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Bob Lutz has come out and said it again: "I would say there's almost no reasonable doubt in our minds anymore that this is going to work." And that isn't just that the Chevy Volt will work -- it's that it will work on time and as promised. In spite of the difficulties GM has had getting Volt technology up-to-speed within its timeframes, the man upstairs is apparently as confident as ever.

Lutz said that engineers have driven the car to and above its 40-mile pure electric range already. Two companies are still trying to win the lithium-ion battery pack contract, although LG Chem says it has a 3rd-gen unit that's ready to go. Another hurdle is the car's internal combustion range extender starting up, which Lutz described as "noisy and still a little rough."

And of course, it wouldn't be a Lutz piece without him taking a shot at something. Speaking of Toyota's delay in rolling out lithium-ion batteries (although there could be another reason for that), Lutz said Toyota should have faced a bit more scrutiny for that decision. "They told the world that GM was taking a huge risk, that lithium ion batteries were prone to explode and that we were putting our customers at risk and that they would stay with the tried and true. When it comes to Toyota, let me tell you, the press has a short memory." After all of this, if the Volt doesn't show up on time and as promised, GM will need to retool one of its plants to make humble pies.


[Source: Reuters UK]


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  • 58 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sadly, the Volt will suck no matter what happens, UNLESS GM buys the technology outright from Japan or S. Korea, which I have no doubt they will in the end (if they haven't already), and then will shamelessly brag about "GM innovation and such" and "American ingenuity".

      It's just like the G6 coup with the hardtop convertible. I knew there was no way GM engineered it themselves, I just KNEW. Sure enough, the entire roof and mechanism is imported as a whole unit from Germany.

      Sigh... I just have no faith in GM to do anything well, and that's ONE reputation they have earned!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree, with them it always seems to be "this time its different, we built this car right", but it turns out to be the same old poop recycled. I work as a technician at Carmax, so I work on all the latest used cars on a daily basis. I just last week had a 2007 Equinox that was leaking a LOT of oil from both the front of the engine oil pan, and from the 4wd transfer case. Plus the wipers would just die intermittently. And the Malibu Maxx is quite possibly one of the worst cars on the road-torn suspension bushings, failing electric assist steering motors, rotors rusting so badly they fall apart, etc....all by 30k miles.

        I can't think of any other vehicles foreign or domestic that can equal these kinds of problems. Yes, VWs used to be utter junk 5 or so years ago, but they're not so bad now. Kia still has its fair share of problems too, but they haven't had the 100 years of practice that GM has had.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Sure enough, the entire roof and mechanism is imported as a whole unit from Germany."

        GM, like all companies, use suppliers. The G-6 convertable top was engineered by Karmann, who also engineers the tops for Mercedes Benz. The unit is made in Plymouth, Michigan.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, The Other Bob, I read differently, which is why I wrote what I wrote:

        Karmann assembles the top module at its own factory and delivers the entire unit to GM's Orion, Michigan, plant. The modules are then inserted right into the assembly line to the designated car. Pontiac says this process cuts down on manufacturing complexity and makes the car stronger. They say it also allows them to dedicate up to 25 percent of factory production to the convertible as demand rises.

        Link: http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/deep-drive-2006-pontiac-g6-convertible-cga.htm

        I am impressed though. The roof is INSTALLED in Michigan. That's worthy of high praise for GM's technical prowess and skill.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice shot at the end, toolbox.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can someone tell me why the Volt has 21 inch rims? Shouldnt a car meant to be efficient have smaller wheels with lower resistant tires? Im not saying 14 inch wheels but I think 17 inch should be fine.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're missing the key point:

        "Model: Chevrolet Volt Concept"
        • 6 Years Ago
        Its a wacky car. Besides, it might need big rims because something needs to be mounted on the wheel hub.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, Johnny, can you tell me where you've seen a production model Volt with 21" wheels?
        • 6 Years Ago
        looks like they have been hangin out with Gary Fisher, smoking the tweeds and riding his new 29er's.

        that size tire would give a circumference of around 29.4"
        and require only 685 revs per mile
        it would still be narrow enough to give low rolling resistance.

        a 205 50 17 would turn 804 times per mile
        • 6 Years Ago
        RE: tire rolling resistance

        Width is not the only factor in rolling resistance.

        sidewall flexion is an issue, and generates heat, as well as the flex of the tread blocks due to sidewall compression.

        Low sidewall tires are stiffer, flex less, and less drag and heat generation.

        They also tend to have harder rubber compounds, and tend to have less grip. They could be compensating with a longer, and narrower contact patch of a narrow section 21" diameter wheel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...

