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Flybrian

Lutz: Volt to be tested with Malibu mules early '08

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I e-mailed Mr. Lutz a few hours ago to covey our support and enthusiasm for his dedication to the Chevrolet Volt and to also ask him about mules and prototypes, specifically when will we see first evidence of the E-Flex system outside the lab and on the road (and when folks can drive them).

Part of the response is as follows:

"The early testing before production can legally only be done by GM people. What we will drive next spring will be crude mule vehicles consisting of cut-up last generation Malibus containing experimental battery packs. Nothing can be driven by the public before the end of 2010."

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I e-mailed Mr. Lutz a few hours ago to covey our support and enthusiasm for his dedication to the Chevrolet Volt and to also ask him about mules and prototypes, specifically when will we see first evidence of the E-Flex system outside the lab and on the road (and when folks can drive them).

Part of the response is as follows:

"The early testing before production can legally only be done by GM people. What we will drive next spring will be crude mule vehicles consisting of cut-up last generation Malibus containing experimental battery packs. Nothing can be driven by the public before the end of 2010."

Meaning the earliest Volts will be '11 models--and likely '12 models, already backing away from the initial promise of '10 availability...only, what, 15 years or so after the first Prius was on the road in Japan?
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2010 - like most years - comprises twelve months, from January to December. Never have I seen a specific target date within 2010 before. Nothing is being 'backed away' from.

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Not since Buickman have I heard such naysaying. It reminds me of Monty Python's Argument Clinic. Here, let me try an experiment.....GM builds quality vehicles, representing solid values in each of their target markets.........................

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2010 - like most years - comprises twelve months, from January to December. Never have I seen a specific target date within 2010 before. Nothing is being 'backed away' from.

"Nothing can be driven by the public before the end of 2010."

Yeah, but 2010 - like most years - end in a December. In other words, they mean 2011 at the earliest, although another source quoted Lutz saying "for sale by 2010."

To me it seems the Volt concept was cobbled together quickly to demands for a greener halo, and that actual engineering and development of it didn't start until after its reveal. I'm not doubting the Volt's production potential -- I believe GM is fully committed/obligated to making it after such positive public reaction -- and I applaud their efforts, but as far as actual, existing tech achievements, I don't believe there was much a lead at NAIAS '07. It was a styling concept with cool-sounding "E-flex" nomenclature. Could the concept even travel past 25 mph, or go 40 miles, for that matter?

I hope it's release date is closer to 2010 than 2012, because the fourth-gen Prius may switch to li-ion batteries by then.

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Promise low.

Deliver high.

I don't understand why it seems almost everything is taken at face value.

For all we know, the prototypes are on the road and the plant is tooling up right now.

I'm not saying that's the case,

but who really knows and is willing to honestly share with us

how far along GM is with the Volt?

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Umm...here ya go....

Bob Lutz has been quoted saying late 2010 intro:

That is the production targeted by General Motors for the introductory year of the Chevrolet Volt, according to Bloomberg News. Bloomberg said the information came from a GM insider. GM’s Robert Lutz has predicted the Volt’s introduction by late 2010. At that production level, GM would be building four times as many Volts in the introductory year as Toyota did of the Prius in its first year on the market. Putting that into perspective, Chevrolet plans to produce as many Volts (...)

Bloomberg News a credible source?

Please, you may not like it, but GM is again (just like the Camaro) putting way too much emphasis on a product that doesn't exist, yet!

Here's the link to the same info, this time told to JD Power:

http://www.jdpower.com/articles/article.aspx?ID=430

CarBiz--a cardinal rule of business is to underpromise and overdeliver---GM has a habit of doing the opposite--and again are revealing that their management team does not know how to handle the present circumstances and, furthermore, do not have a solid vision for the future of GM.

I love cars. I love GM. I hate the way they do business, as it shortchanges all of their dedicated employees and fans, repeatedly.

Mark my words--the 2007 Volt promise will result in not 1, but 2 generations of Toyota Hybrid tech developed AND, more importantly, SOLD to actual, real live customers. Good Luck getting the lead you're spotting them back.

