Chevrolet Volt: The high-tech car that will save Michigan?

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AKA the "Short Circuit"
Chevrolet Volt: The high-tech car that will save Michigan? http://tinyurl.com/2dqq39p
Talk about expectations. The Chevrolet Volt, General Motor's extended
range electric car, can't just make some modest profits for General Motors.
Now it's expected to save the state of Michigan, says the Associated Press. "The Volt is crucial. So much depends on this car. It cannot fail," the story states.
Yikes. No pressure, here. The car is considered so important because Michigan isn't content with just making cars anymore. Everyone does that. Now it wants to be a high-tech center.
"Detroit," Mike Smith, head of the Reuther Library, is quoted by the AP as saying. It "has two choices: Remake itself. Or die on the vine." He pauses. "We HAVE to reinvent ourselves."
Volt goes on sale in December, if GM's schedule holds. Final pricing hasn't been released, but those who have driven it, including Test Drive's James R. Healey, liked it.
GM's Chevy Volt Will the Volt recharge GM and US auto industry? http://www.wilx.com/news/headlines/94445174.html
He stands all day, bent over noisy machines, cutting giant sheets of steel and feeding them into monster-sized presses so powerful the concrete floor rumbles beneath his size-16 feet. This is how Steve Prucnell builds cars. In 22 years, the parts haven't changed much. A car's a car. But then another project came along, something totally different. After decades of building everything from Corvettes to Saturns to Silverados,-- Prucnell took a giant leap into the future, working on early models of the Chevy Volt, General Motors' new electric car. It's a high-risk, high-profile venture and Prucnell is understandably nervous. Maybe it's the 13 foreclosure signs that popped up on his street. Or turning 50 in a struggling industry. Or working for a company that needed a $52-billion loan from the U.S. Treasury to stay alive. Whatever the reason, Prucnell is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping America is ready for a new kind of love affair -- battery included. The Volt could help usher in a new generation of electric cars, but there's more at stake here than a technological breakthrough: The fate of GM and its workers. The future of a beleaguered state. And, maybe, in some larger sense, the image of all U.S. autoworkers, eager to prove they have what it takes to compete on the global stage. The moment of truth is coming, and Steve Prucnell feels the pressure. "If this doesn't fly, what's left for GM?" he asks, taking a break from work at the GM Tech Center. "Wall Street is going to say, 'We knew they couldn't dig themselves out of the hole."' There was, Prucnell says, a different vibe building the Volt's test models. It wasn't just the intense scrutiny from above. It was the anxiety down below, on the shop floor. "I don't want to say that we worked harder on this," Prucnell says. "I think we worked a lot smarter. I mean everybody was on their 'A' game. ... It was, 'We want to make sure we're perfect."' "We know the Volt is the last hurrah for GM," he adds. "It's either do or die." ------ Roam the state of Michigan, and you will hear the same insistent optimism: The Volt is crucial. So much depends on this car. It cannot fail. This is a state that talks about becoming more than an auto capital, but cars have been its identity. It's the place where Henry Ford's name graces a college and hospital; where Pontiac was an Indian warrior and then a town before gaining fame as a car. So when the car industry tanks, the crisis is financial, personal and even existential. "Detroit," declares Mike Smith, head of the Reuther Library, "has two choices: Remake itself. Or die on the vine. We HAVE to reinvent ourselves." So what can a single car -- one touted as revolutionary but still untested by the public -- mean in a state that has hemorrhaged jobs, leaving some cities with Hoover-like jobless rates edging toward 30 percent? Maybe a lot, according to Smith. "If you're going to have an electric car and if the Volt turns out to be the leader of the pack, think what that means in sales, prestige, in reputation," he says. "This one is symbolic in the sense that it's going to speak to the prowess of the American auto industry -- and GM itself." And the spotlight will be white-hot. "The Volt," he says, "is going to be the most watched production in the history of autos." Teri Quigley, the 22-year GM veteran who manages the sprawling Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the Volt will roll off the line, can already feel the heat. "We have to execute flawlessly," she says. "A lot of pressure? Yeah. ... We've got one chance to do this right. My work force has heard me say this more than once: The world is really going to be watching." GM is spending $336 million to prepare the factory, so it can build Volts on the same line as the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne. The Volt, she says, could help restore luster to American cars -- and the city. "The whole view of what Detroit is like, what the auto industry is like -- we have a unique opportunity to change that tarnished image," she says. "I'd like to change people's minds about what we do here." Initially, the Volt will be available only in Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. GM won't reveal the price tag, though it's believed to be about $35,000 -- not taking into account a $7,500 tax credit. The car will have a 400-pound T-shaped lithium ion battery that gives it a range of up to 40 miles on one charge. After that, a small gas-powered engine will kick in to generate electricity to power the car about 300 miles. The battery can be recharged by plugging it into an electrical outlet. GM is pouring $700 million into eight operations that will produce the car. The dollars and