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Chevrolet Volt  (Source: Brandon Hill, DailyTech)

Cadillac Provoq  (Source: Brandon Hill, DailyTech)

  (Source: Brandon Hill, DailyTech)
GM uses CES to display its highly computerized automobiles

When it comes to General Motors vehicles with advanced powertrains, the Chevrolet Volt led the charge. The attractive four-door sedan uses a lithium-ion battery pack to travel 40 miles on a charge. It can also be plugged into a household outlet to charge over night.

Yesterday, GM announced its Cadillac Provoq concept vehicle, another plug-in, which couples the E-Flex propulsion system with the company's fifth generation fuel cell stack. GM CEO Rick Wagoner today rolled the vehicle out on stage at CES alongside the Volt during his keynote address.

Wagoner stated that the Provoq and its successors are the second big card in GM's hand in terms of protecting the environment, and saving consumers thousands in fuel expenses. Wagoner stated, "The auto industry can no longer depend entirely on oil... It is critical as both a business necessity and as an obligation to society to develop alternative energy."

Developing alternative energy, performing desirably, and looking good at the same time are among the Provoq's abilities.

The Provoq features two 10,000 psi composite storage tanks under the rear cargo floor which store the hydrogen. The dual tanks feed the fuel cell stack which in turn provides up to 88 kW of power. The 9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers a 70 kW co-axial motor which powers the front wheels while a single 40 kW motor is mounted in the hub of each rear wheel.

Thanks to its advanced powertrain, the Provoq can travel 300 miles with a full load of hydrogen -- it can travel a total of 20 miles on battery power alone. Likewise, the Provoq can reach 60 MPH in just 8.5 seconds and race to a top speed of 100 MPH.

GM also added additional touches which may find their way into future fuel cell and hybrid vehicles. The Provoq contains solar panels on the roof which are used to power electrical accessories within the vehicle. The front grill features louvers which remain open under low speeds to provide maximum cooling for the fuel cell stack, yet close to create a more streamlined shape for optimum aerodynamic performance. Finally, the Provoq features charging ports on either side of the vehicle ahead of the front doors -- this makes it more convenient to charge the vehicle at home.

While the fuel cell technology is definitely an incredible achievement for GM's Advanced Systems Integration team, the Provoq also foreshadows the styling of the next generation Cadillac SRX crossover utility vehicle (CUV).

The current generation SRX is built on the previous generation Cadillac CTS chassis. The second generation CTS was recently launched which means that the SRX is due for its own makeover. The fact that the Provoq looks very close to production-ready and that the interior looks like a heavily stylized version of the second generation CTS' interior leads to the pretty obvious observation.

DailyTech asked two members of the Chevrolet Volt team about the relationship between the Provoq and the second generation SRX -- they looked at each other with a smile and laughed knowingly, although their official stance was a textbook "no comment."

In addition to the Provoq, Wagner also talked up GM's OnStar system which will have the ability to slow down a vehicle at the request of pursuant law enforcement in the event of a vehicle theft. Offiers can call OnStar which can then beam a signal to the car's engine control unit (ECU) – the vehicle then safely slows to a stop while a pleasant voice tells the driver to steer the vehicle to the shoulder and remain in the vehicle. That segment of the keynote got quite a rise from the crowd.

Theft deterrence was not the only new OnStar feature, however.  GM is developing a mobile phone OnStar application which will allow you with a simple click to unlock your car, start your engine, check your car's status, or even help you locate it in a parking lot by turning on your lights and beeping the horn.  In the case that you lost your phone, GM engineers personally assured DailyTech that would-be thieves would not get out of the parking lot -- the car won't shift into gear, even if pre-started unless the key is inserted.

Wagner also talked about the self-driving Chevrolet Tahoe which recently won the DARPA Urban Challenge and the Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle which will soon be available to southern California and fortunate east coast residents.

DailyTech will have one-on-one sessions with both the DARPA Tahoe and the Equinox fuel cell vehicle along with the Chevrolet Volt tomorrow. Stay tuned for more coverage.



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RE: Props to GM
By Samus on 1/9/2008 3:30:32 AM , Rating: 5
These Hybrids are a complete maintenance nightmare. Who's going to drop $3000-5000 on batteries every 10 years? Electric motors don't last forever, either. I just talked to a friend who spent $1000 on a brake job for his Prius because of the complex and expensive components in the regenerative breaking feature.
That just took all your savings from getting those extra 10mpg over the years.

So, I'm glad to see hydrogen technology kicking up with GM vehicles.

However, I think Ford's approach is going to beat everybody's, especially Toyota's.

