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Lutz: GM Charging Ahead with Volt

24 March 2007

Responding to an article in the Detroit News that suggested GM was trying to “unplug” the hype around the Volt, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said that the company is 100% committed to making the Volt happen.

Writing on the company’s FastLane Blog, Lutz said:

We’re not unplugging anything. We revealed the Chevrolet Volt, our electrically driven concept vehicle, to much praise at the Detroit show in January. We said we knew we had a tough challenge to see it through, but that we’re committed to the program.

I’ve said before that this is not a publicity stunt, but it’s as if people don’t want to believe it if we give them anything short of a guarantee of Volt delivery—with an exact date, time and sticker price.

I will say it here and I know I will have to say it again many times: We are 100 percent committed to making this happen. We are invigorated by the challenge. We are going to continue to be as transparent as we can in this process, knowing that there are some proprietary technology issues we will have to keep veiled. And we understand there are numerous obstacles ahead of us, but our team has set out on a clearly defined mission to develop technology that will transform the automobile. This is probably the toughest and most exciting effort GM has undertaken. There is no turning back.

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Comments

We need from Detroit
Words of sure resolve and not
Ambiguity

Considering they don't have to invent any technology, it seems entirely plausible to build this car for market by 2010-11. An excellent suggestion was made to seek third party warranties and federal and state waivers for battery elements that could shorten the QA cycle. If GM and US automakers are to compete on the world stage they will need the support of a united States effort. A new round of tax credits for PHEV hybrids seems a logical way for Congress to support US automaker jobs.

I for one applaud GM efforts to include the press and critics in the development process and suggest that all who want this car keep those cards and letters flowing to their GM dealerships. Market demand is the manufacturer's magic wand.

Oh give me and the rest of us a break. GM could have shipped this car in less than a year, not the 3-4 year period they have given us. This is just another "concept car snow job". Sometimes I wonder why they and Ford aren’t picketed by concerned activists daily. First, they design and ship "lame" hybrids like the Saturn Vue and Aura, now this. I'm beginning to think that they are being paid off from Big Oil to ship this manure and I'm sick of it! We should be contacting every politician that would listen and exact stronger fuel efficiency standards and if need be, taxes for fuel inefficient vehicles.

I saw the detroit press release and was very p****d off at the duplicity of GM, now they claim that this backing down is not true.

The truth is simple

Which reporter got the call, which executive made the call , what does GM do to that executive next.

Actions speak louder than words !!!

I will believe it when I see it, if the volt is to beacome realality I wonder what will become of half of the GM dealers with the reduced need for servicing and maintainance of an electric car !
Saab , a Gm company announced a 9-3 hybrid car some three years ago
here in europe , try finding it, or any reference to it on any of their websites , it just vanished , round about the time that GM where busing themselves crushing the last few EV1 ´s . No good will ever come from this company .

Of course we could also try non-intuitive psych to justify our jobs.

"First, they design and ship "lame" hybrids like the Saturn Vue and Aura, now this."

GM makes a mild-hybrid SUV which has comparable size and equal mileage to the full-hybrid Highlander for $10,000 less, and they are the bad guy. GM makes a competitive mild-hybrid sedan priced against the Camry 4-cyl while besting it in mileage, again they are the bad buy.

The Vue will be sold with the 2-mode hybrid system (~20% improvement in economy, to also be on full-sized SUVs) developed with DCX and BMW later this year, and as a plug-in in 2009.

The GM hybrid buses alone have saved 4 million gallons of fuel or more since they were introduced in 2003, while moving more people in the process than all those Prius have.

GM knows as well as anyone they will get left behind if they are a part of the problem not the solution - there is a reason GM has been blasting CAFE and calling for a consumer incentive for more efficient vehicles - because their business is making and selling cars, if the demand is there it will be made and sold. The Volt CONCEPT stirred a demand - but of course it is all smoke and mirrors and GM would hate to sell it. What GM would hate more is to sell it, and have it feel unfinished, unreliable, and underwhelming.

GM's biggest battle is against perception.

If for every GM bashing comment, there was a constructive critical comment posted on the GM Fastlane Blog, perhaps all the wannabe auto critics would have made a difference for the better.

"Oh give me and the rest of us a break. GM could have shipped this car in less than a year, not the 3-4 year period they have given us."

Wow, Gerald, you must be a hell of an engineer to be able to do that in one year. Please tell us about some of the products you've shipped in high volume production.

the Prius is an integrated system , not a cut price tin box with a few crowd appeasing
adjustments , I only have owned one Gm car , a 1985 Cavailler Uk spec after 120 thousand miles in two years the company that I worked for crushed it , it was totally knackered , and replaced it with an Audi , sorry , yes GM´s business is to sell cars ,is just a pity that they do not care what they sell ! They had the edge over all the other car manufacturers in 1995 when they introduced the EV1 , they just chose to Pi** it all against the wall !

