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Print 54 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Dec 9 at 1:43 PM

It's too early in the investigation to know if changes are needed

The Chevrolet Volt is the first and only extended range EV on the U.S. market today. The Volt has been in the spotlight recently after the NHTSA found that two of three vehicles caught fire after side impact testing. One of the vehicles that caught fire didn’t burst into flames until three weeks after the crash test. The other started sparking and smoking immediately after the test.

 
Understandably, GM is eager to get to the root of the problem with the Volt fires. GM's Mary Barra, VP of global product development for GM said, "I have engineers working shoulder-to-shoulder with the NHTSA engineers right now," said Mary Barra, vice president of global product development for GM. "We are looking to say, 'Are there some design changes that we can make — something more robust in this location or that location or this component?'"
 
However, the automaker does note that any changes would need to be rigorously tested both at GM and with outside sources.
 
GM also says that if the investigation determines that changes need to be made to the design of the battery packs, it will make those changes as quickly as possible. She also points out that there still isn't any indication of just how long the investigation into the fires will last.
 
GM's Mary Barra with a Chevrolet Cruze [Source: GM] 

GM is taking the concerns of the roughly 6,000 Volt owners in the U.S. seriously and has offered to loan Volt owners a different vehicle until the investigating is completed. GM has also noted that if a Volt owner wanted to sell their Volt back to GM, it would buy the car back. Originally, it sounded like all the Volt owner had to do was ask and GM would buy their car back. Some statements that Barra made make it sound as though a buyback isn't a given in each case. Barra said, "First, we're going to have a conversation and understand their specific concern."
 
She added, "But if, as we go through that process, we get to a point where we think it's the right thing to do for that customer to protect the customer's satisfaction and show that General Motors puts the customers first, then that's what we'll do."

Source: Detroit News



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RE: This car was complete fail...
By Amedean on 12/5/2011 1:04:15 PM , Rating: 0
I find that all the people who bash the Volt have never driven one and lean towards conservative issues. For the later, I am still trying to find out how the success of the Volt in any way became representative towards the Obama administration. I just wish people were not so politically charged and accept technology for what it is.

Aside from that, I have never spoken to a person who drove the Volt and did not like it. People complain about the price of a volt more than a Hummer or Tesla. It is not the most expensive vehical around.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By GuinnessKMF on 12/5/2011 1:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
You don't need to drive a car to critique it, there are simple observable facts. This isn't a "drivers" car, so it's not like you're talking about handling or responsiveness.

As a taxpayer I can be mad about the tax credit (Politics of if it should exist in the first place, it's absolutely too much of a credit for too little environmental benefit, the money would be better spent on incentives on recycling trade ins of old cars for cheaper efficient commuter cars).

I will agree that some of his points are rather silly to call out, 380 mile range is fine, it's not restrictive to the point where you physically won't be able to make it to a destination in the lower 48.

The price tag is a problem, with or without the incentive, and I don't even know what total cost of ownership or expected lifecycle will be.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By Amedean on 12/5/11, Rating: 0
RE: This car was complete fail...
By tng on 12/5/2011 5:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"You don't need to drive a car to critique it"
The first is a pretty ignorant statement...

Nonsense, he is entirely correct. It is not a performance car, the stats that makes it unique are all very easy to look at and analyze without ever seeing the car. Your statement that he is ignorant means that you missed his point.

As for that, politics aside, after having driven literally hundreds of GM cars as rentals over the past 15 years, sometimes for a couple of hours and some for a month or more, I am not surprised GM is having these issues. Quality has never been a strong point with them and this is no different.

I would bring up the tank size as well. A car of that class should have a larger tank in it, period. The ability to drive 500+ miles on one fillup is a selling point. So you live in a large metro area and never drive that far, many people do and this plays into buying decisions.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By Amedean on 12/5/2011 6:51:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nonsense, he is entirely correct.


Well then, I should be able to critique you without even knowing you with this wisdom! Are there not just too many know-it-all people without any experience on the subjects they discuss.

Ride a Volt before you critique it, just like you would read a book before you rate it - silly people nowadays!


By GuinnessKMF on 12/6/2011 7:58:53 AM , Rating: 2
People critique people without knowing each other all the time. You can get a pretty good idea if a person is potentially viable from their resume, you can see the "cold hard facts" about the person and save yourself some time, then if they fit the bill you can interview them and determine if there are any nuances that a personal meeting would require. Sure you may miss some gems that didn't shine on paper, but it lets you see a lot more of the cream with the time you have.

Cars are no different, the stats on the car speak for themselves, it's an expensive car that bills itself as an environmentally friendly car. It could be the smoothest driving car in the world, but it wouldn't matter if it didn't meet my requirements for cost and efficiency.

You absolutely DO NOT need to ride or drive one to make a judgement that it won't work for you. I would highly suggest someone drive it before they decide it's absolutely for them.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By tng on 12/6/2011 8:24:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well then, I should be able to critique you without even knowing you...
Again, nonsense.

All you need to do is read the specs on the vehicle. How much more do you need to know?

Don't know why you seem to think that you need to "experience" the ride before you make basic decisions about the things that are in black and white in the GM published specs.

