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Transportation Politics Technology

Chevy Volt To Resume Production One Week Early Following Record Sales 443

surewouldoutlaw writes "On the heels of the news that the Chevy Volt had a record month, selling 2,289 units in March, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the car is made will be resuming production of the car one week early, reducing a five-week shutdown to just four weeks, the United Auto Workers union said Tuesday. The shutdown had been put in place to re-align supply with demand. Volt workers have also begun to lash out at Republican presidential candidates' criticisms of the car: 'They're attacking our car to get at the President...But our car is going to change the way America does business. It's a breath of fresh air.'"
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Chevy Volt To Resume Production One Week Early Following Record Sales

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  • by GT66 ( 2574287 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:06PM (#39577411)
    If GM can get the price of these things down below $30K, they will put ALL gas models out to pasture. Imagine, you can do up to 40 miles of your short hop driving on all electric but still have the range of gasoline (unlike cars like the Nissan Leaf).
    • I'd love to have one of these things if it a) was a bit cheaper, and b) were available in a model that wasn't a hatchback. I don't really understand why pretty much all electric cars are hatchbacks. I hate them and I want a real trunk dammit!
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Air flow. It's easier to shape the rear to get close to minimum drag with a hatch back.Thus better gas mileage.

        • Hatchbacks don't always have better airflow. Consider the VW MK4 Golf, Jetta, and Beetle. All are basically the same car, except the Jetta is a sedan, the Golf is a square hatchback and the Beetle is a round hatchback. Which one has the lowest Cd and therefore the best fuel economy? The Jetta!

          (The Beetle, counter-intuitively, has the worst aerodynamics because the air stays attached all the way down to the rear bumper and sucks the car backward.)

    • Too bad my electric is coal. According to a coal-powered EV is worse than my gasoline-powered Insight. (Or a diesel-powered Lupo 3L.) (Or a natural gas Civic.)

    • Yes, that is their goal. Unfortunatly, the batterys cost a ton. They can't sell them at voulme while taking a 10k hit on each one sold.

    • The volt is NOT an electric car, it is a serial hybrid that can be plugged in to charge. But with a range of only 30 miles most people are going to power the thing with gasoline for most of their travel. If the volt could get something like 100 miles range and still have the gas engine for back up that would be different. Where I live most jobs would require an average of 20-40 mile commute ONE WAY. The Leaf could do this, but it would be too close for comfort unless I could sneak an extension cord our

      • by MikeMo ( 521697 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:44PM (#39578075)
        Except that statistics say that roughly 80% of Americans live within 16 miles of work []. And the expected range is 40, not 30.
      • It's not a serial hybrid exactly, either. At highway speeds the engine is directly connected to the driveline for increased efficiency. I can only imagine how bad the highway mileage would have been if there was the 'gasoline to motion to electricity to motion' in there too. Around town it's a serial hybrid.
        • I can only imagine how bad the highway mileage would have been if there was the 'gasoline to motion to electricity to motion' in there too.

          Not too bad at all. In that configuration the generator motor can run at it's most efficient RPM the whole time. And there's no inefficient gearbox needed anywhere.

          It's exactly how a diesel-electric locomotive works. And they have a long history and are very common.

      • The majority of people live in cities ("more than three-quarters of the U.S. population shares just about three percent of the U.S. land area" according to [] ). Where in a city is the average job going to be 30 miles away?
      • Ok. A you said yourself that most people average a 20-40 mile commute. That is pretty common. I personally have a 25 mile commute. If I had a volt, I would get the building where I work to run a power cord out to my car. Maybe even pay them for the privilege. 8 hours later, when I get off work, it would be charged up and ready for my trip home. Sounds very workable to me.
    • I hope a hybrid plugin car will be my next vehicle I buy. I'm low on fundages so I'm waiting a few generations for them to lower the price and get some of the engineering quirks hammered out. My dream is to have a plugin car with a home solar array, so I don't pay the power company for energy anymore, and I can take casual drives for free.
  • My guess is government car fleets are being stuffed with these shit-cans for blatantly political reasons.
    • My guess is government car fleets are being stuffed with these shit-cans for blatantly political reasons.

