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Will Hybrid vehicles with a range extender (Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera) ever be of any competition to Tesla Motors EV's sales?

Will Hybrid vehicles with a range extender (Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera) ever be of any competition to Tesla Motors EV's sales?

At the moment these Hybrid vehicles with a range extender have an all electric range that is way too little. The capacity of the battery is also very small (16 kWh). What if these vehicles with a range extender would get a battery with a larger capacity (85 kWh)?

The bottom line is that people will buy what will suit them best, at the most affordable price. We should keep that in mind.

Every year the development of the battery technology is 8%. Not only for Tesla Motors but for all car companies.

I would like to see your opinion/view on this topic. Let's have a look in the (near) future.

Al1 | September 16, 2015

Of course people buy cars that are compelling to them. Some heavily emphasize research in the process, but even with research they don't do research on every single model produced. They make a short-list of 3 maybe 4 models based on what they deem compelling. And at a next stage of research they tend to give more weigt to the attributes they deem more compelling than others. And so forth.

There is no such thing as purely objective research. In most cases there is no data available, in other cases there is no time to collect enough data points.

Rocky_H | September 16, 2015

Wow, so now you will literally argue with Webster's dictionary. This is why it is hard to discuss anything with you, when you won't even accept the definitions of words.

: very interesting : able to capture and hold your attention

: capable of causing someone to believe or agree

: strong and forceful : causing you to feel that you must do something

Grinnin'.VA | September 17, 2015

@ Rocky_H | September 16, 2015

<< Wow, so now you will literally argue with Webster's dictionary.

<< This is why it is hard to discuss anything with you, when you won't even accept the definitions of words. ... >>

^^ Do you think it noteworthy that Webster's dictionary gives a slightly different 'definition' for "compelling" than dictionary.com does? From my POV, there is little difference.

Did you read my post? I said that I've NEVER felt compelled to buy ANY car. That means:

No new car option I've ever considered caused me "to feel that you must do" anything.
Why do you find this difficult to understand? To accept?
Don't you realize that I'm entitled to my own decision-making process?

PLEASE, quit trying to force me to adopt YOUR POV!

BTW, reiterate my opinion: I think that a large portion of new car buyers don't feel "compelled" to buy the car that they decide to buy. You're welcome to hold a conflicting opinion on that. However, you have no legitimate basis for denying my opinion. YOU do not control my opinions. I think it would be helpful if you ceased your attempts to force me to agree with you.

SamO | September 17, 2015

@Rocky_H,

Please stop poking the crazy person sleeping under the bus stop.

Rocky_H | September 17, 2015

@SamO, You make a compelling argument.

chrisudam00 | September 17, 2015

Its very easy. Buying a car is a bit like going for a girl. Temptation and some passion are the most important factors, however everything has to add up. It's as simple as that, only not for the real budget buyers. They just count the money. In that way it's clever Tesla builds cars for buyers that didn't sweat to get the money for the car. Unfortunately, it is the only area they can make some money out of pure electric cars, because its buyers don't have to count their money, at all.

Grinnin'.VA | September 17, 2015

@ SamO | September 17, 2015

<< @Rocky_H,

<< Please stop poking the crazy person sleeping under the bus stop. >>

<< Rocky_H | September 17, 2015

<< @SamO, You make a compelling argument. >>

^^ Evidently you have nothing of substance to say to me.
So you took the cowardly approach: Just insult me!

Suely, you can do better than this.

JuJoo | September 18, 2015

@Grinnin'

"I've bought a few new cars in recent years: Toyoto Avalon, Nissan Murano, Toyota Prius and Tesla MS 85D... In every case, I did a little research and selected the best car for my purposes at the time... consider the options and select what we consider best fits our situation."

Wouldn't the fact that the specific car you bought best fits the situation be the compelling reason to buy them? If not, then why else did you buy them?

