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Discussion Starter #1
>From the reviews, the Volt is a good vehicle. From the driving data
(50% drive 25 miles a day or less, 80% drive 50 miles a day or less) it
has a chance to make a real impact: it comes close to solving a
real-world problem (they miss on the fact that something like 75% of
these trips/miles are single-passenger).

There are several questions surrounding the Volt that have nothing to do
with "the problem" or "the engineering":

1. Do you trust GM, crusher of the EV1?
2. Will people buy a $41k compact Chevy?

GM did *not* do themselves any favors on point #1 with their continued
insistence that the Volt was an electric car, that the ICE was merely a
range extender and then it comes out after the fact that it does indeed
power the wheels. More efficient or no, better engineering decision or
not, patent pending issues aside, it does not engender trust that GM
will do what they've said they would do. And they did this knowing full
well that this backlash would be coming from the EVthusiasts. Given
that, do YOU trust GM?

When's the last time anybody paid that much for a Chevy? For a
compact-class car? For reference, you've got the Ford Fiesta ICE in
that size class for US$14k base price with pretty decent MPG numbers
(30/40 city/highway, though my 91 Camry does 27-33 mixed).

IF GM can get past their checkered history (EV1, bailout), lack of
truthfulness and poor marketing/product line-up decisions... but even
then I don't think that they'll be able to get the volume up given that
they've already torque'd off many of their choir -- their early adopters
and promoters, the EVthusiasts by not being up-front and continuing to
insist that it's an electric car. Call it something else, make up a new
word for it, but if you put gas in it, it ain't a pure EV and we know it
and it DOES matter. Don't pretend to be something you're not, define
your own class!

I attended HybridFest 2008 of which GM was a major sponsor. The GM
Spokesperson delivered a speech and asked how many people were driving
Prii, how many Insights. Only one person there was driving a domestic
(Ford -- she lived in upstate New York so needed the SUV/4WD). The
spokesperson claimed that soon those numbers would shift in GM's favor.
What vehicles did they bring in '08, when everybody wanted to see even a
non-working Volt? Hybridized Yukons and Denali's. [email protected]#$#! Afterwards I
congratulated her on delivering to a tough crowd, her response was "We
all like hybrids, right?" I didn't have an answer then, but it felt
wrong. I have an answer now: "No, we like high MPGe vehicles and
truthful companies"

SO with the twisting of words -- the MPG ratings I've seen instead of
MPGe, stretching the truth that it's an electric vehicle when it's a
strong electric hybrid -- I don't believe that GM is past the "Who
Killed the Electric Car" stage. That'll take at least 5-10 years to
determine, and they're not outta the gate yet with the Volt and still
making basic mistakes on trust and marketing. THAT is what is most
likely to kill the Volt.

[email protected]

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Discussion Starter #2
Childress, Matthew wrote:

> 2. Will people buy a $41k compact Chevy?

> When's the last time anybody paid that much for a Chevy? For
> a compact-class car? For reference, you've got the Ford
> Fiesta ICE in that size class for US$14k base price with
> pretty decent MPG numbers (30/40 city/highway, though my 91
> Camry does 27-33 mixed).

You really need to get out and see a Volt in person before spouting nonsense like this; it just undermines the other points you are trying to make.

Those of us who have seen and driven the vehicle know full well that the Volt is not a compact car by any stretch of the imagination, and it is nearer to a Lexus in appearance and finish than it is to a Ford econobox or even a Prius. Read the excellent review by Lawson Huntley that was posted on this list yesterday: the Volt is only offered fully optioned; compare its price to a fully optioned Prius and you've got the nearest thing to an apples-to-apples comparison you can get. Add the cost of a plug-in-hybrid kit to that fully optioned Prius to give it plug-in capability and a similar range to the Volt and it will cost the same or more.

Yes, it seats only 4; no, this is not because it is small or a compact-class vehicle: it is because the battery tunnel extends through the center of the rear seat where the 5th person would sit. The 4 full-size adults that the Volt does seat, are seated comfortably. The passengers in the rear don't have quite the legroom they would have in a Camry, but it seems to me quite similar to what is available in a Prius.

> IF GM can get past their checkered history (EV1, bailout),
> lack of truthfulness and poor marketing/product line-up
> decisions... but even then I don't think that they'll be able
> to get the volume up given that they've already torque'd off
> many of their choir -- their early adopters and promoters,
> the EVthusiasts by not being up-front and continuing to
> insist that it's an electric car. Call it something else,
> make up a new word for it, but if you put gas in it, it ain't
> a pure EV and we know it and it DOES matter. Don't pretend
> to be something you're not, define your own class!

First of all, ~we~, existing EV hobbiests, aren't the target market for the Volt, just as we weren't the target market for the EV1. As a group we are too thrifty and idealistic to buy an OEM EV like this when we know we can build something "better" for a fraction of the cost. Just how many Chrysler Prowlers do you think were sold to "real" hot-rodders?

Secondly, GM has always said the Volt would have an ICE engine and ~we~ have always understood that if it has an ICE then the *best* it can hope for is to be a hybrid. We've always known it wasn't a pure EV despite the marketing drivel trying to convince the masses that it is by redefining "series hybrid" as "range extended EV".

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter #3
That's the impression that I got as well... that it's not an economy car in
finish or size or etc, so it's trying to appeal to people who are buying a
$35k Lexus or Lincoln or Cadillac car anyway... $41k isn't that much more to
get all of the "EV" features of the Volt.

Now, there are those of us like me who would be embarrassed to be seen in a
Lexus, so this is not a positive thing... but I bet there are alot more who
see that as a positive social symbol, and are willing to pay for it (based
on how well sales of high end rebranded cars vs the low end branded version
of the same car are doing).

