Archive for the ‘General’ Category

 

Oct 20

Europe Is Awakening From Diesel-Induced Sleep to Chase New Electric (Car) Dreams

 

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After years of growing Europe into a bastion of diesel-fueled passenger vehicles – and with new regulations forcing a rethinking of all internal combustion engines – its major automakers are announcing an about face.

Top executives from BMW, Daimler/Mercedes, and the VW Group – VW, Porsche and Audi in the U.S. – have been issuing forceful electric car projections of late that could make Tesla’s plans for 500,000 vehicles in 2018, and a million by 2020 seem only ordinary.

In an industry where big talk and poor follow-up and execution have been seen before, the skeptical will retain reasons for disbelief until they see more proof, but automakers are forecasting big numbers and putting plans in motion suggesting this is for real.

Forces Driving the Change

In 2014 European new vehicle purchases were 53-percent diesels in a 12.3-million annual market – down from 15.6 million peak – and major carmakers of Europe have long touted their benefits which were profitable to them, and seemingly let them meet regulations.

The will to switch to electric cars certainly was not anything major, but with tightening EU emissions goals of 95 grams CO2 per kilometer by 2020 plus a new tougher testing protocol being implemented for 2017, the avoidance behavior just won’t cut it anymore.

Remember these days? EU execs have also been overheard pooh-poohing plug-in cars, but winds have shifted.

Remember these days? EU execs have also been overheard pooh-poohing plug-in cars, but winds have shifted.

The new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) is expected to hold vehicles to closer account in terms of the gap between official mpg and greenhouse gas ratings and results from driving in the real world.

This could be a problem for automakers who already are not on track to make the goal under the more-liberal New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) procedure, and who face millions of euros in potential penalties.

For years it had been known – and a blind eye had often been turned – that on-road emissions can exceed “by an order of magnitude” in some instances what the lax NEDC tests indicated.

When the scandal of Volkswagen’s Dieselgate emissions cheating fiasco hit last September affecting ultimately more than 11 million cars, outrage grew and a reactionary public decided they’d had had enough of diesel vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Will America Avoid Europe’s ‘Clean’ Diesel Problems?

This sentiment actually only played into pre-existing conditions. Environmental advocates and others had already been complaining and working to even ban diesels from places like London from a technology that – while it might be made as clean as gas engines with enough emissions controls – was not being held to account by ineffective European standards.

Not Just About Diesels

Although diesels and most poignantly the VW Dieselgate scandal have precipitated a tipping point, EU regulatory demands equally confront gasoline engine vehicles which are just as likely to experience unrealistic test results.

“[A] recent analysis indicates that the ‘real-world’ performance – that is, achieved when driving on-road under normal conditions – is much worse than suggested by the official values (measured in the laboratory using the NEDC driving cycle),” said a report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). “An ICCT meta-analysis of on-road driving data on average, the vehicles tested show NOx emission levels that are an order of magnitude higher than the Euro 6 limit. Remarkable performance differences among the vehicles tested were found, with a few vehicles performing substantially better than others.”

Serious particle smog episode in London. © Simon Birkett 2014.

Serious particle smog episode in London. © Simon Birkett 2014.

Want specific examples of inaccurate estimated under NEDC tests? How about the 2015 Toyota Prius. The U.S. EPA says it gets 48 mpg combined, but it’s rated in Europe for 67 mpg if converted to U.S. mpg – and emissions are accordingly under-stated.

Just as bad, if not worse, is the test for electric vehicles. The 2015 Nissan Leaf which the EPA says can travel 84 miles on a full charge is rated 120 miles in Europe.

The new WLTP plan has automakers so concerned, there’s even a move away from conventional downsized engines because 2017 tests will show while they do OK under NEDC, they will emit more in the real world.

This too will cost automakers to reverse a trend and go toward larger engines expected to work less hard, and emit less on the road.

As for Tesla’s rise to success and taking some share from the majors, EV fans often cite this, and it is another factor spurring change.

To be sure, it’s a confluence of elements pushing the market forward, and bottom line is the pinch appears to be on, and Europe’s automakers now say they are on board with plug-in cars.

Volkswagen Group

VW I.D. Concept to be produced for 2020.

