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Engineers have started to hand assemble the first "real" Chevy Volts -- the finalized pre-production test models.  (Source: General Motors)
Newly built car will be used for critical testing

The Chevy Volt, General Motors' pride and great hope for the future, has entered the pre-production phase, with engineers assembling a vehicle that looks identical to the design that is planned to be coming off the assembly  line late this year.  After months and years of waiting, GM's launch of the first mainstream electric vehicle is almost at hand.

GM Executive Director for Research and Development Dr. Alan Taub, speaking at a conference at the North Carolina Solar Center at NCSU, says that he believes the Volt will be integral to GM's turnaround.  He stated, "The key is to be ready when the market rebounds with technologies and vehicles that people got to have.  We really think the Volt represents the next generation in propulsion technology around what we are calling the reinvention of the vehicle.  It's going to be electrified drive. It's going to be connected to the world through electronics."

The new pre-production models will be play a critical role in preparing for the vehicles deployment.  They will be used as integration models, tweaking minor parameters to help lower wind resistance.  They will also be battered and bruised to make sure the vehicle is road-worthy.

Previous "test drives" by the press in "Volts" were not really a Chevy Volt -- rather, they were a similarly designed Chevy Malibu or Cruze-based test mule.  The current production marks the first Volt of the finalized design to be produced.  The cars are being built at the Technical Center in Detroit, MI.  It takes two weeks for engineers to hand-assemble one of the cars.

GM spokesman Rob Peterson cheered the news, stating, "The purpose for the integration vehicle builds is two-fold.  First, they validate our production design, vehicle safety and performance capabilities. Just as important, the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality and manufacturing efficiency when production begins in November 2010."

By mid-July, GM will have ramped up the pre-production to a rate of 10 vehicles per week.  GM will have a fleet of 80 pre-production Volts by the fall.  The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly will start mass producing pre-production models next spring, providing "several hundred" vehicles to invade showrooms across the country.

Automotive industry experts say that vehicles like the Volt face a tough road ahead, but may offer solutions to critical environmental and national security problems.  States, Anne Tazewell, of the North Carolina Solar Center at NCSU, "There are a lot of variables, and one is our will to continue investing in this.  We have an environmental imperative and we really do have an economic imperative because of our reliance on imported oil. But we're also kind of battling the more immediate economic situation.”





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Say what you want
By FITCamaro on 5/28/2009 9:52:21 AM , Rating: 5
But I have to say, despite the Volt not getting the far hotter concept styling, it's still a fairly handsome looking sedan. Doesn't scream eco-freak like the Prius does. Has an aggressive, techy look to it.




RE: Say what you want
By thekdub on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Say what you want
By clovell on 5/28/2009 10:57:38 AM , Rating: 4
Reminds me of the latest gen Civics.


RE: Say what you want
By FITCamaro on 5/28/2009 11:04:56 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
On another note, how exactly does this vehicle offer solutions to national security? Is it IED-resistant? Will it be used in peacekeeping missions overseas? I don't see using imported oil as a breach of national security, nor the non-use as a solution to national security.


What? Where did this come from?

And yes, it does look like a TL. But I actually kinda like the looks of the Malibu though. Better than the Camry by a long shot.


RE: Say what you want
By GaryJohnson on 5/28/2009 1:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What? Where did this come from?

From the article:
quote:
Automotive industry experts say that vehicles like the Volt face a tough road ahead, but may offer solutions to critical environmental and national security problems.


RE: Say what you want
By FITCamaro on 5/28/2009 1:34:24 PM , Rating: 5
Ok but that has absolutely nothing to do with what I said?


RE: Say what you want
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 1:44:15 PM , Rating: 5
Now Fit don't go using all your fancy logic here. How's he supposed to hijack your thread with another long winded political flame war if you expect him to stay on topic.


RE: Say what you want
By GaryJohnson on 5/28/2009 1:56:52 PM , Rating: 1
It has to do with what you quoted and asked about.


RE: Say what you want
By thekdub on 5/30/2009 2:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't mean to sound like I was directing that statement towards you, I just didn't feel like putting it in an entirely new reply. Sorry for the confusion ;)


RE: Say what you want
By BillyBatson on 5/28/2009 1:57:43 PM , Rating: 1
what!? malibu better than the camry!? looks are subjective but I personally feel that the camry is FAR better looking than the malibu. The malibu has an attractive front end but the rear is flat, ugly, and looks like it belongs on a much much cheaper car.


RE: Say what you want
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 2:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
what!? malibu better than the camry!? looks are subjective but I personally feel that the camry is FAR better looking than the malibu.
Looks are subjective and I find the Malibu and Camry to be equal looks wise. Both are plain jane but that's what that market wants. I do find the Altima, Accord, and Mazda6 to be much better looking.


RE: Say what you want
By Regs on 5/28/2009 9:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe they're arming it with a M60 7.62mm machine gun and a 360 turret on it. Who knows.


RE: Say what you want
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 5/28/2009 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 5
When you keep oil prices up, you give money to people who are openly anti-American, such as Venezuela and many middle Eastern countries. Oh yeah, Russia, too. And if the crap hits the fan, where are we going to get enough oil to keep going?

Our energy resources should be as self-contained as possible for the greatest national security. That is true for any country. Textbook national security.

After 9/11, there were commercials showing pot smokers saying, I just want a little high, and then saying that their money goes right to terrorists. They should have shown a soccer mom driving an SUV with the same message.

I hope I am not sounding too right wing nut. I never voted for W.


