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Volt is the top PHEV seller; GM is the global king of vehicle sales

Riding high on its best sales in 7 years, General Motors Comp. (GM) is investing deeply into research and development. The company is striving to deliver on its promise to put 500,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids electric vehicle (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the road by 2017.

I. GM Guns for 200 Mile EV

Doug Parks, VP of global product development at GM, on Monday reiterated GM's march promise to deliver an electrified vehicle that could travel 200 miles on a charge.  Moreover it wants to sell that car at $30,000 USD.

GM didn't clarify whether this figure included the $7,500 USD subsidy EVs currently obtain.  It also didn't mention what year it was hoping to release this in-development vehicle in, what form factor it would fall in (e.g. sedan or subcompact), and whether it would be all electric (although given the range, this seems a likely possibility).

GM Battery Lab
GM unveiled an expansion to its battery testing lab in Mich. this week. [Image Source: GM]

Still any way you slice it this would be a huge leap forward for GM; such an EV would have the potential to win over even some hardened critics.

Tom Libby, lead North American analyst for the Polk automotive research firm told the Associate Press, "That would be a huge step forward, no question."

II. World's Top Automaker is Seeing Record Sales

It's an ambitious goal for a company who still has the ugly image of its 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy in its rear view mirror.  Today, the U.S. government -- which took a 61 percent stake in GM in exchange for wiping out its outstanding debt and helping to reorganize it into a leaner company -- still holds 19 percent of the resulting firm, having sold roughly two thirds of its stock in a 2010 IPO and subsequent stock sales.  GM in 2008, 2009, and 2010 was the world's second best selling automaker, but since 2011 has taken hold of first place in sales.

GM is currently the top-selling automaker in the U.S., and posted terrific sales for the month of August 2013, selling 275,847 vehicles .  GM posted an impressive 14.7 percent sales growth although second place Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203and Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201) posted even bigger percentage growths on a year-to-year basis.

The Chevrolet Volt is the world's top selling PHEV. [Image Source: GM]

On a year-to-year basis as of June 2013 GM sold 4.85 million vehicles overseas and 1.64 million vehicles in the U.S.  GM EVs -- the Chevy Volt sedan and Chevy Spark EV subcompact sold 24,467 units -- or roughly half a percent of global sales (~0.5 percent).

The Volt debuted in concept vehicle form back at the January 2007 North American International Auto Show and continued to roll towards the market in following years, surviving GM's bankruptcy, and hitting the streets in pre-production form in 2009.  In Dec. 2010 the 2011 Chevy Volt -- which features a battery pack assembled at a factory in Michigan -- officially went on sale, with a range of 38 miles on battery (after which the gasoline engine takes over).

Despite the Volt's promise it's been a bit of a bumpy ride since 2010.

III. Volt has Turned the Corner Sales-Wise, But Struggles With Losses

In late 2011 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) launched an investigation into fires with the Chevy Volt's lithium-ion battery pack.  GM was subsequently forced to testify before Congress about the potential fire risks.  A combination of factors -- the vehicle's slightly high price point, concerns about its electric range, and the fire controversy -- culminated in weak sales throughout 2011 and much of 2012.

Volt sales are up on a year-to-year basis, but GM continues to struggle with production costs. [Image Source: GM]

Since then sales have risen.  By June 2013 GM had achieve year-to-year sales of 24,400+ units.  But as much as bad sales were a blow to GM's brand image, stronger sales of the flagship EV were bad news for GM's pocketbook.

Where as Tesla Motor Inc. (TSLAhas achieved profitability on its electric vehicles by selling them at much higher price points to the luxury sports car market, GM has admitted in the past to swallowing an undisclosed loss on every Chevy Volt it sells.  The 2011 and 2012 Chevy Volt model years were priced at $39,999 -- or $32,249 USD after the $7,500 USD government tax credit.  Tesla's current all-electric Model S starts at $71,000 -- nearly twice the price of the Volt -- but delivers an industry-leading 265 miles on a charge.