work will be spread out: Warren. Hamtramck. Bay City. Grand Blanc. Brownstown Township. And Detroit and Flint, two cities that are the walking wounded of the cataclysm that has engulfed Michigan. The state has lost 860,000 jobs in a decade, the majority since 2007. There have been some modest signs of improvement for U.S. automakers; GM recently announced its first quarterly profit in nearly three years. Even so, the auto industry will never again generate one in six U.S. jobs, says Smith, the historian. Robots, automation and foreign competition have changed that. And yet ... silver linings can be found in small clouds. "People in this area are looking for anything to say Michigan and the car industry can make it," he says. "That's the hope factor that drives a lot of us in Detroit. What if there are suddenly orders for 100,000 Volts? Now we're talking." ------ Dayne Walling is accustomed to looking for silver linings; he's mayor of Flint. These days, he has 230 million reasons to be optimistic -- the amount GM is investing in Volt projects in Flint. Most will go to renovate a plant where about 200 workers will build a 1.4-liter engine for the Volt and Chevy Cruze compact. A few hundred jobs, though, won't reverse the devastation in a city where more than one in four people are unemployed, thousands of homes stand shuttered and once vibrant factories are empty concrete shells. Still, Walling, is looking for a meaningful way to remain positive. "You can bemoan the glass that's half-empty or you can embrace the glass that's half-full," says the boyish-looking, 36-year-old mayor. "We're part of next generation of GM -- and that demonstrates we're part of its future, not its past." The past did have moments of glory. In the 1950s and '60s, Flint bustled with 80,000 workers streaming into GM factories, creating traffic jams, backing up expressway exits. A generation later, there were the massive layoffs depicted in Flint native Michael Moore's scathing documentary "Roger and Me," that took aim at Roger Smith, then GM's CEO. For the record, Walling admits he liked "Roger and Me" -- an attitude he says isn't widely shared in Flint. "it was really funny and tragic," he says. "I took it as a challenge ... to work against the odds and not just promote a better image but make this a more prosperous community." Twenty years later, the job is even harder. But here comes the Volt. "It's the beginning," Walling says, "of a long transition from a Rust Belt city to one that's more green, has more technology and is more relevant to the 21st century." ------ Kris Johns, an auto plant electrician, is making that transition himself. He started as a young man at Flint. Now, 34 years later, he's part of the Volt engine launch team. "It's savior for us," he says, simply. At 55, Johns could retire with a full pension, but he still wants to work. GM has provided him a good life. He bought his first house, for instance, at 23. He built a 4,100-square-foot home, helped his three kids through college, bought a truck, an 18-foot boat and a 28-foot camper trailer. "Working around here you were the rich guys," Johns says. "We were well-paid, for blue-collar workers. We will not deny that. But we worked hard, too. We gave them their money's worth." Johns knows autoworkers and GM have been bad-mouthed over the years; some of it, he feels has been unfair, but some justified. "We've taken a pretty good beating. We developed a reputation for poor quality. We put out junk," he says, referring to some cars in the late '70s and early '80s. "People recognized it. It's taken awhile to get the public back." An hour's drive away, Steve Prucnell agrees. "I think their thinking was, 'Hey, we're No. 1. We're never going to be knocked off," he says, referring to the '80s. "Toyota kicked our butt." Prucnell stops to make a point. "That's just Steve's opinion," he says. The result wasn't pretty. When Prucnell started worked on the Volt last year, GM was bankrupt. A federal rescue was in question. And money was so tight, he says, workers scrimped on paper towels and wore their industrial gloves until they were tattered. "Even I had my doubts GM would have been here in 2010 -- and I'm a positive person. ... I thought, 'What am I going to do?"' Prucnell recalls. "Is a 50-year-old guy marketable? Not reallllly." Prucnell has moved on to a new project. Some days, he sees Volts cruising around the tech center lot. "There's going to be a feeling of pride when it's running off the line," he says. "We know it's going to be right." ------ George McGregor, president of UAW Local 22 in Detroit, is more measured in his optimism. The Volt, he says, will put his workers on the ground floor of a new enterprise and hopefully provide job security. "Do I want it to work? Most definitely. MOST definitely. Now, do I have some reservations about battery cars? Definitely." McGregor lets loose a throaty laugh. "Definitely." McGregor came to Detroit from Memphis in the late 1960s, fresh out of Vietnam. It was an era when a sturdy back and a willingness to work were enough to land an auto job -- and a ticket to the middle class. Now, 42 years later, McGregor, a 64-year-old grandfather with a halo of Brillo-like silver hair, presides over a dwindling auto empire. His local has shrunk from 6,000 members in the 1980s to 1,500 today. So the Volt is mighty welcome. "We're blessed to have it," McGregor says in his raspy voice. But he knows old habits die hard. "Americans love power," he says. "Fast cars. You understand? They LOOVVE large cars. Small cars, efficient cars? We're being forced into that now. If ... gas was reasonable, it would be SUVs and large cars." McGregor figures electric cars are part of the future. Still, one question gnaws at him. "Is this what the public really wants?" he asks, as if seeking reassurance. "Hopefully," he says softly. "Hopefully."
--
Service Guarantees Citizenship