Andri:

When it was introduced the EV1 was a nearly $100k vehicle with VERY limited range and battery overheating problems. Not only that, but when safety regulations changed in 1996 the car would have needed serious re-engineering in order to meet them. Given the high price and small potential market, they judged that they could not make a profit from the vehicle. They had to get special dispensation to lease the vehicles as long as they did.

here in italy pure Ev´s are manufactured on Fiat platforms ,they are good for 80 miles or so on a charge( 20kwh battery ) and will do 70mph , they retail at about
25000 dollars .
I read a review written by an owner last week on the web , and he has done 20000
miles in two years without a problem , using it for his daily commute , it costs him about 2 euros a day to run the thing , and reckons it is much quicker than the petrol engine model.
this just an ordianary petrol car that has had its ICE taken out and subsituted with an electric motor, just think what you can do if you design from the ground up!
Gm will never produce the Volt just like Fiat will never make an electric car , there is simply no economic reason for these companies to go down the electric route!
But hey I really hope to be proven wrong on this one !

GM is already losing money on most of the vehicles they sell and now they are going to invest heavily in a money- losing niche car. I'm sure GM shareholders are thrilled with Mr. Lutz.

Gm have a budget for R&D bigger than the GPM of most african countries , and you are telling me that they could not sort out the safety problems with the EV1 , leave it out , It did not suit their means !

My bet is on the Toyota Prius III for 2009/2010. GM (+Ford + Chrysler?) may follow years latter but their product does not match Toyota's quality and reliability.

Toyota is way ahead of the Big-3 in the PHEV field with their own drive drain + batteries + overall system integration.

Many other Toyota PHEVs will follow shortly after 2010.

Harvey D, how would you know that? It is more of the same nonsense masquerading as insightful and insider knowledge that you normally post. If I could build a car that ran on the bullshit you spew, the world would be set.

Joff I'm not sure if your comments constitute insults abuse or wild diversions or all three but I'm left none the wiser for your apologist rhetoric in support of the big US car makers. Living in Aus I can tell you that Toyota is the no 1 respected brand by virtue of popularity GM and Ford are in trouble even though they are 80% = of the domesticlly manufactured market. Chrysler corp is now Mitsubishi with small share been having viability problems since the early 70's.
Toyota have been the success story here for ever. Most people change for a new colour or
model ie they get bored and feel the need to try something new.
The prius has been well accepted and in my qualified opinion has the sort of technical specs to cover all the rlevent bases that are currently possible. Nothing LAZY there.
here's a challenge: let's come up with the comparison of KWH of say petrol, deisel, alcohol gas, 1 lpg, 2 cng, 3 lng, 4 H.
for starters. Then we compare the charge and discharge figures incl rlevent fidle factors for the current battery technologies.
not a race. lets have some facts. So the good readers can help work out the real issues.

"Apologist Rhetoric"? Well, someone is wearing their Intro to Logic 101 hat. Show me the reliable survey that supports your contention, or shut the f... up.

Joff: save your insults and expletives for the school yard! Abusive postings are regularly removed by the editor. Grow up and think about debating the issues like an adult.

...there are some proprietary technology issues we will have to keep veiled...There is no turning back.Everyone is saying the key is the battery tech.different batt companies are scrambling to set up mass manufacturing.
Toyota is hinting in a veiled way at their next gen vehicles.They were initially dismissive of plug ins.the market and the political advance of global warming politics has made the decision for GM and the industry in general.The reception of the Volt told Gm they no longer had a choice.Auto cos. must get to market with the next generation or they will go bankrupt and be absorbed by those that do.
This is good news...." there is no turning back"...whoever wins we win.Why exactly are we arguing here?The first co. to give me 30-40 mile electric range has me sold.I have 3 kids in the military and I want oil in my rear view mirror post haste.

"whoever wins, we win. Why exactly are we arguing here?"

Well said Earl.

Earl:

Very well said. Something close to 50 Km electric range would satisfy the majority and would constitute acceptable first generation PHEVs. The electric range could always be extended with higher performance batteries as they become available at a more affordable price.

Wonder what Joff Pentz had to eat in the last 3 days? Could it be Big-3 plants closing down or the many new Toyota/Honda USA plants bothering him? If so, he is going to be very sick in a year or two.

Joff:

The top 10 APA recommended cars for 2007 did not have a single GM, Ford or Chrysler.

Armold:

My wife and I switched to Toyotas (from Ford and GM/Chrysler) 20+ years ago and we certainly don't miss the 4000+ lbs dinosaurs we were driving before.

As our Toyotas are trouble-free and historically last a very long time, we can afford to wait another year or two for the next generation Prius III (2009?) and/or Toyota's first generation PHEV they're actively working on.

We can all rest assured that the Prius III and the Toyota PHEV I are going to be very good cars.

Wow! If Detroit keeps on advancing like this, they may have a car with a real electric battery in it on the market as early as 2089.

Now it's my turn to spew my worn-out opinion. :)
Since Toyota and Honda have basically taken over the small car market (Hyundai/Kia is nearly in that party too I think) it seems to me that GM should explore using the E-Flex system on something more "American" like a pick-up or a muscle car. It would keep them from competing directly with the other Big 2.5 and give more options to the consumer. But that would make too much sense... :)

Cleanova (a french EV company ) have just secured an order for 10000 of their renualt scenic based Ev´s from a company in of all places the gulf !
10000 x 40000 euros or so , equals a lot of money , but then GM told us
there was no market for electric cars , Bob Lutz should be tarred and feathered !

Hey all you guys who only think good of Toyota / Honda / Nissan. What is Toyota doing about its new Texas made trucks? Oh yeah they just added a larger engine assembled the USA but mostly from imported parts. 14 MPG...EPA 12 reality. No cylinder deactivation, no hybrid on the horizon.... NO INFORMATION at all about trucks, their new growth market.

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