While August's price from $40K down to $35K USD ($27.5K USD after tax credit) cut drove sales up to a record 3,351 units for the month, they also mean GM is losing $5,000 more on each vehicle.  Tesla meanwhile is shipping roughly 2,000 Model S units a month, while making a profit on every one (Tesla predicts selling 20,000 Model S luxury sedans in 2013).

GM's only all electric -- the 2013 Spark EV -- went on sale in June with a range of 82 miles.  Partially due to a very limited release it sold only 27 units (reportedly) that month, and July sales weren't much better at 103 units [source].  The subcompact features impressive acceleration and is priced at an aggressive $32, 495 USD ($24,995 USD after the tax credit).  

The Spark EV has sold poorly.

Still that's more expensive than Nissan's LEAF S EV, which retails for $28,800 USD ($21,300 USD after tax rebate).  The LEAF has seen rampant demand since its price cut last January (a $6,000 cut from the original price of $35,200 USD).  The 2013 LEAF has a slightly worse range at an EPA estimate 75 miles.
Nissan Leaf sales have soared since a price cut. [Image Source: Nissan]

To GM's credit its Volt sales do look especially impressive when compared to Toyota's 2012 Prius Plug-in sales of 12,750 units.  Toyota plans to launch a next generation Prius hybrid and Prius PHEV in 2015.
Prius plug-in
The Prius PHEV has been unable to keep up with the Volt in sales. [Image Source:]

Toyota's plug-in retails for $32,000 USD -- $3,000 USD cheaper than the Volt -- but gets a much weaker 11 mile range (less than a third the Volt's range) in EV mode.  Buyers clearly are mixed on this tradeoff.

IV. Tesla v. GM -- the Race is On

In order to reach its goal of an affordable 200 mile EV, GM is aggressively pursuing battery development.  It's added an additional 50,000 square feet to the previously 35,000 square foot Global Battery Systems Lab at its technical center in Warren, Mich.  Doug Parks remarks:

In the past four years, the competitive landscape in the electrification space has grown exponentially. This has required us to raise our game and draw a new line in the sand.  To maintain our battery leadership, this additional real estate is filled with new capability that will help us improve speed to market for our next generation of battery systems and help us improve the value equation to our customers around the world.

GM expansion
The expansion nearly doubles the pack testing sites at the facility. [Image Source: GM]

GM's efforts are already starting to pay off.  It bumped its Chevy Volt's range by 3 miles in 2013 solely by battery improvements.  The new facilities nearly double GM's full pack test channels from 64 to 112, while cell level channels are bumped from 96 to 120 units.

The world's biggest automaker will have to move fast, though.  Tesla is also eyeing its first try at an affordable mass-market EV.  Tesla in May promised a sub-$40,000 USD EV in 3 to 4 years with a range identical to GM's proposed one -- 200 miles.
Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also pledged affordable 200 mi. EVs. [Image Source: Sparked Minds]
Tesla's iconic CEO Elon Musk recently commented to the press, "With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people.  And you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great.  What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car.  I’m not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission."

Sources: GM, AP on Yahoo! News

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Word of the day
By Mitch101 on 9/17/13, Rating: 0
RE: Word of the day
By Ammohunt on 9/17/2013 3:31:01 PM , Rating: 4
Because they can't use the term "high quality" and GM in the same sentence.

RE: Word of the day
By NeoReaper on 9/17/2013 5:04:12 PM , Rating: 3
yeah because theres no such thing as a corvette or cadillac

RE: Word of the day
By flyingpants1 on 9/17/2013 6:03:49 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I'm sure GM will build a $30k 200-mile Cadillac EV and render the entire rest of their lineup obsolete forever.

RE: Word of the day
By Samus on 9/17/13, Rating: -1
RE: Word of the day
By Alexvrb on 9/17/2013 11:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
Wow C5, really? Gee here I thought we were in 2013. C6 was very good, C7 is even better. Samus claims to see loads of burning Cadillacs... what, in the 70s? What was the cause of the fire? I can't recall seeing a modern vehicle catch fire spontaneously unless it was damaged or tampered with. Usually amateur stereo installs gone bad.

