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I was thinking about the volt the other night and how big of difference it could make in the automotive industry and suddenly started trying to think of reasons why the volt could fail. The list was pretty short and I was wondering what everyone else thought. The two main ways that occurred to me were.

1. In the off chance that the price of oil collapses and gas goes back down under $2 many people wouldn't pay any kind of premium for the car.

2. For some reason Gm prices the Volt out of the market and keeps it there. I wouldn't think that the high initial cost would affect the smaller number produced in the first couple of years. Individuals who are aware of the political and economical fiasco oil has put us in and have a large income will still buy it, but in the successive years if the volt doesn't get down into the $30kish range or lower few regular people will be willing to pay the premium; because it wouldn't represent any sort of savings over a conventional 35+ mpg car.
 

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1. Poor or boring design. If the Volt looks like its morphing into a Prius, it will fail.

2. Drivetrain trouble. If the battery/RE/generator has reliability problems, the Volt will fail.

3. Safety concerns. If the battery develops the tendency to catch fire or explode in a crash, the Volt will fail.

BUT, none of this will doom the E-flex chassis. It will just mean GM will go under and someone else will pick it up and do it better.
 

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Not necessarily. . .

1. Poor or boring design. If the Volt looks like its morphing into a Prius, it will fail.

2. Drivetrain trouble. If the battery/RE/generator has reliability problems, the Volt will fail.

3. Safety concerns. If the battery develops the tendency to catch fire or explode in a crash, the Volt will fail.

BUT, none of this will doom the E-flex chassis. It will just mean GM will go under and someone else will pick it up and do it better.
1. Lots of people (like myself) don't care that much about the car's looks in comparison to what the car can DO - features and capabilities. Plus, I actually like the way the Prius looks. This is a matter of personal taste; just because YOU don't like it, doesn't mean that everyone won't.

2 & 3. Good points, but while one could expect a few minor hiccups with the introduction of major new technology, I should hope that this is the kind of thing that is occupying GM's engineers, and that they will have addressed these possibilities. "Professional grade," and all that.
 

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The problem with the design is not that I or others may not like the Prius design. Although there are a lot of people who have bought the Prius in spite of the styling; they were interested in green cred and gas mileage. The Prius, ugly or not, was the only option.

There are many who would buy the Volt over the Prius in a heartbeat, because they want a stylish U.S. car and the mpg. Even if the Volt is more expensive. The styling will sell to a segment of population just like the technology in the car will sell to another segment.

If the Volt morphs into a Prius looking copy, the styling segment may or may not buy it. Those buyers will likely be lost. To the technology segment, if it comes down to one homely looking car vs. another homely looking car, the cost comes into play. And that's why the Volt will fail. Why pay more for a Volt if a similar looking Prius is 5K-8K less?

The styling folks might wait for the E-flex Camaro. The E-flex technology will not fail. But I think a "Prius-looking" Volt would ultimately fail to sell.
 

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To me an aerodynamic, efficient looking design looks way better than a bulky, heavy over-stylized chunk of metal. Maybe I'm crazy.

I think this gut aversion to "prius-looking" cars will soon be overshadowed by other more important considerations. If we were still in a period of ultra cheap oil I could see how that kind of thinking would have a major impact on sales. Now and in the foreseeable future, not so much.
 

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Missing the point. . .

The problem with the design is not that I or others may not like the Prius design. Although there are a lot of people who have bought the Prius in spite of the styling; they were interested in green cred and gas mileage. The Prius, ugly or not, was the only option.

There are many who would buy the Volt over the Prius in a heartbeat, because they want a stylish U.S. car and the mpg. Even if the Volt is more expensive. The styling will sell to a segment of population just like the technology in the car will sell to another segment.

If the Volt morphs into a Prius looking copy, the styling segment may or may not buy it. Those buyers will likely be lost. To the technology segment, if it comes down to one homely looking car vs. another homely looking car, the cost comes into play. And that's why the Volt will fail. Why pay more for a Volt if a similar looking Prius is 5K-8K less?

The styling folks might wait for the E-flex Camaro. The E-flex technology will not fail. But I think a "Prius-looking" Volt would ultimately fail to sell.
I fit into the group of buyers who want to minimize our country's depedence upon foreign oil - for security reasons as well as "green" reasons. I will pay more for a vehicle that will do this significantly better than the Prius.

People who would move away from the Volt because it's not "stylish" enough for them can go get a good-lookin' fuel hog - they don't care enough about an EV to look past the trivial. IMO, people who fall into this category don't DESERVE a Volt.

As for "green cred", in my book that translates into "making sure that people I don't know can tell I am driving a green car because of how it looks." Screw other people and their irrelevant opinions. What matters to me is what I think about the car.

Seems to boil down to the old "appearance versus substance" dreck. I'll go with substance any day.
 

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The very reason why GM is redesigning the shape of the Volt is that they wanted to make it more slippery than the show car. So, I will not be surprised to see the production model look more like the Honda Insight or Toyota Prius… coda tronca rear end, low-angle raked nose and windshield, smooth two-dimensional surface and deep wheel wells (and even spats to cover rear wheels). I think by the time the Volt becomes available there will be more cars with this design theme.
 

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If in the next couple of years there is a breakthrough in battery/capacitor technology that makes full BEvs possible and economical, then people will not buy a Volt, but will wait for the new technology. Google EEstor.
 

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There are lots of threads about Eestor here already, go check them out. I'm not holding my breath for a usable product from them in the next few years. Hope I'm wrong.
 

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I agree that only the high pricing will make the Volt fail. Even at the current suggested high pricing of $40K, GM would easily sell the first 10,000 Volt cars to early adopters and die hard fans of GM. But after that, the price of the Volt has to be competitive with the other EVs that will be avaliable after around 2011. If GM thinks it can keep its price at that level, it will be the end of the Volt for the masses.

At first year's release, I will not buy the Volt if it will be sold at $32K after rebates. I would buy two Apteras instead or whatever other same priced EV would become available. Right now I plan to buy a Volt and an Aptera.
 

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A lack of commitment or solvency from GM is the only thing that I can see causing the Volt to fail. All other concerns mentioned can be overcome. 100% commitment to the EREV and Volt, 0% failure.

Easily said but what constitutes failure? If Tesla sells 2500 Roadsters a year they will consider it a great success. If GM is 100% committed to bringing EREVs to the market, they will sell it where it fits. Maybe that is only to greenies and oil independence patriots at first. I don't think it has to be this narrow but there are plenty of opportunities. They also have to ability to greatly increase the performance without adding much cost. We could go on and on about different ways they can succeed and I believe every failure scenario could be overcome as long as GM is commited long-term to making EREVs a success.
 
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