range estimate; we shall see. I personally am not calling it, but if they are smart – consumers now have caught on and are tired of over promise, under deliver – hopefully they will not do that. No automaker ever should have, it serves no one to hype things, but so it goes.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  29. 29
    Jeff Cobb

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:02 am)

    realdb2:
    Good article, thanks.

    If the Clarity will have a lot more space than the Volt, where is the battery stored?

    Also, any mention of a thermal management system for the battery?

    Thanks. Not sure where battery is exactly stored, but it does not block the trunk. I hear there is a pass through with folded down rear seats (not verified though). I suspect they buried it low to maximize cargo and passenger volume.

    I asked about TMS. Martin did not know. Honda had not given him the info.

    What did the 2014 Accord PHEV have? (I have not checked, but that may be an indicator).

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  30. 30
    stuart22

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:07 am)

    The biggest Clarity-over-Volt advantage will show up the day Volt’s federal tax credit disappears. Something about this scenario just is not right.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  31. 31
    HVACman

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    HVACman
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:08 am)

    George S. Bower:
    Hate to say it but GM is getting their b*utt kicked in the PHEV department. This Honda is a great example of beating the Volt by besting it’s rather skimpy interior room.

    The Chrysler Pacifica is another example where GM management has dropped the ball.

    I just don’t understand why GM management refuses to put the Voltec power train in a roomier vehicle.

    Oh that’s right. They just want to sell pick ups and big piggy gas SUVs.

    GM didn’t put the Voltec drive train in ONE roomier vehicle than the Volt – they put it in TWO.

    -the Malibu Hybrid (the Gen 2 FWD Volt drive train without the plug-in)
    -The CT6 PHEV (using a new Voltec RWD drive-train).

    And then we have GM’s long-range BEV-specific global platform which currently hosts the Bolt EV mini-CUV format and portends future products in different body-styles and configurations.

    Ford has…the outmoded Focus EV and Fusion/CMAX Energi PHEVs. Period

    FCA has…the undersized Fiat 500e and the Pacifica Hybrid. Period

    Honda has…the Clarity series that is just now hitting the market

    Toyota has…The Prius and Prius Prime.

    Nissan has the Leaf.

    Only BMW and VW have had electrified product lines as diverse as GM on the market to-date.

    GM was an EV pioneer and continues to take a different approach that promises greater long-term EV success…exploring the entire spectrum of electrified vehicle drive trains, in several different body styles and price markets. And that CT6 drive train has all kinds of future potential with their existing lines. With just a few minor twists, it drops right into their full size RWD Silverados and Yukons.

    Let’s not forget that GM also is at the front of the pack with autonomous vehicle R&D, using the Bolt EV as their primary platform. We can’t say that GM missed the boat. Compared to the other global auto manufacturers, they are captaining the ship.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  32. 32
    American First

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:37 am)

    HVACman,

    You missed the Cadillac XT5 PHEV. See my post #25, and look for the Shanghai Auto Show details where it was presented. Ford will build the Fusion Energi as the Mondeo Energi in China, expanding their presence. Ford also promised a BEV SUV for the Chinese market, so it may arrive for the U.S. market later.
    http://www.carscoops.com/2017/04/ford-mondeo-energi-phev-embarks-on.html

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  33. 33
    !arry4pyro

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    !arry4pyro
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:50 am)

    The Volt was developed from GM’s E-Flex program whose purpose was an electric vehicle propulsion system capable of operating with different sources of generated electricity, i.e., ICE or fuel cell. Honda’s approach seems to follow the same path by developing a video cell that occupied roughly the same weight and volume as a gasoline V6. So there makes it easy to deliver the Clarity as a plug-in gas hybrid, plug-in fuel cell hybrid, or a pure EV.

    Honda is also working with TH on the Next generation fuel cell which they plan to manufacture together.

    GM has the technology but I think they are hesitant to go the fuel cell route until the infrastructure issue has been resolved. I believe a good, but not perfect approach is electric drive for urban driving and hydrogen for long distance travel. It takes about 50 KWH to produce one KG of hydrogen through electrolysis. That KG of hydrogen is good for 65+ miles of range. Why not send solar and wind energy to hydrogen manufacturing and filling stations along the interstate where they can manufacturer hydrogen from local water, and compress it into a form suitable for quick refueling.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  34. 34
    eric_n_dfw

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    eric_n_dfw
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:51 am)

    HVACman,
    What do you mean by “outmoded” when referring to the Ford Fusion Energi? Until GM puts a plug on the Malibu the only PHEV they have that competes with that kind of legroom is the CT-6 PHEV and that’s going to be twice the price.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  35. 35
    firehawk72

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    firehawk72
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:54 am)

    stuart22:
    The biggest Clarity-over-Volt advantage will show up the day Volt’s federal tax credit disappears. Something about this scenario just is not right.