But yes, clearly Samus is the go-to source for quality analysis of vehicles he doesn't drive. :/

RE: Word of the day
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2013 2:20:05 AM , Rating: 3
Okay you all know I'm not a GM supporter, but I have to call you on this one. The Corvette is a supercar that you actually CAN drive every day. It's reliability compared to similarly performing brands (Porsche, Ferrari, Audi etc etc) is well documented. It's also the most economical car in it's class, nothing is really even close.

Sure, sacrifices had to be made to give that much bang for the buck. But the suspension is certainly NOT 60 years old, it's state of the art actually.

But the Corvette you can just jump in and drive around every day, the same can't really be said for it's competitors. They're garage queens.

RE: Word of the day
By EricMartello on 9/18/13, Rating: 0
RE: Word of the day
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2013 8:43:46 AM , Rating: 2
Semantics much?

Obviously I'm referring to the ZR1. I don't know many mid-sized sedans that you can compare that to.

Call it what you have want, naming conventions wasn't my point.

RE: Word of the day
By EricMartello on 9/20/2013 1:28:38 AM , Rating: 2
Semantics much?

Obviously I'm referring to the ZR1. I don't know many mid-sized sedans that you can compare that to.

Call it what you have want, naming conventions wasn't my point.

Not semantics. Sports cars are fun cars to own and drive, but they're not supercars. Supercars would be anything from Lamborghini, Ferarri or Bugatti. Certain brands offer supercars like the SRT Viper, Porshe 911, Lexus LFA and even the Nissan GTR even if their other cars would not qualify for supercar status.

The ZR1 (not available yet in the C7 vette) is just a trim level of the same car whose "base model" can be had for $50K - less since most will sell near "invoice" price. It doesn't become a supercar just because you slap a supercharged V8 in there and give it a new badge any more than a Civic becomes a supercar because you buy a turbo kit on ebay and a loud fartcan exhaust.

That was my point. To be considered a supercar, it needs to be something that not only performs, but is also exclusive.

Who would consider the Lamborghini Aventador a "supercar" (which it is) if you could buy an 'Aventador Dozzinale' for $45K that looks 95% the same as the $400K version? The mere existence of a cheaper version of the same car model devalues the entire model line.

That, and you automatically lose cred and gain negative props for driving a Vette since it's a subsidized by the taxpayers. They should rename it from Corvette to Handoutte.

RE: Word of the day
By cruisin3style on 9/19/2013 10:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree that all corvette competitors are garage queens, far from it.

HOWEVER, the modern Corvette is a helluva car, for an excellent price, and anybody that says otherwise is a joke that should never be listened to again for any reason.

RE: Word of the day
By FITCamaro on 9/18/2013 7:12:00 AM , Rating: 3
You realize that the whole "leaf spring" suspension crap is just that, crap. It has a torsion bar for traction, that's it. It has, and has had, independent rear suspension since the 60s. Same as many other high end vehicles still use today. So yeah I guess you can say the design is old but its hardly what the car had back then. You can get the same suspension on a Corvette that Cadillac invented and that Ferrari licensed from them.

The Corvette since the C5 has had one of the most technologically advanced frames out there. The entire frame is a single piece of metal with no welds. Yes it uses a largely fiberglass body, but it does not flap in the wind. Like any light car, high wind might blow it around a little. How do you think cars made of carbon fiber handle in high wind?

The Corvette gives you the performance of most high end exotics with the driveability of many passenger cars. It gets better mileage than many V6 sedans. And it doesn't break the bank.

RE: Word of the day
By Spuke on 9/18/2013 12:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Corvette gives you the performance of most high end exotics with the driveability of many passenger cars. It gets better mileage than many V6 sedans. And it doesn't break the bank.
I'm a former Corvette hater. But I've come to see the light. It's definitely the best bang for the buck no doubt. I will disagree on Porsche's being garage queens though. They're either #1 or 2 on JD Power's long term reliability survey for a number of years now. And they're not exactly high strung engines either being fairly large displacement 6 cylinders. I'd rock one as a daily. As a matter of fact, I'm looking at a used Cayman S for either a project car or a daily driver now/project car later.

