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Chevrolet Volt

Bob Lutz is a legend among auto enthusiasts  (Source: Patrick Arena/The Car Lounge)
Bob Lutz is tired of the Volt haterz

The Chevrolet Volt has been a bit of a lightning rod in the automotive industry and political arena. The vehicle was first shown as a concept back in early 2007 and went into production in late 2010. 

The Volt can travel from 25 to 50 miles on battery power alone before the gasoline engine/generator kicks in to keep the vehicle moving. All of this technowizardry comes at a steep entry price, however. The Volt's base MSRP is $41,000 before a $7,500 tax credit

Because of the Volt's high price tag and GM's past bankruptcy, the Volt program has come under a lot of scrutiny. Rush Limbaugh was a vocal critic of the Volt, noting in July 2010

I'm not going to recommend people go buy an electric car that gets 40 miles to a charge.  That would shoot my credibility.  It takes three to four hours to charge the thing, 40 miles to the charge.  And then there's a backup gas tank that gives you 375 miles.   

So who's kidding who here?  And all this is 41 grand.  This is the most expensive Chevrolet outside a Corvette.  

Bob Lutz, former vice chairman and "Car Czar" for General Motors, is fighting back at the critics in a new book due out next month. Lutz, who identifies himself strongly with conservative ideals, had some harsh criticism for some of the more vocal critics in the media according to Motor Trend magazine

Animosity towards the Obama administration is so intense among the right-wing talk-show hosts that any vulnerability, however tenuous, must be attacked and blamed on ‘socialist influence’, with no regard to truth or to the damage these reckless claims can make to GM, an American corporation, to the dedicated and hard-driving members of the Volt team, and to a now-misinformed public that may be steered away from a transportation solution that would fill their needs perfectly.

Lutz went on to say that these people hurt the credibility of the Republican Party. The outspoken Lutz doesn't take too kindly to people criticizing the hard work that went into developing the Volt, and feels that the Volt is just the beginning of a new wave of advancements in automotive powertrain design.

The skeptics, the pundits, the GM haters, and those who detest lithium-ion as a chemistry will all be dragged, however unwillingly, to the same conclusion. Volt paved the way; Volt was the first with the extended-range EV concept; Volt demonstrated the will and the technological capability of General Motors.  And to all the doubters, opponents, critics and skeptics… [including] Glenn Beck, I say: ‘Eat your hearts out. Volt is the future’. 

The Chevrolet Volt (EPA classified as a compact) is definitely not for everyone – its high price of entry (before tax credit) makes it a non-starter for many people. And in many cases, sub-$20,000 compact cars that can achieve 40 mpg or greater on the highway and roughly 33 mpg combined make better buying options. Likewise, hybrids like the Prius, Fusion, and Sonata offer more room than the Volt, excellent fuel economy, and much lower price tags.

However, for those that like to stay away from gas pumps as much as possible, but still want the added security of a gasoline backup when needed, the Volt makes a credible alternative to all-electric vehicles like the Leaf.



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Good on him
By wushuktl on 4/29/2011 7:57:24 AM , Rating: 5
I've never been much of a chevrolet kind of guy but I think this car is awesome and I agree with Lutz that anybody who is talking crap on the car now is too short sighted to see how this could really be a revolutionary car. I hope it does well in the market place to validate that and all the hardwork the GM engineers put into the car.




RE: Good on him
By Dr of crap on 4/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: Good on him
By Wombat27 on 4/29/2011 9:11:20 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed! $60,000($40,000 + $20,000 dealer mark up)? if you have $1500-2000/mo to pay for this car.... you don't care about the gas mileage or the price you have to pay to fill it.


RE: Good on him
By allometry on 4/29/2011 11:02:04 AM , Rating: 4
Exactly.

People tend to get a bit more defensive when it comes to these types of cars, because it's political. But, if you look at this like a piece of technology (ipad, phone, etc), then the picture gets a little clearer.

If Apple came out with a new iPad that only had 16gb of memory and they wanted to charge 999 for it, we'd all say it's price is too high.

This is the same thing. It looks like a good car, it has some nice features, but within the 40k to 60k range, I can get a lot more car somewhere else. I'm not going to slap down this kind of cash, based on politics or ideology.


RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:29:58 PM , Rating: 5
I'm going to avoid the political comment, but it's interesting that you bring up something like the iPad.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that even $500 for an electronic device that is inferior in every tangible way to a netbook. It sells on "cool factor" alone. The Volt is the automotive equivalent to the iPad to the average consumer. However, this car is built for those who value the hybrid equivalent of the "cool factor" - the "smug factor". :)


RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 1:37:45 PM , Rating: 3
If you're trying to make a point you've failed.


RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 5:15:39 PM , Rating: 1
I've seen may teachers make points students either can't or won't grasp. Neither reflects on the teacher.


RE: Good on him
By Skywalker123 on 4/30/2011 6:15:53 PM , Rating: 3
That's because you're in "special ed" classes.


RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 5/1/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By grant2 on 5/22/2011 5:58:01 AM , Rating: 1
"AND it costs WAY TO MUCH for the AVERAGE family to buy!"

According to republicans, the average family makes over $250,000/year (and therefore needs more tax breaks). You think a family with that much income can't afford a $45k car?


RE: Good on him
By callmeroy on 4/29/2011 8:58:51 AM , Rating: 1
You were down-voted for THAT comment?

