A little nugget of information came our way while reading a Reuters report on UAW and their reaction to a car sale slump at GM.
GM is reviewing whether to cancel at least six passenger cars in the U.S. market after 2020, including the Chevrolet Volt hybrid, which could be replaced in 2022 with a new gasoline-electric crossover model, Reuters has learned from people familiar with the plan.
Gosh it is hard to believe how slow the auto industry is compared to others like the electronics industry. Can you imagine Apple’s iPhones in 2022? Who will be President then? Will we have a civilization on Mars?
I have been an aficionado of electric cars ever since Tesla came up with their production roadster. I am writing this review because I noticed a gap of reviews, especially long-term ones, for my car, which is rarer than a Tesla roadster. I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences with my ELR I have now driven over 25k miles in.
Feel free to jump down to the review of the car if you like, but a little of my background and decision-making is helpful, which is why I provided this section.
While announcing the renaming of its GM Powertrain to GM Global Propulsion Systems this week, the automaker gave us a glimpse at the structure of the division and disclosed that almost half of its engineers are now working on electric and alternative propulsion systems. Expand Expanding Close
Earlier this year at CES, Seth and I had the opportunity to test drive the new Chevy Volt hybrid (okay, I actually just held the camera in the back seat) which has one of the best CarPlay screen we’ve seen yet. Check out our hands-on experience with the Volt’s very nice display from our test drive below …
Yesterday AutoNews reported that Cadillac wasn’t going to be following up its ELR disaster with an upgrade to the 2016-17 Volt platform.
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen confirmed last week that the brand plans no successor to the light-selling ELR.”I plan to continue admiring it as one of the most beautiful cars on four wheels” de Nysschen told reporters during a media drive of the forthcoming CT6 large sedan here. “But we don’t plan further investment” in the coupe.
I panned the ELR on its announcement and saw this date coming, especially with its initial $76,000 price tag. Instead of improving the Volt’s drive specs, Cadillac wrapped the Volt in a luxury design (which isn’t bad to my eyes) but with the original Volt’s lack of rear cabin space and 40-mile range limitations. This simply wasn’t going to get ‘Tesla Model S money’…
In a press release for the announcement, LG Chem Michigan President Nick Kassanos takes a swipe at Tesla, or at least at the media attention the company has been receiving for its own battery factory project: the Gigafactory. Expand Expanding Close
An updated production timeline for the Chevy Volt sent to GM dealerships leaked on the GM-Volt forum over the weekend. The new timeline shows that GM decided to push the nationwide launch of the new Volt to February-March 2016 instead of the planned November-December 2015.
Production meant for California should start right about now and then GM will include all the other CARB States; Oregon, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire from October 2015 to January 2016. Expand Expanding Close
Before Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors in 2003, they were trying to figure out the best way to break America’s addiction to oil. 75% of the oil consumed in America is used in transportation, and of that, 50% is used for passenger vehicles. So it became clear that what was needed was an alternative way to power cars, but what exactly would that look like? They examined all kinds of interesting alternative drivetrains, from hydrogen fuel cells to ethanol, but they eventually decided that an electric car was the way to go. So they began to learn everything they could about electric cars; how they worked, past attempts to bring one to market, and the engineering challenges of building one. They learned many things which we will not get in to here, but one of the most interesting, and the one I will be focusing on today, was about the demographics of people who bought the LAST generation of electric vehicles. Expand Expanding Close
GM/Chevy detailed its next generation Volt today with some nice surprises though they are pretty vague in their assessment.
80% off all Volt customer trips are EV only.
New battery capacity will increase by 20% on a volume basis when compared to the original cell, while the number of cells decreases from 288 to 192. The cells are positioned lower in the pack for improved (lower) center of gravity and the overall mass of the pack has decreased by almost 30 pounds (13 kg).
20 million battery cells have been produced for the more than 69,000 Chevrolet Volts on the road today with industry-leading quality levels of less than two problems per million cells produced
Many owners are exceeding the EPA-rated label of 35 miles of EV range per full charge, with about 15 percent surpassing 40 miles of range.
Current generation Volt owners have accumulated more than 600 million EV miles
2 motors replace 1 motor and 1 regen. The two-motor drive unit operates approximately 5 to 12 percent more efficiently and weighs 100 pounds (45 kg) less than the current system.
1.5L range extender motor will be more efficient as well
GM will manufacture the Volt battery pack at its battery assembly plant in Brownstown, Mich.
Range estimates will be given at NA auto show in Detroit on January
So not too many specifics but one would think all of these updates would make the Volt an even more appealing package. More room in the back would have also come in handy. If we take the 20% more power in the battery pack combined with the weight reduction and more efficient motors at face value, the Volt may approach 50 miles on electricity.
The question now is who is going to buy the current version (Osborne effect)?
Press Release follows:
Next-Generation Chevrolet Volt Features All-New Voltec Propulsion System for More Efficiency
Debuting in 2015, new model will have increased EV range
Introduced with pricing today and shipments in January, the $75,000 ($68K after Fed Tax Cred) car will have almost identical specs as the Chevy Volt in 35 miles in EV mode and 300miles on gas. That’s actually worse than the Volt’s upgraded 40 EV miles – probably due to the slightly higher performing engine on the Caddy. It even appears to have the same T-shaped battery going through the middle of the car as the Volt which makes it barely capable of seating of 4 people. Trunk space is listed at a comical 10.5 cubic feet which is about a third of the Tesla Model Sbefore you consider the “Frunk”.
The ELR is a two door which probably lends itself better to the 2+2 seating that the 4-door Volt has currently.
As for performance gains, there is no listed horsepower but the 295 lb-ft compares favorably to the 273 lb-ft. torque listed or the Volt. But, as a sad comparison, the sub-$20,000 Chevy Spark 100% electric vehicle produces 400lb-ft of torque so that $75K Caddy is likely going to get smoked by a $20K hatchback with over twice the amount of EV battery made by the same company.
I’m in full agreement with Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific Inc., who on Friday tweeted: “A Volt with a Cadillac body and badge for Tesla Model S money? Is GM on crack?”
The Volt is a great car but GM isn’t going to have any kind of success taking it into the Tesla price category without significantly upgrading the batteries and motor and bringing some more innovation to the table. This is embarrassing.