Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

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IVI
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by IVI » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 00:10

Will the GM Volt suffer a fate like its EV1 (of fond memories)?

/. article is here:

+ http://tech.slashdot.org/story/12/03/03 ... ends-sales

How will this affect the Holden Volt sales?

(Who will buy one here, ie, after learning of the US suspension?)

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 02:44

Who would know. (or care, for that matter).

On the subject, what were they trying to achieve with the volt, other than being able to call it a hybrid. They haven't built any significant advantage into it over its equivalent ice car. Why didn't they try for something 'outstanding', even if it took two years longer, but with much publicity.

Well, I'd suggest it's because they know their customers well.

Just as our corporate media has been determined in the last year or more to 'establish' our mindset, they could have made a determined effort to set up a US customer mindset to garner a niche group who would take up a much-greener car with gusto. I know a largish group exists in the US who would readily accept a truly significant 'volt'.

The carmakers in the US do not accept a different market. In the film 'Revenge of the Electric Car', they show a US politician railing at GM men, demanding to know why they will not supply appropriate cars to the US market (this at a time when GM were totally destroyed financially).

GM will still get by with supplying inappropriate vehicles to the US market as long as they remain viable, but they are losing out technically. I hope Tesla grow strong, because they, at least, are doing the right thing.

I love my Prius and yet I wonder why Toyota have not used their obvious ability to allow the Prius to have 'very-good' pure electric range instead of so-so range, even with the newer model.

My using another supplier to minimise fuel consumption and maximise ev range on the Prius is crazy when Toyota could have done it themselves. I know they could.   Maybe they think that there are too few customers who are willing to vary their driving style in order to achieve these aims.

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by Simon » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 08:50

IVI I don't think it is really possible for the Volt to suffer the same fate as the EV1 because you can actually own the Volt.
It's way too early in the piece to think that this would effect Holden Volt sales considering it will not come out till late this year.
bladecar wrote:
On the subject, what were they trying to achieve with the volt, other than being able to call it a hybrid. They haven't built any significant advantage into it over its equivalent ice car.   


From the GM advertising I have seen the Volt is not called a hybrid, instead they refer to it as a Range Extended EV. GM can call it whatever they want but it's still a hybrid. Image
Isn't the Volt's 35 mile EV range a big advantage over any ICE car? Sure it gets uninspiring fuel economy after that but most drivers will rarely burn much fuel.

bladecar wrote:
I love my Prius and yet I wonder why Toyota have not used their obvious ability to allow the Prius to have 'very-good' pure electric range instead of so-so range, even with the newer model.


It is disappointing that Toyota have not brought a Plugin Prius to market with a good EV range (or better still a pure EV). This is where the Volt got it right with a decent EV range.

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by Rattrap » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 13:58

Perhaps it has something to do with GM's $7 mill investment in Envia battery company. As soon as i read this article i thought straight away that these batteries would be perfect for the Volt. Perhaps its just wishful thinking on my part.lol. But a Volt with a triple the range & with half the battery weight would be perfect for my rural motoring needs.
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by Johny » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 14:33

Envia may have improved the energy density but I have a sneeky suspicion that the cycle life is down.
See http://enviasystems.com/announcement/

Edit: Note also that cycle life tests were performed at C/3.
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 14:58

Simon wrote:

"From the GM advertising I have seen the Volt is not called a hybrid, instead they refer to it as a Range Extended EV. GM can call it whatever they want but it's still a hybrid.
Isn't the Volt's 35 mile EV range a big advantage over any ICE car? Sure it gets uninspiring fuel economy after that but most drivers will rarely burn much fuel."
(I don't know how to quote in replies like you do)



I read a US car magazine which compared the Volt to the Cruze. Big difference in cost, not impressive in fuel consumption over a wide range of driving. Which is the point, of course. We don't drive hybrids over a wide range of driving for the sake of it, only when necessary.

I agree that a 35 mile range is very good.

My sentiments were shaped by the impression given by this article. Not that the Volt was bad, but the style of the car (range extending) allowed it to be compared with the Cruze in this way. The EV mode is so easily ignored when compared with the big difference in cost (almost double, if I remember correctly).