RE: Word of the day
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2013 4:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but a Cayman S is a good daily driver. To buy a Porsche that's on par with the ZR1 'Vette, you have to step up to a Twin Turbo 911 or 911 GT2.

RE: Word of the day
By Spuke on 9/18/2013 6:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
you have to step up to a Twin Turbo 911 or 911 GT2
True, but those are still quite driveable everyday, especially the Turbo. Ok, the Turbo would be a much better daily driver than the GT2. Personally, I could daily either car.

RE: Word of the day
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2013 7:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sure but have you seen the maintenance schedule on a 911 Turbo? Which, unless you're a dumbass, will be done at the dealership. So, you know, bend over and spread those cheeks LOL.

Dude I love Porsche too, I'm not saying they aren't reliable :)

RE: Word of the day
By Spuke on 9/18/2013 11:13:06 PM , Rating: 2
Sure but have you seen the maintenance schedule on a 911 Turbo?
Yes, I happen to have the maintenance booklet and the interval schedule (BTW, all the models have the same maintenance schedule). :) And, yes, if you take it to the dealer, you will get dry humped. Fortunately, there's not as much as you think (except the 2008's for some reason). Of course, dealers always add their crap which is what really drives the price up. I never have their crap done. Only what's in the book. And I know you're not saying they're not reliable, I just wanted to talk about cool cars with one of the few people here that don't think they're evil. :)

RE: Word of the day
By Alexvrb on 9/17/2013 11:32:28 PM , Rating: 3
Actually their lineup as a whole is pretty good these days - especially since they've killed off the first gen Colorado. I'm not a fan of smaller cars, but even the Cruze is very nice, and they've got a very torquey diesel as an option now.

For their sake I hope the second gen (global platform) Colorado is considerably better than the previous generation. A domestic-emissions variant of the 2.8L diesel they're currently using overseas would be nice as an option. ~180HP and ~350 ft-lbs, though after emissions modifications it will probably more like ~170HP and ~340 ft-lbs - still quite respectable for a small truck.

RE: Word of the day
By CU on 9/18/2013 9:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
I really liked the Colorado. I have an 05 with the inline 5 and it has been great. Only problem so far has been a leaking third brake light that I fixed. Have you seen the new Colorado. It is awful in my opinion. The front looks more like a car instead of a truck. The old Colorado had an unique aggressive look that made it stand out. What didn't you like about the old one that you think they fixed in the new one?

Note: I am a die hard Chevy fan.

By Mint on 9/17/2013 3:52:03 PM , Rating: 5
They'll need a good 30kWh extra on top of what a Leaf/Spark has in order to hit 200-miles, and for what?

If 80 miles is good enough to cover ~85% of a typical driver's range and 200 miles covers 95%, is that worth $7-10k in extra battery cost? I don't think so. Put in a cheap range extender instead, and it'll be almost as green while having zero range anxiety.

I guess some people are dead set on pure EVs, though. Making an affordable 200 mile EV will also pay dividends in PHEV development.

BTW, Jason, you misquoted the Spark EV price. It's $27.5k before tax credit and $20k after. DT reported on it earlier this year:

It may also be worth mentioning that total plugins it 11k in August, which is an all time high by quite a margin.

By Nutzo on 9/17/2013 6:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
The cost & weight of the batteries will be a problem for any all electric car for many years to come. Unless you only use it for short commutes, the range will also be a problem for most people.

The problem with plug-in Hybrids (including the Volt) is that you have the cost/weight of the batteries, plus the weight of the ice and the transmission. The weight reduces the electic range, and also reduces the mileage when running on gas.

There is also a problem with regular hybrids. If you normally drive short trips (like less then 5 miles) your hybrid mileage will be much less than the rating. This is because the car takes a couple miles to warmup the ICE, resulting in poor (for a hybrid) milage the first couple miles.

