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Drew Dowdell

Chevy Volt coasts closer to reality, first bona fide model now in production

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Chevy Volt coasts closer to reality, first bona fide model now in production
via Engadget

chevy-volt-08-14-08.jpg

General Motors has just cut the ribbon, metaphorically at least, on the production of the first genuine Chevy Volt integration vehicle. Unlike previous versions, which have been "developments mules" made using parts from the Malibu / Cruze lines, this will look (and hopefully feel) 100 percent like what the company plans to start pimping out this November. The pre-production model will be put through the paces in case the design needs to be refined and tweaked before going full steam ahead. GM is sticking pretty close to its original plan of building at a rate of ten a week by mid-July, with "several hundred more" going into production early next year, and with any luck, it'll be packing some standardized EV plug by then.
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<----starts researching wholesale crow suppliers.

Certain folks will require it.

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<----starts researching wholesale crow suppliers.

Certain folks will require it.

Crow suppliers have moved from the car being a vaporware to it now being too expensive. Just ignore them.

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<----starts researching wholesale crow suppliers.

Certain folks will require it.

OK, guess I am brainless today, what do you mean by wholesale crow suppliers?

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Nice to see some good news on the front page!

:unitedstates: Volt :unitedstates:

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Actually, next November, with "real showroom availability" early 2011, according to Lutz.

Still, that's impressive considering they started with nothing in 2007, when they first released the concept Volt. I would argue the concept was vaporware - it had detailed, imaginary specifications when the vehicle itself was powered by a bucket of detergent - but facing enormous public pressure, they had no choice but to begin engineering a production model, and that effort has been earnest and effective, IMO.

Kudos to the engineers at GM!

Edited by empowah
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OK, guess I am brainless today, what do you mean by wholesale crow suppliers?

He's preparing a meal for me! Apparently a big one too!

Again, for the record, because some people are misrepresenting what I said:

At the time GM showed the concept a lot of people here believed that they had a fully functioning vehicle and that GM had magically leap-frogged Toyota in technology (as opposed to being several generations behind in hybrids). I took flak because I said that I suspected that the prototype didn’t really work and that all GM had was theory and that it was probable that many other automakers had done as much (if not more) theory work. I said GM had no special expertise/technology and if they could do it then anyone could do it. I believed the other manufacturers were just less desperate and therefore didn’t need to engage in such a PR exercise.

We now know that that concept had nothing more than a couple of car batteries and a detergent container under the hood. Further, we now know that Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota have demonstrated what could be described as near production intent EV’s or E-REVs BEFORE GM was able to demo the Volt mules (and for the most part they all did it with very little fan-fair). Based on that, and all the things that have changed on the Volt, I have little doubt was I said was accurate.

Regarding my claim that GM wouldn’t/couldn’t build the Volt, I’d like to point out that they haven’t yet. But even if the production-intent Volt makes it to market, it appears to fall short of what GM claimed the Volt would be in almost every conceivable way. To paraphrase my previous question, “If I find some guy named Jesus living in his garage in Albuquerque does that mean that Jesus of the Bible existed? Or is it a requirement that he be the son of God, walk on water, etc?”. So no, even if it does make it to market, they aren’t going to deliver on what was originally promised.

To be clear, I never thought that GM would go even this far. On the other hand, I never thought that they would be burning through 1Billion+/month, be worth -90 Billion, or be going bankrupt by this Monday. Clearly I gave them more credit about running a profitable company than they deserved. I guess under the circumstances it seems pretty obvious that they would be spending huge money on a niche, money-losing vehicle of questionable value.

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I’d like to point out that they haven’t yet. But even if the production-intent Volt makes it to market, it appears to fall short of what GM claimed the Volt would be in almost every conceivable way.

uhm... how?

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Actually, next November, with "real showroom availability" early 2011, according to Lutz.

Still, that's impressive considering they started with nothing in 2007, when they first released the concept Volt. I would argue the concept was vaporware - it had detailed, imaginary specifications when the vehicle itself was powered by a bucket of detergent - but facing enormous public pressure, they had no choice but to begin engineering a production model, and that effort has been earnest and effective, IMO.

Kudos to the engineers at GM!

Sounds pretty accurate to me... you can have some of my crow. :)

Except you have to consider that others beat them to it... BYD have had essentially a Volt on sale for quite some time now, and Chrysler and Toyota retrofits have shown how quickly you CAN do this if you actually WANT to do it (not that they want to either). I would say that the Volt exercise has distracted GM from providing what they (and the "use less fuel" crowd) really needed... a good small mass-market hybrid. GM went from maligning hybrids for having big batteries to producing a Volt with a battery ~40 times larger than the Insight! I don't blame the GM engineers. It was clearly management's bad decisions.