Ford's plan is to make smaller, efficient, turbo-charged engines that sip fuel. Volvo will likely help them make reliable turbo engines, as Volvo has legendary reliability in the turbo deisel field.

Honda plans to go the deisel route, which is almost as good as Fords solution, except that'll be a harder push on Americans that Ford saying you're getting a 4-cylinder in your Explorer, but its turbo-charged with 220hp (as much as their V6 4.0, which gets 18mpg)

Toyota thinks Hybrid is the future and wants it in everything, forgetting it is expensive to maintain and only Toyota can maintain it.

Overall, Honda and Ford have my support with their plans. For GM, if they can push Hydrogen into the market, I'll gladly accept something that will become commonplace.

Toyota, good luck. When your customers finally start doing the math, your doomed unless you start using better battery technology ASAP.


RE: Props to GM
By Cypherdude1 on 1/9/2008 6:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
Samus, there's one BIG advantage you're not taking into consideration regarding Hybrids. In California and probably other states, you are allowed to drive in the Diamond Lane where 2 or more passengers are required. This alone is worth the extra cost since you can drive alone to work quicker than everyone else.


RE: Props to GM
By mdogs444 on 1/9/2008 6:35:29 AM , Rating: 2
I think in California that may be worthwhile, especially since I dont know anything about the traffic patterns there, outside of movies...but in other states that have these (like the Carolina's), I highly doubt anyone is going to be spending thousands of dollars as a premium just to drive in the "HOV" or "Diamond" lanes. You call it an "advantage" - however, I just dont see anyone seriously taking that part into consideration as a major factor when buying a car.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 9:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
You get an advantage in moderate traffic but not in heavy traffic. Still not worth the extra cost.


RE: Props to GM
By CollosalDestructor on 1/9/2008 6:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
OMG


RE: Props to GM
By Cypherdude1 on 1/10/2008 2:10:04 AM , Rating: 2
In So. California, every weekday, from 6:30am to 7:30pm, the traffic is HELL on almost every freeway. Any advantage you can get helps, unless you want to get a pilot's license and fly an ultralight to work. ;^)


RE: Props to GM
By FITCamaro on 1/9/2008 6:48:57 AM , Rating: 2
So getting to work faster makes up for having to spend more money?.....No.

And holy Jebus. A grand for a freakin brake job? No thanks. I'll stick with regular cars where the pads are $100 tops and I can change them myself if I feel like it. Hell even paying someone its like $300 max if you gotta do all 4 wheels and need new calipers. At least on regular cars. Cars with high performance brakes using multi-piston calipers are a little more expensive.


RE: Props to GM
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/9/2008 10:43:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So getting to work faster makes up for having to spend more money?.....No.


Wow, guys love to talk in absolutes :-)

I don't think it's just so simple as hybrids = bad, conventional engines = good. Take for example the Yukon/Tahoe which gets 21 MPG in the city. That's quite an accomplishment for such a large vehicle. And since all the soccer moms are normally driving around in town anyway, why not get better fuel economy at the same time?


RE: Props to GM
By masher2 (blog) on 1/9/2008 10:47:47 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a huge fan of hybrids, but if one extrapolates into the future, one thing seems clear. Cars will become more reliable (thus reducing the maintenance differential, if any between a hybrid and a conventional auto), and gasoline will become more expensive.

Five years ago, a hybrid made no financial sense whatsoever. 15 years from now, I think you'll either be driving a hybrid, or somthing even more esoteric.


RE: Props to GM
By Souka on 1/9/2008 3:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
how abotu public transportation? :)


RE: Props to GM
By Etsp on 1/9/2008 5:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
Stop talking nonsense =P


RE: Props to GM
By JediJeb on 1/9/2008 5:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't exist where I live. Only public transit near me is 50 miles away.


RE: Props to GM
By Spivonious on 1/10/2008 9:12:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'd love to, but for me to get to work using the (flawed) local bus system would take over two hours, when I can drive there in 15 minutes.


RE: Props to GM
By mdogs444 on 1/9/2008 6:45:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
That just took all your savings from getting those extra 10mpg over the years.

Im with you on this. I just dont see the added several thousand dollar premium cost as outweighing the regular ICE version you could be getting for cheaper. Perhaps if fuel prices rise to $5, 7, 10 dollars a gallon, then perhaps. But at $3/gallon, if not cheaper, I am going to stay with my standard 250hp V6, and be satisfied with 20/29 for my mileage on a new car.
quote:
However, I think Ford's approach is going to beat everybody's, especially Toyota's.