Z

Roger Stockton <[email protected]>wrote:

>
>
> Those of us who have seen and driven the vehicle know full well that the
> Volt is not a compact car by any stretch of the imagination, and it is
> nearer to a Lexus in appearance and finish than it is to a Ford econobox or
> even a Prius. Read the excellent review by Lawson Huntley that was posted
> on this list yesterday: the Volt is only offered fully optioned; compare its
> price to a fully optioned Prius and you've got the nearest thing to an
> apples-to-apples comparison you can get. Add the cost of a plug-in-hybrid
> kit to that fully optioned Prius to give it plug-in capability and a similar
> range to the Volt and it will cost the same or more.
>
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Discussion Starter #4
I don't get all the negative emotion -- it's like folks are trying to punish GM
for the next best thing since the Tesla. (Just watch, I'll get a bunch of "glass
is half empty" comments now. 8^) ) It is price competitive with a plug-in Prius.
People want to punish GM for the past sin of crushing EV-1s -- but at least they
built them! What did the rest of the auto world give us? 200 portly Honda EV+;
RAV4EV (an SUV!); Chrysler MiniVan; Ford Truck... Yet folks choose to demonize
the one car company that made a true electric car, and now is offering the only
OEM plug in hybrid, that can usefully drive purely electric.

Why is it lying to say the gas motor is a range extender? You start the car, you
go 40 electric miles, and then the gas motor starts if you need to go further --
sounds like range extension by any reasonable definition to me. On average
likely something like 90% of the trips will be electric, and for 10% of the
trips the gas motor will start and extend the range. Who cares what the exact
coupling to the wheels is? (BTW direct is more efficient, do you really want
series for some crazy reason?) Doesn't the end result count, where many buyers
will replace 90% of their gas powered trips with electricity?

I think it was smart to make the Volt have its own name and model. Hybrids that
were just mods to existing cars have sold poorly. This way it can have its own
cachet, like an Escalade or Camaro, and is priced competitively with those cars.

Note, this does not necessarily mean the Volt will be a commercial success --
$40+k is alot for any car.



________________________________
<quoted>
There are several questions surrounding the Volt that have nothing to do
with "the problem" or "the engineering":

1. Do you trust GM, crusher of the EV1?
2. Will people buy a $41k compact Chevy?

GM did *not* do themselves any favors on point #1 with their continued
insistence that the Volt was an electric car, that the ICE was merely a
range extender and then it comes out after the fact that it does indeed
power the wheels. More efficient or no, better engineering decision or
not, patent pending issues aside, it does not engender trust that GM
will do what they've said they would do. And they did this knowing full
well that this backlash would be coming from the EVthusiasts. Given
that, do YOU trust GM?

When's the last time anybody paid that much for a Chevy? For a
compact-class car? For reference, you've got the Ford Fiesta ICE in
that size class for US$14k base price with pretty decent MPG numbers
(30/40 city/highway, though my 91 Camry does 27-33 mixed).

IF GM can get past their checkered history (EV1, bailout), lack of
truthfulness and poor marketing/product line-up decisions... but even
then I don't think that they'll be able to get the volume up given that
they've already torque'd off many of their choir -- their early adopters
and promoters, the EVthusiasts by not being up-front and continuing to
insist that it's an electric car. Call it something else, make up a new
word for it, but if you put gas in it, it ain't a pure EV and we know it
and it DOES matter. Don't pretend to be something you're not, define
your own class!

I attended HybridFest 2008 of which GM was a major sponsor. The GM
Spokesperson delivered a speech and asked how many people were driving
Prii, how many Insights. Only one person there was driving a domestic
(Ford -- she lived in upstate New York so needed the SUV/4WD). The
spokesperson claimed that soon those numbers would shift in GM's favor.
What vehicles did they bring in '08, when everybody wanted to see even a
non-working Volt? Hybridized Yukons and Denali's. [email protected]#$#! Afterwards I
congratulated her on delivering to a tough crowd, her response was "We
all like hybrids, right?" I didn't have an answer then, but it felt
wrong. I have an answer now: "No, we like high MPGe vehicles and
truthful companies"

SO with the twisting of words -- the MPG ratings I've seen instead of
MPGe, stretching the truth that it's an electric vehicle when it's a
strong electric hybrid -- I don't believe that GM is past the "Who
Killed the Electric Car" stage. That'll take at least 5-10 years to
determine, and they're not outta the gate yet with the Volt and still
making basic mistakes on trust and marketing. THAT is what is most
likely to kill the Volt.



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Discussion Starter #5
Indeed, you both make my point for me while missing it entirely: The
Volt is NOT a Chevy and at a US$41k price point doesn't fit into that
brand's lineup. GM branded it wrong. As far as it's compact label,
both Motorweek and Popular Mechanics term it as such and while I have
issues with both publications getting things wrong on new tech and
research, vehicle class is an area where they're fairly competent.

Get over the car: the argument wasn't about the car, it's technical
merits or it's fit and finish. It was about GM as a company, it's past
history and it's marketing and how those decisions will hamper adoption
of the vehicle (similar to the Honda's Insight version 1). As far as
getting out in person to see a Volt, as mentioned *I TRIED* and GM
didn't bring it: they brought hybridized Denalis and Yukons. Again,
focusing on the company, not the worthiness of the car, that was a major
marketing blunder. We were aghast and in shock, and that plus our
mid-western politeness kept us civil: how the company that brought us
the EV1 in 2008 after gas prices had pushed to $4/gal (apologies to
international EVDL folks) would dare to bring a Hybridized Denali and
Yukon to a bunch of Insight and Prius owners?!?!? they could've used
the Hybrid Denali to tow a non-working Volt and we would've been ga-ga
rather than aghast.

