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Old 02-13-2009, 03:35 PM   #1
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GM eyes fast gains with future Volt models

CHICAGO (Reuters) - General Motors Corp (GM.N) plans to upgrade its upcoming battery-powered Chevy Volt once it launches late next year, far faster than it could overhaul a conventional vehicle, a GM executive said on Tuesday night.

The technology behind the highly-touted all-electric Volt will allow GM to drive improvements to future versions far more quickly after the battery-powered car goes on sale in 2010, Frank Weber, GM's global vehicle line executive for the Volt, said at an event ahead of the Chicago Auto Show.

"This is almost like getting software updates into your car," Weber said. "This is not a mechanical world. This is suddenly you get updates, improvements much more rapidly."

"So, even within a vehicle lifecycle you will see updates that are very significant," he said.

GM, which expects to begin production of the Volt in 2010, has not said when it expects to roll out the second generation of the vehicle, but plans to focus on cutting the size and cost of the battery as a top priority, Weber said.

GM, pledged $13.4 billion of government loans to avert collapse, has not said how long it will take to produce an offshoot of the Volt.

The automaker has a short window to prepare a plan that will demonstrate to the U.S. government that it can be viable. On Tuesday it announced plans to cut 10,000 salaried jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce and impose pay cuts on most remaining U.S. workers.

PRIORITIES
Weber said his priorities included driving down the size and cost of the Volt's lithium-ion battery for future versions.

The 400-pound (181 kg) T-shaped battery pack is expected to be the Volt's most expensive element and most important component. The cells for the battery will be manufactured by Korea's LG Chem (051910.KS), GM said last month.

Weber said GM engineers were not focused on extending the vehicle's range beyond 40 miles, a distance seen as the longest most people would drive the car on a daily basis.

"My goal is not to go from 40 to 60 (miles) in the next generation vehicles," Weber said of the Volt's range. "My expectation is that the battery is equally capable, but they are half the size and half the cost of the batteries that go into the car right now."

The drive system designed by GM for the Volt could be applied across the automaker's entire lineup over time, but that is not something Weber said he envisions now.

"Before we talk about diversification on the portfolio side, there is enough market for a vehicle that provides this level of functionality and performance," he said.

The Cadillac Converj concept car GM shown at the Detroit auto show in January shows the Volt system could work in a higher-cost luxury model, Weber said.

GM's Volt project sets it apart from other automakers that have been developing pure battery electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles, Weber said.

GM believes the Volt's battery-driven system will remain viable over several generations, and battery technology will not progress for some time to a point where pure battery electric vehicles can range hundreds of miles at an affordable price, Weber said.

The automaker has taken great pains to deliver on its plan for a 40-mile pure-battery range for the Volt, down to reducing friction on the tires and the battery drain from electronics such as stereo systems.

GM said on Tuesday Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (GT.N) would provide new tires that have less rolling resistance for the Volt and Bose would produce an optional premium sound system that would weigh less and use less electricity.

GM plans to build about 10,000 Volts in the first year of production and eventually push annual output to about 60,000. The car's battery can be recharged at a standard electric outlet.