        The one you're referring to is only conceptual, we have yet to see the final product.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The actual volt will probably be a good deal uglier than the current Prius, BUT if they could make a very lightweight 21" wheel it would be more efficient. Less sidewall = less rolling resistance, which is why we're stuck with them on most new cars. Just to get EPA numbers up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I always get confused. Why do you guys use that picture of that nice car design when talking about the volt and then when showing the spy shots this ugly malibu look-a-like car shows up.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That malibu you keep seeing is just a mule for the powertrain. They just dropped the system into the malibu to drive it around since they don't have another body for it. You will see it in the actual production vehicle (at least production intent) before too long if this is going to actually launch in 2010.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I see, we don't know what this supposed "Volt" will look like in production form? It's probably going to be an electric version of the Cobalt. And Bob Lutz is saying it will be on time...? Sounds like the new GnR album will be here by then too...? (and I hear the Beatles are going to re-unite) ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Let's hope the production one looks better. If it's as ugly as the concept than it already has no chance.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "I remember constantly hearing about the domestics recalling vehicles but I have yet to hear (I'm talking about televised media here) anything similar regarding the imports."

      Have you considered the possibility that it happens a lot more with domestic vehicles? No, I thought not!
        • 6 Years Ago
        /sighs.

        A blatant 'no sh*t' applies to the first part of your statement.

        You didn't have to answer for me, I have taken it into consideration, but perhaps you've missed the end of 07 where Toyota was #1 in recalls, until Volks surpassed them with a recall regarding the New Beetle, I believe.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That happens when you sell the most vehicles of anyone on earth. I'd be more interested in why GM doesn't recall their faulty speedometers, or go bakc and fix all their trucks from the 90s that rusted out at the rear shock mounting point.
      • 6 Years Ago
      lol this is taking long.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think they should offer two battery types. One that is more affordable NiMH with less miles on battery and the more expensive lithium ion type that offers more miles on a battery.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "When it comes to Toyota, let me tell you, the press has a short memory."

      Even if you're a Toyota fan, you've got to admit that this one's true. There's unwarranted bias in the media towards the imports. I remember constantly hearing about the domestics recalling vehicles but I have yet to hear (I'm talking about televised media here) anything similar regarding the imports. The frame-rot issue on the last-generation Tacoma has been linked to the death of two individuals, yet we haven't heard anything about it. -_-

      This sadly also applies to outlets I respect. They'll report every little piece of bad news regarding the domestics in their economy segment but I've never heard them say anything negative regarding any foreign brands.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Man, so true, it's nothing but rainbows and teddy bears when it comes to VW.

        BWAHAHAHAHAHA. I love the comment section for gems of gross generalization such as yours.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Matt,

        I understand that, but I just think it's an opportunity he could also be talking about other great GM products either already on the lots or coming down the pipeline. He's adding unnecessary pressure on GM in my own opinion. Lutz keeps talking about Volt, Volt, Volt like that's all they have. What about their fuel cell vehicles? What about their other upcoming hybrids? That's not all their is in their corner, but the way Lutz is talking, he may as well just come right out and tell the public "well, this is it for us. If it fails, then we fail" because that's what--at least on the surface--exactly how it looks. But you and I both know that's not true. Lutz should shed some light on other projects and let people know the Germans and Japanese aren't the only ones working on other future innovations. Hope that makes sense.

        By the way, I speak on behalf of the imports and am in no way a fan of domestics, although I have been continually impressed by GM's strides over the past few years enough to seriously take a look at a few of their vehicles.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I think I remember hearing something about VW's latest recall on the news"

        I don't recall replying to recalls but rather ur statement:

        "This sadly also applies to outlets I respect. They'll report every little piece of bad news regarding the domestics in their economy segment but I've never heard them say anything negative regarding any foreign brands."

        I've heard many stories in economic segments about VW being pinched by the dollar and contemplating not bringing the golf over, and of how expensive their cars are vs the competition. Actually, damn near every outlet, magazine, or car show will highlight that fact :).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Just to clarify something regarding the Yaris - by "anywhere" I meant medias, Internet or not. I know I pointed out I heard it from a number of owners already but who knows, you can never make something clear enough here it seems.
        • 6 Years Ago
        'by "anywhere" I meant medias, Internet or not. '

        'medias' isn't a word. Media is plural of medium.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Toyota is extremely good at making things disappear."

        Oh, like those rusting Yaris nobody's talking about?

        Yes, some owners are already reporting structural rust on their vehicles, believe it or not. The problem appears to be limited, but regardless, I've never heard of it anywhere. I guess Toyota's taking care of it appropriately.

        I get laughs from hearing Nissan salesmen badmouthing Toyota, especially well, because they're using their hybrid technology in the Altima. XD
        • 6 Years Ago
        Toyota is extremely good at making things disappear. They pay their lawyers, their PR and marketing individuals a lot of money to make it so. This is--or at least, should be--pretty common knowledge.