An attempt to do even an approximate apples-to-apples comparison is as
strange as GM branding the Volt as a Chevy: a Prius conversion can't
actually go at Volt speeds even after kit'd -- the Gen 2 can go up to
about 35-40mph before the ICE kicks in. And the single-charge range of
the Volt is unnecessary: I've always asserted that a *used* Prius
plug-in conversion *could be* a poor man (or average Jill's)
Volt-electric-miles equivalent IF there were places to charge at work
(much more likely with a Prius kit than a Volt as it only needs a Level
1 - 120V/20A) and given the US data would meet much of the same needs
(50%/25mpd, 80%/50mpd) based on personal driving styles and demands
(around town, keeping it under 35mph) -- something that EV'ers are much
more in tune with than the average Jo. This plays nicely to the
strengths of EVDL folks. Given we got our '07 Prius for $14k from a
dealer, I'm thinking you could do one up for well-under US$20k, that in
real-world usage by a EV-er *given the constraints I listed* could
achieve similar (or decently close enough) to a Volt for less-than half
the cost.

And lastly, let's address that little question you brought up of
spouting nonsense and undermining credibility:

Roger Stockton wrote:
> "the Volt is only offered fully optioned"

Ummm... No. And while I wouldn't call it spouting nonsense as that
could be considered rude and misconstrued as an ad hominem attack, it IS
factually wrong:

http://www.product-reviews.net/2010/10/27/chevy-volt-options-customize-a
nd-configure-yours/
http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2011/chevrolet/volt/packages_options.htm
l

Cheers civilly back,

[email protected]

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On
Behalf Of Roger Stockton
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 12:03 PM
To: 'Electric Vehicle Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [EVDL] GM and the Volt...

Childress, Matthew wrote:

> 2. Will people buy a $41k compact Chevy?

> When's the last time anybody paid that much for a Chevy? For
> a compact-class car? For reference, you've got the Ford
> Fiesta ICE in that size class for US$14k base price with
> pretty decent MPG numbers (30/40 city/highway, though my 91
> Camry does 27-33 mixed).

You really need to get out and see a Volt in person before spouting
nonsense like this; it just undermines the other points you are trying
to make.

Those of us who have seen and driven the vehicle know full well that the
Volt is not a compact car by any stretch of the imagination, and it is
nearer to a Lexus in appearance and finish than it is to a Ford econobox
or even a Prius. Read the excellent review by Lawson Huntley that was
posted on this list yesterday: the Volt is only offered fully optioned;
compare its price to a fully optioned Prius and you've got the nearest
thing to an apples-to-apples comparison you can get. Add the cost of a
plug-in-hybrid kit to that fully optioned Prius to give it plug-in
capability and a similar range to the Volt and it will cost the same or
more.

Yes, it seats only 4; no, this is not because it is small or a
compact-class vehicle: it is because the battery tunnel extends through
the center of the rear seat where the 5th person would sit. The 4
full-size adults that the Volt does seat, are seated comfortably. The
passengers in the rear don't have quite the legroom they would have in a
Camry, but it seems to me quite similar to what is available in a Prius.

> IF GM can get past their checkered history (EV1, bailout),
> lack of truthfulness and poor marketing/product line-up
> decisions... but even then I don't think that they'll be able
> to get the volume up given that they've already torque'd off
> many of their choir -- their early adopters and promoters,
> the EVthusiasts by not being up-front and continuing to
> insist that it's an electric car. Call it something else,
> make up a new word for it, but if you put gas in it, it ain't
> a pure EV and we know it and it DOES matter. Don't pretend
> to be something you're not, define your own class!

First of all, ~we~, existing EV hobbiests, aren't the target market for
the Volt, just as we weren't the target market for the EV1. As a group
we are too thrifty and idealistic to buy an OEM EV like this when we
know we can build something "better" for a fraction of the cost. Just
how many Chrysler Prowlers do you think were sold to "real" hot-rodders?

Secondly, GM has always said the Volt would have an ICE engine and ~we~
have always understood that if it has an ICE then the *best* it can hope
for is to be a hybrid. We've always known it wasn't a pure EV despite
the marketing drivel trying to convince the masses that it is by
redefining "series hybrid" as "range extended EV".

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter #6
Zeke Yewdall wrote:

> That's the impression that I got as well... that it's not an
> economy car in finish or size or etc, so it's trying to
> appeal to people who are buying a $35k Lexus or Lincoln or
> Cadillac car anyway... $41k isn't that much more to get all
> of the "EV" features of the Volt.
>
> Now, there are those of us like me who would be embarrassed
> to be seen in a Lexus, so this is not a positive thing... but
> I bet there are alot more who see that as a positive social
> symbol, and are willing to pay for it (based on how well
> sales of high end rebranded cars vs the low end branded
> version of the same car are doing).

This is my feeling exactly!

When I first drove the EV1, I came away with the belief that GM had set it up for failure because it was *too* plush. We know that EV really shine in commuting applications, and struggle more when expected to compete with ICEs for long range travel, yet here GM had gone and made the EV1 feel more like a touring car such as one might hop in and drive happily for 300mi on the interstate without stopping.

