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GM Executive Calls Out Nissan Leaf, Talks About Spring Hill


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#1

William Maley

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 01:41 PM

GM Executive Calls Out Nissan Leaf, Talks About Spring Hill


William Maley - Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
May 6, 2011



2011 Nissan Leaf.png


Mark Reuss, General Motors North America president, recently did an interview with the Nashville Business Journal talking about GM's future, the Volt, and other things. When Reuss was asked about the Leaf, he showed no mercy.

“(The Leaf) has a finite range and requires infrastructure and charging to run it, where the Volt is really an extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt can really be the only car you own. You better be living within a certain range for the Leaf. … It’s a lot different market, a lot different car and a completely different driver," Reuss said. “I’m not sure if I’d put the leaf in the hands of my three kids. Say, what if they can’t charge it? What if they get to school and can’t charge it? The Leaf is a single-purpose car.”

The paper also asked Reuss what was going to happen to Spring Hill plant. The plant which built the Chevrolet Traverse till 2009 has been on stand by for vehicle production. Currently, the plant employs 1,000 workers in engine manufacturing and other operations.

“When the economy dictates stability on changing our break-even point as a company for expansion … then, Spring Hill is at the top of the list,” Reuss said. “It’s a world-class production facility sitting there. The only thing that has to happen is that we convert the body shop to make a specific model.”

Source: Nashville Business Journal
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#2

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 01:47 PM

Not as blunt as Lutz, but every bit as brash.
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#3

JamesBond

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 02:02 PM

Honesty is always refreshing. I'm just glad the honest ones are in a position of authority to give honest answers.
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#4

riviera74

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:01 PM

He is right about the Nissan Leaf. A better question is whether such a pure EV could survive winters in Detroit or Minneapolis, since it is such an urban vehicle.
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#5

GXT

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 12:32 AM

Honesty is always refreshing. I'm just glad the honest ones are in a position of authority to give honest answers.

The Leaf isn't for everyone, but it will probably work for the majority of people. When one considers that the Volt production will represent well under 0.1% of the market this year and well under 1% for many years to come you start to realize how "honest" it is for GM to try to convince the majority that the Leaf won't work for them. I understand that he is spinning the Volt's strengths and I am not going to fault him for that. But we should recognize that it is more "fear mongering" than "honest".

e.g. "The Leaf is a single-purpose car": I guess if a car is 'single-purpose' then satisfying 80+% of commuters daily needs is a good one. This is about as honest as me saying that the Volt is 'single-purpose' because it only has room for four people and the Leaf has room for five.

GM is probably a little bit worried that Nissan is finally starting to ship the Leaf to NA and last month it outsold the Volt.
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#6

pow

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 02:21 AM

If you need more than the Leaf's range, the Volt doesn't make sense either. For each mile driven in 37-mpg extended-range mode, the Volt loses its advantage over a conventional 50-mpg hybrid like the Prius, until you reach a point where it's actually cheaper to drive the no-plug car. Ironically, the Prius overtakes the Volt in cost-per-mile after 73 miles, exactly the EPA range of the Leaf.

To travel 73 miles...

Volt
35 miles EV = 13.4 kWh (amt. of energy drawn from wall to recharge with 120v) * 12 cents (national electricity price) = $1.61
38 miles ICE = 1.03 gal (@ 37 mpg combined) * $4.29 (premium unleaded) = $4.42
TOTAL = $6.03

Prius
73 miles ICE = 1.46 gal (@ 50 mpg combined) * $4.09 (regular unleaded) = $5.97
TOTAL = $5.97

So, sure, you have no range anxiety, but you end up paying the same for fuel as a conventional car.
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#7

hyperv6

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 04:58 AM

The story in Autoweek points out it's all about numbers. They drove a leaf on their first long term test and found it used more power and ended up on a flat bed truck.

The same issue showed where they drove a Volt to the U.P. of Michigan and ran it out of power and gas. Once the gas was gone it would go back to electric to get you to a gas station if you were not in the middle of no where.

The whole point of the Volt vs the Leaf is the Volt is a car that will take you anywhere and you could live with as a single car. You also could drive it to work every day through the week and never be on gas. The Leaf on the other had has limited range and would limit you life unless you have a second car.

The Leaf is good if you live in the city and only short ranged it. The Volt is good for short range but you can go anywhere you andt and take less time to charge it.

I still would love to see GM challange Nissan to a trip across country and show how long it takes each car to make the trip.