VW I.D. Concept to be produced for 2020.

Volkswagen Group AG has 13 brands, but Americans are most familiar with Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche.

These latter two particularly have been affected by Tesla, and VW Group is otherwise the focal point of the big bad diesel scandal, and is working to make good.

Aside for committing billions in settlements to EV charging stations – which can then serve its own future products, along with those of other manufacturers – it’s said its Strategy 2025 will see 30 new battery electric vehicles by 2020.

This is alongside plug-in hybrids and “mobility solutions” also in the works and VW Group CEO Matthias Muller announced double-digit billions for electrified vehicles requiring batteries amounting to “150 gigawatt-hours, a huge procurement undertaking.”

“The company estimates that such vehicles could then account for around a quarter of the global passenger car market,” said the company in a statement. “The Volkswagen Group forecasts that its own BEV [battery electric vehicle] sales will be between two and three million units in 2025, equivalent to some 20 to 25 percent of the total unit sales expected at that time.”

BMW

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Among European legacy makers, BMW has planted an early stake with its sustainable i-Series and more recently its iPerformance models – what it calls its plug-in hybrids.

This year at the Paris Motor Show, BMW’s top brass sat out to convene on what to do with looming threats and challenges in the marketplace.

The outcome was announcement of a similar percentage that VW Group made for plug-in vehicles on the same timeline – 15-25 percent of all BMW and Mini brand vehicles are to plug-in by 2025, said CEO Harald Krueger.

“With more range and more infrastructure being available, you’ll see more electrified vehicles,” said Krueger. “We need some time for this movement and development, but it’s nothing that’ll go away.”

Considering 2015’s sale of 2.25 million vehicles, and assuming further growth, this could project to well over half a million plug-ins per year when the company hits this ambitious pace.

Daimler

Generation EQ concept revealed at Paris Motor Show.

Generation EQ concept revealed at Paris Motor Show.

At the Paris Motor Show Mercedes parent Daimler – coincidence of coincidences – also projected 15-25 percent of all sales will be plug-in by 2025.

In 2015, the automaker’s profits were up 23 percent to 8.9 billion euros and global sales were up 12 percent at 2.853 million. By 2025, it’s hoping to be selling more, but 25 percent of current sales is 712,000 plug-in cars.

SEE ALSO: Mercedes-Benz Design Chief Keeping Brand Legacy and Promoting Innovation in EQ Electric Cars

The announcement for the rise of plug-in cars was made by CEO Dieter Zetsche along with the introduction of the company’s new EQ electrified vehicle brand – sort of a counterpart to BMW’s i brand, done Mercedes style.

Mercedes, like the other upscale manufacturers trades on brand perception, and Zetsche all but confirmed Tesla has put a dent in that perception saying Tesla was on its target list as it aims to be the global leader by 2025.

“At that point in time, obviously yes. We had set for ourselves a target five years ago … to become the number one car premium manufacturer. That was supposed to be reached in 2020, [but] it seems that we are awful close already,” said Zetsche.

“So we can set a new target to ourselves and that is equally to be the leader in electric premium vehicles as well — latest by 2025,” he continued. “This includes not just our current competitors, but new entries as well, including Tesla,” he said.

Implications

Another German brand – Opel, owned by General Motors – actually sets a benchmark in affordable products with its rebadged Chevy Bolt called the Ampera-e. It's rated 500 km (310 miles) on the NEDC cycle and the U.S. EPA rates the Bolt for 238 miles.

Another German brand – Opel, owned by General Motors – actually sets a benchmark in affordable products with its rebadged Chevy Bolt called the Ampera-e. It’s rated 500 km (310 miles) on the NEDC cycle and the U.S. EPA rates the Bolt for 238 miles.

Given automakers’ percentages of plug-in sales are today closer to 1-2 percent – more or less – announcements by the crowned heads of the European car industry are tantamount to declaring a pending sea change in how vehicles are propelled.

These companies are all reporting record profits and sales, and supported by the kinds of sales revenues Tesla is still working to secure with its Model 3 and beyond.

They also have engineering capability, design and production experience, supply chain support, and strong brand recognition – thus nothing really stopping them from keeping their promises short of any unforeseen lack of will to make it so.