It is perhaps a subtle thing, but I see it like the benches in public places that are designed so that they are comfortable enough to rest on for a short while, but are uncomfortable enough that vagrants will not stretch out on them and sleep. Make an EV seem too well-suited to long distance travel and users will be encouraged to use it in ways that it is less able to excel; make it comfy, etc. enough to make a better than average commuter, but not quite so comfy that you'd really want to drive it for hours at a time and it becomes more likely that users will sing its praises as a super commuter/around-town vehicle instead of complaining about how it doesn't work for long distances ;^>

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter #7
I guess it's good that I'm converting a 1974 ford courier then... it's a fun
truck for short trips and errands, but I wouldn't want to drive the ICE
version long distances anyway ;)

Roger Stockton <[email protected]>wrote:

> Make an EV seem too well-suited to long distance travel and users will be
> encouraged to use it in ways that it is less able to excel; make it comfy,
> etc. enough to make a better than average commuter, but not quite so comfy
> that you'd really want to drive it for hours at a time and it becomes more
> likely that users will sing its praises as a super commuter/around-town
> vehicle instead of complaining about how it doesn't work for long distances
> ;^>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Roger.
>
> _______________________________________________
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Discussion Starter #8
David Dymaxion wrote:
> People want to punish GM for the past sin of crushing EV-1s

And repo'ing them from owners that were willing to buy them
And at the same time they were building 'em, suing CARB
And buying/building the Hummer
And doing it on the taxpayer's dime
Oh yes, and then needing a bailout.

GM's sins are many and not trivial.

>From all accounts the Volt is a good vehicle (time will tell). The
problems at GM have rarely been with the engineers or designers, the
problems with GM are where they've always been -- higher up.

The Volt name is fine. Lacking a bit in imagination, but ok. Calling
it a Chevy is the wrong brand at $41k. Again, not an issue with the
car/vehicle design or technical aspects: GM management/marketing got it
wrong. Continuing to call it an Electric Vehicle when there are times
when the ICE helps drive the wheels directly was a *bad decision* from a
marketing aspect (just look at all the negative hoopla it's generated).
So why do it? They *knew* this would be an issue. So come up with a
different name/classification. Say that such a radically new vehicle
technology in the Volt demands to be in a class above all others: it has
neither the constraints of a pure EV and blows a traditional hybrid off
the road in terms of comfort, style and efficiency. See how easy that
was?

The Volt by all accounts is a good, possibly revolutionary vehicle. If
it can survive GM's mis-marketing and mis-management it will be
historic, and even if it can't survive GM it will be legendary (ala the
EV1).

David Dymaxion wrote:
> Note, this does not necessarily mean the Volt will be a commercial
success -- $40+k is alot for any car.

No, it's an enormous amount to pay for a *Chevy*. It's
middle-of-the-road pricing for a Lexus, Audi, Mercedes or BMW.

[email protected]

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On
Behalf Of David Dymaxion
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 1:08 PM
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List
Subject: Re: [EVDL] GM and the Volt...

I don't get all the negative emotion -- it's like folks are trying to
punish GM
for the next best thing since the Tesla. (Just watch, I'll get a bunch
of "glass
is half empty" comments now. 8^) ) It is price competitive with a
plug-in Prius.
People want to punish GM for the past sin of crushing EV-1s -- but at
least they
built them! What did the rest of the auto world give us? 200 portly
Honda EV+;
RAV4EV (an SUV!); Chrysler MiniVan; Ford Truck... Yet folks choose to
demonize
the one car company that made a true electric car, and now is offering
the only
OEM plug in hybrid, that can usefully drive purely electric.

Why is it lying to say the gas motor is a range extender? You start the
car, you
go 40 electric miles, and then the gas motor starts if you need to go
further --
sounds like range extension by any reasonable definition to me. On
average
likely something like 90% of the trips will be electric, and for 10% of
the
trips the gas motor will start and extend the range. Who cares what the
exact
coupling to the wheels is? (BTW direct is more efficient, do you really
want
series for some crazy reason?) Doesn't the end result count, where many
buyers
will replace 90% of their gas powered trips with electricity?

I think it was smart to make the Volt have its own name and model.
Hybrids that
were just mods to existing cars have sold poorly. This way it can have
its own
cachet, like an Escalade or Camaro, and is priced competitively with
those cars.

Note, this does not necessarily mean the Volt will be a commercial
success --
$40+k is alot for any car.



________________________________
<quoted>
There are several questions surrounding the Volt that have nothing to do
with "the problem" or "the engineering":

1. Do you trust GM, crusher of the EV1?
2. Will people buy a $41k compact Chevy?

GM did *not* do themselves any favors on point #1 with their continued
insistence that the Volt was an electric car, that the ICE was merely a
range extender and then it comes out after the fact that it does indeed
power the wheels. More efficient or no, better engineering decision or
not, patent pending issues aside, it does not engender trust that GM
will do what they've said they would do. And they did this knowing full
well that this backlash would be coming from the EVthusiasts. Given
that, do YOU trust GM?

When's the last time anybody paid that much for a Chevy? For a
compact-class car? For reference, you've got the Ford Fiesta ICE in
that size class for US$14k base price with pretty decent MPG numbers
(30/40 city/highway, though my 91 Camry does 27-33 mixed).

IF GM can get past their checkered history (EV1, bailout), lack of
truthfulness and poor marketing/product line-up decisions... but even
then I don't think that they'll be able to get the volume up given that
they've already torque'd off many of their choir -- their early adopters
and promoters, the EVthusiasts by not being up-front and continuing to
insist that it's an electric car. Call it something else, make up a new
word for it, but if you put gas in it, it ain't a pure EV and we know it
and it DOES matter. Don't pretend to be something you're not, define
your own class!