RE: Say what you want
By Jeffk464 on 5/29/2009 12:01:34 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't sound right wing to me. the right wing nuts were the ones trying to stop any kind of new standards for mileage. Liberal "weenies" like the Europeans believed in taxing the hell out of gasoline to get people to conserve. The funny thing is GM spent decades fighting any legislation that would hinder their ability to build gas guzzlers, and the gas guzzler line up is what killed them. If any company ever deserved to go out of business its GM.


RE: Say what you want
By therealnickdanger on 5/29/2009 12:08:33 PM , Rating: 1
As a "right wing nut" that voted for "W" twice without any real remorse until the last year of his office, I hoped and continue to hope (in vain, I'm sure) that we will DRILL our own oil and put tons of nuclear plants on the fast track. Most Americans on the hard left seem to think that the solution to the oil problem is alternative fuels and are willing to bankrupt our country to see it accomplished. But it's very simple, build rigs, refineries, and power stations HERE in the f***ing USA and you'll not only reduce the COST of energy, our RELIANCE on other nations, but also CREATE jobs for our citizens! Sounds like a triple-win to me!

Does that sound too "radical right"? WTF?


RE: Say what you want
By Cypherdude1 on 5/28/2009 7:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
On another note, how exactly does this vehicle offer solutions to national security?

It relates to national security because any electric car reduces the USA's dependence on foreign oil. If the USA only used electric cars, we would no longer need Middle Eastern or Venezuelan oil. We would no longer care what happens in the Middle East and we could bankrupt Venezuela which is also hostile to us.

While no longer depending on foreign oil is fine, using thousands (or millions) of electric cars creates another problem. Electric cars, in fact nearly every rechargeable battery, uses lithium. From what has been reported on DailyTech, lithium is also in short supply and most comes from Bolivia which is also not exactly friendly to the USA!

I am starting to have doubts that using electric cars will eliminate our problems because we may just be simply switching one trouble spot, the Middle-East, for another. The USA has not really even started using electric cars. Hopefully, as electric car technology matures, we will find ways to make car batteries more powerful, efficient, and cheaper. DailyTech also reported that scientists have found a way to make lithium 3 times more powerful by combining it with cheaper sulfur.


RE: Say what you want
By Regs on 5/28/2009 10:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, it's called comparative advantage. We export goods we are efficient in making, and import goods that would cost us more to make. International trade allows a nation to produce goods in which it has a cost advantage and then trade them for imported goods in which it has a cost disadvantage.

So either way you look at it we're kind of screwing ourselves. If we want to start spending more money on items that we are less efficient producing than importing or increasing our opportunity costs to a point where we can no longer afford the human capital, expenses, and capital to wage war on countries that attack us, then it defeats the purpose.

We also know gasoline is the cheaper alternative , for now. How many in this nation are going to sacrifice their standard of living for a more expensive alternative? Ok -ok I’ll try to keep this more on a macro scale.

Politicians and economists alike make decisions, policies and theories on the basis of ceteris paribus, all things remaining equal. We know all things can't possibly remain equal or unchanged, but making predictions with those added variables are impossible and we also know it's inevitable that some predictions fail. Though we live with it knowing that we rather be approximately right than dead wrong.

Let’s take North Korea for an example. With their rate of poverty, malnourishment, and a population of 24 million (40th rank in the world) you'd think they couldn't possibly be the 4 largest military in the world. Though the fact is they devote 16 percent of their output for their military while the USA only uses 3.4 percent (remember our GDP larger). What on earth are we importing from North Korea that could sustain such a beast? The same beast that tested a underground nuclear warhead not too long ago?

Just something to think about...


RE: Say what you want
By Hiawa23 on 5/29/2009 1:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
It relates to national security because any electric car reduces the USA's dependence on foreign oil. If the USA only used electric cars, we would no longer need Middle Eastern or Venezuelan oil. We would no longer care what happens in the Middle East and we could bankrupt Venezuela which is also hostile to us.

I understand the whole national security thing, especially since we are now seeing gas prices moving back up, * I almost go into a depression everytime I have to go to pump, as we are being shafted & it seems nothing can be done at all. I think it is unrealistic to assume that most of America will even be in any position to buy these expensive electric vehicles, so for many Americans the cars that they now own are going to be it for them, so why are we not seeing any push for more drilling, & don't start with the bashing Obama stuf, cause W was in office 8 years & nothing was done. How is it that regular gas now cost more than diesel in some places? It makes me angry cause it seems that someone is up & whnever they decide to increase the price of gas it rushes at the drop of a hat.


RE: Say what you want
By GWD5318 on 5/28/2009 10:32:46 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. It doesn't look like an appliance like the 2nd gen Prius did. Let's hope it doesn't drive like an appliance either.


RE: Say what you want
By omnicronx on 5/28/2009 11:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like a squished up Malibu to me. I'm starting to like the design the more I see it.

http://www.autospectator.com/cars/files/images/Che...


RE: Say what you want
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 12:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
Of course it better not look like those econo boxes with a near $40K expected price. I really do hope it takes off, but I just don't see it at over $30K. Prius and Insight are not just popular because of their MPG, but also because of the low price tag in general.

If you have $22K to spend on a new car your choices are varied, but still rather bland so why not get the bonus of higher MPG. However if your spending well over $30K MPG alone will not sway most. That price range has a lot of nice vehicles with other things to offer that may out way the MPG angle. To that end the styling better be nice because your competition is not a econo box Civic/Corolla it is the TL, Beemers, CTS and such.


RE: Say what you want
By Keeir on 5/28/2009 2:19:34 PM , Rating: 3
You know...

