GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,981 Posts
So
everyone liked the way the car drove,
high marks for fit, finish and quality (FFQ),
everyone is buying sedans, not CUV's (?),
they think UBS was off by $4k on the claimed GM "loss" which may not be loss depending on how the accounting works,
Chevy was smart to use LG,
buying a car in California and shipping to Michigan adds $20k to the cost of buying the car !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,192 Posts
I'm generally a big fan of Autoline. I watched the show. I was pretty disappointed with this episode. Mr. Munro seemed more like a sales guy than a technical guy.

Lots of things that were said that simply were not correct. Examples: Guy from Bloomberg mentioned that the Bolt EV was on a "Cruze" platform. Which is not correct. The Bolt EV is on a new EV only vehicle architecture that originally started as an evolution of the GM Gamma II platform (Spark, Sonic, Trax).

The other comment was that the Bolt EV is made from off the shelf parts. While this is somewhat true the comment was made in context to the battery which is not true. The battery chemistry and construction design is by GM and is owned by GM. LG Chem is the contract manufacturer of the battery and cells. While LG Chem on a value basis is responsible for a large portion of the car only a few components are actually designed by LG (like the display).
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,981 Posts
Guy from Bloomberg mentioned that the Bolt EV was on a "Cruze" platform. Which is not correct.
Yes, I forgot about that. The Bloomberg guy was talking about the Volt while the others where talking Bolt (thanks Chevy marketing!).

For the little substance he added, the tear-down "expert" could have been a guy they grabbed from a local bar and had skim through the report. He seemed to know very little and was kind of clueless on the battery tech stumbling around what it was composed of. Sure likes carbon fiber though. :)

I too was thinking it was a group that "kind of" knew what they were talking about, but not really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
I agree. This was a very disappointing episode. They seemed more interested in talking about how superior BMW's i3 manufacturing was, yet they never addressed how GM got the Bolt EV within 400 lbs of its stripped i3 rival despite having double the battery capacity.

The other disappointing aspect was the comments that I've been reading about the car being 60% LG. People don't seem to realize that design and fabrication are two very different things. LG didn't come up with a single specification; they built to GM's specs.

The one point they do bring up that I think needs to be addressed is, when is GM going to get serious? I mean, really serious. Has there been any word about GM building a domestic plant capable of fabricating the batteries, motors, controllers, etc.? Because that needs to happen. GM needs to have their own Gigafactory, just to start. The Bolt EV was fast-tracked, and as much as I think it is a huge step in the right direction, the LT's MSRP does need to be dropped to about $25k. That can only happen with domestic fabrication.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,489 Posts
The one point they do bring up that I think needs to be addressed is, when is GM going to get serious? I mean, really serious. Has there been any word about GM building a domestic plant capable of fabricating the batteries, motors, controllers, etc.? Because that needs to happen. GM needs to have their own Gigafactory, just to start. The Bolt EV was fast-tracked, and as much as I think it is a huge step in the right direction, the LT's MSRP does need to be dropped to about $25k. That can only happen with domestic fabrication.
GM needs to come up with a way to sell a LOT more EVs than it's selling now in order for that kind of factory to make any kind of economic sense for them. Until they can get to the kind of sales numbers that Elon is expecting it's far smarter to contract someone like LG who can gain the necessary economies of scale by selling to multiple manufacturers.

That having been said, it sounds like a few of the European manufacturers can foresee this future and are placing their bets on in-house battery production. That's probably at least partly because of the very favourable EV regulatory and incentive environment in Europe. In America where federal tax credits are going to run out for GM and where the administration is sending signals right and left that it's going to throw up roadblocks to environmental initiatives the outlook is a lot more pessimistic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
GM needs to come up with a way to sell a LOT more EVs than it's selling now in order for that kind of factory to make any kind of economic sense for them. Until they can get to the kind of sales numbers that Elon is expecting it's far smarter to contract someone like LG who can gain the necessary economies of scale by selling to multiple manufacturers.

That having been said, it sounds like a few of the European manufacturers can foresee this future and are placing their bets on in-house battery production. That's probably at least partly because of the very favourable EV regulatory and incentive environment in Europe. In America where federal tax credits are going to run out for GM and where the administration is sending signals right and left that it's going to throw up roadblocks to environmental initiatives the outlook is a lot more pessimistic.
I agree that it does not make economic sense when framed with past and current sales figures; however, they know this is the direction consumers, governments, and the auto industry as a whole are moving. Most companies fall into the trap of reacting rather than being proactive, and the sooner GM builds a domestic plant, the better it will be for them. At the very least, they need to establish a unit number at which it is no longer defensible to source parts from a third-party. I'm not saying that GM needs to start building the battery cells themselves, but I do think they need to create additional domestic facilities where LG and other contributing companies build GM specific parts.

In order for U.S. auto sales to transition fully to EVs, we would need between 30 and 40 Gigafactories worth of capacity. The sooner GM jumps onto that production bandwagon, the more cost-effective their EV offerings will be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,945 Posts
I'm not saying that GM needs to start building the battery cells themselves, but I do think they need to create additional domestic facilities where LG and other contributing companies build GM specific parts.
LG's Holland MI plant added a 4th production line sometime in early spring I remember. I wonder what that was for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,981 Posts
The sooner GM jumps onto that production bandwagon, the more cost-effective their EV offerings will be.
What happens to that huge investment when a whole new battery tech (like solid state) emerges? Outsourcing gives GM flexibility and no need for capital expenditures. Of course for all I know something like automobile worthy commercial solid state batteries may be 20 years away.

