Chevy Volt and the Cost of Bravery

General Motors can’t catch a break with its green car plans. As hybrids steadily gained market share in the first half of this decade, the company stayed out of the game. As late as 2003, Bob Lutz, the company’s product chief, said that hybrids don’t make “economic or environmental sense.” When GM finally stepped forward, it did so with all of the passion of a CPA—producing unconvincing low-cost Saturn pseudo-hybrids or hulking gas-electric systems best suited for undesirable full-size SUVs. These efforts were all numbers and no guts.

Finally, GM executives threw all caution to the wind and conceived the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid—an inspiring vision of what a vehicle could be at the beginning of the post-petroleum age. Unfortunately, GM might have missed the mark again—this time completing tossing out the business planning that it over-applied in the past. It appears that the brave and brilliant design of the Chevrolet Volt might require a price tag of roughly double the cost of its primary hybrid competition, the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid—and at the same time become a big money-loser for the company.

The details of the Volt’s genesis are told in the current issue of The Atlantic. The article, entitled “Electro-Shock Therapy,” explains that panic set in at GM throughout 2005 and 2006 as the company suffered annual losses in the billions and a deteriorating public image—especially regarding the environment. An unnamed executive told Atlantic writer Jonathan Rauch, “Everyone’s thinking the same thing: We’ve got to turn this thing around. We’ve got to get our mojo back on advanced technology.” The executive said, “The PR guys want something more sexy and dramatic, a singular point for our message.”

Steve Harris, GM’s top PR executive, had been looking with envy at the positive PR that Toyota garnered with its smash-hit hybrid, the Prius, and thought, “That could have been us.” Less than a year later, at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, the company unveiled the Chevy Volt, a vehicle designed to resurrect GM’s image and to deliver an attractive, affordable, and petroleum-free ride for most of America’s daily driving. The Volt was an instant media sensation.

In the 20 months since its unveiling—a period of time in which the cost of a gasoline rose as rapidly as GM’s bottom line fell—the promise of the Volt expanded from heroic to messianic proportions. In fact, on Friday, Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain told a crowd of 500 GM autoworkers “The eyes of the world are now on the Volt. It’s the future of America and the world.” McCain sees this single vehicle as a “vital and integral part of our ability to break our dependence on foreign oil.”

So, GM’s stakes in the Volt have grown from earning positive PR points, to saving the company, to saving the world. The company now has no choice but to deliver the car—at any cost. And therein lies a potential major problem. In the Atlantic article, Lutz said that the company tossed aside the normal budgeting and business process when creating the Volt.

“[Normally] you define the whole future of the car on paper before you give the go-ahead to start spending some serious engineering and design money on it. And in this case it was completely backwards. We saw that we had a smash hit that hugely resonated with the public, and we just decided: let’s go to work. No business case, but let’s get this thing into production-ready form, and we’ll worry about the cost and investment and the profitability later.”

At the time of the unveiling, the target purchase price was rumored at $25,000. Until recently, the company was hinting at $30,000. Lutz now reckons that $40,000 might be possible, but that $48,000 is more realistic.

There’s further evidence that the costs are running away. The company is lobbying for a $7,000 federal tax credit for customers of the Volt and other similar plug-in vehicles. On Friday, McCain pledged to do his part, if elected, to offer $5,000 credits. That adds up to somewhere between $50 million and $70 million of taxpayer dollars going to support purchases of the vehicle—if GM is indeed able to meet its target of 10,000 units in the first year. That government support will increase if Wagoner and Lutz deliver on their promise to produce the Volt in large quantities, as many as 500,000 units per year, within a few years. Similar tax credits will be available for other plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, promised from Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford and others. GM’s brave move toward plug-in vehicles has inspired the entire industry to begin going electric.

Even at $48,000, GM will be taking a substantial loss with each sale of the Volt. In an interview with on the morning of the Volt’s unveiling in Detroit, Lutz acknowledged that the company would have to subsidize the cost of the vehicle for “about as long as Toyota subsidized the price of the Prius” before it became profitable. That took Toyota about 10 years. If the Volt is a success, then GM could become a victim of its own success, suffering losses before the vehicle reaches economies of scale and starts turning a profit. If that’s the case, then GM and the Volt could also become a martyr in the process: ushering in a new age of green vehicles but hurting itself in the process.

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  • marc

    Of course it will cost $48.000. GM is intending to put the $7.000 in there pocket. GM, a respectable company for a while, can’t make a decent short and long business plan and is doomed to end up in the street. I can’t wait on the Volt, so I’m going for the new Prius. Sorry GM you had your chance but lost it.

  • kerry bradshaw

    How quickly Toyoa has become the butt of jokes about their
    yearlong string of inane and contradictory comments about electric propulsion. First off, they were going to use li ion batteries for a plug-in. Then they weren’t – they would stick to tried and true NimH batteries , obtaining a 8 mile electric driving range. That went over like a lead ballon, then they attacked GM for “putting their customer’s safety at risk by using those dangerous li ion batteries, proving onmce and for all that Toyota execs haven’t been paying attention to battery techonology and were time-warped into the 1st gen li ion technology. Next they decided that
    li ion batteries WERE OK and will use them themsleves. Thru all this they gave one fasle claim after anothe as to when their plug-in hybrid would appear – lie number one was 2009. Then 2010, then 2011, then “sometime after 2012.” Toyota execs had become a standing joke, as one exec contradicted the statement made yesterday by another Toyota exec. The came the massive recalls
    and the need to spend more money on engineering. So far they seem content to offer the samewarmed over mediocre Prius
    that has no chance of competing with the Volt in terms of gas or
    carbon avoidance. The Volt easily avoid between 10 and 16 times more gasoline that any Prius and also a correspondingly large amount of carbon emissions. Toyota seems to have become a
    corporation run by octagenarians.

  • CardInAustin

    Wow….not sure how some read this article and turned it into a bash on Toyota. For those who missed it, that article pretty much said that GM has painted itself into a corner. How? By poo-poo-ing the whole hybrid and high-mileage movement and depending on the status quo to last….well…forever. Gas would always be cheap, and huge SUV’s were a permanent fixture in the American landscape. As it turns out, not so much.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want GM to succeed. I really do. I really want GM and Ford to produce some fantastic next gen vehicles that deliver looks, performance, and high mpg values at a decent price. But if you are telling me a $48k Volt is THE answer you are kidding yourself. You can spin Toyota’s Prius and the HCH however you want, but the fact remains that:
    1) They are affordable
    2) They deliver very good gas mileage in a reasonably sized vehicle
    3) They have a history…a reputation….you see them driving down the street and can trust them unlike a trade show demo car
    4) They are available for sale TODAY

    The scariest part is that Honda and Toyota are both getting ready to release MORE hybrids.

    Lookin’ bad for the home team(s).