Toyota have been testing a plug-in hybrid Prius for a couple of years but its range will be nothing like the 'claimed' range for Nilco2, of around 0.3 L/100km if you drive the car in the required way (and, naturally, aren't touring mountainous Tasmania). Image
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by tdean » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 15:46

No wonder I'm skeptical! GM are not really trying that hard are they? If the sales figures have dropped by that much in 2012, what does it tell you? Bring the damn price down!!!!!! People are always going to compare apples with apples, not bananas. Only the people who can afford to buy a expensive toy can buy American EV's at these prices, the rest are like me; its a box on wheels and that box over there is a lot cheaper to buy! Where's the incentive to change? Simple stuff really. Next movie: "Who killed the GM Volt?"
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 15:59

tdean,

Where's the dream?   Electric cars go a long way to eliminating the use of oil.

tdean, let me know when you come to realise why we should use an electric car.

I like toys, but that's got nothing to do with it.


If cost was the over-riding thing, lots of important things, like marriage, would never happen.


tdean, I recommend EcoCar magazine.   I thought it would be great, a magazine to cover ev's, technical things, innovation.   No, not at all. The occasional article on really interesting things (hybrid Jaguar) but it fits your interests.   Cars with petrol/diesel consumption below 10.5 L/100 (or close to that).   So bl**dy what.

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by Johny » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 16:13

Robert Llewellyn made a point in one of the Fully Charged episodes (can't remember which one).
He identified that a car manufacturer can build an engine and transmission for a small fraction of the retail price of the car.
When a manufacturer build an electric - or a hybrid with good electric range, not only do they usually have to buy in technology that they don't have in house - controlelrs, motor etc. but they have to PURCHASE battery packs and management systems at a vastly higher cost than their usual lumps of alloy and steel.

Once the various markups go on the vehicle as it grinds it's way to the dealer showroom, the costs go up.
Each part of the process takes a percentage. It's not surprizing that EVs are expensive to what is otherwise a pretty mundane vehicle.

Maybe this will change, but with Shale Oil on the horizon, I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 16:38

Yes, Johny,

Shale Oil is one hell of a problem.   Great for supply.   Disaster for our environment.


I'm hoping there will come a time, could be a long way away, where the components you mention will become available just as computer components today are available.   That was a long, long process, but once you get there, things become very cheap.


When you think about it, if the world had just one manufacturer of electric motors (that most people would agree were very suitable), one manufacturer of inverters (designed for the dominant motor), etc, things would move very fast.

Of course, that would be the monopoly from hell unless it was a world project and not a private-enterprise project.

After that, you could have the private-enterprise projects, but the world project would have to continue.

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 16:50

Johny Said:

"Robert Llewellyn made a point in one of the Fully Charged episodes (can't remember which one).
He identified that a car manufacturer can build an engine and transmission for a small fraction of the retail price of the car.
When a manufacturer build an electric - or a hybrid with good electric range, not only do they usually have to buy in technology that they don't have in house - controlelrs, motor etc. but they have to PURCHASE battery packs and management systems at a vastly higher cost than their usual lumps of alloy and steel.
Once the various markups go on the vehicle as it grinds it's way to the dealer showroom, the costs go up.
Each part of the process takes a percentage. It's not surprizing that EVs are expensive to what is otherwise a pretty mundane vehicle."


Johny, it was good that Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said in the film "The Revenge of the Electric Car" (possibly in the extras where there is a 35 min film on the get-together after the first screening) that Nissan is making EVERY component for their electric vehicles.


(of course, that means that when you buy an electric nissan, you will buy nissan parts to replace things - that goes back to comments I've made in the past about my choice of ev for now)



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Post by Johny » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 16:51

bladecar wrote:When you think about it, if the world had just one manufacturer of electric motors (that most people would agree were very suitable), one manufacturer of inverters (designed for the dominant motor), etc, things would move very fast.
There is already a detailed standard for electric motors. AC motors have frame sizes and a list of standard ratings. All manufacturers have them in foot and flange (or both) mountings with only minor differences. The controllers are more expensive but that is just a volume thing. It doesn't appear to help. Manufacturers will always shove for product differentiation (they do it where I work - push for some advantage while keeping to interoperability specs.)

