That's how Michael Simcoe, GM's executive director for NA exteriors, described the Chevy Bolt EV concept, which made a surprise appearance at the Detroit Auto Show today. While there was talk of a 2017 production debut, this is for sure a concept vehicle. But that means the ideas behind the vehicle are perhaps more important than the details. For example, no one is talking about what size battery might appear in a production Bolt, but Simcoe would talk about how rapid progress in battery improvements made it possible for GM to make the bold Bolt declaration that promises 200 miles and a price tag of around $30,000 (after incentives).But if the Bolt makes it to market, it won't be until 2017 (as rumored) or later, is it really fair to promote the car as being available with a federal tax credit? For one thing, credits for plug-in vehicles may change in the next few years, but if the laws stay the same, each manufacturer is limited to 200,000 vehicles before the credits start to decline. … [Read more...] about How real is the Chevy Bolt EV and will it really cost $30,000?
When gms ev
For years now, Detroit’s inability to compete in the increasingly-important hybrid drivetrain has been part of its larger perception issues, driving the view that the American automakers are both less environmentally responsible and technologically adept than their Japanese competitors. GM waorked through a number of underwhelming hybrid technologies, including its BAS “Mild” Hybrid system and its Two-Mode V8 hybrid, while Ford had to back away from Bill Ford’s precipitous promise that it would build 250k hybrids per year by 2010. For a while now, it’s seemed that Ford and GM were content to avoid direct hybrid competition, focusing on “leapfrog” technologies like pure EVs and the Chevy Volt extended-range electric car… but now it seems they’re going back into Prius-style “parallel hybrids” in a big way.When GM canceled its SRX plug-in hybrid last week, we were told that the drivetrain’s long development time … [Read more...] about Ford and GM Playing Hybrid Catchup
Editor’s Note: Legendary auto journalist and TTAC inspiration Jerry Flint died this week. Rather than write a sappy eulogy, we’ve decided to let Jerry speak for himself. What follows is a speech Flint gave to GM employees at Milford Proving Grounds in October 2000. It’s feisty, passionate and deeply insightful… the kind of speech that made Jerry famous, and paved the way for sites like TTAC. Moreover, it shows just how deep GM’s problems run, and serves as a timeless warning against the worst impulses of the business. Rest In Peace Jerry… we will always remember you at your best. [Courtesy: The Olds Zone Hat Tip: Ken Elias]There was an auto executive, he was a very high ranking GM man. You all know his name but I won’t mention it because it might embarrass him. He’s not at General Motors anymore.I once asked this man what he would do if he found himself the chief executive of General Motors. He said, and I … [Read more...] about Jerry Flint (R.I.P) Lays Into GM, October 2000
GM tightened its ties with Volt battery cell provider LG this week, announcing a deal to jointly develop next-generation electric vehicles. GM, along with the other Detroit-based OEMs, have been seeking closer ties with their suppliers, and as the JoongAng Daily reports, this deal helps LG at a time when the Korean conglomerate has been strugglingTwo of LG’s pillars – LG Electronics and LG Display – are floundering. LG missed the boat on smartphones and persistently-low prices of display panels have plagued LG Display.LG officials are hoping the EV project will give it momentum.And though it’s no surprise that GM wants to move into the pure-EV market, its gamble on the extended-electric Volt has backed it into something of rhetorical corner.LG President Cho Juno tells JoongAng that This partnership is strategically important for LG’s future. We fully support GM’s goal to lead the industry in the electrification of the automobile.Of course, the Volt … [Read more...] about GM, LG Team Up For “Single Purpose” EVs. Will Mark Reuss Let His Kids Drive One?
Conventional wisdom and Senator Stabenow have it that the wily Chinese are after precious Americans secrets of how to make new energy cars. Never mind that Ford and GM loudly deny that they have any current plans to build or sell electric vehicles in China. That appears at least half true in the case of GM. GM doesn’t have plans. Its plans are made in China. GM completely outsourced the development of electric vehicles – along with other future technologies – to China.According to the Wall Street Journal, GM and its Chinese joint venture partner SAIC plan “to jointly develop all-electric vehicles and components. Electric vehicles developed under the new agreement would be sold under SAIC and Shanghai GM brands.” A GM press release goes even further: “Under the agreement, teams of SAIC, GM and PATAC engineers will work together to develop key components, as well as vehicle structures and architectures. Vehicles resulting from the … [Read more...] about GM’s Future Is Made In China
The hagiographic article by Bloomberg/Business Week on outgoing General Motors CEO Dan Akerson did exactly what Selim Bingol and the other PR honchos in the RenCen towers wanted it to do. With other news agencies and blogs amplifying the puffery and pulling quotes, the article got GM and Akerson a lot of good press. One of the quotes that got pulled the most was Akerson’s reference to a “moon shot” project giving GM’s next generation extended range electric vehicle a 200 mile range on battery power, based on breakthroughs in battery technology. It may be more of a moon shot than Akerson let on, since GM has cancelled its contract with that battery’s likely supplier, accusing it of “material misrepresentation”.In the Business Week article, it says: Although GM has hinted that it’s working on a next generation of electric vehicle, Akerson says it’s aiming for a compact car that can go 200 miles on a charge and carry a … [Read more...] about Does Dan Akerson Know GM’s 200 Mile Range Battery is Vaporware?