      Fascinating. Your guess is noted.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Why would you guess and not look it up?

      Anyways, for a lot of cities, there driving is in short runs, so it would be a good purchase for them.
      Our organization is trying out electric cars, because some many trips are less then 20 miles.

  • I get an average of 50mpg in my 2007 Civic Coupe. This is with very mild driving changes like driving 65 and not being a retard and drag racing light to light. The Price difference for a car that is the exact same size as my Civic but costs 5X more and supposedly has 20X the technology only get's marginally better gas mileage.

    Who is buying the Chevy Volt? It's over priced and under delivers.

    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      Your Civic was $6,300 new? Also the MPG on electricity is infinite so you can't compare the two vehicles based on MPG alone. Oh and I call shenanigans on 50MPG for a 07 Civic, best reported numbers at is 40 and that's for someone with 90% highway use ( is full of hypermilers so achieving 25% better fuel economy than the best reported number is highly, highly suspicious)
    • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:36PM (#39577913) Homepage Journal

      Since this car will burn exactly ZERO gas for 80% of vehical use, it gtes FAR better gas mileage then your car.

      SUre, if you tkae a trip to the full extent of 375 miles and average out the MPG for JUST THAT TRIP, it gets the same as your alleged 50MPG civic.

      But if you extend it to all the trips you will make, its a different number.

      If my wife had one of these, it would almost never burn gas because she generally doesn't go further the 12 miles during her dauily routine.

      The question is: How much gas will you burn in a year?
      Last year I drove about 5000 miles in 25 mile chucks(just over 12 miles each way to work). For those drives, I wouldn't have burned any gas.

      I drove 8000 total.
      So if I had a volt, I would have used gas for 3000 miles* Which would have been 85 gallons of gas at 35MPG**
      So I drove 8000 miles, and bought 85 gallons of gas.

      just under 100MPG by the end of the year.
      Obviously if you are driving 100 miles a day to work, your use would be different, but I am a pretty average driver as far as vehicle use.

      *actually less, because of a lot of other short trips besides work.
      ** Volt is 35/40 I really should use the 40 because all the extended driving would be highway.

  • An electric car that, if you drive long distance, becomes a gasser. Seems okay to me. Just two problems:

    - pricetag. I'd probably choose a pluggable Prius or Insight or Civic instead (~$20,000 each).

    - government funding. I don't like paying for stuff I'm not using. Hopefully it's just a temporary subsidy to jumpstart GM's hybrid production, not a permanen form of corporate welfare.

    • - government funding. I don't like paying for stuff I'm not using. Hopefully it's just a temporary subsidy to jumpstart GM's hybrid production, not a permanen form of corporate welfare.

      No... its a subsidy to get you to use electrons produced in the US (mostly with coal produced in the US) instead of oil produced by countries who hate us.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:13PM (#39577531)

    selling 2,289 units in March

    Before everyone starts celebrating, keep in mind that some of the more popular [] gas car models out there average 40,000-60,000 units a month in sales. And the Prius hybrid sold about 30,000 units last month.

  • by Meatbucket ( 2039104 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:18PM (#39577603) Homepage
    The volt and it's twin the Opel Ampera began sales in February and has become a big seller there, which is not surprising given how much denser and closer European cities are to each other (taking advantage of the volt's optimum range), not to mention the higher gas prices which make it more affordable.
    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      The Opel is a much nicer looking car too. The volt was nice when it came out, but it took so long to get to market the style doesn't really have much impact.

      • by tyrione ( 134248 )

        The Opel is a much nicer looking car too. The volt was nice when it came out, but it took so long to get to market the style doesn't really have much impact.

        This isn't a static solution. The Volt next generations are well underway in their designs and testing.

  • Bad press... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:22PM (#39577677)

    I have a hard time understanding why people continually crap on GM about the Volt. It's a very novel approach to the hybrid, offering significantly more electric-only range than other hybrids without the range anxiety of something like a Nissan Leaf. As for pricing; yes, it's expensive, but it's also fledgling technology. Electric-only automakers like Fisker and Tesla talk big but have little to show for all the boasting. The practical issues facing electric-only vehicles are still quite daunting.