There's not one nasty thing you said in it or curse word or anything...just your opinion...

(thus proves my point that the forum voting system is meaningless)


RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 9:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
I rated it back up...but it just goes to show the haters outnumber the fan boys.
I'm not sure I would call the Volt "revolutionary" from a general motoring standpoint, but I agree that it is in terms of engineering technology. No current production vehicle has a powertrain anywhere near as sophisticated or efficient (yes, not even the Prius!). The battery technology is the limiting factor with hybrids, yes, but vehicles like this are needed drive battery innovation.


RE: Good on him
By mondo1234 on 4/29/2011 10:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I rated it back up..


How did you do that and still post....Hmmmm


RE: Good on him
By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 10:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
It's not hard to make the claim as long as you're unaware that making a post also cancels your earlier votes.


RE: Good on him
By Lerianis on 4/30/2011 2:35:09 PM , Rating: 2
Which it shouldn't, to be blunt. You should be able to post AND to also uprate posts, save your own.


RE: Good on him
By Shadowmaster625 on 4/29/2011 10:48:59 AM , Rating: 4
Anybody who thinks that paying well over $60,000 (SIXTY FREAKING THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS) once you factor in financing, dealer gouging, taxes, etc... anybody who thinks it is cool to spend THAT MUCH MONEY for so little car is cracked out of their freakin gourd.


RE: Good on him
By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 1:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
Extreme dealer gouging really shouldn't be factored into the normal price. Stupidity like this goes away after the initial sales because only the most fanatical early adopters are willing to pay it; and headline gouge attempts often fail to sell at all.


RE: Good on him
By Sheffield on 5/20/2011 12:28:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anybody who thinks that paying well over $60,000 (SIXTY FREAKING THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS) once you factor in financing, dealer gouging, taxes, etc... anybody who thinks it is cool to spend THAT MUCH MONEY for so little car is cracked out of their freakin gourd.


Nice to hear you say that about me. Actually it was $44,000 (MSRP - no add-ons or extra profit. As good a deal as anybody can get these days,) plus 8% sales tax. Financing was at 3%.

It adds up to less than I have spent on other cars. BUT this one is damn fun to drive. I am not supporting tinpot dictators in other countries, price-gouging oil companies, or gasoline speculators. I'm averaging over 100 miles a gallon on my lifetime average. Once Clipper Creek updates the charger located across the street from my office, I'll be all-electric the vast bulk of the time.

Go to a dealer and drive one of these cars before you tell the world that it's not worth the money. It drives wonderfully. Full of all the right kind of touches. AAA crash rating. Looks sharp. Handles great. Very much like a luxury sports car that has 4 seats.

On top of that, it's from an American company, creating American jobs.

Yeah, it's more expensive than a Hyundai. In this case, you get what you pay for. Fifty years from now you will find them in lists of the greatest cars of all time. So maybe you'd like to get grounded in reality before you criticize my sanity, eh?


RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:13:54 PM , Rating: 5
"Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota make no economic sense, because their price will never come down."
-Bob Lutz 2008-

Yeah umm Wushuktl, who's short sighted again?


RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
Source?


RE: Good on him
RE: Good on him
RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 1:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
The only quote from the CNN Money article (which was written in 2004, not 2008) is: '"Hybrids are an interesting curiosity and we will do some," he said. "But do they make sense at $1.50 a gallon? No, they do not."'

The D magazine article does not have the quote either, just a few paraphrases that may or not be out of context.

I don't care one way or another what he said...but I do care about whether he said it at all.


RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 2:00:41 PM , Rating: 2
No, it means he's an economic realist. The economics have changed significantly since them, in ways that boost the value of hybrid systems.

And at $1.50/gallon for gas they didn't. At $3 or even $5/gallon fuel economy is a much larger factor in the total cost of ownership; and paying more up front to get lower fuel usage is a much more reasonable proposition.

The other half is the large increase in CAFE numbers needed over the next few years. Meeting them will require major changes in powertrains that drive cost up; basically the cheaper low efficiency engines/etc will be going away, and the price gap between a turbo and a hybrid is much smaller; which makes them cost efficient at lower fuel prices.


RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 2:33:54 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
No, it means he's an economic realist.


LOL yeah that's one way of putting it.

When everyone else was going to smaller more economical cars, his failing company was still cranking out the same old crap and going bankrupt. Some "realist".

quote:
And at $1.50/gallon for gas they didn't.


I sure as hell don't remember $1.50 gas in 2008, do you? I remember it being almost as high as today.


RE: Good on him
By Tabinium on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 5:35:59 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
In 2004 GM was making a killing selling trucks, not cars. Oversight, yes, but not quite as simple as you make it sound.


In 2004 GM was either in serious trouble or the signs were all there that they were soon going to be. Lutz was either negligent or asleep at the wheel. Either way, it's just so funny to me that when his company was crumbling around him, he's sitting there proclaiming what mistakes Toyota and Honda were making with "unsustainable" hybrid vehicles. Can you seriously not see that?


RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 5:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You may find that taking time to learn your material and read opinions opposite yours will help you make better arguments.

You have no idea how many times people have said that in nicer and less nice terms, all of which fall on deaf ears.

quote:
but not quite as simple as you make it sound.

Oversimplification has always been a requirement for incomplete and/or irrational arguments. It what allows them to stand up to every argument they encounter, at least in their minds.