Im not sold on Ford's approach either. I've turbocharged Audi's before, and I've got to tell you, not very reliable. For some reason, I just dont trust a turbo as being a reliable, every day driven vehicle. Perhaps its personal experience, or perhaps on false premise, but I wouldnt buy a Ford ecoboost turbo.
quote:
Volvo has legendary reliability in the turbo deisel

True, but how is the reliability on Ford gasoline engines?
quote:
that'll be a harder push on Americans

Agreed - many Americans will not want diesel. If they did, you'd see more Mercedes & Volkswagon diesels on the road, especially considering the Jetta is a cheap car.
quote:
Toyota thinks Hybrid is the future and wants it in everything, forgetting it is expensive to maintain and only Toyota can maintain it.

I highly doubt Toyota "forgot" that part ;-). But you know what, Toyota is the most reliable car on the road today (along with Honda) - so if they choose to go one route, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that its going to be reliable, until proven wrong.
quote:
Toyota, good luck. When your customers finally start doing the math, your doomed unless you start using better battery technology ASAP.

Although I do not like Hybrid, nor will I buy one, I still do not agree with your assessment of Toyota. People buy Toyota because they know it has a high resale value, and the dependability of their cars are next to none (besides Honda). They will not lose buyers because of a small increase in price.


RE: Props to GM
By FITCamaro on 1/9/2008 6:55:07 AM , Rating: 2
I think the main reason people don't go to diesel is

a) negative attitude associated with it (noisy, smelly, etc) despite it not being true anymore.

b) the extremely high cost of diesel in many urban areas. Diesel around here is typically a quarter more than premium.

I honestly wouldn't mind a diesel car even with the high cost if the power was there along with the mileage to make me use less fuel. The biggest problem is that there aren't any diesel cars I want to buy. I don't want a Volkswagen. I'm sorry but the Jetta is a chick car. And I can't afford a Mercedes.

If in some alternate reality GM would sell a turbocharged V8 diesel Camaro putting down at least 300 hp and monster torque, oh yeah I'd buy it. The front end would be heavy as sh*t but I'd buy it.


RE: Props to GM
By VIAN on 1/9/2008 8:19:37 AM , Rating: 1
I would also like to see a bunch of turbocharged 4 cylinder engines on the road because they are more efficient than naturally aspirated. I don't know how reliable they are, but Audi isn't a good example of a reliable car.

Diesel will never get adopted. Vokswagen was supposed to release a diesel Jetta here, but it's price would be more expensive than the Prius, it wouldn't achieve as great a fuel economy, and you'd have to pay more for fuel.


RE: Props to GM
By thereverendmaynard on 1/9/2008 9:22:45 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Diesel will never get adopted. Vokswagen was supposed to release a diesel Jetta here, but it's price would be more expensive than the Prius, it wouldn't achieve as great a fuel economy, and you'd have to pay more for fuel.


What are you talking about? VW has a ton of diesel Jettas, Passats, Golfs/Rabits etc. I paid 21k for my loaded 03 Jetta Wagon TDI, (with 0.9% financing) and it gets ~ 50MPG. Great, I pay more 20% more than regular for diesel (3.50/gal), but look at the mileage I get.

Maint is also a piece of cake (I do it all myself) and the longevity of a diesel is much better than a gasser. In addition, I have the option of running biodiesel (which I can have delivered to my house for 3.59 a gal)

Here in the North East, I see a ton of TDI's on the road. If you are in a CARB state, then you have to wait until the 50 state legal diesels are available (already with the MB, soon with the VW) But you could always buy used.


RE: Props to GM
By VIAN on 1/10/2008 9:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
VW may have Diesels on the road, but its current lineup does not have any Diesel cars, just one SUV.

The VW Jetta Diesel 2008 was estimated to cost about 23,000 in new condition. In the tri-state area, Diesel is 16% more expensive than Regular Gasoline. Early reports estimated the MPG of this Jetta to be 41mpg combine. There is no concrete evidence to suggest better mpg. Although, more recently, the VW website anticipates that it has 51mpg, a full 10mpg over the original estimates. We'll see.

In contrast, the Prius costs about 21,000 in new condition and gets 47mpg combined. If the new mpg estimates are true, then Diesel might have a good chance, otherwise it won't.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 9:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Im not sold on Ford's approach either. I've turbocharged Audi's before, and I've got to tell you, not very reliable. For some reason, I just dont trust a turbo as being a reliable, every day driven vehicle.
No offense but I wouldn't trust you turbocharging my car either. I would trust Ford, GM, Toyota, or even Hyundai's turbo cars. There's not much R&D in a garage job but there's millions of man hours and dollars in a factory effort. The Japanese have tons of turbo cars and they are just as reliable as non-turbo one's. You have Audi, Saab, Volvo, Porsche, and Nissan just to name a few that have decades of experience here.


