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Discussion Starter #1
In my introduction thread I mentioned that I was still hoping the Volt would be a 5 seater as I have a family of 5 and 4 seats would, necessarily, be a deal breaker for me.

One respondent confidently stated that it will only be 4 seats because of the high profile of the battery (which I still don't know why they designed the way it is). Anyway, I was hoping someone could point me to some official comment from GM confirming that they do not intend the Volt will be a 5-seater as I have not heard anything official on that despite following the development closely.

If that's true I guess it's PHEV Prius here I come!
 

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5 is nice, but 4 is fine

I will primarily be using the Volt for commuting to work. However, with two kids and a wife, 4 seats would be fine. Trust me - even with 5 seats I still could not fit the mother-in-law in... :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
broken link, but I found the correct one...
http://money.cnn.com/2008/04/17/autos/chevrolet_volt/index.htm?section=money_latest
The Volt will be a four-seat sedan. Most sedans these days squeeze in at least nominal space for a fifth passenger but to do that while allowing room for a battery pack running along the center of the floor would have required more headroom. That would have meant raising the roof a little which would have hurt fuel economy.

That's a big disappointment. Might as well take me off the list.
I'm sorely afraid GM's shooting themselves in the foot...maybe one BB at a time...shorter gas range/smaller tank, 4 seats instead of 5, price point that seems to be creaping toward $40k....

I sincerely want to see this car succeed, but it's going to have to not only be a nice PHEV40 but also a car that will suit people's needs...both real and perceived.
 

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Efusco,
Although I do think the jury is "in" about the Volt V1.0 being a 4 seater, the number of passengers is one of the very few things that have been "firmed up". The other issues you note as slipping are still undetermined.
I know that there are a lot of families that could use that 5th space, I suspect that many families rarely, if ever have a need for it.
 

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So the Gen-1 Volt will not suit your needs.

Wait a year or so, and there will most surely be an E-REV crossover vehicle to meet your needs. Probably a Saturn.

And by 2012 I fully expect there to be models from many different manufacturers!

At least that is what Madam Swami saw in her crystal ball....

;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm quite sure I'll end up settling for a Prius III PHEV...probably 20 mile range. I trust them, I know it'll work as advertised, and it'll carry my whole family.

I really really had wanted a Volt. But my concern is that GM is starting to prove it's critics correct... That they'll find a way to screw the project up. While you guys, and many current Prius drivers, will still buy I think they're whittling this car down to a niche market. When it doesn't hit 60k sales the first year will they call it a failure ala the EV1.

I hope I'm wrong, I'm gonna stay very current with the progress. But IF it ends up with only 32 mile range, only has a 6 gallon tank, prices out at closer to $40k than $30, and now can only seat 4 you're slowly but surely carving away important segments of the potential buyer market. Whatever you think about the Prius being ugly or whatever it has mass appeal on many levels opening a much broader market and that is a large part of what makes it such a success. GM's learned part of their lesson, but I'm concerned not enough.
 

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I have a family of six. We cant all fit in a fricken Tahoe! Our Suburban with the "extra" rear seat works well and gets us to the lake with with our boat. We love it, even though it's an environmental disaster.

So you just gotta be smarter with how you drive...

My wife only drives a few miles each day, so she takes the Suburban. This keeps the mileage and maintainence very low on our "expensive gotta have it car". And I feel alot more comfortable knowing my family is in big safe tank.
I drive the econobox because I often put on 70-80+ miles a day.

Good News for ME! I'll be driving the Volt! Four seats will be fine with a little planning ahead.

It's a miracle that this car is even being built...we should be supportive of the technology so that it eventually ends up in minivans, trucks, and other platforms. OF COURSE the first generation of a completely revolutionary new car will be different from what were used too...Hello! There will be sacrifices that early adopters are willing to accept. We as a people must support this car with our wallets or it WILL end up like the EV-1. Quit whining over minor little details.

<rant off>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a family of six. We cant all fit in a fricken Tahoe! Our Suburban with the "extra" rear seat works well and gets us to the lake with with our boat. We love it, even though it's an environmental disaster.

