The problem with Saturn was that it was left to rot for over a decade (I had an '02 Saturn SL. Great for long distance driving, 37 mpg, but a bit anemic and the interior was dated), then was changed from "a different kind of car company" to Yet Another GM Division. With little or nothing to distinguish it from other GM divisions, it became expendable, like Olds and Pontiac. GM divisions used to exist in a relationship to each other, Chevy and Pontiac on the bottom, for families and singles, respectively, with Buick being the upgrade from Chevy and Olds being the upgrade from Pontiac, and Cadillac at the top of the heap. When that ended, then there was no more need for separate labels.
I didn't say there's nothing different about the Volt, and I'm not saying it's not a fine auto. Hell, I'm always correcting people who say it's worthless because it's another short range EV. I said there's nothing much that's new. The driving force still comes from under the hood, with a mechanical linkage to the wheels. They can't get away from the need for all that extra hardware, and the additional costs and maintenance it requires.
As I originally said, put a motor in each wheel (see, for example, PML Flightlink's Hi-Pa Drive (yes, I know they're out of business)). If you're worried about unsprung weight, then work to create lighter motors. That would get rid of the entire drive train and replace it with much simpler power and control cables. Then you put batteries and a much smaller engine under the hood, matched to a generator, and optimized to run at constant load and speed. That should improve gas mileage all by itself, not having to compromise on engine design to handle all ranges of load and speed.
This would also give you complete control over which wheels get power at any particular time. You get AWD and more effective regenerative braking.
Besies that, you didn't say anything that was at all relevant to the conversation.
GM did go through bankruptcy and all would have been well except that the Administration stepped in and placed UAW interests (pension and contract protection) ahead of secured creditors and bondholders. The net result is that GM wasn't able to shed significantly higher labor costs which will drag them into bankruptcy court again within 2 years. An unintended consequence is that never again will a US automobile company be able to sell low interest bonds to finance the debt needed to expand, finance auto loans, etc.
So there's your beef and the reason for your disingenuous renaming of GM.
I too liked the Fiero and was saddened to see it go. The last ones were great, but so too for the Oldsmobiles. The Saturn remained a great competitor to the 1978 Honda for at least a decade and a half, that is if you didn't mind driving around looking like a dufus idiot. Lutz turned it around but it was too late, the respect had been lost.
And I went to GMI and was sponsored by GM Engineering Staff / Car Development.
Back then the Corporation was something of an agglomeration of 6 different Companies, each doing it's own thang. Engineering Staff had the responsibility to see if the separate divisions were telling the truth in it's advertising and if the cars were properly designed as well as working on venture designs and military vehicles.
I sat at the Dynamometer when they tested the first Corvette V8, heard the loud bang and watched the exhaust manifolds turn cherry red and watched the operator slapping the red emergency stop button and yell. He was very upset. And he told me that we could have been killed. There are codes now about how to design the adjacent control room with bullet proof glass.
GM, has been totally restructured and the wonderful vehicles that it now has were underway before the Republican Crash.
All vehicles now are designed in the new Car Development Building at the Proving Grounds under a totally revised approach with the Corporation in control
Right, there is nothing different about the Volt... it has 4 wheels, except that the tires are low rolling resistance tires and the wheels are specially light weight out of consideration for the unsprung weight that you ignore, an exhaust pipe, lots of radiators, a huge temperature controled battery, an engine and a couple of motors under the hood, the ride is fantastic, more Cadillac Like than Chevrolet,
It really is like a WWII Submarine with a motor generator set on board, just like every other car as you would have it.
That you can obtain well over 100 mpg driving it is irrelivant to you.
That it does not have lawnmower wheels like the Prius obviously is of no interest to you.
I'ts a very fine automobile which escapes you, and reveals that you probably are not an engineer, do not understand the difference between Engineering Design and Product Design and simply cannot comprehend that GM was quickly saved from the disaster and that the Federal Government actually does not manage or control it in it's day to day operations.
If your concerns are regulations and codes, as an Architect I'd have to say grow up. While George Caramagna did precipitate that effort relating to the Automotive Business, there are all sorts of fitting and proper regulations and codes developed by each body of knowledge for the protection and betterment of life iself.
That our codes and regulations have been adopted around the world should tell you something, but it probably doesnt reach many boneheads who think that they have all the answers, that all business must not be regulated, and you get to do anyting that you feel like whenever the feeling strikes. I'd really hate to be around you when you are full of flatus, you twitch too much.
Yes, I did. There really isn't much that's actually new about the Volt. What's new about it is that it made it into production.
As for the Fiero, I worked at Pontiac for a bit during the '80s. The scuttlebutt was that the Fiero was nixed by GM upper management as not what they wanted from the Pontiac label, but Pontiac designed it on the sly (mostly because they were jealous of Chevy and the 'Vette) and presented GM management with a fait accompli. It did remarkably well, considering that upper management didn't like the car. Eventually it suffered the same fate as Saturn did later: a good idea ignored until it went away.
I deal, mostly, with reality, though I often have to deal with others' fantasies. I don't name-drop and I try not to wander too far from the subject.