The Volt is not perfect and some other cars still will be better options. But the point of the first gen car is to get it on the market and accepted. It will improve much faster as a production vs a prototype. Companies invest more money in technology for car in production and on the market vs cars that could or should be built.

Right now till there is a better battery the Volt is a car the average person could live with and have a interest.

The greatest issue is cost. It too will come down with each and every genereation just as any new technology.

Nissan has range anxiety themselves as they hate it when ever the range and charge times come into play. This is why before the car came out they has stated they may give loaners to the owners if they really have to go anywhere. That is no way to build a car.

Edited by hyperv6, 10 May 2011 - 05:01 AM.

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#8

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 06:08 AM

If you need more than the Leaf's range, the Volt doesn't make sense either. For each mile driven in 37-mpg extended-range mode, the Volt loses its advantage over a conventional 50-mpg hybrid like the Prius, until you reach a point where it's actually cheaper to drive the no-plug car. Ironically, the Prius overtakes the Volt in cost-per-mile after 73 miles, exactly the EPA range of the Leaf.

To travel 73 miles...

Volt
35 miles EV = 13.4 kWh (amt. of energy drawn from wall to recharge with 120v) * 12 cents (national electricity price) = $1.61
38 miles ICE = 1.03 gal (@ 37 mpg combined) * $4.29 (premium unleaded) = $4.42
TOTAL = $6.03

Prius
73 miles ICE = 1.46 gal (@ 50 mpg combined) * $4.09 (regular unleaded) = $5.97
TOTAL = $5.97

So, sure, you have no range anxiety, but you end up paying the same for fuel as a conventional car.


Except there is clearly still an issue with the EPA test for a vehicle like the Volt. Highway travel for me in extended range mode yielded over 60mpg and I wasn't being gentle on it.
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#9

Z-06

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 07:02 AM

I wonder what our member from CT has to say about his extended range mileage on highway, who actually owns one. Rather than us being armchair critics.
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#10

pow

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:30 AM


If you need more than the Leaf's range, the Volt doesn't make sense either. For each mile driven in 37-mpg extended-range mode, the Volt loses its advantage over a conventional 50-mpg hybrid like the Prius, until you reach a point where it's actually cheaper to drive the no-plug car. Ironically, the Prius overtakes the Volt in cost-per-mile after 73 miles, exactly the EPA range of the Leaf.

To travel 73 miles...

Volt
35 miles EV = 13.4 kWh (amt. of energy drawn from wall to recharge with 120v) * 12 cents (national electricity price) = $1.61
38 miles ICE = 1.03 gal (@ 37 mpg combined) * $4.29 (premium unleaded) = $4.42
TOTAL = $6.03

Prius
73 miles ICE = 1.46 gal (@ 50 mpg combined) * $4.09 (regular unleaded) = $5.97
TOTAL = $5.97

So, sure, you have no range anxiety, but you end up paying the same for fuel as a conventional car.


Except there is clearly still an issue with the EPA test for a vehicle like the Volt. Highway travel for me in extended range mode yielded over 60mpg and I wasn't being gentle on it.

No offense, but I doubt it. Perhaps you were looking at average MPG including the miles driven with electricity?

If you're not "gentle on it" you should get less than the optimistic EPA 40 mpg: http://blogs.insidel...ack-part-2.html

Don't get me wrong - I like the Volt. But for it to make sense on a cost-per-mile or efficiency basis, its "range" is just as limited as the Leaf's. Perhaps Ford's Energi plug-in hybrid models will represent more of a "sweet spot" in terms of EV range and post-EV fuel consumption.
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#11

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 10:35 AM



If you need more than the Leaf's range, the Volt doesn't make sense either. For each mile driven in 37-mpg extended-range mode, the Volt loses its advantage over a conventional 50-mpg hybrid like the Prius, until you reach a point where it's actually cheaper to drive the no-plug car. Ironically, the Prius overtakes the Volt in cost-per-mile after 73 miles, exactly the EPA range of the Leaf.

To travel 73 miles...

Volt
35 miles EV = 13.4 kWh (amt. of energy drawn from wall to recharge with 120v) * 12 cents (national electricity price) = $1.61
38 miles ICE = 1.03 gal (@ 37 mpg combined) * $4.29 (premium unleaded) = $4.42
TOTAL = $6.03

Prius
73 miles ICE = 1.46 gal (@ 50 mpg combined) * $4.09 (regular unleaded) = $5.97
TOTAL = $5.97

So, sure, you have no range anxiety, but you end up paying the same for fuel as a conventional car.