RE: Good on him
By Aloonatic on 5/1/2011 2:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not a big fan of Reclaimer77... but, to be fair, the thread is about the rather simple notion of people throwing around claims of other people/companies being short sighted.

The comment you made about GM selling trucks, not cars in 2004 not long before petrol prices went up (which we've all seen coming, it's not like there's a crude oil manufacturing breakthrough around the corner, it was always going to get more expensive) shows how GM were a little short sighted.

I'm just going on your comments in this thread though, and I don't really know too much abut GM's product line. Do they make/were they making small cars too? Are they one of those companies who re-badge Korean cars?


RE: Good on him
By YashBudini on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good on him
By eomhS on 4/29/2011 3:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a well designed car. Series Hybrid is an excellent technology, unfortunately the battery technology is not where it needs to be, and the Volt requires a MECHANICAL TRANSMISSION. which eliminates alot of the efficiency a series hyrbid has to offer via weight & drive train drag. Read the reviews this car has nothing revolutionary to offer. It's far too heavy, costs far too much, and the battery technology is still not there.


RE: Good on him
By Sheffield on 5/20/2011 12:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
Go drive one. Then come back, having some actual knowledge rather than opinions that belong to somebody else.


the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By carigis on 4/29/2011 8:01:53 AM , Rating: 1
I could care less about the internals.. the volt was a non starter for me when they went from a nice looking concept car to the ugly thing it is now.




RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Dr of crap on 4/29/2011 10:30:15 AM , Rating: 3
And so this is what a majority of car buyers go on - looks.
It matters not that it has a battery option to not use gas.
It matters not that it might get up to 40 mpg.
It matters not that there is some new tech under the hood.

What the vast majority of new car buyers care about - style and looks!

And by the way, WHY are all the battery only cars so freaking ugly?


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/29/2011 10:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
If what you said were try, how do you explain the Prius? Pure smug emissions? :)


By DanNeely on 4/29/2011 10:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
That and people who drive enough miles that the uglyness of the car is less than the uglyness of paying a third or a half again as much as the gas pump.


RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Dr of crap on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
I have a friend who bought a Prius years ago. She had a paid off Honda Accord, which is very economical already.

But here's the thing, the like NEVER leaves the house. She drives maybe, and I mean maybe, 40 miles a week. And she's constantly complaining about her financial situations.

I finally got the nerve up and flat out asked her why she made such a stupid decision, and it was like watching a deer in the headlights. Her answer was basically "I dunno, it just seemed like the thing to do."

People are just stupid sometimes.


RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Gzus666 on 4/29/11, Rating: 0
By Skywalker123 on 5/1/2011 6:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
It's his imaginary friend.


By YashBudini on 5/1/2011 9:58:44 PM , Rating: 2
Anecdotal evidence is not totally useless. It can show even the most absurd things can happen on occasion. Obviously doesn't mean or imply it's most common event either.

I think under the right circumstances (many) you can ask the question R77 asked and get that particular response.

Clearly this is not a first nor a special time when somebody bought a car and later thought, "I don't know why I did that."


By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 12:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Prius sells for two kinds -

Actually it also sold to people with long commutes who expected gas to continually rise and not come down.


RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Gurthang on 4/29/2011 1:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
I have owned a gen 2 and a gen 3 Prius.

I did not buy them to save the planet.
I did not buy them expecting to the gas money saved would pay for the car.
I did not buy it as a green status symbol.

Honestly when I think about it and what my wife has said about them. (They were up until we went to just one car "hers".) The reason we bought them is that we wanted a 4 door hatch back car with cool gadgets that was not a minivan. The level of system integration with the touch screen, the keyless start and entry system and the general geekyness of the hybrid drivetrain have made it "the choice". I wanted the radar controled cruise control in the Gen3 but it was too expensive though there is something almost evil about being able to say "I have a radar lock" while driving heck the HUD even has a virtual car graphic showing the lock and its distance from you. (I had a loner maxed out Gen3 for a bit and got to play with it. The auto park thing was meh..)

Though I do admit to enjoying an occasional game of how high can I make the per tank MPG go on long boring trips. My record on the Gen2 was 56 MPG on the highway doing 75-80mph driving through Georga and the Carolinas with the car packed tight with luggage. The Gen3 hasn't beat that yet but it really has not been on any trips that long yet.

And I do admit a small amount of smug does occasionaly creep out when I hear one of my friends bitching about how much it costs them now to commute in their SUV/Uber Truck.


RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Dr of crap on 4/29/2011 3:13:47 PM , Rating: 1
So it sounds like money is no object for you when buying a car.

That goes against the majority of car buyers.

And again - "geekyness" - HUD screen -
You didn't buy for the Prius for it's mpg's, but for style,
just as I posted early on here.


RE: the car is so ugly compared to the concept
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 3:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
So, your logic is that spending around $25k on a Prius means money is no object?


By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 5:44:58 PM , Rating: 2
Geekyness is spending hundreds on 4G phone as opposed to a Prius.


By cruisin3style on 4/29/2011 3:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
I KNEW there was a reason why small cars, which are fuel efficient, were growing in sales compared to larger automobiles!

It's because gas prices and MPG don't matter, and the toyota corolla and honda civic are the best looking cars on the market!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God, I hope there are more people like you out there...Preferably in Australia, where the British left them.