The Volt is really a fairly cheap peice of machine when you look at it from a different perspective.

Its the First and Only -MASS- produced Electric Auto ever. Not only is it an Electric Auto, but it comes standard with gasoline back-up.

As such, a 40,000 dollar price tag seems reasonable when machines like the iMiev cost 37,000+

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/07/14/mitsubishi...

Telsa's cars are marvels, but run 60,000+ dollars (probably like 70,000 for the long range edition)

The BMW Mini's were leased at 500 dollars a month... thats a final purchase price in the high 30,000s.

Furthermore, as the first of its type like all technology the Volt is priced far higher than the long term price.


RE: Say what you want
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 2:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Telsa's cars are marvels, but run 60,000+ dollars (probably like 70,000 for the long range edition)
Tesla's CAR is over $100k. Not sure where you got the other numbers from.


RE: Say what you want
By Doormat on 5/28/2009 5:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
The Tesla Model S - 160 mi on the "cheap" battery pack. $60K.


RE: Say what you want
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 6:55:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The Tesla Model S - 160 mi on the "cheap" battery pack. $60K.
That's not for sale. Who's knows what the price and specs will be like when (if) it does go on sale.


RE: Say what you want
By Doormat on 5/28/2009 10:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt isn't on sale yet either nor has an official price been announced. I dont see why you're making that distinction.


RE: Say what you want
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 5:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not really saying it is not reasonably price for the tech involved, I think it is. What I'm saying is that the consumer does not care. They look at "what can I get for X dollars", and unfortunately for GM I think that most will find there are more tempting vehicles that offer more than the MPG savings alone can overcome.

Don't get me wrong I like the Volt, but that does not mean I'll rush out and buy one given what that money could be used to buy instead. My point is that the existing hybrids are attractive because of the low price moreso than the MPG savings. In that price range you look for things to make the car less bland, and the MPG savings also make a bigger difference at that budget level.

Take Lexus for example I don't know the numbers but I really doubt their GS450H or LS600H are topping any sedan sales charts. Once you reach a certain price level hybrids become a niche, IMHO that price is $30K. Above that, and there are simply better options.


RE: Say what you want
By Keeir on 5/28/2009 6:31:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Not really saying it is not reasonably price for the tech involved, I think it is. What I'm saying is that the consumer does not care. They look at "what can I get for X dollars", and unfortunately for GM I think that most will find there are more tempting vehicles that offer more than the MPG savings alone can overcome.


I disagree with this statement in principle. Consumers are known to act from sometimes illogical reasons that increase thier happiness level.

People seem obsensed with the Volt suddenly being a 500,000 unit a year car. That was never in the plan at this early stage. First year production : 10,000. Second year production: 50,000.

I also disagree with
quote:
My point is that the existing hybrids are attractive because of the low price moreso than the MPG savings.


The Honda Insight is the only one that falls into this category. While the Prius is not absurdly expensive, the average sale price of the Prius will be in the 25,000+ range. At 25,000 dollars (or 20,000 plus 5,000 in savings) there are simply better options as well.

Hybrids appeal to the illogical consumer that gains utility from using less gas. IE consumers willing to pay more than the cost of the gas to use less of it. Apparently, there are millions of these customers willing to put down for a Prius. A Volt has the potential to lesson gas usage by 100s of gallons a year.... I bet GM can find a few 100,000 across the world willing to put down the 40,000 initial price required to build the 25,000 dollar mass market appeal car.


RE: Say what you want
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 6:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I bet GM can find a few 100,000 across the world willing to put down the 40,000 initial price required to build the 25,000 dollar mass market appeal car.
There's already a growing waiting list for the Volt. GM will sell every single one of them. Quite frankly, if my income was double what it is now, I'd buy one too.


RE: Say what you want
By Keeir on 5/29/2009 2:40:27 PM , Rating: 2
I would too.... but thats because looking at the technologies availeble today, the Volt repersents the "50 mpg" car that I think has the best chance to allow for seemless transition to fully electric travel.

The Prius is great on fuel economy, but performance is... lacking. The Prius and Insight systems still rely on pushing the motor into inefficient zones for peak power or sizes that lower efficiency at cruise. Thus, I a can't really see a 200 hp/200 ft lb Prius.

The Tesla Cars are great on performance and fuel economy... but suffer from long range anxiety. Even at 300 miles... you only have 300 maximum miles before a very long recharge time. This is just unacceptable from a "one car" solution.

Diesel cars are good on fuel economy and performace (and cost!) but the fancy emission systems to reduce pollution that I care about (Particular etc) puts me off a bit.

Wheras the Volt over a year could
#1 put out the low amounts of real pollution (Only Telsa would be better and only marginally)
#2 Use almost no liquid fuel (Only Telsa would be better. I personally would use less than 50 gallons/year with a volt. I use around 500 now)
#3 Allow great performance (Again, Only Telsa would be better as it gets rid of extra wieght. Diesel could be a close)
#4 Be a "one car" solution to every need (Sigh, if only we have insta recharge batteries... fancy battery switching stations just don't cut it unless there are thousands and thousands of them)
#5 Make efficient and cost effective use of battery materials. (Volts type could be made a 20/30/40/etc to allow each people to use thier battery close to 100% every day. Tesla's flaw is that you may have a 53 kWh battery, but only use 15 kWh on a regular basi)


RE: Say what you want
By Noya on 5/28/2009 7:37:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Has an aggressive, techy look to it.


Yes, but it's performance stats are as mediocre as the Prius and Insights.