I think everyone was gripping too hard on the content for the word "compelling" as an adjective. I believe in context would just be noting to any reason in general, big or small. Perhaps in your case, "compelling" is just too strong a word for your reasons for purchasing your cars?

DTsea | September 18, 2015

Boy Grinnin you tell other people to shut up to 'respect' you and then you take offense when they tease you.

Teasing is EVERY HUMAN BEING IN THE WORLD's way of pointing out socially inappropriate behavior or speech... didnt you figure that out in middle school?

Red Sage ca us | September 18, 2015

Don't call me Shirley. Or 'Suely' either, for that matter.

Benz | September 19, 2015

I read this article on Hybridcars.com: "One Million Global Plug-In Sales Milestone Reached".

Link: http://www.hybridcars.com/one-million-global-plug-in-sales-milestone-rea...

This sentence is interesting: "As of August 2015 the count was 985,000 less Japanese sales numbers which were not reported yet, and as of mid-September, an estimated 1,004,000 PEVs have been sold consisting of 62 percent battery electric and 38 percent plug-in hybrids."

So, BEV is more popular than PHEV (so far).

Grinnin'.VA | September 19, 2015

@ JuJoo | September 18, 2015

<< @Grinnin'
<< Wouldn't the fact that the specific car you bought best fits the situation be the compelling reason to buy them? If not, then why else did you buy them? >>

^^ NO. I've explained this before, but since you asked one more time, here's my explanation:

According to at least two dictionaries, the word "compelling" fit ONLY situations in which the person making a decision feels that they have ONLY one practical, viable choice.
I repeat: I've always had a few viable, reasonable choices for my next new car.
Hence, for me the word "compelling" does not properly characterize the Tesla Model S.
* Possibly some MS buyers felt that they "just had to" buy an MS.
I decided that I wanted to buy one.
* I strongly suspect that a large portion of new car buyers, even those who have taken test drives in an MS, do not consider the MS to be a "compelling" car. Duh. If they had been compelled to buy one, they would have ordered one, which most chose NOT to do.

<< I think everyone was gripping too hard on the content for the word "compelling" ... >>

^^ I wouldn't disagree. However, this word is one of the main themes that Elon and Tesla use to promote the MS. It's just over-the-top marketing hype.

DTsea | September 18, 2015

<< Boy Grinnin you tell other people to shut up to 'respect' you and then you take offense when they tease you. >>

^^ I believe you're mistaken. Please show us a quote from one of my posts in which I told someone to "shut up". Rather, I think that most of my posts ask for people to explain or defend things that they have posted.

BTW, except in friendly relationships, teasing virtually always is used as a bullying technique. Surprise! I don't like people trying to bully me into agreeing with them. I insist on forming my own opinions.

As a matter of principle, I push back at bullies. IMO, one of Elon Musk's unofficial roles is "Chief Bully".

Benz | September 20, 2015

The second generation (2016) Chevrolet Volt has got much better looks than the first generation Chevrolet Volt. It will sell reasonably well, and we should expect to see higher sales figures than we saw with the first generation Chevrolet Volt.

People who would never think of a BEV anyway, and who normally would only consider a Hybrid Vehicle as an option for a new car, these people will even start considering this Plug-In Hybrid EV as an valid option too. This second generation (2016) Chevrolet Volt will attract new public and it will draw away buyers from the (NON Plug-In) Hybrid cars. And that is a good development, I think.

This will be visible in the sales figures in California in 2016.

Red Sage ca us | September 20, 2015

Benz: I believe the best year of US sales that was managed for the Chevrolet Volt since its 2010 introduction was 23,461 units in 2012. It's been less than that each year since, with only 18,805 in 2014. And only 8,315 have been sold through August of this year.

By comparison, though only 121,871 of the Cruze were sold here in 2010, Chevrolet has sold no less than 230,000 in each year since. The Cruze moved 273,060 units last year, and has already sold through 163,938 this year.

Sales of the Malibu follow a similar pattern, typically over 200,000 units per year. Lowest being 188,519 in 2014, and so far 130,095 during 2015.