By TheTruth on 4/29/2011 4:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
The Toyota Camry is the best selling car in the country ytd, and I honestly couldnt point one out on the street.

Car buying is more about public perception, both how you percieve the car and how you think other will percieve you for owning it.


Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By MeesterNid on 4/29/2011 9:45:56 AM , Rating: 1
So let's see, the government gives GM a massive bail out, or rather takes tax payer money (since the government produces $0) and give it to GM. And low and behold GM is pushing for what just happens to be this Administration's favorite way to...wast...errr..."invest" money, "green" cars.

It's just awesome how great ideas come together to form epic ones! You're a visionary Mr. Lutz!

I, for one, would rather the government stay out of picking the winners and losers in this or any other industry. That car may well be perfect for a lot of people's needs, but not at that price. And on top of that we're also subsidizing that thing!?




By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/29/2011 9:59:34 AM , Rating: 3
The Volt design concept was conceived in 2005 and the development of the production model began in 2007.

So how again is this Obama's doing?


By MeesterNid on 4/29/2011 10:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't say it was Obama's doing, I just have a feeling GM would've dropped the Volt if they didn't have a massive wad of cash (with strings attached) to give them life support.

I don't believe that them producing a $40k plus midsize car would've been the way out of bankruptcy.


RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By Dorkyman on 4/29/2011 11:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
It's "Obama's doing" in several ways.

I share no ill will against the car, for heaven's sake. It's a fascinating design and we will see if it is what the driving public needs.

But I strongly disagree with how our Messiah in the White House manipulated things. If GM was sick, it should have been allowed to go to bankruptcy, where the promising portions (i.e. Volt) would have been retained. Instead, Obama threw many billions of taxpayer money down a rathole to prop up his union buddies.

On top of that, they decided to offer a generous credit to Volt buyers, since without one, the vehicle would be of very limited appeal. So they are deliberately distorting the market and using taxpayer dollars (again) to support--you guessed it--his union buddies.

I could design an amazing car that easily gets 100 mpg. Oh, but it would cost $100,000. So the fact that a car can be built to meet a mileage target doesn't mean it would be PRACTICAL. Right now, a little Ford that gets 40mpg and sells for $20k is practical. Obama, with his bias, doesn't want that.


RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By voronwe on 4/29/2011 12:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
Dorky Man,

As the Republican "Car Czar", Steve Rattner, put it, they were looking at losing 300,000 jobs overnight in a section of the country that was already in trouble, they went around and around about it, and in the end they didn't think the economy could take another hit that size.

Regarding the generous credit, GM most likely figured out the maximum amount of money they could get away with charging for the car, factoring in the credit. That kind of thing is quite common in capitalism.

And regarding "distorting" the market, the government has paved the way for many industries to get started in this country, including shipbuilding, railroads, most of our military industrial complex, cryogenic chemicals, aviation, virtually everything based on graphite.

Humans invented capitalism. It isn't holy. We're allowed to look for things we want and then tweak the system to get them.


By MeesterNid on 4/29/2011 1:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between paving the way and propping up failed businesses. GM had clearly failed and was on the verge of bankruptcy.


RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By shin0bi272 on 4/30/2011 12:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
1) Regardless of party its not the government's job to make sure you have a job
2) From what I remember even at the price tag of 40k (before government "incentives" to buy a "green" car) they are still losing money on it... how is that capitalism?
3) as I said in #1 its not the government's job to make sure you have a job. In fact the government refused to get into aviation until world war 1 and then the engines in our planes were only rated for 12 hours of use! The military industrial complex is the bane of our existence and needs to be put to an end... and Im sure the world of pencils and spray lubricants could have gotten along fine without government assistance.

Humans invented capitalism but you cannot "tweak" it without turning it into something other than capitalism.


By tim851 on 5/1/2011 5:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
There is more than one definition of capitalism and surprisingly few actually rule out government intervention.


By grant2 on 5/22/2011 6:07:11 AM , Rating: 2
"If GM was sick, it should have been allowed to go to bankruptcy, where the promising portions (i.e. Volt) would have been retained."

That's exactly what happened.


RE: Nice propaganda regurgitation there, Lutz.
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
This whole thing reads like a huge propaganda piece. I might have expected this from Jason, but Brandon man, come on. Lutz speaking about others credibility? This is the man who whored GM out to the unions and ran the company into the ground!! Hello? What credibility!? Of course he supports the Volt and the Obama administration, they bailed his sorry ass out and his union lackeys.

Give me a break. This article is so offensive on so many levels and really insults the intelligence of not only the reader, but ALL Americans who had to sit and watch this debacle unfold before their eyes.

Bob Lutz, the man who once stated that hybrids like the Prius made "no economic sense" , is tired of all the hate for his heavily subsidized $45,000 dollar Volt. Is that irony or just stupidity? Either way, he has zero credibility.


By cruisin3style on 4/30/2011 11:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Give me a break. This article is so offensive on so many levels and really insults the intelligence of not only the reader, but ALL Americans who had to sit and watch this debacle unfold before their eyes.