    Yes, this truly is a problem and I wish it were addressed. It should have been structured once a certain number have been sold, but that number should not have been tied to a brand. It should have been tied to the collective. This would have avoided this and Chevy may have actually marketed the Volt instead.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  36. 36
    American First

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (11:55 am)

    eric_n_dfw:
    HVACman,
    What do you mean by “outmoded” when referring to the Ford Fusion Energi? Until GM puts a plug on the Malibu the only PHEV they have that competes with that kind of legroom is the CT-6 PHEV and that’s going to be twice the price.

    I agree 100%. I have a 2014 Fusion Hybrid, it is very comfortable, and it constantly gives me great MPG. It did outsell the Toyota Prius for one month. Maybe Ford hasn’t decided when to upgrade the Energi range with a better battery, but if Ford did so, it can still outrange the Honda Clarity.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  37. 37
    George S. Bower

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (12:05 pm)

    Kdawg: It’s called the CT6.. but expensive and not readily available.(just being snarky)

    EPA ratings just out:
    http://insideevs.com/cadillac-ct6-plugofficial-epa-ratings/

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  38. 38
    volt11

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    volt11
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (12:21 pm)

    I saw this new Clarity at the New York auto show. While I am not a fan of its styling, it actually looks better in person than in photos, IMO. What was PLAINLY evident is that the interior is FAR nicer than the Volt’s. The “floating” console jutting out from the dash is very well done, with a nice matte wood finish on either side. There is also generous use of ultrasuede and interior fit and finish looks built to a standard about 5 times higher than the Volt, and also doesn’t look shared with any other Honda model, unlike the Volt’s strong resemblance inside and out to the considerably cheaper Cruze. The Clarity also has at least 6.6KW charging, compared to the Volt’s measly 3.6KW.

    If it drives well, and that’s a big if, the superior and much larger interior along with its lower price could actually put the Volt on the trailer, so to speak. If it does, I think GM actually has it coming because they made the Volt into a Cruze hybrid with a cheaply finished interior and several luxuries not available. For what it offers, GM priced the new Volt too high, by about $5K by my estimation; I mean if you’re going to finish it like a copy of your own cheap compact, at least price it aggressively.

    All in all, I hope the new competition sends GM back to the drawing board and gets serious about this whole thing. If not, just make EREV a powertrain option in the Cruze, kill the Volt and get it over with. The rest of the world will do the things GM should have been aggressively doing for the last 6 years.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  39. 39
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (12:48 pm)

    volt11:

    If not, just make EREV a powertrain option in the Cruze,

    Yes. Maybe in the Cruze hatch back!

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  40. 40
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (12:57 pm)

    How will / will the Clarity be advertised? Better than GM has handled the Volt? If so, Game Over.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  41. 41
    Kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kdawg
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (12:58 pm)

    American First: I bet that this Clarity will be built first in Japan

    I know the fuel-cell one is.. but wasn’t sure about the PHEV

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  42. 42
    Jackson

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (1:01 pm)

    You don’t buy a Honda for it’s looks, for the most part (and I drive a Fit). Those loyal to the brand love them because of the cars’ other attributes, mainly reliability.

    Having said this, the Honda hybrids have had trouble with aging batteries (from a Japanese supplier, I believe). A friend of mine got a replacement under a hidden warranty, but would have driven her Civic anyway; and she is still loyal to the brand. If the Clarity pack can stand up under use (and this won’t be evident for a few years), GM has a potential problem on it’s hands.

    Another Honda buyer I know refuses to consider any other make.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  43. 43
    firehawk72

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    firehawk72
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (1:24 pm)

    Jackson: You don’t buy a Honda for it’s looks, for the most part (and I drive a Fit).Those loyal to the brand love them because of the cars’ other attributes, mainly reliability.Having said this, the Honda hybrids have had trouble with aging batteries (from a Japanese supplier, I believe).A friend of mine got a replacement under a hidden warranty, but would have driven her Civic anyway; and she is still loyal to the brand.If the Clarity pack can stand up under use (and this won’t be evident for a few years), GM has a potential problem on it’s hands.