  • chukcha

    What GM has to do now is to offer their mild hybrid technology in all their vehicles. They have to do something that big established companies hate to do. They have to invest and run at a loss, because this is what it takes to turn around a company this big. In the 1920s Ford’s Model-T was the king of the road and it took huge losses for GM to reinvent them self and introduce cars that looked better. They were able to beat Ford because they invested in an idea of design over functionality. Now, in the 21 century, they have to do it again and invest into the idea of efficiency over size.
    The CEO’s hate it, their investors hate it, but they have to understand that ultimately, the customers are the ones who decide the fate of a company. They have to focus on the customer current/future demand; not only investors’ demand for more profit NOW. GM and Ford thought that they were duopolies and were dictating to us what cars we need to drive. They did it for so long that they forgot how to read and understand the market. Now they have to cut down the amount of models they produce, globalize their offerings (ie provide america, europe, and asia the same model designs/engine types)
    and make the models that they decide to keep super reliable, high quality interior/exterior and do it all with smaller IC engines (less than 3 Liters) combined with electric assist, start-stop technology. In parallel with this initiative, they HAVE to gradually convert all their cars into PHEVs and eventually into 100% electric.

  • BigMur

    Pretty rich calling GM’s building the Chevy Volt “bravery” as they slide into self-inflicted oblivion. The Volt isn’t even a true electric car (it has a gas engine). Gas is what we have to get off of. And didn’t GM kill their EV1 electric car in the 90’s? And why can’t they just bring that model/technology back? Its design still looks good and the vehicle worked well. See the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” for a lesson in why GM is so far behind the times and going broke.

    You’re brave if, while there is plenty of cheap oil around and you are the No. 1 producer of gas vehicles, you decide to switch to electric vehicle production. That’s what Henry Ford did in 1914–until it was derailed by a suspicious fire that destroyed Thomas Edison’s labs (Edison built the batteries for the Ford/Edison electric car). That’s bravery.

    It was Toyota who “threw all caution to the wind” when they developed the Prius over a decade ago when SUV’s and land-yacht pickup trucks ruled the roads and gas was cheap.

    GM and the Volt are a case of too little (and cost too much) too late.

  • Jeff

    Like Gore and most everyone else around, the nation is missing the boat on the problem. It is not related to how efficient a car is it is related to how we view convenience. The best way to cut back on oil consumption is to phase out the car in favor of better mass transit and alternative transportation systems. A Dodge Durango gets better travel value when full of people than a Prius does with a single driver on a daily commute. It is people miles not fuel economy that really should be counted and that all depends on the end user not the auto industry. I drive a Prius and take my kids and their friends to school (5 in the car). I get way better mileage than the person on their own. If we had access to dependable mass transit none of us would be riding in the car.

    GM pull your heads out and get busy killing the car.

  • robbor

    GM, start knocking out EV-1’s. According to EVeryone who owned an EV-1, they loved them.

  • Travis Austin

    The headline is incorrect.

    It should read “The Cost of Lateness.”

  • Bryce

    This 48k quote is old news, from months ago. If you watch this interview with Bob Lutz himself from a month ago, he quotes under 40k. Add that with a 5k-7k tax credit, and that is about 32k. Coupled with inflation,that basically leaves this thing only 5k-7k more than a prius. And while the prius is getting 50 mpg, the Volt will be getting 100-150 mpg. The difference will be made quickly. (especially considering……gas prices in the future……can someone say $5…..$6…..$7……)

    So calm down children, if people can buy a 50k land yacht, they can buy a 35k ish electric (extended range) car.

    here is the link!!!

    at around 4:00 minutes, he says the price.

    hey chuhckya, u should definetly register on this site that way you can track all the articles you have talked on. It is a feature on the account. Check it out. : )

  • Ralph Birnbaum

    Yeah, what a bunch of dolts over at Toyota. Sold a million Prius models worldwide compared to zero Volt models from GM. GM can’t give away a Cobalt and Toyota is selling the Yaris like cold water in the desert, and doing so profitably. You just keep believing they are inept if that makes you feel better. I hear laughing all right–all the way from Toyota headquarters to the bank.

  • jerome


    Show me the hybrid…. Stop calling the volt an electric car – call it a hybrid and get it producing…. from the link Bryce (a current GM employee?) posted it sounds like they are unsure of what they are building at all.

    So Toyota (and Honda for that matter) can dink around and blather about changing battery styles – but GM can’t even be allowed to discuss it until they get something in front of a consumer.

    My bet is $45K minimum for a base model and it has cheap plastic knobs and pleather seats. Why?? Based on track record here folks – the add people @ GM are top notch – outside of that …. close your eyes and what do you see – that’s right – the entire line of GM GREEN CARS ……

    The title of this article should be CHEVY VOLT – how to create vapor ware

  • Ferdosork

    Even if the Chevy Volt cost the same as the Prius, I’d stick with the Prius for at least five years to see what GM’s reliability is. Toyota shook down the Prius very hard before introducing it to the U.S. market. It’s reliability, at the third generation, is stellar. Anyone who looks at Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue can see the poor record of reliability of most GM vehicles.

  • Anonymous

    The Volt will never exist as a production vehicle. Even if GM releases something called the “Volt” it won’t deliver what was originally promised. If I buy an “American” car in the next 5 years, it will be made by Tesla or Aptera.

  • chukcha

    As long as toyota, honda, nissan and others continue to make money with their hybrids, GM will have to produce competitive hybrid vehicles. I say “have to”, because the corporations in general care only about the bottom line. If there is a way to grab a piece of market and make money in the near future GM and Ford will have to do it to keep their investors happy. The “Volt” has to be very close to what has been shown so far. If it doesn’t the people will not buy it [and buy the Prius]. The investors will not like that.
    I don’t think any automobile corporation likes to make hybrids. They are costly and the profit margins are lower [for now]. It goes without saying that no one gives a damn about environment, except some of the consumers. The mere idea that one has to sacrifice a portion of the profit for the environment makes most corporations cry hysterically. Look at the European car manufacturers who basically said: “The hell with an environment. There is still money to be made from oil so we’re just going to shut the consumer’s mouths with light diesel engines for now and hope this will give us some more time to *bleed* more money from them.” Ohh, I’m so pissed at them.
    At least the Japanese are trying to bring something new to the market… They deserve a credit for that. GM and Ford are just reacting to possible competitive threats with one finger while keeping their other finger planted firmly in their own ass.

  • ER-EV guy

    I can’t wait to get me a Volt. I think they are going to be great cars. America IS addicted to oil. Very badly. Just ask Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens. Watch his new commercial.

    We have to build millions of cars just like the Volt or we’re screwed in about 10 years. If you haven’t noticed, China and India are chugging gasoline and diesel fuel like frat boys on Spring Break. They’re using gas faster than the oil companies can drill for more of the stuff. There could be TENS maybe HUNDREDS of millions of new cars on the road in the world in the next 10 years or so because of China and India. We’ll need 5 more Saudi Arabias by 2020 at the rate they are going.

