GM Says No To Plug-In Hybrids, Yes To Pure Electric

JAN 14 2019 BY MARK KANE 207

It’s all-electric for the win, says GM.

Mark Reuss, General Motors President, shown below with the Chevrolet Volt in 2012, says that there is no backing for plug-in hybrids.

The company intends to focus all its resources on the all-electric part of the plug-in segment, which excludes the possibility of some other models – SUV or pickup – with Voltec drivetrain, for which many hoped after the Volt’s demise.

Mark Reuss said at the company’s investor conference:

“Hybrids are just countermeasures to an ICE.”

“You can’t spend money to force the customer to carry around extra stuff they may not need.”

“Or, you can spend your money on getting the real answer, which is providing the customer a zero emissions, sustainable, affordable solution.”

Interestingly, in China, Buick is going to introduce the plug-in hybrid Velite 6. Mixed signals, perhaps? Seems true, especially if you consider the Cadillac electric SUV debut from last night.

Source: Green Car Reports

Categories: Cadillac, Chevrolet

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207 Comments on "GM Says No To Plug-In Hybrids, Yes To Pure Electric"

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GM, Honda, etc are continuously showing you can’t get people to pay a premium for a PHEV. People like PHEVs, but they aren’t profitable to make. I love the Clarity PHEV and the Volt, but both sell at large discounts as they can’t move them for asking price. People are buying them as there are tax credits and discounts. People in the know see that the Clarity PHEV sells for less than an Accord if you are eligible for tax credits it is a relative bargain.

You know Honda and GM worked together on the Clarity technology? Every wonder why Honda went with a T shape battery, similar range as the Volt Gen 1 and the actual drive train is very similar to the Volts.

No, the technology is nothing the same. Yes, Honda made some deals with GM for hybrid technology, but they clearly didn’t use them for the Clarity (which inherits its powertrain from Accord PHEV).

Honda went with a flat but not quite skateboard style battery under the floor pan and rear seat and trunk and GM went with a T style eating into interior room. Honda uses a non-planetary parallel/series power split device that basically operates in series mode or in parallel with direct drive mode (like overdrive on a traditional transmission) and GM uses a single or dual planetary setup (depending on generation) in the Volt. Very different tech.

Having owned both a Volt and a Clarity PHEV, the Clarity is great as it suffers no interior space loss from the hybrid tech (other than a tiny bit of trunk space).

“…the actual [Clarity PHEV] drive train is very similar to the Volts.”

No, it’s actually very different. For example, Voltec uses a planetary gear system which isn’t found in the Clarity PHEV. Also, Voltec is engineered to provide a seamless and often undetectable transition from EV powertrain to serial hybrid powertrain, whereas the Clarity often or usually gives the driver a clear warning before engaging the gas engine.

There is a lot of similarity in the various driving modes of Voltec and Clarity PHEV tech, but perhaps that’s for the same reason a dolphin’s shape looks very similar to a fish’s shape. That is, similar goals require a certain similarity in design.

Well, most hybrids (other than the mild ones) use one or more planetary gear sets, including the Clarity.

I think what you meant to say was they are different configurations clearly designed by different teams, which is completly true.

Remember, people purchasing are the minority, most are leasing them…Last IEV article I saw stated 55% of PHEV “owners” are leasing and 80% of BEVs are leased…If you live in a state that gives you HOV access and you use the highways, its a huge perk…

The styling is just not there for most PHEVs and in many cases they’re not very quick in the 0-60 or more importantly the passing speeds…Nissan actually announced they improved the new Leafs passing speed…

Exactly why people won’t pay a premium for them? Why would you pay more for a vehicle that is slower and heavier than a comparable ICE vehicle, with the only benefit being electric operation and better efficiency?

Have you ever driven a volt? I beat every ICE car off the line at a stoplight every time. It’s wonderful cause you never have to worry about getting over a few lanes in a short time frame.

Yes, I have had a 2012 Volt, 2015 i3 REx, and 2018 Clarity PHEV. The Volt was peppy off the line, but still slow. Yes, you will out accelerate most people in traffic if you step on it. Most of them aren’t trying or you are lining up next to Prius cars. People sometimes try to claim how quick the i3 is off the line, but I was smoked so badly from a BMW 435i that it wasn’t even funny. It was 5 car lengths ahead of me by 40 mph (the speed limit). The i3 is no slouch, significantly faster than the Volt or Clarity. Those are all slow if you drive a fast car and launch properly.

I do like the responsiveness of electric cars. A model 3 Performance for example is faster than almost any car in its price class (0-60 or maybe 1/4 mile, but probably slower above that), but a Honda Accord V6 will outrun any electric car I have owned. Easily. And cost less (and it is on the expensive side for its performance).

Point is Volt is slow for a $35,000 car. So is the i3, so is the Clarity PHEV.

I thought the i3 was BMW’s fastest car 0-40mph when it was released? There’s videos of M3’s that can’t beat it off the line.

Not true at all, they really pushed that though (I recall the Drive Across America campaign promoting that). Maybe bad driver in M3 or pre-production car i3. If you look at magazine tests of it the car is not that quick. My REx is notably slower due to extra weight, and cars like that 435 have launch control.

Lining up next to Prius cars???? HaHaHa. I had a good laugh when I read that. Thanks.

PS I like the Volt a lot, it was plenty quick for me, new Volt is even faster (and at my sweet spot of what I like), but it is not by any means a fast car by modern standards. Prius is downright slow.

I agree. Having come straight from a Prius, the Volt felt like a Ferrari by comparison – especially in city driving.

Normally, I consider your posts level headed and accurate, but you have lost me on this one …. You honestly think most people care how fast or slow their cars are??? Or that they lose against something like 435i??? The worst comparison of sorts I have seen.

I have gone from Mini Cooper S to Kia Soul EV ….. It’s a city car , and let me tell you that slow is not what creates smile on my face every day. Yes, past 70km/h it’s quickly losing its ooomph, but I cannot remember when I cared about that last time. Once you get to 100, it’s pretty quick to pass at 120 etc ….. In another words most people will be completely fine with what most EV can deliver today as far as speed or acceleration goes.

Your perception of speed clearly is different than most people buying cars today. I am sure if it.

My 2016 Gen2 is rather quick to 45. Now with decent tires its way quicker no wheel spin until they hook up, or traction control throttles you back

“I beat every ICE car off the line at a stoplight every time.” Gen2 Volt is about equal off the line to a V6 Camaro…

If the dealership try’s to sell them they sell.
If the dealership hides them, doesn’t charge them, and tries to get you to buy something else, they don’t sell.

The only problem the Volt had was Chevy dealers.

I agree, the dealers for both Honda and GM are very hit and miss when it comes to PHEVs, however, it isn’t fair to say that is the only problem. Dealers sell what they can make money off and easily market. I.e., if a car is much faster than a competitor it gives dealers something to work with. They don’t have a lot to work with with the Volt. The car just doesn’t appeal to a broad market base at $35,000. Where they can market it and sell well is in areas where there are HOV access stickers and such. The only reason it gets the sales it does in the US. No doubt, better dealers would help them sell a few extra cars, but it helps to have a car that “sells itself”.

It was a bigger problem than just unenthusiastic salesmen at the dealership. It started at the top of Chevrolet headquarters with a leadership and marketing group that never understood (and still don’t) that the Volt was not a “hybrid” (and not a “plugable hybrid” either) but an electric vehicle with a backup gas generator (what Chevrolet’s Pam Fletcher has always called an “Extended Range Electic Vehicle”). The Volt has always been superior to the Prius-type hybrids (as well as the current crop of plugable hybrids) which are fundamentally ICE powered vehicles with a little electric-motor assist tacked on. You can’t drive a Prius without using gas. It’s possible to drive a Volt for months without using gas. The Volt was AND STILL IS superior to all the 100% electric vehicles (including the Tesla S) because it’s backup gas generator will kick in if you run out of battery/electricity. You could drive a Volt across the U.S. without ever having to charge it up or look for a charging station. The Chevrolet folks responsible for marketing the Volt never understood how brilliant and flexible the Volt power train was and never understood how important it was to explain this to the… Read more »

The Volt is a parallel/series hybrid, and GM actually tried to push it as an extended range EV, which just confused people. Then people were complaining GM was lying as it had a mechanical parallel mode where the engine can physically drive the wheels when they had previously said series only. It is similar power split transmission as a Prius but with a big battery. The Volt style transmission is the most efficient for a hybrid. They should have just marketed it as a hybrid you can plug in to save gas.

