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"Voltgate" Raises the Question: Has GM Really Changed?

Bob Lutz drives in the Volt

The Chevrolet Volt's gas-powered inner explosion four sometimes powers the car's front wheels. Techie Frank Markus described this week how the long-awaited car's "extended-range electric" system works. Since then, the little of General Motors' most critics have pointed to his description, as well as which of the couple of of the competitors, as proof why the brand brand new Chevy should be called the plug-in hybrid, not an EV.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

By now, the brass occupying the tip floors of GM's Renaissance Center HQ have been asking any other, "why do they hate us so much?" Chris Paine painted GM as the guilty party in his 2006 documentary, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" 

After which film was released, Bob Lutz (pictured during tip driving the Volt upon the theatre during the 2008 world introduction) introduced the Chevrolet Volt judgment during the 2007 Detroit automobile show, as well as started referring to the Volt as an "extended range electric car." The complaint in the indirect years is not with either GM's engineers could compare Lutz's description. The complaint is which GM's selling as well as open family dialect couldn't, or wouldn't let go of the strange message.

We notched 299 miles during the initial real-world exam of the Chevy Volt, as well as available 126.7 mpg in the process. Those 299 miles reflected the approach an owner competence make use of the Volt underneath the variety of conditions. If we buy the Volt as your each day commuter, we could make use of it Monday through Friday without blazing the dump of gasoline, assuming we live within eighteen miles from work (and can't plug it in during work).

Then we could cover all your week end errands with it, plus may be dinner as well as the movie. Or we could take it upon the week end getaway, say from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara or Detroit to Grand Rapids (fold down the back seats as well as take your mountain bikes) as well as burn may be $10 of unleaded premium.

Volt advertising is perplexing to insist this all to American consumers. It's "the only electric automobile which uses gas to create the own electricity." Well, yikes. we mean, GM is still job it an electric car, as well as it's still struggling to describe how it works.

2011 Chevrolet engine bay

I don't know anything about marketing, though how about something like, "an electric automobile most of the time, the real automobile all of the time"? Awkward, perhaps, though in the final 5 years, GM selling has had the lot of time to gloss an accurate outline in to something some-more elegant.
For some-more than three of those final 5 years, it was underneath the Old GM, the same association whose selling dialect failed to delineate too most brands prolonged after "a automobile for each purse as well as purpose" had lost the value. Take the Pontiac Grand Am as well as Oldsmobile Alero. we once asked someone during Pontiac what, underneath the skin, made the Grand Am different from the Alero. Did the Excitement Division bless the Grand Am with the sportier chassis? Well, not in the springs as well as shocks -- the Pontiac exec said the Grand Am felt sportier because it had different seat mounts. That kind of thinking explains why GM selling did zero for the Volt for the initial three-and-a-half years of development.

Since July 2009's bankruptcy, we've seen most signs of GM's transformation. It's the much smaller, slimmer automaker with severely competitive brand brand new management during the top. Insiders say GM brass doesn't reason meetings about land meetings anymore, as well as the actual meetings have been shorter. Presumably, they're not guided by PowerPoints anymore, either. Things have been removing done, as well as the promising destiny product in the functions pre-bankruptcy is surpassing apace.

GM's Joel Ewanick

For the final year, GM Chairman Ed Whitacre has shuffled as well as re-shuffled the selling department. we don't know either he's satisfied with the stream selling department, with ex-Hyundai, ex-Nissan exec Joel Ewanick (pictured during left) heading it, though in the meantime, the Volt seems to have slipped through the cracks.

By the time the little engineers revealed the couple of months ago which the Volt's inner explosion engine powers the front wheels underneath certain conditions, including speeds upon top of 70 mph, GM selling should have been hard during work to fix Lutz's strange message.

So it's not the pristine electric. If we can afford to sit around as well as not go anywhere while your pristine electric recharges, don't buy the Chevy Volt.

Since the bankruptcy, GM has had about 14 months to get the summary right upon the most critical brand brand new automobile (from an picture standpoint, if zero else) in decades. It should have been honest with the question of either there is any connection between engine as well as wheels. And it should have spent the little time, income as well as aptitude to develop the new, post-Lutzian outline for the Chevy Volt.

Its disaster to do so raises the large question: Is New GM any different than Old GM?

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Qualifies for $1,300 Tax Credit

When a group of reporters gathered recently to learn about a brand new 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, no a single asked Hyundais fabricated team of executives, communications staff as well as engineers if a car a companys first hybrid would get a sovereign taxation credit. I was a single of those journalists. Luckily, a gears eventually incited between a staff. We followed up with Hyundai as well as learned that when a Sonata Hybrid goes on sale prior to a finish of a year it will be authorised for a $1,300 sovereign taxation credit.

The credit will be in outcome until Hyundai sells 60,000 hybrids of any model. Because a sovereign supervision uses city mileage to determine a credits, a Sonata Hybrid rated during 36/40 mpg city/highway has a most reduce credit than a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, that received a $3,400 taxation credit; its rated during 41/36 mpg. However, were misleading because a Sonata Hybrids taxation credit is reduce than a 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrids credit of $1,550, that returned extremely worse mileage of 26/34 mpg.