    We are GOING to have cars like the Volt. We won’t have much of a choice! GM will do fine making money with the Volt. The Volt might be a monster hit actually and they’ll make plenty of money.

    It’s just going to take some TIME for them to master all the research and development necessary for the Volt and then get the giant factories built. Once those factories are built, they’ll get the “economies of scale” and the price of those expensive batteries will come down. By 2012 or so, you’ll probably see Volt going for $30,000 or less.

    They’ll have Volt where you can buy or lease as much battery capacity as you can afford. You might could get a $28,000 Volt with a 20 mile (all electric range) leased battery in 2011 and then UPGRADE that 20 mile battery to a 60 or 80 mile battery in 2014+ … probably for a good bit less money. Batteries for the Volt will be like HDTVs … kind of expensive at first, but they’ll get more and more affordable every year.

  • Baltimore Prius Owner

    KB, are you from this planet???????????

  • Baltimore Prius Owner

    “mediocre Prius that has no chance of competing with the Volt”? You are kidding, right?! At the moment, and the way it looks for the near future, the Prius does not have any true competition. My guess is that Toyota will double the number of hybrids on the road before the first Volt is ever sold to the public. I have very strong doubts that GM will ever produce a single Volt. Time will tell. Maybe you will one day be able to prove me (and a hell of a lot of other folks) wrong. Best of luck!

  • mlaiuppa

    “..and other plug-in hybrids”. Does that include the Prius? Because you know they’ll be a plug-in version of it competing with the Volt. And Toyota has a big head start.

    Unless you legislate only American Made cars. Oh, wait. The Prius is going to be made in America.

    Where is the Volt going to be made?

    So far, the Volt is only vaporware. It’s Rock Hudson’s VIP. An advertising campaign without a product.

    Gee. GM had a jump on the market with the EV1. And instead of running with it and being the frontrunner….they threw it all away. Well, crushed it actually.

  • chukcha

    I think GM is not broke now and it will not go broke anytime soon. I think they have all the money they need to build the Vold next year. They’re buying time and trying to make sure that the hybrid market isn’t just a latest craze. They have so much money invested in other markets and products that we simply don’t have worry about them going broke. They have to create vapourware to stimulate the market wich is a well known marketing strategy. We are simple [dumb] consumers and their goal is to make us fans of their product before the product actually exists. That is smart. Don’t forget that from all the loud mouths on this forum only one or two people will actually buy the Volt. GM has to make sure that people will actually pay ~40,000K for Volt so by creating vapourware they increase their chances. So enjoy your vapourware people and stop trashing it.
    About our additcion to oil… It’s not going anywhere even if all the cars and trucks are 100% electric. We use oil to create rubber, some types of plastic, pavement for the roads and many more products. Oil is everywhere. All this screaming and fighting over IC engine makes us being addicted to oil is only partially true. Lubricants and some types of paint have oil inside. We still need oil; whether you like it or not.

  • Everything.imp

    I have seen so many ridiculous statements on this site that I don’t know what the hell to think. GM is going to hit their target price with the car. It is more expensive than a prius but…it can handle a family load, if driven correctly can obtain 1 Million MPG, and is the future. The prius will always use gasoline and electricity is the way the world is going to be ran.

    For the person talking about buying a car from tesla…..well they are brave and have been trying hard yet…you know how many tesla’s have been produced thusfar?? 7 lol They went to all the CEO’s.

    The volt will get 40 miles on electric range.
    It will meet it’s target price set a couple of months back at 40k
    Yes, that is more expensive than a prius but it has styling, power, better gas mileage, and will cut out so 10 times the amount of emissions of a prius.

    Basically, Toyota don’t believe they can do it and I for one believe that they can. When they do…Toyota will be years behind.

  • CardInAustin

    “Coupled with inflation,that basically leaves this thing only 5k-7k more than a prius. And while the prius is getting 50 mpg, the Volt will be getting 100-150 mpg.”

    So, only GM will make advances in technology? Only they are allowed to improve upon existing technology between now and *cough* 2010?? The Prius will be at least 3rd gen by the time the Volt hits the market. Heck, if the Volt gets delayed (inconceivable!) it might come out in time to compete against the 4th generation Prius. Or it might compete against the first PHEV from Toyota or Honda.

    Come on now…..lets all put our feet on planet Earth for a moment. GM has painted itself into a corner. Yes, they can still hit a home run and work their way back to the surface, but anything less and they will have egg all over their face. A 40k+ Chevy Cobalt better knock it out of the park to fit the bill. You think people won’t wonder about an unproven Volt versus a 3rd or 4th gen product from another car maker? I know I will.

    The point of this is that GM has nobody to freaking blame for this but themselves. They were the ones who said hybrids didn’t make sense. They were the ones who tried to live off the SUV forever. They were the ones who failed to see the oncoming train of $4+/gallon gasoline. Heck, they were the ones who even said that the original Saturns were a success of marketing (which, as a Saturn owner, insulted the h*ll out of me….forget about the fact that they started from scratch with a new plant, new designs, allowed engineers to start over, and scrapped the traditional relationship between labor and management). GM upper management just can’t seem to not shoot their own company in the foot at every turn.

    I believe in the GM engineers….but not the management.

  • Joe

    Hybrids are simply a PR fantasy that Toyota played beautifully and GM did not.

    BUT, Hybrids are simply not the preferred technical choice to improve MPGs. On an affordability scale, they are well behind other, ready for production, technologies like direct injection, turbo-charging and diesel combustion. All of these will quickly surpass Hynbrid powertrains in the next few years with respect to volume, they will provide great value to the buyers via increased fuel economy, however they will never reach 1% of the PR generated by HEV and Electric vehicles.

    As far as the “hate mail” toward GM, I can only say that one day we may wake up and wonder why we cannot buy an american automobile any longer, just like we cannot purchase a TV made in the USA, or a piece of consumer electronics. We should all hope to see GM and the other Big 2 turn business around, excite their customers, and grow their business. Don’t think for a second that Toyota or Honda have the same interest in preserving the standard of living we have so long enjoyed in this country. Toyota and Honda make great vehicles and they have built companies that deserve the admiration of most others.

    It takes courage though to support the big 3 thru their difficult times, and not kick them like a dying dog. The Automotive industry is probably one of the fiercest markets in the world. I doubt that most people that throw stones have to compete at this level in their own jobs or industries.

  • steved28

    Jeez imp, you should work for GM if you don’t already.

    The volt will…
    It will…
    Toyota will…
    Toyota don’t believe…

    What is it about GM, and there followers, and hype and talk? Is it in the handbook? Do you recite this chant as you drive your guzzler to work everyday. Well, hey, good luck with that.

  • steved28

    “Don’t think for a second that Toyota or Honda have the same interest in preserving the standard of living we have so long enjoyed in this country.”

    Do you really think this is the motivation behind the big 3?

