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Multiple choice - What could GM do to increase EREV sales? Ideas? (2nd try)

  • Business - Increase and improve advertising/marketing

    Votes: 28 54.9%
  • Business - Highlight that used GM EREVs are holding their value nicely

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Business/Tech- Decrease the MSRP of GM EREVs, if possible

    Votes: 12 23.5%
  • Business - Make GM EREV vehicles widely available for conventional rental (work with conventional ag

    Votes: 5 9.8%
  • Business - Partner more strongly with residential and business solar and energy storage installers

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • Increase battery size / EV-only range

    Votes: 15 29.4%
  • Improve engine options, maybe focus on some performance and "vroom-vroom" fun performance aspects

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Offer quick charging capability

    Votes: 14 27.5%
  • improve home and public opportunity charging including possibly offering options of higher kW and wi

    Votes: 9 17.6%
  • Simplify - decrease complexity of operating the vehicle

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Offer EREV powertrain in a large sedan, SUV, crossover or other vehicles with enough rear legroom fo

    Votes: 36 70.6%
  • Offer EREV powertrain in a pickup

    Votes: 19 37.3%
  • Offer and stand behind renewable liquid fuel (flex-fuel with E85, renewable diesel, etc.) capability

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Offer a hydrogen fuel cell instead of an internal combustion engine, combined with battery EREV powe

    Votes: 2 3.9%
  • If possible, offer a fuel cell powered by some renewable fuel other than hydrogen

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Do more to take advantage of the lower NVH and smooth wonderful ride of the EREV architecture, both

    Votes: 8 15.7%
  • Offer some form of manumatic/stick shift or paddles to increase driver involvement and fun level for

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • Other things not presented in this poll (please if possible specify below in the discussion area)

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • (don't try to prolong EREV sales. It's no big deal... the technology has served its purpose as a br

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • (don't bother, EREV technology just simply will never sell well and allow for a good profit)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
[Disclaimer - opinions and poll setup here entirely my own - not speaking for anyone else].
[Also - sorry to a few who already voted - the original setup I had was missing at least one key option, so it seemed best to delete and repost.]

There have been stories recently that GM is considering ending Volt sales. As well there is some indication it is headed in a strong BEV direction. This poll is to brainstorm a bit as to ways that GM could improve sales of vehicles equipped with its impressive EREV technology.
 

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Make less expensive versions with about 25 mile range (sub $30k) and maybe more expensive versions with 50+ mile range that are also larger and better equipped vehicles.

It is a hard sell to sell a $35-$40k MSRP vehicle that is a compact car, doesn't come standard with safety features like ACC, AEB, LKAS, no power seats. Granted they often sell with good lease deals and other incentives, but this is probably costing GM money. Making a cheaper Volt that remains compact and a more expensive "Volt" (call it something else) that moves more upscale might help.

For example, I think the Clarity PHEV has potential to sell very well. It is a large midsize car priced the same as a Volt Premier, has comparable or more features, similar range (6 miles less, but it actually does so on a battery the size of a Gen 1 Volt), more space, and better efficiency on both gas and electric. In a car that is larger. Could we have the Malibu version of the Volt, but priced the same as the outgoing Volt, and add all the safety features as standard?
 

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They really really gotta explain what the hell the thing is. Now, before starting to roll out the variation on other model platforms. The dual nature of the Volt/PHEVs is a real understanding gap in the general public, and I think the public would really welcome the key concepts of "You only put gas in it when you go a long distance, which makes it faster than even fast charging. Otherwise, just smooth quiet power with even less maintenance."

Once you start branching out into the different platforms, THEN you can hammer on the details that take advantage of the quirks of the drivetrain: The PHENOMENAL starting torque of a 150kw electric motor for towing/load hauling in a PHEV truck. Being able to drive an Equinox for about a nickel a mile in fueling costs over the course of a year at average electric rates, and that it gets BETTER in the city.