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Since you can't short GM stock at the moment, is there any legal way to bet GM will not make money on the Volt in 2 years or less if ever?
Maybe odds on Volt going to do an Edsel?
Save Michigan, LMAO. What a pie in the sky joke, liberal dreaming done mad. Even if they did sell, the Volt has a real uphill battle. The precious metal prices for batteries will skyrocket. Even if that was over come, the US power grid could not handle 5% of the cars being Volt like. So buying them will drive up electric costs.
And then there is the issue of other hybrids being more reliable and proven. Probably cheaper too.
And then union and management greed and incompetance.
Guess they pushed back the schedule, I thought they were supposed to be out in September if not sooner. But Government Motors is never on time, neither was the old GM.
I heard that at $40k they will loose money. Anyone going to pay $50-60K for a GM loser? Taxpayer going to pick up the tab? Funny how GM just keeps on sucking.
What people want in a small rat trap is cheap, as in Tata Nano, loaded $4500. Or maybe if you want electric, a Zenn for $10k. Rich would do a Tesla because at least it's range is farther and it goes faster. After all, congress is planning on jacking up taxes after November which will leave less to spend on auto. You know, that debt-bailout spend isn't free.
GM already died. The question now is how much will be wasted on this dead horse before someone shoots it.
On 23/05/2010 4:12 PM, Jim_Higgins wrote:

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Liberal diseases of debt, entitlement, envy and greed do not create wealth.

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As we have come to suspect, you are confused again. Current small car Hybrids sell for around $30,000 and cost more to build and certify than the Volt, which is a mid-size car and a true electric vehicle.
Many of the midsize cars are currently selling near $40,000 mark and they do not get the Green Car tax credit of up to $7,000.

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Here is the blue print and idea the Volt is using
http://www.hybrid-vehicle.org/hybrid-vehicle-porsche.html
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You are confused, hybrids have more than on source with which to motivate the vehicle. The Volt has only one source, the electric motors. Unlike previous electrically motivate vehicles it has an onboard generator to recharge its batteries.

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Eventually there will be five vehicles built off the basic Volt chasses, including a pickup. The first derivative following the Volt is a Cadillac SUV six months later.
True electric cost much less to build than conventionally powered or hybrids vehicles. The costs of EPA certification alone will save millions for those that manufacturer true electrics like the basic Volt chassis. As the economies of scale improves, costs will drop even more.

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So why does the Volt cost less to build than a conventionally powered or hybrid vehicle? The VOlt is not a simple "true electric" car. It is some sort of weird reduced function hybrid. It does have much better "electric only" performance compared to a Prius, but it has no ability to charge the batteries from the on board gasoline engine.
The Volt has an electric drive train, a large batttery pack, and a gasoline engine that can drive the vehicle but not charge the batteries. How is this cheaper than a "conventionally powered vehicle" of similar performace? A conventionally power vehicle with the same performance as the Volt could use the same engine, wouldn't need the same large battery pack and could potentially use a much simpiler and cheaper drive train. I can't even see much, if any, cost advantage if you compare a Volt to a hybrid like the Prius. I suppose the Volt can use a simpiler control system (but not much simplier) and a simplier drive system (since they don't intend to charge the batteries) but on the other hand, it has a much larger / heavier / more expensive battery pack and must include circuirty and a connector for external charging of the batteries.
The Volt may well be successful, but I can't see how it is cheaper than a conventional car and probably not cheaper than the Toyota style hybrid (although I suppose it might be possible that it is as cheap).
Ed
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And it well may not be successful. People have to want this car, and have to be willing to pay for it, and have to be willing to love its quirks.
We'll see.
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They will be the same types that bought the Pruis with it many quirks, goofy looks, and premium pricing.
At least one will begin to save a lot more on fuel costs at once, than the premium price over a hybrid vehicle.
With a hybrid, the premium one pays to buy one over a conventionally powered vehicle, will buy ALL of the fuel for the conventionally powered vehicle for three of four years, before one begin to save a dime on fuel
wrote in message news:hte6f6

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You are confused, the ONLY function of the engine in the VOLT chassis, is to begin recharging the battery pack, at predetermined voltage drop. The engine can not motivate the vehicle, as is the case with a hybrid.
Without having to get into a big dissertation in a NG, I can tell you, as a former automotive design Engineer, there are numerous points during certification and building of a vehicle that are required when building a conventionally powered or hybrid vehicle, that are not necessary with a true electric. That will significantly reduces the cost of certifying and building a true electric.

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Like I said I will not do something in a NG for which I am normally paid a fee, but one difference is when the engine runs, it runs at its most efficient RPM ONLY. It does not therefore need to be citified, like a convention engine, at various speeds with different torque requirements. If costs vehicle manufactures a small fortune, in the testing process, to meet all of the federal certifications.

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I figured you were talking out of your rear end. Thanks for the confirmation.
Ed
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wrote in message> I figured you were talking out of your rear end. Thanks for the

The tonal quality IS characteristic.
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Sorry, as I suspected my brief comment was above your level of comprehension.

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So in essence it is a upscale lawn mower engine.
LMAO.
On 25/05/2010 7:44 AM, Mike Hunter wrote:

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nuts, no job in debt and living off of other people like a leach.
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Once again our friend Canuck57 is telling us the sky is falling LOL

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Any car that is plug in electric can be used as an electric car. Serial plug in hybrids can easily be changed into electrical cars by just removing the engine or never put it in. Ordinary old type cars or parallel hybrids need to be fitted with plug in option and have the engine removed. Those kind of cars will never be true electrical cars.
True electrical cars are the best option and anything else is just muddling the waters and trying to make people think that they are more green than the old cars.
The Volt as presented is just a serial plug in hybrid.
It would be very easy to make a true electrical car out of such a car.
Unfortunately if you do have an old type combustion engine in the car and it is designed to run such an engine in any way you have to design the car to allow for handling fuel and exhaust.
In a true electrical car designed to be true electric you can benefit from the fact that there is no fuel, no burning, no exhaust and the car can thus be made much simpler, lighter and does not need as much ventilation and thus not as much heating for the passengers either.
Those are the facts people need to learn and they will eventually get to know all of this even if the old companies do their utmost to confuse people.It is really simple old cars, all hybrids have over thousand of moving parts that can fail and need to be serviced and that is what the old car companies want to keep, the salespeople and maintenance workers want that too.
The life cycle of the cars is small and you need to pay a lot every year for service and spareparts and you need to buy a new car relatively often.
In a true electrical car you have essentailly 4 moving parts and the car can last for decades without much maintenance.
Because it can be made tighter you do not have to let air or water get into the car anywhere and thus the car itself is less likely to fall apart.
It is very easy to maintain and everything about it is what the customers really want.
It will surely take many years before people in general know the difference but eventually it will get through and we will see first a slow migration toeards true electric and then ever faster as people understand the advantages.
It is what the customers want but the producers are very reluctant even if they prentend to play along and confuse people.
It is really amazing how such easily understood facts are slow to sink in.
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The reason for why the subject is confusing is because there are so many different needs for transport.
The distance you want to travel and how often you make the journey.
One person may be talking about short trips once in awhile and has some needs for transport and then there is another who needs to go far often.
Their respective needs are very different and obviously solution to their transport is vastly different.
The whole transport system is geared for a lot of combustion engine cars.
With the new type of electrical cars there are several possibilities and they may not replace all other types of transport and certainly not in the short run.
There are obvious advantages of electrical cars in short trips.
The sooner a system of electrical poles to recharge is built the sooner longer trips will be possible.
We will certainly see a change but how that change will be only time will tell.
Some people may want to have two or more cars and some people would get a car for most trips and rent for other types of trips.
Rental companies who rent cars for short time use are already operating.
Most cars are only used only 1 hour or less each day.
A much better public network is sure to come, especially more and better trains.
The whole way of life and living is changing.
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