I’ve literally never heard any person “complain” about the Volt’s mechanical linkage outside of an EV article’s comments section.

The difference between the way that the engine works in an i3 REx and the engine works in a Volt is not less confusing in the case of the former (unless you have some sort of weird complex that values mechanical “purity” over efficiency). The i3 REx’s system requires higher grade gasoline to get similar performance (better low end, worse top end) from a much lighter car… with worse MPG to boot.

While I agree that the problems with the Volt started at the top of the org chart (and I can’t see how anyone could disagree with that view, frankly), I have to take exception when you say that the “Volt was AND STILL IS superior to all the 100% electric vehicles”. That’s a highly user-scenario-specific judgment. Twice my wife and I passed on a Volt to buy a Leaf, and it was the right decision based on what we need and want from our vehicle. Yes, had Chevy advertised the Volt and made a reasonable effort to explain the benefits of the Volt they likely would have sold many more. Why they didn’t is a mystery. (I’ve worked in some extremely large companies, and I know for a fact that almost every non-trivial decision such companies makes generates a lot of internal debate, sometimes very heated. I’m sure there were numerous people inside Chevy saying they should have done exactly what you (and I) wanted, but they got shouted down.) While I’m glad to see GM emphasizing BEVs, I’m concerned that they’re killing off their PHEV/EREV efforts prematurely based on a misreading of the Volt’s market performance. It didn’t sell… Read more »

Yup – fortunately there are still Toyota and Honda products to buy.

I predict one of these asian companies is going to bring out a large vehicle with a large battery (for a PHEV), and it will have both great all electric range and great mileage after the engine starts.

In other words, this future product will be more efficient than either a 100% ice, and will be more cost effective than an total BEV (since the large vehicle would otherwise require a $30,000 battery – and require the driver to line up at the ‘CCS OASIS’ when on vacation) -where you are getting the best of both worlds with the PHEV and effectively all electric driving the vast majority of the year.

Many BEV drivers are hypocrites without realizing it – after all how many BEV drivers own constantly ‘exercised’ ICE home power generators?

Allen Bukoff its worse than that.

GM now these days doesn’t understand the wisdom of using ‘2 power trains’ – its rather a misnomer anyway since you got effective ‘transmissionability’ in both Gasoline and Electric modes, so it is not that much extra stuff – and all these guys refuse to see the disadvantage of bev’s in cold weather. The driver compensates for it but it still is a negative. The cycling engine’s heat is put to great use much more so than in a typical ICE.

But now Mark Reuss states the WHOLE CADILLAC DIVISION IS ON THE LINE – depending on the public’s acceptance of this Monstrous Caddy BEV – meanwhile plenty of PHEV’s are sold worldwide – especially in China. The other advantage PHEV’s provide is NO INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED for cross-country vacations while providing almost totally electric driving the other 50 weeks of the 52.

In theory, BEV’s beat PHEV’s when the battery is cheaper than the engine, exhaust system and gas tank. Batteries will need to get much less expensive than $100/kwh for that to ever happen.

I answered your questions in my second paragraph…Short of it is if they had a normal looking 2WD CUV PHEV for $39,995 with optional AWD, they’d sell…

Both PHEVs and “affordable” EVs are, IMHO, dependant on the tax credit and rebates for the large majority of their sales.
At current prices they would be mostly unsaleable without the tax credit/rebates. Will the manufacturers be able to lower their prices enough in the post tax credit world to sell them in significant numbers???

So the Model 3, will soon be unsaleable predicated on your views, and not unassailable, which is my view.
So when sales continue to be strong and what you predict happens doesn’t happen will you change your rather pedestrian, thoughtless, pov.
Thought is a process whereby we have them, they are not only a repetition of what someone told us, or what we read somewhere.
We can think independently, but most of us are too lazy to do so.
You are like one of the people that run down to beach when all the water has strangely retreated, and blithely gather shells unaware of the ev tidal wave that is building out to sea.

I think you meant tsunami. Tidal waves happen constantly. Solid points. I agree the Model III is not unassailable, it has simply enjoyed being better/faster/on-the-affordable-end-for-premium for more than a year.
When I hear people trading in their Subaru Outback for a Model III, I know something is up. Fierce brand loyalty on that one!

Clearly you need to look up the definition of “tidal wave”. The term “tsunami” was not in widespread use until relatively recently, except in Japan.

“Will the manufacturers be able to lower their prices enough in the post tax credit world to sell them in significant numbers???”

The path forward for BEVs is quite clear. As more and more of them are put into production, and as auto makers figure out various ways to lower the manufacturing cost, BEVs will continue to drop in price until they are less expensive than comparable gasmobiles. That’s going to happen within a few years; the trend is pretty clear.

PHEVs, with their much more complex hybrid powertrain, probably won’t benefit as much from the economy of scale or from manufacturers figuring out ways of cutting costs. From that perspective, GM’s decision to abandon PHEVs makes sense. That’s certainly the winning long-term strategy.

But in the meantime, over the next several years, GM is leaving the market for PHEV pickups and (large*) PHEV SUVs open for the taking.

*A few years ago, the qualifier “large” would not have been necessary, as all true SUVs are large, by definition. But these days, with auto marketing slapping the “SUV” label on everything down to a compact hatchback, the qualifier is necessary.

BEVs will definitely drop below the cost of ICEVs, and almost surely in just a few years. As I keep saying, what is the cost of all the parts in a typical ICEV that a BEV doesn’t have? (Add your own long list here.) When the total cost of the BEV-specific parts, most notably the battery pack, drops below the cost of the ICEV-specific parts, then things will get VERY interesting.

But it won’t happen suddenly. Lots of car buyers/leasers analyze their transportation needs taking into account depreciation and fuel and repair cost (even if they’ve never heard the term TCO), so there’s a gray area where a BEV still costs more to buy but is cheaper over 5 years, say, of typical (for the buyer in question) ownership. That’s where the price of gasoline becomes an issue. It’s low in the US right now, which slows down even the spreadsheet jockeys because it casts doubt on their analysis.

Click on that “plug-in sales scorecard” in the upper right of this page and you’ll see that the Prius Prime, Honda Clarity, and Chevy Volt are all among the best selling plug-in vehicles.

I think small vehicles can now go full EV at a reasonable price…but PHEV should still be used for big heavy non-aerodynamic vehicles that are much harder to electrify.

I still think Rivian has the correct method for electrifying big vehicles (and Tesla with the Semi). Since battery deliveries only seem limited by number of orders and pricing of batteries seems that full EV is the way to go. I am still pro PHEV, but don’t see it lasting.

One of those 3 vehicles is being discontinued (Volt), and another only sells from tax credits (Clarity PHEV, I own one), and the other is less expensive and sells to people that will only buy Toyota.

I’ll believe it when I see it. I do think the high price of big trucks does allow automakers to sneak in the cost of the batteries into them. But they also are non aerodynamic & heavy such that you need A LOT of batteries to give them a good range. Plus they are already cost a lot due to all that metal.

PHEV could give them a few electric miles a day at a low cost. But yeah, long-term PHEV doesn’t make sense.

“sell at large discounts as they can’t move them for asking price”

This is true with BEV or PHV that doesn’t have Tesla badge. Bolt is almost 40% off after subsides and rebates in CA, yet still not moving much. Carmakers are making a huge mistake going into EV, because people really don’t want EV, they just want the Tesla badge.

I think the Bolt EV went after the wrong market, and probably knew that going in as they only placed about 25-30k per year battery order. Stop gap until the tax credits ran out and planned on releasing profitable EVs with the next generation, while sinking most of the platform dev cost on the Bolt EV.

I think VW has a good thing with the MEB platform, and GM will with BEV3 platform as well.

I think the Bolt EV is a great car, but was obviously not meant to be a high volume car in the US.

The Bolt EV was designed as intended with success in the market as intended, probably. They could have released an all-electric Camaro.

