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Volt's 3 Vehicle of Year Awards as Game-Changer; New National Plug-In Info Site: GoElectricDrive

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  • Felix Kramer
    In the same week that GM returned to the stock market with the largest U.S. Initial Public Offering ever, returning half of the federal stake, the Chevy Volt
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 2010
      In the same week that GM returned to the stock market with the
      largest U.S. Initial Public Offering ever, returning half of the
      federal stake, the Chevy Volt continues to gain recognition as a
      breakthrough vehicle. Three top industry players have unanimously
      crowned the Volt as Vehicle of the Year. Decades after Andy Frank
      began designing plug-in hybrids, and eight years after we started
      CalCars to promote their commercialization, we're seeing Motor Trend,
      Automobile Mag and Green Car Journal all describing the Volt and the
      PHEV approach the same way: "Game-Changer." Plus we bring the news
      that the electric drive industry's trade association has stepped up
      with GoElectricDrive.com, a national information center for buyers of
      all plug-ins. And a pointer to a thoughtful broad analysis of GM's
      marketing approach by CleanTech analyst Joel Makower.

      (Shortly after it goes out on email, this posting will also be
      viewable at http://www.calcars.org/news-archive.html -- there you can
      add CalCars-News to your RSS feed.)

      General Motors is proud of its impending success -- and the company
      showed it. On the morning of the company's IPO, the readers of the
      Wall Street Journal and Tthe New York Times came upon full-page ads
      on pages 11 and 13. One in red was headlined, "The future is here and
      America is back in the game" -- Motor Trend. At the bottom of the
      page, "Introducing the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the all-new
      Chevrolet Volt. It's more car than electric. And it's just the
      beginning." The other, in green, said, Is it just us, or is there
      electricity in the air? "Automobile of the Year" -- Automobile
      Magazine. And at the bottom, "Turns out people get pretty excited
      when you change the world. The all-new Chevrolet Volt. It's more car
      than electric." The stories cited below are all online; print issues
      will be out next month. We present the primary sources and the URLs
      for the stories; you can find more details easily by searching news online

      MOTOR TREND 2011 CAR OF THE YEAR The auto industry's most prestigious
      award introduces the Volt as "A Car of the Future You can Drive
      Today." The Volt topped all others on the combination of the award's
      six criteria: engineering/design/efficiency/safety/value/performance.
      Motor Trend's multi-day 299-mile test cofirmed 126MPG plus
      electricity, or 73MPGE. See Editor Angus MacKenzie's three-minute
      video and the long report at
      (Click Print to see the entire article on one page, and click on
      Gallery to see 23 photos.)

      Here's the wrap-up: "It is a fully functional, no-compromise compact
      automobile that offers auto consumers real benefits in terms of lower
      running costs.
      The more we think about the Volt, the more convinced we are this
      vehicle represents a real breakthrough. The genius of the Volt's
      powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV,
      a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible
      efficiency, depending on your duty cycle. For want of a better
      technical descriptor, this is world's first intelligent hybrid. And
      the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an
      investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.
      Moonshot. Game-changer. A car of the future that you can drive today,
      and every day. So what should we call Chevrolet's astonishing Volt?
      How about, simply, Motor Trend's 2011 Car of the Year.

      GREEN CAR OF THE YEAR 2011: The Chevy Volt received the award from
      the Green Car Journal's jury including top leaders of four national
      environmental groups, Jay Leno, and Caroll Shelby. Publisher/editor
      Ron Cogan told the Detroit Free Press, "This is the game-changer...It
      says as no car ever has before that you can have an electric vehicle
      without limitations.It doesn't get more important than that."
      http://www.freep.com/article/20101118/BUSINESS0101/101118055/ .

