• Nov 21st 2008 at 4:39PM
  • 14
Last spring, when General Motors starting track testing its first E-Flex powertrain "mule" prototypes, the cars were based on previous-generation Chevrolet Malibu body shells, the Mali-Volts. The engineering team has now moved on to the next generation of its development cars. The latest batch of testers are now using Chevy Cruze bodies, which is appropriate since both the Cruze and Volt share the same Global Compact Architecture (that is the next-gen Delta platform). In many respects, Volt is a Cruze with the ER-EV powertrain and different styling. I spoke with Denise Grey and Tony Posawatz of GM in Los Angeles the other day about progress and there are a number of E-Flex Cruzes now running at Milford. Some of these vehicles will be heading North soon to do cold weather development. In the meantime Bob Lutz has had a chance to drive Cruze based car and talks about it at the Fastlane blog.

[Source: GM FastLane]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Too bad he didn't drive one of these instead of taking his private jet to DC!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I love when snarky jackasses make themselves look like idiots.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lutz didn't go to DC.
        • 6 Years Ago

        I will re-state...

        Too bad this car was not driven to the Congressional Hearings instead of taking the private jet.

      • 6 Years Ago
      These guys are not stupid - I think arrogant is a better term. You will buy what we make or else.

      I think if the feds offer a $7500 incentive to buy electric cars from any of the big 3, we could revive an ailing economy and car manufacturing machine in months. And then pour more money into the elec grid producing/storage.distrubition systems), it would create jobs, energy independence and lower green house omissions. I call it a win/win/win

      I sure hope the Obama and democratic majority live up to their promises. I would be first in line to get one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ Tim($10)...

      "Answer: GM cares more about power and looks and less about efficiency and fuel milage and THAT'S why they are begging congress for OUR tax money."

      1. if GM cared about looks the last gen malibu would not have looked so retarded (granted they made up for it with the current malibu, thank god).
      2. If GM ONLY cared about power and looks, and not about mpgs, then why would they care about making a Tahoe hybrid or a lambda Escalade???

      answer: GM realizes that the current state of the economy and current gas prices will bring people to consider mpgs in their desision. BUT consumers ultimately will buy the vehicle that suits them best (not EVERYBODY could make use of a small car like the Prius or Insight) this is why GM made hybrids in multiple classes, on multiple platforms, and for multiple uses.

      I drive a 2003 suburban, and use every inch of its space and power on a daily basis. Could I downsize to a smart fortwo or a mini E? heck no! GM thought of people like me when they made the Tahoe hybrid!

      Toyota didnt. They just expect everybody to buy a prius.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sam (#7)

      All that is true, however the plant tooling and whole vehicle development time and cost would have been dramatically reduced by sharing bodies. Putting the Volt into it's own "special" body was PRIMARILY for P.R. marketing as GM knows that this is the best way to regain "green street cred" that they lost to Toyo during the EV-1/Prius fiasco.

      Since MOST of the electric drive components were completed in the EV-1, they could have simply integrated them into the new Cruize, add the new range-extender and batteries and they could have these in dealerships in 2009. But GM wanted to make a "Green" RP statement and this has cost them dearly in both time and money.

      Meanwhile, the competition and dying global economy is biting their heels so they come to the gov’t in their private jets to beg for TAXPAYER’S money redistribution and social central planning because they SCREWED UP AGAIN!

      (and world keeps on spinning, spinning, spinning into the future....)
        • 6 Years Ago

        I have to disagree with you there. Everyone who has run the performance modeling on the vehicle, and vehicles of this type, have shown dramatic increases in range by have a more aerodynamic body. The testing even showed aerodynamics having a bigger impact than weight.

        The Cruze would have to be so modified for aerodynamics that it may no longer meet code requirements for visibility and other criteria.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Timmy boy, EVERYONE cares more about styling than aerodynamics. That's why the EV1, Prius, and Insight were unique.

        In fact, luxury makers like BMW, Audi, and MB (those who arguably care MORE about styling and less about fuel economy) make more aerodynamic vehicles than mainstream manufacturers.

