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Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by DDB, Jan 21, 2007.
New site dedicated to GM's Volt:
Volt rips off Tesla
They even stole the idea of naming their (somewhat) electric car after a pioneer in electricity,
Better start reserving websites names like Galvanomotors, and Wattmotors. A few other ideas here:
G. Johnstone Stoney, Niels Bohr, Luigi (Galvani), Gilbert Newton Lewis, J.J. Thomson, Robert Millikan, André-Marie Ampère
Darryl's blog had TED pictures of under the Volt hood complete with plastic laundry tub.
Anyone who has seen that video of the Volt crawling down a street would not be surprised by it's contents.
The Volt announcement is a red herring. Even if GM do intend to put it out someday, they were obviously scared by the Tesla press enough to rush out a disinformation vehicle. (They probably looked around and re-purposed something they already had) just to steal the press and confuse the public before Tesla entered the Zeitgeist
GM to begin Volt testing by spring '08
Volt testing to begin by spring '08
Target date end of 2010
Battery still a challenge (it's the batteries stupid!)
GM chief expects a 10-year battery life
GM may produce 60,000 in the first year
Business & Technology | GM may debut 60,000 electric cars | Seattle Times Newspaper
This is what makes me think GM are serious about producing the Volt.
The EV1 never did fit into their business model. They produced something like 1,100 of them total, and they were built by hand at a very leisurely pace. They never designed any other models based on the EV1 architecture, they never made any variants or any sequels. There was no EV2. You could tell they weren't serious because that approach simply doesn't make sense in GM's business plan. Their business plan calls for making 100,000+ of something.
When the Volt was first shown, there was nothing under the hood. The styling elements were mostly borrowed from the Camaro, and it seems pretty apparent that it was cobbled together very quickly. It was something GM threw together as a quick response to the high-profile unveiling of the Tesla Roadster and the low-profile announcement by Toyota that they planned to make a PHEV.
Then GM showed it and got this huge public response that they didn't really expect. Now they're in the hot seat. . . There may actually be demand for 100,000+ of these things if they can build it. So they start asking themselves in earnest: can we build it?
As they've looked into the battery technology, which they first said "doesn't exist yet", they've discovered -- I think to their great surprise -- that it does exist. There are battery chemistries today that can be made to do this job, with a bit of tweaking and packaging. The main obstacle is an economic one, because the batteries they need aren't mass produced at an affordable price. Yet, it's apparent that they can be. Somebody just has to get the ball rolling.
Now they are showing the Opel Flextreme in Europe. They are talking about 60,000 units on the first year of production. They've devoted a large team to this project. GM may have been half-hearted at first, they may have merely been testing the waters when they first unveiled the Volt, but I believe that is no longer the case. The huge response from the public, the competitive threat from Toyota, and the positive response from A123 on battery chemistry have all joined into a "perfect storm" leading GM to commit to the E-Flex as a serious production platform.
I like the irony in this statement:
GM saved by an EV, who would have thought? I hope it comes true.
It really annoyed me when the early Volt articles kept saying the batteries didn't exist. I even wrote letters explaining what was available. Maybe someone listened
Has GM ever answered the question..."why reinvent the wheel?" Really, with the EV-1 came also an invenstment of $1 billion. You'd think they would have learned something along the lines of how to build an EV that was practical as a commuter car. I'd really like to know.
I can count on one hand the number of people I know who drive an American-made car. My peers and work colleages all drive European or Japanese. My parents, long faithful to the Oldsmobile-Buick line, made Honda their most recent purchase. I don't think this trend is news to the domestic auto companies.
The Prius blazed a path showing that cars friendly to the environment will sell. I think at least one of the domestic companies will have to bet the farm on alternative technologies if it expects to stay in business. GM is testing the water with the Volt. I agree with their thinking that it may help revive its prospects. It may be the exciting, different, and compelling car they've been trying to make for years.
Yeah, but look at where you live.
Here in Texas, I can assure you, the Big Three still have a very large presence. Where I live there are huge numbers of pickup trucks and SUVs on the road, and the large majority of those are domestic brands. Even among light passenger cars I still see a lot of Ford, Dodge, Chevy.
The only new car dealership in town is the Dodge house. There have been Ford and GM dealers in the past, but there never has yet been an import dealer here.
Yes. This is true. The last time I visited Houston to see friends, they were rather abashed to be the only people on the block driving a (half) European car -- a Ford-made Volvo. Most everyone else had a domestic SUV.
Cars are aspirational. My dad grew up in Los Angeles. When he was a child, his money-no-object dream car was a Cadillac. Somewhere between his time and mine, it changed. In my youth, I had my eye on a European car, perhaps a BMW M3 or a Porsche 911. I wonder what today's children dream about? Somehow I don't think it's a Cadillac, or much of anything else domestic, but I could be wrong.
Tesla Motor's most brilliant long-term business strategy may be that they entered the market at the high-end. The high-end makes the car line aspirational, and helps sell the low end.