January 28th, 2009 by Jonathan
Chevy Volt Suggestions
Being interested in all things geeky, I have followed the Chevy Volt since it was first seen at the Detroit Auto show in 2007. During this time many new details have been shown and revisions made. This is the first time I have actually become truly excited about a car.
To me a car has always been a transportation device that got me from point A to point B and all the money you spent on gas just flew out the window. Sure, a fast car is fun but, the fun only lasts for a little while and until recently I viewed a car as a big chunk of metal on four wheels. I mean really, very little has changed in the past 50 years… until now. Ever since the Volt was revealed I have had hundreds of ideas about all of the cool new things that will now be possible. And I am not just talking about the advantages for you and me but also for the car manufacturers.
With the Volt, GM is using technology to their advantage, it does not take long for electronics to shrink, become cheaper and more powerful. Just for comparisons sake take an iPod Touch and do anything on it. Now try to do that same thing on a computer from 1988. You may notice that you really don’t even want to try. Not only is that task a world of difference but the size and price delta is unbelievable. Now do the same thing with two cars that are 20 years apart. You should be able to fill up on gas, go to the grocery store, use your power windows, and adjust your seat no matter which car you are in. Technology will be a great advantage to the Volt and cars like it. Soon these cars will drop in price, electronics will shrink, and cars will become much more affordable and possibly come in form factors we can not yet imagine.
Technology really excites me but, the problem is as time has gone by and new details have been released there has been price creep. During development new issues that crop up and contribute to the additional cost of the Volt. Originally the Volt was to be priced around $30k but it will probably launch at $40k or more. Whenever GM is asked what the major contributing factor for the price the answer is always the battery which has been estimated to be about half the cost of the car. This technology affects the ability to drive gas free. When the Volt was first shown, MPG estimates were as high as 55 MPG after the initial 40 miles on pure electric. Current estimates suggest that the Volt will go 50 MPG. This statistic alone would make the Volt the most fuel efficient car on the road today and that is without any battery at all. This is where my suggestion begins.
My suggestions to GM:
The Volt is the basis for many new cars coming from GM so make sure Volt battery is easily replaced with one plug and the bolts to hold it in place. Make sure that there are not a bunch of pipes and hoses that need to be attached. The Volt battery should be a self sustaining part. With this architecture there is no end to the possibilities for the Volt.
Release longer range batteries when size and price go down. This will allow you to upgrade the car lineup to support 60 or 100 miles on a charge.
Release the Volt in 3 different flavors with the option to upgrade with the above suggestion.
- The first option will be just enough battery to allow the car to run in a hybrid mode. This will allow the car to run on its 50-55 MPG without charging. As time goes by the owner can choose to purchase the “Battery Option” and just have it installed for the price of the battery and a minimal installation fee. This version should be price competitive with the Prius. This will help drive the Volt name and also help make people want a bigger better Volt when they can afford it. This will drive an iPod like appeal.
- The second option will be the first “Plug-in Capable.” This version will allow you to drive 20 miles on a charge and then the extra 50-55 MPG after. This should be the mid-priced Volt.
- The third option will be the real full blown Volt with 40 miles on a charge followed by 50-55 MPG. This will be the full priced Volt.
Good luck GM and Chevy. There high expectations but they should be attainable.Did you like this? If so, please and subscribe to the RSS feed.