    The UAW workers have been the most overpaid, undereducated workforce in the US for years. They could car less about you and I. And management answers to stockholders, plain and simple. Are you that naive?

  • Gerald Shields

    You got be kidding me John McCain. When the Hummer was king, the tax breaks went to as far as $25,000. A $5,000 tax does nothing to convince me to buy a $48,000 car!

  • ex-EV1 driver

    I predict that if GM manages to stay on course this time and actually sell the Volt, and they do a halfway decent job at it, the world will beat a path to their door. Toyota appears to be on a half-fast course to incrementally add plug-in capability to the Prius to give it about 10 miles of 30 mph range on electricity alone. Real driving (greater than 30 mph) will require the use of gasoline. This fact, by itself, will make the Volt’s planned 40 miles of freeway driving on electrons alone the clear winner.
    Let’s hope GM stays on course this time (unlike with the EV1) and actually does something right. It will be good for me, good for GM, good for America, and good for planet Earth.

    Oh yes, Go Tesla!
    Without Tesla, the Volt would never have been started.

  • Allen

    I so desperately want a Volt, but I want it the way it looks now, and would prefer an all-electric version. I currently own an SUV and a convertible. Both are GM products. My wife’s family was raised on GM paychecks and I sincerely hope that GM can pull themselves together to help the next generation of folks hoping to buy American.
    With GM’s PR division working overtime, they desperately need several things to happen:
    –Make a car and sell it. (NOT make 1 car and sell 4 with different name tags!)
    –Make the car they hype. (NOT hype a car and then make something based on a similar hypothesis of an approximation of the same general idea.)
    –Sell the alternative car people want to buy. (NOT lease the car, then take it back and crush it after your “lease” customer takes you to court to try to buy it from you!)
    –Don’t re-invent the wheel, re-invent the way you use it. (Can’t produce an electric car right now? How about a conversion kit for my SUV that gives me 20 miles a charge and is upgradable to newer, more efficient batteries later. Let me decide between guzzling electricity or gas. Even if the kit is $25k, it’s still cheaper, and I couldn’t sell my SUV for anything now anyway.)
    –Tell the Unions to put up or shut up! (Not pay them for working and give them raises because they didn’t sever a limb, and then pay them their full wages and benefits AFTER they retire and throw in their families benefits for life. Don’t get me wrong…I’m sure it looked really good to the workers, but how about when the plants start closing because the investors are jumping ship because they realize that they will be paying not only the person working on the line, but the person that they replaced and both of their families! Good for employee retention, but NOT a good business model.
    For all the Toyota bashers, I’ll grant you that the car is not the prettiest or sportiest, but I pay about $100 to fill my SUV and I get about 15MPG. Every once in a while a consider the “not-so-comfy-but-won’t-bankrupt-me-at-the-tank” option. I used to own a Miata and loved it even though I couldn’t carry a suitcase in it. I got 180,000 miles on it by changing the oil and tires and still got 25MPG.
    Consider my rant over….

  • Giant

    I mean really, what is taking toyota so long to make their hybrids pluggable? It’s not a big leap to increase the battery size enough to go 7-10 miles. That would work well for me.

  • Joey

    Support the big three? You’ve got to be kidding! It is a wonder that they are still in business, given the crap they’ve foisted off on us. I’ll take a Toyota any day. I live in the South: We’ve got BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia, and Hyundai. Screw Detroit and their crap products.

  • jerryu

    I’d rather buy a Telsa for a little more$.

    I don’t trust GM

  • Laurent

    I’ve got some bad news, the price of the Volt is not the problem. The real problem is the limit that we have reached. Even if an automaker is about to produce a wonderful 100% EV, it will needs some huge amount of oil, precious amount of (limited) lithium resource, at a time of we probably reach THE global peak oil. That means, very bad period to sell car where energy crisis will hit all major developed countries. “The american way of life is not negociable”, but the nature will take care of that.
    A must seen documentary : The Crude Awakening

  • Bill

    A couple of points
    First point:
    The Prius is a Gasoline powered car which gets some of the energy back through regenerative braking. You can take that technology to gen fifty and it won’t be anything else but a petrol powered vehicle with good mileage.
    The Volt is an electric car which has been given infinate range by adding a generator. For trips under 40miles it uses NO GAS. That is most commuting without using gas and the 40miles will cost around a dollar in electricity.
    The two vehicles are completely different!

    Second point:
    The volt is much less complicated than the Prius. It is possible to manufacture it for a much lower cost.

  • david

    I believe I read an article in 2004 when they created the new prius, that Toyota was making a profit on every one. So I’m not sure which article is correct.

  • Halo9x

    Well, that bights! $48,000 is quite a lot for a vehicle gets only 40 miles on electric only. I just saw a piece concerning cars converted to electric that get 100 miles per charge (mpc) and cost only $8,000 to convert. One was a Honda Sol which is a neat looking sports car that a guy converted to be all electric and that’s using regular car batteries. just think if they were able to use 6 of Toyota’s batteries to run the vehicle instead. They would be lighter than lead/acid and last longer. However, they work and that’s the point.
    It turns out that the Prius will remain the better choice considering the total cost to own and operate. I’ve been very happy with my ’07. As for the Volt (and I do like it) if you want to go further than 40 miles, plan on having gasoline. I wish Chevy and GM well but they are reeeally going to need to do something to get back in the game. One thing they could do is make Pick-Up trucks that run on natural gas or propane from the factory.

  • Ross Nicholson


  • Bryce

    Mr. Elliot, the stated goal of the developers of the next Gen Prius is to get beyond 50 mpg a bit so they can make that PR claim. It would be dandy, but if a competitoris touting 150 mpg next to that….well, maybe we won’t see so many 50 mpg commercials. As for Toyotas own electric vehicle, chevy volt like thing, it should be out around the same time, but only for test fleets, leased, and it will still use the same parallel drivetrain with the ICE and lectric engine sharing the job of propelling the car. That same year, Volt will have atleast 10k retail Volts sold to regular people, not just companies and movie stars. It will also strictly be propelled by an electric engine, and for three out of four of us, won’t use a drop of gas. How far do you drive everyday Mr. Elliot??? Actually, that would make a great marketing gimmick. Ask customers how far they drive and then calculate their daily mpg. That would definitely help the sale. Now don’t get me wrong, hybrids, Volt or not, are not nearly as economical as say an Aveo or a Yaris would be. Especially that new chevy compact, the Cruze……ooo, that does look enticing indeed. Luckily for me, right when all of these next gen vehicles will be coming to market right when I will be shopping for a shiny new vehicle. Lucky me, I look forward to parusing many a dealership.