RE: Say what you want
By callmeroy on 5/29/2009 10:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
Agree....finally a "eco friendly" car I would not embarrassed to be seen driving....


RE: Say what you want
By Hiawa23 on 5/29/2009 12:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
looks a lot better than the ugly Prius & the Honda knockoff. The car seems like it will be priced way beyond average Joe's price, so although, I am looking forward to see how the final turns out, I already own an 06 by Mitsu Lancer & a 97 Honda Civic, so I am not buying any car in the coming years but interested to see how the car is received by maintstream or is this something only the rich will have.


RE: Say what you want
By Keeir on 5/29/2009 3:14:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
something only the rich will have.


This really needs to be put to rest.

The rich might only have the Volt because of the limited numbers produced. But in terms of 5-10 year cost, we are looking at normal Accord/Camry costs. You know, the top selling cars in the United States? Long terms costs (5-10 years) should be similar to a 25,000 dollar Accord/Camry. Fuel savings, Maintaince Savings, Resale (hopefully) and yes the government subsidy all play into this. Well within "normal" people's budgets.

Assumptions:
15,000 miles per year
75% of miles for Volt are Electric, IE 31 miles a day
Gas $2.50/gallon ($4.00/gallon)
Electricity $0.10/kWh ($0.20/kWh)
"Standard Oil Changes"- 5,000 ICE Miles - 50 dollars
"Standard Major Service"- 50,000 ICE Miles - 300 dollars
Zero Resale

Accord, 25,000 Initial, 24 mpg
5 Year Cost: 34,000 (39,000)
10 Year Cost: 43,000 (53,000)

Volt, 40,000 Initial, 50 mpg, 7,500 Tax Credit
5 Year Cost: 35,000 (36,800)
10 Year Cost: 37,500 (41,100)
At this point, you might need a battery change, but with a 10 year savings of more than 5,000 dollars, it wouldn't be that bad?

I am not saving the Volt is a fanastic Car that is the price leader or any such rubbish. Its not. It will be one of the most expensive compact sized cars to own over 10 years. However, to say people can't afford it is equally as silly. The 10 years costs for the most popular models in the United States are significant higher!


The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Chaser on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By FITCamaro on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Tsuwamono on 5/28/2009 12:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
You are dumb. So you want them to flop so all your money thats in that company just disappears instead of being repaid to you?

You sir are a moron.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By clovell on 5/28/2009 1:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know FIT owned GM stocks / bonds.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By FITCamaro on 5/28/2009 1:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
You're right I don't.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Veerappan on 5/28/2009 4:35:54 PM , Rating: 3
You don't, but the federal government does, which means your tax dollars are invested in it, which means you do... indirectly...


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By GaryJohnson on 5/28/2009 1:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
You think the money is going to be repaid? That's the funniest thing I've heard all day.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By omnicronx on 5/28/2009 3:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
If the government gets the stake they want in the company, there is no reason why not.. 70% stake for putting maybe 40 billion into the company after all is said and done is not bad at all. In the end it all depends on how successful the 'new' GM can be. If they go bankrupt and liquidate all their assets then obviously hardly any money is going to be repaid. But if they become a successful company that can actually generate some cash, the debt could be repaid in a number of years.

Furthermore, if GM does return to dominance, the Goverment should easily be able to make back every cent that was loaned if they sell off the company, atop of whatever profit they made in between.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Jeffk464 on 5/29/2009 12:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
Not going to happen. Toyota has superior management to GM, you are betting on the underdog.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By clovell on 5/28/2009 11:14:26 AM , Rating: 1
Have you even been watching the news? Have you heard of a company called Chrysler? What makes you think that, if it comes to it, the government won't engineer another bankruptcy where the unions get the best of the deal?

You want to know who got the shaft with Chrysler? The dealers. These guys generally have to finance their floorplans - usually $1M+. Back in 1Q09, these guys all pitched in and made extra orders from Chrysler to keep it from going into bankruptcy. As a result, lots had loads of inventory. As we got into Q209, their floorplan credit started drying up, affecting their ability to turn around trades. Chrysler started bouncing their rebate checks, leaving many dealers unable to repay the credit line on their floorplans - these are secured credit lines that must be paid within a certain timeframe when the vehicle is sold. But, without the rebate check, these dealers were upside-down on their deals. Then, Chrysler froze orders. Then they announced that the dealerships that were closing had only two months sell off their already bloated inventory.

Chrysler will not be paying dealers anything - not buying back their signage, their inventory, their franchise fees, etc. Some of these guys were doing a good business and now are millions in unrecoverable debt. I've heard of at least one who took his own life as a result of this mess.

Now, I'm sure some numbskull is going to say, "It's their fault for being a Chrysler dealership." No, sir. It's Chrysler's fault for running an unviable company, and the government's fault for engineering a bankruptcy that releases them from their standard obligations.

Long story short, the average joe got the shaft; the government and the company looked out for the unions, not the dealerships - which have at least as many jobs, and at least as much economic impact. I don't like the bailouts, either - and I'm not arguing for them. I'm just saying that government-engineered bankruptcy is not the answer.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Chaser on 5/28/2009 12:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
So what is? The U.S. has a system, its called bankruptcy protection and re-organization. The court system are specifically designed with the tools to restructure companies in the best interest of all. Several airlines went through this process and emerged from it in a much better position to be equitable and financially healthy. Why does GM warrant a preference over large companies that went through bankruptcy?

And if you believe bankruptcy for GM is wrong then provide another option. But leeching money from taxpayers now by order of the Executive Department is reprehensible. I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.