Well, actually, GM did, sorta. The eCOPO “crate motor” retrofit kit for performance upgrades to virtually all existing GM vehicles:)

I have always believed The Bolt EV had two purposes, and a 3rd has recently been revealed: 1. To “one-up” Tesla and demonstrate they have the EV engineering and global manufacturing chops to beat them to-market with a mass-market-priced 200+ mile range EV. And they did it, with LG’s help. I think that the Bolt near-production concept reveal at the Jan 15 NAIAS and then the production version reveal and test drives at the Jan 16 CES rattled Elon and he rushed the Model 3 project to production before it was ready. 2. An engineering and testing exercise to quickly build up a database of actual on-road long-range EV performance and usage via Onstar, along with field-testing battery and drive train concepts. They did that with the Gen 1 Volt and Spark EV to get to the Bolt, and now they are using Bolt EV data and experience to get to the fully-baked and profitable/versatile true-mass-market BEV3 platform. 3: The Bolt EV is the perfect platform for experimenting with urban autonomous taxi-esque vehicles. The Bolt’s body configuration is near-perfect for being a global micro-urban-people-mover, especially if you can eliminate the driver. A 60 kWh battery can provide a lot of… Read more »

Man I don’t see that… Most AV’s are ICE’s and just have the minimum-wage convenience store dude gas the thing back up for the next 300 miles… Takes 5 minutes and then the AV uber is back to making money, whereas the AV Bolt needs specialized fast charger installations at extra cost.

Based on the sales of this Caddy – which GM is hanging the strength of the division on – we’ll see who is right. Personally, I think this will be GM’s Edsel.

And the Bolt is not bought because they are discounted? Bolt has the same credits and then some more.

They also know people don’t want to pay a premium for BEV over a comparable ICE.

That’s too bad, the best hybrid technology is the BMW i3 REX, which is genius.
If charging stations are full, you can simply drive on some gas to get to the next chargers.

I like the i3 REx (bought one cheaply used), but as a hybrid it is really bad. The Clarity PHEV weighs 1000 lbs more and gets better gas mileage and can go full speed on gas alone. So at 80 mph fully loaded my Clarity PHEV gets much better MPG than my i3 REx at 70 mph with just me. The i3 REx is only a good solution if you don’t drive on gas much.

Unless in Europe or with the illegal “fix”. The REx can operate anywhere below 75% and isn’t thrashed at its limits at high speed since the drive-train is designed to effectively use both gas to complement the once minuscule battery for over twice its range.

Whereas as we all know for the US i3 REx owners, the 2 cylinder engine is an unhappy crutch to the next CCS or other means of charge, and not as an effective propulsion component to the car or journey.

No, that is what I am saying. Driving my i3 REx with HSOC enabled and it gets like 30 mpg or less at 75 mph (after subtracting out loss of electric range). My Clarity loaded gets 40 to 45 mpg in the same situation. At 65 mph with no HSOC and the i3 REx gets maybe 35 mpg. The Clarity gets 45 to 50 mpg in the same situation. Enabling HSOC is not illegal BTW, just against CA ZEV emissions rules, and I don’t live in CA.

It may be the engine (less sophisticated than a Honda engine) but more importantly the highway efficiency of a low car (lower frontal area) wins out over the chunky i3.

I have a i3 ReX as well, and as I rarely need to use gas, it’s great for me.

The i3 is much narrower than the Clarity so has similar frontal area. It is just an inefficient engine and powertrain when used in series at higher speeds and the drag coefficient is likely much worse (Honda doesn’t advertise Clarity PHEV Cd). I always drive the Clarity on the highway if possible. I take the i3 on round trips less than 500 miles though occasionally, but mostly less than 200 miles round trip.

Benefit to the i3 REx is as a range extender it is fine, and probably much cheaper engine solution than Clarity PHEV, downside is it really isn’t useful for long distance travel, and if you do use it a bunch for that there are cheaper and more efficient options.

I wouldn’t own the i3 without the REx, even the 120 Ah 44 kWh pack isn’t big enough. I really need 300 mile range or 70 of the 2015 i3 REx is fine. 300 mile BEV range would get me to any superchargers I could want, something like 150 mile range of 120 Ah i3 isn’t far enough without the REx.

“Whereas as we all know for the US i3 REx owners, the 2 cylinder engine is an unhappy crutch to the next CCS or other means of charge…”

That’s true for the European version of the i3 REx, too. The hardware, including the wholly inadequate motorcycle ICEngine, is exactly the same. Only the software is degraded in the U.S. version.

Nor does the European version have twice the range. The European version has a 2.4 gallon gas tank; the U.S. version is electronically limited to 1.9 gallons.

If you doubt that, then try driving up a pass thru the Alps and see how long you can maintain highway speed.

And a full bev is faster and more efficient than both, and costs much less to design and build. GM is finally responding to what Tesla ha known all along. Ford on the other hand will go ice or phev or even hybrid until they are forced to evolve.

Ford are being forced to evolve in Europe. the reason they’re going Phev/hybrid is they haven’t got enough time to manufacturer full BEV models before 2021 here, they cant get their fleet emissions down below the new stricter 2021 emission limits in Europe in two years time. they wont be allowed to sell cars here otherwise.
They’re still in line to pay huge fines along with most other car manufacturers VW/PSA/FCA for failing to get emissions down in time to the tune of hundreds of €millions.

In the states Ford and their ‘electrification’ Plan has been like a sprinter trying to run a marithon. They jumped out ahead of everyone, but couldn’t maintain their pace, lost their focus, and got passed by everyone. Then quit…..cancelled every model that was electrified in any way. With only giant overweight trucks, SUVs and crossovers in the lineup, their fleet mpg and emissions will tank. Now they have the hardest sale ever……trying to get work truck buyers to pay thousands more for a phev truck with less than a days worth of range.

I saw that too.

That was because Mulally (pro-electric) left and the new CEO was all ICE, all truck, all the time. He was just fired.

They will position the PHEV trucks as having power for tools and camping, a decent idea. If it can give better performance, even better. Electricity is cheap in Texas too.

The new EU rules call for average fuel economy across manufacturer’s fleets to be 57mpg in 2021 rising to the equivalent of about 92 miles per U.S. gallon by 2030, up from 57 mpg in 2021.
This can only be achieved by a huge contribution from electric cars.

Wo Who to Ford they had PHEVs and EV and decided not to develop them

The problem with the i3 Rex is it ICE can’t provide top performance. And for the cost, you could get EVs with double the range.

Or you could simply have twice the range with a full BEV.

The whole point is to not burn gas. So if you’re using gas you’re losing.

Not really. The whole point is to reduce gas consumption enough to mitigate climate change, achieve energy security, and eliminate offshore oil drilling, shale oil, and tar sands. It’s not necessary to eliminate gasoline usage 100% in order to achieve this – even if we reduced gas usage by 80%, it would be a huge win. I’d love to see the world eliminate gasoline usage 100%, but the more cost-effective approach should be followed.

No, not true. I went from a 19 mpg minivan to a Clarity PHEV that I drove 17,000 EV miles last year and roughly 12,000 gas miles, so I cut my gas usage about 1200 gallons. Adding a Model 3 instead of Clarity would have only saved me an additional 300 gallons or so. If everyone switched to fuel efficient hybrids it would cut fuel usage dramatically.

The reason this won’t happen is hybrids give up too much performance vs gas for the price. If someone can keep their gas car performance but cut energy use dramatically, it makes EVs very enticing.

“…if you’re using gas you’re losing.”

Yes… but if the market has no PHEVs, if the only choice car buyers have is between BEVs and gasmobiles, then some of those who would have bought PHEVs will buy gasmobiles instead.

So long as 98% — or heck even 67% — of the market goes to gasmobiles, then it’s rather foolish not to offer buyers the choice of a longer-range PHEV such as the Volt or the Clarity PHEV. That’s just another case of “The perfect driving out the good.”

Now, once the majority of the market has transitioned to plug-in EVs, it might be time to start talking about phasing out PHEVs as the next step towards altogether ending the burning of fossil fuels. But that’s not going to happen this year, or next, or even the year after that.

Well, customers in Europe do not buy BMW i3 REX….

CCS everywhere

In 2016, I bought an end-of-lease, 2014 BMW i3-REx for $29k. Other than infantile problems handled under warranty, it has been a great ride.

Around town, it is a “10 stops” EV versus “3 stops” in our Prius Prime. On the highway at 70-75 mph, I’m measuring 39-40 MPG. Based on octane specifications, I use Plus instead of Premium.

After four years, it fully meets my requirements. Sure more modern plug-in hybrids have come along like our 2017 Prius Prime. But the high seating, short wheelbase, and higher power-to-weight ratio makes the BMW i3-REx a winner for us. End-of-lease versions are quite affordable.