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By your very example, you just showed that Lutz hasn't backed away from anything then. Its apparently always been late-'10.

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By your very example, you just showed that Lutz hasn't backed away from anything then. Its apparently always been late-'10.

A late '10 INTRODUCTION is for '11 cars...you know this business....available to drive doesn't mean the car is for general consumption.

You can parse words all you want, GM more than implied this thing would be ready in '10---apparently, that's no ,onger the cae, mere months from the fanfare of its conceptual intro--leading me to believe even more delays will occur in the next few years---and I suspect, as someone mentioned above, that little was done before the Volt was displayed.

You said he NEVER said '10, I said (and backed up) that he did. Period.

Either you did not accurately descirbe his reply or you're wrong. Take your pick. This isn't a debating team, man, I'm just going by your representations.

Edited by enzl
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I don't get the big deal, say that GM does push back the release of Volt to Jan of 2011; does it make it less of a milestone in the auto industry? The Volt will still be a great accomplishment for GM and a great innovation for the public. Do you remember the $100 dollar laptop? Even at a price close to $200 it will be a great help for educating children. Same thing with the Volt, it will start the revolution on getting us away from focusing on oil as a fuel (for our cars). New and improve technology will follow and eventually there will be no need for gas as a fuel.

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...only, what, 15 years or so after the first Prius was on the road in Japan?

And only 5-6 years after the first fully EPA certified hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles became available to lease customers.

But if GM can get past the cost hurdle, and actually make an electric vehicle available for sale at a reasonable price, then that will be a huge accomplishment indeed!

Edited by siegen
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A late '10 INTRODUCTION is for '11 cars...you know this business....available to drive doesn't mean the car is for general consumption.

You can parse words all you want, GM more than implied this thing would be ready in '10---apparently, that's no ,onger the cae, mere months from the fanfare of its conceptual intro--leading me to believe even more delays will occur in the next few years---and I suspect, as someone mentioned above, that little was done before the Volt was displayed.

Now you're mixing calendar & model years to support your argument. Stick to one, please. If it's for sale in '10, it's available in '10, even if labelled as an '11 car. :rolleyes:

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I think pretty much everyone knew when the Volt concept was revealed that it was just a plastic box with nothing inside it yet.

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You said he NEVER said '10, I said (and backed up) that he did. Period.

Either you did not accurately descirbe his reply or you're wrong. Take your pick. This isn't a debating team, man, I'm just going by your representations.

Don't put words in my mouth. I said he never set a target date within the year of 2010. You just went ahead and proved me right; late-'10 is not a specific target date - March, June, October - that's a target date. Late 2010 is a timeframe., not a specific date. And even if you consider a vague three month window a 'target date,' then Lutz still never changed from his original target - late 2010.

You're the one parsing words, taking an informal e-mail exchange and extrapolating all these fictitious 'delays' and meanings from it. Right now, all you're doing is the exact same thing everyone accuses 'fanboys' of doing but from the opposite tack - lots of speculation and conjecture with little or no direct evidence to back it up. When GM pushes the Volt production unit intro to 2011, then you'll be right. Until then, no.

People love to rag on 'fanboys' for blindly believing everything GM says (and its clear we don't), but at least we have some hopes here. Some have gone beyond cautious optimism to malicious pessimism for what gain exactly? What if you're right, GM fails, the Volt is vaporware, and the Prius sweeps across America like the herpes infection it is? What's the benefit of all this negative banter? I swear its like arguing out a third-story window at some kid move out of the street else he'll get hit, watching him get plowed over by a bus, then feeling validated because you were right.

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Sounds to me that someone's mommy had a '83 Citation and they still haven't gotten over it yet.....

Frankly, if I had nothing to do in life, I suppose I could just haunt ToyotaNation and piss over everything everyone said there, but I admit I don't like Toyota and, therefore, can't be bothered even to listen to the mewling on that site. It would be too exhausting.