How this will affect Tesla could be positive, as some believe including ostensibly Elon Musk who says he wants to instigate an industry, but the reverse has also been postulated.

A piece this month by veteran auto journalist Paul A. Eisenstein asks whether the sleeping giants that are the EU car industry may beat Tesla at its own game.

Plans are for plug-ins, but on a back shelf for potential later retrieval are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Regulators favor these too, and just about all major automakers have some commitment to them if or when challenges are overcome.

Plans are for plug-ins, but on a back shelf for potential later retrieval are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Regulators favor these too, and just about all major automakers have some commitment to them if or when challenges are overcome.

At this stage – while undoubtedly people have strong opinions – it’s all conjecture. Assuming European sales projections do come to pass, more certain is competition will increase, technology will improve, and costs will come down. This includes for the most-signifcant cost factor – batteries – which have already plummeted from upwards of $1,000/kWh to around $200/kWh, and all sorts of synergies besides could follow.

Electrified vehicle advocates might also therefore hope, if not assume, that the European market will continue growing from a projected 15-25 percent electrified cars in 2025 to higher percentages.

SEE ALSO: What’s Really Motivating Automakers To Build Electric Cars?

Indeed, European regulators – as true in California – have their sites on full zero emissions as a goal by 2050, and it has been regulations to date that have given rise and coaxed the marketplace into being.

But for now though, only a few specific plug-in models have actually been announced or previewed as concepts for production between now and 2020, so much more will need to be shown.

This article appears also at HybridCars.com.

 

Oct 19

LG Chem VP Predicts More Than 30,000 Chevy Bolts Will Be Sold Next Year

 

By Jon LeSage

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General Motors will sell more than 30,000 Chevrolet Bolts next year after its launch late in 2016.

So says the vice president of the Bolt’s battery supplier, LG Chem, and LG Electronics was also instrumental in building several components GM’s 238-mile electric car.

Vice President Kang Chang-beom made the Bolt sales projection during a conference call on the company’s third-quarter earnings.

That would put the all-electric Bolt in direct competition with the Tesla Model S about a year before the Tesla Model 3 will be released. According to HybridCar’s Dashboard report, the Model S led U.S. plug-in sales last year with 25,202 units sold and the most EVs sold in one year was just over 30,000 in 2014 by the Nissan Leaf.

So far this year, the Model S continues to lead U.S. sales at 21,400 sold through the end of September. With about 4,100 units sold in September, it could easily bump past the 30,000 mark by the end of this year.

SEE ALSO:  ‘Not a compliance car,’ GM says 2017 Chevy Bolt can meet demand of over 50,000 per year

Competition could be even more fierce with the Tesla Model 3. The Chevy Bolt has been starting at $37,495 including shipping, prior to federal tax incentives and state rebates. The Tesla Model 3 is projected by Tesla to be available for a base price of $35,000 and an expected average selling price with upgrade packages around $42,000. While it’s a year away, the miles per charge for the base model is expected to be at least 215.

Production volume may also be at a different level. Tesla predicts it will be ready to manufacture 500,000 Tesla models – the bulk of them Model 3 – at its Fremont, Calif.-plant in 2018.

Earlier this year, General Motors said that the 2017 Chevy Bolt would not be production limited and is “not a compliance car.” The automaker said it will be able to meet demand of over 50,000 Bolts a year.

The matchup between the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 will be closely watched. Tesla may be able to scale up production to a record level for electric cars, but will consumers buy enough of them for a decent return on investment?

General Motors is taking a more conservative approach. For now.

Automotive News

This article appears also at HybridCars.com.

 

Oct 18

China Now Ties US For Leadership In Cumulative Global Plug-In Sales

 

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Among the nations of the world, the 522,519 cumulative plug-in electrified vehicles (PEVs) sold in the U.S. makes it the world’s number one market – and China with 521,649 through September is now technically tied.

Both countries for now are behind Europe by a bit less than 50,000 units, and their essential tie is because some models sold in China are excluded from its domestic-only total. This moment otherwise is like a snapshot in time as faster-growing China will soon enough surpass all.