I attended HybridFest 2008 of which GM was a major sponsor. The GM
Spokesperson delivered a speech and asked how many people were driving
Prii, how many Insights. Only one person there was driving a domestic
(Ford -- she lived in upstate New York so needed the SUV/4WD). The
spokesperson claimed that soon those numbers would shift in GM's favor.
What vehicles did they bring in '08, when everybody wanted to see even a
non-working Volt? Hybridized Yukons and Denali's. [email protected]#$#! Afterwards I
congratulated her on delivering to a tough crowd, her response was "We
all like hybrids, right?" I didn't have an answer then, but it felt
wrong. I have an answer now: "No, we like high MPGe vehicles and
truthful companies"

SO with the twisting of words -- the MPG ratings I've seen instead of
MPGe, stretching the truth that it's an electric vehicle when it's a
strong electric hybrid -- I don't believe that GM is past the "Who
Killed the Electric Car" stage. That'll take at least 5-10 years to
determine, and they're not outta the gate yet with the Volt and still
making basic mistakes on trust and marketing. THAT is what is most
likely to kill the Volt.



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Discussion Starter #9
Safe bet, I'll just wait till Honda/Toyota makes a better one ... ;)
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Discussion Starter #10
Childress, Matthew wrote:

> As far as it's compact label, both Motorweek and
> Popular Mechanics term it as such and while I have issues
> with both publications getting things wrong on new tech and
> research, vehicle class is an area where they're fairly competent.

Well, perhaps you should be adding vehicle class to the list of things they say that you should take with a grain of salt? ;^>

I have driven the Volt and it is most definitely at least in the same vehicle size class as the Prius. I think this is mid-size, but if the magazines refer to both as compact at least people who haven't seen a Volt have an accurate frame of reference.

According to GM and Toyota's appropriate webpages:

2011 Volt 2011 Prius
========= ========= ==========
Wheelbase 105.7" 106.3"
Length 177.1" 175.6"
Width 70.4" 68.7"
Height 56.6" 58.3"

> Get over the car: the argument wasn't about the car, it's
> technical merits or it's fit and finish. It was about GM as
> a company, it's past history and it's marketing and how those
> decisions will hamper adoption of the vehicle (similar to the
> Honda's Insight version 1).

I can see how I was confused; this is a list for discussing EVs, not the past history or relative merits of the companies that make them. The Volt is a hybrid, so the list guidelines require that we should minimise discussion related to it, but discussion on the merits or past sins of GM seems completely off-topic for this list.

> As far as getting out in person
> to see a Volt, as mentioned *I TRIED* and GM didn't bring it:
> they brought hybridized Denalis and Yukons.

Perhaps they wanted to show vehicles that are available for sale now rather than what will be available "soon". They do have fully functional Volts today, though they may not have so many of them that they can bring them out to every event they attend. I drove the Volt at the beginning of the year at the 2010 Olympics and they had two fully functional samples there.

While the idea of hybridised SUVs may offend some, there have been convincing arguments made that even seemingly small MPG increases for such vehicles results in more significant environmental benefits than hybridising smaller vehicles that are already relatively fuel efficient.

> I've always asserted that a *used* Prius
> plug-in conversion *could be* a poor man (or average Jill's)
> Volt-electric-miles equivalent IF there were places to charge
> at work (much more likely with a Prius kit than a Volt as it
> only needs a Level 1 - 120V/20A)

You may be interested to learn that each Volt comes with a 120V charge cable that stows in the trunk: the Volt doesn't ~need~ Level 2 charging, it merely has the ability to take advantage of it if/when you *choose*.

What this means is that, unlike the Level 1 only Prius kit, the Volt can take advantage of public charging stations to replenish its battery pack while you are away from home, in *addition* to being able to recharge from every single 120V outlet that the Prius kit can.

What matters is not how big the Volt battery is vs the Prius kit's, what matters is how many Wh/mi do each need, and how many miles of range can be replenished per hour of charging. Yes, it will take more hours to replenish a fully depleted Volt battery, however, in a given amount of charge time from the same outlet, you will have very nearly the same miles of range from either.

> And lastly, let's address that little question you brought up
> of spouting nonsense and undermining credibility:
>
> Roger Stockton wrote:
> > "the Volt is only offered fully optioned"
>
> Ummm... No. And while I wouldn't call it spouting nonsense
> as that could be considered rude and misconstrued as an ad
> hominem attack, it IS factually wrong:
>
> http://www.product-reviews.net/2010/10/27/chevy-volt-options-c
> ustomize-and-configure-yours/
> http://www.automobilemag.com/am/2011/chevrolet/volt/packages_o
> ptions.html

I apologise; you are absolutely correct. I should have enclosed 'fully' in quotation marks to prevent such a misunderstanding. You did read Lawson's review, didn't you?

According to your first link there *are* options available to a Volt buyer: interior/exterior colour, painted or polished wheels, and a choice between premium trim or rear camera/park assist. That's it; everything else is already included in the base package.

The point I was trying to make is that the Volt base trim level includes features that are *not* included in the base trim level of the vehicles you are attempting to compare its cost to. If you want to make a meaningful point about cost, you need to compare vehicles with similar features, otherwise it boils down to "a used and/or base model X is cheaper than a new Y with different capabilities and more features". Well, yeah; plug in just about any X and Y you want and the statement remains true.

If you don't like the price or features of the Volt, or take issue with its maker, that's fine; don't buy one. Nobody here is going to try to force you. (I'm not buying one either; 4 seats doesn't work for my family of 5 and nice as it is, the Volt is overkill for my commuting needs.)

If you want to build a plug-in hybrid, go for it; I'm sure there are other lists where you can commune with similarly interested people. But, please, let's remember that this list is for discussing EVs.

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter #11
You are illustrating my point... all this angst aimed only at GM. Doesn't it
equally apply to Honda with their EV+? They yanked them back from the customers,
too. The EV-1 had awesome range due to great aerodynamics and awesome range and
a charger network -- we got aerodynamic bricks like trucks and vans from Honda,
Ford, and Chrysler, and the rest couldn't be bothered to even field an EV. Why
single out GM for all the hate?