    I also don't understand the conservative backlash against this car. Here we have an American corporation trying to respond to market demand and a changing world by actually innovating. They didn't just slap together a half-assed Prius knockoff. They actually went for something new, but still practical.

    The nonsense I hear repeated time and again is that the US government somehow forced this on GM. Automakers don't just pull cars out of their asses. Years of planning go into a car before the public even knows they're in development. The Volt concept was unveiled in 2007, well before they turned to the government for a bailout.

    Interestingly enough, in my part of the country I've already seen a number of Volts, less than 10 but still more than the lone Nissan Leaf I encountered recently. I find it interesting given that I live in a region I'd say easily favors foreign automakers. So I found it surprising to hear that the Volt wasn't doing well. Of course it doesn't help you've got people on both sides of the aisle dumping on this car.

    • Conservatives attack the car because it is expensive, and only reasonably within reach of the middle class due to subsidies that every working American has to pay for. If GM had not taken a bailout AND stimulus dollars, then used the stimulus dollars to "pay off" the loan, perhaps at least that would not be a point of contention.
    • by medcalf ( 68293 )
      The Volt is symbolic. It reminds people that we subsidize every GM and Chrystler vehicle through outstanding loans, and that we directly subsidize Volts via tax credits for buyers and indirectly through no bid government fleet purchases. It's not the Volt per se, but the government waste and interference it represents, that make the Volt subject to such mockery.
  • How much of this record number (2,289) is from big taxi or government fleet orders? Lets see if it holds these sales month after month. This "record" may be all from a few one time fleet sales.

    Even with $4/gal gas they still moved 9,292's camaro's in the same month.
    Total GM US sales for the month where 231,052.

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:36PM (#39577915) Journal
    I don't understand all these arguments against the Volt saying that standard gas cars are more economical.

    That may very well be true, but since when do we measure benefit to society by only looking at what's cheapest?

    Not educating our children would be cheaper too, should we close all schools to balance our budgets? Should we close all fire departments to save a few bucks in the short term?

    Why do intelligent people make the argument that trusting the market, and the "invisible hand" will always have the best outcome? It's as if people have replaced (or augmented) their trust in God with this idea of "the market is always right". Surely this is as far from a scientific argument as one could get?

  • Nihilism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @05:50PM (#39578181)

    The ability of the GOP primary to generate bile is amazing. If you had told me a year ago that the GOP field would pile abuse on an American made car that is (fairly or not) a poster child for American innovation, and it turns out is also a success competing against imports, I would have told you that was crazy. But there it is. Not exactly the Party of Ideas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by emaname ( 1014225 )
      I agree. Something has changed in the GOP and not in a good way. And I say that as one who has always voted Republican except for a recent state elections. This is not the Republican party of my father. I can find more and more quotes from past Republicans that refute and denigrate the current GOP mindset. There is something weirdly evil about the GOP now.
  • Let's assume the following:

    *You buy a normal ICE car that averages 30mpg (there are plenty that do)
    *You keep the car for 5 years and drive 1250 miles a month (15000 miles a year)
    *Fuel price is presently $4/gal and will rise by 1% every month for the next 5 years

    Given these assumptions, your 5 year fuel cost is $13611.61.

    So now let's assume that you pay $22k out the door for the above car (which is a good estimate for a ICE car comparable in size/features to the Volt).

    Your 5 year TCO (just figu
  • by Anynomous Coward ( 841063 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:13PM (#39579909) What seems to be missing from all the discussions is that the Volt/Ampera is a very good, comfortable and well-equipped 'European style' car first. Its smooth and elegant power delivery is actually way more useable in daily traffic than an IC with much better figures on paper. Granted, it may not be for everyone for various reasons, but if the electric range suits your daily commute, your energy costs are half and your driving comfort double those of a clattering, noisy, smelly and soot spewing diesel that needs 4 jerky gear changes to reach 100km/h. It isn't cheap, but the price is roughly the same as a similarly equipped same old same old lease-slut BMW 320d ED.

    I was sceptical about GM, but it turns that they have done their most decent job in years. Give it time; it's qualities will become evident as more people discover it irl and more versions appear.

    Street creds: 528i, 525i, 944S2, Z3 2.8, 645Ci.

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