I think a range or around 15 miles would be best for a plugin hybrid. Anything higher results in too much cost/weight/space for the battery. 15 miles is good enough fore those short trip to get around the ICE warmup on a standard hybrid.

The other option you will start seeing soon, will be all electric cars with gas powered extenders. Basically a small on board gas generator that can recharge the battery, even while driving. This is a simipler/lighter design than the standard plugin hybrid, since there is no need to a transmission for the ICE.

By Mint on 9/17/2013 11:31:06 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with plug-in Hybrids (including the Volt) is that you have the cost/weight of the batteries, plus the weight of the ice and the transmission.
My point is precisely that the cost/weight of a small ICE will be less than the difference in battery size.

I'm not talking about regular hybrids. I'm talking about Voltec derived cars which don't need the engine at all unless the battery is low.
I think a range or around 15 miles would be best for a plugin hybrid. Anything higher results in too much cost/weight/space for the battery.

Current PHEVs have awful space optimization. It makes no sense for the C-Max Energy to lose 5 cu ft of luggage space for only 6.2 kWh extra battery over the regular hybrid. Raw battery density is 10x that.

15 miles isn't very optimal, IMO, as you already have all the other electronics in place, and average daily mileage is a lot more.

By Nutzo on 9/18/2013 12:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually a 15 mile range would easily cover my commute and over 90% of my driving. Same with the wife (taking kids to school, etc) A 15 mile plug range (assuming I plugged it in every night) would reduce my gas usage so much I would go months between gas station visits.

As for how much extra space the batteries take, you have to take into account the ventilation, mounting, and the safety cage. Large batteries can be dangerous if they are damaged(think explosive fire). They can also overheat, especially during fast charging, if they don’t have good active ventilation.

By Mint on 9/18/2013 1:20:26 PM , Rating: 2
I support variable battery sizes, and can fully see how 15 miles would be adequate for many people.

But the average new car does 15k miles in its first year, so it's definitely useful for most people to have 25+ mile range in a PHEV.

Also, the Volt's cost premium is more easily made up by those doing a lot more mileage than you are. Of the ~15M new car buyers each year, I'm sure several million have a 50+ mile daily commute plus significant mileage on the weekend. Those are the buyers to whom the Volt makes most economical sense.

By flyingpants1 on 9/17/2013 6:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
Right, except BMW tried that and it turned out like crap, because they couldn't compete on price.

But even a Spark EV or Leaf-like car with a range extender may cost around $30-35k, it may match the 200-mile Tesla vehicle in range, but not in anything else.

And within a few years, maybe a decade after the release of the BlueStar, a 200-mile EV battery will cost $5-10k total.

By toffty on 9/18/2013 3:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
I will say this about an Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV), you'll still need to take it in for oil changes every few months.

What's so nice about EVs is you never need to take them in for service. The only checkup, at least for the Leaf, is a 30 minute visit to the dealership to check the battery's health every year and this check is free!

I think the key is to offer the customer battery size options like Tesla does with the Model S. Base model gets 100 miles, next step up goes 200 miles for $7-10k more, next step goes 300 miles for another $7-10k over the middle tier.

By MichaelR on 9/19/2013 7:00:58 AM , Rating: 2
I will say this about an Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV), you'll still need to take it in for oil changes every few months.

On the Chevy Volt there is an oil life monitor which allows, under the right conditions, two years between oil changes.

$30k Tesla vs. $30k Chevrolet
By flyingpants1 on 9/17/2013 3:49:40 PM , Rating: 5
Are they kidding? How are you going to compare a Tesla and a Chevrolet at the same price? The Tesla is going to be built to compete with the BMW 3 series.

I'm predicting the Chevrolet EV will be more like a Spark EV or a Volt with a 200-mile battery - ugly, cheap and compact.

Let me know when it's a 200-mile Cadillac EV for $30k.