The great headlines for Hyundai is Fords hybrids are no longer authorised for taxation credits. They were used up as of Apr 2010. Toyota burnt through its taxation credits in 2008. The Malibu Hybrid is no longer for sale.

Pricing for a Sonata Hybrid has not been expelled yet. Our full review will be posted Monday.

Learn More About Hybrid Tax Credits
More Hyundai Sonata News

2011 Chrysler 200: Even More Photos

2011 Chrysler 200
Chrysler, whos building in to quite the courtesy monger, expelled even more photos of the 2011 Chrysler 200 today, along with more information. We right away have the transparent demeanour during the redone front as well as behind of the 200 (formerly the Sebring) as well as the little three-quarter views which confirm which the side form as well as roofline arent changing much from the outgoing model. Thats probably because the full form shot wasnt released.

There have been still no photos of the interior, though Chrysler promises the thespian upgrade there as well. The glimpse you get of the newcomer doorway is completely opposite than the current Sebring however.

The new 200 sedan will arrive during dealerships by the end of the year, with the automobile indication before long thereafter, Chrysler says.

127 MPG: This Volt Story Must Be Told

2010 Chevrolet Volt front

Never mind a yellow journalistic brouhaha taking place upon these here excellent internets in regards to a 2011 Chevy Volt. Here's since I'm so geeked upon a Chevy Volt as well as since we should be, too. In normal, everyday driving we got 127 miles per gallon (fine, 126.7 mpg). Which is flattering amazing. Broken down, over a course of 299 miles upon Los Angeles highways, byways as well as freeways, a Volt burnt 2.36 gallons of gasoline (fine, 2.359 gallons -- we rounded up). Most other cars have use of up a tank of gas over a course of 299 miles. The Volt, again, used 2.36 gallons over 299 miles. That's freaking amazing!

2010 Chevrolet Volt overview

A couple of weeks ago we hopped in to a entirely charged Volt with a tech guru Frank Markus as well as we set out upon a small drive. The plan was to expostulate from a Motor Trend offices in El Segundo (near LAX) up as well as over a small flattering serious towering roads -- Big Tujunga Canyon as well as Angeles Highway -- before hooking up with Highway fourteen as well as nomadic up in a dried city of Mojave. There was a single locate however. Before we got to a 14, we'd avoid freeways completely in sequence to see how distant we could pull a Volt upon battery usually in stop as well as go traffic.

We took a wending, rambling, 45-mile or so nomadic route by a greater L.A. Basin, hitting such notable 'hoods as Miracle Mile, Fairfax, Korea Town, Silver Lake as well as Glendale. Frank gathering first, as well as gathering consciously. Part of a Volt's arrangement is a small immature round upon a right palm side. When we have been driving as optimally as possible, a immature round shows three small leaves upon it as well as spins. When we accelerate "too fast," a round rises up a graph, a leaves disappear as well as a round turns orange. When we go tough upon a brakes a same thing happens, usually a round sinks. Frank did his best to keep a round centered. Me upon a other hand...

2010 Chevrolet Volt side view

"Way to jack rabbit divided in to traffic," Frank chastised me as we hustled to get a Volt in front of an oncoming city bus. The good headlines is which a Volt behaves similar to a normal car; it even has a jot of guts. The bad headlines is which after 10 seconds, I'd already put a nice-sized hole in Frank's high-mileage effort. For a subsequent forty mins we gave Frank (he lives in Detroit) a guided tour of Los Angeles, not profitable most courtesy to a Volt's floating eco-ball. Here's a tidy part: at 36.3 miles, we ran out of battery-juice as well as a engine very sensitively kicked on.

Once a engine turns on, a Volt drives exactly a same as it did in pure battery mode. Largely since it's still in battery mode. Remember, a Volt's inner explosion engine sends energy to a battery, as well as which energy afterwards rotates a large electric motor (aka Traction Motor) which moves a car. True, over 70 miles per hour a motor clutches itself to a generator of electric energy as well as helps energy a wheels. Much OMG!-ink has been spilled over this fact, though we say large deal. Remember, which engine-assist creates a Volt some-more efficient, i.e. a complete indicate of a Volt.

2010 Chevrolet Volt interior

At a finish of a journey, we'd lonesome some-more than 120 miles. City, hard-core towering roads as well as turnpike -- we even took a Volt up to its limited tip speed of 101 mph. Well, a speedo indicated 102 mph, though we were pointed downhill. Let me also discuss which we had a A/C upon since it was 100 degrees out. Factoring in a mountainous partial of a romp, where Frank as well as we acted similar to complete hooligans as well as neglected (on purpose) to put a Volt in Mountain Mode, we still averaged 74.6 miles per gallon over 122 miles. Sure, that's reduction than a 126.7 mg we got driving a car from a bureau to home, though it's still flattering dang good. Also, recollect which if we had simply stopped driving when a battery went dry, a mileage was infinity.