    The Hybrid Civics were pretty much a guaranteed failure with just a few years. Had GM managed this, you could bet the news would have beaten it to death.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  44. 44
    SteveSeattle

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    SteveSeattle
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (2:58 pm)

    I have owned a Honda Civic Hybrid and a Gen1 Volt. After reading the comparison I still want to keep in the Volt family.
    The Gen 2 Volt is much easier on the eye. I like its styling and performance. The Honda makes me cringe. I was surprised by the fussiness of the latest Civic rear and the Clarity is worse.
    I use my Volt for local travel and commuting. It is big enough for my family. I am married, 6’5″ and have an 8 year old son. I forecast the need for a roomier vehicle, but not for maybe 5-6 years. The Bolt rear seat space may work. Trunk space not so critical. The Volt’s is big enough.
    I believe the reason we have not seen a midsize Voltec is the US incentives that provide no benefit to increase the range of vehicles offered by a single manufacturer. Hopefully development for the Chinese market will put GM in a good position to add BEV and PHEV models to the US range when the US incentives expire or are replaced with a system that does not penalize the market leaders.
    I think 50 miles AER is enough. I would like to see battery density improvements used to increase passenger and cargo volume in PHEVs. Give the market a PHEV in each class: Cruze, Volt, Malibu, Impala, Trax, Equinox, Traverse, Tahoe, Suburban.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  45. 45
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (3:14 pm)

    Give me a good, thermally controlled pack and 70 -100 AER miles
    with 50 MPG in CS mode with a smaller than Malibu, but larger
    than Cruze format. Add a hatchback and I don’t care who makes
    It short of Yugo, if its $30,000, I’ll buy one.

    It’ll be fun following this Honda PHEV. I’m skeptical too as to
    whether Honda will truly distribute this car or play their
    typical goofy compliance games with it.

    Wow, it’s taken 6 1/2 years since Volt 1 rolled out, but we could
    actually have a van, a midsize sedan and a compact PHEV choice in the
    marketplace – all with 30+ miles all electric range!

    That is something.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  46. 46
    MotoBCT

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MotoBCT
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (3:30 pm)

    volt11:
    I saw this new Clarity at the New York auto show. While I am not a fan of its styling, it actually looks better in person than in photos, IMO. What was PLAINLY evident is that the interior is FAR nicer than the Volt’s.

    At the SF auto show the Honda rep stated the Clarity was intentionally designed with a higher design and material mix for the interior and it shows. More than any other Honda.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  47. 47
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:35 pm)

    I really like the looks of the gen 2 Volt. I like it much better than my gen 1, which isn’t
    so bad, but next to gen 2, looks aging.

    I do have beefs with both cars, especially in the quality of interior dept.. Gen 2 is
    decidedly better in that regard than gen 1 in my opinion. Still, the hard plastics
    are ( cough ) not what I really want in my main drive. The Bolt EV takes that to
    a higher plateau with hard plastic everywhere that actually looks cheap, where the
    Volt gen. 2 finds a way to at least look semi-luxury, while oozing in hard plastics.

    We know and live with this being that we bought the ENGINEERING, not the
    fluff. I enjoy the flowing lines inside the sporty Volt and the Bolt EV’s center
    screen being large and in charge makes up a bit for the harsh environs.

    That said, if the Clarity is akin to say an Acura-ish inside, I’d be game. I look
    at the inside of a car before I judge the outside too harshly. After all, that’s
    where I’m going to live.

    This maturity happened when I bought our Prius in 2007 – honestly the first
    car I ever bought where appearance wasn’t near the top on my priorities list. Sure,
    I wish I had a Tesla Roadster or even a weekend-warrior Porsche Boxster S
    or even a Corvette in my garage – After all, I am at that middle-aged point
    where my bald spot and gray hairs nig me in the mirror each morning. Plus,
    just because I love electric drive doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a carve through
    a mountain or coastline ( Yay! Washington State Hwy 101 ) blast now and
    then.

    The Clarity is uglier, in my book, than a three-box sedan, but more interesting
    than say the new Plug-In VW sedan that just was introduced at Shanghai
    this week. I could drive the Clarity with head held high knowing it was
    giving me 42 gas-free miles and miles of room inside.