The U.S.-China tie thus marks the last month for the foreseeable future, if not forever, that the U.S. holds the global number one ranking. By October’s end, China, which has been tracking with 30,000 monthly sales will in all likelihood eclipse the U.S. which may buy around 14,000-16,000 in a month.

Europe will then be in its sites, and China’s passing of it is just a matter of maybe a few months.

Qualified Picture

The wiggle room in the “tie” comes from a few factors including that China’s total excludes import sales, such as from Tesla, and BMW i-series – for which reliable data is not now available – so if these were counted it is likely already ahead.

VW GTE.

VW GTE.

Counts go back to 2005 for China, and 2008 for the U.S. but China was like a dry desert for PEV sales – or what it calls New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) – until 2014 when things exploded, and continue to accelerate.

Notable also is this is a comparison of passenger vehicles. If all vehicle segments were counted, China – being the world leader in electrified bus sales with 173,000 though December 2015 – would have at least 733,447 NEVs sold.

That right there already makes it the top market.

Similarities

Aside from the momentary tie, other similarities between the U.S. can be observed.

For one, the top-selling brands this calendar-year-to-date in each country are domestic. For the U.S., it’s Tesla with an estimated 34,300 (out of 53,722 globally). For China it is BYD, with 74,186 units delivered in China alone.

BYD Qin.

BYD Qin.

BYD sales figures for other countries are not available, but this otherwise means BYD which last year was the world’s best-selling plug-in brand is again this year by a wider margin.

Will BYD passenger cars come to the U.S.? So far, it has North American operations, but is focusing on small-scale fleet cars, and buses, and has not made the big move to establishing a broader import and sales presence in the U.S., or sought to produce domestically.

Some of BYD’s cars like the Qin plug-in hybrid would satisfy American tastes, being fast and with more EV range than any gas-electric car sold in the U.S., aside from the Chevy Volt or BMW i3 REx.

The Qin is of course already popular in China, and has accounted for 65,178 cumulative sales to date since its inception. The top-selling model this year however is now the BYD Tang SUV, with 26,788 units just from January-September, and this also could prove popular if BYD brought it stateside.

BYD Tang PHEV.

BYD Tang PHEV.

Similar also is market share. The U.S. saw its best plug-in sales month ever in September just as it was about to lose its cumulative top selling status, with 1.12 percent of the market and a record 16,069 sales. In China, September plug-in sales accounted for 1.16 percent with 29,699 sales.

SEE ALSO: China’s BYD Tang Hybrid SUV Has More Power Than a Corvette Stingray

Calendar year to date, China reports 209,359 domestically produced sales. The U.S. reports 109,513 imported and domestic.

Where the track record between the U.S. and China are not similar, however, is that China has had a spate of fraud among its domestic automakers claiming sales of vehicles on paper only.

China Trims Electrified Car Incentives As ‘Scoundrels’ Grab What They Can

While the U.S. has had some failed startups, like Fisker Automotive, which left taxpayers in the lurch, the degree of blatant cheating China has experienced has not been reported here. Authorities in China are reportedly working to close the potential for dishonest dealing.

How are Other Countries Doing?

By far, the global total of 1,785,000 total PEVs on the road are thanks to the U.S., China, and Europe.

The U.S. and China make up 29.2 percent of this, Europe accounts for 31.9 percent, and another country of note, Japan, makes up 8.1 percent.

SEE ALSO: September 2016 Dashboard

The top 10 – under the big three U.S., China and Europe – are led by Japan with about 145,000 cumulative and which is one of five in the world that have over 100,000 cumulative PEV sales through September.

The other two are Norway (over 121,000), and France, which just crossed 100,000 in early October. The Netherlands is also soon due to cross the milestone, and now has more than 98,000 PEV sales.

Rounding out the list are UK with about 90,000, Germany with almost 67,000, Sweden with over 26,000, and Canada with about 25,000.

Looking Ahead

We’ve been reporting China’s rising for more than the past couple years and there are optimistic and pessimistic views on the reality that it is now the world’s biggest vehicle market.

In neutral terms, it is clear that the central-government controlled Communist country has the will and capability to incentivize the industry and spur sales more than the U.S. It’s also aided by its larger population, and growing domestic national product.