So you just gotta be smarter with how you drive...

My wife only drives a few miles each day, so she takes the Suburban. This keeps the mileage and maintainence very low on our "expensive gotta have it car". And I feel alot more comfortable knowing my family is in big safe tank.
I drive the econobox because I often put on 70-80+ miles a day.

Good News for ME! I'll be driving the Volt! Four seats will be fine with a little planning ahead.

It's a miracle that this car is even being built...we should be supportive of the technology so that it eventually ends up in minivans, trucks, and other platforms. OF COURSE the first generation of a completely revolutionary new car will be different from what were used too...Hello! There will be sacrifices that early adopters are willing to accept. We as a people must support this car with our wallets or it WILL end up like the EV-1. Quit whining over minor little details.

<rant off>
Good on you and your planning ahead. I'm an ER physician, sometime I have to leave at 5 am to get to work, other times I don't come home until 8am from work. My wife is a pediatrician and works more routine hours, but still has call and after hour clinic commitments.
My wife and I pick up the kids from school or take them there depending upon who has time to get them...we literally make our schedules around the ability to make sure somebody can scratch out the time to get the kids.
It's inconceivable that one of our vehicles couldn't carry our entire family.

Now, I do praise GM for building the Volt, but I'm not gonna drool all over myself when I can see clear mistakes in their effort. While they've pushed this unprecedented marketing blitz it seems they've, once again, lost site of the end-user. While my examples above may be worst case scenario it should be taken seriously as none of those are going to be the last surprise compromise they're gonna make before the Volt goes into production.

Ignoring the mistakes that will drive away the customer base will lead the Volt to be a failure. That's not something you want or I want. I AM their target audience. I was an Oct. 21st, 2003 Prius buyer...the earliest of the early adopters of the Prius II. I'm willing to take a chance...even on GM. But if they don't build a car that can meet my needs...and many others like me...they lose the base upon which broad based success will arise.

Enthusiasts are great, we need them...I am one. But we're not the ones who make or break a vehicle. It's Joe Blow at the factory who wants to do his part, but needs something that'll do what he needs it to do for a price he can afford. All these little things carve away that base that will make it a success.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh, and I'm not whining. I'm sincerely disappointed in GMs choices that seem ill concieved. Being an apologist won't make the Volt better and it won't make it successful.

I'll be perfectly happy in my Prius III that does meet my needs even if it doesn't meet my desire to have a AEV40 range. I WILL whine that the Prius III doesn't have that...but I'll still be driving it. I'll never have the chance to whine about what the Volt doesn't have b/c it doesn't meet my needs well enough to get it to whine about.
 

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Please stop your whining

Oh, and I'm not whining. I'm sincerely disappointed in GMs choices that seem ill concieved. Being an apologist won't make the Volt better and it won't make it successful.
Okay so the Volt doesn't suit your needs... I'm not going to lose an ounce of sleep over it. Stop whining on these boards and go post that message on a Prius III board because those of us here DO feel the Volt will meet our needs.
 

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Valid Point

efusco, you have a very valid point.

It does seem strange that the Volt will not have a bench seat in the back. Very strange.

I think that some of us are just so excited that a car like this is being built that maybe we're making excuses for some of its short comings.

When we get into some detailed conversations about the HVAC system, or type and size of ICE, batteries, control, propulsion etc., we begin to realize what a truly complex and cutting edge machine the Volt is. Then we tend to "choose our battles" as far as compromises. The battery exhists! Unfortunately it eliminates the fifth seat...

If we want the Volt to be built in 2010, then the fifth seat had to go. Unfortunately it does limit a large number of potential buyers.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay so the Volt doesn't suit your needs... I'm not going to lose an ounce of sleep over it. Stop whining on these boards and go post that message on a Prius III board because those of us here DO feel the Volt will meet our needs.
Well...no. You're free to bury your head in the sand if you think that'll make everything OK. I realize the enthusiasts here, in large part, will find the Volt suitable. But think that that makes it OK is failing to see the bigger picture.

