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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Chevy Volt won't be produced "in any significant volume" between 2011 and 2015, according to GM.

WASHINGTON — General Motors Corp. has told federal regulators they should not count on any fuel economy gains from the upcoming Chevrolet Volt or other plug-in hybrids when setting new efficiency standards, saying such vehicles would be built in low numbers through 2015.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080709/BUSINESS01/80709092

I'm sure everyone here has seen Who Killed the Electric Car. About 18 minutes into the documentary, it gets into the fact that one side of GM was pushing the EV1 forward, while the other side was fighting it. A 25% increase in fuel economy will cost GM $17.3 billion.

Déjà vu anyone?
 

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It looks like Toyota will be stepping up their production of the Prius. I hope GM can get on the fast track, but it's a major risk, either way.

"Toyota Motor Corp will switch gears and produce the Prius hybrid instead of the less fuel-efficient Highlander sport utility vehicle at its planned Mississippi factory, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday."

"The change in plans may mean the Mississippi factory, which will churn out the Prius as well as other cars, will not come onstream until 2011, the Nikkei said, at least a year behind original plans."

http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/080710/toyota_us.html?.v=1
 

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See, it is just a reality that retooling factories and increasing output takes a lot of time, and that this initial trickle of hybrids and REEV's won't ramp very quickly.

It is ridiculous for the Congress to want to increase CAFE standards for the years beyond the current scope of the legislation, before they evaluate the effects of the current legislation. They should wait until 5 years before the 2007 standards level off, before collaborating with the major automakers to set future levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
GM has given us the impression that low production will be limited to the first couple years. But lets look at the years the Volt is expected to be produced: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015... If they are producing cars, they aren't retooling. GM will have all the retooling done by 2010 (maybe even 2009).

And new model ramp up doesn't take 6 years after the start of production. Take the Ford Focus for instance. It was launched in Europe in 1998, they began manufacturing in the US in 1999, and was available in the US for the 2000 model year in large quantities (30,000 by the end of 1999, by the end of 2000, there were 275,000 produced for the US). So even taking into consideration Europe, mass-production was ready in just 2 years.

They say on one hand, EREV is "a game changer", but on the other hand, how much of a game changer will EREV be when they themselves admit that it won't be used "in any significant volume" through 2015. That's 6 years of no significant numbers of Volts on the road.

My point is, if you want truth and realistic numbers, see what GM is saying to the NHTSA, CARB, and others. 8 years from now, the Volt will still not be produced in any significant volume. That's not ramp up or retooling. That's a PR show. Either that, or they are fibbing to the government.

It seems auto makers have no incentive to release new technologies, because it only costs them more money once government gets wind of it. Auto makers are coming out with new technologies to increase their fleet efficiency, but government is trying to exploit these new technologies to make standards even tougher. I think I blame government as much as I blame automakers on this. Seems they are expecting a break. They should leave out ZEVs and partial ZEVs from their equations, but include them in the overall fleet when it comes down to compliance. That way auto makers have an incentive to make more of these cars, and less incentive to crush their own creation.

Someone needs to confront GM with their own words. And while they are at it, they should ask them, "Will the Volt be available as a Lease-only vehicle, or will people be able to purchase the car?". Based on the latest from GM, I'm not entirely convinced they are out to see the Volt become a reality.
 
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