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Justin Bimmer

CNN Money Drives Volt Mule

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CNN Money Drives Volt Mule

It was a rare opportunity when General Motors recently invited a few reporters to test drive a Chevrolet Volt electric car "test mule" at the carmaker's proving grounds in Milford, Mich. Very few people who don't work for a car company ever get to drive "mules." These are not-ready-for-prime-time mock-ups used to test new engine, transmission and suspension technologies.

To create a "mule," engineers stuff the mechanicals of a new vehicle into the body of an existing vehicle and test drive that for months. It beats waiting for a whole car. In this case, the body was that of a Chevrolet Cruze, a new small car model that GM will start selling here next year. The interior, except for a big red "kill" switch on the dashboard, was that of a Cruze, too. Underneath, though, was the battery pack and electric motor, packed under the gasoline engine, of a Chevy Volt electric car.

EDIT: follow the link for the rest of the article.

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If they can get the volt stuff to work in the cruze, then why don't they offer it in the cruze too?

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If they can get the volt stuff to work in the cruze, then why don't they offer it in the cruze too?

GM said they eventually will. Right now it is more important in bringing halo and status. Just like Prius was to Toyota and eventually Toyota put its hybrind powertrain in other cars too. Right now it is important to create one car with minimal platform investment yet different from any in the stable.

And besides that people are already bitching about paying $40K for the Volt do you think they will consider paying so much for a tarted up Cruze?

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If they can get the volt stuff to work in the cruze, then why don't they offer it in the cruze too?

Price. Nobody is willing to shell out $40,000 for something that looks just like a $15,000 compact.

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Price. Nobody is willing to shell out $40,000 for something that looks just like a $15,000 compact.

Didn't you buy a premium fuel burning golf-cart? (mini)

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Didn't you buy a premium fuel burning golf-cart? (mini)

Never driven one, have you?

Mini or golf cart

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Never driven one, have you?

Mini or golf cart

I'm sorry.

What were you bemoaning, just last week, when your spouse couldn't dodge that rock which struck the windshield?

My recollection is faulty.

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If the $7,500 incentive plays out, I could see some long waiting lines for these, especially if they make the interior refined enough for people with deep pockets.

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Never driven one, have you?

Mini or golf cart

Driven both. Golf cart was roomier and more fun... especially in the mud.

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If the $7,500 incentive plays out, I could see some long waiting lines for these, especially if they make the interior refined enough for people with deep pockets.

Everyone loves the $7,500 tax credit, but the problem is that it doesn't come off the price, so the full amount will have to be financed. $40k isn't cheap, the monthly payments on a $40k car aren't cheap, so the tax credit doesn't bring the price down at all. It will, technically, lower the cost of ownership, but not the purchase price, which could be trouble for GM. The Volt is going to be an amazing car, but it'll be tough to sell it to people cross-shopping other hybrids that cost $10k less.

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The Volt will sell as the Prius did originally. Tech people trend setters. Rich people who want to impress their friends. etc. The latter group would do better with the Caddy version.

If and when Gas goes up the car will then appeal to the people with gas price shock value. They have less problem payting more for the car payment than the weekly tank of gas they would be paying. These are the same people who payed well north of $30K for the Prius last summer when gas was up.

I think the big thing that will appeal to many is they will not longer have the weekly gas bill and fill up. The shock will come in the higher once a month electric bill. The psychological benifit of not filling up weekly ot even monthly in some cases will be one to watch. It will be a similar effect like buying a car. People worry more about what they will pay montly than the over all price when buying a car. They will think about the gas they are not paying for and feel better than to worry about the $475 a month car payment.

GM is lucky as the gereneral public is not all that bright when it comes to cars. Manny will not feel that they are paying more over all.

The key to the Volt more than anything is it must not aultert their general driving habits and it must be bullet proof reliable. If this thing get a rep for the lack a reliablility it is sunk right away. People in service departments are unforgiving on cars and even more unforgiving on new technology.

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GM said they eventually will. Right now it is more important in bringing halo and status. Just like Prius was to Toyota and eventually Toyota put its hybrind powertrain in other cars too. Right now it is important to create one car with minimal platform investment yet different from any in the stable.

And besides that people are already bitching about paying $40K for the Volt do you think they will consider paying so much for a tarted up Cruze?

If people don't want to shell out the money for a green car than why are they bitching about the US Automakers not making any... Idiots.

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GM is lucky as the gereneral public is not all that bright when it comes to cars. Manny will not feel that they are paying more over all.

Until the media informs them otherwise when they try to sink the car. (Just wait, whatever "positive" exposure it gets will either be begrudging or will come with the prerequisite attitude of "Why bother?!?")

SEE: Escalade Hybrid reviews for this attitude. Apparently Toyota can charge premium prices for a compact hybrid and the develop a line of "sports" hybrid that don't see hardly any benefit in mileage and everyone is cool with it... Yet GM tries to make an IMAGE machine and apply the technology where it is needed and they're a joke.

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If people don't want to shell out the money for a green car than why are they bitching about the US Automakers not making any... Idiots.

Don't ask me that question, ask them. I am just being the messenger. Go to any blogs and you will see how volt is considered vaporware, or just ask GXT. He changed his stance for the Volt having drivetrain of a washing powder to the Volt being crossshopped with the 5 series.

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"The first time I drove the front wheel drive test vehicle into a turn, the weight came as a surprise. It felt almost like the small Cruze had turned into something more like a Cadillac the moment I turned the steering wheel."

This statement does puzzle me as it can be taken two ways. 1st way is people could assume it is a slug and floats with num feeling like the DTS does. The old peoples car of the past. 2nd way is it could have been like a CTS and dialed in, but I suspect it is the first thought as this is a mule and so it could have had very poor handling as they do follow this up by talking about suspension tunning and tires and rims.

Wish the person had just left out the whole suspension steering wheel thing as this is a mule and focused on the powertrain which is what GM clearly wants people to get out of this.

I am excited to see this car, but I suspect it will not change me enough to get out of my full size SUV's.

I have yet to drive a car that is as comfy to me as my SUV's. I am 6'6" tall and 275 after all. So getting down low is not on my list of things to do when I need to drive a car.

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