A pessimistic view is the country, which has seen more than its share of intellectual property theft and even cloning of whole cars, is aggressively leveraging its massive population and growth to attract the world’s best automakers to set up shop.

This is a whole discussion beyond the scope of this article, but to simply observe the optimistic view, China may become a fertile ground of future innovation as the legacy makers and its own budding domestic industry continue to innovate.

Oh, sharp looking car. Is it a Tesla? Nope! It's made by Youxia Motors, don't you know? It's a lot like the Tesla, said its more than a little ambitious maker, maybe too much like it say others.

Oh, sharp looking car. Is it a Tesla? Nope! It’s made by Youxia Motors, don’t you know? It’s a lot like the Tesla, said its more than a little ambitious maker, maybe too much like it say others.


Already we’ve seen such phenomena as General Motors developing its Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid for China, making its world debut there, and then choosing to import it back to the U.S., instead of producing it domestically in its home market.

SEE ALSO: General Motors Announces China Electrification ‘Roadmap’

And GM is not alone in devoting resources to China’s plug-in growth market. Other carmakers have and are expected to continue developing vehicles that could be exported, or provide the basis for other models in the growing global market.

So for what it is worth, as China takes the role of clear-cut global leader, others stand to benefit, and we shall see where this all goes.

This article appears also at HybridCars.com.

 

Oct 17

How the rest of the world views your electric vehicle

 

By Mark Smolinski

volt fishermans village

Four recent encounters have clarified a few things for me regarding how other people feel about my electric car. Since half of the encounters involved an obnoxious attitude, EV advocates need to be reminded that all of our banter in forums is merely “preaching to the choir” and does not engage us in how the public actually feels about automotive electrification. I would also assert that other EV owners and advocates need to head to polls in a few weeks with 100-percent participation; our viewpoint is a minority viewpoint and some would gladly take away our EV driving rights if given the power to do so.

overoilplate

My wife told me last evening about part 2 of an EV discussion she had with one of her customers. Part 1 involved an obnoxious denial (and I will come back to this word again) that an electric vehicle could actually be driven from FL to NY. He told her that after her 40 miles (in her Volt) she could call him to come pick her up. She not only tried to explain about the Volt’s gas engine backup, but she also described the Tesla Supercharging network. He would have none of it. [I will use this phrase again!] Apparently, she saw him again yesterday and he had a very different attitude. He must have either digested what she said or researched it on his own, as he had to revisit his previous intransigence he demonstrated with her and tell her that he truly had no clue that [superchargers] existed, and that that changed everything.

tesla-model-x-destination-charger-viaMarkS

This past Sunday, I was out picking apples at a nearby orchard and had one of the Model X’s Falcon Wing Doors open to aid putting my wagon back in the vehicle. Of course, those doors stand out and people notice and often comment. One fellow asked if I had actually driven the X up from FL (noting the license plate versus our current location). I then told him of the supercharging stations, of which he was completely unaware. With a smile, he told me I was wearing the wrong hat, as I had my “Volt” ball cap on. I told him I had THREE of them, too. He told me he would have to talk to his brother-in-law, as money was an issue for him. I then reminded him that GM’s [affordable] Bolt would be out very soon.

Two days ago, I took my daughter and two grandkids off to the Adirondacks for a drive to see the fall foliage in the mountains. We topped off the X at the Utica supercharger and then proceeded to do a 200+ mile loop through the mountains. [FYI, when we left the supercharger, it stated I had 256 miles of range and when I returned to the Utica supercharger, after 212 miles of driving, the estimate still showed 72 miles remaining.] At the little hamlet of Inlet, NY I pulled into the little lakeside park and popped the FWDs to let the grandkids out … which brought out the curious, and the crazy! (all septuagenarians, btw)

A woman and her two friends approached and asked if it was a DeLorean. After explaining what it was, there were many more questions, including about how I managed long trips. This exchange was pleasant, unlike the fellow waiting to engage me who was standing right behind these ladies, just waiting for his turn to “pounce.”