General Motors has no intention of the Volt ever reaching anything near even the lowest of those numbers from its stablemates. It won't be offered for sale in Europe.

I would be surprised if the Volt ever eclipses even 30,000 units per year in North America. It isn't that GM couldn't sell more of them, it's that they simply don't want to. And the press releases regarding the Chevrolet Bolt state it will share total capacity with the Volt. Thus, neither is expected to ever be a challenger to Chevrolet's ICE vehicles.

chrisudam00 | September 20, 2015

Chevrolet Volt 2016

California, unfortunately in this case, is way off the world standard. So for the average earth inhabitant, seeing a Chevrolet Volt 2016 will be perhaps even rarer than his predecessor, which, in Europe for example, you can drive sometimes even 2 weeks before you see any Volt on the road at all. It's a nice and beautiful car, so some gratulations to its designers and technicians, but in this form and conditions, it will never sell hot. So, already all hands back to the drawing board?

chrisudam00 | September 20, 2015

Chevrolet Volt 2016 reaction to Red Sage

Any car maker should have the ambition, embedded on the drawing board, to make at least 1000 units a day, especially for a car like the Volt, or for derivative cars worldwide, so perhaps 2000 or more a day should be possible. The last thing a modern car maker should do, is focus on a relative small part of the world. Scale is a very important factor of nowadays' success for almost any type of car. So, for me, an ununderstandable point of view on behalve of Chevrolet. The times that in California are driving different cars than even in Florida should belong to a long forgotten past.

Red Sage ca us | September 20, 2015

chrisudam00: Presuming 50 weeks per year and 5 days per week, that would be 250,000 units. In the US only five vehicles have sold that much so far during 2015. Three of them are pickup truck series. The other two are both from Toyota: Camry (291,843) and Corolla (252,106), per Focus2Move.

Effectively over 10 times the total sales of the Chevrolet Volt on its best year. It isn't that General Motors cannot sell more of the car. They don't want to do so. They build it in limited quantities. They sell it in limited quantities. They will continue to build it in limited quantities.

There will be no sales in Europe. The Opel Ampera was discontinued months ago. It will be replaced by another, so far unannounced hybrid at some point in the future. Chevrolet stopped selling direct in Europe a few years ago. So the new Volt will not appear there at all, unless someone does a special import to Europe for some reason.

chrisudam00 | September 20, 2015

To Red Sage

you seem appearing being often rather well informed, but why would a car maker be interested in building and selling in very limited quantities? Is the Volt perhaps comparable with Windows 10, coming out green as grass, where customers seem to be the guinea pigs to learn the makers all the things they did wrongly? Of course windows 10 is intended to sell as much as possible, so perhaps in that way the comparison does not hold. But it's hard for me to understand the real why's behind your sayings.

deeageux | September 21, 2015

@chrisudam00

Red is implying that the primary purpose of the Volt is to meet regulatory guidance in the US. It sells them to earn Zero Emission Vehicle(ZEV) credits from California Air Resource Board. It sells Volts primarily in CA and the other 11 affiliated States that also earn GM ZEV credits which are required to remain eligible to sell any car in CA .

It sells/sold a very limited number of Volts/Amperas in Canada, Europe and Australia as part of their green washing campaign.

The GM/LG Chem battery plant in Michigan has capacity to supply battery cells for 60k Volts, that is roughly 60k X ~17 kWh of batteries. And GM will share this capacity with Bolt EV.

Bolt EV will be sold in limited numbers in Europe without the option for RHD. So UK, Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong are out.

GM and LG Chem have already received permits to double the size of their Michigan plant and can always add a second shift. Adding a 3rd graveyard shift would require negotiations with the United Auto Workers(UAW).

chrisudam00 | September 21, 2015

thx deeageux for your enlighting points of view.
However I'm still wondering about if this is the right way to go. Does anybody know if Chevrolet will earn on every produced Volt 2016? And is this number per vehicle significant higher/lower than for the other (old fashioned, from the past) vehicles from chevrolet?