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uhm... how?

The big ones would be:

Appearance

Cost

Fuel Efficiency

Availability

Range

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Sounds pretty accurate to me... you can have some of my crow. :)

Except you have to consider that others beat them to it... BYD have had essentially a Volt on sale for quite some time now, and Chrysler and Toyota retrofits have shown how quickly you CAN do this if you actually WANT to do it (not that they want to either). I would say that the Volt exercise has distracted GM from providing what they (and the "use less fuel" crowd) really needed... a good small mass-market hybrid. GM went from maligning hybrids for having big batteries to producing a Volt with a battery ~40 times larger than the Insight! I don't blame the GM engineers. It was clearly management's bad decisions.

The Insight (if you mean the first Gen) never moves on electricity alone and uses "traditional" batteries. The Volt runs up to 40 miles on electricity alone and uses lithium ion batteries. AFAIK, no other major manufacturer is using Lith-Ions. The Tesla is just a bunch of Toshiba laptop batteries strung together.

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The big ones would be:

Appearance

Cost

Fuel Efficiency

Availability

Range

1. Show me a concept car that makes it into production in the original concept form.

2. The price range was always 30k - 40k, yes that's a wide margin, but they said it would be with in that.

3. People are getting 100mpg by hypermilling Pruises, I don't doubt the Volt can do that too.

4. This was always going to be a slow ramp up vehicle with limited availability in the first few years.

5. As always, your mileage may vary.

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The big ones would be:

Appearance = True not like the concept

Cost = Maybe, they always said 35 to 40K

Fuel Efficiency = I do not see how they have not delivered on this, after 40 miles, the little engine kicks in to build electricity for the battery pack.

Availability = I have never heard anything but 2011 for the delivery date, did they state an earlier one?

Range = 40 miles electric and then 300 to 400 miles with a small engine to produce electricity.

I disagree with some of this. As I have stated above is what I recall from all the news and as such would only feel that the Appearance is the one item they have not delivered on. :scratchchin::scratchchin:

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The Insight (if you mean the first Gen) never moves on electricity alone and uses "traditional" batteries. The Volt runs up to 40 miles on electricity alone and uses lithium ion batteries. AFAIK, no other major manufacturer is using Lith-Ions. The Tesla is just a bunch of Toshiba laptop batteries strung together.

All the major manufacturers are using lithium ion batteries on their upcoming plug-ins: Chrysler ENVI, Ford plug-in hybrid, Ford BEV (Smith EV for Transit Connect; Magna for Focus), and Toyota HSD plug-in. Mercedes is using li-ion for their existing no-plug hybrid.

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Sounds pretty accurate to me... you can have some of my crow. :)

Except you have to consider that others beat them to it... BYD have had essentially a Volt on sale for quite some time now, and Chrysler and Toyota retrofits have shown how quickly you CAN do this if you actually WANT to do it (not that they want to either). I would say that the Volt exercise has distracted GM from providing what they (and the "use less fuel" crowd) really needed... a good small mass-market hybrid. GM went from maligning hybrids for having big batteries to producing a Volt with a battery ~40 times larger than the Insight! I don't blame the GM engineers. It was clearly management's bad decisions.

A mass-market hybrid (as well as vastly improved small car offerings) would sell more and help out with GM's current situation, but I think the Volt is an important investment for whatever future GM has.

Once they've sold the initial batch of Volts, things will get easier.

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The big ones would be:

Appearance

Cost

Fuel Efficiency

Availability

Range

That's true if you paid attention to what Bob Lutz boasted - but I think the rest of GM has been more conservative and accurate. Snippets from interviews are, unfortunately, quite removed from official press releases at GM. Lutz enjoys making big statements, often much to the chagrin of other GM leaders.

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All the major manufacturers are using lithium ion batteries on their upcoming plug-ins: Chrysler ENVI, Ford plug-in hybrid, Ford BEV (Smith EV for Transit Connect; Magna for Focus), and Toyota HSD plug-in. Mercedes is using li-ion for their existing no-plug hybrid.

I thought Toyota already said they wouldn't be going with Li

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I thought Toyota already said they wouldn't be going with Li

With their huge traditional lead acid battery plant in Canada and all the green house gas it produces, I would be suprised if Toyota went to LI. I suspect they will with their new Plug in Prius.

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I thought Toyota already said they wouldn't be going with Li

They aren't for this current gen prius. But their plugins use them.

More to the point, GM just bought the li-ion batteries. Anyone could do that.

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That's true if you paid attention to what Bob Lutz boasted - but I think the rest of GM has been more conservative and accurate. Snippets from interviews are, unfortunately, quite removed from official press releases at GM. Lutz enjoys making big statements, often much to the chagrin of other GM leaders.