On the $40k thing: There are several Chevies well above $40k. You can pay $100+k
for a Corvette, and a full tilt Denali/Escalade is well above $40k. In any case,
$40k is expensive for a car, no matter what brand. I know several millionaires
that have never owned a $40k car!



________________________________
From: "Childress, Matthew" <[email protected]>
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List <[email protected]>
Sent: Thu, November 4, 2010 1:02:59 PM
Subject: Re: [EVDL] GM and the Volt...

David Dymaxion wrote:
> People want to punish GM for the past sin of crushing EV-1s

And repo'ing them from owners that were willing to buy them
And at the same time they were building 'em, suing CARB
And buying/building the Hummer
And doing it on the taxpayer's dime
Oh yes, and then needing a bailout.

GM's sins are many and not trivial.

>From all accounts the Volt is a good vehicle (time will tell). The
problems at GM have rarely been with the engineers or designers, the
problems with GM are where they've always been -- higher up.

The Volt name is fine. Lacking a bit in imagination, but ok. Calling
it a Chevy is the wrong brand at $41k. Again, not an issue with the
car/vehicle design or technical aspects: GM management/marketing got it
wrong. Continuing to call it an Electric Vehicle when there are times
when the ICE helps drive the wheels directly was a *bad decision* from a
marketing aspect (just look at all the negative hoopla it's generated).
So why do it? They *knew* this would be an issue. So come up with a
different name/classification. Say that such a radically new vehicle
technology in the Volt demands to be in a class above all others: it has
neither the constraints of a pure EV and blows a traditional hybrid off
the road in terms of comfort, style and efficiency. See how easy that
was?

The Volt by all accounts is a good, possibly revolutionary vehicle. If
it can survive GM's mis-marketing and mis-management it will be
historic, and even if it can't survive GM it will be legendary (ala the
EV1).

David Dymaxion wrote:
> Note, this does not necessarily mean the Volt will be a commercial
success -- $40+k is alot for any car.

No, it's an enormous amount to pay for a *Chevy*. It's
middle-of-the-road pricing for a Lexus, Audi, Mercedes or BMW.



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Discussion Starter #12
Hi,

If you can't fit in it, then the finish means very little. From all the reviews I've read, the backseat is pretty darn small: 6 foot + are pretty much shoehorned in, with the only headroom up into the hatch window, and legs jammed in behind the seat when a 6 foot + person is in the front seat. And no center rear seat.

This is smaller inside than my Scion xA. And that is a deal breaker for me -- I'm 6'-4" and my 13 year old son is 6 feet already.

The efficiency of the Volt is quite disappointing, too. 25-50 miles electric range on 8.8kWh is 176-352wH/mile and that is much worse than Illuminati '7'. And the FE in charging modes if almost laughable -- 300 miles on about 9 gallons of premium fuel is 33MPG. The FVT eVaro (a series/serial hybrid, also in the X-Prize) goes 300-375 miles on 2.2 gallons -- 136-170MPG. The eVaro seats only 2, so divide those numbers by 2: 68-85MPG is where I would have hoped the Volt was performing!

If the Volt got 40-60 miles on electric power, and then got 50-70MPG in charging mode, and it fit me in the back behind a tall person in the front -- then I would say it was worth $41K.

Notice that I have not mentioned anything about fit and finish. The efficiency and practicality are what matter.

> That's the impression that I got as well... that it's not an economy car in
> finish or size or etc, so it's trying to appeal to people who are buying a
> $35k Lexus or Lincoln or Cadillac car anyway... $41k isn't that much more to
> get all of the "EV" features of the Volt.


>> Those of us who have seen and driven the vehicle know full well that the
>> Volt is not a compact car by any stretch of the imagination, and it is
>> nearer to a Lexus in appearance and finish than it is to a Ford econobox or
>> even a Prius.

Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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Discussion Starter #13
Could someone buy a Volt with the gas tank empty and never fill it if they
always stayed within the electric range and kept it charged? If not,
wouldn't the gas become old and gunky if never used?

Gail

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Discussion Starter #14
Neil Blanchard wrote:

> If you can't fit in it, then the finish means very little.
> From all the reviews I've read, the backseat is pretty darn
> small: 6 foot + are pretty much shoehorned in, with the only
> headroom up into the hatch window, and legs jammed in behind
> the seat when a 6 foot + person is in the front seat.

I'm just over 6ft tall and didn't have any issue with headroom in the Volt (however, my head does touch the ridge above the hatch window in the Prius if I sit up straight in its rear seat). The 2 people in the front at the time were also 6ft+, and while I couldn't stretch out my legs while seated in the rear I think "jammed in" is an exaggeration.

At 6ft 4", you're definitely in that area where you should try any vehicle yourself before buying (or writing it off). Much of whether a vehicle fits a particular person depends on how much of their height is in their torso vs their legs, etc. I've been amazed at how comfortably the old Minis fit 6ft+ people compared to seemingly much larger vehicles.

> The efficiency of the Volt is quite disappointing, too.
> 25-50 miles electric range on 8.8kWh is 176-352wH/mile and
> that is much worse than Illuminati '7'. And the FE in
> charging modes if almost laughable -- 300 miles on about 9
> gallons of premium fuel is 33MPG. The FVT eVaro (a
> series/serial hybrid, also in the X-Prize) goes 300-375 miles
> on 2.2 gallons -- 136-170MPG. The eVaro seats only 2, so
> divide those numbers by 2: 68-85MPG is where I would have
> hoped the Volt was performing!

