Archive for the ‘General’ Category


May 07

More Details About the E-Flex Opel Program


More good news for our European friends, GM CEO Rick Wagoner gave out some more details about the Opel E-Flex program.

For one thing, he seemed to acknowledge a shift in plans, noting the Opel Flextreme would go on to production and interestingly have even more interior room than the initial concept.

Also he told reporters there would be other Opel E-Flex models as well.

He confirmed development was taking place in Michigan, but added that the cars would be built in Germany.

For our community in the states, keep in mind that what is done for Opel may be done for Saturn, indeed GM has already revealed the Saturn Flextreme concept.

Looks like the E-Flex portfolio beyond the Volt is beginning to take shape. Not a minute too soon considering the recent precipitous drop in SUV and truck sales reflecting higher gas prices.

Source (just-auto ) subscription required


May 05

Gas and the Chevy Volt: Change Your Fuel, Not Your Oil


As we know, the Chevy Volt should be able to drive for 40 or more miles on pure electricity when fully charged. Since most drivers travel less than 40 miles per day, it is quite possible gas could sit in the tank without ever or hardly ever being burned. Indeed, GM engineers decided to downsize the tank from 12 gallons in the concept to some smaller amount perhaps around 7 gallons. We were also advised that the car could run without any fuel in the tank at all should the driver desire.

It is frequently asked then how the Volt might deal with gas sitting for too long in the tank and getting stale. I discussed this with Volt lead engineer Andrew Farah, who in fact confirmed the Volt team is thinking about this:

GM-Volt How can you deal with the gas getting stale if not used?

Farah: We have talked about it. Remember its (the tank) a complete sealed semi-pressurized system. What make gas go bad is some of the volatile evaporate as well as the absorption of water. The good stuff evaporates and the bad stuff condenses. The tank is special to prevent this, but will it be enough? We don’t know. Over the next couple of years were going to do some work to make sure we’ve got that understood. But we still like to say,’ maybe you will change your fuel rather than change your oil’.

There is also some debate about how big we should make the tank. During the discussion in New York (Volt Nation) some of your guys said maybe it should just be a gallon, they said “I’m always going to run on EV, I just need a little backup to get me to another gas station. This is something the customer can choose whether to put a gallon in or not.”

Farah also noted the tank will likely contain a specialized system for sensing water accumulation, and that perhaps a dashboard light might advise you if your gas has indeed finally gone bad.


Apr 30

J.D. Power: 300,000 Chevy Volts Will be Sold by 2014


There is an interesting and thoughtful article about A123, and how it went from a handshake between an entrepreneur and a scientist into a company with 1000 employees and a chance at being GMs Volt battery supplier.

Buried in that story is a striking statement that I have never heard or seen.

We debate and wonder how many Volts GM will churn out in its initial production run, with estimates putting it anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 cars.

The well known global marketing firm JD Power and Associates has apparently estmated that GM should be able to sell 300,000 Volts by 2014.

Can anyone say 300,001?

Source (Technology Review )

Thanks to Glen M. for the tip.


Apr 29

Take a Brief Reader Survey has just been signed to the Internet advertising agency Federated Media. This company is significant, they are the ad partners for such massive sites as Techcrunch, BoingBoing, and Digg.

This relationship will allows us access to high quality direct advertisers and actually help us spread the Volt word to corporate America.

Sorry to do this, but they require me to post a brief readership survey. I would appreciate it if you could take a moment or two to fill it out (link below). It is anonymous.

Anyway, since they will give me back the results, I will post them back here. It might actually be interesting to see a demographic profile for the typical reader of




Apr 14

Chevy Volt Vehicle Line Engineer on the Reduced Gas Storage Capacity


Our last discussion regarding GMs decision to reduce the size of on-board gasoline storage was very productive. We stayed on topic, which was very helpful. Most comments were positive, although there were certainly some who were unhappy about it.

I pointed out our discussion to Tony Posawatz who is GM’s Chevy Volt/E-Flex vehicle line engineer (shown above). He had this to say:

"After closely scrutinizing a lot of customer driving data, we strongly believe that given so few driving samples that would require more the 400 miles in one stretch, why would anyone want to carry all that extra petroleum and gas tank around. It takes up space, mass and hampers efficiency.

Given the number of fueling stations everywhere and electrical outlets (and hopefully public charging stations in the future), no VOLT customer would be left w/o options to get some "juice".

Remember, the VOLT customer has more choices than any other car for re-fueling and a larger battery than anyone else to extract the most possible from the grid. We have found a cure for the common illness known as ‘range anxiety’."

It’s great that we can communicate collectively directly from here to the actual Volt development team in nearly real time.


Apr 05

Higher Resolution Chevy Volt Spy Photo 1/3 Camouflage Model


I was able to get in touch with the photographer who caught the video, reporter Jeffery Gilbert. I found out that GM actually had given him permission to take that video.

As such he afforded me with the highest resolution video available, from which is the clip above. He took it with a flip camera. I cleaned and sharpened it a bit, but I’m no photoshopper. Slightly different angle (side view).