Anyway, I still have the opinion, that an immense and ambitious scale, modular production of key components for hybrids, that also can be used for many cheaper and even more expensive derivative vehicles, would help Chevrolet and even the Volt. I also have the impression that the Volt now is the only white progressive bird among all other dark grey Chevrolet products. If they keep this philosophy, they could end up loosing against coming up bold competition. The way of progress is however a way full of nasty stones but keeping producing mainly well functioning old school technic can be a way that eventually leads nowhere at all anymore after some years. Sometimes you need the guts to wipe the design table clean.

deeageux | September 21, 2015

I am fairly confident GM earns a healthy return on an operational basis on every Volt sold.

GM invested ~$1.2B on the original Volt program. And it has invested an additional ~$.5B on Volt 2.0 revisions. I am almost certain the Volt Program has yet to make money. The Prius program did not make money until Prius 3.0.

In addition to Volt/Amperas there is a small number of Cadillac ELR that are being sold. ELR introduced in 2014, no 2015 model, upgraded final year 2016 model still using Volt 1.0 powertrain with software changes to produce more power. But less efficiency.

The upcoming Malibu Hybrid uses many uses a Volt powertrain save the battery pack. In its place it has .8 kWh battery pack with battery cells from Hitachi. Obviously the internal combustion engine is used as a primary source of propulsion but gets a combined 47 MPG.

Green car enthusiast/journalist/activist have been begging GM for a midsize CUV with 7 seats and a voltec powertrain. Crickets so far.

Red Sage ca us | September 21, 2015

chrisudam00: You must understand that General Motors does not want the Chevrolet Volt to be a success. Given its capabilities, it should outsell the Toyota Prius 2:1. But if GM were to increase production of the Volt to sell 250,000 to 300,000 units per year, it would cause three immediate problems:

1) Those many fuel efficient vehicles would lower their over all CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) score by so much in short order, that the EPA might choose to install even stricter requirements that much sooner;

2) As soon as anyone gets to drive a car that has any type of useful electric only range, all they want is MORE fully electric range (that means larger battery packs, and higher expense for the manufacturer); and

3) Increasing production by that amount would lower GM's overall cost for the Volt due to economies of scale, as a result its sales price would have to go down, if its price went down it would be competing directly against Cruze and Malibu, and in a direct comparison, all other things being equal, why would anyone buy the gasoline only cars if they could spend the same amount and get cheap weekly commuting mileage from the plugin?

A continual part of the Distract, Delay, Deny strategy employed by traditional automobile manufacturers is to convince the government that changing what they do is 'too expensive' both for the company as well as for potential customers/end users. A cheaper version of the Volt, with superior overall range to Cruze, Malibu, and Prius would devastate current profit margins. Since the Cruze and Malibu are built on old technology, stuff that paid for itself decades ago, they are still profitable even at steep discounts as loss leaders on dealership lots. The margin on the Volt would be lower because of the battery packs, meaning smaller profits per unit, smaller dividends per quarter to investors, and smaller bonuses to corporate executives at the end of the fiscal year.

There is a reason why the Chevrolet Cruze has a fuel tank of 12.6-to-15.6 gallons, while the Volt only has an 8.9 gallon tank. For comparison, the Prius has an 11.9 gallon tank. That's right. GM knows full well that if the Volt had a 12-to-15 gallon tank it would have greater range than a Prius, but they don't build it that way -- ON PURPOSE -- to protect sales of Cruze and Malibu.

The Prius has an emergency all electric range of one mile or so when it is out of gas... But the Volt has a three gallon smaller fuel tank. The Prius sells better because it has a 595 mile EPA range rating, while the 'new' 2016 Volt has a 430 mile range. For comparison, the 2015 Volt had a slightly larger tank at 9.3 gallons, but only a 380 mile total range.