If GM "fails" -which does not equate to bankruptcy like the UAW would love all to believe- it has assets and an infrasstructure that others can buy or acquire. It will take people to operate them all. With unemployment at all all time high I am sure there are plenty of people that would love a job at $20.00 an hour with a matched 401K.

Chrsyler? Don't even get me started.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By clovell on 5/28/2009 1:10:00 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't warrant a preference; that was kind of my point. Chrysler was a mess. GM isn't as bad right now, but if it comes to it, I'd hate to see another mess like Chrysler.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By bhieb on 5/28/2009 1:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.


That is kind of the point. Bankruptcy was the option, but a government engineered one is not. The UAW should not have received special protection under the bankruptcy. Obama should not be influencing how a bankruptcy is structured (even if the government is funding it). It should have been treated just like any other company instead of giving unwarranted protection to the UAW.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Hiawa23 on 5/29/2009 2:09:39 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sorry but I don't believe President Obama should be in the business of running U.S. corporations.

yeah, President Obama agrees, & stated many times he doesn't want to be but this is the hand that was dealt before he even got into office.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Keeir on 5/29/2009 3:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
yeah, President Obama agrees, & stated many times he doesn't want to be but this is the hand that was dealt before he even got into office.


What? No. Simply not true. Unless Bush laid out these plans to take over auto makers before he left office? Seems like its may not be Obama's favorite plan, but if he really didn't want to run the companies, there were and still are significant and viable different options


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By omgwtf8888 on 5/28/2009 1:13:58 PM , Rating: 1
Wake up! Foreign governments have been subsidizing their automakers with their citizens funds for years. This has been giving them unfair competitive advantages for years. These same governments have restricted American car sales at the same time. And as for all those union contracts, people like you are undoing the labor movements that our grandparents fought for. YES people should work! YES they should be able to retire. Think about what you are advocating for? Work until you drop? No health benefits? Or maybe you think we can just offshore all these jobs so you can get a cheap foreign government subsidized car. Thats the thinking that got us into the economic problems we are in. The majority of people in this country are not Doctors, Lawyers, computer programmers. They need jobs that will pay a living wage with benefits and a retirement plan. These are the jobs we carelessly threw away. No wonder our social ladder is broken. People on welfare have it better then someone working for minimum wage. No sir! GM, Chrysler and Ford lost their most revered customers by getting rid of valued employees. Where i live in New Jersey there used to be many automobile plants, now there are none. Whole towns used to be built around those plants. People that worked at those plants had pride, and bought houses and cars. New Jersey now has 1/8 of is population on welfare and medicaid. Why? because there is no jobs with decent wages for these people. Me personally, I would rather put my tax dollars into subsidizing manufacturing, here, in this country, rather then putting dollars into welfare. The choice is simple, work or welfare. Your tax dollars are going to go to one or the other. So far we have chosen welfare and our country is failing... Time to get back to work... and yes.. if you can start supporting America we really need it.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By clovell on 5/28/2009 1:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
Subsidize industry or subsidize welfare are my choices, eh? I've got a third one - entrenpenuership. Tell 1/8 of your state to get off their ass and if they can't find a job, make one. I also hear the military is recruiting.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By omgwtf8888 on 5/28/2009 1:28:21 PM , Rating: 1
Go take a walk around most of the cities in our country. Look at the people there. Most of our welfare/medicaid (read healthcare dollars) go to this population. Most people lack the skills or ability to start a business. Nice of you to say get off your ass and get to work but think! The person on welfare and medicaid has it better then the person who take the minimum wage job who has no health insurance. Again the social ladder is broken. The mentality that forged the country is broken. We need to return to "you work you get... you don't work you don't get". But... we need to provide jobs that can pay a living wage with benefits. I would love to see welfare/medicaid dollars redirected to Auto manufacturers with the caveat that they make their cars in our country.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 2:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
ost people lack the skills or ability to start a business.
So you have to start a business if you can't work for a union?


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Regected on 5/28/2009 2:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with the auto industry is their business model. Auto makers have been losing money with every car made for a long time now. How is a business that is in the business of making cars to stay alive when it loses money when it does sell a car? Their cars are bloated and overly expensive. Someone needs to come out with a new "People's car" to satisfy consumer demand, and to turn a profit on making cars.

Lately, automakers have been counting on their financing department to make any money. Their secondary source of income is the parts department. Who wants to buy a car from a replacement part manufacturer.


RE: The "U.S." will own 70% of GM
By Ringold on 5/28/2009 5:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So why isn't GM IN bankruptcy yet?


GM's expected to file bankruptcy Monday, they're just working with Treasury to get themselves ready. It was talked about extensively on CNBC today, a bond holders committee accepted a new offer (only slightly better than the original) this morning. GM's stock was halted at the open for a little bit as the dust settled.


$40K for a Civic?
By Pneumothorax on 5/28/2009 11:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
Let's see, I can get a loaded Civic EX-L with leather/heated seats/stability control for about $20K and get at least 30MPG if not better. OR I can spend $40K for a Volt that gets 50MPG. Reliability concerns aside, assuming I drive 15K miles per year and gas averages $5.00 per gallon (I'm trying to make a better case for the volt here), it's still going to take about 20 years to break even. What a bargain! Plus I love how we basically paid for the development in this car.




RE: $40K for a Civic?
By igedit on 5/28/2009 12:19:38 PM , Rating: 5
I agree the Volt is not for everyone and Gen-1 will certainly be expensive. But you have to start somewhere.

