Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Washington State
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I'm not an engineer, but the claim that the gas engine on board the Volt being only a power generator, with no connection to the wheels, seemed a bit beyond where the automotive industry is today. Additionally, it take s a great deal of time to invent and refine a concept such as parallel/serial hybrid technology, such as what the Prius and most others are. The Prius took 7 years from inception to introduction to the U.S. market (5 years to market if you consider that the Prius had a few years on it in Japan alone prior to being offered in the U.S. market).
The point is, for GM to introduce a new type of EV or PHEV in less time than it took Toyota to bring the first gen Prius to market is basically impossible, especially under the economic conditions GM was working under. Oh, and don't fool yourself, GM has a huge number of their engineers doing nothing but reverse engineering their competitors products. GM maintains one of the largest purchase and tear down operations of just about any manufacturer out there. In fact, when the gen 2 Prius was in production GM made a huge point of emphasizing the fact that there were nearly twice then number of parts in a Prius as in a Malibu (not a fair comparison anyway, who wants a Malibu?).
In the end, what GM has done with the Volt is impressive and considering the generally positive reception it has had in the market, I suspect they will keep pouring development dollars into new versions and improvements in the technology. The Volt is about the only vehicle they have in their stable which is palatable to a broader class of buyers than GM stalwarts.
It has been said:
Hybrid drivers come in 3 flavors, greenie, techie and cheapie. Pick any 2.
2005 Prius, Millenium Silver Metallic (color code 1C0) over gray, package 5 (AI)