Here's a large takeaway, a large payoff: We couldn't have done what we did in a Nissan Leaf. Not usually is 120 miles past a Leaf's best-case scenario range, though in such heat as well as driven so aggressively, a Nissan's range would have shrunk considerably. With a Volt, a engine simply flicks upon when we need some-more electricity. When a engine runs out of gas, we supplement more. As Kim Reynolds hyperbolically pointed out after he took a Volt over a Grapevine, "It would have taken weeks to have which expostulate in a Leaf." Wry Reynolds also suggested which with a small bit of hacking, we could have use of Volts to go as well as recharge passed Leafs.

2010 Chevrolet Volt rear

Here's what we should take divided from a Volt. The 127 mpg number we recorded is around five times a average mileage of other cars. So while a Volt does burn fuel, it burns 80% reduction of it. Quite a large fat hairy deal, no?

Curbing my Volt Enthusiasm?

1971 Car of a Year

 As you'll read in a First Test of Chevy's overwhelming new Volt, my knowledge with a automobile suggests GM has in truth delivered a automobile it promised. It appears to be a technological moonshot that's achieving its lofty objectives. But I'm an aged guy with a long-ish mental recall that's been intuiting a little deja vu via Chevrolet's carefully orchestrated rollout of a Volt.

I remember another Chevy which betrothed to rewrite a rulebook with a key of tons of new technology. That automobile was additionally hyped for months as well as months previously so which by a time a press was presented with a real deal a unveiling was perceived as a Second Coming. It boasted a revolutionary engine as well as a 95-percent robotized physique emporium which helped enable a never prior to heard of line-production rate of 100 or more cars per hour. Even a shipping process was to be unique as well as revolutionary--the cars were engineered so which no fluids would trickle out when ecstatic vertically standing upon their noses in specifically written rail cars which could accommodate thirty cars instead of 18.

Have we guessed a automobile yet? It was a 1971 Chevy Vega. A small automobile braggadocio big-car values as well as main road cruising ability which was written to, once as well as for all, expostulate those annoying foreign cars back in to a oceans across which they'd come. Motor Trend crowned it Car of a Year in 1971 as well as lived to regret which decision. Commenters in a Volt First Drive forum are already rooting loudly for Chevy's plug-in hybrid wonder to take a calipers for 2011 next month. Is this automobile expected to create a same arrange of regret?

Chevrolet Vega

I unequivocally want to think not. When we study what went wrong during a Vega's troubled rehearsal (John DeLorean tells all in "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors"), it's clear to see which which automobile was destined for trouble. Larger-than-life personalities gathering bad decisions which forced illogical designs upon engineers who knew them to be illogical though were forced to try to have a fixed pattern viable.

With a Volt, a larger-than-life celebrity (Bob Lutz) might have helped launch a program, as well as might have influenced a argumentative preference to use such a large battery container (driving a price of a module way up), though a fundamental pattern is receptive to advice -- distant improved in fact than Toyota's for a plug-in hybrid -- and  a tight-knit group which has brought a concept to prolongation has been pulling tough in a same citation via a Volt's fairly dense growth period. Another encouraging fact is which funding for this module was never interrupted via a corporation's new failure unpleasantness. Indeed a limited time with a automobile denounced no fatal flaws. (Then again, we suppose a initial Vega drives didn't evince any melting engines or exile fender decay either.)

Chevrolet Vega rear

Still, all evidence seems to suggest which General Motors remembers a Vega too, as well as has doubled down to safeguard those mistakes aren't repeated. Here's anticipating -- for all a sakes -- they unequivocally have gotten it right this time.

Most-Read Car Reviews of the Week

2011 Honda Odyssey vs. 2010 Honda Odyssey
The 2011 Honda Odyssey examination stays a many popular examination on for a third week in a row. While a tip three vehicles have been a same as last week, a Chevrolet Cruze notched up to No. 4, as a model eventually went on sale. The 2011 Honda CR-Z reintroduces itself to our list, displacing a 2011 Hyundai Tucson for now.

1. 2011 Honda Odyssey
2. 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
3. 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
4. 2011 Chevrolet Cruze
5. 2010 Subaru Forester
6. 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
7. 2011 Subaru Outback
8. 2011 Honda CR-Z
9. 2011 Hyundai Sonata
10. 2010 Subaru Outback

This Week's Most-Read Stories

2011 Jeep Wrangler
This weeks many renouned story was our first demeanour during a 2011 Kia Optima, that has a same potential to light up a sales charts similar to a sibling, a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, according to editor Kelsey Mays. The 2011 Subaru Foresters midcycle refresh, that includes an all-new fighter engine, comes in during No. 2. Our insight into workman misconduct during Chryslers flagship Jeep Grand Cherokee bureau as well as a potentially critical steering defect on a Hyundai Sonata come in during Nos. 3 as well as 4, respectively. Finally, a Jeep Wrangler cost hike earnings to a tip five for another week.

1. 2011 Kia Optima: First Drive
2. Ch-Ch-Changes: 2011 Subaru Forester
3. Detroit TV Station Uncovers Chrysler Autoworkers Drinking on a Job
4. Recall Alert: 2011 Hyundai Sonata
5. 2011 Jeep Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited Get Serious Price Bump