“On the highway at 70-75 mph, I’m measuring 39-40 MPG.”

Thank you, Bob, for using real MPG numbers, not the fake MPG numbers all too many PHEV drivers tout. 🙂

“…the best hybrid technology is the BMW i3 REX…”

Only if your definition of “best hybrid” is a BEV with a weak, short-range gas-powered auxiliary range extender intended only to get you to the next charging station.

I real hybrid EV/ICEV is one that’s a “switch-hitter”; that functions equally well in either EV mode or ICEV mode. The Volt and the Clarity PHEV are far and away the best PHEVs. The others don’t even come close.

Try climbing a rocky mountain highway with the i3 REx. When your car gets down to ~25 MPH because the battery is depleted and the small motorcycle gas motor is wholly inadequate to maintain highway speed while going up a grade, then perhaps you’ll concede that the i3 REx isn’t really “the best hybrid technology” after all.

GM has said several times now that their future is all-electric. I was pleasantly surprised by this. The real question is how far is that future? They’re not completely done with ICE yet after all.

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future” -Niels Bohr 🙂

I don’t know how serious GM is about their “electric future.” As you correctly point out, they’re not completely done with ICE. My sense is that this is just GM being GM again. PHEVs have been the gateway drug for entry into the EV world. However, I don’t think we’re at a point where we don’t need it anymore. There are still plenty of people who don’t know much about EVs and there are still far more ICE cars on the road than EVs. Those ICE drivers are not going to feel comfortable with quitting cold turkey, hence the need for the PHEV. I think this is particularly true because non-Tesla QCs are woefully scarce, even in EV friendly California. I could tell you where to find a large number of Tesla superchargers, but I only know of the location of one QC and the general location of another, and both of them are local. And those Tesla superchargers have 8 to 12 stalls while the one I know of has 2 and I couldn’t tell you how many the other has. You have to do a ton of research and planning to find QC and hope that they are… Read more »

QC’s faster than Superchargers will as widespread as Superchargers by end if 2020. It is huge problem now, but it won’t be for long.

This makes sense. By the time you add enough batteries to a larger vehicle for it to a decent range, you’ve made a vehicle that going to be heavy and expensive. You’re better off sticking with ICE for vehicles that need that level of utility and do BEVs for those vehicles that don’t require that level of utility. Rivian’s truck is a good example of an EV truck that isn’t going to try to pull a 5-wheeler camper 500 miles into the desert. But for what a lot of people buy trucks for it will work well.

Interestingly the 2018 sales reports show Volt and Bolt to sell in roughly equal numbers, so that doesn’t underscore Reuss new found wisdom. Of course in that same period Model 3 outsold those models 7 fold despite ramp up problems so I guess what he means is that all electric+ the magic sauce is the future. Looks like GM figures the Cadillac badge could be one of the ingredients for that sauce.

Happy cooking GM…..

You have to look at who buys the Bolt EV, it is a compact hatch in the US. It would sell great in Europe, it is selling what they planned it to sell. Also, I suspect it costs less to make than the Volt, and less to warranty. Given more desirable EVs than the Bolt EV I suspect they will see higher sales at a premium price. I think the Bolt EV is a short lived EV designed to ride out the tax credit phase out.

It almost surely costs more than the Volt as they have to pay LG lots for the batteries and technology.

Volt has LG battery, and they pay for parts in it too. I don’t know if you realize this, but any car buys their infotainment system from a different OEM supplier. Take for example Harman, they are in a lot more cars than those labeled as including “Harman Kardon”. So the Volt is paying a different supplier for those parts, with the Bolt EV they are getting a package discount from LG. Either way they have to pay for those parts, but for some reason the LG deal with GM is more public. I imagine they got a better deal by making it that way.

Generally speaking, gasmobile makers make their own gasoline engines. (Yes, you can find some exceptions.) But GM farmed out the entire EV powertrain to LG Electronics & LG Chem. That’s not the way forward in the EV revolution. That’s no better than Toyota paying Tesla to put EV powertrains into the RAV4 EV.

The Bolt EV was a quick-and-dirty method for GM to get a BEV into production, at least partly to generate enough ZEV credits that they didn’t need to keep paying Tesla for them. But we’ll know GM is serious about building BEVs only when they start designing and building their own BEV powertrains, as they did with the Voltec PHEV powertrain in the Volt.

You’re correct to say that farming out parts to various suppliers is nothing unusual. But farming out the design and manufacture of a model’s entire powertrain to one supplier certainly is!

Correct, after tax incentive my dealer discounted 2017 Volt LT cost less than $22k. Bolt LT was low $30k , and I didn’t like the narrow seats. I use the Volt mostly for commuting in EV mode only, and the price is worth the few compromises. With the tax incentive diminished Volt sales would have collapsed, and Bolt will definitely struggle. It is a good decision for GM to go back to the drawing board.

Contrary to popular believe the market for €50K compact hatches isn’t actually that big in Europe.

Especially not ones that look like the Bolt and come with a GM badge.
Don’t get me wrong, Bolt is a great car, but the price just doesn’t make sense for anyone outside EV enthusiasts.

GM is thinking about where the puck will be, not where it is now.

SUVs and pickups are the cash cows (now almost the only cows) for GM and Ford.

Ford looks to be wading waste deep into hybrids/PHEVs in the near future (F-150, Explorer, etc)

GM has no hybrid/plug in products (currently or on the drawing board) to compete (in the north American market), … so Reuss only has one option —- he’s getting the ol’ trash talk warmed up. (and please don’t peek behind the China Motors curtain while Mark is talking)

“GM has no hybrid/plug in products (currently or on the drawing board) to compete (in the north American market),”

You know this based on your magic 8 ball?

You could always ask the president of General Motors.

What do you think he’ll say?

I know for a fact that GM had at least a few different hybrid/PHEV project well along in development up until very recently. It looks like those have been shelved.

Goddamn it, GM. PUT THE VOLTEC DRIVETRAIN INTO BIG VEHICLES! SUVs, pick-ups, vans, etc!

I’m sure anyone else but GM (or Ford, or Chrysler, or Toyota) would agree…

Well, that ship has probably sailed and GM has proven again that they will never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Probably when Tesla comes out with their BEV truck and/or Rivian finally ramps up production you will see a belated, reluctant moves by GM/Ford to try and hold back the flood but not until then.

How much would that vehicle weigh and cost with “around town EV range”? If it cost more than a thousand or 2 over a similar vehicle who would pay the extra money?

That is why our country needs to stop incentive’s for ICE and make people pay the real price at the pump. The real price would include all of the federal subsidies and cleanup costs. Then we will see some real progress towards full electric mobility. ICE is dirty, inefficient, and detrimental to our environment. It needs to be outlawed as soon as possible.

It would make make back the thousand or 2 more very quickly considering these vehicles are gas guzzlers. They would also get the tax-credit.

People who care about global warming.

It depends very heavily on the price segment. If it’s a $20k car, then 1-2k makes a big difference in demand. But if it’s a $50-75k car (or light truck), then 1-2k makes little difference.

It seems that so far, only Tesla (and apparently Rivian) have figured that out. Well, maybe GM has finally seen the light, since they’re now talking about transitioning the entire Cadillac line over to plug-in EVs.

Need a proper 2 door coupe.

The ELR bombed.

There are more ELR’s driving around in my Locale than there are Tesla “S”‘s, and I’ve only seen 2 model ‘3’s to date.
The CT6 PHEV – I never heard any of you big experts say anything about its North American sales, yet that car was manufactured for far longer than the 12 months of the ELR. It also only SOLD ONE-TENTH as well.

But because the echo chamber here prefers fiction, you great brains (who have never test driven one) automatically think you know everything about it.

You know that you can look at the objective sales numbers available by clicking on that link up there instead of making a terrible anecdotal evidence based argument based on your personal subjective love of the ELR.

The Model 3 sold more last month than the ELR sold during its entire history.

Ooops, I meant to write the Model *S* sold more last month that the ELR sold in its entire history.

It sold less than 3000 in its entire history.

All your nonsense inaccuracies remain. Yes I know what you just said. That is what is called a ‘deflection’.

Superdope “Nix” is expert at it.

In fairness, GM always said it was a limited run car. That would have been fine if they hadn’t done so many other stupid things with it. The price and using the same old ICE as the generator (plus the CUE system is mostly awful).