I didn't see the part of the article that mentioned the FLorida debacle from the 2000 elections ;)

On another note, just in case you are one of those people I run into now and then who thinks of themselves as an independent...reconsider


Hybrids
By texbrazos on 4/29/2011 4:49:54 PM , Rating: 1
Can someone explain to me why we have some vehicles like the hybrid Tahoe, that can go up to 35 miles per hour on battery only, and do not need to be recharged, and then there are the vehicles that can go on charge alone, but cannot recharged themselves even though they have an ICE engine?
I don't quite get why we really need to plug the vehicles in? It seems there are several ways to get the batteries charged without plugging it in.
1. why could you not have a small intake generator that is turned by the induction of air similar to a carburator or ram air on a gasoline engine?
2. Solar panels?
3. Regen. braking like Toyota uses.
4. Even the use of a small generator, preferably powered by methanol or hydrogen fuel cell.
It seems if you used these or a combination of these in a vehicle you would not need to plug it in ever.
Where am I wrong here?




RE: Hybrids
By Motoman on 4/30/2011 8:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
1. Because unless it's half the size of the car, or you're driving 500 MPH, you're not going to generate any electricity that way.

2. Because they only work in broad daylight...and don't produce quickly enough to recharge the car in a reasonable amount of time (granted the amount of room there is on a car to mount them).

3. Yeah, you can capture some power that way. I don't think you're going to get into a cycle of not having to manually charge the battery from that though.

4. No need for anything else if you already have an ICE...you can have it recharge the battery. But, then you're burning gas to recharge your battery, which rather defeats the "green" aspect. And I don't see fuel cells being all that practical at all...at least from an economical standpoint.

Of those, only #4 has the potential to perpetually mean no manual charging of your battery...but if you're going to be burning gas in the car to charge the battery all the time, you may as well just drive a pure ICE vehicle in the first place.


RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/1/2011 7:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the reply motoman.
I am not sure why you would need a wind gen. that large or go 500 mph to charge. there are small 5 kw wind. generators on the market that can provide a whole house electricity with 20 mph winds. they are bigger than a standard alternate, but they are not tha big.

I understand the limitations of the solar panels with night, but it seems like you could supplement the system with it, especially with the new thin film panels.

as for the fuel cell, they are very efficient and proven. Hawaii is actually installing stations across the island as we speak. keep an eye on this.

keeping the ice, wouldn't be so bad if you could use methanol, ethanol, hydrogen, or something a lot cleaner than gas.

you know those onboard hydrogen generators actually work and improve gas mileage. its funny Exxon claims they have figured out how to add them to cars to greatly improve gas mileage, while the average Joe has been doing it for years.

I wish we could all get on the same page and eliminate the use of gasoline for complete energy independence and so we can quit polluting our air, water, and food supply. not to mention the high cost of gas.


RE: Hybrids
By Motoman on 5/1/2011 8:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not sure why you would need a wind gen. that large or go 500 mph to charge. there are small 5 kw wind. generators on the market that can provide a whole house electricity with 20 mph winds. they are bigger than a standard alternate, but they are not tha big.


Methinks you greatly underestimate the amount of electrical energy generation you'd need to keep your battery charged...can you generate electricity with a fan that wouldn't be obtrusively large mounted in/on your car? Sure. Will it generate enough power to make a substantive dent in the charging requirements of your battery? Hell no.

quote:
I understand the limitations of the solar panels with night, but it seems like you could supplement the system with it, especially with the new thin film panels.


Again, it's just a matter of the relatively tiny amount of power they generate. Does it help? Sure, I guess...but again it's not going to make a noticeable dent in your charging requirements.

quote:
keeping the ice, wouldn't be so bad if you could use methanol, ethanol, hydrogen, or something a lot cleaner than gas.


Gas can be plenty clean...at a perfect gas/oxygen mix, the only resulting outputs are carbon dioxide and water. The issue is that we basically can't hit that perfect note all the time...so you get minute amounts of hydrocarbons out of the tailpipe too.

As for your fuel cells, sure you can say they're "efficient and proven." But the cost of getting hydrogen out of water is really high...and transportation of pure hydrogen could be the stuff of nightmares. HI is a very unusual case...as an island in the middle of nowhere, they have to pay to import all of their gas at very high cost...but of course, they have plenty of water around. And they don't have to transport the hydrogen very far once refined - the biggest island is tiny by the standards most people are used to. There is no reason to think that anything that is successful in HI would work anywhere else.

...and seriously, your "onboard hydrogen generators" are SCAMS. I suppose you have magnets on your fuel lines and PC fans "pressurizing" your air intake too...


RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/3/2011 8:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
The on board hydrogen gene are not scams. Maybe some are, but there are some that work. In fact in DOE studies have noted that it does improve the efficiency and gas mileage. Also, Exxon mobile has recently announced their onboard hydrogen generators that they have made. They are the same concept as the ones people are already installing.
Hydrogen is not as dangerous as you think, in fact there are many tests recently conducted that indicate hydrogen is safer than gasoline.
As for transporting it, you can even make it on location. Gm has home hydrogen stations already.
Anyway, I am not here to argue, I am just trying to get an idea of some thoughts of others on a few things I have wondered for a while.
I beleive we need a solution to eliminate the use of gasoline. For many of the obvious common sense reasons. I don't care if it is fast charging elect, hybrid, or hydrogen, it needs to be done now. I understand that these sources will still take the use of fossil fuels, until the gap is bridged. The gap will be bridged, as smaller more powerful solar, wind gens, and other tech gain momentum and decrease in price.


RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/3/2011 8:46:47 AM , Rating: 2
Here is a link to some good info. On the hydrogen kits. There is also a DOE study that I will have to dig for, and will post it when I locate it. All indications are that the hydrogen kits actually work when installed properly.
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/vehi...


RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/3/2011 10:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
Here are a few more hydrogen links

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/facts-research/research-t...

http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/energy_vehicle...
Although, Exxon's approach to using gasoline instead of water seems dumb, unless you work for exxon and want to continue to make money from the production of gasoline. Why would they want you to be able to produce it from water. They can't sell water.


RE: Hybrids
By grant2 on 5/22/2011 6:15:11 AM , Rating: 2
"1. why could you not have a small intake generator that is turned by the induction of air similar to a carburator or ram air on a gasoline engine?"

It's the laws of thermodynamics- a machine cannot generate more usable energy than it expends

"2. Solar panels?"

Would have to be 10x as large as the car to completely power it on a sunny day.

"3. Regen. braking like Toyota uses."

Already included on the volt... and again, see the laws of thermodynamics.

"4. Even the use of a small generator, preferably powered by methanol or hydrogen fuel cell."

Not sure why you prefer those fuels over current gasoline or diesel engines... hydrogen is pretty rare, methane even more so... safe storage and distribution issues are still being worked on.


Not for me
By Beenthere on 4/29/2011 9:46:26 AM , Rating: 3
Bob is a good guy and a car guy who has done a lot for auto enthusiasts. The Volt may be GM's future but it's not mine and I doubt it's the future for the auto industry as a whole. The major car makers will offer hybrids or even EVs for the Tree huggers, but the majority of folks will not buy these vehicles so car makers will be forced to supply what consumers want of go bust because there ain't enough Tree Huggers to buy these vehicles and keep all of the major car makers in Biz.




RE: Not for me
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 4/29/2011 11:29:50 AM , Rating: 1
The Volt is merely a plug-in parallel hybrid. The only difference between this and any other car-based hybrid (Prius, Insight, Civic, Altima, Fusion, etc) is the plug-in component. So this vehicle is not revolutionary. There are many after-market plug-in kits for existing car-based hybrids, and Toyota, Nissan and Ford will be coming out with their own plug-in variants soon. Then the Volt will just be an expensive plug-in parallel hybrid option.

Why do people think this vehicle is an EV in any manner, or a series hybrid? Early marketing hype only. GM admitted that this was only a parallel hybrid, but only after they made enough people believe it was an EV series. Now you can't shift it from their heads.


RE: Not for me
By Gurthang on 4/29/2011 1:09:12 PM , Rating: 4
If we are going to nit-pick as to what the Volt is and is not. It is a "plug-in" hybrid able to operate as either pure EV, series hybrid, or parallel hybrid modes as determined by the software running it.

And as to the "kits" if people here are complaining about the additional costs and time to recoup of the Volt and standard Prius bringing up these very expensive warrany breaking kits is almost laughable.

Ultimately I feel the Volt is mostly a platform for GM to develop and refine their hybrid and electric drivetrains that so many see as the future. I doubt it will ever be terribly profitable car for them. But the tech that comes from it will likely be used to build better vehicles later on.


RE: Not for me
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you have a much better outlook on the future of the auto industry than this Bob Lutz guy! In fact, instead of selling EV/Hybrid vehicles to "tree huggers" to improve the company imagine and the overall state of technology, Lutz should avoid the market altogether and tell them to just buy bicycles!! GM doesn't need "tree hugger" money anyway; let Toyota with their Prius take all their money!


RE: Not for me
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 12:55:37 PM , Rating: 3
Bob Lutz is an incompetent idiot who ran GM into the ground. End of story.


Not the future
By BernardP on 4/29/2011 10:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
True, the Volt is an outstanding technical achievement.

But carrying two engines around can't be the future.

One type of rational consumer will try to get the best mileage out of a gasoline engine (or diesel, if additional initial costs can be offset by future savings).

Another type of rational consumer will get a pure electric car if his usage pattern is compatible with it.

But lugging two engines around? It's hard to see how this can be a long-term solution.




RE: Not the future
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 12:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
Two engines in one vehicle is not a long-term solution, I agree.
However, given the level of technology hybrids are at now, there isn't a technological cure for consumers afflicted with "range anxiety". The Volt is just takes us one step closer to the equivocal $25k family car.


RE: Not the future
By gregpet on 4/29/2011 1:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
It is the future but your criticism is not entirely misplaced. In the future the ICE will be MUCH smaller and MUCH more efficient. The 1.4L generator is way too powerful and heavy to maximize efficiency. It was an off-the-shelf engine solution that GM used. In Volt 2.0, I believe, you will see significant increase in electric range as well as an increase in MPG while driving with the generator.

The Volt will get lighter, the batteries will get better, the ICE will be more efficient...This is the future...


RE: Not the future
By Dr of crap on 4/29/2011 3:19:45 PM , Rating: 3
Small niche future only good for small segment of the population.
It will not be a widespread solution for everybody, yet they push it on us like it will be.

If you have to drive long distances, this car is priced to high to make good sence for that. And if you only have to drive a few miles in the city on battery power only this car is to high priced as well. Expect for the no gas usage, but you have to have access to an electrical outlet to recharge....

Umm, not really cost effective for to many right now!