Perhaps what is needed, and what would satisfy all the arguements in this thread is a complete restructuring of Detroit. Throw out all the old ideas, the old technology and the old business models. Streamline management, create the partnerships at the ElHi school levels and develop a leaner workforce able to adapt quickly to changing needs of the customers.
In other words, Romney was right. They should have been forced to go through bankruptcy, clean house, and come out the other side ready to do business in the 21st century.
If it's valid to blame tepid electric vehicle adoption in the US on the state of the US education system, then we should see dramatically higher EV adoption rates in "better" education nations. This bonad is for more government money and control in more areas of our professional & personal lives, period. GM shareholders should throw him out and pick someone interested in building vehicles their potential customers are willing to purchase.
It's difficult to figure out how to reply to you, since you're all over the map, replying to things I never said and wandering off into who knows where. The point that I was originally trying to make is that there isn't much that's actually new about the Volt. All they really did was change a bit what's under the hood, and kept everything else the way they're comfortable with. What I'm saying is that they should go the rest of the way.
Of course, as with the Fiero, they might be constrained by what they think they can get away with.
And the proper comparison wouldn't be between the standard Prius and the Volt, but between the Prius Plug-in and the Volt. Which, despite being available in only 15 states, has almost half the YTD sales as the Volt.
I took to asking Detroit's best Auto Critic and here is what he had to say:
You can't really compare them. They're very different.
The Prius is an excellent hybrid, but its engine does nearly all the work of moving the car.
The Volt can cover around 40 miles on battery power. It's engine will never turn on during trips of that length. And, unlike cars like the Nissan Leaf, you can keep driving after the battery is drained.
The Volt costs more than a Prius, but it delivers more, too.
I hope that's some help.
In answer to the question of performance Mark said this:
I prefer the Volt's handling and steering. It's acceleration on battery-only power is outstanding, too.
The Prius has pretty good acceleration, though. The battery supplements its engine's output.
Again, the cars are so different, it doesn't really make sense to compare them. The Volt costs $39,145; Prius starts at $24,000. It's not really a fair comparison. It's like comparing a V6 Mustang to a V8.
Mark Phelan Auto Critic Detroit Free Press
With all the rebates and discounts maybe they aren't all that far apart. If they are giving them away, take the gift horse! But don't pinch his butt and spit on him.
The VOLT has pure electric drive and that accounts for it's vastly superior performance and since the Prius is partially electric, should it be considered electric at all?
With the title that you have placed on your blog you sound a bit inexperienced.
As an Architect, I have won Awards, as a Construection Manager I have also done that, and as an Artist I have done so as well. And I was instrumental in getting an award for the i41CX+.
In every instance the award was given by a sincere and thoughtful group of critics.
In no case would I say that they were insincere, seeking political gain, or having devious motives. In all cases I would say that the objective was clearly stated and that the award was thoughtfully and intelligently given.
And in all cases I would say that there was a spirit of delight and joy in presenting and receiving the award.
Perhaps you are having trouble with the notion of integrity and are a bit nervous.
Calling the General Motors Company as you have clearly indicates a misreading of the facts. Bob Lutz spoke clearly and forcefully about the circumstances some 6 months ago. He was there, he saw what was happening, and he understood completely what was going on. And I say that he was hurt and possibly GM as well in that process but it exists and it is doing very well producing products developed under his reign.
You weren't playing the game on the field, you were watching from the sidelines. Being on the sidelines you get to say and scream outrageous and mean spirited things that are completely disingenuous if not simply ignorant. So you have done.
GM, just like all of us, has made mistakes in the past and it was well on the way to solving them before the cost of the Wars and the refusal to pay for them placed us in dire circumstances along with other machinations. Many of the wonderful automobiles that GM is now producing were well underway before the crash. And GM, thanks to Mr. Lutz, had taken the lead in developing electric vehicles long before you knew it.
In another DesignNews blog there were complaints about the cost of the Volt. In your comment, now they are giving them away. I don't believe that but the recent discussion about tablets it's indicated that several of the manufacturers are selling theirs at cost. Certainly every manufacturer has that option and even loss leaders in order to generate a new sales movement.
If you believe in Ayn Rand it would be sad. She had no idea of what the obligations of Government are. One of them IS education and she indicated only protection, Police, and Army. So her horrible example of Government gone corrupt obviouly is disgusting. Government has always assisted in moving the country forward. It has assisted in Power Generation, Transportation, Agriculture, Water control and distribution, and Communication. That we can talk here illustrates that.
When the mechanic, George Carramagna, complained about the costing out of a sway bar, Government stepped in. Although there were many complaints at the time, I suspect that we would all agree that the Automobile of today is far superior to that of the mid 60's when the Bean Counters and MBA's were in control. And the Foreign Manufacturers had to toe the line as well so our Federal Government actually caused the improvement of the automobile around the world. Electrification is simply one more step in the evolution.
This is not written to obfuscate the issue of comparison. I will attempt to gather more facts so that you can have an honest comparison. The comparison aesthetically is another matter. From my design background I'd say that there is no comparison.
And I will never forget driving a Volt in a ride and drive onto I-96 south of Milford and seeing a prius excitedly pull alongside. I blew him away.
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