tesla-model-x-distination-charging-2-via-MarkS

My mindset was not one of confrontation, especially after answering so many interested questions just moments before. If I had been more aware initially, I would have seen his body language, as well as his wife’s, for what it actually was- bottled up rage. I should have known that his quivering voice, as well as his wife’s attempt to pull him away, were signs that I was not speaking to a rational person. My electric car, and my pleasant discussion with the ladies were simply things he could not tolerate. Perhaps what angered him the most was my license plate, “OVR OIL.” His first statement was a question, but it was obviously meant as a preface to him lecturing me on his viewpoints. He asked, ‘But where does it get its power from’. It was vividly and immediately clear that I was about to get into one of those dirty-electricity-from-fossil-fuel discussions. However, in the past, when such sentiments appeared, they were quickly averted with my description of solar panels on my FL roof and NY purchase of renewable energy. This fellow would have none of that. It was clear by his statements that he had bought into the far right’s viewpoint that the global economy could not function without fossil fuels. When I told him that my NY renewable electricity bill was essentially the same as my fossil fuel based bill, he shouted, ‘NO IT’S NOT! IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE’. This is the denial that I mentioned I would return to. Fortunately, his denial was accompanied by the run-away mentality and he was headed in the other direction when he was shouting those things.

sunfuelplate

[For the record, I believe I pay about an extra penny per kwh, but it is hard to know for sure with seasonal changes in rates; macroscopically, I see no change since I started buying renewable electricity.]

By this point, I saw this man for what he was- the poster child for the stubborn, mean spirited political party that I used to call my own, before I disavowed all affiliation. It was clear that the only words that would echo in his head were those of far right and alt right media outlets and talking heads. And as someone who keeps track of current news, I had seen horrific reports of that party’s current mantra even bolstering school bullying of ‘Your gonna be deported’ to children of color. I understood that the mere sight of my electric car had made this man so enraged that he shook when he talked. As he walked away, I told him, “Go vote for …” (I don’t think I actually have to write the name, do I?). He hollered back “Go vote for …,” (that person’s opponent) confirming the political orientation of this obnoxious encounter.

My daughter told me, “Don’t worry; he’ll be dead soon” (so his opinion won’t matter). However, I would be remiss in not restating this incident and reminding EV owners that there are people who hate your cars and all they represent. They will vote- and you need to, as well.

Volt-siblings-front-view-2-1024x517

I would also like to come back to another theme of EV ownership- perception of range limitations. I will reiterate my position that GM made a huge mistake in their approach to the Bolt. By doing nothing about charging infrastructure and making DCFC OPTIONAL (really?), they show a complete disconnect with how the public currently sees electric vehicles. Reread the previous discussion to see how people continue to deny that neither the Volt nor the Tesla can drive them where they want to go. This is forefront in their perception! Does GM actually think it can sell the Bolt here in NY with its one (non Tesla) DCFC charger outside the NY-Albany corridor? My experiences in the last week show me that many people are interested in driving electric, if, and only if, they get the exposure to see that the supposed range limitations are myth …

… and for those who never want to drive electric, make sure they don’t get more input at the ballot box then their narrow minded mentality deserves. The current mouthpiece, and dismantler, of the party has a following as dogmatic and determined, as they are hostile. Given that they are already stating that they might lose … because the system is rigged against them … you can believe that every one of them will vote- so you must, as well.

This article originally appeared as an op-ed at InsideEVs.

 

Oct 14

Volt drag races BMW i3 REx

 

Volt_i3

Which is quicker in an eighth-mile drag? GM’s EREV or BMW’s i3 REx with 60 Ah battery?

To find out, David Murray, who runs the “8-bit Guy” YouTube channel about all sorts of arcane vintage computer tech stuff, and etc., staged a proper race in Kennedale, Texas.

As readers here know, the Volt has 294 pounds-feet of torque from 0 rpm. The i3 60 Ah is rated 184 pounds-feet. Total motor power is nominally 125 kW for the bimmer, and 120 kW for the Volt.

Curb weight is another matter. The i3 cuts mass thanks to carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and comes in at 2,899 pounds, versus 3,523 for the Volt.

Another issue is gearing, and possibly even tires. The BMW has narrow section rubber Os – front: P155/70R19, rear: P175/60R19 – but is rear wheel drive.