Except there is clearly still an issue with the EPA test for a vehicle like the Volt. Highway travel for me in extended range mode yielded over 60mpg and I wasn't being gentle on it.

No offense, but I doubt it. Perhaps you were looking at average MPG including the miles driven with electricity?

If you're not "gentle on it" you should get less than the optimistic EPA 40 mpg: http://blogs.insidel...ack-part-2.html

Don't get me wrong - I like the Volt. But for it to make sense on a cost-per-mile or efficiency basis, its "range" is just as limited as the Leaf's. Perhaps Ford's Energi plug-in hybrid models will represent more of a "sweet spot" in terms of EV range and post-EV fuel consumption.


There were no miles driven on battery. It was delivered to me with 0 EV range. I reset the mileage indicator as I always do, and I was off.

edit: reading that blog post makes me wonder what he was doing. 30 mpg? How was he driving it to get that?
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#12

PurdueGuy

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 07:21 PM

The Leaf isn't for everyone, but it will probably work for the majority of people.


With how much extra expense and inconvenience? It's not going to work as a primary car for the majority of people, that much is clear. (At least not without involving loaner or rental cars on occasion, which is more inconvenience than most are willing to deal with.)
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#13

black-knight

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 11:13 PM

I still would love to see GM challange Nissan to a trip across country and show how long it takes each car to make the trip.


Oooh, this would make for a good Top Gear challenge. Send Hamster, Slow, and Jezza back to the States and give Jezza the Volt, Hamster the Leaf, and Slow the Prius (or an Insight) and see which car would make it from DC to LA first. They're all three sort of boring cars, but the challenge would be entertaining.

Someone get the BBC on the phone. I really would like to see this.
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#14

hyperv6

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 04:34 AM


I still would love to see GM challange Nissan to a trip across country and show how long it takes each car to make the trip.


Oooh, this would make for a good Top Gear challenge. Send Hamster, Slow, and Jezza back to the States and give Jezza the Volt, Hamster the Leaf, and Slow the Prius (or an Insight) and see which car would make it from DC to LA first. They're all three sort of boring cars, but the challenge would be entertaining.

Someone get the BBC on the phone. I really would like to see this.


I like it but Slow would have to be in the Leaf on a flatbed. He needs to be in the car that would take a month to make it.
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#15

dfelt

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 07:55 AM

FYI, Here in Seattle the Leaf is all the rage with the hard core Green everything people as it has sold into the rich pretty well. Woodinville WA has a ton on Leaf's being driven, but in truth, even though we do not get the cold snowy winters around town only up in the mountains 30 min away, the bulk of the people say that the car operates best if kept in a garage overnight compared to being left outside in the cold and drizzle that makes up the Greater Seattle Area.

At 6'6" tall I tried to fit into the Leaf they had on display for people to check out at Bellevue Mall and I could not fit comfy in the car. No matter what I have done to the chair, I could not sit up straight, hit my head and I hate being reclined in a car to drive it. The Nissan sales rep said the care was designed for the majority of Americans who average 5'8" to 5'10" tall.

Clearly not a real care for America. Pass on this POS and stay with my full size SUV! :D
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#16

smk4565

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 06:31 PM

Yes the Leaf is single purpose, but it still fits the needs of many drivers. And electricity is more readily available than gasoline, so I don't get the fear of not being able to recharge it. And really Ruess should be concerned with an Aveo and Impala that are pathetic, a Corvette that doesn't sell, and full size SUVs with sales dropping at a 20% rate.
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#17

hyperv6

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 06:56 PM

Yes the Leaf is single purpose, but it still fits the needs of many drivers. And electricity is more readily available than gasoline, so I don't get the fear of not being able to recharge it. And really Ruess should be concerned with an Aveo and Impala that are pathetic, a Corvette that doesn't sell, and full size SUVs with sales dropping at a 20% rate.


Few people could live with the Leaf as an only car. Most people have lives at are more 50 miles from home.

Second electric is all around us but few places are able to recharge a leaf just anywhere. Yes there are plans to put charging stations in but the issues is many will not install them till there are more cars and with no charging stations few people are willing to buy the cars. The Chicken and the Egg Principal is in play here.