The whole fast charge thing for a PHEV really feels like overkill to me. There's good grounds for a 7kw Level 2 capacity, but it's reasonable to keep in mind that figure of "95% of trips out from home fall under this many miles" is still a good range for a PHEV and the vast vast majority of charging is gonna be in one's own garage or at a workplace, where a sub 4-hour time to full isn't really a huge improvement precisely because this is a PHEV, and alternatives exist. And it's really easy to stick 25kwh under the cargo floor of a crossover without even raising the passenger floor. and leaving the folding seats flat across the whole back, which should be enough for typical daily driving of even a Suburban.
 

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Love my Volt - wish it was a CUV. Oh yeah, with a POWER MEMORY DRIVER'S SEAT PLEASE. The EREV drivetrain in a pickup would have good appeal for the commercial "work truck" world which might drive the consumer pickup market.

They should have dropped the Volt name and switched it to Buick right after the right wing politico's trashed it out of the gate.

VIN # B0985
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Make less expensive versions with about 25 mile range (sub $30k) and maybe more expensive versions with 50+ mile range that are also larger and better equipped vehicles.

It is a hard sell to sell a $35-$40k MSRP vehicle that is a compact car, doesn't come standard with safety features like ACC, AEB, LKAS, no power seats. Granted they often sell with good lease deals and other incentives, but this is probably costing GM money. Making a cheaper Volt that remains compact and a more expensive "Volt" (call it something else) that moves more upscale might help.

For example, I think the Clarity PHEV has potential to sell very well. It is a large midsize car priced the same as a Volt Premier, has comparable or more features, similar range (6 miles less, but it actually does so on a battery the size of a Gen 1 Volt), more space, and better efficiency on both gas and electric. In a car that is larger. Could we have the Malibu version of the Volt, but priced the same as the outgoing Volt, and add all the safety features as standard?
Really agree with some of this. I would love to see an EREV Impala (full size sedan). Malibu (mid-sized) also, sure. I must admit if you give me a choice between an EREV Impala and a BEV-60 Impala for the same price, I'll take the BEV, but it does seem worth exploring if there's a place for the EREV powertrain.

I'm still a bit unclear whether it is absolutely necessary to have such large cost differences between compact/mid-sized and full-sized cars. Does it really require that much more material and manufacturing cost just to have 6 or 12 or more inches of more rear space? Is this about the added length itself or luxuriousness that is thrown in or larger engine options or other things or some combination? If the engine options typically have to be larger and more expensive, does the EREV architecture somewhat change that old equation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
other suggestions

I ran up against the limit of 20 poll options. One other would be to market powerful full-sized EREVs to police departments and taxi services looking to save money on fuel and finding it difficult to identify full-sized vehicles which check off the boxes they need including performance, style, general reliability, quality, quick refueling times and economical use of fuel.
 

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I think the two most important things are to offer them in more popular segments and to increase the range to over 100 miles. At 100 miles it's a true EV because that would push the fleet average to over 90% electric vs about 75% now (I get 55%). EVs and EREVs should be marketed as premium vehicles not as economy or green cars, they should be positioned as better than turbos and V8s because they are. EVs and EREVs don't have transmissions and that's a huge advantage because you don't have any gear hunting or jerking. They accelerate faster than equivalent ICE cars and they are quiet. Regen braking increases the controlability of the car, I've noticed this not only while going down mountain roads but also on icy roads. I think we are still a long way from having an affordable BEV that has 300 miles of winter range, until that's possible EREVs are a practical solution. However I think the best way to sell them is not to make them cheaper but to make them worth the higher price.
 

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It's the Stealerships, when I went in to test drive a Silverado, talking to them they still don't get it. It also goes against their business model. Why would they push EV/EREV when they don't come back for service. This is why Musk wanted his.own showrooms with dedicated EV friendly sales people. Study after study has the Stealerships selling buyers on gas cars. Until the Stealerships die out EVs won't be sold.
 