I had a 2014 ELR. It’s just objectively true that it was not a successful car based on sales. I liked it fine, but GM took plenty of shortcuts on it and then they priced it like idiots. It’s definitely nowhere near as good as the Model 3 that ultimately replaced it.

The ELR apologist posting upstream has a finely honed ability to ignore reality in favor of his own wishful thinking. Apparently developing that ability was a necessary part of turning himself into a diehard conspiracy theorist.

Compared to some of his delusions, the idea that the ELR has sold better than the Model S is pretty mild.

Pushi – This is the guy who believes I KID YOU NOT –
That you, in your Space Ship, can seal a hole in it in deep space by just sitting on it.

It seems perfectly reasonable to him since he gets all his science from LUNA novels. Meanwhile, anyone who is near a hole in an aircraft dies.

I didn’t say the ELR sold better in California you clown. I said Tesla’s don’t sell as well as ELR’s did in MY LOCALE since I live in a poor, cold, area. Volts are the most popular plugins here- there are even very few Leafs even though they are the most popular bev in the western world.

The ELR objectively has a few problems, but seeing as it came from GM, it is not so bad.

If the ELR had been a “proper” 2 door coupe, then it would have sold much better. Seriously, if GM had eliminated the cramped back seat and used that space to expand the trunk to decent size, I think it would have sold better. Well, it might have after GM dropped the absurdly inflated initial price down to something close to reasonable, anyway.

If they were gonna do that, it was 5-6 years ago. We’re past the Voltec drivetrain now.

Except the Toyota Prius Prime PHEV is reasonably priced, super low maintenance and works like a champ delivering a minimum 53 mpg all the way up to 113 Mpge. While you argue about this, I have been driving it for two years and saving a ton of money while reducing carbon emissions.

It’s all lipstick on a pig. Compromise technology solutions willl never win because they please no one.

Well, the Chevy Volt is the best selling plug-in car ever in the U.S. so it must have pleased someone.

Not very many people. Model 3 sold almost as many in a year than GM sold Volts in 9 (and really wasn’t in volume until the second half of the year). I really liked the Volt, but the sales weren’t good.

Speak for yourself Lozza12, my wife and I love our 18 Volt, it has barely burnt 5 gallons of gas in 4 months of driving.

Oops, this message can be deleted.

“I really liked the Volt, but the sales weren’t good.”

Weren’t good as compared to what? The Volt has consistently been among the top five best-sellers on IEVs Monthly Sales Charts.

Now, it is true that the Volt hasn’t sold as well as GM expected, which means the unit cost must be higher and the profit margin lower than GM expected when it spent the R&D money to develop Voltec and to put the car into production.

But by now, most or all of those startup costs have surely been amortized away, and I’d think GM could still milk some life out of Voltec by putting it in larger vehicles, at least until the year comes when battery tech is sufficiently advanced that the average BEV battery pack can carry more energy than is in one or two gallons of gasoline.

Well, I suppose if literally every EV in the US except the Model 3 is considered a failure, then the Volt should be too. Because the Volt has outsold them all.

Mitsubishi’s outlander PHEV has sold rather like the model ‘3’ has, and its not offered everywhere.

I don’t buy the argument that the cars do not sell.

This whole discussion just PROVES DIESEL-ELECTRIC TRAINS cannot exist – (even though they do) because they have 2 power trains. The most modern ocean going ships also have ‘2 power trains’. Yes they can weigh more in a ship, but then again batteries aren’t featherweight either.

Full electrics do not sell very well in my area; but there are plenty of PHEV’s (one small town near me just bought TEN Honda Clarity Cars for use by town employees, and put a dual docking station in front of the town hall).

I’m glad they put someone who by his own admission gets Gasoline Transfusions (Reuss) also knows all about the electric car market. This just cannot end well for them.

You live in the Buffalo, New York area, correct? It does make sense for that area to be good for PHEV sales due to the cold & snow. I think PHEVs make sense for large vehicles. I grew up in Minnesota and that’s probably why I realize they are very important…would be great in SUVs & pick-ups.

Yes, and Yes. OF course the most VERBOSE commenter here doesn’t drive ANY CAR since he is not allowed to legally, and of course would never buy an EV for a relative. He just sits in his basement (when MOMMY allows him to) and tells the echo chamber here what to believe.

Of course, then he tells us he is, by profession a ‘Carpenter’ – when he doesn’t know how to build a stair stringer (he’s obviously never built a deck that had a staircase on it that had to pass inspection).

Then wood-butcher Pushi tells us he’s a “computer programmer”. Humm. If you don’t succeed at one profession, invent another.

The basic point here is that at $100/kwh, PHEV’s are economic.

Get back to me when, like Hard Drives, the cost has dropped to $10/kwh and they weigh 1/10th as much.

Sorry, but I have to laugh at this – your analysis of the situation may be… how shall we say… compromised:

Crossover – one of the best selling segments in the US automotive industry
Crossover – synonyms include “cross breeding” and… wait for it… “hybridization”

Pure sports cars, off-road vehicles, etc. sell terribly. They’re a tiny part of the market. Contrary to the utopian dreams of many (guilty as charged), compromised vehicles sell well. Look no further than the doors on ~90% of suburban pavement-only child haulers and how they swing awkwardly into the parking space next to them, when a sliding door would clearly work better. Heck, Tesla even invented a whole new slightly less compromised, but still compromised (compared to a sliding door), method of opening a door – for the sole purpose of shielding owners from the shame of minivan ownership! And don’t even get me started on the non-voice-controlled non-tactile-button-having driver-distraction-systems… err… “infotainment” systems on cars. Car buyers LOVE nothing more than compromised design.

“…off-road vehicles, etc. sell terribly. They’re a tiny part of the market.”

I’m sure that will come as a great surprise to any of the millions of people who have bought full-sized (or bigger) pickups and/or 4WD SUVs and CUVs. 🙄

Also, regarding touchscreen controls: I don’t know anyone who thinks his iPhone is a “compromise” design. I guess you know a lot of people I don’t; people who prefer flip phones and those BlackBerries with row after row of tiny hardware buttons.

Weird how button-having keyboards on desktop PCs across the nation have not been replaced with touchscreens! And I don’t remember anyone complaining about their Xbox or PlayStation not having one, either.

A phone is not a car, which is not a PC, which is not a gaming console. A car steered with a touchscreen instead of a steering wheel would also be a “compromised design,” regardless of what iPhone owners think.

We bought a new, 2017 Prius Prime that comes with TSS-P standard to replace our 2010 Prius and never looked back. Although around town it is a “3 stop” EV compared to our “10 stop” BMW i3-REx, it has fully met our expectations. So when our BMW i3-REx is in the shop, we still have efficient transportation and our lives do not change.

If the price of a BEV Is to be cost competitive with ICE by 2023 and charge points are to be as prolific as gas stations in the same time frame, it makes sense that new PHEV development would be misguided.
But do we really believe BEV pickup with 300-400 miles range fully loaded for $50k US is possible in the next decade?
For reference, I can do close to 500 miles fully loaded into a strong headwind with my $35k US F150

“For reference, I can do close to 500 miles fully loaded into a strong headwind with my $35k US F150” And destroy our environment, and use fuel that is heavily subsidized. Just curious – why do you troll this site?

Im not a troll. I want an EV. I am frustrated that they are no where close to cost parity.

Okay, you don’t see yourself as a troll. (And for the record, I don’t personally see you as one.) But you do regularly post EV bashing comments, so we do wonder just why you’re here. If you’re actually an EV advocate or EV fan, then you hide it very well indeed.

Your very screenname screams troll. Nobody seriously interested in EVs would name himself after the very anti-thesis of sustainable transportation for the purpose of posting on a green car blog.

Don’t kid yourself.

Yes, I believe that will be possible to get 300 miles range within the next decade (so we are talking until Jan 2029). Look where EVs were in 2008 and where are they now.

F-PACE gets 20-25 MPG –
F150 gets about 18-20 MPG –

I don’t think you need that much more batteries which are getting cheaper all the time. iPace has 90kWh for 234 miles. Stuff 150kWh of batteries there and you should do fine for 300 miles range, even fully loaded. With $100/kWh (coming 2022ish), it is $15k for batteries and you can still have $35k to build the rest of pickup.

According to few articles online about F150, being fully loaded decreased MPG by about 10% ( ,

However, by 2023 there almost certainly will be capable BEV pickup trucks from Tela and Rivian, Bollinger, etc. They’ll do pretty well, including among businesses that pay close attention to TCO. There will be a new market for bumper stickers like the one I saw last week: Real trucks don’t have spark plugs.