I don't care if the Volt is here in 1st quarter '10 or first quarter '11. Just build it and get it right the first time. The fact that Toyota is cranking up its PR machine against the Volt is good enough for me.

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The fact that Toyota is cranking up its PR machine against the Volt is good enough for me.

Just hope that it snaps a camshaft, throws a gear or sludges up before it can do too much damage.

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Don't put words in my mouth. I said he never set a target date within the year of 2010. You just went ahead and proved me right; late-'10 is not a specific target date - March, June, October - that's a target date. Late 2010 is a timeframe., not a specific date. And even if you consider a vague three month window a 'target date,' then Lutz still never changed from his original target - late 2010.

You're the one parsing words, taking an informal e-mail exchange and extrapolating all these fictitious 'delays' and meanings from it. Right now, all you're doing is the exact same thing everyone accuses 'fanboys' of doing but from the opposite tack - lots of speculation and conjecture with little or no direct evidence to back it up. When GM pushes the Volt production unit intro to 2011, then you'll be right. Until then, no.

People love to rag on 'fanboys' for blindly believing everything GM says (and its clear we don't), but at least we have some hopes here. Some have gone beyond cautious optimism to malicious pessimism for what gain exactly? What if you're right, GM fails, the Volt is vaporware, and the Prius sweeps across America like the herpes infection it is? What's the benefit of all this negative banter? I swear its like arguing out a third-story window at some kid move out of the street else he'll get hit, watching him get plowed over by a bus, then feeling validated because you were right.

I get no joy from being right. '10 was the PR 'timeframe' (implying ready for sale) for the car. That's what GM was saying, more specifically, that's what Lutz was saying. I'm NOT saying it was delayed, I'm saying they lied....

Now we're at the end of '10---for the public to sit/drive in one. That means it's an '11, at minimum.

As for the personal attack: I'm not ragging on anything. My pessimism is easily defended by the gross incompetence of those running GM.

You want wine and roses? Fine. You want truth---just ask me.

People are running for the exits when it comes to GM. You think they're on the right track? You are deluding yourself---what worse, you're misinforming those that come here as casual fans of GM and cars in general.

The Volt is nothing more than a pretty show car and a theoretical bunch of ideas that NOONE on the planet has put into one vehicle for production---not the greenies in Cali, not Tesla, not China---Nobody.

I should accept, on faith, that GM will take a not-yet-ready for prime time tech, develop it, then mass produce it in 3 years time? Name one thing they've been ahead of the curve on in the last 20 years.....

Please. I take no joy---I suffer MORE than you for GM's utter failure on so many levels. My future, my livelihood and my mortgage payment depends on GM getting up off the mat...what will you lose--the ability to anonymously lord over a few zit-faced tweens as a moderator on a GM fansite? When you have as much as me at stake, I'll worry that you feel I'm over the top.

I don't believe that GM will have retired the 4 speed auto by 2011, nevermind building the automotive version of the moonshot.

Your misplaced and completely blind faith that GM's 'gonna make it happen' is twice as absurd as my parsing words or stating the obvious: Drastic Action needs to be taken--that sense of urgency is nowhere to be found in GM's planning.

Comparing my hyperbole with a kid getting hit by a bus just shows that you cannot be trusted to objectively look at this situation...nooone's kid is dying here--just the livelihoods of 100,000 people and a number of towns all over the US.

Edited by enzl
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nevermind building the automotive version of the moonshot.

:lol:

That's funny. Let's see... Volt = electric car + engine & generator

GM has experience building electric cars.

GM has experience building engines.

Attaching generators to engines isn't exactly rocket science.

I fail to see how this comes close to a "moon shot". They can, and plan to put the basic system together by spring (if they haven't already). From there it's detail work. I think 3 years is entirely reasonable to put out a pretty refined product.

You try to claim that you're not being a pessimist, but you're just as far over that edge as those yelling "THIS WILL REVOLUTIONIZE THE WORLD!" As usual, you can expect the truth to lie somewhere in the middle.