Grinnin'.VA | September 21, 2015

@ Red Sage ca us | September 21, 2015

<< chrisudam00: You must understand that General Motors does not want the Chevrolet Volt to be a success. ... >>

^^ I have a different POV about GM's intent for the Volt.
I don't think they have yet concluded that BEVs are the future.
I suspect that they built the Volt as an experiment to learn how to build PHEVs and figure out if/when they may supplant the old Prius-style hybrids as a potential 'next' car to replace the old ICE cars.

<< .. Volt only has an 8.9 gallon tank. For comparison, the Prius has an 11.9 gallon tank. ... >>

^^ I suspect that the Volt has a larger battery than the Prius. Possibly, they just didn't have enough space to fit in a larger gas tank. So the Volt is trying for a about a 400-mile range, not the claimed 595-mile range of the Prius. BTW, in real world, mostly short trip driving, my wife's Prius has a range of about 500 miles.

I seem to recall a famous BEV executive telling us that 300-350 miles range will be plenty. And of course, a new "mass-market" BEV only needs a range of 250-300 miles. Did I get this right?

Red Sage ca us | September 21, 2015

That is definitely a valid point of view regarding the Chevrolet Volt. It's just that I'm not willing to extend the Benefit of the Doubt quite that far. GM has three cars that have a relatively similar footprint and overall volume. Here, check their dimensions:
2015 Chevrolet Volt Compact 177" L x 70" W x 57" H
2016 Chevrolet Volt Compact 180" L x 71" W x 56" H
2016 Chevrolet Cruze Midsize 181" L x 71" W x 58" H
2016 Chevrolet Malibu Midsize 192" L x 73" W x 58" H
Cruze and Malibu have more interior Passenger Cargo space, and are rewarded the Midsize classification as a result. Both the original and second generation Volt are considered Compact. All three are front wheel drive.

It makes one wonder whether Chevrolet made any effort at all to optimize the Volt for electric drive. Or was the car again constrained by similarities to the Cruze so that designers had to make do with a base platform that was optimized for ICE usage from the start. Thus, any intrusion into passenger and cargo volume is in effect, on purpose, because no one could be bothered to design the car as an EV first and foremost, then add the ICE as an afterthought.

In all the time they were looking for 'room' to place batteries, it's strange it didn't occur to them that batteries can go anywhere -- it is the fuel tank that needs a precise location. They didn't have a problem safely locating the fuel tank for the Cruze or the Malibu -- there was plenty of room for it. So why did the fuel tank for the Volt have to be made smaller? Besides, Tesla Motors has already shown the automotive industry precisely the size/shape/type of battery cells that provide the best performance and longevity. Why use anything else, especially when you know it is inferior?

Such compromises can be explained away, for certain, but I see them as purposeful sabotage. In both first and second generation forms, the Chevrolet Volt is at a glance less attractive than either Cruze or Malibu. It doesn't look as good on the outside, and is more claustrophobic on the inside. It costs more money to buy, and you get less range for the money. And the singular benefit it has in its favor -- that people with relatively short daily commutes can use it on electric drive alone 90%-to-95% of the time -- and can still use gas for long trips... Is never mentioned in the showrooms at 'independent franchised dealerships' or in GM's own commercials and advertisements.

chrisudam00 | September 22, 2015

To Red Sage

Range

I don't understand why it is so important that the range of Volt or Prius is bigger or somewhat smaller. When the tank is empty, you stop for a few minutes and you refuel. Then you go on driving. Big deal?

Profits

I think, on the short term, you will be right, meaning it's economically interesting to sell old schoolers with a big annual profit. What is however also known, milking the fit old cow is not lasting forever, meaning big contrasts between short and long term what to do's, in farmer's terms spending a lot of money to rise young fresh cows is perhaps wise... but young cows cannot be milked.

Or also, you have to be prepared to go 5 steps backward to be able, some day to move 10 steps forward.