We need a Volt-like vehicle that can be the next step toward oil independence for a large of a market as possible. I, for like the 4th time in this thread, sincerely believed that that is exactly what GM intended to do. Lutz, et al, have said so themselves in numerous press conferences. But it seems to me that they're making some choices that will not allow that to happen.

Look, I'm fine, personally, with the 6 gallon tank, a $40k price tag, and 32 AEV range if that's what it came down to. Not one of those things for me would have been a deal breaker...not what was promised a year ago, but not a deal breaker. But chopping out the 5th seat does. From a marketing perspective it seems like the other three things, when compared side by side with a 5 passenger 20 mile EV, 11 gallon/600 mile range Prius at ~$30k(??) is going to be a tough sell. Look how close in price and features the Prius is to the Honda Civic hybrid...Prius outsells it my a landslide.

If the Volt won't compare favorably to the Prius...which now has a solid reputation and happy client base of over 1/2 million drivers in the US alone how can it succeed? From the handful of enthusiasts here? Maybe...you may be right and I could be totally wrong. I hope so, I want the Volt to be a major success...I just am getting a growing sense that it's not going to happen as these little thing start chipping away.

Sorry if this kind of conversation makes you uncomfortable. But my going away to Priuschat isn't going to make the issue disappear.
 

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Well...no. You're free to bury your head in the sand if you think that'll make everything OK. I realize the enthusiasts here, in large part, will find the Volt suitable. But think that that makes it OK is failing to see the bigger picture.

Look, I'm fine, personally, with the 6 gallon tank, a $40k price tag, and 32 AEV range if that's what it came down to. Not one of those things for me would have been a deal breaker...not what was promised a year ago, but not a deal breaker. But chopping out the 5th seat does. From a marketing perspective it seems like the other three things, when compared side by side with a 5 passenger 20 mile EV, 11 gallon/600 mile range Prius at ~$30k(??) is going to be a tough sell. Look how close in price and features the Prius is to the Honda Civic hybrid...Prius outsells it my a landslide.

If the Volt won't compare favorably to the Prius...which now has a solid reputation and happy client base of over 1/2 million drivers in the US alone how can it succeed? From the handful of enthusiasts here? Maybe...you may be right and I could be totally wrong. I hope so, I want the Volt to be a major success...I just am getting a growing sense that it's not going to happen as these little thing start chipping away.
Efusco, your pessimism is blinding you. And now I'll say you are whining. Lets get some things straight:

1) First of all let me point out that GM did not "chop out the fifth seat" because five seats was NEVER in the design...ever. The original design considered a two seater like the EV-1 and the Tesla. Changing the design to a four seat sedan kept the sporty feel, even in the back seats, while increasing the potential buyer base.

2) The most recent and consistent info we have from GM is that the batteries being tested are performing well and Volt will get a 40 mile AEV range at the end of the battery life which is 10 years or 150,000 miles and closer to 50 miles when new in good driving conditions.

3) We have seen GM executives bouncing all over the map as it pertains to pricing, their current collective answer is "...it's too early to know". The FACT is noone knows what the price will be, not even Bob Lutz. What we do know is that GM is trying to keep the cost down and has openly committed to a loss on the Volt if necessary to insure that the price IS competitive.

4) At 45 miles per gallon average, the Prius will only get 495 miles on an 11 gallon tank. (simple math) Then add to that your pathetic 20 miles AEV. And the fact that the Prius is very ugly.

As far as I can tell, the Volt is completely on track in every performance goal stated when the concept car was first introduced over a year ago. They even seem to be on track as far as the November 2010 delivery date. The only thing thats been "chipped away" so far is your ignorant expectations.

Considering the technology and the timeline, GM is doing a stand-up job!
Keep it up GM!
 

