The idea that the lack of a fifth seat is some kind of giant marketing problem is wrong-headed. There are much bigger marketing impacts for the volt, including the up-front cost of the vehicle, a misunderstanding of how the car works, and a large amount of disinformation spewing forth on almost a daily basis. A fifth seat is just noise.
We simply cannot judge the effectiveness of the TMS because its effectiveness depends on whether it helps battery longevity. Saying "highly effective" is an unsubstantiated claim.As for how well the Volt's TMS will work: The Volt battery comes with a warranty. The Leaf's doesn't. Seems like a pretty good indication of what we can expect.
You can say why you believe a TMS is important. You can point to the Arizona LEAF battery degradation as a sign. But don't prejudge the effective of the TMS.
As for the warranty, besides the fact that the Honda hybrid battery saga has shown that it's not what you say, it's what you do, a warranty can be offered as long as it increases sales enough to offset the failure rate. It's not necessarily a sign of reliability.
Anyone that thinks Volt=Cruze, should put both of them on a lift, and do a side by side comparison as to the construction differences.
If you have 5 people in your family I agree the Volt will not work as your only car. On the other hand... What percentage of trips involve taking 5 passengers? For me... That is 0%.
I obviously don't need it--- I bought one (in fact, for me, I think the sep seats in the back are kind of cool-- kind of Panamera-esque). I just don't think the absence of 5th seat is a selling point for a broadly marketed car.
Given the constraints faced by GM, I think they made the right choice. I (and CR, I guess) am just saying that, if they could start from scratch, they could have made it a five seater and kept the battery, and that end product would have been preferable. It just would have been more expensive and delayed more (life is compromise).
I predict that the next major redesign of the Volt (in the same size range) will have five seats. Does anyone doubt this?
CR and apparently you think that putting the batteries under the seats would give you a fifth seat That's just wrong. If the battery pack takes up X amount of space it doesn't matter whether you put it under the seat or in a "T" or on the ceiling, it's still going to take up X amount of space. That space has to come from somewhere. Consequently if have a TMS, which takes up more space than cells alone, then you're going to lose interior space. The Volt accommodated the TMS by taking the room which would normally have been occupied by the fifth seat. Had Nissan added the TMS to the Leaf it would have done the same. Nissan chose to skip the TMS, deciding that it would cost less to pay for some dead battery packs than to add a TMS to every Leaf. I think Nissan and certainly Leaf owners will regret the decision, but even if this turns out to be a good decision that doesn't mean doesn't mean the Leaf is purpose built and the Volt isn't. In fact you could say the opposite is true in that this is one more case in which GM built the Volt to last and Nissan built the Leaf to a lower price point.
Last edited by DonC; 05-15-2012 at 01:01 PM.
Now I did say that the Volt doesn't have the battery pack in the trunk. That's absolutely true. But I didn't say that CR said it did. You're just pulling that out of your butt and trying to put it in my mouth. What I did point out is that, contrary to what CR suggested, which was that "purpose-built electric cars use flat-format cells sandwiched under the whole floor of the car", the Volt was using THE SAME design as that used by the FIRST purpose built EV, namely the EV-1, the natural implication being that the "T" was every bit as "purpose built" and the "under the seat" design.
EXACTLY what don't you understand here?
I think that this discussion is getting a bit heated.
Any car is designed by a series of committees, starting with a napkin and ending with an army of CAD operators. Trying to pin down the decision-making process, with each member of the team believing he or she was the key player, is futile and pointless. Bob Lutz was the corporate sponsor but not the sole decision-maker.
The Volt is what it is. If the EREV concept thrives, we'll see everything from 2 seaters to 8 seaters to pickup trucks.
I'll be surprised if that online CR article makes it into print. CR readers want to know about the product, not the process. CR provides objective facts and reasoned judgements. That article belongs in a car magazine.
The objective CR reviews of the Volt have been accurate and favorable. Let's not turn into a cult and jump on everyone who criticizes our baby. There are plenty of real malicious liars to go after, especially in November.
I agree with mike about waiting to see if this actually goes into print. Right now, it's just a blog with incomplete information, corrected in the comments.
cnicholson - While nobody says that removing the fifth seat isn't a con, the claim is that having a TMS will make the Volt a better long-term buy for anyone that doesn't regularly need 5 seats. Your family-of-five examples might really need that fifth seat, but they shouldn't be surprised down the road if their batteries have problems (or, at least, more than a Volt would). But time will tell.
Also, note that main line of complaint is more about the assumptions about the design process made by the CR blog article's author - the consumer-side justification is a bit of a tangent.
Last edited by AySz88; 05-15-2012 at 01:57 PM.
2012 Volt (#3859) - Delivered 2011-10-06
Computer programmer, science and engineering wonk, and habitual over-analyzer.