You can't calculate your Volt's gas usage by how many miles you drive a year. It all depends on how many miles/day you drive. I very rarely drive more than 40 miles/day and would hardly use any gas at all.

It would still take several years to break even, but certainly not 20 (for me).


RE: $40K for a Civic?
By Pneumothorax on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: $40K for a Civic?
By Keeir on 5/28/2009 2:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
Mate

You need to pay attention. First the government passed into law a credit of upto 7,500 dollar based on battery pack size for plug-in autos up to a fairly large number of units.

The Volt's goal is to travel 40 miles on 8kWh of electricity. 40 miles a day every day works out to be 14240 miles.

Assuming you use this pattern of driving (maximum that can be saved)

My Current Prices
Electric Cost 0.09 dollars/kWh
Gas Cost 2.59 dollars/gallon

Civic will cost .086 dollars/mile in fuel costs
Volt will cost .018 dollars/mile in electric costs

In a year, the difference in fuel/electric costs could be as much as .068 dollars/mile or 968.32 dollars a year.

Now back when gasoline was 4.40 dollars/gallon and my electricity was .10 dollars/kwh the yearly savings was 1,794.24 dollars a year.

A price difference of approx 15,000 dollars gives payback periods of 8 to 15 years on fuel savings alone. But since your unlikely to be using your gasoline engine for significant wear and tear, you also will save on maintaince costs. Oil Changes should be cut in 1/2 or 1/3 for example.


RE: $40K for a Civic?
By Doormat on 5/28/2009 5:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
Also consider resale value - the Volt has more internal parts (gasoline generator + electric motor) than a Civic, whether for resale or scrap.

I wouldn't be surprised to see refurbished Volt's selling for $12,500. New battery and cleaned up on the inside. Your trade in value might be in the range of $5000-7000 since the new battery would only be about $3,000 plus labor (10kWh - $300/kWh, increased depth of discharge and sufficient W/kg to power the Volt's engine allow the battery capacity to go down since only 8kWh is used), and the old battery can be refurbished and put to good use backing up renewables or your home (or both if you have PV panels on your roof).

Meanwhile a 10 year old Civic might fetch $4-5K. So that differential of $1500 or so is an additional year of savings.


RE: $40K for a Civic?
By SpaceJumper on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: $40K for a Civic?
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 2:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know how GM is going to compete with BYD.
Does BYD meet US safety and emissions standards? How long is the warranty on the BYD? And where in the US can I get the BYD serviced? Thanks.


RE: $40K for a Civic?
By gregpet on 5/28/2009 1:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
Actually you won't spend $40,000 for a Volt because:
#1 GM hasn't announced pricing so $40,000 is just a guess by people who don't know
#2 The govt is giving you a $7500 credit for buying an electric vehicle
#3 The biggest cost component of any electric vehicle is the battery and if you think batteries are going to stay at $20K (where the $40k Volt estimate comes from) I have a cell phone I want to sell to you for $1000! (this car won't go on sale for another 18 months)


RE: $40K for a Civic?
By Doormat on 5/28/2009 2:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
Your math is wrong.

Look to previous DT threads on the Volt, in one of them I posted the complete math as to the ROI on a Volt vs a Civic for someone who drives 35 miles per day (the national average daily commute). The ROI is highly dependent on the price of gas - at $3.50 or less its not a positive return within 10 years (the length of the battery warranty). Once you get past $4.50 its down to about 5 years.

I factored in price, fuel, resale value, etc.


First!!!!!
By Bender 123 on 5/28/2009 9:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, this is the only time I can remember having "First" be kosher with the topic at hand.

I seriously hope this will start the GM turn around. I seriously want the tech, but I am waiting to see final execution.

(Crosses Fingers)




RE: First!!!!!
By BPB on 5/28/2009 9:55:46 AM , Rating: 5
It appears that if nothing else, you are serious.


RE: First!!!!!
By Bender 123 on 5/28/2009 9:56:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah...I noticed that too late...Not enough coffee yet, for smart making and things.


RE: First!!!!!
By amanojaku on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
Errors
By rzrshrp on 5/28/2009 11:42:52 AM , Rating: 5
I usually don't bother mentioning this but the errors in the article are distracting. You may want to look over it again when possible.




What High-Level of build quality?
By Chudilo on 5/28/2009 11:45:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the build activity provides valuable insight into the final vehicle assembly process to ensure a high-level of build quality


What high-level of build quality are they speaking of?
Have you been in a GM-built vehicle lately?
While they are build a lot better then older GM vehicles.
At this price point you can get an Actual High Quality sedan that won't rattle and squeak from every little plastic bit within a year of production. That high quality car will also be from a company that would be proud of something they produce. If there is a problem found at some point after production, they would be glad to address the problem to ensure people's confidence in their product as opposed to hiding behind all sorts of legal disclosure statements that you are made to sign before buying the vehicle.




How soon?
By KnightBreed on 5/28/2009 12:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
How soon until we start seeing Volt test mules on the Nurburgring?




$40K? Maybe not...
By skaaman on 5/28/2009 1:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
Whether you agree or disagree with the handling of GM's current financial predicament, it strikes me that the new fresh balance sheet GM should have a beneficial affect of lowering the cost of the new Volt or any other GM vehicle. Coming out of bankruptcy the company will have a laundered balance sheet and presumably reduced labor costs.

At $40K the entry into the Volt is prohibitive for most. Not sure what price point it would need to hit, but the $40K number was derived with the companies current cost obligations in place.

Speculate away...