The story in Autoweek points out that when you leave home you have to figure out your miles you need and see what you have. Then you need to monitor your usage as the 75 miles you left with may not go 50 miles if you are driving hard or if the weather is cold. They had this very issue. They then tried to make it to a known charging station and could not make it. So they went to a electican they knew and tried to hook up a charge when it fried the cords they used to get from the outlet to the car. Even then the time it would have taken to charge would have put them into the next day at the least. In the end it ended up on the Flatbed of shame as they called it.

I know there are people out there that live close to work and could use this for short trips but they are in the great minority. Most people who will have these will have at leat one or two other vehicles to drive if needed and that is fine. As batteries get better and charging faster this could be a vehicle for all needs. The bottom line is the Volt is a car that any average driver can own and live with as a single car the leaf is not. The Volt gives you the short run all electric deal for daily commutes but will fill in for the car that you can go see grandma in San Deigo and still get home back in Orange County that night. Heck there are many in LA that could not even get to work and home in a leaf as they drive more then 50 Miles one way a day just into downtown.

Neither the Leaf or the Volt are the final solution to the gas issue. The Leaf is just a little early and is need of better power cells while the Volt is a compromise to make a electric car the average buyer could live with. Both will improve and evolve in time but we are years from either having a system that could even think might dominate the gas powered car. It is nice to have these as an option but that is all they are for now and the Volt is the best option at this point for the normal car owner. Yes this title will change in time many times.

As for Mark he is doing his job. If he is to lead GM he needs to speak out on why you should buy his products. He is a salesman just as much as he is anything els. He is still new to the job and has to learn a few things just as Bill Ford and Allen Mually did over at Ford. Speaking out is a two edged sword as it can help you a lot but it also can back fire with a poor choice of words or comments. If care is used in the statment and if they are spoken from the heart he will do fine. He needs to just speak how he really feels and be honest. Like Lutz if you agreed with him or not you knew where he stood and how he felt will little.

As for his issues at GM I think he has most well on their way to be delt with. The Aveo is gone in witht he Sonic, The new Impala is well on the way, two new Vettes are being worked on at the same time. GM is cutting production on the slower large trucks and is adding better MPG SUV'S to the small SUV's they already have. The only hold up is time right now as many of these programs got started once they got the loans. The Goverment could money buy they could not loan them time too. If he can keep the profits up as they have been he can say what ever he wants and people will listen.

Edited by hyperv6, 11 May 2011 - 07:08 PM.

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#18

Drew Dowdell

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 07:06 PM

The Volt is a transitional car till the recharging infrastructure gets built.

Trust me on this one as someone who works in the energy industry, it's going to happen faster than an iPhone release.
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#19

Catfan96

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 08:04 PM

Yes the Leaf is single purpose, but it still fits the needs of many drivers. And electricity is more readily available than gasoline, so I don't get the fear of not being able to recharge it. And really Ruess should be concerned with an Aveo and Impala that are pathetic, a Corvette that doesn't sell, and full size SUVs with sales dropping at a 20% rate.


Part of the fear comes easily enough, have you ever forgotten to plug in your cell phone when you get home? If you forget to plug in the Leaf right away, you may not be able to drive the miles you need to the next day.

While it's difficult to dispute your point about the Impala, the Aveo is being replaced by the Sonic, which should continue the string of product successes. It's a great looking car, with tons of standard and optional features. Also, given that the Corvette is the highest volume in the high sport segment, compared to the Z4, 911, and the Cayman, it's hard to say it doesn't sell.

While sales of full size SUVs are surely down, Chevrolet still leads that segment with Tahoe, Suburban and Avalanche head and shoulders above everyone else, and it is still a very profitable segment as well.

The Leaf is an impressive car, but it does have limitations. At our dealership here in Phoenix, we have a Volt we brought over from San Diego. So far, for the life of the car, having driven more than 2200 miles, it has averaged 129 miles per gallon.
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#20

PurdueGuy

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 10:00 PM

And electricity is more readily available than gasoline, so I don't get the fear of not being able to recharge it.


It is? Yes, electricity runs all over the place, but if you think you're going to be allowed to just plug your car in anywhere at a whim, you're dreaming. Plugging in something like a laptop into someone's outlet isn't going to make a noticeable change in a person's or business' electric bill, but plugging in a car would. So while electricity is readily available, finding someone to let you plug in might be much more hit & miss. If I were an employer, I'd be choosing between charging employees with electric cars to charge, not allowing it, or perhaps allowing them to charge free & making a big PR deal over it. There's no guarantee that someone who drives their car to work can charge it there, and as long as public charging stations are few & far between, that's an issue as well. And charging time is still a huge issue.
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