Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chelsea Tells it like it is, and starts a great comment war

For those of you unfamiliar with the writing of Chelsea Sexton, her blog on GM's creation of a Volt Customer Advisory Board is a must read.

First of all, no one not named Dan Neil is as articulate as Chelsea on the subject of plug-in cars. Her command of language is something many professional writers would envy. And those who have heard her speak on the subject of plug-in cars would say that was her forte. I won't argue that, she's very good at both.

I wanted to send this out to my readers because of the remarkable turn around GM has taken in their EV program. As Chelsea states, "The Volt team is intensely earnest, and I’ve seen several of the executives go giddy over it. But those things will not be enough; the last generation of EV’s didn’t suffer for lack of good cars or sincerity."

Chelsea makes the case for a truly new and improved GM, at least as far as the electric vehicle is concerned.
From crushed EV1s to the remarkable Volt! Solid proof that GMs current management "gets it".

Be sure to read the comments. About half way through, there is some pretty funny repartee from readers assuming various personna.


  1. I have driven the Volt, albeit a few months ago now. The outside of it is uninspired and its price point in my view is off. Their representatives are selling the car based on their "range extender" which in effect makes it just another hybrid....a so what....An EV with a generator....a gas car.

  2. I have to disagree with Anonymous. The Volt is much more than a typical hybrid. All other hybrids available today require gasoline in oder to operate. The point of the Volt is that you can drive on renewable kWh for most, if not all, of your daily driving. There is a huge difference in the two technologies.

  3. So, Paul, explain the difference in the two technologies in brief simple language that a non-technical potential buyer can understand.

  4. Sure... The Nissan LEAF is a 100% electric car with a range of about 100 miles. There is no internal combustion engine of any kind on the LEAF.

    The GM Volt is an electric car with a smaller battery pack capable of about 40 miles range. However, there is a small internal combustion engine that powers a generator that makes electricity for those trips further than 40 miles. Since some 70% of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day, they would use no gas for most of their trips. Only when they exceeded the capacity of the battery pack would the gas engine be used.

  5. What about the recent announcement that the gas engine is really coupled to the drive wheels!? It' not just a "range extender" genset.

  6. @w.hopkins -

    That the ICE is coupled to the drive wheels still makes the ICE a "range extender." The ICE can only charge, can provide current directly to the traction motor, and can drive the wheels directly... or any combination of those. Either way you slice it, the ICE is used as a range extender. For the first ~40 miles the ICE does not run no matter how hard you mash the throttle. Full performance on battery alone. When the battery is "depleted" the range extender does it's thing, and the car decides how best to use the ICE. Driving the wheels directly can save as much as 15% of the energy (otherwise wasted in charging losses).

  7. Scott and/or Darrell - Are both the Volt and the Leaf on the market now?

  8. Almost. We're selling the LEAF now, I've personally sold 20, but delivery will start in December. The Volt should start selling within the next two months.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Thanks Paul and Chelsea you are the new "Rockastars" If we want a planet that is healthy going to need more Rockers!

  11. I appreciated Chelsea's remarks. However, remember the Cadillac Diesel? Early unreliability & GM gave minimal backup support. Since US has invested in GM, I only hope that their focus is on RELIABILITY. Years of reading Consumer Reports' designation (by its reader/owners) of mediocre or poor reliabilty of GM cars (Ford & Chrysler, too) means I'll wait a few years to see how the VOLT holds up, before thinking about purchasing one.

  12. So, how much extra weight does the gasoline motor add, and how much further could the car be driven without it? If most of the trips are less than 40 to 70 miles, then wouldn't a person be better off with an all electric vehicle, and join a car share program for those few times when a longer distance is necessary? How much does the extra gas motor add to mechanical unreliability?

  13. Gary-
    You make an excellent point. The Volt would be able to travel farther in EV only mode without the extra weight of the ICE and gas tank. And even farther if you replaced those components with Li-ion batteries. Then you have a regular EV like the LEAF. However, GM doesn't think people will want to borrow/trade/rent a car for their rare long trips. I somewhat agree with them. I think that most people today won't want to "hassle" with that. Think of all the people who drive SUVs around because once a year they need to drive 7 people or go off roading.

    I think that once people start driving cars like the Volt, they'll realize how rarely it is that they drive over 100 miles and will being to transition to pure EVs.

    The ICE in the volt has all of the regular maintenance of a standard vehicle (though not as often), driving the cost of ownership up further.

    Of course there are always the early adopters who will go straight for a pure EV like the LEAF, not wanting to hassle with all of the complications of the internal combustion engine (10 times more moving parts than an electric motor!)

  14. Paul, How is it that you "personally sold 20 LEAF's"? Do you work directly for Nissan as a LEAF dealer?

  15. Yes, See my previous blog from a couple months ago.

    I now work for Santa Monica Nissan.

  16. At home OR the RANGE? Things re: the VOLT are getting curiouser and curiouser. I've spoken with a number of people who seem to have lots of information on the Volt -- but the information seems to be disappearing like a Halloween Ghost.

    First a confession -- I am a very satisfied Prius owner -- so you can accurately assume that my wife and I are on the side of the Angels. We Drove the Leaf a couple of weeks ago at the Alternate Energy car show.

    It was nice -- except for the (to me) obscuring forward and down vision with the Hood. In fact when driving it through a narrow tiny-cone defined course -- I knocked a bunch of them over - causing considerable consternation -- because I couldn't SEE the tiny cones over the not-so-tiny intrusive and bulbous HOOD.

    But friends of mine - also Prius owners -- are planning to BUY a Leaf because they feel it fits their LOCAL driving profile.

    But the VOLT -=- Each time I've inquired about it and its distance abilities -- I seem to find that its mileage endurance keeps shrinking.