I think you are way off with a comparison to the eVaro. Not only is the eVaro a 2-seater, it is a 3-wheeler, and so not even a car in most jurisdictions. Your comparison doesn't reflect the fuel efficiency in charging mode; mostly it reflects that the eVaro drives significantly further on its battery before starting the ICE. (BTW, I *really* like the eVaro and have great respect for what FVT has achieved so far; when I've met them, they seemed genuinely excited about what they are doing.)

I do agree that the Volt energy use in EV mode seems on the high side, but suspect that few of our conversions do any better, despite fewer features and no ICE to lug around. I know my own conversion, which also seats only 4, and is much smaller, much less well appointed, lower power, and shorter range presently averages near 300Wh/mi in the real world. It will be interesting to see what sort of ranges Volt owners actually achieve, and if FVT ever manages to produce/sell any "cars" (which I hope they do), it will be interesting to see what sort of figures a production version achieves in the real world.

Consider that the '97 EV1 (lead acid) achieved 164Wh/mi @ 60mph constant speed, and also in the SAE J1637 driving cycle, yet it was only a 2 seater and is widely consider to be the best electric car yet. The Volt numbers don't look too terrible for a heavier 4-seater that is carrying around the dead weight of an ICE range extender at the same time....

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter #15
Gail Lucas wrote:

> Could someone buy a Volt with the gas tank empty and never
> fill it if they always stayed within the electric range and
> kept it charged? If not, wouldn't the gas become old and
> gunky if never used?

If you could get one from the dealer without fuel in it, I suppose you could.

I have read that the Volt will keep track if the ICE hasn't run in a long time and will prompt the driver for permission to start the ICE to keep the seals etc. in good shape. The driver can deny permission.

Likewise, if the ICE hasn't been run in the past 12months, the Volt will prompt the driver for permission to run the ICE to burn up half of the available gas so that the driver can fill the tank back up with fresh gas and keep the average age of the gas in the tank to 6months or less.

There are aftermarket fuel stabiliser products that may also be an alternative to running the ICE once per year.

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter #16
A pretty detailed review is here:
http://green.autoblog.com/2010/10/20/2011-chevrolet-volt-first-drive-rev
iew/

" If you do forget about the gasoline engine in the Volt - because
you're one of the 80 percent of Americans that GM says can have all of
their daily driver needs met with the Volt's 40-ish-mile electric range
- the sedan will actually remind you to run the gas engine and, if you
don't, it will kick it on for you. It does this to combat the fuel
growing stale, something that shows just how far GM has thought through
all the "what-ifs" of the Volt."

[email protected]

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On
Behalf Of Gail Lucas
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 3:31 PM
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List
Subject: Re: [EVDL] GM and the Volt...

Could someone buy a Volt with the gas tank empty and never fill it if
they
always stayed within the electric range and kept it charged? If not,
wouldn't the gas become old and gunky if never used?

Gail

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Roger,

>> If you can't fit in it, then the finish means very little.
>> From all the reviews I've read, the backseat is pretty darn
>> small: 6 foot + are pretty much shoehorned in, with the only
>> headroom up into the hatch window, and legs jammed in behind
>> the seat when a 6 foot + person is in the front seat.
>
> I'm just over 6ft tall and didn't have any issue with headroom in the Volt (however, my head does touch the ridge above the hatch window in the Prius if I sit up straight in its rear seat). The 2 people in the front at the time were also 6ft+, and while I couldn't stretch out my legs while seated in the rear I think "jammed in" is an exaggeration.
>
> At 6ft 4", you're definitely in that area where you should try any vehicle yourself before buying (or writing it off). Much of whether a vehicle fits a particular person depends on how much of their height is in their torso vs their legs, etc. I've been amazed at how comfortably the old Minis fit 6ft+ people compared to seemingly much larger vehicles.

I'm only going by the reviews I've read. I fit fine in my little xA -- front and back too with the front seat all the way back. The xA is a subcompact. The Honda Fit has tons of room, and it is a subcompact.

>> The efficiency of the Volt is quite disappointing, too.
>> 25-50 miles electric range on 8.8kWh is 176-352wH/mile and
>> that is much worse than Illuminati '7'. And the FE in
>> charging modes if almost laughable -- 300 miles on about 9
>> gallons of premium fuel is 33MPG. The FVT eVaro (a
>> series/serial hybrid, also in the X-Prize) goes 300-375 miles
>> on 2.2 gallons -- 136-170MPG. The eVaro seats only 2, so
>> divide those numbers by 2: 68-85MPG is where I would have
>> hoped the Volt was performing!
>
> I think you are way off with a comparison to the eVaro. Not only is the eVaro a 2-seater, it is a 3-wheeler, and so not even a car in most jurisdictions. Your comparison doesn't reflect the fuel efficiency in charging mode; mostly it reflects that the eVaro drives significantly further on its battery before starting the ICE. (BTW, I *really* like the eVaro and have great respect for what FVT has achieved so far; when I've met them, they seemed genuinely excited about what they are doing.)

The eVaro goes 125-150 miles on the plug-in charge on it's 22kWh battery pack, that uses EiG cells and FVT's own BMS. The reason I picked it is it's a series/serial hybrid, like the Volt is much of the time. The eVaro has a 20kW generator powered by a 1100cc flat four (Honda Gold Wing block) with FVT's custom parts on it. It has just a 2.2 gallon gas tank, and yes, it runs 300-375 miles *after* the battery pack has depleted. The Ice runs at a constant RPM until the battery is recharged (about 1-1.5 hours?) and then it shuts off, and you drive on the battery until it is depleted. From the sounds of it, the ICE runs 2 or 3 times for an hour each time to go the 300-375 miles.