On the other hand, if I was going to actually buy one, yes I would drive one first. That being said, a ten minute test drive is not a good way to make a decision, to make a decision you need at least a week of everyday driving to see if it works with the way you need to use it.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By Masospaghetti on 12/6/2011 9:28:26 AM , Rating: 2
Because people compare this car to the Prius and other "economy" cars all the time, when the driving refinement of the Volt is far better than either. If you've driven one, you'd realize this.

It's like comparing a Mercedes S-Class to a Camaro SS and saying the Camaro is "better" because it has better acceleration, fuel economy, and is cheaper.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By tng on 12/6/2011 9:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because people compare this car to the Prius and other "economy" cars all the time, when the driving refinement of the Volt is far better than either. If you've driven one, you'd realize this.
Good point, but it depends on what you are buying the car for.

Comparing a Mercedes S to a Camaro SS is comparing apples to oranges. You buy these cars for totally different reasons.

Comparing a Prius to a Volt is valid, both are hybrid and both are billed as "green" and fuel efficient.

While the Volt may be a great ride, the whole point that people who are pro Volt here do not seem to understand is that, you buy a fuel efficient car for the daily commute, not as a luxury car with a comfortable ride for long trips. Daily commute cars shouldn't cost $40K or even ~$30K like a Prius.

I don't expect my daily commute car to ride like a Mercedes. I do expect my daily commute car to get good mileage since it is 100+ miles per day, which negates any advantage the Volt and it's 40 mile EV range has.

I have a 2004 Honda Accord 2 door with a V6 that I take on long trips. I have driven some long stretches of highway at 100+mph speeds for several hours and still gotten 30mpg from the thing, so I doubt the Volt has a future for me as a second car either.

However there are probably people out there that have the money and the Volt makes sense for them... Just not me.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By Mint on 12/9/2011 1:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
What if you want a car for a daily commute with a better ride than the Prius? You do realize that millions of cars each year are sold for that purpose, right?

I am a bit dismayed in the Volt's price, though. Hybrids sell for maybe $5000 more than their non-hybrid equivalent, and PHEV really only needs a bigger battery and charger on top of that. That shouldn't cost $40k.

Still, even with this price GM should be doing better numbers in Europe where the cost of fuel is high. If I'm a company, PHEV is a godsend for my corporate fleet, and as long as a battery has a long life it won't depreciate, so GM could keep lease rates low enough to make them economical.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By Reclaimer77 on 12/6/2011 1:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because people compare this car to the Prius and other "economy" cars all the time, when the driving refinement of the Volt is far better than either. If you've driven one, you'd realize this.


Sorry but I have a conscious. I cannot ask my fellow American's to chip in $7,000 so I can buy a car in these economic times and our looming debt crisis. Plus that would be pretty damn hypocritical. So I see no reason to test drive a Volt.

Maybe they should have toned down the "refinement" and focused on range and engine efficiency while also lowering the price so as to chip away at that huge tax rebate? Maybe?

But yeah clearly the Prius got it all wrong. They only sold about 400k units this year. How many people bought the Volt again?

quote:
It's like comparing a Mercedes S-Class to a Camaro SS and saying the Camaro is "better" because it has better acceleration, fuel economy, and is cheaper.


If those are the metrics the Camaro buyer is using, than yes, the Camaro IS "better". Similarly, the Prius is better than the Volt if you're looking for an economy car. It's far cheaper, far more practical, no range anxiety etc etc.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By Mint on 12/9/2011 1:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Some people have other priorities with their conscience. Some people want America to have a fighting chance in manufacturing the PHEVs that are bound to become a big market (some simple math tells you that in Europe there's massive potential for cost savings over ICE).

Some people want to do something about urban air pollution by swapping local combustion with remote power generation. Studies estimates air pollution deaths at 70k/yr in the US. In Ontario (pop 13M), the Ontario Medical Association pegs the number at 9500/yr. I don't care much about global warming, but this is a real problem.

Some people don't want America sending out $300B+/yr to other countries for oil. If the economy recovers, that number will disproportionately go up.

And how does the Volt have range anxiety? 380 miles range doesn't stop half the automobiles on the road today from being useful. You just go to a gas station and refuel. Pure EVs have range anxiety (which is why I see them as a niche market long term). PHEVs don't.


RE: This car was complete fail...
By BSMonitor on 12/6/2011 12:57:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All you need to do is read the specs on the vehicle. How much more do you need to know?


If a vehicle uses a combination of cheap parts in the steering column, brakes, wheel base, struts, etc.. If the weight distribution sucks.. If it doesn't handle well under wet or snow driving conditions.. The specs are not going to be able to tell how a car "drives". The Prius may get more mpg, but how is the ride??


RE: This car was complete fail...
By GuinnessKMF on 12/6/2011 1:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
You guys all seem to be missing the point, the specs are good enough for most people to tell if the car WON'T be good for them.

*IF* I looked at the specs and said that the car would be good for me, then I would want to drive it to see if the quality was what I expected.

I bet most people can tell you right now that they're next car they buy is NOT going to be an Aston Martin, and you're not going to respond to them with "but the quality is top notch, you need to drive one first".


RE: This car was complete fail...
By tng on 12/6/2011 1:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You guys all seem to be missing the point, the specs are good enough for most people to tell if the car WON'T be good for them. *IF* I looked at the specs and said that the car would be good for me, then I would want to drive it to see if the quality was what I expected.
Thank You!

I think that they still will not understand though.


“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls














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