    I have to say that the Pacifica Hybrid is nagging in my brain though. It’s
    positives are many and the fact that it’s a Chrysler is the main thing
    that has me gritting my teeth. I will test drive one soon as I can, though.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  48. 48
    sparks

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    sparks
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (6:58 pm)

    !arry4pyro:

    GM has the technology but I think they are hesitant to go the fuel cell route until the infrastructure issue has been resolved.I believe a good, but not perfect approach is electric drive for urban driving and hydrogen for long distance travel.It takes about 50 KWH to produce one KG of hydrogen through electrolysis. That KG of hydrogen is good for 65+ miles of range.Why not send solar and wind energy to hydrogen manufacturing and filling stations along the interstate where they can manufacturer hydrogen from local water, and compress it into a form suitable for quick refueling.

    I can’t see the point of hydrogen, with a low efficiency just barely over 1 mile per KWH, when batteries are delivering 3 to 4 miles per KWH.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  49. 49
    sparks

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    sparks
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (7:00 pm)

    James:

    I do have beefs with both cars, especially in the quality of interior dept.. Gen 2 is
    decidedly better in that regard than gen 1 in my opinion. Still, the hard plastics
    are ( cough ) not what I really want in my main drive. The Bolt EV takes that to
    a higher plateau with hard plastic everywhere that actually looks cheap, where the
    Volt gen. 2 finds a way to at least look semi-luxury, while oozing in hard plastics.

    We know and live with this being that we bought the ENGINEERING, not the
    fluff. I enjoy the flowing lines inside the sporty Volt and the Bolt EV’s center
    screen being large and in charge makes up a bit for the harsh environs.

    That said, if the Clarity is akin to say an Acura-ish inside, I’d be game. I look
    at the inside of a car before I judge the outside too harshly. After all, that’s
    where I’m going to live.

    Your sure got that right. The low quality, buzzing and rattling interior of my Gen 2 Volt has become a pet peeve of mine. I finally gave up trying to stop the rattles, and blast my iPod through the sound system instead. But the sound system reliability is also disgraceful, and my iPod usually cuts out and fails to restart for most of my 30-minute commute. Give me a competitive offering from Honda, with its quality interiors, and I’m gone. That despite my huge admiration for the GM engineering team that did the power train so well.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  50. 50
    Big Game James

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Big Game James
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (7:36 pm)

    off-topic:

    GM says Venezuela has seized its car plant

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/20/news/gm-venezuela-plant-seized/

    General Motors says it will immediately halt operations in Venezuela after its plant in the country was unexpectedly seized by authorities.

    The automaker said the seizure showed a “total disregard” of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  51. 51
    Rashiid Amul

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (9:51 pm)

    Frankly, the 42 miles AER kills it for me. I’m not interested in less range as I want more range. I will stick with the Volt.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  52. 52
    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College
     Says

     

    Apr 21st, 2017 (10:23 pm)

    A good response to the plug in Honda:

    would be a Volt SS of course,

    which,
    based on what is already known in analyzing our Gen 1 capabilities and reliabilities,

    everything to do it is ALREADY THERE!

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  53. 53
    MnVikes

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MnVikes
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (1:17 am)

    Rashiid Amul:
    Frankly, the 42 miles AER kills it for me.I’m not interested in less range as I want more range.I will stick with the Volt.

    Considering if it’s legit, the 42 miles would be an increase over my MY13, I’d strongly consider upgrading to the Clarity. Shame on GM for sitting on a great power train for so long and letting the competition take over. A larger sedan, crossover, SUV, minivan should be rolling out with the Voltec drive ala Toyota’s HSD.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  54. 54
    JeffNY

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JeffNY
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (3:24 am)

    George S. Bower,

    “I just don’t understand why GM management refuses to put the Voltec power train in a roomier vehicle.”

    Not only is it in the CT6, it’s in the Malibu Hybrid as well. I imagine as battery costs continues to decline and as battery power density increases we’ll see more vehicles (and SUV’s and trucks) using Voltec power trains, that also have longer pure EV range. It’s easy to criticize GM and say “Why doesn’t GM…..” but at the end of the day GM has to be able to sell these vehicles. I look at Tesla and almost laugh. They have done amazing things, but even after all their preaching to promote EV’s, what do they sell? $85,000 Model S and $120,000 Model X. I think most Model 3’s will transact in the mid to high $40’s too, once options are added. Yea, we all want EV’s with huge range! But the math has to pencil.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  55. 55
    Dave G

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (5:58 am)

    Nelson: GM needs to consider pairing the BoltEV battery with Voltec power train in a larger Sedan and or SUV.