So, the eVaro *really* does get 136-170MPG in *charging mode*, because the battery is charged in about an hour+ (while you are driving) and then you get to run on the battery for another ~2 hours; and since this power came from the genset, it counts towards the MPG. Like I said, divid this by 2, and you can transport 4 people at 68-85MPG. I'll bet the plug-in Prius will get up close to this, as well. The fact that the Volt gets in the mid 30's in charging mode is pretty dismal...

> I do agree that the Volt energy use in EV mode seems on the high side, but suspect that few of our conversions do any better, despite fewer features and no ICE to lug around. I know my own conversion, which also seats only 4, and is much smaller, much less well appointed, lower power, and shorter range presently averages near 300Wh/mi in the real world. It will be interesting to see what sort of ranges Volt owners actually achieve, and if FVT ever manages to produce/sell any "cars" (which I hope they do), it will be interesting to see what sort of figures a production version achieves in the real world.
>
> Consider that the '97 EV1 (lead acid) achieved 164Wh/mi @ 60mph constant speed, and also in the SAE J1637 driving cycle, yet it was only a 2 seater and is widely consider to be the best electric car yet. The Volt numbers don't look too terrible for a heavier 4-seater that is carrying around the dead weight of an ICE range extender at the same time....

The Leaf uses about 95% DOD (if I am not mistaken) so it has 22.8kWh usable capacity. If it's typical range is 70-120 miles, that is 190-325 Wh/mile, so pretty much in line with the Volt, really. The Illuminati "Seven" on the other hand can go 199.3 miles on 32.5kWh, which is 163Wh/mile, and it seats four.

http://illuminatimotorworks.org/blog/?p=193

Dave Cloud's Dolphin does around 140-160Wh/mile. We'll see how the Edison electric VLC does -- I think it will be close to 100Wh/mile or less; and it has four seats. My CarBEN EV hopefully can be 100-150wH/mile -- the Cd is probably similar to the Dolphin and the VLC, but it should weigh 1200-1400 pounds less than the Dolphin; and it seats 5. I'm hoping that with a ~54kWh pack (I am designing it with the FVT EiG cells), that the range will be 400+ miles. :)

Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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Discussion Starter #18
don't sound like GM thought much
as the gas motor does not meet CARB emmission standards and won't until 1012
so volt does not qualify for California rebates
so much for a clean car eh?

>From: "Childress, Matthew" <[email protected]>
>that shows just how far GM has thought through
>all the "what-ifs" of the Volt."

>" If you do forget about the gasoline engine in the Volt - >because
>you're one of the 80 percent of Americans that GM >says can have all of
>their daily driver needs met with the Volt's 40-ish-mile >electric range
>- the sedan will actually remind you to run the gas >engine and, if you
>don't, it will kick it on for you. It does >this to combat the fuel growing
>stale, something
Just a do dad
should learn how to build a gas motor to standards first

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Discussion Starter #19
Neil Blanchard wrote:

> The eVaro goes 125-150 miles on the plug-in charge on it's
> 22kWh battery pack, that uses EiG cells and FVT's own BMS.
> The reason I picked it is it's a series/serial hybrid, like
> the Volt is much of the time. The eVaro has a 20kW generator
> powered by a 1100cc flat four (Honda Gold Wing block) with
> FVT's custom parts on it. It has just a 2.2 gallon gas tank,
> and yes, it runs 300-375 miles *after* the battery pack has
> depleted. The Ice runs at a constant RPM until the battery
> is recharged (about 1-1.5 hours?) and then it shuts off, and
> you drive on the battery until it is depleted. From the
> sounds of it, the ICE runs 2 or 3 times for an hour each time
> to go the 300-375 miles.
>
> So, the eVaro *really* does get 136-170MPG in *charging
> mode*, because the battery is charged in about an hour+
> (while you are driving) and then you get to run on the
> battery for another ~2 hours; and since this power came from
> the genset, it counts towards the MPG.

If the 22kWh battery is depleted in ~2hrs, then you are consuming ~10-11kW, and so only 1/2 of the genset's 20kW output is available to charge the battery; best case, it would take 2hrs+ to replenish the battery once it nears empty if you keep driving at the same speed.

FVT is in my backyard; I have seen the car, I have held the cells, and I have spoken with the people. I know that they tried an electric drivetrain only after realising that it was going to be very difficult to get sufficiently high fuel economy for the competition with their fuel vapour technology ICE.

I was told that they were not/would not use their fuel vapour technology on the genset because it was not cost-effective; they may have reconsidered, but if so, then the performance demonstrated in competition is unlikely to be achieved in a production version of the vehicle. If they didn't use their fuel vapour technology on the genset, then I am highly skeptical of claims of approx 2x the fuel efficiency that the base ICE achieves in a motorbike. I appreciate that the eVaro is quite aerodynamic, however it is a larger vehicle than the original bike and has the additional losses of series hybrid operation (genset losses + drive losses).

If they deplete the 22kWh battery in approx 2hrs and travel 150mi, this is 75mph average, and 147Wh/mi. As I recall, a gallon of gasoline contains about 32kWh of energy, so 147Wh/mi corresponds to 218MPG. 170MPG ("in charging mode") corresponds to 188Wh/mi; for each mile travelled, about 41Wh more is being consumed than is required by the electric drivetrain simply to move the vehicle. Some of this will be lost in the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical; what is left is available to charge the battery. This suggests that the battery is recharged at about 1/3 the rate that it is discharged; so, if you drove for 1hr before starting the genset, it would take 3hrs driving with the genset before the battery bacame filled again.

It does not seem that the vehicle operates quite the way you think, or the numbers you've quoted are incorrect.

Cheers,

Roger.



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