I don't think it's motors and controllers (Toyota make theirs from scratch) so much as battery packs. If I was a car manufacturer I'm not sure what I'd do about that either. Commit to a particular chemistry (and sub-chemistry) for X many million cells and hope that something doesn't happen to put you behind.

Maybe it's still too early for the biggies?


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Post by Johny » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 16:56

bladecar wrote:Johny, it was good that Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said in the film "The Revenge of the Electric Car" (possibly in the extras where there is a 35 min film on the get-together after the first screening) that Nissan is making EVERY component for their electric vehicles.
Point taken - I haven't seen it. Do you think they make the actual cells that go into their sardine cans? That's a big committment but Nissan look like they are a manufacturer that really are putting their future into EVs.

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 17:13

Hi Johny,

Yes, Nissan are making the batteries for their cars as well. There is a scene where Ghosn is attending a ceremony in Louisiana marking either a sod turning, or a building outfitting, or something (I have to watch it again) and it is to do with a new battery-manufacturing facility on that site.

In that film (or film extra), Ghosn says that they are investing $5 Billion dollars (no, he is not Dr Evil) per year out of $8 billion on their electric car division.

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 17:22

Johny said:

"There is already a detailed standard for electric motors. AC motors have frame sizes and a list of standard ratings. All manufacturers have them in foot and flange (or both) mountings with only minor differences. The controllers are more expensive but that is just a volume thing. It doesn't appear to help. Manufacturers will always shove for product differentiation (they do it where I work - push for some advantage while keeping to interoperability specs.)"



Yes, Johny, that's why I'm talking about a standard motor, built by Governments, decided on as a suitable type for, say, 100 or 150km range for city driving when paired with a set controller, and set battery pack and dimensions, which could be produced in very large numbers in order to bring the cost down to reasonable levels, like $35000 or less.

These components could be made to 'establish' the industry.

It follows that private-enterprise industries would say, "We can make much better components than those, some for the same price, but others much more expensive that we know the consumer will want to buy".

These components would have to be a standard everything, the thing Bill Gates achieved. Totally standard in dimension and interoperability. They could vary in quality and performance.

Then you have it: A new direction.

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Post by Johny » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 17:22

You prompted me to have a quick read.
Wired did a good interview with him back in mid 2011.
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/06/qa ... los-ghosn/

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by bladecar » Mon, 05 Mar 2012, 17:26

Johny said:

You prompted me to have a quick read.
Wired did a good interview with him back in mid 2011.
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/06/qa ... los-ghosn/



Thanks for that   Image

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Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sale

Post by AMPrentice » Tue, 06 Mar 2012, 17:42

if its true then....

This company was saved by printed money on the promise it would change its polluting ways and then when it gets its cash
it does a backflip or trying to do so with poor marketting on purpose!

anyone agree?
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 06 Mar 2012, 18:26

AMPrentice wrote: This company was saved by printed money on the promise it would change its polluting ways and then when it gets its cash
it does a backflip or trying to do so with poor marketing on purpose!

I would not put it past them at all. But it's too early to call this one; they're just *suspending* production. They have a re-start date (from memory, 12th of April). So they are just pausing production for a few weeks, to let demand catch up to production.

The workers on that line might not see it so generously, of course.
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Post by Johny » Tue, 06 Mar 2012, 18:55

AMPrentice wrote:...anyone agree?
Not really. I think that GM put a fair bit of effort into marketing and there is a lot of excitement here in GMH stalls awaiting the Holden badged version. They managed to get a two page spread in the RACV mag. mid 2011 and have been in the Age's drive a few times along with the other Evs/Hybrids. The Volt has been the subject of a lot of discussion in the US media as well.

My feeling is the post crash-test fire has damaged the image and the USA citizens are an unforgiving lot who don't appear to notice petrol fires in accidents - and service stations.
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Post by AMPrentice » Tue, 06 Mar 2012, 19:55

Thanks guys I felt the initial marketing glamour was to secure their loans in the coming well known uncertain economical crisis.
I felt back in the 90s the EV1 had been taken in by consumers, celebrities and media better than the volt now yet ended with big oil calling the last shots. I hope not, as today oil hit $108 again so EVs have to be part of every companies equation unless vertigro algae methanol/diesel is in the pipeline
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