RE: Props to GM
By mdogs444 on 1/9/2008 10:38:39 AM , Rating: 2
LOL - i think i typed it wrong. I did not personally turbocharge my car. I meant that I owned a turbocharge audi - a 1.8T Quattro.

I wouldnt trust myself working on a motor either.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 12:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
LOL - i think i typed it wrong. I did not personally turbocharge my car.
It did read funny. What kind of problems were you having with the turbo? A turbo is a mechanical device and a simple one at that. I find it hard to believe that there would be many turbo failures.


RE: Props to GM
By mdogs444 on 1/9/2008 12:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well mine was an 02, and according to the Audi mechanics at my local dealership, most have to have the timing belt, fuel injectors, and many other parts replaced early (at 60k) due to the strain that the turbo puts on the motor. Im no mechanic, so it may be B.S - but the audi was the only turbo i've had, and in all: injectors blew at 55k, timing belt needed replaced at 60k, intake manifold needed replaced at 60k. Im sure i can pull up more receipts, but that car had more mechanical & electrical issues than any car i've ever seen. could've been a lemon though. But i prefer a basic motor that i can still work on a bit - as opposed to the new technology that even most mechanics can't fix.


RE: Props to GM
By FITCamaro on 1/9/2008 12:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
In that case get a 69 Camaro with a carbed 350. :)

Nice big wide engine bay. No computers. You need about 10 tools to work on the entire car.


RE: Props to GM
By Moishe on 1/9/2008 2:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, it's not the turbo, it's the Audi.
I was in the market for an Audi not that long ago and did a bunch of research. As nice as those cars are, they've had a real problem with reliability in the past few years.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 2:41:34 PM , Rating: 2
You might see some stresses to the internal components but the timing belt and injectors? Timing belts are usually changed at 60k on any car. That's normal. The weird things are the intake manifold and the injectors. Intake manifolds don't go bad. It's just of hunk of metal to allow air into the engine. Unless they punched a hole in it when trying to fix something else.

Those mechanics fed you a line of crap. The car was designed to be boosted from the factory so Audi would take that into account when designing the motor.

BTW, I've heard other people complain about Audi's and VW's quality so these problems don't surprise me.


RE: Props to GM
By mdogs444 on 1/9/2008 4:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've heard other people complain about Audi's and VW's quality so these problems don't surprise me.

Only wish I had known that years ago. The electrical system was a nightmare. The external temperature sensor was linked to the interior digital temperature control. The external sensor always blew, so when it did, this is what would happen (as an example):

Its 90 degrees outside. Temperature sensor went bad, and read -40 degrees. Put A/C on, but blows in 90 degree air - since the computer thinks its can use the cold air from outside instead.

From what I understand and read on multiple Audi forums, this is a common issue. So is engine sludge, early timing belt breakage around 60k miles (when recommended per manual is 90k), window motors breaking (mine did, and bumped window off track & shattered inside the door panel). The list goes on. It really turned me off to this idea of "german luxury" engineering.


RE: Props to GM
By MrX8503 on 1/9/2008 2:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
Turbos are forced induction. Forced being the keyword here. Theoretically a turbo charged engine would be less reliable than a non-turbo charged one. Unless the cylinder walls are thick enough, a turbo charged engine would be less reliable by nature of forcing more pressure into the engine to create more horsepower.

On another note, diesel engines would theoretically be less reliable than gas engines because diesel uses high pressures to ignite the gas/air mixture, whereas gas engines uses a spark plug. Pressure ignition is a lot more efficient because it ignites every molecule resulting in better mileage, but it puts an incredible strain on the engine from high pressures.


RE: Props to GM
By masher2 (blog) on 1/9/2008 4:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "diesel engines would theoretically be less reliable than gas engines because diesel uses high pressures "

True. In practice, however, diesel engines are nearly always more reliable, because they're built to withstand those higher pressures.

> "Pressure ignition is a lot more efficient because it ignites every molecule... "

No. A diesel engine is more efficient because it runs off a higher temperature differential. The efficiency of a heat engine is based on the difference between its high and low temperatures.


RE: Props to GM
By theapparition on 1/10/2008 8:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
So wrong I don't even know where to begin.

Forced inductions (Turbo/Superchargers) are certainly more harsh on engines, and the cylinders have to cope with much higher pressures. However, no engine I've ever seen has had a direct cylinder wall failure from pressure. You'll usually get piston/rod or head/valve problems before every having to worry about cylinder integrity. In fact, usually the only reason a cylinder wall gets damaged is from failure of the other components (like a snapped valve being thrown around the clyinder at 6500RPM), or from very high heat, which forced inductions are prone to. There are ways to combat heat, like both my SC cars have meth injection.