        I don't even know why I'm replying to your point. I guess I'm just sick and tired of ignoramuses tossing grenades.

        You say GM KNEW they'd have to go to congress, so that's why they produced the volt.

        So, what you're basically saying is that GM foresaw the current financial crisis, and their response was not to short the market, or even just hedge or take some other action that would have actually prevented some of the losses they're experiencing, but instead they sank billions into the Volt in order to, uh, ask for billions?

        Wow. That's deep, buddy.

        You appear to be so ignorant of the causes of the current crisis that everyone else here can see what an idiot you're being. You obviously don't care about educating yourself enough about the problem to have read anything that anyone other than Tom "Knee-Jerk" Freidman has written on the causes of the Big 3's problems.

        Want to learn about Aero? Hybrids aside, nothing (and no one) is much more aerodynamic than anyone or anything else. Check out Mike Ableson's presentation from the Automotive news green car congress.

        Want to learn about the greater situation and stop bashing just to bash? Read Jack Nerad's commentary on CNN.

        Or try Angus MacKenzie, who also knows a thing or two about cars.

        Or try this gusy from the WSJ, who I don't know but who's got a grip on the situation.

        Or even reading a little of what Autoblog itself writes about the situation.

        I'd suggest autoextremist.com, but you wouldn't be interested.

        We all welcome intelligent commentary, or even intelligent attacks. But guys like you that spew nonsense and venom without any factual basis just make the rest of us (who take the time to be informed) want to poke our eyes out.

        The existence of people with your mindset also explains why we have CAFE.

        And you probably take that as a compliment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Will (#2) said:

        "... have shown dramatic increases in range by have a more aerodynamic body."

        OK Will, why aren't ALL vehicles more aerodynamic in order to make them more efficient?

        Answer: GM cares more about power and looks and less about efficiency and fuel milage and THAT'S why they are begging congress for OUR tax money.

        The Volt exists for ONLY 2 reasons:

        1) greenwashing GM's terrable hummer image in order to lure customers BACK from Toyota.

        2) They KNEW that they would have to go to Congress with hat in hand so they quickly produced the Volt to show that they are "changing".

        THAT'S why an all new car was REALLY designed.

        The sad thing is that people want to BUY Extended Range Electric Cars but GM was so busy SELLING us hummers & SUV that they refused to HEAR about what we really wanted to buy.

        GM should pay for their failure, NOT everyone else though inflating the fiat $ Dollar causing food (and everything else) to cost more.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know, nobody wants the industry to collapse, but these guys at the helm (or at the wheel, as it were) just don't get it. Here's Bob Lutz telling us all about this great car that won't be available for 18 - 24 months, but last week his boss said the company may not make it to the new year-
      They went to DC with their hands out for money... in private planes and without a business plan. Either these guys are stupid or they think we're stupid. If one of their marketing or research departments went to them for funding without a detailed, play-by-play plan they'd be fired.
      No doubt the INDUSTRY is needed. These bozos are NOT! I say let them file ch11, sweep out the old regime, bring the unions back to parity with the industry and bring in new management perhaps from Toyota. Those people have the discipline to do the right thing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think GM should save a few bucks by ditching the Volt body and just making Cruze EVs. (ER-EVs ?)
        • 6 Years Ago
        The reasons for a separate body are optimized aerodynamics to maximize the range of the ER-EV. The reason they didn't use Cruze bodies from the start was a lack of available prototypes since all available parts were being used for Cruze development. Now that they are nearly ready to launch Cruze in Europe and elsewhere, parts are more readily available.

        As for the CTS, it looks nothing like the Volt and is a substantially larger car. None of these options would have made any difference to program timing. The choke point is the battery and range extender system. That development will take the same length of time regardless of which body you put the parts into.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dave, I think you hit the nail on the head. Why didn't they do this all along? Also, since the original Volt looks like the Cadillac CTS, why not use that body as well. Sure would cut down on the projected release date since the cars are already being manufactured! They have some real dumb-asses there at GM! No wonder they're failing.
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