    At first I was told and READ -- that it would go "up to" as much as one hundred miles --- depending on speed, acceleration and all the other good things that happen when driving -- and THEN the small (how small?), I'm not sure) will take over and start providing electric power to the drive motor(s).

    At first I heard/read that it would be able to travel a few HUNDRED miles working like a Diesel locomotive with the gas guzzler (or in the case of a locomotive which is a Diesel guzzler) providing sufficient muscle to keep on cruising until the GAS ran out -- which could be replaced at your nearest gas station.

    THEN I was told -- by a nice PR fellow at the Alt Energy show who was manning the Volt booth -- that it "could" go something over one HUNDRED miles. REALLY -- said I.

    So would a GM and/or VOLT Guru give me more serious information about its probable or possible range?

    Since we live in California -- where you might have to drive FIFTY miles to go to the bathroom (I'm fussy about bathrooms) I would ONLY buy a car of AnY PERSUASION that could get me from Newport Beach to the far reaches of Malibu -- AND BACK -- or -- since I write about Electronics, Cameras and such -- To Lost Wages for CES. Where I would not have to worry about getting back because I can re-fuel or re-charge -- IF the car could go that far without a tow.

    Even the hot and lovely TESLA which Bill Maher owns -- couldn't get Bill there in his new car.

    George Margolin

  17. Each and every modern woman lovesBurberry Scarf to own at Burberry Scarf least a few designer purses. Too bad that most of Coach Outlet Online the timesCoach Outlet Online such Coach Outlet Online Store bags come with a very high price tag, so someCoach Outlet Online Store ladies cannot afford buying at least one. There has to be a cheaper way to look good. Indeed, smartCoach Outlet Store Online women can manage to be fresh and col without spending a lot of money. Leather goods manufacturers suchCoach Outlet Online as Coach handbags are an Coach Outlet Store Online excellent option Louis Vuitton Bags and significantly cheaper than a Prada, Gucci or Fendi. Louis VuittonCoach Factory Outlet Here you'll be able to read a few tricks that will allow you to enjoy your style to the full. Smart ladies always chase promotions. Coach Factory Outlet If youCoach Factory Outlet Online look in the shops during the discount periods, you'll notice a lot of women struggling to obtain those items Coach Factory Outlet Online they have been logged in Coach Factory for over the past every year, and which now are Coach Factory Online for sale at incredibly discounted prices. Coach Factory, which are not expensive,Coach Factory but not quite cheap either, can be bought with important discounts when the collections get older, and when fashion changes. Coach Factory Online Even so, you can buy such discounted bags today, because the fashion always returns after a few years, so you'll have the chance to be in vogue withCoach Factory very little money invested. Bright colors are a good choice for bags. A sparkling purse can make others notice you out of the crowds. Yet, you need to watch yourself in order ofCoach Factory Online keeping the number of colors you wear at a time at a maximum of three. You don't want to look like an exotic bird, after all.

  18. Regardless of man's age, hermes belt mens watches present both classically refined and vintage inspired. Despite searching opulent, michael kors stretch and play with their color hues from black pave crystals adorning round bezel to white ceramic bezel embellish with numeric engraving.

  19. To get unlimited hermes belt access to and our NYTimes apps, you’michael

    kors outlet
    ll need a subscription.

  20. Of course
    Coach Factory Outletthese may
    possibly not
    be your
    Coach Factory Outletordinary retailer
    Coach Factory Outlet purchased ones
    Coach Factory Outletbut they
    Coach Factory Outletare sturdy
    Coach Factory Outletand can be
    Coach Factory Outletterrific for heavy
    Factory Outlet
    duty get
    Coach Factory Outletthe job
    Coach Factory Outletdone. Army
    Coach Factory Outletcoats are also offered as perfectly as rain dress in.

  21. Interested in shopping for a designer breitling watches from a ray ban sunglasses locations?
    These typical merchants of the corporation stock goods which are surplus,
    and all those products which could suffer small defects because of to shipment or at the time of production.
    ray ban glasses that breitling watches typically obtain goods in bulk,
    they get these products at comparatively lower price ranges and also offer prospects enticing reductions on designer goods like purses and rolex watches for sale.

  22. Jordan Kors Michael Kors Outlet clutches include really come to be sizzling advertising clutches right now. There're incredibly alluring Michael Kors Outlet Online clutches which might promptly carry big happiness with your looks then and there. Essentially the most amazing attributes connected with Jordan Kors Michael Kors Purses clutches is usually them to hold on to quite a few lavish varieties of styles and designs, capturing ones little brown eyes within the dept . of transporation. They've already a large track record. Coloration prudent, there is absolutely no fit connected with Jordan Kors Michael Kors Outlet Handbags carriers by any means. There're essentially the most hip Michael Kors Handbags clutches. In the event most of us claim of which Jordan Kors Michael Kors Handbags Outlet clutches are sizzling in addition to captivating clutches subsequently the item most likely are not a wrong conception in any respect. Comprehend on the make any difference is usually of which Jordan Kors clutches complete include many trendiest ways independently.

  23. If you look closely will find the words hidden in the shoes of "23", two large patterns in the upper side support, three the soles lateral bottom

  24. --! @senquanHaving together a good louis vuitton together with list price louis vuitton outlet of hospitality attire locale proves to generally be worthwhile anytime Louis Vuitton arrives at rising any louis vuitton. The louis vuitton outlet will reveal the louis vuitton handbags will choose in conjunction. You could send louis vuitton bags over the inexpensive edge towards your list price louis vuitton outlet or simply many other retail outlets. --! @senquan.

  25. In That Respect Chanel Wallet is a wide Chanel Sunglasses range ready for Chanel bags choice including the Chanel Outlet Store black leather satin Chanel Outlet bag.