“charge points are to be as prolific as gas stations in the same time frame”.

Nope. Totally unnecessary. 99% of charging can happen at home.

In the next decade, yes

“charge points are to be as prolific as gas stations”

This is pure trolling. Anyone that knows EVs or has read this site much realizes that this is pure BS. 95% of charging is done at home. You don’t need public chargers unless you are doing long trips.

Yes, I know, some people don’t have a charger at their apartment/condo. That’s a silly excuse…the cost of installing chargers is small and it is apprentice electrician work. On street parking is the only real difficult situation. light-pole charging may deal with some of that.

“You can’t spend money to force the customer to carry around extra stuff they may not need.”

Such as over 60kWh to 100kWh of bricks when owners won’t need more than 10 units per day?

To see EVs win over the priority for GM may seem like a win for us, but my god what a loss, a developmental loss for GM for abandoning the Voltec system. Is it not scale-able? The whole benefit hybrids have is the ability to keep combustion engines, particularly older, less competitive and cheap units within in their operational sweet zone while the MG1 and/or MG2 unit does the hard work.

I feel they might regret this if and when Nissan introduces their e-Power engines beyond the JDM, especially if they come with +8kWh packs as many are expecting from Renault in europe.

“…what a loss, a developmental loss for GM for abandoning the Voltec system. Is it not scale-able?”

Believe it or not, GM has actually claimed that Voltec can’t be scaled up. I personally don’t believe it — GM has lied repeatedly about Voltec* — but that’s what they have claimed, at least in the past.

*Before production, GM claimed the Volt was a pure serial hybrid… which it’s not. Then when they admitted that wasn’t true, claiming they only said that to protect their patents, they then claimed the Volt never engages the ICEngine directly into the mechanical drivetrain… so it’s rather odd they put a clutch on the engine so that it could be mechanically engaged. 🙄

I guess I have pretty mixed feelings about this but given how slowly the PHEV Outlander is selling in the US my longstanding view a Voltec Equinox would sell well might well be wrong in which case GM is right to not bother with it. Since I think we are 4+ years away from Equinox sized and priced (within $5K) BEVs with 250+ miles of highway range I was hoping a Voltec Equinox could fill that gap until the 90+ kWh batteries needed to make viable CUVs in this form factor (IE not aero-comprimised) become affordable. We will see if Ford really does offer a PHEV Escape and how it sells.

Haha. Funny how their perception has changed

PHEVs had the potential to be an important bridge technology to EVs. If we rolled the clock back to 2010, we could have drastically reduced oil consumption by mandating 50-mile AER PHEVs in all vehicle segments by 2020. PHEVs are a bridge technology to full BEVs in that: (1) it has been far cheaper to add a gas engine to give long distance range than giving multiples of battery KWH beyond daily driving needs; (2) it could leverage limited battery availability during ramp up of production and (3) it could avoid charging issues (and range anxiety) while fast charging infrastructure was built up. However, battery costs are coming down, battery production is going up, and charging infrastructure is expanding. If you don’t have an array of PHEVs in production or far along in planning, you’ll probably largely miss the window where PHEVs are a sensible solution, and it’s better to just skip to BEVs.

If BEV’s were not advancing so fast, PHEV would make sense. By the time a new PHEV model can be developed and produced, it will be uncompetitive with BEV’s out at the same time.

I am a fan of PHEVs. But I understand why GM is going in this direction. The reality is, PHEVs are a hard sell to the general public because they are too difficult to understand. Even with the Volt, when I would tell people it had 53 miles of range, people would always look at me funny and go, “that’s all?!” And even when I explained it has a gas engine, they didn’t seem to understand how you were supposed to use the car. There are a few other issues as well. When the Volt first came out, battery prices were so high that it was cheaper to give you an ICE for the longer range than it was to put a larger battery in there like Tesla was doing. That is no longer the case. I suspect now it is cheaper to produce with a larger battery than to make a PHEV. Another issue is that the smaller batteries you find in a PHEV are also not capable of pushing the kind of amps needed to give impressive performance numbers. Great performance is a good selling feature. You need a larger battery for that. The same is true for… Read more »

I think that people would understand PHEVs if the advertising folks would make a clever commercial that explains it. It’s not hard to understand.

“you need a larger battery for that. The same is true for the ability to take advantage of DC fast chargers.” Chevy Spark had essentially the same battery capacity as the 2nd gen Volt and but the Spark had DC Fast Charging (option) because it was only a BEV with a small battery. Battery size does not determine the capability for DC fast charging.

Makes sense since we all knew that PHEV was always a bridge either way. The question is that how long will that bridge cost and how long it will last. Now that all the incentives are shifting away from PHEV to BEV only, then there is very little incentives to invest in something that has “no future”.

From an investment point of view, it makes sense. The big question is that when that electric pickup comes along, how will GM compete in that segment without a good PHEV since BEV version will always be limited by battery cost and charging infrastructure. Unless GM doesn’t think BEV pickup trucks will ever be successful.

BEV will not be limited by cost and infrastructure for long.

But they are selling Cadillac CT6 plugin hybrid in China.
Is this statement real or some short term gimmick.
Volt is a fine car with 53 mile electric range and then the gas engine taking over. What’s wrong with this product.

Just take a look at the outside and the inside of the “late 2021” 7-passenger Caddy BEV (people are already laughing) and it will tell you all you need to know about this vehicle. CT6 was basically a chinese vehicle anyway (ICE – 1/3 content, PHEV – 100% content) so they might as well try to sell a few there.

Up until the [3] finally passed it, the VOLT was the best-selling Plug-in in North America. So of course GM does what they always do – discontinue it and discard all of the technology behind it.

The Model 3, S, and X are really the only successful EVs that have been sold in US. S and X are low volume, but high margin and the Model 3 is both high volume and margin. All the others have been science experiments. Sure, they sold a decent number, but not making money and mostly heavily discounted.

A BMW executive (Schoch) recently commented how much Tesla was able to profit after so little revenue, even after subtracting off regulatory credit sales. What BMW said was impossible, Elon went out and made money doing it, and a lot of it. Tesla has defied expectations of a lot of CEOs and chairmen.

I’ve repeatedly said that Tesla is a special business case that cannot be transferred easily to other manufacturers.

All I can say is good riddance! I have a PHEV and when, I think of the things that can go wrong with it, it gets pretty scary. The car gets very good gas mileage and I still need it for very long trips where there are very few fast chargers but I’m looking forward to day when the EV market evolves to a point where all my cars can be all electric.

A PHEV is just as reliable as a standard hybrid vehicle. The standard Prius seems to have good reliability.

What makes you think I want any kind of hybrid? Two motors, two energy storage systems; twice the maintenance and twice as any things that can go wrong. If I plan to dump the car as soon as it goes out of warranty then who cares but I don’t relish the idea of keeping a hybrid a long time with me having to foot the bill for all that goes wrong.

BTW, hybrids are the only EVs you can buy after market battery packs for. Do you really think they would be selling after market battery packs for hybrids if there wasn’t a market for them? Hybrid batteries cycle much more than BEV batteries and thus won’t last near as long, but I guess who cares if you are going to be running on gas most of the time anyway.

Standard hybrids are highly reliable, and thus so are PHEVs. One shouldn’t worry about what can go wrong, when the technology has already proven itself.

” Two motors, two energy storage systems; twice the maintenance and twice as any things that can go wrong”

Those are all BS claims. Two motors on the PHEV and two motors on the ICE, starters and alternator. Two energy storage systems don’t mean they will go back 2x as fast. And it doesn’t mean 2x maintenance. In fact, they cut down maintenance by 2x since either of the powertrain is wearing down at much lower rate.

You either don’t own a PHEV or don’t know what you are talking about as far as PHEV is concerned. Anyone who owns one would know those kind of 2x BS has been spread falsely over time.

The only thing one can say is that it requires 2x of the engineering which is added cost that single powertrain don’t have.