Turbo's are far less reliable because they use exhaust pressure (very high heat) to spool a turbine. Those turbines spin at very high speeds to make any appreciable boost. ANYTIME you spin something faster, it is prone to wear out sooner. That's a core tenent of mechanical engineering. Bearings wear out faster, material fatigues quicker, etc. Add the high heat were dealing with and that only accelerates this effect. Plus, oil can cook in the turbos if driven too hard.

Many reasons that turbos are far less reliable than NA engines, but cyliner wall integrity is not one of them.


RE: Props to GM
By AlexWade on 1/9/2008 8:03:21 AM , Rating: 2
Honda has a natural gas Civic. If I can get my hands on that, I would because natural gas comes from the city. You would avoid paying gas taxes. Granted, it isn't for long vacations. But it would perfect for daily driving. It does include an adapter to hook up to your natural gas line.


RE: Props to GM
By Ringold on 1/10/2008 1:24:46 AM , Rating: 2
One word of warning regarding natural gas: it is by nature much more volatile in price than gasoline or oil. We simply do not have massive stocks, and when it gets drawn down by demand, or supply interruption, you could see natural gas prices double or triple in a very short period of time and stay there until things get worked out.

It may not spike like that, or it may not.. but there just is no cushion there to stop it.

http://finance.google.com/finance?q=AMEX%3AUNG

That was the quickest way I could find of pulling up a decent chart, but that ETF doesn't have much history. Still yet, the volatility is clear. From the mid 50s to the low 30s, and now maybe heading back. Or maybe not. Who knows.


RE: Props to GM
By 1prophet on 1/9/2008 8:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
And most independent shops will not or cannot afford the tooling and training required to maintain these complex vehicles, while it might not impact the original owner due to the warranty, it will definetly affect those buying them on the used car market after the warranty expires.


RE: Props to GM
By Spivonious on 1/9/2008 9:41:19 AM , Rating: 2
Who keeps a car for 10 years these days?

And hybrid techonologies will only get cheaper to maintain as more and more cars make use of it. It's exactly the reason why a DVD player cost $500 when it first came out and now you can get one for under $50.


RE: Props to GM
By mdogs444 on 1/9/2008 11:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
Many people keep cars for 10 years. Many people who are self made wealthy did so by not spending money on things that were not necessary. One of the big things is by keeping a car until it will not run anymore - eliminating the need of a downpayment every few years, as well as recurring monthly car payments.

My dad keeps cars for over 10 years, and barely puts 75k on them in that time. He also does his own oil changes, brake maintenence, etc - basically anything he can do on his own.

The big reason people have money, and gain wealth, is by not spending on things that are not necessities - for example, not wasting your money buying that $500 DVD player until it comes down to $50.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 12:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
I had kept my old 92 Sentra for 12 years which enabled me to buy an 04 Sentra with cash. My wife got tired of the maintenance costs of the 92 so I ended up with a new car. I sold the 04 and bought the Solstice because I wanted a fun car. Not a wise move but you only live once.


RE: Props to GM
By Ringold on 1/10/2008 1:38:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Many people who are self made wealthy did so by not spending money on things that were not necessary.


Thats the truth.

Cars are depreciating assets that gnaw at your net wealth from the moment you lay eyes on them (almost). Trading in every couple years over the course of an entire career could probably mean a huge difference in the size of ones retirement account when the time comes.

quote:
not wasting your money buying that $500 DVD player


$500 on a DVD player for a 30 year old aiming to retire at 60 just gave up $8,724 that could've grown tax free in a Roth IRA in a simple S&P 500 index fund -- just as an example.

For a 20 year old, the figure would be $22,629. Can start to see how even blue collar folk can afford a comfy retirement -- just as my assembly-line worker folks managed, by taking charge for themselves. Not that many 20 year old guys are much concerned with retirement.. sadly.


RE: Props to GM
By masher2 (blog) on 1/10/2008 8:16:57 AM , Rating: 2
> "$500 on a DVD player for a 30 year old aiming to retire at 60 just gave up $8,724 that could've grown tax free in a Roth IRA"

Then considering I paid over $1200 for my first DVD player, I gave up close to $20,000 in retirement money. Save every penny, and a $20M+ retirement fund isn't a problem.

But at age 60+, I don't see what I'd spend that much money on. Two new Ferraris and nightly dinners with supermodels?

Obviously saving for retirement is important...but it can be carried too far. Its a lot harder to enjoy life at 60 than at 30. Vive ut Vivas!


RE: Props to GM
By Ringold on 1/10/2008 8:45:45 PM , Rating: 2
No disagreement, have to have some balance.. and some fun. I don't know how anyone could live in misery and be able to continue to saving.