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For a group of "zit-faced tweens," someone sure finds us appealing enough to hang around and post here. :rolleyes:

My challenge to you, Enzl: What's your solution for the imminent Volt 'failure'? I look forward to hearing your response.

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not that I don't like the concept of the Volt, but Enzl, there is nothing revolutionary about any of the technology in it. It's all existing technology that is just being put together in a new way.

ICE, GM has been doing those for about 100 years.

Electric motor, GM has been doing those for probably 90 years.

connecting an electric motor to a generator to an ICE, GM has been doing that since 1922

GM did the electric car in the 1990s....

The only thing kind of new here is the battery technology. All GM is doing to work around the heat limitation of Lithium Ion batteries is expanding on the idea that the batteries should be cooled as Toyota introduced in the original Pruis.

Seriously, this isn't rocket science.... heck, it's barely even automotive science.

I really wish I could have been the guy paid to say, "I know! Lets liquid cool them!" and get paid $30,000 in consulting fees.

Given the riced out nature of the liquid cooled PC business, I'm surprised the Asians didn't "get it" first.

Posted Image

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So, GM has two choices: sit back and let Toyota take all the limelight for being lucky enough to have the (almost) right car at the right time. Let's face it: without Katrina and all the insurgents in Iraq, oil would still be at $50 a barrel and Toyota would look pretty stupid now.

Or, GM can come out swinging with a car they have commited to having to market in the next 2-3 years. It makes a certain degree of PR sense to build some momentum on this thing. I agree that GM has f$@d up a lot in the past, but things have definitely been on the mend since they brought Lutz on board.

I, for one, am willing to give him some benefit of the doubt. If GM has licked this lithium-ion thing, they sure as hell won't be telling you and I about it. If they haven't, then I am optmistic that they learned something from the EV-1 program and have an ace up their sleeve.

Getting all pissy about it accomplishes nothing. In two years, a lot can happen.

TWO YEARS AGO, MOST PUNDITS HAD WRITTEN GM OFF AS BANKRUPT.

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I don't know where to begin, but I'll start with the topic and state this alone:

If the Volt's combined features were so easy to do, you would have heard that someone was developing such a vehicular system---it's not just stick a small generator motor to a batttery pack and hook both to an electric motor---it's obvious that the plug-in hardware, batteries, software and other components do not exist in a form that lends itself to throwing 'em together. And, if the architecture of the vehicle must support the changes in how these pieces fit, now you've got to be sure that it's compatible with future crash/safety standards....

Apparently, this is a multiple years away...we saw the concept in 07 and won't see the real thing until 11---and if changing the entire way cars are designed/built, quadrupling efficiency and mass producing said effort isn't a moonshot. we'll just have to agree to disagree (Man had rockets for 30+ years before we landed men on the moon, BTW, so technically, the means were there)

Now, Fly, since you've asked, here's what I'd do if I was the ruler at the Tubes:

1. Make sure each and every new product was as close to excellent as possible. If it can't run with the best in class, don't produce it until it does. The new 'bu, for example, will come to market on an aging chassis that GM knows it needs to update...as evidenced by the 09/10 Aura, which follows quickly to market....

2. Identify the best people in every facet of the industry. Then go out and hire them. If Jim Press could take a job with Chrysler, then anybody is a potential free agent signing.

3. Marketing & advertising must be completely revamped to meet 21st century customers. I find that from stock photos to TV spots, there's no less imaginative auto stuff out there than the Generals--apply #2 to the marketing & advertising industries, if necessary.

4. Use 'secret shoppers' rather than BS surveys, to determine the quality of dealers...go after the worst ones with a vengence and support the best with real assistance, not by throwing a few bucks at them so that they can put 3rd rate come-on ads in the papers & the GM can add an extension to his house.

5. MOST IMPORTANTLY: I'd restore accountability to the Management ranks at GM---who has overseen the cratering of sales, the largest loss in history, the continual drain of the corporate coffers to fund ill-advised acquisitions and partnerships---its time to fire some people.

