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Will the Chevrolet Volt be a failure or a success?

Discussion in 'Chevrolet Volt' started by Reginnald, Jan 20, 2011.

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  1. Reginnald

    Reginnald New Member

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    I think it will be a failure, because it is way too expensive. $40,000. For $27,000 you can buy a Prius.
  2. donee

    donee New Member

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    Hi Reg...,

    Yes, the price is too high. But why is it too high?

    The accountants believe it will fail, and so they priced it as a one-and-done car technology.

    The marketing concept of the car tried to make it all things to all people. They could have had a very simple very reliable transmission, but for the reason of having better mileage at a speed which is illegal in most metropolitan areas (where the Volt's 40 mile EV range is most applicalble) they had to add in the PSD, and the clutches. I mean, do people who are going to be driving 70 mph, in a 55 mph speed zone really expect a few more MPGs, and then those people getting 5 mpg more than they would have going to buy the car for $15K more because of that added mileage performance above 70 mph? The cost/benefit of that transmission is just not there.

    The transmission could have been just a few gears from the motor to the wheels. With the engine fix geared to a generator. Yea, this is just a simple series hybrid, but yea, its 25 percent of the gears and parts they have in the transmission, with the only performance loss being poorer fuel economy above 70 mph.

    The reason the Prius has the PSD/Torquer/Speeder transmission is because the Atkinson engine is unwieldy when it powers the car by itself, and the motor/battery have insufficient power 70 % of the time. The engine/motor-battery really need to work in synergy for the car to operate at modern standards, and that requires the transmission. If its one thing the Japanese developers of the Prius originally invented its this. The Atikinson engine being soo poor in low end torque, really needs the PSD/Torquer/Speeder transmission to be viable. But the Atikinson engine being so good in turning gasoline into shaft power, we see the great mileage with the Prius.
  3. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Volt enthusiasts addressed this topic a few months back.

    They absolutely refused to define what success actually meant. Responses were just a vague "yes" without any quantitative goal stated to measure merit. Needless to say, that will allow them to spin the outcome as a result.

    The most common evasion technique is to direct attention to 1-for-1 comparison, rather than stepping back to consider an automakers overall sales to see how much gas was actually displaced. Only selling 25,000 Volt hardly competes with 500,000 Prius when you realize there were also 475,000 purchases of much less efficient vehicles.

    The extremely high price for Volt and the requirement of a plug is quite a challenge to deal with. Not offering an affordable choice and something for those who don't have an outlet available is clearly an impairment to success. In other words, lack of diversity is business risk the automaker really shouldn't be taking.
    .
  4. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    There are many EV's or plug in Hybrids due out in the next year and ALL of them are better than the Volt in many ways. I'll put money on the Volt being a turkey!
  5. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    If it fails to meet every single goal, can it succeed? I don't know but it will be very difficult.

    Goal - Reality

    40 miles on battery - 35 miles per EPA
    50 MPG on gas engine - 37 MPG per EPA
    8 kWh per charge - 12.9 kWh per EPA
    AT-PZEV emission - ULEV per CARB
    10 years / 150k miles warranty - 8 years / 100k miles
    E85 - Premium 91 Octane gas
    Under $30k - Over $41k ($33,500 with tax credit)
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  6. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    I disagree with this last part. There are people who say the Prius is just a stepping stone to EV vehicles of some kind. The whole point of the Volt is that it is (partially) an EV. The plug is the benefit - you don't have to go to a gas station except when taking longer trips.

    If you don't have an outlet available, you're locked out of the EV market and obviously shouldn't consider the Volt or Leaf or Prius PHEV. If you're saying that GM should also make a truly fuel-efficient hybrid (or non-hybrid, if it can be done well), that's an entirely different subject.
  7. Codyroo

    Codyroo Senior Member

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    John1701a nailed it. It will be up to each individual owner to define what "success" means to them. To me, the Volt is a factory installed plug in hybrid with a very large capacity battery. Where I criticize GM is that they treat the word "hybrid" as if it were the word "Herpes".
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  8. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    I think that we need to take a step back when asking this question. The Volt is definitely a bleeding edge technology and I think that it will have a great impact on GM and the auto industry. There is so much new technology in the car, all of which GM has patented that will be the building block for Gm for years to come - donee mentioned the transmission in an earlier post for just one example.

    I think that the Volt will do fairly well. I think that there is a fair bit of pent up demand that will get the car thru the first couple of years and that will give it time for the technology to further develop and prices to fall. I also think that it will be very interesting to see what the second generation will bring for the Volt. If you look at the Prius, I think that Toyota made a quantum leap between the gen 1 and 2 - if GM can do even half of that with the Volt they will be in amazing shape.

    Even if the Volt is a bust I would see it in a similar light to the Apple Lisa. As a commercial product the Lisa was way too much and was a bust, but it was the basis for the Mac and without the Lisa Apple's future would have been very different.
  9. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I think it's unfair in some ways to even compare Toyota and Prius to Chevrolet and Volt.