GM has said it does not expect to make money on the first generation of the Volt, making its subsequent launches more important for the struggling automaker.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/motori...nnel=0&sp=true
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:48 PM   #2
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interesting . . .
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:04 PM   #3
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Well, this is to be expected. I would have probably pushed for not only making the current battery smaller but also for increasing the range. If they cut the size in half, that means they could double the capacity at its current size perhaps and offer that as an option as well. being able to drive 80 miles on a single charge sure sounds a lot better. What I am wondering is what happens once this takes off? Demand for fuel is going to drop to almost next to nothing in comparison what it is now once GM makes these cheap and affordable. Would that mean prices would have to go up considerably for gas since less would be needed in the vehicles? How much influence does big oil still have over GM and other car manufacturers to keep the battery's at a 40 mile level so there is still the need to buy a full tank of gasoline mroe often? I know I am getting into the conspiracy theory area, however why not focus in improving the distance as well as making the battery smaller and leave it as an option at the very least.. What I read from this message by Ed is that we are not going to see much better numbers beyond 40 miles per charge for a long while. Or at least until Toyota beats it with their battery... And this is without including the influence the oil companies may have on the car companies as well since they will be losing a fortune once these vehicles become affordable and once battery capacity and range increases..
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:31 PM   #4
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Genious, we go from depending on the middle east for oil to asia for batteries. Just wow. This car doesnt change anything.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:27 PM   #5
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Genious, we go from depending on the middle east for oil to asia for batteries. Just wow. This car doesnt change anything.
GM will make the batteries for the Volt themselves. They even have plans for a battery plant in Michigan. At first it was thought that the batteries would be imported, but they saw advantages for making them in-house.

This car changes quite a bit............
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:53 PM   #6
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Genious, we go from depending on the middle east for oil to asia for batteries. Just wow. This car doesnt change anything.
OMG, that is some real optimism there. I for one am quite optimistic about what lies ahead for GM, and think they are getting on the right track for a 21st century car market. Not a big fan of the Volt, but it is one of the bettter looking cars out there for electric. I will support them, it just seems like the American thing to do IMO.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
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You be optimistic, I'll be realistic. I was responding to what IS in that short blurb about the Volt. Is an electric powered vehicle great, yes. Its wayyyyy past due, they and other domestic manufactures did a poor job of looking toward the future. Now they are paying the price. But it does not make sense to me that they are yet depending on a non "domestic" source for the power yet again. Now Dragoneye has said that has changed, if so then hooray for that. I still dont understand how we could put a man on the moon but have all this difficulty with figuring out issues at hand.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:50 PM   #8
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You be optimistic, I'll be realistic. I was responding to what IS in that short blurb about the Volt. Is an electric powered vehicle great, yes. Its wayyyyy past due, they and other domestic manufactures did a poor job of looking toward the future. Now they are paying the price. But it does not make sense to me that they are yet depending on a non "domestic" source for the power yet again. Now Dragoneye has said that has changed, if so then hooray for that. I still dont understand how we could put a man on the moon but have all this difficulty with figuring out issues at hand.
Wayyyyy over due! Would you sell cars that people don't buy. We the consumer decided what cars we would buy and it wasn't fuel efficient cars after the gas prices went back down. My point being is there is no one entity to put blame here. We are all at fault here, and really need to stop blaming any one thing on the problems we are in, and fix it. I think that is what GM is trying to do, at least that is my oipinion, so I will optimistically keep supporting them. If we are to keep bashing GM or the big 3, then I would suggest look in the mirror and you might just see that part of the blame is staring you right back in the face. We fell together, now we need to get back up together. This is all just my opinion!
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:04 PM   #9
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So the reason imports are now outselling domestics is what, horsepower? They built better quality autos that also were more fuel efficient and did all of this for cheaper costs.
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:19 PM   #10
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So the reason imports are now outselling domestics is what, horsepower? They built better quality autos that also were more fuel efficient and did all of this for cheaper costs.
Why are you here then?
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:28 PM   #11
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Honda doesnt build Camaros.:middlefinger:
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:58 PM   #12
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:37 PM   #13
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So what if batteries might be imported from Asia? You don't have to replace the battery every few hundred miles with another one. Its a 1 time deal for each car, then it gets recharged with electricity produced here.
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So the reason imports are now outselling domestics is what, horsepower? They built better quality autos that also were more fuel efficient and did all of this for cheaper costs.
And what does that have to do with electric cars?
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:58 PM   #14
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This kinda scares me... it seems to have become a common situation in the consumer electronics industry to ship products that haven't been tested thoroughly enough with the idea that they can just update the software/firmware later to fix any issues. I really hope this doesn't happen with the car industry.
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