If you or I performed on the job like these guys, we'd be fired. Point #2 applies here, perhaps even more strongly...there's talent out there. Mr. Bernhart as one example. Rick & his cronies don't know about best practices for modern companies because they're Lifers---its time for new blood.

That's off the top of my head...I'm no Buickman with some magical plan, I just can't believe that steps as obvious as the ones above haven't been taken. As for blaming the economy or gas prices, this crisis started years ago, on Rick's watch. Anyone with half a brain knew that one small Middle Eastern skirmish would catapult the price of oil---and since your lone profit center is big trucks, wouldn't it have been wise to at least have a plan B? There are lots of small cars in Europe---The price of gas has been obscene there for some time---Are you telling me noone imagined that developing small cars that could be quickly adapted to all markets could be a good idea? Or that GM-Daewoo's line-up didn't have small diesel development on the menu? Or that sickly Fiat might not be the best partnership to take a Put Option on?

While my words are harsh, my conscience is clear, as I'm neither avoiding the obvious nor allowing bias to creep into my judgement. I was in a new Camry yesterday---its not so great....How come GM still can't develop an effective, demonstrably superior product? They've only had 20 years to figure it out.

GM has always been great at promises. "Just wait until our next X is out. That'll drive the foreigners into the sea." They haven't even come close to that, yet.

Why should I put my faith some new promise. Like an abused spouse, you guys are always coming back for more. I want real change. You don't like my pessimism? Unfortunately, it's well-founded.

Is that an answer, Fly?

TBC....

Edited by enzl
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Yeah, but 2010 - like most years - end in a December. In other words, they mean 2011 at the earliest, although another source quoted Lutz saying "for sale by 2010."

To me it seems the Volt concept was cobbled together quickly to demands for a greener halo, and that actual engineering and development of it didn't start until after its reveal. I'm not doubting the Volt's production potential -- I believe GM is fully committed/obligated to making it after such positive public reaction -- and I applaud their efforts, but as far as actual, existing tech achievements, I don't believe there was much a lead at NAIAS '07. It was a styling concept with cool-sounding "E-flex" nomenclature. Could the concept even travel past 25 mph, or go 40 miles, for that matter?

I hope it's release date is closer to 2010 than 2012, because the fourth-gen Prius may switch to li-ion batteries by then.

I do believe E-Flex has been in development since the skateboard concepts. Might not have been called that, but most of the technology was there.

Meaning the earliest Volts will be '11 models--and likely '12 models, already backing away from the initial promise of '10 availability...only, what, 15 years or so after the first Prius was on the road in Japan?

And... Tell me again why we should give a crap when up until last year 60% of the new vehicle purchases in this country were TRUCKS?!?!

The hybrid bandwagon always fascinates me because 1) The first gen hybrids sold here were the butt of jokes from EVERYONE, especially the media, that your quirky star trek geek older neighbor drove. 2) the market never dictated the investment until a year or two ago (And from a business standpoint STILL DOESN'T) yet, had Detroit "wasted money" on this venture when Toyota began WASTING MONEY on this venture, Wall Street would've bitched nonstop until the companies lost so much stock value that they would've been in trouble way before now.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Sounds to me that someone's mommy had a '83 Citation and they still haven't gotten over it yet.....

Frankly, if I had nothing to do in life, I suppose I could just haunt ToyotaNation and piss over everything everyone said there, but I admit I don't like Toyota and, therefore, can't be bothered even to listen to the mewling on that site. It would be too exhausting.

I don't care if the Volt is here in 1st quarter '10 or first quarter '11. Just build it and get it right the first time. The fact that Toyota is cranking up its PR machine against the Volt is good enough for me.

But that's the characteristics of being an import fan in general and especially a Toyota fan... You have to conquest new people into "thinking what is right" and if they don't, then they're just simpletons that are beneath you.

I run an anti-Prius group on Facebook and I actually had a Toyota person come on there and write me an email that was an entire page long "Demanding" that I do "what's right" and "remove my group"

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