RE: $30k Tesla vs. $30k Chevrolet
By Mint on 9/17/2013 3:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla's Bluestar isn't going to cost the same as GM's 200 mile EV. You can bank on that. I'll be shocked if Tesla's pre-credit price is below $40k.

RE: $30k Tesla vs. $30k Chevrolet
By rountad on 9/17/2013 4:43:02 PM , Rating: 2
How is $30K not the same as $30K?

RE: $30k Tesla vs. $30k Chevrolet
By rountad on 9/17/2013 4:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, misread $40 as $30...

RE: $30k Tesla vs. $30k Chevrolet
By flyingpants1 on 9/17/2013 6:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
Elon said $35k pre-credit, so we'll see. A 50kWh pack should only cost about $10k.

RE: $30k Tesla vs. $30k Chevrolet
By Mint on 9/17/2013 11:08:49 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the battery I'm worried about. It's everything else. Beating competitors' high-end, high-margin offerings with your first try is impressive, but beating them at cost reduction for a mainstream car is going to be even tougher.

More importantly, even if Tesla can make a car that's profitable at $35k pre-credit, they're not going to undercut the BMW 3-series on price. They're going to position it as a superior car that saves you $1500/yr on gas. I expect the 2017 328i to start at $40k.

Needs to be built from ground up
By Shig on 9/17/2013 3:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
You can't just put batteries into a car that was originally designed to be an ICE only car, it just won't work against Tesla.

However the design is now public, so I'd imagine most car companies are going to be copying the model S design and they all have better economies of scale and are more experienced in manufacturing. By this I mean the battery sits on the under-body with the motor and power electronics.

In order to get to 200 miles of range you'll need at least a battery that is 40-55kwh. That's assuming they decrease the weight significantly compared to the model S. The model S is a really heavy car.

By MichalT on 9/17/2013 5:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla S is so heavy because, on the 85 watt model, the batteries weigh about a thousand pounds. With currently technology you're not going to get around that. You can have a lighter car... with less batteries. Which gets you less range...

By DanNeely on 9/17/2013 5:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
There're definite potential weight savings from the current Tesla Model S, unfortunately they'd be at the cost of coming down to a merely average crash test score. Tesla overbuild its car to the point that in a recent crushtest, instead of the press flattening the Tesla the press broke first. Personally I'd rather see the competition start building equally strong and survivable cars.

RE: Needs to be built from ground up
By ritualm on 9/17/2013 6:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
In order to get to 200 miles of range you'll need at least a battery that is 40-55kwh. That's assuming they decrease the weight significantly compared to the model S. The model S is a really heavy car.

Any car needs to have a lot of weight spent towards not killing its occupants, whether during normal driving or in the event of a non-serious crash. A heavy 200-mile EV battery pack - and all the safety mechanisms built into it so it doesn't explode while idle i.e. Fisker Karma - goes on top of that.

Batteries are heavy, and until we get better battery tech improvements, there is no getting around that simple fact.

Case in point: a SGS4 with stock battery (2600mAh) weighs 130g. My SGS4 uses a 7500mAh battery instead, and that adds another ~89g (or, the weight of 1.66 SGS4's). Thickness more than doubled. The increased weight, size and charge times are less important compared to how long I can use it inbetween charges, and that most other phones don't have this as a viable option.

RE: Needs to be built from ground up
By Shig on 9/17/2013 8:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying the weight of the model S is necessarily bad, all of the super premium sedans are heavy. They have all the top end safety and they're just really big cars.

My point was more to the fact that the 'gen III' Tesla is going to be a lot smaller and lighter.

Currently the battery sits at around 750 pounds, but the weight of the battery structurally enhances the car and lowers the center of gravity, so that weight is good.

If you want to see what a crash looks like with a Model S go to the Teslamotorsclub forums, the Tesla model S DECIMATED the other car and barely looked like it was damaged at all. The battery pack on the bottom is like a battering ram and the top of the car is all crumple zones.

By protosv on 9/23/2013 6:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but that ZeroLemon batter life is totally worth it...