$3B
By phorensic on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: $3B
By FITCamaro on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: $3B
By NYHoustonman on 5/28/2009 11:12:32 AM , Rating: 3
That and I'm frankly tired of this idea that GM has been doing nothing to help pull itself out of their current predicament. They've made a hell of a lot more interesting/desirable vehicles over the past few years than the likes of Toyota or Honda, there's just this assumption that either they haven't or their quality is lacking or whatever. I mean, Honda's new big thing is a car that looks exactly like a Prius! Where's the innovation? If GM tried that, what kind of uproar would there be?

As much as I don't like advertising, GM's recent commercials hit the nail on the head.


RE: $3B
By Tsuwamono on 5/28/2009 11:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
Ya i know, you'd think that if they got government money they would also try to lean themselves down a bit by closing dealerships, discontinuing lines like maybe Pontiac or GMC, cutting jobs and trying to renegotiate with the UAW and CAW.

Damn them and their taking our money and buying more planes instead of selling off the ones they have. And then they pay their CEO MILLIONS instead of asking him to take a 1$ per year salary like Fritz Henderson.

Wait a second...

ohh geez NYHoustonman, you almost got me there lol. Good show.


RE: $3B
By Tsuwamono on 5/28/2009 12:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the Quality part too lol.

Almost the entire Nissan line as of late is garbage.

Toyota Yaris and Prius are both Garbage.

Honda well if I could get into a vehicle they made I could maybe actually drive one to see how it feels but from working on them I can say they are 90% garbage. Especially the Ridgeline. I'm sorry but if your not going to make a proper truck and your just going to make a joke out of it why do you do it?

Mazda isn't too bad though. I have to say I would drive a Mazda. As long as it was the Mazda 6 or the RX-8. Everything else no thanks.


RE: $3B
By Rhl on 5/28/2009 1:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Mazda isn't too bad though. I have to say I would drive a Mazda. As long as it was the Mazda 6 or the RX-8. Everything else no thanks.


Really? REALLY? Wow. The RX-8 is oil-burning crap, and the Mazda 6 is just decent. Try the Mazdaspeed 3, a well-handling, ridiculously fast hatchback for $25k.


RE: $3B
By Maharajamd on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: $3B
By gregpet on 5/28/2009 2:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
I totally don't understand Toyota's appeal. Every Toyota I've ever been in has the most plain jane plastic interior that looks the same regardless of the model. It baffles me that people seek these cars out.
I have always owned American cars and trucks and have never had a problem (and loved every one of them). I admit I have never owned an American economy car or sedan which is where I think they mostly got in trouble but I refuse to believe that Americans can't build desireable, quality cars that everyone will want to buy...


RE: $3B
By Spuke on 5/28/2009 3:40:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but I refuse to believe that Americans can't build desireable, quality cars that everyone will want to buy...
They do and there's 5 on the top 10 sales list. Ford F-Series pickups, Chevy pickups, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Impala, and the Ford Fusion.


RE: $3B
By gregpet on 5/29/2009 3:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
I certainly agree that Americans now build great cars but the part that you missed was that everyone will want to buy...

Unfortunately the US car makers have lost an entire generation of car owners (18-35). Its going to be tough to win them back but they seem to be on the right track...


RE: $3B
By Pirks on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: $3B
By tallguywithglasseson on 5/28/2009 11:46:02 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Do you know what kind of car I could make with a $3B budget? It would be insane
Would it look something like this?

http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/9219/71999162.gif


RE: $3B
By Souka on 5/28/2009 12:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking! Bravo!


RE: $3B
By clovell on 5/28/2009 11:52:31 AM , Rating: 2
IIRC, the Volt platform is designed to accomodate gasoline, deisel, hydrogen, and natural gas generators.

I don't like motors on the wheels, TBH. I'd rather the motor be under the hood - seems like it'd be a lot easier to work on.


RE: $3B
By Keeir on 5/28/2009 2:42:26 PM , Rating: 1
Last weekend, someone just grazed my wheel when they didn't stop at a stop sign. If my car has electric motor wheels.. I probably wouldn't be able to drive my car without a fairly expensive replacement...

Wheel Hub motors make alot of sense from an efficieny standpoint. Similar to Ductless Fans on Airplane engines. But from a service and safety standpoint... they have work to do


RE: $3B
By grandpope on 5/28/2009 11:56:42 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Do you know what kind of car I could make with a $3B budget?

Let me guess, it would sound something like this?

Farva: I'd buy a ten million dollar car.
Thorny: That's a good investment but I'd still pull you over.
Farva: Bull Shit. You couldn't pull me over, and even if you did I'd activate my car's wings and I'd fly away.


Performance?
By bildan on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Performance?
By mdogs444 on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Performance?
By VashHT on 5/28/2009 10:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
Kind of depends how they implement it. Considering the engine is just used to recharge the battery I would think it would kick on when the battery got below a certain point, say 20% or something.


RE: Performance?
By bildan on 5/28/2009 7:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
There's no free lunch.

The energy to propel the car comes from the battery and ultimately from the engine/generator (genset). If the genset is providing current for charging the battery AND propelling the car, then the car's a slug in limp home mode.

If you pull more energy from the battery than the genset can make up, you further discharge the battery.

Ultimately, at some range, the battery is discharged and the car is totally propelled by energy from the genset and is a slug in limp home mode.

I suspect GM will set up the software so performance slowly degrades the further you drive it so the driver isn't surprised by a sudden loss of performance.

You MAY be able to drive it 400 miles but I'll bet few owners will have the patience to do so.