        That said, I'm not entirely confident that this will work. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If your product is really that good, you shouldn't have to hype it up. We all know what's riding on this. Instead of Lutz carrying on and on and on about two or three vehicles that are going to "dominate" its competitors (Volt, ZR1 and Camaro) perhaps he should bring a bit more attention to some of their other worthy vehicles, like the Buick Enclave (a beautifully done vehicle and I'm not even a fan) or the Malibu (better than the Aura, but still not winning a large number of people over, although if things continue on this path, the next gen. definitely will). The more you talk, the bigger the shame face should you fail. At this point, the technology is really unproven to the general public, there are a number of conflicts with upper management, the development keeps starting and stopping and starting up again because of other obstacles. I'd really like to believe this is going to work, but all of the above have spelled disaster for a number of individuals and companies before.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I could not of said it better. This is still a very biased society towards the domestics, and peoples own ignorance is the only thing to blame.
          • 6 Years Ago
          Competition is good, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't drive anything GM pre-2004... But seriously? Toyota getting a free pass on recall news and such isn't exactly something I appreciate seeing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Aprime,

        Or the whole "my Tacoma/Tundra's accelerating without my foot on the gas pedal." Ironically, that practically killed Audi (yeah I know, different time, different things going on), but a week after it's announced, where is it? Even though most companies who've been involved in this situation before will argue there's nothing to prove of the incidents, there's absolutely nothing going on about it. It's business as usual.

        @tankd0g,

        Basic business 101: Put a spin on a "minor issue", so if it gets passed all the people you pay to keep it a "minor issue" or make it go away, and it becomes a "bigger issue", you can say you were already pro-active in taking care of your customers' "minor issue".

        Basic business 101 part 2: Get customers in the door to purchase your product by telling them what they want to hear, even if it's stretched, false, or misleading information. Sound familiar? Here's looking at you, Prius.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't recall seeing anything negative in the major press (this doesn't take into account reputation and Internet press, but televised media and sometimes newspapers, though they rarely give this kind of news a lot of importance, usually it's just a column, while televised media will spin it until the horse has been beaten to death - and I'm mostly referring to recall news, now, as many of us know, recalls don't equate to unreliability, but average Joe thinks it does... Or that it's a poor excuse to get your ass into their showrooms as my step-father believes.

        I think I remember hearing something about VW's latest recall on the news, though. But still, major Toyota 200K plus recalls? Never see any news regarding them on TV, heck, not even in the newspapers.

        Anyway, enjoy my comment section all you want, I'm not going to set it to private - I don't succumb to the sayings of a troll.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Red:

        I think Lutz' idea behind these kinds of things is to shed a little insight, in car-guy speak nonetheless, regarding the project.

        Bob KNOWS we are excited for the Camaro and ZR1, and everybody's looking at the Volt, so he KNOWS we'll eat up any information on it we can. This is part PR, and part giving insight into future products, because he is like us, and seems to genuinely get uniquely excited about every major new launch.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You misunderstood what I said.

        By economy segment, I wasn't referring to the automakers' (why would Toyota be facing negative news in that regard, anyway?), but rather news' show financial/economy segment.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hopefully it can make it here before the world turns into the world of Mad Max...
      BLBdriver
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sigh... Yes of course the Volt *will* work but the question is at what cost. It's a nifty car but it's also a deeply overcomplicated version of a system whose time is here.

      I think GM majorly erred by making the design so dependent on battery technologies that are expensive and exotic. The carmakers' battery fixation has slowed true series hybrid development to a halt.

      Most drivers do not care how many miles their car can go "all electric" as long as it gets great gas mileage when the combustion engine is working. I know my family and I wouldn't. All-electric mode is cool.... but we're not going to shell out $40k+ for that feature.

      Does anyone know for sure whether the Volt motor is DC brushless or AC induction?
      • 6 Years Ago
      so, how did they solve the lithium ion batteries problem? there are numerous pictuer of a lithium ion batteries exploding in notobooks and cellphones and casing injury and death. what is Bob Lutz going to say about those?

        • 6 Years Ago
        They are putting them in unobtanium boxes
        • 6 Years Ago
        You should do your homework.

        (I'm not going to do it for you)
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Aprime,

        As someone who works with laptop computers, and also has dabbled a bit in RC aircraft that also use Lithium Polymer batteries... I've done some homework.

        And YES, Lithium batteries combust violently. Not necessarily EASILY, but if it does start to combust, it does so spectacularly, and dangerously.

        Lithium is in Column 1A of the periodic table, and combusts with oxygen VERY easily if exposed. Another column 1A element is Hydrogen, and it's affinity for oxygen creates water on this planet, without which life could not exist. So, I would say that the chemistry is fairly settled.

        Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidinium, and Cesium all have affinity to oxygen, and violently react with water, some even igniting the liberated hydrogen gas.

        Granted that is only if the enveloping seal is ruptured, and exposed to air or water.

        But c'mon... this application is talking about CARS... 3-4000lb projectiles travelling at respectable rates of speed. Physics can cause ruptures to battery arrays when a car gets into an accident. It would turn a bad accident into a MUCH MUCH WORSE HAZMAT INFERNO, at about 1500 degrees F, and combust any and all surrounding materials, and be very hard to extinguish.

        So, yeah, I am a little bit skeptical of driving around a pile of lithium batteries at highway speeds.
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