Mdogs and I, I think, were just singling out using a car for longer than just a couple years as a pretty easy way to save vast amounts of cash. I was trying to provide another example or two partly for the shock effect, I admit.

But I didn't fudge my numbers, either.
500(1.1)^30 = 8724, with that 10% being the consensus long-term annualized gain of the S&P.


RE: Props to GM
By FITCamaro on 1/9/2008 12:58:03 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Who keeps a car for 10 years these days?


People who don't like constant car payments? People who are happy with what they have? People who don't feel the need to show off their brand new car every 2-3 years? People with half a brain?

Take your pick.


RE: Props to GM
By Spivonious on 1/10/2008 9:11:42 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, I guess the general populus is different than the one in my area. Personally, I agree with what everyone said. I have no intention of selling my car until it breaks down and costs more to fix than it's worth. 15k miles a year for 10 years is 150k miles. I'm pretty sure by then my car will be worth about $1500 so if it needs any work over new brake pads it's getting replaced.

But looking around, it's hard to find a car on the streets that's more than 10 years old. And a lot of the more upper middle class people I know lease their cars (what a waste of money that is!).

And all those people you listed make up most of the population :P


RE: Props to GM
By DoeBoy on 1/10/2008 11:40:46 AM , Rating: 2
I dont know where you guys live but here in
Chapel Hill, NC there are more older cars than u would believe. I drive a 87 volvo 740 with 104k miles on it and i got it for 1500 with 90000. it needed some general maintenance like belt changes, water pump etc. but it is very reliable with the maintenance done. Tons of volvo's, mercedes, etc. in this town older than 10 years. Hey you wanna go green why not buy a good used car instead of buying a new car. I have seen these old volvo b230's go for over 250k miles with no major work. Maybe we just need to start realizing that cars can run up to and beyond 200k miles. I dont think a car is worth a damn unless it can do that.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/10/2008 12:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And a lot of the more upper middle class people I know lease their cars (what a waste of money that is!).
Actually it's not if you never plan to buy the car. If you just want to drive a new car every three years, you'll spend WAY less money (even with over mileage penalties) then buying a car conventionally. A lot of people swap cars every 3-5 years and for them a lease would be best way to save their money.

The argument I hear from everyone against leasing is that you don't own the car. Well guess what? You don't own the car until you pay the loan off and you have the title in your name. Until that happens, the bank owns your car.

IMO, if you are GOING to own the car past the life of the loan then don't lease. If you're going to sell or trade in the car as soon as the loan is paid or before it's paid get a lease.


RE: Props to GM
By Moishe on 1/9/2008 2:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
People who aren't wasting their money on a car payment.

Like me.

A car payment is a guaranteed loss. Instead, I pay my car off as fast as possible, and then save long enough to buy the next car with cash. I'm drawing interest, not paying it. it adds up to thousands of dollars.


RE: Props to GM
By JediJeb on 1/9/2008 6:02:53 PM , Rating: 2
Still driving my 96 F150, owned it since December 96. 184k miles and only thing I have had to do it replace a water pump and one fuel injector aside from belts and hoses.

I figured up the other day that if I bought a new car getting 36mpg instead of the 18mpg of my truck, at about $25k for the car it would take about 8 years to make back the cost of the new car in fuel savings. Now if someone sells one of these new fuel cell vehicles for around $18k I will consider trading. But I doubt it will happen.


RE: Props to GM
By clovell on 1/9/2008 12:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
Just remember that not all Hybrids are created equal.

While the Provoq wouldn't be a bad comparison to a Prius, the Volt is a different beast. The Prius is a parallel hybrid - both electric motors and a gasoline engine directly give power to the Synergy Drive (Transmission) which goes to the wheels. There are far more moving parts involved since you essentially have a sort of Siamese drivetrain.

The Volt is a serial hybrid. It uses a 1.0L 3 cylinder turbocharged generator (among others - the Volt design will allow for gasoline, deisel, ethanol, and hydrogen generators) - it runs within the powerband at all times and does not give any power to the wheels or the transmission - it's only job is to recharge the batteries. The generator is never subject to shifting loads. What drives the wheels (via a transmission, I suppose) is the electric motor. True, it's going to need maintenance, but nothing like that of an ICE. As for regenerative braking, I haven't heard any plans to have that feature on the Volt - at least not as a standard feature.

Myself, I like the Volt. It's a fairly simple concept, and I don't think it would be too difficult to perform regular maintenance on it myself - it's not like Volvo's (read as Ford's) upcoming serial hybrid, with places motors in the wheels. I also like the styling, and the fact that it has four-dours (wife will be more likely to actaully let me get one). I don't see it as a money sink after purchase, but I hope they can price it reasonably.