GM and Tesla
By Richard875yh5 on 9/18/2013 11:43:49 AM , Rating: 2
Taken from a blogger on gminsidenews.

This announcement by Tesla was ready and waiting for a day when Tesla needed an attention diversion for yesterday when GM announce a 200 mile EV. Elon Musk is shrewd, but his hype can be carried only so far. Sooner or later he will be exposed at how he manipulated people's minds. Let's face it, most people think his car is way ahead in EV technologies when it's not. They think the batteries he's using is far superior then any other out there, and all he's using are thousand of laptop batteries....nothing so advance here. The platform he's using comes from the skateboard design GM invented years ago.
I've seen and sat in the Tesla car at the Bellevue mall in Washington state. Nothing that any other car builder can not build and even at a cheaper price. Seventy thousand dollars is a lot of money for this car! I can not understand why people would buy his stocks at $160.00 a share, sooner or later thiis stock will crash and we'll see many sorry people.

RE: GM and Tesla
By Mint on 9/18/2013 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yikes, is anyone more jealous of Tesla's success?

Every auto magazine out there praises its comfort, handling, acceleration, brakes, room, touchscreen, etc. It's winning comparisons and outselling the S class, A8, 7 series, etc.

And he thinks it's something that anybody else can do for less? Why is GM's Cadillac ELR projected to cost $60k, then? It's a 4-seater with far less room and pedestrian acceleration.

RE: GM and Tesla
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2013 3:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
Mint I know on Daily Tech, Musk is propelled to deity status, but I don't see how anyone is jealous of Tesla.

He's a media sensation, nothing more. He makes a car, wow, that's right up there with curing cancer or something I guess.

RE: GM and Tesla
By ritualm on 9/18/2013 3:23:35 PM , Rating: 2
Taken from a blogger

And how is what he said any more relevant? A Tesla Model S is powered by the same stuff that runs your laptops: lithium metal. But that is as far as similarities go. LOL at "skateboard design".

I have the money to literally buy a $100K, fully loaded S from the local Tesla dealership in my area, knowing that I'm also buying one of the safest EVs available. That blogger's argument is invalid.

Actually, forget all of the above. You are THAT blogger. You come in, guns ablazing, that Tesla is basically running a scam. Meanwhile, your favorite government bailout recipient (funded directly by your tax dollars!) can't sell their own EVs because most of us already wrote GM off as far as quality goes. And you're mad.

Cry. Harder.

RE: GM and Tesla
By 1prophet on 9/18/2013 5:45:55 PM , Rating: 2
Another fool of a blogger whose ego has been hurt. General Motors was at the forefront of electric vehicle technology with the EV1 and Rick Wagoner killed it under pressure from the shortsighted upper management or if you believe in conspiracy theories pressure from the oil companies, he later admitted it was his biggest mistake.

If they continued on with constant improvement on the EV1 they would be at the head of the electric vehicle pack right now, but as usual for the entrenched can't do no wrong management at GM it is easier to point the finger at someone like Elon Musk instead of looking at themselves and the can't think outside the box for the sake of immediate profits fool management that is actually the cause of all of GM's woes.

RE: GM and Tesla
By Reclaimer77 on 9/18/2013 5:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
The EV1 was a dead end, everyone knows that.

Even with the technology available today, EV's are barely an option. Who in the hell was actually going to own an EV1? Come on, let's be real.

GM has made a ton of horrible decisions, I'll grant you that. But killing the EV1 isn't one of them. The car itself was a tiny, super-light two-seater, not exactly what American consumers were looking for. And the EV1 was horrifically expensive to build, which was why GM's execs terminated the program.

Tesla won't be able to compete against GM on price.
By 91TTZ on 9/17/2013 4:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
Small car manufacturers like Tesla, Ferrari, or Lamborghini can't compete with large manufacturers like GM, Ford, or Toyota on price. It all comes down to pretty simple economics and economy of scale. GM is a high volume corporation and they buy massive quantities of parts with large factories to produce a huge amount of output. Tesla is a much smaller corporation and they buy small quantities of parts, with a small manufacturing capacity.