RE: Not the future
By MartyLK on 4/29/2011 5:10:43 PM , Rating: 1
Just as much as I hate the word "nuke-you-ler" (nuke-you-lus, nuke-you-laic), I also hate a motor being referred to as an en[gine]. An engine is an internal combustion device. A motor is an electrical device.

It's so funny how the public has always referred to engines as motors. Now it's in reverse. they are now referring to motors as engines. lmao.


RE: Not the future
By CyborgTMT on 4/30/2011 3:05:11 AM , Rating: 2
No, a electrical motor is a type of engine. An engine is a device that converts energy into motion. This includes everything from a catapult to a cotton gin; to a hydraulic motor; to a ICE; to an electric motor.

So calling an engine a motor may sometimes be correct, calling a motor an engine is always correct.


Heh...not at that price
By MartyLK on 4/29/2011 2:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt might be the distant future, but it isn't it for the foreseeable future. Hard to tell which company will succeed, but I'd give the nod to Tesla with its all-electric vehicles.

The Volt is a typical American-made joke. GM still is practicing deceit of the products with the Volt. It was advertised as have 4-wheel motors and having no link to the driveline by the engine. However, as is the deceitful nature of American automakers, they changed it up to a common hybrid type system. They say the engine only runs the generator, but the layout connects the driveshaft to the axles.

However, at $50,000, the future is way the hell off. I know for myself, if given the going of the Volt, Prius, Insight or Tesla, I would rather go with the Tesla. The Volt wouldn't even get considered. Not because it is bad, but because of the deceitfulness of it existence. But really...it is a low-tech Prius.




RE: Heh...not at that price
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 3:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
GM found, during the course of development, that linking the engine to the drivetrain while the batteries are low is more efficient than a fully-decoupled powertrain. The Volt can run the gasoline engine at its most efficient rpm and load to charge the battery independently of road speed. In addition, the Volt powertrain can run full-electric at high speed, which the Prius cannot do.

Personal preferences and budgets aside, it is decidedly more high-tech than a Prius.


RE: Heh...not at that price
By MartyLK on 4/29/2011 3:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
While that may sound all good and well, it doesn't compensate for the deception. They had no good business being deceitful. They could easily have explained this to the media and public but chose to keep it secret. When a company does that, it's their own fault for any evil perceptions. They are at fault for the hatred of the Volt. No amount of PR will fool the wise.

I know one thing as sure as death and taxes: a jaded view of American business ethics. Even in a securely honest environment, a company would not want to practice this type of business. But to do it in an environment that expects the worst is suicide.


RE: Heh...not at that price
By Tabinium on 4/29/2011 4:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that the change was handled poorly from a PR standpoint. But, to me, coming out with a quality product is more important than what the marketing and PR guys decide to do. The engineers saw an opportunity for improvement in efficiency and made the changes, despite the possible backlash. A far bigger crime would have been to NOT make the change SOLELY for the sake of saving face.


RE: Heh...not at that price
By MartyLK on 4/29/2011 4:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
But then, we just have to take their word for it when they say it was for the better. I have no doubt it was for the better...for them, monetarily.

As I said before, if the question cannot be answered properly, American business ethics dictate the answer be strictly negative or malicious. People don't expect honesty in American automakers. So if no proof of their claims are forthcoming, the assumption of evil is a given. And I talking about an unbiased appraisal of any proof they do give. Cooking the evidence isn't out of the question for a corrupt business.


RE: Heh...not at that price
By Sheffield on 5/20/2011 12:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt actually has 4 operating modes:

Charge Depleting, normal driving: battery provides energy to traction motor (all electric drive). The traction motor powers the wheels.

Charge Depleting, high power (about 70 mph and up): battery provides energy to traction motor and to motor-generator (all electric drive). Both the traction motor and the motor-generator power the wheels.

Charge Sustaining, normal driving: Internal combustion engine drives the motor-generator. Electricity from motor-generator powers the traction motor, which powers the wheels. Excess electricity is stored in the battery, either during drive or regenerative braking.

Charge Sustaining, high demand (about over 70 mph): Internal combustion engine drives the motor-generator. The motor generator powers the traction motor. Both the traction motor and the motor-generator power the wheels. The internal combustion engine in this mode is mechanically coupled to the wheels through the mediation of the motor-generator.

The fourth mode is the one that causes all the "oh, GM lied, the motor does drive the wheels."

But with a dead battery the Volt goes nowhere. The main source of motive power, and the one that MUST be working to drive, is the electrical traction motor.

The Volt does not operate like a traditional series hybrid (a locomotive, for example) nor does it operate like a parallel hybrid (a Prius). And for the vast majority of driving, it never uses gasoline at all.


Recriminations
By ObamaisaSCUMBAG on 4/29/2011 9:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
Recriminating against tax payers, eh? Interesting that those "haters" are paying billions to GM to assuage the socialist guilt trip of environmentalism




RE: Recriminations
By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 10:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like Reclaimer77 and FitCamaro have created offspring.


RE: Recriminations
By shin0bi272 on 4/30/2011 12:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
trollhard much?


RE: Recriminations
By YashBudini on 4/30/2011 1:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you have a better theory where it came from I'm all ears.