    Nelson: Let me clarify. The new Voltec set up should increase the battery size from 18.4 kWh to 30 kWh, which is half the size of the BoltEV battery. Very doable in larger Sedan or SUV while maintaining >50 AER in a larger format vehicle.

    I’d say 30 kWh is still a bit high. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets 33 miles all-electric range on 16 kWh, and it’s much larger than a typical sedan or SUV.

    With this in mind, I’d say 24 kWh would probably yield >50 miles AER in a typical sedan or SUV.

    This is important because Li/Ion batteries aren’t getting much smaller or lighter.

    Back in 2008, Elon Musk observed that in general, battery energy density is improving by 7% per year. Compared with Moore’s law for semiconductors, back in the 70’s, Gordon Moore observed that integrated circuits were doubling their density every 2 years – a much faster rate of improvement.

    In both cases, many people have misinterpreted these predictions to include cost improvements. In other words, people thought semi-conductors would be half the cost in 2 years, and people now think batteries will become cheaper by 7% per year.

    These are both incorrect interpretations.

    With semiconductors, average chip prices actually increased, but the new chips could do a lot more.

    With batteries, while the 7% size/weight reduction per year has been generally accurate, cost improvements have been much, much faster.

    For example, today, I can buy 10x 18650 cells for as little as $8.47 on amazon.com.
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=me%3DA2MQH67N57UZ7V&field-keywords=18650

    These are advertised as 5300 mAh, but such claims are wildly exaggerated. A typical 18650 cell is only around 2600 mAh, or 2.6 Ah. At 3.7 volts, that’s 9.62 Wh for each cell, or 96.2 Wh for the ten pack. So $8.47 / 96.2 Wh = 8.8 cents/Wh, or $88 per kWh.

    Let me repeat that: $88/kWh. That’s retail on amazon.com.

    Bottom line: I believe Li/Ion batteries will get much cheaper, but they’ll still be big and heavy.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  56. 56
    Dave G

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave G
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (6:44 am)

    Rashiid Amul: Frankly, the 42 miles AER kills it for me. I’m not interested in less range as I want more range. I will stick with the Volt.

    With what we know now, I’d tend to agree.

    When it comes time to replace our Volt, we’ll probably get another Volt. It’s been a great car.

    We also make frequent trips to Manhattan to visit our daughter. It’s about 25 miles each way to the Park&Ride just outside the tunnel. If we’re bringing more stuff than we can carry on the bus, we park in the city, about 30 miles each way. The Volt’s extra 11 miles rated AER will also be useful for normal driving, especially in the winter when range goes down significantly.

    But we tend to own our cars for a long time, and our 2013 Volt is still working like new. With the Volt’s horrible resale value (still don’t know why this is), we’re in no hurry to trade up.

    For our other car, we’re looking at the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. 33 miles AER should be enough for a second car. It’s just that I hate leather seats. Hopefully, they’ll offer a trim option with cloth seats for the 2018 model year.

    If not, we may end up buying another used Volt as our third car, and a regular gas engine mini-van or SUV for when we need the cargo space. Used Volts are a fantastic deal!

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  57. 57
    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (6:58 am)

    The OEM design commitment is between 5 and 7 years for various technologies, so it always appears that they apparently leap frog each other.

    But I would not be so comfortable to assume a GM competitor would have the same low cost of service as well worked out for these new technologies.

    Just a word to the wise.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  58. 58
    American First

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (4:25 pm)

    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College:
    The OEM design commitment is between 5 and 7 years for various technologies, so it always appearsthat they apparently leap frog each other.

    But I would not be so comfortable to assume a GM competitor would have the same low cost of service as well worked out for these new technologies.

    Just a word to the wise.

    I see what you mean with your experiences in vehicle servicing. That new Honda hybrid may be a nightmare to service and repair, and I see Honda passing the cost to the unsuspecting buyers.

    Domestic brands are easier to service, since they know that the highest cost is labor, not the parts, so the engineers design simple disassembly methods to make that work easier for the service shops. I found many YouTube videos on how to service my Ford Fusion, using simple hand tools. I have replaced most of the incandescent interior and exterior lamps with LEDs. My next job will be with the mirror “puddle” lights.

    Quite a difference from the cars of the past!