    With Prius, Toyota has a product that has become the iconic representation of "green automobile", and Toyota has a product that they have supported for over a decade. And as we all know, Toyota is not only producing a 3rd Generation Prius, but expanding Prius into a entire model line of automobiles.

    The Volt? I think the only comparitive real simularity is the Chevrolet obviously hopes The Volt can give the company some green cred. But while Prius is built, sold and marketed as a mainstream vehicle, at a "relatively" mainstream price. The Volt is being released in very small numbers at what I think most people would consider a expensive price. So it becomes "niche marketing tool vs. actual mainstream product".

    I think it will all come down to longterm commitment. Toyota has already proven a real, substantial commitment to Hybrids and alternatives. Chevrolet's history does not support that reality, infact argueably the opposite.

    In my opinion, recent statements by Chevrolet executives suggest to me that they still do NOT get it. There seems to be almost a schizophrenic attitude. They want to be applauded for creating and selling The Volt, but on the other hand, seem almost afraid or distainful of it's existence.

    As usual, it's "Look at this Neat, Green, overpriced vehicle we have made called The Volt...now go buy a Chevy Cruze....".

    In my opinion, until GM creates a product that is priced within reasonable accesibilty for the utility and services it would provide, in mainstream numbers..then all GM is doing is fleshing out an Auto Show marketing concept..."just enough" to say they have done it, but not enough to really show a commitment that I think will create a tangible market for a real product.
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  10. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Didn't Toyota subsidize the cost of the original Prius to make it saleable because they knew the technology was an investment in the future. Now they're selling millions.

    GM on the other hand sell the Volt at full cost and then get tax payers to subsidize it to make it almost affordable. It might be worth buying one just to get a tax rebate! You pay $5,000 tax in a year, buy a Volt and get $5,000 back. Result - I think.
  11. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    ^^
    $33,500 + tax does not sound horribly outrageous (just expensive) until I take into account the car only sits four, and its reliability and durability are unknown. At that point it becomes a rich person's toy.
  12. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Nice summary; however, you forgot about high-volume production and being profitable.

    We don't just want a trophy vehicle. It actually has to replace traditional vehicles; otherwise, what the heck is the point?
    .
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  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Not millions, less than 500,000. They only make 500,000 batteries per year. Fortunately they're going to double output of the NiMH to 1 million .

    The Japanese government also effectively subsidizes hybrids by maintaining a national store of the required metals.



    Assuming you aren't going to try and resell to make a fast buck from a desperate car geek you can't get big enough savings compared to a Prius.

    Of course, it depends on petrol prices: as petrol prices trend higher the PHEVs and EVs fare better, and what some people forget is that the ability to drive in pure EV is something for which people will pay extra. Affordable is different to prudent.
  14. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Up until just 2 months ago, we were led to believe Volt would provide 50 MPG after depletion. That meant the platform would be viable for a no-plug model.

    Those of us who doubted that 50 MPG was possible were attacked relentlessly, accused of hating GM and trying to undermine Volt. The fear was that a massive amount of time & money was being invested in a design that offered little product diversity. That lack of flexibility is bad for business. It also reinforces the "too little, too slowly" concern expressed by the auto task-force.

    Sure enough, those fears were confirmed. No what the heck are consumers going to purchase who want at least 40 MPG without a plug? And of course, how the heck is GM going to be competitive?
    .
  15. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm just going to throw in my couple of cents, not that everyone so far hasn't already nailed it. But here's my initial thought:
    Hybrid enthusiasts point out that more than a million hybrids have been sold worldwide, battery technology has advanced, people are talking more about hybrids and EVs and more manufacturers are talking about converting existing cars to hybrids while they introduce dedicated hybrid models. All this rings of success in the adoption of hybrid technology.
    Opponents would point out that after ten years of hybrids on the road, they still comprise less than three percent of the total new-car market. Failure.

    Every coin has two sides. I agree that it's not going to be possible to define the Volt as a success or failure anytime soon. Only a very silly person would even try. In case you are having difficulty identifying very silly people, they will make themselves known within the next twelve months.
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  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    So what you are saying is the answer to the question "Will the Chevrolet Volt be a failure or a success?"....is Yes.
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how do we know the volt doesn't cost $50,000. to build? gm has done some very shady financing with our taxes. might be a bargain at 40K!
  18. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Toyota specified production quantity & date goals, then came mighty close to nailing them. GM dances around quantities, avoiding anything to actually measure progress with. That's a huge difference.
    .
  19. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Last year, Toyota USA sold 189,181 hybrids out of 1,763,595 total.

    10.7% penetration rate in 10 years is pretty good. Imagine what it will be in the next 10 years.

    We can use that to measure Voltec's success or failure.
  20. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    I define success as "as good or better than the Prius did." That's going to be tough to match.
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