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If GM is doing what I hope they are doing they are not just working on one model. I'm guessing that they are convinced (so am I) that the electrification of the automobile is going to happen. If so, you should soon see many different styles and price ranges to suit a wide demographic. They are developing a platform, not a single model. Give them some time to work their magic. I think they know what's on the line.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Efusco, your pessimism is blinding you. And now I'll say you are whining. Lets get some things straight:
I don't think my pessimism is blinding me. I've been exceedingly optimistic about the Volt since the first concept was displayed over a year ago. Google efusco Volt site: priuschat.com you'll find 10 pages of threads where I've posted almost all in absolute defense of the Volt against many who still believe it's all a mirage created by GM. But I am skeptical of GM...and have quite a bit of history to back that skepticism.

1) First of all let me point out that GM did not "chop out the fifth seat" because five seats was NEVER in the design...ever. The original design considered a two seater like the EV-1 and the Tesla. Changing the design to a four seat sedan kept the sporty feel, even in the back seats, while increasing the potential buyer base.
Until very recently they've said it will be a 4 or 5 seater.
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/11/the-chevrolet-v.html
Obviously I was hoping for the 5 seats as it has been the crux for me all along.

2) The most recent and consistent info we have from GM is that the batteries being tested are performing well and Volt will get a 40 mile AEV range at the end of the battery life which is 10 years or 150,000 miles and closer to 50 miles when new in good driving conditions.
I have heard that and hope that it's accurate.

3) We have seen GM executives bouncing all over the map as it pertains to pricing, their current collective answer is "...it's too early to know". The FACT is noone knows what the price will be, not even Bob Lutz. What we do know is that GM is trying to keep the cost down and has openly committed to a loss on the Volt if necessary to insure that the price IS competitive.
Initial announcement/promise from Lutz was that it would be "under" $30k...I don't think anyone's suprise or even upset that it'll be over that. But whatever the price I do hope it stays competative with the Prius.
4) At 45 miles per gallon average, the Prius will only get 495 miles on an 11 gallon tank. (simple math) Then add to that your pathetic 20 miles AEV. And the fact that the Prius is very ugly.
I think the Prius looks great...YMMV...it's purely a matter of opinion..but at least 1/2 million people found it attractive enough to be their daily driver.
And I agree that 20 miles AEV is pathetic...I want 40+....20 may work for me though as I can probably plug in (110V) at work and may be able to remain AEV for all my routine commuting. This is exactly why I wanted a Volt.
As far as I can tell, the Volt is completely on track in every performance goal stated when the concept car was first introduced over a year ago. They even seem to be on track as far as the November 2010 delivery date. The only thing thats been "chipped away" so far is your ignorant expectations.
I'm far from ignorant about the Volt and may well have been following it's development more closely than you have as I have a vested interest in it's success. Again, I'm not trying to slam this vehicle as you seem to assume I am, but I am well aware of what it takes to make it a success. GM has a lot of ill feelings to overcome in the US and it seems to me that some of the decisions are going to make that battle more difficult.

Considering the technology and the timeline, GM is doing a stand-up job!
Keep it up GM!
Overall I agree...but that doesn't mean it will be a commercial success and that is what concerns me.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If GM is doing what I hope they are doing they are not just working on one model. I'm guessing that they are convinced (so am I) that the electrification of the automobile is going to happen. If so, you should soon see many different styles and price ranges to suit a wide demographic. They are developing a platform, not a single model. Give them some time to work their magic. I think they know what's on the line.
I hope so too. My purchase timeframe is that I'll be buying in late 2010 or early 2011 to replace the Prius II after I return from a sebatacle. I certainly hope the Volt is a success and expands it's concept to a broad range of models...maybe one that would suit my family.
 

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efusco,

Good to see you here. I don't go to priuschat much, as it's not fun to fight 10 people chiming in with an anti GM attitude.

I understand what you're saying. It doesn't stop me, but I was also hoping it was a 5 passenger, for GM sales reasons.

Perhaps you remember the rear wheel drive days when the middle seat had the big hump on the floor. You ended up straddling the "hump" with your feet. Not a big deal for a kid.

If you look at pic of the batteries, they look about 10" wide. Not sure why that stops someone from sitting there, esp. a child! Perhaps not all your kids will need picking up at school by 2011? Mine quickly reached that "independent" age sooner than I wanted. Or, in EV mode, you could plan the trip to drop one of the kids off before picking up the others. I assume one of them is w/i walking distance? Just looking to solve the problem.

