Chevrolet Stories May 25, 2016

2017 Electric Blue Chevrolet Volt

The fine folks at GM have given us a shiny new (OK, 500 miles) electric blue 2017 Chevy Volt to test drive for the next week. I’m keeping a diary of my experiences every day here and will wrap up the week with my conclusions. (Day 2, Day 3-4, Conclusion/Wrapup)

Day 1, Delivery and Setup expand full story

Chevrolet Stories May 5, 2016

Lyft reportedly planning to pilot self-driving Chevy Bolt taxis ‘within a year’

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According to a report today from The Wall Street Journal, GM and Lyft are partnering to test a fleet of self-driving electric taxis sometime within the next year in an undisclosed city. The pilot will reportedly take advantage of GM’s Chevrolet Bolt, a speedy compact crossover all-electric that we took for a test drive earlier this year…

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Chevrolet Stories October 1, 2015

Chevy attacks Volt’s Green competitors Prius and Leaf with nasty ads, loses the plot

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I have to say, as an EV enthusiast, these new ads from Chevy leave an incredibly bad taste in my mouth. Yes, the Prius’s NiCad batteries are older technology –and frankly as a Prius Plug-in owner there are plenty of vectors for attack on its battery system – but the Prius STILL gets better mileage than the Volt once the battery is used up, and the Volt’s battery ain’t that big. If I were making the Volt ad and I felt the need to attach the Prius, I’d point out that it is almost impossible to drive electric only with it where the Volt only uses gas on long trips.

Chevrolet’s global chief marketing officer, Tim Mahoney, said those ads have been extremely effective in helping improve Chevrolet’s brand image. Mahoney said Chevrolet’s “shattering perceptions” ads have bumped consumers’ favorable opinion of the brand by 3 percent.

The Leaf ad traps the focus group between floors in dead elevators, leaving them stranded there to emphasize the frustration of being stuck, a major concern for drivers of battery powered cars such as the Leaf. The Prius attack ads points out the car’s engineering is yester-tech.

The Internet ads will be cut down and broadcast on TV, Mahoney said. Volt ads will stress three things: The car’s 53-mile all-electric range, its technology and a combined gasoline and electric driving range of more than 400 miles. Most drivers, Mahoney said, will go between 1,000 and 1,500 miles between tanks of gasoline.

“We’re going to go head-to-head with Leaf and Prius,” Mahoney said. “The ads allow Chevrolet to talk in one way and they allow Chevrolet’s personality to come through. We’re going to be taking more risks,” he said.

In the below commercial, Chevy compares the Leaf’s 80 miles (guess they didn’t hear about the 100+ mile version that will be available in many places before the 2016 Volt) to the Volt’s 400+ with gas. I get it – but why not play up the bits about being electric? expand full story

GM reveals a new plan for a self-driving Chevy Volt in 2016

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GM CEO Mary Barra made a series of announcement today about the “future of personal mobility”, most notable of which a new plan for autonomous Chevy Volt to be available to GM employees to drive on private property next year.

A fleet of 2017 Volt equipped with GM’s self-driving technology will be made available in late 2016 for GM employees to reserve through a new car-sharing app and drive around the company’s Warren Technical Center campus in Michigan. expand full story

Chevrolet Stories September 14, 2015

GM brought a Bolt prototype to LA’s Drive Electric Week Event

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Los Angeles kicked off the National Drive Electric Week with a big surprise for everyone: a Chevy Bolt prototype and a Nissan LEAF 2016 in display. Green Car Reports managed to get a few pictures of the event. expand full story

Chevrolet Stories March 9, 2015

New Chevy Volt looks nice but how are they still selling the old one?

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Every time I hear about the 2016 Volt, I can’t help but think how much nicer it is than the current one across a lot of different areas (from the Chicago Motor show above). The problem is that we’re quite a long time from the new one being on sale so Chevy has to sell the “old one” which is going to be a hard slog.

Chevrolet Stories October 28, 2014

Next-Gen Chevy Volt detailed: 20% more battery in lighter package, vague improvements all around

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GM/Chevy detailed its next generation Volt today with some nice surprises though they are pretty vague in their assessment.

Some factoids:

  • 80% off all Volt customer trips are EV only.
  • New battery capacity will increase by 20% on a volume basis when compared to the original cell, while the number of cells decreases from 288 to 192. The cells are positioned lower in the pack for improved (lower) center of gravity and the overall mass of the pack has decreased by almost 30 pounds (13 kg).
  • 20 million battery cells have been produced for the more than 69,000 Chevrolet Volts on the road today with industry-leading quality levels of less than two problems per million cells produced
  • Many owners are exceeding the EPA-rated label of 35 miles of EV range per full charge, with about 15 percent surpassing 40 miles of range.
  • Current generation Volt owners have accumulated more than 600 million EV miles
  • 2 motors replace 1 motor and 1 regen. The two-motor drive unit operates approximately 5 to 12 percent more efficiently and weighs 100 pounds (45 kg) less than the current system.
  • 1.5L range extender motor will be more efficient as well
  • GM will manufacture the Volt battery pack at its battery assembly plant in Brownstown, Mich.
  • Range estimates will be given at NA auto show in Detroit on January

So not too many specifics but one would think all of these updates would make the Volt an even more appealing package. More room in the back would have also come in handy. If we take the 20% more power in the battery pack combined with the weight reduction and more efficient motors at face value, the Volt may approach 50 miles on electricity.

The question now is who is going to buy the current version (Osborne effect)?

Press Release follows:

Next-Generation Chevrolet Volt Features All-New Voltec Propulsion System for More Efficiency

Debuting in 2015, new model will have increased EV range

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Chevrolet Stories January 16, 2014

The Chevy Spark EV gets fast charging option [video]

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A nice option for a truly impressive little EV car. However 20 minutes for every 80 miles of drive time doesn’t really let you take long trips (vs 20 minutes for 170 miles on the Tesla Model S.

It would also have been nice if Chevy was compatible with Nissan/Toyota/Mitsubishi’s CHAdeMO Fast DC chargers so the companies could blanket more the the country with compatible chargers. expand full story

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