If you've ever worked on any small-scale projects you'd see that the price of your components is proportional to the quantity that you buy. A part that costs $10 for a quantity of 10 might cost only $7 if you buy 1000 of them. If you buy 10,000 you might get them for $6. 100,000 might be $5 a piece. Once you add all these parts up your materials cost might be 50% more than your competitor's product with labor, marketing, and profit included. So you'd never be able to compete with them on price. What you can do is move your product up market a bit where the materials cost is a smaller percentage of your total product cost and your customers don't care much about price anyway.

By Florinator on 9/17/2013 5:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't look like the economy of scale is working in GM's advantage, since they are losing money on each Volt sold...

By sorry dog on 9/18/2013 8:23:38 AM , Rating: 2
There aren't enough of cars being currently made for those economies of scales to work. If fact, it's more like that opposite... GM has too much overhead and capacity to make cars (that probably can't be built with any other model) in volumes of 10,000 or less.

By 91TTZ on 9/18/2013 3:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
GM knows that they're losing money with the Volt. If they priced it to be profitable it would be too expensive. Tesla is losing money as well. Tesla has not yet turned a profit in its core business, which is building and selling cars.

How uneducated do you have to be...???
By alpha754293 on 9/18/2013 8:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.


"GM is the global king of vehicle sales"
No. Toyota is the global king of vehicle sales.

"World's Top Automaker is Seeing Record Sales"
No. Toyota is expected to be the world's top automaker.

Really, Jason??? Really???

By alpha754293 on 9/18/2013 8:40:21 AM , Rating: 2
It won't let me put links to the sources.

Range is not really the issue
By zephyrprime on 9/18/2013 11:57:05 AM , Rating: 2
The range issue is already solved. The volt already provides extended range with its onboard combustion engine. Even if you had an all electric that had 200 mi range, it still wouldn't be that useful since you still couldn't take it on long road trips because charging it would take such a long time. For long range, there is no option other than a backup gasoline motor. I think the real problem for these cars is just that they are too expensive. Basically the improved fuel economy never pays for itself because of the higher initial price. They need to do everything they can to bring the weight and cost down. That's the real challenge and it isn't so easy.

By flyingpants1 on 9/18/2013 8:34:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, the range issue is solved by filling the country with supercharging stations. Within a few short years, 90% of the population of North America and Europe will be within reach of a Tesla supercharging station.

Yes, for right now it sucks, because for every 3.5 hours of driving, you have to stop and charge for 30 minutes. But Tesla is working on 5-minute charging, and 500-mile batteries, which may mean a 15 minute stop every 8 hours. Still a lot better than gas stations!

Extended range vehicles like the Volt encompass the worst of all worlds: you end up with an expensive, complex vehicle, carrying the weight of two underperforming drivetrains.

GM Issues
By CaedenV on 9/17/2013 4:02:06 PM , Rating: 1
It may just be me, but I am not going to support GM. I was never a huge fan of them in the first place, but after the adaptation of OnStar and the bailouts I simply do not want one. And that is on top of the quality issues, and the value compared to similarly priced foreign vehicles.

I want an affordable commuter EV pretty badly, but I can guarantee that it will not be a GM. Besides, by the time GM can innovate anything we will have affordable EVs through almost every other manufacturer on the market. I cannot imagine that GM and Tesla are the only 2 working on affordable EVs with a decent range.

RE: GM Issues
By troysavary on 9/17/2013 10:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
GM has been working on electric cars far longer than any of their competitors.

show don't tell, GM
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 9/17/2013 3:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'll believe it when I can test drive it.

If they can get a 100mi range EREV with the >60kW aluminum turbo DI 3cyl which will get ~50mpg in the next generation or two, and build it into a CUV, I'd definitely trade in my Volt for that.

Promising future for EV
By milktea on 9/17/2013 3:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
With all these competition on EV, it should become much more affortable in the near future. I just hope all the automotive company could match the quality standards that Tesla holds while remains affortable.

Time to dump those crude oil stocks :)

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