RE: Props to GM
By Hoser McMoose on 1/10/2008 1:55:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What drives the wheels (via a transmission, I suppose) is the electric motor.

As best as I can tell there is no transmission on the Chevy Volt. If it has a transmission at all it would be a VERY simple on.
quote:
As for regenerative braking, I haven't heard any plans to have that feature on the Volt

Regenerative braking is indeed a standard feature on the Volt. It really only makes sense on any vehicle with any sort of electrical drivetrain. Even some non-hybrids are starting to use regenerative breaking, such as the BMW 1-series which uses the energy from breaking to power it's electrical systems.


RE: Props to GM
By theapparition on 1/10/2008 9:11:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yes there is a transmission. You need some sort of torque multiplication at the wheels.
Many cars on the road today have a 1st gear final drive ratio of anywhere from 10-15.
For a final drive ratio of 10, that means it spins the tires 10x slower than the engine/motor, but increases torque 10x. Without that, acceleration performance would be incredibly bad. The other gears are there, obviously, to increase speed, since you won't get too far in 1st gear.
There are such devices known as stepping motors. Basically, they are motors with integrated transmissions. However you look at it, there will be some sort of transmission in the Volt.


RE: Props to GM
By masher2 (blog) on 1/10/2008 10:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
> "Yes there is a transmission. You need some sort of torque multiplication at the wheels."

Correction: an IC engine needs torque multiplication. An electric motor does not. Its peak torque lies at the bottom of the RPM range.

The EV1 had no transmission...I can certainly see the Volt not having one.


RE: Props to GM
By theapparition on 1/14/2008 11:36:54 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. You still need torque multiplication. While there may not be a transmission, per se, there is at least a differential or transaxle to provide gearing. The EV1 also had this.

Even a similar performing base Honda Civic can achieve over 1200ft-lbs at the wheels in the low RPM range. Here's the specs on the EV1:

Configuration: Transverse-mounted, front-wheel drive
Motor Type: Three-phase, alternating current (AC) induction, electric
Power Rating: 102 kilowatts (137 horsepower) @ 7,000 rpm
Motor Torque: 150 Nm (110 lb-ft) @ 0-7,000 rpm
Transaxle Type : Single-speed with dual reduction gears
Drive Ratio: 10:946:1

Final torque at the wheels: 1204ft-lbs


RE: Props to GM
By clovell on 1/10/2008 5:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
You're right about the brakes - I had forgotten that they would be standard.

I wasn't sure about the transmission part, which you can kind of see from my remarks, but my point was that the electric motor was the only force driving the wheels.


RE: Props to GM
By elessar1 on 1/11/2008 8:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
...and it will have less moving parts than a conventional ICE or a parallel hibryd...


RE: Props to GM
By MadMaster on 1/9/2008 2:11:18 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
These Hybrids are a complete maintenance nightmare. Who's going to drop $3000-5000 on batteries every 10 years? Electric motors don't last forever, either. I just talked to a friend who spent $1000 on a brake job for his Prius because of the complex and expensive components in the regenerative breaking feature.


After 10 years, the engine breaks, starters break, rotors need replacement, bearing need replacement, etc. By that time, nobody is going to care about a battery pack. The car is already too old. Yes, electric motors don't last forever, but they can be made MUCH more reliable than a engine! Trust me, I am working on a regenerative breaking system. It encompasses a electronic switch and a bridge rectifier. That's it! About $50 worth of components. It's not a complex system. Compare it to a fuel injector or the computer for controlling the ICE...

quote:
So, I'm glad to see hydrogen technology kicking up with GM vehicles.


Hydrogen technology is not only more complex than hybrid technology, it is not economical. Do your research and you'll understand.

quote:
However, I think Ford's approach is going to beat everybody's, especially Toyota's.

Ford's plan is to make smaller, efficient, turbo-charged engines that sip fuel. Volvo will likely help them make reliable turbo engines, as Volvo has legendary reliability in the turbo deisel field.

Honda plans to go the deisel route, which is almost as good as Fords solution, except that'll be a harder push on Americans that Ford saying you're getting a 4-cylinder in your Explorer, but its turbo-charged with 220hp (as much as their V6 4.0, which gets 18mpg)


Yeah, you'll get 22mpg. What if gas isn't available? With a hybrid, you can still get around (40 miles with the volt). With this advanced ford engine, if the gas station doesn't have gas, you're screwed! (remember the 70s?)

quote:
Toyota thinks Hybrid is the future and wants it in everything, forgetting it is expensive to maintain and only Toyota can maintain it.


Toyota made a profit last year. Did Ford or GM? I don't think so! The Prius is VERY profitable for Toyota.

quote:
Overall, Honda and Ford have my support with their plans. For GM, if they can push Hydrogen into the market, I'll gladly accept something that will become commonplace.


