• Jul 10, 2008



With the Feds eager to keep raising the bar on CAFE standards, and apparently doing so based on proposed future technologies, General Motors Corp. bluntly told federal regulators not to count on the Chevrolet Volt, or other planned plug-in hybrids, when proposing new rules. GM is maintaining the position that those vehicles will be built in such low numbers through 2015, that they won't make a significant enough impact on the fleet. As it stands, Chevy plans to be build 10,000 Volts in 2011 (the first year of production), and 60,000 the following year... and meeting those numbers is highly dependent on outside suppliers for battery and technology delivery (let's hope they don't mimic the problems Toyota is having with the Prius battery supply). It was earlier this year when the NHTSA proposed a 25 percent increase in fuel economy rules from 2011 through 2015. It has been estimated that meeting those standards would cost GM about $17.3 billion. Although GM isn't trying to skirt tougher regulations, it is their goal to set "reasonable perspectives" with regulators. At a time when GM is struggling to survive (and they are not alone), the CAFE noose just may need to be loosened a bit.

[Source: Freep]



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  • 36 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is not a serious effort. Half measures from here to forever while the GM board of directors hopes a new President will put the price of oil back to a buck a gallon.

      Dream on.

      This isn't the answer, cars like the Chevy Beat maybe, but this sure the hell isn't it. Its built out of unobtainium and wishful thinking. This monster is only to draw big dollars from the next administration.

      You will probably never know anyone who actually ends up owning one of these pigs. It's turning into the worst sort of halo vehicle.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Let them sink since they will be moving production to Mex & China anyways.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No help with CAFE? Then why again are they building the Volt, instead of the RWD Impala, Monte Carlo and Camaro Z28?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "It has been estimated that meeting those standards would cost GM about $17.3 billion."

        Uh yeah...stop giving away those bloody gas credit rebates and maybe that $17.3 billion in R&D won't look so bad any more. Where are all the brain at GM these days?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Like any business GM will make what they can sell - that's what got them into trouble with the SUVs and pickups. It was great when the demand was hot, but customer demand can turn on a dime. GM can't - even if they were paying attention.

        GM needs the Volt because that's where the market of demand is headed in the long term if you trust predicted oil prices. It's also a technology that GM needs understand and get into before they're left behind because EVs & hybrids are here to stay. GM would be stupid not to enable themselves to play in that market by developing this product. Hence they are doing the Volt.

        The reason GM is probably making this statement is, yes, selling 60K Volts isn't going to help their CAFE very much. Take a look at their total volume of car sales in 2007. GM sold 1,489,413 cars according to their sales figures. The US CAFE requirement for cars is 27.5 mpg so lets assume all those cars averaged out to that target.

        Now, let's see what happens if 60K of those cars were Volts. Take 60K cars out at 27.5 mpg and add back 60K cars at "infinite" mpg (The US hasn't determined how an EV with gas assist will be rated, but lets be recklessly optimistic here). Here is the government's CAFE calculation:
        http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CARS/rules/CAFE/overview.htm
        Using the simple calculation, GMs car fleet average rises to 28.7 mpg with the Volt. A meager 1.2 mpg improvement while idiotically pretending a Volt is rated with infinite mpgs.

        When you consider the CAFE increases being considered, clearly Volt sales "won't make a significant enough impact on the fleet" CAFE. Fuel economy improvements and overhaul across the entire line of products, not 60K Volts, would get to the CAFE targets.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Nightcrawler. CAFE sets an arbitrary number based on what they THINK is possible with available technology. However, CAFE numbers are weighted by sales, so they set a rediculous goal based on the 50mpg+ or so GMs monkeys are saying the Volt will do and then GM has to sell nothing by Volts to meet that goal. This will not happen. If ever Volt sold represents a loss, and all they sold was Volts, they might as well quit now while they are ahead (well less behind in GMs case).
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's because GM makes cars not just for you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't get what you're driving at. Certainly the RWD Impala, Monte Carlo and Camaro Z28 wouldn't help with CAFE, so why would they built them? Maybe it was just sarcasm that flew right over my head.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My point was, build the cars that people want to buy. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a plug-in hybrid, but not so crazy about one built off an ecomomy car platform (Delta = Chevy Cobalt) for $40,000+.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Uh yeah...stop giving away those bloody gas credit rebates and maybe that $17.3 billion in R&D won't look so bad any more. Where are all the brain at GM these days?


        That is Chrysler you fool, god I hate this site sometimes
        • 6 Years Ago
        You guys kill me.

        1. GM doesn't want these taken into account because that would just mean higher CAFE standards - something GM definitely does not want.

        B. GM already knows there not going to sell many of these at $40,000, nor do they want to. The Volt is for marketing/PR only. At the number they're going to sell it will be meaningless. Plus then they can say "we build hybrids but the consumer doesn't want them. That's why we should sell more high profit Tahoes and Silverados."