What did the experts on Autoline have to say about that? Nothing. They did not even know what chemistry the Bolt uses. It really reminded me a a group of guys just shooting the bull. The "in depth tear down" was click-bait with no real substance backing up the headline.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
What happens to that huge investment when a whole new battery tech (like solid state) emerges? Outsourcing gives GM flexibility and no need for capital expenditures. Of course for all I know something like automobile worthy commercial solid state batteries may be 20 years away.
I agree that it's a risk, but that's kind of what successful businesses are built on. GM would need seven Gigafactories worth of capacity just to convert its domestic vehicle production to all electric. A single factory to start with seems like a no-brainer. So even if battery technology changes, you've only invested in one of seven potential factories that might still be of value. And that is assuming that new technology is so radically different that the plant can't be retooled or retrofitted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
What happens to that huge investment when a whole new battery tech (like solid state) emerges? Outsourcing gives GM flexibility and no need for capital expenditures. Of course for all I know something like automobile worthy commercial solid state batteries may be 20 years away.

What did the experts on Autoline have to say about that? Nothing. They did not even know what chemistry the Bolt uses. It really reminded me a a group of guys just shooting the bull. The "in depth tear down" was click-bait with no real substance backing up the headline.
In a sense, they did. They noted that Teslas use of standard cylindrical sizes was a huge cost advantage for them over the use of prismatic cells. Teslas Gigafactory is actually producing the cells with different chemistries. (E.g., Powerwall cell chemistry is different than car cells.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
Yeah, the also mentioned the 8:1:1 LiCoMn battery chemistry, though as I noted earlier, they seem to have their brand favorites. If I recall, they made several references to how superior Samsung batteries were to LG Chem batteries. Of course, they did seem ignorant of the fact that the batteries in the Bolt EV were using GM's patented battery chemistry.

Because they never addressed the fact that the Bolt EV has a weight advantage over the i3, they never dealt with why. It could be the construction materials and structure. However, it could also be the energy density of the batteries. Considering the 60 Ah (22 kWh gross capacity) i3 has a 500 lb battery pack, and it weighs 100 lbs less than the 94 Ah (33 kWh) i3, I'd say the Bolt EV's battery at least as energy dense as the Samsung battery they were praising.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,981 Posts
Yeah, the also mentioned the 8:1:1 LiCoMn battery chemistry,
They did not seem really sure what the proportions are for the Bolt's battery.

Expert, "It's going to be really cheap when we get to 8:1:1. Right now I think it's s..."
John, "What's 8:1:1?",
Expert, "If you drop the cobalt content, I don't want to guess, but if you get the report..."
Blue shirt, "Right now they're saying it's 8:1:1.",
Expert, "No, no, no we want to go to 8:1:1.",
Blue shirt, "I thought we wanted to go to 1:1:1?"

So they never let him say what he thought the Bolt's chemistry proportions are. The only thing I can find is that they are "nickel-rich lithium ion chemistry" :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
They did not seem really sure what the proportions are for the Bolt's battery.

Expert, "It's going to be really cheap when we get to 8:1:1. Right now I think it's s..."
John, "What's 8:1:1?",
Expert, "If you drop the cobalt content, I don't want to guess, but if you get the report..."
Blue shirt, "Right now they're saying it's 8:1:1.",
Expert, "No, no, no we want to go to 8:1:1.",
Blue shirt, "I thought we wanted to go to 1:1:1?"

So they never let him say what he thought the Bolt's chemistry proportions are. The only thing I can find is that they are "nickel-rich lithium ion chemistry" :)
Well, whatever the Bolt EV's battery chemistry is, it's worse than the i3's. :/

My understanding about the 8:1:1 ratio (and I believe they did state this) is that it allows for cheaper batteries because of the cost of cobalt and manganese.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,981 Posts
My understanding about the 8:1:1 ratio (and I believe they did state this)
The expert does not actually state this. I posted the text of what he said above. But if you have a link to that ratio for the Bolt it would be great to post it. Seems a guarded secret.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
The expert does not actually state this. I posted the text of what he said above. But if you have a link to that ratio for the Bolt it would be great to post it. Seems a guarded secret.
Ah, I must have read that somewhere else. As for GM's chemistry for the Bolt EV, I don't know that it has ever been published. If it is patented, I'd think that information would be publicly available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,520 Posts
The one point they do bring up that I think needs to be addressed is, when is GM going to get serious? I mean, really serious. Has there been any word about GM building a domestic plant capable of fabricating the batteries, motors, controllers, etc.? Because that needs to happen. GM needs to have their own Gigafactory, just to start. The Bolt EV was fast-tracked, and as much as I think it is a huge step in the right direction, the LT's MSRP does need to be dropped to about $25k. That can only happen with domestic fabrication.
I think GM will get serious only if forced by competition or when they can identify additional margin over SUVs and pick-ups (which is highly unlikely any time soon).

EDIT: also forced to by regulation, of course. If China's serious about 8%, then GM will need to be serious, at least in China.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top