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It's the Stealerships, when I went in to test drive a Silverado, talking to them they still don't get it. It also goes against their business model. Why would they push EV/EREV when they don't come back for service. This is why Musk wanted his.own showrooms with dedicated EV friendly sales people. Study after study has the Stealerships selling buyers on gas cars. Until the Stealerships die out EVs won't be sold.
What service? Aside from oil changes, which most people do at quicky oil change places not at dealers, what revenue are they losing? The major failures on ICE cars, the transmission for example, happen long after the car is out of warranty, so that's work that's more likely to be done at independent shops. As for warranty work, my 2017 Volt has been in the shop four times since I bought it in May 2016. Soon after I bought it I had an error code from the braking system, it took two attempts before it was fixed and it was probably a firmware issue with the blended braking (something that ICE cars don't have). The car was also recalled to have to have four firmware updates installed, none of those things had anything to do with the ICE portion of the car, they had to do with the electronics and all cars are primarily rolling computers whether they are ICE, EREV or EVs, so all of that is in common.
 

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EREVs don't need more range, that's why they have engines. The Voltec system is a marvel, but it's far from refined or simple. Making the system an order of magnitude simpler (which for example would get rid of half the theoretical discussions on this board, and make the average IQ salesman look like he knows what he's talking about) and getting enough battery range to achieve a similar range in a somewhat larger vehicle would do wonders for sales. A little marketing would help too, and once the system gets simpler the marketing can focus on what the average idiot cares about in a car.
 

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GM and others are pretty good at marketing. Having them spend more and do a better job explaining these wonderful vehicles isn't likely to lead to big changes in the proportion of EREV or BEV vehicles on the road.

People vote with their wallets, and they'll vote for ease and convenience. The easiest, most convenient and cheapest vehicles to this point are ICs.

I love my Volt and, now living in CA, I'm not alone. But even there, the market seems saturated as sales have stalled.

BEVs and EREVs can be promoted best by government (think regulations that eliminate or discourage ICs). But who wants that?
 

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GM and others are pretty good at marketing. Having them spend more and do a better job explaining these wonderful vehicles isn't likely to lead to big changes in the proportion of EREV or BEV vehicles on the road.

People vote with their wallets, and they'll vote for ease and convenience. The easiest, most convenient and cheapest vehicles to this point are ICs.

I love my Volt and, now living in CA, I'm not alone. But even there, the market seems saturated as sales have stalled.

BEVs and EREVs can be promoted best by government (think regulations that eliminate or discourage ICs). But who wants that?
When was the last time you saw a Volt or Bolt commercial? They barely existed, and are non-existent now. How are people supposed to know about these cars? I see at least one Chevy commercial every day, yet the Volt and Bolt are nowhere to be seen.

Promoting what's best for us. Isn't that the role of government? Certainly no company is going to do that. They are only out for profits. Did you ever see Phillip Morris telling us that cigarettes were harmful? Of course not -- even though they knew all along.
 

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GM and others are pretty good at marketing. Having them spend more and do a better job explaining these wonderful vehicles isn't likely to lead to big changes in the proportion of EREV or BEV vehicles on the road.

People vote with their wallets, and they'll vote for ease and convenience. The easiest, most convenient and cheapest vehicles to this point are ICs.

I love my Volt and, now living in CA, I'm not alone. But even there, the market seems saturated as sales have stalled.

BEVs and EREVs can be promoted best by government (think regulations that eliminate or discourage ICs). But who wants that?
Well, if you think the EV market is saturated at less than 3% of vehicles sold in CA...then the EV market will be a niche market UNTIL the government acts...:rolleyes:

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-electric-vehicles-20170517-story.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
GM and others are pretty good at marketing. Having them spend more and do a better job explaining these wonderful vehicles isn't likely to lead to big changes in the proportion of EREV or BEV vehicles on the road. ...
Yes, they are pretty good at marketing. My impression though is they have done relatively little of it recently on the their EREV or BEVS. I do think they probably did a fair amount on the Volt back in the day. If they are good at marketing and have done little of it, then I think increasing it might well lead to (or contribute to) changes in the proportion on the road. So, I guess I disagree with your syllogism on that.

By the way, as far as I know, the Bolt is doing ok in sales (increasing little by slow, every month, and now up to nearly 3k per month). Has GM done a lot to market and advertise the Bolt? Not that I'm aware (I've seen some GM ads prominently on TV recently, but none for the Bolt that I recall). So, there might be room for marketing to help with sales growth there, I don't know.