Red Sage ca us | September 23, 2015

chrisudam00: RANGE... The big deal is that in a Chevrolet Volt, people who expect to be using its gasoline drive will do so more often than anyone in a Toyota Prius. That would not be the case if the Volt had even a 12 gallon tank. It would have the full benefit of electric and gasoline drivetrains. My biggest argument against hybrids of all kinds is that traditional automobile manufacturers consistently bring the worst of both worlds to the table instead. They gimp the cars on both ends of the drivetrain, electric and gasoline, on purpose in order to protect sales of their standard issue ICE vehicles. If you can get 600 miles in a Prius, you should be able to get 660 in a Volt -- instead, the Volt is gimped to under 450.

PROFITS... The problem is that traditional automobile manufacturers are already 12 steps behind. They aren't willing to take the five steps forward, that will put them twenty steps ahead. Instead, they are all holding hands across the lanes, with both feet in the past and their eyes closed to the future.

Grinnin'.VA | September 24, 2015

@ Red Sage ca us | September 23, 2015

<< chrisudam00: RANGE... The big deal is that in a Chevrolet Volt, people who expect to be using its gasoline drive will do so more often than anyone in a Toyota Prius. >>

^^ I suspect that you didn't mean what you wrote:

The Prius uses its gasoline engine almost 100% of the time.
When it's charged as intended, the Volt uses its battery until it drains most of the charge from the battery.

How cold a Volt use "its gasoline drive ... more often than anyone in a Toyota Prius"?
It couldn't possibly use gasoline power more than 100% of the time.

SamO | October 31, 2017

Nope. Which is why the plans of the big auto companies to extend the life of their gas fleet with hybrids is stupid.
#bankruptcy

SO | October 31, 2017

I don’t care to have a drive train even more complicated than a traditional ICE. That’s just plain nuts.

Rocky_H | October 31, 2017

@SO, Quote: "I don’t care to have a drive train even more complicated than a traditional ICE. That’s just plain nuts."

I think that's pretty short-sighted and naive. Hybrids are far better than regular old gas cars, but not nearly as good as straight BEVs. Honda and Toyota hybrid systems have been pretty bulletproof as far as long term reliability, and for a straight up increase of about 40% miles per gallon, it's certainly worth it.

DTsea | November 1, 2017

Depends on which vehicle Rocky. The Prius hybrid system pays for itself, but the highlander hybrid for example costs so much more than pure ICE version that it isnt worth it.

Rocky_H | November 1, 2017

@DTsea, Oh yeah, I have seen some hybrids that only had a few miles per gallon difference and didn't seem worth it.

TeslaTap.com | November 1, 2017

Aside from the added complexity and costs, mostly Hybrids also have reduced cargo space to fit in both ICE and EV systems and still produce significant pollution (although less than ICE only). Not a bad intermediate solution for car companies that are addicted to ICE.

SamO | November 1, 2017

A Terrible intermediate solution for car companies @TT. This is a path towards bankruptcy.

Only the companies that transition quickly to an entirely EV fleet will survive.

finman100 | November 2, 2017

If not for my Prius experience, I would not be interested in EV only. It was EXACTLY that brief amount of pure electric drive back in 2004-2014 that hooked me. Drug-like, I wanted more EV, less gas. No gas, really! It's certainly not ideal, but the gateway to a better vehicle. Of course if there was an all-EV Prius, I'd be there instead. Alas, Toyota is not in the serious EV game. Don't even get me started on their hydrogen joke.

40,000 EV miles in my Leaf has pushed me to seek even better (Model 3). The writing's on the wall! It's too bad some car companies are not reading that wall.

For the 2nd gen (2004-2009) Prius I want to say the claim was 70% fewer pollutants versus typical gas-only cars. It's an opinion but I call that significant.

Go Tesla!

TeslaTap.com | November 2, 2017

@SamO - Well, I've always assumed they are on the path to bankruptcy. Hybrids might slow it by a year or two :)

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