I have actually owned two hybrids and I still own a 2015 Fusion Energi Titanium that I bought new. They were both expensive compared to a regular ICE. No BS about it, both of my hybrids are far more complicated than any ICE or BEV I have owned. There was a time when I was faithful to hybrids but that was before I got sick of my hybrids always running out of battery and having to run on gas most of the time. I have had little trouble with my hybrids but then again they have been relatively new. That view changes considerably when I project ownership beyond the warranty periods. Whether you want to admit it or not, eventually the gas motor is going to fail, eventually fuel system is going to fail, eventually the traction battery is going to fail, eventually the electric motor is going to fail and eventually the transmission is going to fail. The small traction batteries of a PHEV with rapid cycling are particularly prone to failure, which I already mentioned but you conveniently ignored. Plug-in hybrids had their day but thier advantages are quickly disappearing. No, I’m never buying another hybrid, plug-in hybrid… Read more »

The flipside of this is that if your engine has a problem, the car is still drivable in full electric mode, and if your battery system has a problem, the car is still drivable on gas.

Redundancy has its advantages.

Why don’t we just tow another car around. That way if one breaks down we can drive the other one. Carrying around a whole car is a far better idea than just carrying around parts of another car, more redundant parts are better, right?

I suppose if you think the seats or the floor in your car might “break down” and allow you to fall through to the center of the earth, it might be a good idea to carry around a second set of seats & floor to prevent that.

GM for the win, who knew. Like with their first pure ev, The Bolt, the car of the century, the last one.

After seeing GM’s try at a bigger BEV CUV, I’m glad my BOLT ev has a high Korean parts content.

If this ‘futuristic’ vehicle is the best GM can do – better sell your stock.

True, it’s like the good twin bad twin story. They are a pair and you can’t get one without the other.

Funny, I thought the EV-1 was their first pure EV…

Putting any trust in GM’s ability to execute is a fool’s errand. I wish them luck, and hope they really do commit and move to EV only offerings. But I don’t believe it.

At the risk of being labeled a Musk fanboy, I think he was correct when he referred to PHEVs as amphibians. They make sense in an age where pure EVs are too expensive to compete with ICE on purchase price alone, but with another ten years of BEV evolution the PHEV will be what paleontologist call a “transitional fossil.”

Plug in hybrid is indeed non sense. Two powetrains with one unreliable one (combustion engine) and only used occasionally.

The 2012 400K miles Volt in OH proves that you don’t know what you are talking about.

The fact that it only occasionally runs (and it can be started very GINGERLY where all the wear usually occurs – In my ELR the engine starts WHEN COLD *VERY* slowly – takes about a minute) is the reason FOR its Longevity. The clutches operate during zero wear times.

The point everyone except Prius Prime owners forget apparently, is that batteries need to come down in price to where 300-600 miles is cheaper than the engine and gas tank.

According to many reports, Voltec 1.0 proved to be very reliable indeed; appreciably more so than the average gasmobile. Admittedly, Voltec 2.0 less so. Apparently GM decided Voltec 1.0 was overbuilt, and degraded the build quality in 2.0.

As a long term Volt owner,I cannot see why a pure electric vehicle has an advantage.It must be just me,but I can’t imagine taking off on a trip and not be able to stop in a corner gas station rather than be inconvenienced by a lack of charge stations in some remote area.Some will claim it doesn’t matter due to the huge battery in their vehicle.I say it does matter because who is going to drive it on a partial charge without worrying about where to stop and how long it will take and how are the wife and kids going to go pee like they did every couple hours when on gas?No thanks,I’ll keep my Volt and when it wears out,i’ll buy an ICE vehicle that by then will probably get 80mpg and by then gas will be ridiculously cheap.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The advantages are that:
1) GM gets 4/6 credits instead of 1.3/2 credits.
2) Once batteries are cheap (destination $100/kWh), a Volt would be more expensive than an equivalent basic long-range BEV, and the long-range BEV would have better electric performance and utility.

The infrastructure argument is getting weaker with each passing year. It’s not a technical problem. It’s just volume.

Its mainly a COST problem. Who ultimately will be willing to pay for it?

Lets see, a VOLT would need around 100 kwh to make it go 300 miles. Ok, $10,000. I don’t think, engine, exhaust, and gas tank = $10,000. Of course, in the VOLT once youve driven 300 you can go another 300 in around 5 minutes. So now we’re talking $20,000 of batteries. How much does 200 kwh usually weigh?

So people who are one-car families essentially cannot take vacations anymore, without standing in line at the CCS ‘OASIS’.

Look at the Bolt EV, it is much less aerodynamic than Volt. The Bolt EV could have 300 mile range with 75 kWh, assume a little less efficient due to weight and 80 kWh. If it charges at a fairly slow 2C (160 kW, plenty of those around from Electrify America) and you would have a great long range EV that could easily put out 400 hp from that battery size (less than 4C discharge, Volt is about 7C) and charge for 20 mins every two hours on the highway.

Say $150/kWh and you are at $12,000 for the pack. Need a $50k car for that I would guess. People would pay $50k for a sports car or nice sport CUV.

As a long-term EV owner (since 3/2013), I cannot see why people can’t see that different drivers have different needs. My 2018 Leaf works exceptionally well for my wife and me, simply because at purchase time (more below) and afterwards it was a near-perfect fit. We take very few long trips/year, some years literally one. In those rare cases we take my wife’s car, a Rogue. But in general we push a lot of our mileage toward my Leaf because [1] we both love driving it and [2] it saves us money. And we charge it overnight in our garage at (gasp!) 120v. It’s been plugged into a L2 charger once, for about 20 minutes, and has never seen a FC. (I’m guessing the FC port works, but I don’t know for sure.) If you make a lot of long trips, then I certainly agree that a BEV can be a gigantic pain in the neck (and other body parts) with the current state of chargers in the US. Not enough of the right kind; chargers in use, blocked, or out of service; etc. (I’ve spent some time recently playing around with trip planning sites and doing independent research, and… Read more »

Yup Louie – LIFER GM buyers will be forced over to their 100% ICE products.

Now me, I have no trouble jumping ship and buying a Honda Clarity PHEV – what with its very respectable 47-48 mile all electric range..

I happily gave up my Volt and ELR for a long range BEV. Don’t have any problem whatsoever going on long trips.

You’re obviously not aware how fast high speed charging stations are being rolled out. For Tesla, there are plenty. Very soon the same will be true for all other brands, who have settled on the CCS standard.

I’m aware of it – what I’m not aware of , is any of them being close to not being a big expense.

There are a lot of legitimate, good reasons why someone would want or need a PHEV rather than a BEV.

But “I’m afraid I can’t find a restroom for the wife and kids within walking distance of a DC fast charger” isn’t one of them. Looking at the website, I figured out how to filter for showing only charging locations with restrooms in less than two minutes.

Its 10 million years too late, and the caddy looks crap

I have an Hyundai Ioniq PHEV and love it! Fully gassed and charged I have 660 mile range. Plugging in at home and work to a regular outlet I usually get 1200 miles out of 10 gals of fuel. I get 29 miles on a full charge. It has the room I need–I can fit 4 football players + driver + all their gear. If I need a little pep, I can easily go to sport (direct drive) mode. I get federal, state and electric utility rebates. And I get to drive in the HOV lane. What’s not to love?

We need more public EV charging stations. I monitor the EV-user comments on PlugShare, and some people get nasty fighting over charging spaces. As a PHEV driver, I don’t worry about this nastiness. Also, I only burn about 2 gallons of gas per month – the rest of my car’s energy comes from the plug.

You don’t know what you’re talking about! I have fast charged over one hundred and fifty times and I only had wait for someone to finish charging once and then I didn’t have to wait very long. But I can remember having to sit in line for hours back in the 1970s waiting to buy gas.

Most people still home charge. The only time I need a fast charge is when I drive on long trips or when I want to go somewhere that I don’t have enough charge for. The only nastiness I see at charging stations is when inconsiderate gasers park in front of the EV chargers.

Quote “Interestingly, in China, Buick is going to introduce the plug-in hybrid Velite 6. Mixed signals, perhaps?”

My guess is GM’s position to get out of the PHEV space was a very recent decision and considering the immanent launch of the Velite 6 it’s going to move forward. But this does sound like the last PHEV from GM.

That being said I still think there was room for a mid-sized Voltec CUV at GM for another 5-6 years before going all BEV.

China has incentive to have PHEVs with 50 km range (NEDC). US has little incentive. I suspect his comments are for US, or maybe longer term.

I think I just started to like GM

So the Volt which outsold the Bolt have no backing ok

Neither sell enough to be viable models without support from GM. They really need models that are high margin (high end Cadillacs) or high volume (over 100k per year).