    Sorry Elliot, but I do not work for any automakers, though, I think that would be interesting in these times. If I were to, I would say either GM, Honda, or maybe even Nissan. Those three companies are really bringing out their A game to compete in the growing market for smaller cars, and the rapidly expanding foreign markets. Hyundai and its Kia subsidiary are also really coming out of the woodwork and producing things that aren’t pieces of junk. Toyota has been producing solid vehicles for many decades now, but I have been really dissapointed by their interiors lately (I sat in a Camry and the dash was the same as my mom’s 99 Suburban….pretty plain….and I mean identical) and KBB and Edmunds and all of them have been hammering them in the rating competitions against the Malibu and Accord, both new redesigns that I admire greatly. In the face of all of this, I am sure Toyota will up the ante again, it would be very….un-TOyota of them otherwise, lol.

  • Bryce

    O, and Laurent, Lithium is one of the most abundant elements on the Earth. There are even huge reserves of it in South America, Southeastern Europe, and Australia, all places that we can go to without an Army behind us for protection. : )

  • Esteban

    Why don’t you lead the revolution and get rid of your car right now! You can start by riding your bicycle everywhere. You can put your kids on the handlebars. It will be great.


    Don’t sweat Kerry Bradshaw, check out almost any story on hybrids and KB is there shilling. KB posts are as real as the Santa Claus and as informative as lunch with the Easter Bunny.

    As for Bill’s comments, another typical response, “The Prius uses gas, blah, blah, blah…” It does indeed. And a lot less of it than most any car out there. And that’s the point.

    Finally, it’s truly sad that GM executives, the people who are to blame for this, continue to collect enormous salaries and bonuses while GM continues its slide past junk bond territory into complete obscurity. The Volt, at best, is a long shot and seems as though it’s mainly vaporware designed to keep GM’s stock from completely sinking into oblivion, for at least another quarter which is again, why GM is so out of it.

    It’s sad because we could and should build decent, efficient cars here but we don’t and the only people to blame and the short sighted and well fed American car companies.

  • Old Man Crowder

    Bryce… Did you just imply that the US can simply invade those countries to plunder their Lithium reserves?

  • normothebig

    These posts are becoming more meaningless by the day. Lots of statements about what GM are going to do and how stupid Toyota and the others are. None of us (and I include some of those company leaders) know what GM and Toyota are really up to!

    If the Volt appears in the showrooms, and works, at a price people can afford then great. But it doesn’t. And until it does GM have achieved nothing.

    Toyota are painfully slow at producing seemingly straightforward Prius upgrades like a plug-in charger and a larger battery option. Why? I don’t know and I suspect neither do you.

    Surely we are a more powerful, more meaningful, more convincing voice if we focus more on what we want, and why we want it, rather than to second guess the makers’ strategies. Telling Toyota they are dumb wont make them less dumb. If a thousand posts tell them we want PHEV etc we stand a chance.

    And I’m not anti-GM but gassing-off without a product looks bad. Shouldn’t makers keep new cars secret until “tada” they are revealed in surprise mega launches? Most of the best cars in history were born like that were’nt they?

  • High Voltage

    It’s funny when all the import dopes write how awful it is that the Volt can only go “gasp” 30-40 miles on battery power. Look kids, the majority of Americans that live in urban areas only drive between 30-40 miles each day for their commute to their jobs. Know what that means? Yep, fuel independence!

  • normothebig

    The Volt doesn’t exist.

  • Also Anon…

    My new car money is being hoarded to buy a full electric vehicle. Exhaust pipes, radiators, transmissions, gas tanks or fuel cells etc. just run up the price tag. 99% of my driving is within a 150 mi. range. After the freedom of driving an electric car thar is recharged from our home solar pannels, I am committed to the powerful clean efficiency of a well designed electric vehicle.

    I am ready to buy a new EV today!

    Current options:
    1. I still have a letter of intent to buy a Phoenix Motor Car full electric SUT. e if or when it is released.
    2. Aptera has my deposit for a Type i-e.

    Both are powerful and full electric and will more than meet my needs. If a viable real world electric vehicle hits the market I am willing to be an early-adopter.

  • OneTruePatriot

    GM is toast. A dinosaur company run by dinosaurs. These morons are trying to favorably compare their PAPER design to Toyota’s TEN YEAR OLD production model? Give me a break. By the time Lutz figures out the difference between his ass and a whole in the ground Toyota will have run rings around him, AGAIN.

  • Bryce

    rofl, no Mr. Crowder, that is not at all what I impied, lol. Why in the world would we be invading and conquering Australia and Europe of all places. ROFL. I am just saying they are open investment areas that won’t have any animosity towards us, like, say, the middle east. Right now, Eastern Europe is itching for investment, and a big old mining operation that was long lasting would really make them salivate.

    No need to conquer today my friend. : )

  • Bryce

    chukcha, did u just make an account, or did you just dust it off???

  • chukcha

    RE: “chukcha, did u just make an account, or did you just dust it off???”

    Hmm, I created a new account.
    Maybe I had one before that…I can’t remember. So, hybridcars webmaster, if you read this message, you can delete my old account from your database. (If I have an old account it should have “chukcha” in the user name too.) THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE chukcha! 🙂

    (btw “chukcha” means Eskimo in Russian)

  • chukcha

    RE: “Bryce… Did you just imply that the US can simply invade those countries to plunder their Lithium reserves?”

    I can’t speak for Bryce, but I think that if a corporation needs some material to generate more profit…
    The corporation, probably takes all options into account and then decides on the least expensive way to get the materials. If plundering is the least costly way of obtaining the materials the corporations will plunder without second thoughts.
    How else do you think big business is done?
    You first study your opponent and find out it’s strengths and weaknesses. (SWOT analysis)
    Then you study your own abilities. (SWOT)
    Then you destabilize the country[or business] by propaganda. (You make them look evil in the eyes of your people)
    Then [if they still refuse to give you the materials on your terms] you *neutralize* them and take what you need.
    Then you leave. End of story.
    Look at history…
    (I’m playing devil’s advocate here…)

  • chukcha

    Sorry for the double post above people…

  • Anonymous

    The purpose of G.M. & other American corporations is the same as the so-called “liberal” media – to make unGodly, immoral profits, to control people’s minds & their wallets, to suck all the life force from people including their freedom, democracy, & the American way of life. What’s good for G.M. & it’s shareholders is very, VERY BAD for America (just not for somebody’s “bottom line”. Don’t give them money, or they’ll just use it to subjugate us in some other way. Heck, if you can’t totally enslave black people, Chinese, Japanese, or whoever, then you just have to enslave everyone & their democratic ways of freedom. On my, where is the white flight now out of the country, of black & brown flight out too, now that we got 3 trillion dollars to be owed by us & our kids for Iraq & who knows about Iran. We have met the enemy & it is US (U.S.?).

  • Tom

    Toyota hung it all out on the line to bring hybrid vehicles to the marketplace and they have succeded. They developed their own battery technology in partnership with Panasonic. They developed their own battery management systems. Even the gas engine is somethig new because it uses the Atkinson cycle approach. Every bit ofthe Prius is a clear indication that Toyota was willing to take a chance on the development of new technology.