Even with more aggressive marketing I think there may be some early limits on Bolt sales (kind of a limited addressable market in the US for less-than-great-looking $35k small wagon hatchbacks), but, regardless of whether marketing (or lack of it) is helping or hindering, I am really enjoying seeing the vehicle garner sales - it is the first highway-capable BEV ever sold in this country, and maybe in the world, above a certain range and below a certain MSRP, and I think the demand for that will not soon be saturated, despite any drawbacks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think the two most important things are to offer them in more popular segments and to increase the range to over 100 miles. At 100 miles it's a true EV because that would push the fleet average to over 90% electric vs about 75% now (I get 55%). EVs and EREVs should be marketed as premium vehicles not as economy or green cars, they should be positioned as better than turbos and V8s because they are. EVs and EREVs don't have transmissions and that's a huge advantage because you don't have any gear hunting or jerking. They accelerate faster than equivalent ICE cars and they are quiet. Regen braking increases the controlability of the car, I've noticed this not only while going down mountain roads but also on icy roads. I think we are still a long way from having an affordable BEV that has 300 miles of winter range, until that's possible EREVs are a practical solution. However I think the best way to sell them is not to make them cheaper but to make them worth the higher price.
Some good points. I like the idea of including them in a list of marketing ideas including (arguably) the superior range in winter over a BEV, the good control on icy surfaces, etc. I agree, I think overall both good BEVs and PHEV/EREV can be marketed simply as good/better vehicles in many cases and not positioned as niche/green choices. I have said a version of this going back to the late 90s and I test-drove my first few BEVS and then would say to people that the thing that maybe wasn't talked about enough was that in some ways EVs are simply better vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
interesting to be having this discussion, and see the leading suggestion as of this writing is for the EREV powertrain to be put into a bigger interior volume vehicle, and at the same time Mitsubishi just in the last few days finally has started to sell its Outlander PHEV in the US (several years late?). I wonder what the hesitation is on the part of manufacturers to put such vehicles on the US markets. Don't they want to increase sales?

It seems like BMW has started (predictably, IMO) to do well in this area of PHEV options on some established decent-sized models, and as far as I know their PHEV architecture is not the equal of GM's, so maybe GM can take a look at that.
 

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Voted for a little longer EV range since I can't make the 38 mile trip to and from work (no charging at work ...yet) in the winter, but a big second for me would be to make a Volt wagon. Just as low as the current volt but longer with a larger cargo area. Not an SUV.
<edit> Even as an EREV SUVs will not be nearly as efficient as a compact wagon like a wagon Volt.
 

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IMO most important are
1) offer it in all vehicles, every shape and size
2) offer the fastest charging you can, including DCFC
(before the inevitable comments come up - this one has nothing to do with whether it makes sense or is necessary, but entirely about optics - to the general public, they see "charges in 4 hours"? / "charges in 10 hours"?! That's an eternity. "Can be fully charged in as little as 20 minutes!" would sell them on it instantly. Even though they'd maybe do that only once a year and their standard charge at home would be ~2 hours)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
IMO most important are
1) offer it in all vehicles, every shape and size
2) offer the fastest charging you can, including DCFC
(before the inevitable comments come up - this one has nothing to do with whether it makes sense or is necessary, but entirely about optics - to the general public, they see "charges in 4 hours"? / "charges in 10 hours"?! That's an eternity. "Can be fully charged in as little as 20 minutes!" would sell them on it instantly. Even though they'd maybe do that only once a year and their standard charge at home would be ~2 hours)
I have been wondering - if DCFC is moving toward higher kW (maybe 50 kW on a decent CHAdeMO station back when I had a Leaf, but that looks to be improving), and if the Volt offers less than 20 kWh usable (my 2013 only seems to use 10.x kWh for each drive but I don't know about Gen2) then maybe the charge time on a Volt at a DCFC could get down to as little as 10 minutes using present tech, and even less in the future.
 
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