Friday, March 4, 2011

Bill Wallace "They Will Not Be Able To Outperform Us"

     "There's a new battlefield and certainly the technology's moving very quickly and everybody wants to say they're the best, there's variations. Some will be better than others. But in the end, any of the technologies that are out there are very limited in terms of their capacity."

     Those were the words of Jake Fisher, a senior automotive engineer at Consumer Reports.  He's the guy who tested the Chevy Volt, which Consumer Reports bought for 48,000 (7k Overpaid) dollars at a local dealer and then said "The financial payback is not there."  They also tested the Volt during the coldest week of winter, a time when the Volts battery would be at it's most limited range.

     On Tuesday Ford Corporate jumped on the magazines mis-informing range review by issuing a press release stating "Weather Climates No Problem for Ford Focus Electric's Liquid-Heated Battery System."

     But GM's director of Global Battery Systems didn't buy it.  "Nobody — Ford, Nissan or anybody — has anything better.  I'm certain that a year or two from now, when they're actually in the market and they're actually showing cars, they will not be able to outperform us."  Wallace says the negative electric range review was solely because it's the first one out there.  "It turns out batteries are like people. They love room temperature."  

     Thanks to the Volt's gasoline range extender if it's a cold day and your EV miles are cut a bit short the Volt will make sure you get to where you're going.

     On Thursday Ford seemed to be backing off a bit. Sherif Marakby, their director of electrification programs and engineering said,  "We're not seeing a big breakthrough in the next few years in terms of where you will suddenly be able to drive an electric vehicle and not have the battery be affected by temperature."

     Time will tell if anyone can make a better battery than what GM has brought to the table.  Regardless, can anyone make an electric that can drive you non-stop from Tampa to Tulsa?  Right now, only GM can.

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  1. Hey John, great editorial.

    Ford and others will try to take their hits at the Volt while they feel they can. It's silly season right now when they truly know they have nothing for the Volt - it's in a league of it's own.

    Ford's C-Max plug in appears interesting yet being based on the Focus, it's small and uninteresting compared to their larger C-Max variants powered by conventional ICEs.

    Truly, in 2007 I strongly believed the Volt was a PR move and would never hit the roads in all 50 states. It appears with the gas crisis stemming from N. Africa and the Suez Canal - Volt couldn't have been timed better.

    Demand for Volt will far exceed production, there is NO DOUBT. Remember in 2008 when Prius were on backorder for months?



  2. Thanks James, I couldn't agree with you more. Let's hope the fire at one of GM's supplier plants doesn't keep them from building the 10k this year and 75k next year.

  3. "According to GM sales data, Chevy sold only 281 of their much-hyped Volt. That’s a drop from the 321 Volts the company sold in January. It’s also a number company execs apparently want to try to conceal. In the sales press release, the Volt figures are noticeably left out.
    Over at Nissan, only 67 Leafs were sold in February. In January, that number was 87."

    Let's just blame the bad weather and see what march has to offer.

  4. But that doesn't tell the whole story. Slow sales of the Volt are actually part of a planned strategy, explains Volt spokesperson Rob Peterson. A significant portion all Volts produced in February were sent to dealers as demo units (all Volt dealers get a demo so that customers can take test rides).
    "I wouldn't go so far as to say that sales were down, I would say that more production was earmarked towards demos," Peterson explains. "There are some Volts that are out on lots, but not many. The average daily inventory is the lowest in our fleet, if not the lowest in the industry. They're landing on the dealer lots and they're gone."
    Sales will probably start to rise after April, when all 600-plus Volt dealers have their demo units.

  5. Gas prices are on the rise. These cars will be in demand more.

    Temperature affects every battery. I wonder how NASA gets around the extreme cold of space.

  6. John,
    GM-Volt is on record saying there will not be new articles on the weekends. I wonder if you can offer your services for a small fee.

  7. Rashiid, perhaps NASA uses small fuel cells out there, or perhaps the just have great insulation around their tools, obviously the astronauts do.

  8. one time I was in space, I thought I would freeze to death... then I got hit by microa-steroids at 1100mph, guess I was wrong

  9. Completely agree! When it comes to selecting a hybrid or electric vehicle, it's important to remember one thing: both selections are doing their part to reduce emissions. The Chevy Volt does its part in the tight landscape of fuel economical vehicles. And with gas prices on the rise, now is a great time to look into these.