Except that it was Wagoner who claimed nicely under 30K... and Lutz who claimed 40 and then 48K.

It had a target of 30K, and GM's best estimate now seems to be 40K.

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1. Show me a concept car that makes it into production in the original concept form.

2. The price range was always 30k - 40k, yes that's a wide margin, but they said it would be with in that.

3. People are getting 100mpg by hypermilling Pruises, I don't doubt the Volt can do that too.

4. This was always going to be a slow ramp up vehicle with limited availability in the first few years.

5. As always, your mileage may vary.

1. It is more than an exhaust port and different tires away, isn't it? Here is what Anne Asensio, executive director, GM Design, said about the concept when if first came out, "“It couldn’t be a ‘science project,’ because that’s not what this car is all about. It had to be realistic, executable and carry the essence of the Chevrolet brand.” Imagine if the Camaro ended up looking like a Cobalt. That is what happened.

2. It was initially 30K, then up to 48K (Lutz), then well under 30K (Wagoner) now it is about 40K and then government incentives. Here's a nice summary

http://jalopnik.com/392689/2011-chevy-volt...ced-under-30000

3. GM initially claimed 50MPG on the ICE. That has not changed, even though the engine itself has.

4. GM Was very clear that it HAD to be a Chevy because it was a vehicle for the masses. Perhaps part of the problem is that GM started showing commercials of it in 2007... even though we now know that it will be 2015 before they plan to produce any real meaningful numbers... if they even hit their own targets. From what Lutz said on Letterman the Nov. 2010 seems to be a paper launch.

5. Just don't use the AC. Or the heat. Or go on the highway. Plus there was that nice nugget of PR when GM realized and announced that stereos use so much power.

Also, take a look back... GM was claiming 640 miles of range (gas an electric). Now that they have changed the gas tank size (although, in spite of the creation of the production intent vehicle, this is apparently still up in the air) it is looking like it will be more like 300. Not a big deal, but yet another example of how little they actually knew when they announced the Volt.

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Just saw at Autoweek they drove the Volt mule. They claim it is nothing special.... But that is a good thing. They said it rode, drove and performed as a normal car even on full electric mode.

That is good news as most hybids and electic cars all have to be diven differently to take advantage of any savings in fuel. The Key to the Volt is it you will not have to change in you driving style or habits form a conventional car to be efficent. The only change you will need it to plug it in when you get home.

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Excellent. I don't think I would buy something like this, but this should sock it to the Prius crowd.

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I'm still skeptical of GM's ability to get people to shell out that kind of money for the Volt. If they start the Volt at $40k, the Prius starts at $18k less, thats a big deal. If Lexus starts the HS 250 where the Prius tops out ($33k give or take) then GM will have to convince people to pay more for a Chevy thasn for a Lexus. GM will have to sell the technology hard and hope people are willing to pay a premium for it.

And dont give me any "tax credit" b.s. because the tax credit doesn't reduce the amount financed or monthly payments.

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First thing we will all need to accept is the First Gen Volt will not be a run away sales hit. This is a car just as the first Prius that will intro a new technology and will provide the public with a veiw of a new way to drive and save. GM already has the work started on Gen 2 and three. We will then see this technology incorverated into more models and may even be incorperated as an option on many other models.

Lets face it the Prius was cheap and a run away sale hit till just in the last year. Even now sales are not great on Gen two as they are offering 0% on them now. When gas was up they took off. GM should do well with Gen two and Thress as the prices will drop and by then gas will be higher.

The key to all this is a car most will be able to drive to work daily on electric and still drive cross country with out alturing their daily driving habits. In other words you will beable to use the technology while driving normal and not have to feather the gas around town to keep the engine from kicking in.

We are not far away from better electric motors that will have more power, lighter and more efficent. The same with the batteries along with faster charging.

The job for the Volt is to set a new standard the industry will follow. This will give GM the lead in the future and with them clearing Chapter 11 they will be able to concentrait on this more and advance quickly.

My onlyt worry is with the Green House laws the goverment is playing with is how much more expensive are they going to drive electric rates in the future. Also will the utilities be able to keep up with the growing demand of electric. We already have problems in some areas of the country during peak hours in the summer.

The Volt one will be bought by the curious, the rich, the I have to have the first and the Evro nuts like Ed Begly Jr. [Note I respect Ed as he really practices what he preaches and has done so long before the the other Hollywood mental cases jumped on the PR train]. These people will buy enough of these cars to prove GM's system works. That is all they need them to do, They wil not recoupe the investment nor are they expected to.

So to sum it up the job of Volt Gen One is to sell itself as a reliable efficent way to drive normally. Once it proves itself the cheaper more efficent Gen two will look to making more volume and profit.

Edited by hyperv6
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