Regarding 32 mile range, that comment was made assuming ALL freeway driving. if you look at the table from greencarcongress,

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/04/gm-provides-sna.html

the 40.6 miles is combined city and highway driving. Don't think that standard is applies to other PHEVs. A 20 mile converted Prius means 20 electric miles at under 34 mph!

All I'm saying is don't give up yet. You are often a voice of reason on the Prius site. Stand back, and see if this can work. I am totally sold on the Volt! I don't want to use LESS gas, I want to use NO gas, as you do!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
efusco,

Good to see you here. I don't go to priuschat much, as it's not fun to fight 10 people chiming in with an anti GM attitude.

I understand what you're saying. It doesn't stop me, but I was also hoping it was a 5 passenger, for GM sales reasons.

Perhaps you remember the rear wheel drive days when the middle seat had the big hump on the floor. You ended up straddling the "hump" with your feet. Not a big deal for a kid.

If you look at pic of the batteries, they look about 10" wide. Not sure why that stops someone from sitting there, esp. a child!
Indeed, if they do make a restraint for that position...even if it is uncomfortable for an adult or a long drive it would work for a few years for me...my youngest is just 3 now (almost 4) and could probably tolerate the position for local use for a few years.

Perhaps not all your kids will need picking up at school by 2011? Mine quickly reached that "independent" age sooner than I wanted. Or, in EV mode, you could plan the trip to drop one of the kids off before picking up the others. I assume one of them is w/i walking distance? Just looking to solve the problem.
Maybe, but our lives are not all that predictible...some days it's 'whoever gets off work on time' or one of us drops them off at cub scouts on the way to work and the other picks them up, etc. I just don't want to buy a car that will make my life harder, I want one that will make it easier.

Regarding 32 mile range, that comment was made assuming ALL freeway driving. if you look at the table from greencarcongress,

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/04/gm-provides-sna.html

the 40.6 miles is combined city and highway driving.
Yes, I realize that...I guess it gets to my point. Look at the frustration much of the public had with the Prius when so many could not get the 60mpg promised in the city. Or CR when they only averaged 44mpg in their testing. The Volt will recieve similar criticism. If they it only gets 45mpg with a 6 gallon tank it could really turn off a large segment of the public. Remember there's the test numbers and the real world and people other than early adopters will buy based upon the post introduction publicity and numbers.

Don't think that standard is applies to other PHEVs. A 20 mile converted Prius means 20 electric miles at under 34 mph!
Actually it's being tested at 62mph AER.
ll I'm saying is don't give up yet. You are often a voice of reason on the Prius site. Stand back, and see if this can work. I am totally sold on the Volt! I don't want to use LESS gas, I want to use NO gas, as you do!:)
Point taken, I'm sold too...but if it won't work it won't work. And I don't know if the public at large will be sold with the limitations being put on....I hope I'm wrong.
 

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I was going to type a long response, but let me summarize why you'll be wrong about the Volt...

From either a continual rise in price of gas, and/or gas scarcity, the fact that you will be able to get any real distance on a plug in hybrid without using any gas at all will be the single driver of this vehicles success. It will not be 4 or 5 seats. It will not be 35 miles versus 40 on a charge. The driving factor for vehicles in the very near future will be efficiency. Everything else will be second to that (including for many people, cost). If you need a vehicle to carry around a bunch of kids, that will end up being a 'as-needed' vehicle and will not be a primary driver.

If we get to the point where many people are predicting (gas shortages), your Prius, or regular hybrid, or 5 or 6 seater SUV will be a worthless chunk of metal. The public perception of what car to drive is already changing. You dont have to look far with the financial state of all vehicle makers that sell big gas hogging vehicles to see evidence of this. The Volt will be a refreshing alternative that I believe many are waiting for.

BTW. If gas goes down, then you are correct. The Volt will fail. If it stays near to where it is or goes higher, I'd be willing to place a sizeable bet that the Volt will be a market and transportation changing event.
 
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