While on the Infiniti JX launch event, I met a gentleman who now works with Nissan. He had a number of interesting stories about his tenure at GM, and what it was like to work on the EV1 program, as well as the technology that he swears was the forerunner to the Chevrolet Volt.According to him, GM engineers in 1991 needed a way to keep the batteries in their GM Storm EV mules charged. A crude range extender was fashioned out of a Honda generator, which would kick in when the batteries dropped below a certain point.The Storm mules were gutted and filled with batteries and a generator and driven around during development. He swears that, with the number of EV1 and Impact (the original GM EV) people left kicking around for the Volt’s development, the range extender idea must have lived on in someone’s mind for a very long time, until it came time to put it in operation.I begged him to grant me an interview, or at least let me quote him, but he wouldn’t indulge me. I was … [Read more...] about Geo Storm EV Mule, The Chevrolet Volt’s Baby Daddy?
Hong Kong, and I speak from experience, is a great place to incorporate, to save taxes, and to throw a cloak of secrecy over financial operations which otherwise would be out in the open. In the case of GM, it is also a great place to save their Korean behinds. In December 2009, GM sold a 1% stake in its Shanghai-GM (SGM) joint venture to the Hong Kong part of its Chinese partner SAIC for the paltry sum of $85m. GM also put its India business into a Hong Kong based joint venture (HKJV). GM provided the India business, SAIC provided cash. As it turned out later, unearthed in Ed Niedermeyer’s seminal oeuvre about the mystery golden share, SAIC also underwrote a $400 million loan. In its darkest hour at the end of 2009, GM was kept afloat by the Chinese. Now, history seems to repeat itself in some convoluted way.Also at the same time in 2009, the Korean Development Bank was trying to gain control of GM-Daewoo. That company, GM’s main source of low-cost, fuel-efficient car … [Read more...] about Companies! Cheap! For You, Special Price: GM’s Hong Kong Dealings
There might be more than a few empty chairs at the Chevrolet Spark EV’s funeral, as the diminutive electric didn’t exactly inflame the passions of the buying public.The Detroit News reports that production of the electrified model ended this past summer, though General Motors only saw fit to mention it last week. Apparently, the fatal shot was fired by the Chevrolet Bolt, which began production in the fall. Two’s a crowd in the GM EV garage, it seems.The Spark EV occupied a low rung on the electric car ladder. With 82 miles of range, an updated Nissan Leaf could keep going long after the Spark went dark. So, it’s no wonder that GM doesn’t feel like investing any further funds into a vehicle that can’t come close to the 238 miles of range offered by the equally subcompact Bolt.When the automaker launched the variant for 2013, the EV’s electric motor provided acceleration and responsiveness that far exceeded anything the stock Spark’s … [Read more...] about The Chevrolet Spark EV Is, Not Surprisingly, Dead
The seemingly ever-moving target that is the hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered automotive future has slowed its coy, teasing dance—at least for a moment today, when GM and Honda announced they will work together on fuel-cell tech. Both automakers already have fuel-cell technologies in the works or out on the road, so there is at least a smidgen of plausibility in their claim to have a next-generation powertrain hit the market as early as 2020.GM’s Project Driveway has deployed 119 hydrogen-fueled vehicles on real roads, while and Honda’s brought 85 cars to customers in Japan and the U.S. We’ve driven the fruits of both companies’ hydrogen labor, the Chevrolet Equinox FCV and Honda’s FCX Clarity, and both drive much like any other electric vehicle: quietly and with little drama. Fuel-cell vehicles combine pressurized hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity, which is used to power an electric drive motor; the only emissions from this process is water … [Read more...] about Honda and GM Announce Collaboration on Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Technology