Please don't bring up Hydrogen. It has been nothing but a hole for research money for the last 15 years (In the billions of dollars). Made a few bucks here and there. Hybrids have already made MUCH more money than hydrogen...again do your research into hydrogen. It is nothing but a dead end technology.

quote:
Toyota, good luck. When your customers finally start doing the math, your doomed unless you start using better battery technology ASAP.


Again, who's making money? Toyota or Ford or GM?


RE: Props to GM
By masher2 (blog) on 1/9/2008 2:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
> "Please don't bring up Hydrogen. It has been nothing but a hole for research money "

Far more research dollars have been spent on electric and hybrid vehicles and, up until about 5 years ago, both had been "nothing but a hole" as well.

Technology advances, and times change.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 2:51:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Compare it to a fuel injector or the computer for controlling the ICE...
Fuel injectors are soooo complicated. It either works or it doesn't. That's hard. And the computer? Hook it up to a machine that does diagnostics and that's it. For someone smart enough to build a regenerative braking system you sure are dumb on how a combustion engine works.

BTW, a typical doesn't require a lot of maintenance.


RE: Props to GM
By smaddox on 1/9/2008 4:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
Thats like saying: "The probability of rolling a 1 on a die is easy! It is either a 1, or it isn't!"

However, that is not really the case. Saying "Hook it up to a machine that does diagnostics and that's it" is a bit of a simplification. How exactly does it perform those diagnostics? Could you design one of those machines in an hour?

Electric motors are much simpler and more reliable than combustion engines.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 5:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Electric motors are much simpler and more reliable than combustion engines.
Saying the above is a bit of a simplification. Can you design an electric motor in an hour?


RE: Props to GM
By masher2 (blog) on 1/9/2008 5:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
> "Saying the above is a bit of a simplification"

Its not an oversimplification by any stretch of the imagination. An electric motor has far fewer parts than an IC engine and its associated emissions control system.

Furthermore, many large industrial electric motors are capable of lasting 30-40 years with little to no maintenance. Ever seen a car engine do that?


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/9/2008 6:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
I know. I was trying to make a point but failed miserably. You didn't just throw out some info and expect everyone to believe you because you said so. You backed the info up or at least gave us a starting point to research ourselves. That's what I was trying to get him to do.


RE: Props to GM
By Hoser McMoose on 1/10/2008 1:34:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
These Hybrids are a complete maintenance nightmare.

* THESE * hybrids (or at least the Volt and Provoq) bear little resemblance to a Toyota Prius mechanically. They will have a totally different set of maintenance requirements when compared to conventional ICE engines. They will need battery replacements every 10 years or so, but they will either have no transmission at all or a VERY simple transmission. The engine (generator) will be significantly less complex as well and should be much cheaper to maintain.
quote:
So, I'm glad to see hydrogen technology kicking up with GM vehicles.

Don't get too excited! All hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be hydrogen/electric 'hybrids' (of a sort), so they'll still have all the issues you're worried about PLUS the fuel cells themselves are likely to be extraordinarily expensive, both in terms of up-front costs and maintenance costs.
quote:
Ford's plan is to make smaller, efficient, turbo-charged engines that sip fuel.

Err, Ford's plan is hardly unique! There are plenty of car companies that make turbo charged engines. In fact, the standard configuration for the Chevy Volt will use a turbocharged gasoline generator. Toyota also makes several very good turbo-diesels (not sold in North America) and have, in the past, made several turbo gasoline vehicles as well.

As with almost everything in the automotive industry turbochargers have their pros and cons. Certainly if you're worried about maintenance costs then turbos are NOT what you should be after!
quote:
Honda plans to go the deisel route, which is almost as good as Fords solution

Honda was one of the last car companies to go the diesel route in any significant way. We don't see many of them in North America due to our low gas prices and more stringent emission restrictions, but in Europe companies like Ford, GM, Toyota and others have plenty of diesel-engined cars. With the Europeans finally catching up to North America in terms of emission controls we may start seeing more of the next generation 'clean' diesels coming over to this side of the pond.


RE: Props to GM
By Spuke on 1/10/2008 12:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The engine (generator) will be significantly less complex as well and should be much cheaper to maintain.
It has a turbocharger and more than likely will employ direct injection or HCCI tech. So I doubt it will be any less complex or cheaper to maintain than any other gas engine. It will still require oil and other fluid changes, air filter changes, tune-ups, hose replacements, timing belts, and etc. that all other gas engines require.

I think the car will be more expensive to maintain (remember you're having a dealership do the work) than a regular car in reality.


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