If I were selling a Tesla against this thing, I'd have a field day. The Volt is neither fish nor foul but probably the worst of both.


RE: Performance?
By rcabor on 5/28/2009 10:23:49 AM , Rating: 3
I dont see how it would limp home. The same powertrain is still moving the car, just the source of electricity changes.


RE: Performance?
By GWD5318 on 5/28/2009 10:26:42 AM , Rating: 3
There is no "limp home" mode. The batteries are never allowed to be fully discharged. They are kept charged by the on-board generator once they reach they are drained to a predetermined threshold. The gas engine is solely a power source for the on-board generator.


RE: Performance?
By Bateluer on 5/28/09, Rating: 0
RE: Performance?
By rcabor on 5/28/2009 10:46:55 AM , Rating: 2
The car will go over 300 miles on one tank of gas(7gals if i remember correctly). I would say its intended to be like any other car, just with an advantage of using no gas on regular work days for many people.


RE: Performance?
By omnicronx on 5/28/2009 11:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
Actually it is suppose to hit around 400 miles on one tank, giving it an average of 50MPG. That is more than the gasoline car I currently drive, which gets maybe 350.

While the pricetag certainly does not warrant buying this car if you do not intend to use it for short trips at all, it still gets better mileage for a midsized 'hybrid' than comparable models like the camry, and is still up there with the Prius.(and its not nearly as ugly).


RE: Performance?
By FITCamaro on 5/28/2009 1:38:06 PM , Rating: 1
My GTO will do 400+ miles to a tank. :)
A tank is just about 17 gallons.

And it'll get better mileage than a Prius if you just drive it around town < 40 miles a day. Since it won't use any gas.


RE: Performance?
By clovell on 5/28/2009 10:55:58 AM , Rating: 2
You do understand that the engine does not provide any power directly to the wheels, right? This is a series hybrid - you don't have to worry about torque or power curves - the ICE on this thing will run at peak horsepower and efficiency in the powerband 100% of the time - as a generator.


RE: Performance?
By matt0401 on 5/28/2009 2:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
I used to think of parallel hybrids as being superior... you could use both power sources at the same time for more power when you need it (Prius works this way), but I see now the advantage with series hybrids. They use a CVT in parallel hybrids to get the gasoline engine as efficient as possible but nothing beats the engine simply running at one speed when it runs. It can be infinitely tuned to be quiet, stable, reliable, and fuel efficient. They can maximize the power you get from it too. I see this being the dominant technology for hybrids in the coming years before the switch to electrics.

I just wish GM would have chose a diesel to be the generator rather than gasoline! The higher amount of torque available must help out some, it'd be even more fuel efficient when you need to go 40+ miles! GM ought to partner with VW for their clean diesel technology. With Nissan-Renault Chrysler-Fiat and the multitude of other partnerships out there this must be possible.


RE: Performance?
By clovell on 5/28/2009 4:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the additional torque would translate into mor power only if the 'flywheel' (I use quotes because I don't know the equivalent of a flywheel in a generator) was heavier. Energy is going to be created by the motion of the generator. The advantage of most diesel engines is that the low end torque essentially gives a deeper powerband. Since generators will be functioning at peak horsepower, I'm not certain you'd see the type of gains with diesel in series hybrids that you see in current conventional vehicles.


RE: Performance?
By matt0401 on 5/29/2009 12:53:10 AM , Rating: 2
Good point. I always assumed the fuel efficiency advantages of diesel engines were due solely to its higher lower-band power. I see now there are other factors. I guess when you are running an engine at peak power it doesn't matter where that peak power lies on the band. Therefore they could use anything as a generator for the Volt. Methane, propane, hydrogen fuel cells, and now that I think of it isn't that what the Volt developers described as being an advantage for the platform? That in the future they can integrate anything as a generator?


Change the Logo
By SpaceJumper on 5/28/09, Rating: -1
RE: Change the Logo
By HVAC on 5/28/2009 10:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
Chevrolet badge is not going to change for the sake of symmetry. Too much brand equity built into it.

They may want to change the size or surround it with something. Hopefully not a blue oval ...

BTW, most faces are asymmetric.


RE: Change the Logo
By Chaser on 5/28/2009 10:21:04 AM , Rating: 2
It's brand equity that's a significant part of GM's marketing problems. The consumer of the present has made a shift from makes and model names that msybe were stylish and fashionable through maybe the 80s but are now starting to look and sound like throw backs from the 60s. i.e. Oldsmobile and I personally believe Buick, (Pontiac), Cadillac, and Chevrolet. My grandmother only drove Cadillacs. GM needs to desperately redefine itself and permanently leave behind those outdated namesakes that today very few would use primarily as a primary purchasing preference.

That's not saying that Ford and Chrysler could also use a branding face lift, but GM is in the worst shape in this situation.


RE: Change the Logo
By Tsuwamono on 5/28/2009 12:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Im not very brand specific but i agree about the image thing.

Ford for some reason is seen as incredibly unreliable but the F150s and Rangers are insanely reliable.

Chrysler is seen as the same thing but this time for good reason. They only have two engines that are any good at all. The 242 which is simply AMAZING and the 318 which is almost as good.

I have an XJ(Cherokee) with a 242 I6 in it and it has over 300 000km and still runs like a top. They go easily over 400 000km without issue. The 318 is pretty close. They go between 300 000 and 350 000 without any problems.

The Rangers are also like this. Why they switched to the Duratech from the Lima is beyond me because the Lima went 300 000km without any problem at all. I know mine has and thats towing a 2500 pound trailer which obviously a 4cyl had no business doing lol.


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