The FWD Volt has wider 215/50-17 rubber, which may help with the heavier weight, but you can see a wet track did not help with traction, and generally RWD is preferable for quickest launches not factoring traction control which limits slip.

The video shows how they fared. If they’d raced on a circuit track, that would have been interesting as well, given the Volt has a proper coast-to-coast capable genset and fuel capacity to match, versus the repurposed 600cc scooter engine in the BMW and teeny CARB-satisfying fuel tank.

Maybe some other day.

Does anyone think a Volt SS would be a good move for GM? What would its specs look like, if you had your druthers?

 

Oct 13

2017 Chevy Bolt EV Ordering Has Begun In California and Oregon

 

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Reports of orders being placed for the world’s first all-electric car with well over 200 miles range and for under $30,000 after federal subsidy have begun.

Although Chevrolet is not beating the band about it, and it’s unclear if the Orion Township, Mich. assembly line has even started producing the Bolt EVs, customers say they’ve successfully placed orders – not just reserved places in line.

Prior reports were that dealers were allowing customers to sign on to a wish list, as the dealers have received notification that allocations are coming.

Larger dealers like Capitol Chevrolet in San Jose, Northern Calif., reportedly have as many as 110 Bolts coming on the first wave – a sizable number, and counting other dealers, at least 449 Bolts have been allocated to the San Francisco Bay Area.

2017-Chevrolet-BoltEV-004

It appears dealers have been notified on different days, and they are updating their websites as able. Oddly, an Oklahoma dealer was one of the earliest to list the Bolt online, but this is not even a state that will get the first Bolts.

Further, not all Chevy dealers will be stocking the Bolt even when things are fully up and running, as it’s part of an opt-in program requiring special tools and training.

It’s not clear how many dealers will ultimately stock the Bolt, and at this stage, such a question is merely academic.

2017-Chevrolet-BoltEV_info

According to Rick Alpern, the general manager of Keyes Chevrolet in Van Nuys, Southern Calif. which is getting 78, and has sold many already, his General Motors rep said only Oregon and California will get the initial allocation.

Plans for the Bolt EV are to make it for sale in all 50 states. Characteristic of GM, it is doing a staged roll-out, and it’s unclear what the timing is for first deliveries, or what the next states will be that get allocations.

Conjecture over whether the assembly line has even started so as to fulfill this first wave of orders has been mixed. Chevrolet has not announced one way or another.

SEE ALSO: GM Document Says 2017 Chevy Bolt Production Starts In October

The automaker has conservatively said it will have the car for sale by year’s end, and presumably first deliveries could be that soon, while hints of November deliveries have been made by some as well.

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Chevrolet’s Bolt EV is a compact crossover. Its EPA-rated 238 miles range, consists of 217 miles highway, 255 miles city. The EPA pegs it with a respectable 119 MPGe, higher than the 2016 Nissan Leaf which has 107 miles range.

Space utilization is good for the Bolt with battery in floor. It is built on its own dedicated platform, and is not based on the Chevy Sonic, as some have insinuated based on a perceived likeness. It was designed secretly in a GM design studio in Australia with an eye to beat Tesla’s planned Model E – now known as Model 3 – to market.

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Critics have panned it for a lower-than-Tesla DC fast charge rate of just 50 kW nominally. For now, the automaker will only give it charging rate estimates based on the limited capability of the existing 50 kW (125A) chargers installed today. GM will not say if the Bolt EV can charge faster on future higher power chargers that will be installed beginning in the next couple of years. It also has made no indications of supporting a charging network, while charging $750 for DC fast charging capability.

Further, it also lacks adaptive cruise control, and there’s been some question about the readiness of the navigation system.

SEE ALSO: 5 Cool Things About the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV

This said, the $37,495-and-up EV (before incentives) is a huge leap upward by most measures, and is the first of a new generation of EVs in this price-for-performance class. Next to come may be the Tesla Model 3, or the second-generation Nissan Leaf.

SEE ALSO: More 2017 Chevy Bolt Pricing Info Released

Beyond that, automakers including Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, possibly Ford, and others are at work on competitors, but it is the Bolt that is for sale today.

Hat tip to Jeff Nisewanger.

This article appears also at HybridCars.com