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  59. 59
    deeks

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    deeks
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (4:27 pm)

    Well written comparison-should be a fine competitor,except for looks.
    My 2017 Volt LT (Big Island,HI) regularly shows 87 electric miles following full charge.Of course we have warmer temperatures and slower driving patterns-we drive for efficiency,not performance.
    Note that uphill driving significantly increases electric mile useage,so many times we prefer HOLD mode for that purpose.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  60. 60
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Apr 22nd, 2017 (7:00 pm)

  61. 61
    joe

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    Apr 23rd, 2017 (7:54 am)

    Even if the Honda was just as good, I’d buy the Volt because it’s American. In my household nobody buys foreign! Amen.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  62. 62
    eric_n_dfw

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    eric_n_dfw
     Says

     

    Apr 23rd, 2017 (9:23 am)

    If you’re “buying American” then a Toyota or Honda is probably your best investment in American jobs: https://www.cars.com/articles/the-2016-carscom-american-made-index-1420684865874/

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  63. 63
    American First

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    American First
     Says

     

    Apr 23rd, 2017 (10:18 am)

    eric_n_dfw:
    If you’re “buying American” then a Toyota or Honda is probably your best investment in American jobs: https://www.cars.com/articles/the-2016-carscom-american-made-index-1420684865874/

    The day GM or Ford buys Honda or Toyota, then they can be called “American”.Why? Because the brand is foreign, assembly cost per car is only in the hundreds, and the income and profits goes to Japan. The Chevy Spark is assembled in South Korea but it is “American” for the same reason.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  64. 64
    Mike

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mike
     Says

     

    Apr 23rd, 2017 (11:46 am)

    firehawk72:
    American First,

    Honda is a Japanese automobile manufacturer and a major producer of automobiles for the world market. While there are Honda cars that are still made in Japan, many are actually built in Mexico and the United States. Depending on the model, if a Honda car is produced for the North American Market, it is most likely produced and assembled at a Honda Facility in either Ohio or Alabama. While Ohio and Alabama do the bulk share of Honda manufacturing in their facilities, there are actually 11 Honda manufacturing plants found throughout the continental US that produce either parts for Honda vehicles or the actual vehicles themselves.

    In fact, Honda has been a company in the United States since 1959 and employs thousands of people all over the US. If you want to know where Hondas are made, it is most likely in one of these four locations for the US market:

    That’s all true, but their hybrids have all be built in Japan and exported.
    You can expect Japanese quality, where almost nothing goes wrong for a good 8 years.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  65. 65
    Mike

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mike
     Says

     

    Apr 23rd, 2017 (11:50 am)

    I’m concerned about GM management of the Volt.
    And how they say they listened to previous Volt owners when designing the new Volt.
    Didn’t anyone say the old and new Volt needed more rear seat headroom?
    Also, Volt reliability has been slipping in the latest Consumer Reports issues. Is GM ignoring this issue. Or, with a Trump presidency do they want it to Fail?

    Maybe GM’s lazer focus on pickup’s and large SUV’s means they will be destroyed by Tesla.
    And that’s surprising because they did build one of the Best Plugins out there.
    I don’t understand why they don’t expand the line with a wagon and fix the rear seat headroom and leg room issue.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  66. 66
    JStrnad

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    JStrnad
     Says

     

    Apr 23rd, 2017 (1:31 pm)

    I’ve been planning to buy a Volt this summer, but this Clarity is a contender. I’ve owned Hondas and liked them, and I would appreciate the larger back seat and trunk.

    A lot will depend on the price vs. what I can actually buy the Volt for, and that all-electric range. It needs to be TRULY all-electric. As someone who typically drives fewer than 10 miles a day, the Clarity range works for me if the gas engine isn’t always kicking in. And of course, I’d need to drive it.

    The styling isn’t to my taste, but it’s far less obnoxious than the Prius Prime. I could live with it quite easily.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  67. 67
    Joyce Finch

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Joyce Finch
     Says

     

    Apr 24th, 2017 (5:37 am)

    I am looking forward to being more spacious and electric plugging in it. The basic concern is still waiting to resolve.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  68. 68
    Bruce A Embry

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bruce A Embry
     Says

     

    Apr 24th, 2017 (8:00 pm)

    Hi All,
    Now, when will GM add Voltec drivetrain to the Malibu. When my wife and I test drove the volt a few years ago, we like the power and driveability a lot, but the car did not have the room we were looking for. So we purchase a Malibu Eco (Eassist).

    Our Malibu will be 5 years old come October. It would be great if we could buy a new Malibu with the Voltec powertrain.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply