• May 15, 2008
According to Bob Lutz, the first Chevy Volt powertrain mule has just passed a major milestone. After several weeks of testing in the lab with a battery pack installed, the Malibu based pre-prototype has rolled out into the fresh air. In fact, according to Lutz, the car has even rolled passed past the security gates of the Milford Proving Ground to drive around on public roads. Even in this early, very rough, form, Lutz says the car is meeting and exceeding the goal of 40 miles of driving without running the engine. With this, the E-Flex engineers have demonstrated the performance viability of this concept. However, they still have a long way to go in validating the robustness of the system in different operating environments as well as the long-term durability of the powertrain as a whole. Perhaps the biggest issue to address is the cost of the system, particularly the battery pack. For GM to sell the Volt at an affordable price at launch, they will likely be taking a significant loss due to the cost of the batteries. When that cost comes down, GM will finally be able to crank up production.

[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]


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  • 51 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      A first gen Prius with a plug in battery pack upgrade. And by the time the Volt comes out, a current gen Prius which will feature the same.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Then you will have two cars to choose from! Just because Toyota builds Gas / Electric cars should everone else not build one. This is insane, how many of you even read the article. Either most of you didn't read the article or can't understand it. I really think most of you can't read and that is the problem. Its not miles per gallon, its miles per charge before recharge is required.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You'll be able to retire on that money by the time this thing comes out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good to see they're making progress, though I'd be interested to see how they're driving this thing to get 40M on a charge. Are they/can they use the AC or defroster or heater while the ICE is off? Are they puttering around town at 25mph, or mixing in 65+mph jaunts on the interstate?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Karl, I think the issue is ultimately cost. I mean I'm sure any of the big car companies can come up with a killer electric car for $80,000, too bad it will have minor overall impact due to small target market that can afford it. I read the link you provided, if that company had actually managed to hit its cost targets then don't you think Ed Bagley Jr. (and all the rest of us) would be driving in such cars?

      I think the Volt is a very interesting idea, and look forward to seeing its progress. Hopefully it will achieve a reasonable price point (I think subsidies would be a good thing in this case.) It is electric first, with an electric generator powered by gasoline, so the design is not the same as the Prius- for example the Prius is not designed for deep discharge, and if you add the aftermarket kit I imagine it uses whatever little cargo space was originally available. I don't know how much cargo space the Volt will ultimately have, but over the course of its development they have been able to reduce battery volume and gas tank size which is promising.

      For all the complainers- THIS IS NOT A PRIUS! I'm sure Toyota is cooking up something similar in their labs, we'll see what they come up with too- I'm sure it will be very nice as well.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, I'm not knocking GM for building the Volt, I'm jaded that they had the best shot at doing it right last time, and they let Oilies and GM Corporate momentum literally crush their design. Now it appears even though we've been paying taxes for the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium that was built to fund U.S. Battery companies/Universities to get us over the EV battery hump along with Detroit contributions, we're 13 years on, and are still getting less EV mileage than a lead acid homebuilt. In the context of the state of technology in 1993, we (this society) look pathetic.

        To understand USABC:
        http://www.uscar.org/guest/history.php
        Or if you can find it:
        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067942105X/qid=1134125290/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-7039298-0296112?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
        • 6 Years Ago
        Toyboyz need not worry. Toyoda's industrial spies have already been dispatched and are, as we type, stealing something somewhere.
        They don't invent, they copy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Karl, I think the issue is ultimately cost. I mean I'm sure any of the big car companies can come up with a killer electric car for $80,000, too bad it will have minor overall impact due to small target market that can afford it. I read the link you provided, if that company had actually managed to hit its cost targets then don't you think Ed Bagley Jr. (and all the rest of us) would be driving in such cars?

      I think the Volt is a very interesting idea, and look forward to seeing its progress. Hopefully it will achieve a reasonable price point (I think subsidies would be a good thing in this case.) It is electric first, with an electric generator powered by gasoline, so the design is not the same as the Prius- for example the Prius is not designed for deep discharge, and if you add the aftermarket kit I imagine it uses whatever little cargo space was originally available. I don't know how much cargo space the Volt will ultimately have, but over the course of its development they have been able to reduce battery volume and gas tank size which is promising.

      For all the complainers- THIS IS NOT A PRIUS! I'm sure Toyota is cooking up something similar in their labs, we'll see what they come up with too- I'm sure it will be very nice as well.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Does anybody think that in 2025 the demand for oil will drop substantially enough that the price of petrol (gas) will drop so we can afford to drive our camaros and commodores again?
        • 6 Years Ago
        From fnc: "You might be able to afford to drive that Camaro again, but it might very well get dusted by an electric automobile with a flat torque curve and the ability to deliver more power to its motor than you can hope to stuff through an intake manifold."

        Much the same as those who still choose to drive their 60's musclecars even though many new cars will "dust" them? To some people, it's about more than just performance. No amount of electrically-generated horsepower is going to make me forget the sound of a powerful, unbridled V-8.

        Just because better technology may take over, it doesn't mean that IC cars will go away. Like people who still enjoy riding horses even though autos are more practical.

        It reminds me of the scene in "Back to the Future III" when Doc Brown is explaining the future to all the 1800's cowboys and they can't understand that people would run for fun.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You might be able to afford to drive that Camaro again, but it might very well get dusted by an electric automobile with a flat torque curve and the ability to deliver more power to its motor than you can hope to stuff through an intake manifold.

        I imagine that once eletric cars are established, it's a given that a performance scene will take off, and we'll see teenagers gleefully sacrificing the life and range of their batteries to play go-fast with upgraded power control and delivery systems.
      • 6 Years Ago
      VAPOR COMMENTS? The game has begun ToyBoy's.

      I am so happy to hear that a previous version of the Malibu is getting the 40mpg. The volt will be much more streamline and be able to archive better numbers than that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        correct that ...40 miles on a charge
        • 6 Years Ago
        Umm..

        This is an engineering mule, not a final product. The "game has begun" when the first customer gets his/her product. Just like Tesla: the proof is in the mass-produced product, not the manicured special delivered to an investor or used for testing.

        Also, this thing is just a Malibu body for the sake of having a body--it's not a "real" Malibu at all, just a shell over Volt mechanicals. It's also not a 40mpg car, but a car that goes 40 miles on batteries alone. What remains to be answered is:
        * What circumstances allowed the 40-mile range?
        * What's the overall car like?
        * How much will it cost?
        * Can GM actually build it, consistently and without demand- or quality issues?
        * How will compared to the other cars on the market in 2010/11/12?

        Since we can't really answer any of these questions, this story amounts to little more than a feel-good press release. GM can promise and spin all they want, but they need to actually _sell them_ before they'll win over the general public, let alone the skeptics.
      • 6 Years Ago
      40 mph? That's it?

      PriusChat.com: Customer - "So what is the gas engine for?
      Sales Guy - "It does use the gas engine when you go over 50 MPH."

      GM you are 5 years late and 10 mph slower than your 5 year old competitor. May be you should quit & just borrow the technology from Toy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        When the fanboyz have nothing to bash they just make idiotic comments. Too bad the Prius can only go about 1mi without running the gas engine.
        HotRodzNKustoms
        • 6 Years Ago
        -1 Fail
        It's going 40 miles in distance on a single charge without having to start the gasoline generator to recharge the batteries. Not going 40mph.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Pluton

        Your idiocy astounds me.
        • 6 Years Ago


        The name Pluton rhymes with Moron.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Did you even read the article?
        • 6 Years Ago
        maybe you should learn to read
        • 6 Years Ago
        So they havne't even reached "40 mph" yet? Mistakenly, I've given them more credit than they deserved. Thanks for correcting me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Ve Commodore/G8/Zeta platform cost over $1.2 Billion (not including camaro costs)and that's a backyard job in Australia selling no more than 160k units per year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "has even rolled passed the security gates "

      Proofread FTW
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ok, to clarify the Toyota sued for hybrid patent infringment thing: they weren't convicted of industrial espionage, they were found to be infringing a patent. Very, very different circumstances:

        * The first is stealing, and requires deliberate action. It's definitely not what happened here.

        * The second can happen inadvertently. Let's say you and I both develop a new widget:
        1. I patent it before you do, but both our patents are filed.
        2. You actually make and market the product, spending lots of money to develop, produce and promote it. I don't; I just sit on my patent.
        3. You're successful in selling the product. I note this, and then note that I have a patent that predates yours.
        4. I sue you and win, even though you did all the legwork.

        Now, maybe I didn't market it because I didn't have the capital (I'm a small guy; let's say you work for a huge company with a massive R&D and marketing budget). I might not have been directly malicious in my suit, but I'd be stupid to not try and make money at your expense. On the other hand, maybe I'm a patent expert who buys or develops and patent lost of stuff all the time, just hoping for someone like you or your company to take the risk.

        The point is: Toyota did the actual legwork, engineering and marketing. The firm who sued them filed a patent and sat on it for years, waiting for the opportune moment to sue. They could have sued when Toyota released the first Prius, but that wouldn't have netted them serious money, so they wait until Toyota is fully committed to hybrids as a strategy and _then_ pull the trigger because Toyota has no real choice but to pay them; the alternative is to scrap a huge, comprehensive engineering and marketing initiative that's already well underway.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Also Toyota is just got sued for the processor technology. It is not all Toyota's great ideas.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Gongrats to the general, after spending $1.2Mill on one car, they have achieved 40 miles on battery alone, now that just great, but here's the thing, for that kind of money i'd would have gotten the Veyron.

        BTW, just buy that Prius technology from Toyota, and lets get this over with.

        GM fan boys bring it on
      • 6 Years Ago
      What idiotic comments replete of any knowledge of research and development costs.

      Here's a figure for ya: Did you know that Hyundai spent a quarter of a billion dollars in R&D on the last Accent alone.
      The Genesis was a half-billion dollars.

      $1.2 million is a piss in my backyard, which I regularly do since I have 4 women in the house!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't believe this didn't occur to me before, but doesn't this Malibu look like Doc Brown worked on it? Like the real key to this car is that when it hits 88-mph it can go back in time to when gas was cheap and abundant?

      This whole idea of Lutz giving routine updates can't be good for the development team. Imagine what kind of pressure and rush jobs get done to give Bob something he can tell the public? Its like Hitler asking Verner Von Braun how the V-2 rockets are coming along. It's just not an essential part of the process.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're assuming that Lutz needs facts in order to run his mouth. I don't think that's a requirement of his.
      • 6 Years Ago
      DITTO
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