      The Green Car Journal was established in 1992. Hybrids won in
      2006-08; winners in 2009-10 were diesels. Previously, as a
      pre-production vehicle, the Volt won the 2009 Green Car Vision
      Award. Press release at
      and story at

      AUTOMOBILE OF THE YEAR 2011: The article in Automobile Magazine
      doesn't spare the Volt some criticism, and its spends some thoughtful
      time talking about the vehicle's implications for the auto industry.
      See the 3-minute video with comments by all the magazine's editors,
      and the full report (6 online pages plus 4 sidebar pages)
      . Here's the conclusion:

      While the hostility toward "Government Motors" won't dissipate
      anytime soon, the Volt's arrival should at least silence those who
      insisted that the car couldn't or wouldn't be built. Those who argue
      it shouldn't exist have yet to drive it. Despite the Volt's
      imperfections, it takes only a single mile behind the wheel to
      realize that you are reveling in the experience. Forty, eighty, and
      200 miles later, you'll still be marveling at the seamless
      technology. It is not fast nor is it fun in the typical sense, yet it
      still has all the brainwashing abilities of a Porsche Cayman. The
      Volt is unique, but more convincingly, it instills an overwhelming
      sense that you're driving something significant. Complex ideas can't
      be revolutionary until they're accessible enough for mass
      consumption. There are three separate thermal loops to heat and cool
      the powertrain components. GM applied for more than 200 patents
      during the Volt's development. And the advanced battery pack is
      believed to cost somewhere around $10,000. Yet the Volt packages the
      game-changing technology in a manner that's nothing short of revolutionary.

      Over the past century, the evolution of the automobile has been about
      more content for less money, faster lap times, more luxury, or better
      fuel efficiency. The Volt's accomplishments aren't even in the same
      realm. It won't just change what we drive, but also how we drive.
      Owners will plug in at night, heat or cool their cabin before they
      leave the garage, and adopt new driving styles to maximize their
      electric range. Then, when the battery is depleted, they'll
      mindlessly motor on, free of the limitations that accompany
      pure-electric vehicles. This is the most sophisticated, most
      important vehicle on the road today. The Volt model could very well
      be the standard of the future: a smartly sized battery backed by a
      frugal range extender, whether that's a diesel, a turbine, or a gas
      engine. In fact, several automakers already have plans to develop
      similar plug-ins with usable electric driving range and supplemental
      fossil-fuel power. For being an automotive pioneer, the Chevrolet
      Volt is the 2011 Automobile of the Year.

      GOELECTRICDRIVE.COM LAUNCHES: The Electric Drive Transportation
      Association, together with Southern California Edison and others, has
      launched "Your Information Hub for PLug-In Electric Vehicles" at
      http://www.GoElectricDrive.com . Prospective buyers can calculate
      costs and emissions, locate state and local incentives and other
      resources, and view vehicles. See the press announcement at
      http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4804324.htm . We had hoped
      the trade association would include significant interactive
      components, but that could come over time, perhaps in partnership
      with some of the advocacy organizations and media listed at
      http://www.calcars.org/partners.html -- as we suggested in

      JOEL MAKOWER ON GM STRATEGY: We've always been impressed at how
      CleanTech analyst Joel Makower thinks deeply about the connections
      between business, technology, marketing, and the environment. GM has
      just announced it will invest $40M in carbon offsets for the
      Chevrolets it builds. While we're delighted with the Volt, we've at
      times questioned some of the company's strategies. Here Joel (who has
      in the past consulted with GM) discusses that news, and gives his
      take. We don't always agree with Joel, but here we think he's on the
      right track. We excerpt from his conclusion, and we hope others will
      comment at Joel's blog:

      Can General Motors truly change the conversation on carbon and
      climate? It's an audacious, almost unfathomable notion, particularly
      when you think about where GM has come from: suing state carbon
      regulators, lobbying against federal action, stonewalling activists,
      selling Hummers, and all the rest. I, for one, will be anxious to see
      how that works. Certainly, there will be critics on both sides --
      environmentalists who blindly charge greenwash, because that's what
      they do; and conservatives who will rail against this somehow as a
      misuse of taxpayer bailout money -- because that's what they do.

      Personally, I wished the company's messaging had taken this head-on.
      I would have preferred that GM had said, "America, you invested in
      us. Now that we're back, we're returning the favor. We're going to
      invest in schools and communities around our 3,100 showrooms. We're
      going to put people back to work -- not just making greener cars, but
      making greener buildings and greener energy. We're going to invest in
      a more sustainable future, in clean air, in energy independence.
      We're going to turn the tables on that old adage: 'What's good for GM
      is good for America.'"

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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