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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 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.


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