The move to kill the Volt might look quick, but I believe it makes sense. The Bolt can cannibalize most the Volt market, as it offers a entirely no-gas experience, for nearly the same price, with very few drawbacks. The only way the Volt could still make sense would be with a huge price cut. But with cheaper and cheaper batteries, having to price cut an architecture that involve two powertrain like the Volt is probably not very profitable. I guess GM wants to roll out more better margin Bolt and get some economic of scale instead.

HA! You think people who now can’t buy Volts are going to buy Bolts? They’ll buy Toyota and Honda.

Exactly, killing the Volt will drive them straight to a Clarity or Prime without a replacement. Those were mostly conquest sales with Volt and they will likely jump ship as quickly as the did coming to Chevy.

We own three Volts and love the cars. Our last purchase we looked at the Bolt and enjoyed driving it but it really came down to the charging network. We use our cars for long trips to visit our kids in college and to visit my folks, and the charging network is just not there yet for CSS vehicles. If Model 3 was available last year, we would have certainly considered it (with its higher price tag) because they do have a good charging network. It would still be a hassle to wait a half an hour to get charged up again. We did a trip to Yellowstone National Park a couple of years ago. I would be very difficult to do that trip with an EV because of lack of charge stations. The PHEV vehicle I think is still the best bet if you want a car for local and long trips. We use about 75% on electric with our Volts so it has been the best of both worlds for us. I hope in the future to see charging stations located close to food joints so you can stop and plugging and get a bite while wait for… Read more »

Tesla will be retrofitting their Superchargers to halve charging times for cars using the 2170 cells (i.e., Model 3 and soon-to-be refreshed S and X)

You can’t fix stupid. You spent nearly a billion dollars to develop the Voltec technology that makes the Volt a great car. And then you ignore that tech and make minor adjustments to the original car for 10 years, then you cancel the whole thing. A slightly roomier Voltec car w/ ACC and power seats, a Voltec CUV and a sportier small Voltec car would have all been great additions to the GM lineup and they would have sold pretty well. But GM let the Volt get old before its time and then die early.
Great way to leverage the technology you spent so much on developing, Reuss!

What do expect from someone who takes Gasoline Transfusions? “I’ve got Gasoline in my Blood!”. hehe. IN the middle of that develop a real joke of a car, the CT6 PHEV, that gets super-lousy all electric range when most people drive it, compared to the indentical VOLT battery where the volt gets typically 70 miles. Put in THREE planetary gearboxs and umpteen different hydraulic clutch actuators, and make them run off of a 3 horsepower battery operated oil pump!!! No wonder the mileage is so lousy. The oil pump does nothing to push the car down the road. Then make sure everything is computer-controlled so that when you step on the gas nothing happens for a second until everybody agrees what we’re going to do the motors, engine, clutches, etc – so that the thing has the ‘feel’ of a land-yacht. The ELR, which outsold the CT6 phev in the states by a factor of TEN, had a single responsive planetary gearset just like the GEN 1 VOLT. Doesn’t matter – GM discontinues the ev1, SPARK ev, ELR, Volt, Ct6Ice and PHev. for the states, so 5 electrics in total. Of course, they NEVER have anything to immediately replace what… Read more »

Better than falling for the sunk cost fallacy.

My prediction for this Cadillac version of the Audi E-Tron: GM will build a decent vehicle but price it too high, and will do nothing to ensure their customers have good charging options for road trips. When sales numbers inevitably disappoint, they will question their investment in this vehicle and electric vehicles in general. And they will then fall further behind Tesla. American companies in general – and legacy American car companies in particular – lack the patience for anything new that is not instantly and wildly profitable. GM doesn’t suffer from a lack of vision – but they certainly suffer from an inability to see their vision through to fruition.

If GM doesn’t suffer from a ‘lack of vision’ then they need new glasses. This new abortion looks like it came from the junkyard of one Chinese CUV (48″ dashboard), space consuming center console, chicken lips from an “S”, and a bit of an “X”, or Lexus – I’m unsure which.

This is the thing:: Right now we’re just talking about the atrocious visible stuff. What other snakes did they put under the hood?

The I-Pace and E-Tron are beautiful vehicles – inside and out.

Can’t GM hire some graduate-student Art majors to help them out with things like ‘clean lines’? Maybe have the Italian body company GHIA do some mock ups for them…

Anything but this monstrosity.

I quite like it, as far as crossovers go.

Watching GM is to experience Groundhog Day as if you are in the movie, except without the eventual improvement and adapting of behavior.

Geesh, they made the Volt for a long time, your post doesn’t make sense.

Well, I guess there is a good argument to be made in favor of the “Begin as you mean to go on” approach to life, and business.

But of course, in this case it’s not a matter of beginning; it’s a matter of continuing in an ongoing business of developing and selling passenger cars and light trucks. With its Voltech PHEV drivetrain, GM developed what is by far the best PHEV tech in the world… or at least, was the best until the Honda Clarity came along to give them a run for their money. Seems a shame that GM is just scrapping Voltec, instead of putting it into some higher-end pickups, where BEVs would find it impossible to maintain good highway range while towing or hauling heavy cargo.

However, I don’t know how favorable the cost/benefit ratio would be for developing a line of PHEV pickups which would almost certainly be obsolete in less than 10 years, as BEV tech continues to improve year-on-year. Perhaps GM is right not to invest resources in developing those?

Meh. GM, you disappoint me.

I love my gen 1, Volt, but it’s too compromised on space and utility for me to be eager to get a Gen 2 when I upgrade, so I agree that particular design, with the T-shaped battery is a dead-end.

It seems that PHEV has a future, but it needs to be a clean-sheet design, with the battery tucked into the floor-board where it doesn’t hurt interior space. Clarity gets it right.

Going all BEV is not a bad thing, but where is it? Where is the Buick CUV EV based on the Bolt that they were talking about?

GM is coasting through the expiration of federal tax credits like it doesn’t mean a thing, and I guess it doesn’t to them if they never intended to sell a mass-market plug-in before expiration.

They expect sub $100/kWh at the pack level by 2021, at which point you can make a pure BEV at the same cost as an ICE. I wouldn’t expect much volume from GM until then.

Seems a poorly thought out strategy to burn through the tax credit threshold without any plan to use it to help ramp up mass production.

If they planned to slow-walk their path to a mass-market EV, then they’d have been better off making and selling fewer Volts and Bolts before now.

It’s ironic how Toyota was attacked relentlessly and was givin the “laggard” label for avoiding that very situation.

Whenever I pointed out that missed opportunity, GM enthusiasts did everything possible to divert attention to another topic.

Funny how the table has turned. That was a valid concern not to be busy brushed aside, especially while belittling others in the process.

Well not all of us complained. I for one stated the Prius Prime was very nice as far as it went.

Looks like we’ll be buying more Toyotas from now on.

I wonder about battery capacity issues. I wonder if the same capacity that is used to make 60kW batteries can make 6x 10kW batteries, given that they will likely use the same battery cells.

I have mixed feelings about this. PHEVs are a decent solution for many people, and would make sense now in the larger vehicle segment. But on the other hand, I’m personally feeling done with the technology, and looking forward to having an all BEV garage.

As I am now a widower and can only afford one car: With the range of current battery cars, I can’t see forgoing my Prius Prime. I use purely EV for well over 50% of my travel (being retired now), but make frequent round trips of over 300 – 500 miles. I made one of 2,600 miles and a 6,000 mile one is on my bucket list. I don’t see stopping every 200 miles to charge up (I know it says 300 miles, but do you drive you gas tank all the way to empty? Also, are there any mountains in the way? (My 2,600 mile one turned around at the top of Pike’s Peak! (14,115′) (starting at sea level in Sandy Eggo) (The hotel in Colorado Springs didn’t have a charger*. The last charge I got was in Lost Wages.) Also, about the 200 mile stops, I understand charging for a 200 mile stint is a LOT faster than adding the last 100 miles. IF I had two cars, one might be pure EV. Many of the peeps in my group say they never get gas, and I wonder if an EV would be more suited to them. I… Read more »

The nice thing about the Pruis Prime is its Convenience. You are NEVER put out. Most of the time you are electric, yet you are not FORCED to be.

Now GM thinks the vast majority of Cadillac buyers are going to willingly inconvenience themselves- by lining up at the “CCS OASIS” FOR A CHANCE TO GET BACK HOME.

The entire US is not like California. We don’t have built up infrastructure – and I keep asking – who is supposed to PAY for all of this Infrastructure happiness?