    GM had the same opprotunity but instead chose to keep pushing those SUVs out the door and the profits into the pockets of management.

    Now GM is settingthere talking about the Volt ay a projected price of $48,000. Who are they kidding?

  • Old Bald Guy

    In the 1960’s there were 2 kinds of cars you could buy in the USA … large, nicely equipped cars and small, nicely equipped cars. The LARGE, nicely equipped cars were made in America and the SMALL, nicely equipped cars were … not. When I was in college, the only way to get a nice small car was to get European.

    Then came the first Arab oil embargo in 1973, when gas doubled in price overnight. A lot of American drivers suddenly discovered SMALL cars … which now included Japanese makes. Detroit countered by introducing some small junk … er … cars. Remember the VEGA? Fell apart after 40,000 miles … if it didn’t rust to the ground first. How about the PINTO? Another joke. Or the Cadillac Seville with no trunk … now THAT was UGLY!

    Big American Iron was so convinced that no one would ever want a nice small car that they refused to produce any. Check the point of origin for some other small American cars and see what is under the hood. Dodge Colt … Japanese. Chevy Metro … Japanese. Pontiac LeMans … Korean. Ford Escort … Japanese. Some things don’t change.

    While Detroit was not paying attention, the Japanese and others moved in and now have a majority of the market. Enter ANOTHER oil crisis. $4 gas. What does Detroit do? They tell us what they are going to do (at some point in the future) after Japan has already been doing it for years. DETROIT HAS NEVER CARED what the public WANTED … YOU GOT WHAT THEY TOLD YOU TO GET.

    My experience for the past 40 years tells me that Detroit might just drop dead before it voluntarily chooses to give us the kind of cars we need now. Chevy Volt? Nice car. Will it ever come to pass? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.

    Just saw a story on CNN about some electric car clubs in California … converting used regular cars to pure electric … 50 – 80 mile range with off the shelf parts. HMMMM……



  • John K.

    GM does NOT need to make the Volt! GM is planning on releasing a $30k Saturn Vue “Two Mode” Li ion PHEV in 2010. What GM needs to do is to adapt that PHEV tech to the Chevy Malibu. That would be a *hot* seller. They already have the all the tech worked out for the Vue. They already have the Malibu platform in prdxn and it is VERY highly regarded by the automotive press and the public. The closer they price it to $25k, the hotter it will sell.

  • Laurent

    Bryce says:

    “O, and Laurent, Lithium is one of the most abundant elements on the Earth. There are even huge reserves of it in South America, Southeastern Europe, and Australia, all places that we can go to without an Army behind us for protection. : )”

    Of course, for the first 2 years. But seriously, when china will have drained all oil available, could you imagine the amount of lithium needed to run several hundred millions of cars? I love my actual SUV, EV cars is a fantastic matter, but reality much complicated than it appears, and we have to be prepared for a REAL change in our way of life.

  • Bryce

    um…..what part of “one of the most abundant elements on Earth” do u not understand. It’s like iron or aluminum… is everywhere. There is no need to worry about it friend. Go read a chemistry book or Geology book, or something. Jesus. : (

    Danny, I know GM products are fine indeed. I knew a guy that actually had his mileage rollover and continue on to another couple of hundred thousand miles. Thats over a million miles. : ) He hauled hay I believe. Despite this, all caps is really not necesary, and it makes your post make GM fans look like psychopaths…..which doesn’t help an already sour PR situation. : )

  • Charles Hall

    Anyone who has seen “Who Killed the Electric Car” won’t believe GM until the vehicle is actually in the showroom and can be purchased.

    They’re not helping their cause by showing off a “prototype” that it turns out has neither the body, or the drive train, or the propulsion system they are now claiming the ultimate Volt will have.

    As Toyota’s conflicting claims about the next gen Prius, NOBODY knows what they’re going to actually do. Toyota keeps it cards very close the vest. If anything, these conflicting statements are just a smokescreen.

    One last point, as any Prius owner can attest, the technology Toyota used in that car is utterly new. From the transmission to the way coolant is stored to the way the gas engine works, it’s all completely new to the automotive world. I don’t think GM has that kind of guts…. but I do want an EV1 ever so badly.

  • Ian Good

    a $48000 car that costs you $500/yr in gas instead of $2500 saves you $2000/yr, which over 10 years makes the car REALLY cost just $28000. People can afford $200 more /mo car payment if they’re saving that much in gasoline costs.

    Strange, my captcha was ‘oil immense’

  • Bob_C


    First off, I own a Prius and love it. It is the best car on the road at the moment and should be rightfully credited with beginning the revolution against gasoline. The Volt will not only happen in 2010, but it will also be the next groundbreaking step in automoblile evolution. For those of you calling it vaporware or pointing at GM’s history, please just take a step back, be open minded for just a minute (you can always close it a minute later) and just consider the following:

    1) Engineering Excellence: GM has some of the best engineers in the world. This is the company that gave us a Corvette that can go 0-60 in the range of 3.5-4.0 seconds. It can race and defeat cars that cost multiple the times the amount of money such as Ferrari, Porsche, etc. Say what you want about sports cars but can anyone here not appreciate that it has to take some pretty brilliant engineers to pull that off? There has never been a question of whether GM has the skill to develop a hybrid. It has only been a question of committment.

    2) Committment: All the naysayers about GM are correct in that the past GM did not have a serious committment to building a Hybrid. If they had, all those 0-60 engineering improvements in would’ve been replaced with MPG gains instead. It is a shame that didn’t happen. But what’s done is done and can’t be changed. As my father told me, it is all right to fall down as long as you stand taller when you pick yourself back up. GM is no different. They know they goofed up and they have changed the direction they are headed in now.

    It is very clear that they have staked the entire future of their company on the Volt. They have admitted that they had an open ended budget on this thing and are going to be losing money for years on it – and they are okay with it. Why would that be you have to ask? It is because that once the technology is developed they can start using it to replace the conventional technology on all their other cars. There is no doubt about it. Why? Because how else could they justify losing money on cars for the first few years? They will probably also license it to other companies in the same way Toyota did with their Prius technology to offset costs.

    3) Retail Price: I am bummed out like everyone else that the Volt is going to priced out of my range. The unfortunate truth about the Volt is that it is not priced for the hard core hybrid fan base – us. So who is it priced at? Ironically it is going to be those snobby self absorbed types who spend $60K on an H2 Hummer or $100K on a Porsche. LOL.