        Meanwhile Toyota cranks the $%^& out of Prius production. Don't fall for their spin.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The reason we don't get the fuel efficient diesels in our cars like the ones we "send" to Europe is that they won't meet US emissions standards.
      FWIW, most of those were built in Europe, not here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nissan and Renault have an agreement with Project Better Place to produce BEVs for Israel. Nissan will supply the battery and Renault will provide the chassis. These two companies will lead the parade to bring mass produced BEVs to market. Expect to see an example in the U.S. next year and production in 2010.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Israel is about 8500 square miles. And if you live in Israel, you probably don't want to visit any of the neighboring countries. That is why BEVs may work there, but won't work here (not yet, at least).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel
      • 6 Years Ago
      How come it is so hard to have fuel efficient American vehicles? They have been sending Cadillacs, Chryslers, Dodge, and Jeeps to England and Europe for a few years now and they have diesel engines and better fuel economy-wise gas engines than here in US/Canada. So, how come they can't just use those engines here? Especially as I think the bulk are actually made in USA.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not selling trucks and SUVs (happening now) will help GM reach CAFE regs. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't the entire point of CAFE to spur the development of vehicles like this? If it doesn't help automakers like GM to make cars like this then what's the incentive?

      Maybe instead of squeezing automakers American and foreign by trying to meet these ridiculous and arbitrary standards and threatening more loss of profits and jobs it would be getter if our government gave incentive to people to actually buy cars that return high fuel economy already. Like not taxing corporation's vehicles that average 20mpg overall and having no sales tax on them for customers that purchase them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        But that would require the government to not make money....

        TriShield, great comment.

        There's a fine line between penalizing poor behavior and rewarding good behavior. Each, on their own, can get out of hand quite easily. If a good balance can be found by raising mileage standards, but in turn reward those who go above and beyond the minimum, I would imagine this would do some part in helping technology move along.

        Life isn't too much different than when we were kids, for example:

        A child comes home with a lot of homework. The parent tells the kid that if he doesn't finish his homework, he will be grounded and loose his allowance. The kid will most likely either do his homework fast and poorly to meet the goal due to fear of being grounded, or the kid will fight and bicker with the parent and most likely not get the homework done.

        The parent can also say that if you get your homework done tonight, you'll get to have a few extra hours of 'play' time this weekend, if you don't, you need to help for an extra hour or two around the house/yard with chores.

        Which one do you think will result in a better solution? I know it sounds incredibly stupid, but as I get older, I realize that things still operate the same way. It's just that the consequences are greater and the amount of money is greater.
        • 6 Years Ago
        When did the federal government impose a sales tax?
        • 6 Years Ago
        CAFE doesn't get tight enough quick enough to force people into cars like this. Are you saying you would like that TriShield?

        I think that CAFE making the minimum buy-in for a new car to be $40K would be counter-effective and would turn the US into a Cuba-situation where everyone buys used cars and thus new emissions standards don't help at all since they aren't retroactive.

        2004m3driver:
        Yes, that was fixed. BTW, it was opened on purpose, but mainly to spur UPS, FedEx, et al. to update their fleets.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Did they ever fix that loop hole where if you own a business and buy a car that weighs over 5000(not sure) you get a big honking tax write off. I know my uncle did that because he made fun of my dad for buying an RX when he could have gotten a Navigator for about the same price after jumping through the loophole. Even at the dealers they would suggest it to you. It was partially because of bullcrap like that we saw such a huge surge in luxo barges.

        Anyways, if fuel efficient vehicles got tax incentives then they would sell ever faster than they are selling now. I doubt that would happen.
      HotRodzNKustoms
      • 6 Years Ago
      What I got from the article is that GM is saying to the Fed not to count on magical gas saving ideas that may not actually work at all, and jack up CAFE because theoretically cars will be able to run 1,000mpg hybrid that runs on hope, smugness, and hypocritical smugness (which is like nitrous to this new car I have developed and yes I'm looking at you guy driving the black Prius 100mph today down the 5)

      So just because my theory has cars using only 1 gallon of gasoline for every 1,000 miles does not mean you should raise CAFE standards to 500mpg because it just might not work as planned
      • 6 Years Ago
      Glad to see GM has a massive amount of confidence in its breakthrough technology!
        • 6 Years Ago
        They never said they didn't have confidence, they said that the targets were unreasonable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "As it stands, Chevy plans to be build 10,000 Volts in 2011 (the first year of production)"

      You jacked up that sentence.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess this leave open the market for Honda & Toyota.

      Or they may not meet these goals with the Volt & P-HEVS vehicles, but with small displacement engines & compact cars. The CAFE goals are 7yrs away and if they don't meet the requirements Congress will scale them back like they have done in the past.
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