Bailouts
By texbrazos on 4/29/2011 2:39:45 PM , Rating: 1
I am so tired of hearing how Obama bailed out the auto industry. George Bush was the one that started all the bailouts, and left the auto bailout piece on the table when he left office.
We do need vehilces like this, and many more. How many of you have heard of the Hybrid Tahoe, it gets 23 miles to the gallon city and highway, compared to 14 to 16 that a standard tahoe gets. It is not a plug in either. I believe we need fast charging electric vehicles and/or methanol or hydrogen hybrids now. We need complete energy independence and clean fuel sources. Anyone that thinks we need to keep using more oil and gas needs their heads examined. Why would you want to keep supporting people that hate us, and keep polluting our air, water, and food? And yes, the electricity you use from the grid or your home solar panels wind generators can be used to power these cars, so yes they can get by without using a coal plants electricity if you so choose. These vehicles are major steps in the right direction. It's too bad they are not fast tracking this with all auto makers.




RE: Bailouts
By Reclaimer77 on 4/29/2011 3:13:17 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's too bad they are not fast tracking this with all auto makers.


That's because other automakers have to stay in business and make a profit. They can't run to the U.S treasury when things don't work out or when they market against what their customers want.


Volt is 100% viable
By ol1bit on 4/29/2011 6:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
As a commuter car it works great for most people. 5 days a week to and from work, and then a trip on the weekends.

It doesn't cost $60,000.

This is a great site for volt info: http://gm-volt.com/




RE: Volt is 100% viable
By dkapke on 5/2/2011 11:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
Amen. My wife and I bought a volt two weeks ago. Yeah, they're harder than heck to find. Every dealer we went to had 7-8 people who had already put their $1,000 down and ordered one. We just happened to get lucky that the one on the floor that was already sold...the deal fell through and we got it.

We paid sticker for it - no price gouging to be seen at any dealer (in Houston) that we went to. And, we leased it. I will agree with everyone that the price is stupid, but leasing it is a steal. $370 a month? heck, it was cheaper than her Mustang.

Cool factor? The people complaining about it not being cool obviously don't own one. I can't tell you how many times, in the two weeks we've owned it, we've had to "show it off", give people drives, show the tech. EVERYONE is in awe of the car and I'd bet half now want one. The cool factor on this car is beyond anything I've ever driven, and I've owned 'vettes, camaro SSs, Cobra Mustangs...you name it I've probably owned it. NOTHING I've ever owned has made people just drool sitting in it. Heck, even the performance has awed quite a few people. Nothing like having all 270ish fp of torque available instantly. It's not a speed demon, but it sure feels fun to drive in Houston traffic.

The best thing so far? 350 miles and only .9 gallons of gas used (one day of errand running and a night out and we had to use gas). I'd happily trade that in for $20-$40 more on the electric bill (which we'll find out in another two weeks).

Hate on these all you want, but I'm telling you - drive one and most of you will be converted.


The Volt
By Gurthang on 4/29/2011 8:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
A gamble to be sure and far too early to tell if it will be a footnote of failure or the next step to an all electric future.

If electric is the future we either need to some form of flow cell/fuel cell. (Most likely a low temp solid oxide and not hydrogen.) Or move to standardize on some type of fast swappable sealed battery modules. (I am talking not one large single module but several smaller ones each with their own charge state, health, and saftey electronics built in.)

Ultimatly though I suspect the real answer is some form of in road power likely via induction once there are enough EVs on the road to warrant the expenditure.




Overpriced
By btc909 on 4/29/2011 3:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
After you pay the 41K & GM releases another version / vehicle for much less money then you will probably be siding with Rush. The GM e-assist Lacross & Malibu look like better options. It pisses me off GM will say anything to promote a failed vehicle. Even if you wanted one; good luck finding one. Once you do find one be ready to be price gouged by the dealer. But I thought GM was suppose to prevent this. Volt - BS pricing, BS availability, BS dealer transaction.




The volt is the future...
By shin0bi272 on 4/30/2011 12:16:31 AM , Rating: 2
and it always will be.

Electric cars have been around since 1918 and they sucked then too. Back then they used lead acid batteries and couldnt go up a 5% grade! So theyve come a long way but are still a long way from being viable as a gasoline replacement. The 2011 volt costs ~33k and from what I heard at 40K they were still losing money... so how is this going to pay the people back the money they owe us? Oh wait that's right they used TARP money (which is supposed to bail out banks for making bad loans... USING TAXPAYER DOLLARS) to pay off the auto loan that the government gave them... how nice... they used our money from loan #1 to pay us back the money we gave them in loan #2.




By Lerianis on 4/30/2011 2:33:00 PM , Rating: 2
Then for MOST people, it will be a legitimate alternative to a regular gas-powered vehicle.




I would reckon...
By Motoman on 4/30/2011 6:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
...that with more efficient ICE cars coming out all the time, and the decades of oil we realistically have...

...and the massive problem of doing a re-do on the nation's energy grid, and needing a whackload more nuke plants to support large numbers of electric vehicles...

...that there's plenty of time for alternative fuel sources, like perhaps algae or animal processing byproducts, to grow up and start to replace oil when it truly starts to dwindle.

I get the feeling that despite all the touchy-feely glee that surrounds EVs, the obstacles to actually replacing ICE vehicles with those things are much bigger than the obstacles to finding a way to keep providing fuel for ICE vehicles.




$50 Billion bailout for a GM prius....
By krazyderek on 4/29/11, Rating: -1
By YashBudini on 4/29/2011 6:24:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Why the hell did the government interfere with free market again?

Because lobbyists and politically motivated economists told them to.


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