    Those types of people we have all met who just got to have the latest, greatest, shiniest and most expensive talk of the town product are going to make this car a success. They’ll be dropping $48K easily on the Volt and then drive on over to the AT&T store to pick up their next generation iPhone the day it ships for the third year in a row, maybe pick up some new Ray-Ban sunglasses on the way home and then dump their half filled Starbucks coffee because it was no longer piping hot and immediately pick another $5 mocha latte supreme on the way home. Can’t you just picture Paris Hilton getting a DUI while driving one and then being filmed intoxicated saying that she is saving the environment in her Volt? How about Jessica Simpson saying she bought one to save the whales? What about athletes such as Pac-man Jones driving down a stripper in one? Jay Leno giving a monologue about the new Volt he just added to his 100 car collection? George Bush saying he bought one because he felt strongly that his SUV was too small? A Christian Bale like character from American Psycho bragging about his Volt as he shows off his new business cards? Does anyone believe that there are not enough of these people to buy 10,000 Volts in the first year?!?! A waiting list then ensuing and EVERYONE (who is ANYONE) will HAVE to own one the very next year!

    That is okay in the long run though because once the Volt becomes successful for GM, the techology will find it’s way into their other less expensive vehicles such as those four doored ones we want. To sum up:

    1) GM has proven engineering excellence.
    2) The have committed themselves out of necessity of saving the company to deliver the Volt on time no matter what the resources cost.
    3) They are plenty of shallow people out there who are just waiting to chip in their $48K to look sharp and save the whales.
    4) The money of those people will spur the development of cars the rest of us can own

    The Volt will happen and it will revolutionize the car industry.

  • Seth

    I agree. But unfortunately it is not GM who controls Mass Transit. It is the government, which is run by and for the oil companies. Policies in favor of autos and against mass transit date back to the horrible ideas of Robert Moses and yes, Frank Lloyd Wright in the ’50s. We need high-speed intercity rail and much better mass transit in all our cities. New York will be raising fares again soon.

    Cars should be used solely for transit to out-of-the way places with no public transit, and we should impose HUGE taxes on gasoline (not tax holidays) to help accomplish this. Mass transit should be what is SUBSIDIZED by the government, NOT gasoline for cars.

  • Bryce

    Mass transit is subsidized by the government. Ever heard of Amtrak??? Even subsidized, it is the same price as simply driving there, except the trains are late, and the accommodations lackluster. Flying to your destination is cheaper than riding a train for goodness sake. For urban environments, mini train systems like the BART in San Fran are great, but once you get out into the open of the rest of our very large and spread out country, public transit’s benefits begin to wane. The reason you see so much public transit in places like Europe and Japan is a combination of a very compacted environment for people, very heavy government subsidies, and a slightly lower per capita income making owning a car difficult for average Joe schmo European/Japanese. As for “huge taxes on gasoline”……..well, I suppose you can try that, but the whole tax would be used to pay for increased need for riot control squads and paramilitary peace keeping type ridiculousness. Americans drive cars….wherever they….end of story. All you have to do is put a more efficient engine under them seemlessly and you can accomplish the same goals of public transit without all the upheavel.

    Very good points Bob_C, though I still stand by the statements by old Bob Lutz of the slightly below 40k Volt, but hey, the thing isn’t out yet, so we will see.

    One thing that we can all look forward to is the revealing of the production model Volt at the centennial celebration in August/September. I know I am. : )

  • ER-EV guy

    Toyota better be concerned about the new Saturn Vues that are on the way. They’ll make a regular “2 mode (non Plug-in) Vue in 2009 that is similar to the Prius and a “2 mode Plug-In Vue” that is closer to the Volt in technology.

    The Volt ER-EV (series hybrid) technology is the best you can get. You’ll get 150 mpg on average with the Volt. A LOT of people who have short 30-40 mile commutes and plug in every night might not have to buy ANY gasoline or very little of it. Volt owners might be bragging to everyone at work about how many gallons of gas they have to use in a YEAR for commuting. Prius owners won’t come close to the Volt in that respect.

    The Prius is about to be compared to “2 mode hybrids” from GM in the next few years … not the Volt. I don’t think Toyota is going to make an ER-EV (series hybrid) until maybe 2012. They’lll be WAY behind GM on series hybrid technology used in the Volt.

    By 2014 or so, people might be able to UPGRADE their 40 mile batteries to 100 mile batteries at a decent price for all we know if the costs of the batteries come down. The Volt is designed to be very FLEXIBLE and upgradable. That’s why they call their powertrain E-flex. It’s a great idea.

    A LOT of hybrids are going to be like the Volt. The only thing holding them back is the energy density of the batteries and the cost of them. HUNDREDS if not thousands of hardcore battery scientists around the world are hard at work right now trying to develop better battery technologies. The latest and greatest batteries for mainstream AFFORDABLE cars will probably go into the Volt. GM should have a good lead over the competiton. The Volt has a very bright future.

  • Bryce

    The Volt car is only the beginning. Just imagine EREV trucks, full size sedans, and SUVs even. *oil company sheds a tear*

  • Laurent

    Charles Hall says:
    “Anyone who has seen “Who Killed the Electric Car” won’t believe GM until the vehicle is actually in the showroom and can be purchased.”

    Ironically, the electric car has killed GM. By the way, that’s an excellent documentary, and Toyota has also crushed most of fabulous RAV-4 EV. So, let’s say that, they are just more lucky than GM.

  • Laurent

    Bryce says:
    “um…..what part of “one of the most abundant elements on Earth” do u not understand. It’s like iron or aluminum… is everywhere. There is no need to worry about it friend.”

    Analysis of Lithium’s geological resource base shows that there is insufficient economically recoverable Lithium available in the Earth’s crust to sustain Electric Vehicle manufacture in the volumes required, based solely on LiIon batteries. Depletion rates would exceed current oil depletion rates and switch dependency from one diminishing resource to another. Concentration of supply would create new geopolitical tensions, not reduce them.
    Source : Meridian International Research

  • Laurent

    “Bryce says: Americans drive cars….wherever they….end of story.”

    You should say : “End of humanity”;
    Investment banker Matt Simmons shocks the crew at Fast Money last week :

  • Bryce

    There is no way I am going to follow the recommendation of some random organization. If you can find a report by the US Geological Survey or maybe a Geology textbook referencing difficulties in Lithium mining, maybe I will buy it. Secondly, the oil sands of Canada were “uneconomical” and now they are known as the largest reserve of pteroleum in the world. Also, refining and the advancement of efficiencies will make Lithium that much more economical. At the turn of the last century, the highest gasoline was refined to was a rating of around 30, if that. Now regular is high 80s. That gives you more bang for your buck. Finally though, electricity storage technology advances so fast, lithium is not likely to stay the biggest technology and will probably be superceded by something. lithium ion > metal hydride > lead acid

    As for Americans and cars, the rest of us will drive our cars (efficient ones at that)… can ride your bus.

  • Tim in ky

    Back in 1980 Ford was running a huge “Buy America” campaign in which we were basically being told
    we Americans had a duty to buy American. I went out and bought a “Ford” Courier PU. After I got it home I noticed all the wording on the engine and body were in Japanese. I then discovered the truck was actually a Mazda b2000 in disguise. Ford bought it with a few body parts missing and called it a “part” rather than a vehicle. They then added the body parts and sold it as a ford. Later, the very parts they added became the only part of the truck I had trouble with.

    I haven’t bought a new American-made car since. Ford motor company introduced me to the best cars ever -those made in Japan!

  • Keith

    I am sorry but please explain to me how GM will make money if they “get busy killing the car”. GM makes cars. Why would they want people to stop driving?

    Your comment makes no sense in the context of this article.

  • Laurent

    Bryce says: “Secondly, the oil sands of Canada were “uneconomical” and now they are known as the largest reserve of pteroleum in the world.”
    No they are not. In Alberta they actually extract 2M barrel/day, the full potentiel in Canada is about 4million barrels/day and won’t last forever. US burn 20 Millions barrel a day.

    Bryce says: “As for Americans and cars, the rest of us will drive our cars (efficient ones at that)… can ride your bus.”

    Brice, I drive an SUV, I pilot airplanes, and I love all of that. I hate mass transportation, but you have to be realistic, the entire modern society has to be changed or we will not survive. So running a SUV, based on gas, lithium-ion or fuel cell will not happen anymore in the next decade. The remaining oil has to be used for food processing and transportation, computer chips and solar panels factories, etc…

  • Bryce

    Production in Canada is ramping up and there has been more discovered in those sands than in all of Saudi Arabia. It is sour heavy crude though, so will take more to refine.

    If we don’t survive, you can blame me. : )

  • Fraw

    An author of an aftermarket parts blog said that trannies cannot tolerate 300+ hp. Thats a borg-warner t-5. They are junk and 3rd gear is the first to go. The transmission for a truck and car are nearly identical.


    If the federal money goes to the batteries producers INSTEAD OF THE CAR PRODUCER the effects could be wider and better.

    Problems in this models is the battery cost, the car actually is much cheaper to produce, IF THE HELP GOES TO BATTS, ALL KIND OF APPLICATIONS WILL BENEFIT, NOT ONLY GM SPECIFIC MODEL OF CAR.

  • HM

    Jeff, I agree with for the most part, the problem with your arguement is that GM is a company in business to make money, they would not make any money if people decided not to purchase anymore cars. I think that Volt is a great idea, but because of our own selfishness we have created a society that would make it nearly impossible to survive w/o an automobile. Think about it, we live about 40 or more miles away from our jobs, we move away from cities to get away from “undisireable people”, we live in larger ineffiecent homes, consumming large amounts of energy, and so on. The is a socio-economic stigma attached to public transportation that will never go away at least in my lifetime. People, believe that expanding PT will allow more undesireables access to their properties, somehow have the noticion that people will indeed take the bus or subway to rob them. That only poor people ride the bus. You would have to change our attitudes towards consumption and lavishness in order for what you say to work.

  • rwcole

    I have trouble understanding the economy of the plug in. At $5 per gallon- a 50 mpg Prius would cost most people about $100 per month in fuel costs…

    A 100 mpg plug in saves $50 per month. That’s not worth spending $5,000 extra dollars for.

    At $10 per gallon- it might start to make sense.

  • Old Man Crowder

    Not worth it??

    Why is it that people have to be able to recoup the extra costs of a piece of fuel efficiency technology before they’ll consider it for purchase?

    What’s the payback period for leather seats, heated mirrors, sunroof, sport suspension and a supercharged engine? There isn’t one, and yet many people will hardly bat an eyelash when they see that they can upgrade to the sport model for only $5000 more than the base version.

    Why not spend $5000, get at least a portion of that back in fuel savings, while also reducing GHG emissions and air pollution, reducing dependency on foreign oil etc. etc.??

  • Bryce

    The answer would be it isn’t stylish. Though in this new market place, Green is in, so maybe hybrids will become the new leather. Who knows?

  • dangerous

    Seen this one to over every page and blogs in the net. I’m not really satisfied with it and so with the other car enthusiast. I don’t like the body but maybe the features are great. And as i have read all the reactions to this write-up, they’re not convinced with what this Volt has done. It should be just the Car Seen in Movies type. Cars in Batman and some James Bond movies should be like this. But let’s wait and see.

  • Henry S.

    Not sure why people are freaking out at the price. Assuming that there isn’t a lack of raw materials, the price will go down *fast*. Remember when a cheap desktop computer was over $1,500???

    I am actually interested in the Volt because I would look forward to sending $0 to the middle east for the majority of my trips. I just don’t think that a 40mpg car offers the level of enviro-satisfaction to give up a 26mpg Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, or upcoming Chevy Camaro.

    Unrelated comment: Not sure why people are so obsessed with Toyota. Is it just anti-Americanism? Toyota is fine, but I don’t understand all the star struck people….they are just trying to make a profit like everyone else.

  • Old Man Crowder

    I’m with Henry. Toyota may be waving the greenest flag but we can’t forget that they also produce such monstrosities as the FJ Cruiser, Sequoia, Tundra and 4 Runner; not to mention the entire Lexus brand.

  • Bryce

    The new Sequoia and Tundra are jokes. About as efficient as a Lamborghini.

  • bedrock8x

    If the EV1 is resurrected today, it will be selling as much as the Tesla.
    The market will be very limited.

  • pjkBP

    Toyota broke a record last year…. they recalled more cars than they sold… first car company to ever do that… and that doesn’t include all the trucks from 1995 to 2000 that have frames that totally rust out in less than 8 years…

    One thing GM doesn’t have is the $388 million dollars the JAPANESE GOVERNMENT GAVE TOYOTA TO DESIGN THE PRIUS.

    Another thing GM doesn’t have is a open Japanese market (no.2 auto market in the world)… they put a $15,000 tariff on any car not Japanese. How many Japanese vehicles would sell here if we put a $15,000 tariff on each one …

    I will be buying a electric vehicle from GM.

  • oneengguy

    Lighten up everyone on General Motors! Okay, so they missed the boat…and yes, we all saw “who killed the electric car” by Paines (well made “documentary” which only illustrated the complexity of corporate AND government agendas, and complex legislations, not to forget the corporations’s monetary obligations to us, its shareholders).

    The Volt is a drastic departure from all other designs out there. It is a series configuration (not a parallel) AND it is intended to rely on Lithium polymeric ion batteries, something that even the Japanese do not venture into. This VOLT car is intended to allow you to use exclusively a Li ion based battery propulsion system for a sizable distance range with an ICE as a reassuring backup should you exceed the 60 to 80 km range. FURTHERMORE, the flex ICE engine is intended to allow you to feed E85 or E70 as an Alternative Fuel. THIS design is ONE of TWO BEST design that we have all waited for! THE very best design, in my very humble view……would be to offer the VOLT with a diesel compression engine instead of an ICE, that would also accommodate a B10 to B20 BIODIESEL blend.

  • tapra1

    g the environment. An unnamed executive told Atlantic writer Jonathan Rauch, “Everyone’s thinking the same thing: Engg Blog