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Workers at Chevy Volt battery plant built with federal money paid to do nothing...

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EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
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I'm sorry, politics aside, the Volt power train is beautiful engineering. The ability to drive meaningful distances without using gas but being able to fill up and continue is great. The next step is to replace the engine with something more efficient. Ethanol, natural gas, fuel cell, diesel, even compressed air generators would all work with the power train.
What is the difference/advantage of the Volt power train vs any of the other proven hybrids out there?
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
9,859
1
81
What is the difference/advantage of the Volt power train vs any of the other proven hybrids out there?
If you start every trip with no charge? Nothing at all. It might even be worse.

It's not a better 'hybrid', it's a better electric vehicle.
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
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If you start every trip with no charge? Nothing at all. It might even be worse.

It's not a better 'hybrid', it's a better electric vehicle.
What is making it better?

I have ridden in a Prius and test drove a Volt and Leaf last year. The Volt did not impress me from the interior. The Leaf was such that with exception to the range issue, I would have taken one from the test drive show. I did not get that feel from the Volt and I do not get foreign vehicles even rentals if i have a choice

So what technology does it have that sets it apart from the others and justifies the price premium.
 
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waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,145
9
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So what technology does it have that sets it apart from the others and justifies the price premium.
nothing. Not a damn thing justifies the price premium over the other vehicles of its kind.

I'm sorry, politics aside, the Volt power train is beautiful engineering. The ability to drive meaningful distances without using gas but being able to fill up and continue is great. The next step is to replace the engine with something more efficient. Ethanol, natural gas, fuel cell, diesel, even compressed air generators would all work with the power train.

It's not just the volt. the top electric vehicles are amazing and they are getting better year after year. i
 
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MixMasterTang

Diamond Member
Jul 23, 2001
3,152
161
106
The issue is that your example provides a scenario where an independent private firm, free of government intrusion can layoff workers without politicians jumping in to save their own faces when this business acts in its own interest. The potential issue that GM faces if the Volt does indeed continue to flop will undoubtedly cause political ramifications which are external to the business reasons of deciding whether to layoff workers or discontinue the Chevy Volt.

Of which this will not jive politically even if it is indeed the best course of action business wise. Thus if GM does indeed need to layoff these workers for sound business reasons then this can/will potentially create a conflict of interest with those politicians/political parties who have vested political capital at stake with GM's appearance of success or failure. Thus this conflict of interest could potentially cause them to prop up a failed debacle further than it should be economically and at taxpayer expense.
Actually, your post keeps saying GM needs to layoff these people, which is funny since they are not employed by GM whatsoever. That's my problem with the article too. This is an LG operation that is going to build batteries, yes they may be used in the Volt in the future just like other parts bought from other companies may be used.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
9,859
1
81
What is making it better?

I have ridden in a Prius and test drove a Volt and Leaf last year. The Volt did not impress me from the interior. The Leaf was such that with exception to the range issue, I would have taken one from the test drive show. I did not get that feel from the Volt and I do not get foreign vehicles even rentals if i have a choice

So what technology does it have that sets it apart from the others and justifies the price premium.
So if the Leaf had the Volt powertrain, you would have taken one from the test drive show, and everything wrong with the Volt comes down to fit and finish.

There's your answer.
 

Doppel

Lifer
Feb 5, 2011
13,306
2
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Seriously? Money they are entitled to?

Hope that's just poor phrasing, dude.
In my defense, I didn't write it :)

There is a lot of gray area between a regular hybrid, a plug in hybrid (like the prius plug in) and the volt, but of course the main thing differentiating it from the competition is that it functions as an electric car with a gas backup, as opposed to even the plug in prius which is more or less a regular hybrid except with an unusually large battery (for a hybrid), but it still falls out of EV a lot--the battery continues to supplement the ICE-drivetrain.
 

MovingTarget

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
8,984
84
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What is making it better?

I have ridden in a Prius and test drove a Volt and Leaf last year. The Volt did not impress me from the interior. The Leaf was such that with exception to the range issue, I would have taken one from the test drive show. I did not get that feel from the Volt and I do not get foreign vehicles even rentals if i have a choice

So what technology does it have that sets it apart from the others and justifies the price premium.
I disagree. I was much more comfortable sitting in a volt than a prius, but then again I am taller than most people. The Prius is a nice vehicle though. I don't want to knock it. The Volt, however, is not a typical hybrid. Unlike the Prius, which operates either the electric motor or the gas engine to power the vehicle independently, the Volt is a serial hybrid with plugin capability. The gasoline engine is merely a range-extending electric generator. This setup is more adaptable to different power plants, mechanically simpler, and has a greater potential for efficiency. I would expect more vehicles in the future to use a similar setup.
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
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So if the Leaf had the Volt powertrain, you would have taken one from the test drive show, and everything wrong with the Volt comes down to fit and finish.

There's your answer.
I could not say that for sure.

The Volt that I tested just did not impress me after having testing the Leaf the previous month.
Part may have been the attitude of the dealer in the lack of enthusiasm to try to convince me to purchase the vehicle.
 

3chordcharlie

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2004
9,859
1
81
I could not say that for sure.

The Volt that I tested just did not impress me after having testing the Leaf the previous month.
Part may have been the attitude of the dealer in the lack of enthusiasm to try to convince me to purchase the vehicle.
I'm not in the market for a Volt, and I'm not telling you to buy one either.

Just that is the answer to your question. ;)
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
1
71
Actually, your post keeps saying GM needs to layoff these people, which is funny since they are not employed by GM whatsoever. That's my problem with the article too. This is an LG operation that is going to build batteries, yes they may be used in the Volt in the future just like other parts bought from other companies may be used.
Yeah that was my error however my point stands and what I'm saying is that the government shouldn't be in the businesses of propping up failures and that doing so creates a conflict of interest between what makes economic and businesses sense vs what is politically expedient. Government intervention in businesses has long be proven to create wasteful and inefficient behavior that is not in line with economic reality and most often comes at taxpayer expense.
 
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Doppel

Lifer
Feb 5, 2011
13,306
2
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Yeah that was my error however my point stands and what I'm saying is that the government shouldn't be in the businesses of propping up failures and that doing so creates a conflict of interest between what makes economic and businesses sense vs what is politically expedient. Government intervention in businesses has long be proven to create wasteful and inefficient behavior that is not in line with economic reality and most often comes at taxpayer expense.
Unfortunately in practice the government is in basically all facets of business, from subsidizing oil (which has an effect on encouraging otherwise-untenably inefficient vehicles to an extent) to HD television. It subsidizes children via tax credits, poor via WIC, and also a lot of alternative energy. I don't know where the numbers make sense, but this country is absolutely embroiled in certain conflicts as a result of its thirst for oil, and so money not spent throwing it into tax credits for a vehicle or batteries may very well just be put into munitions anyway.
 

FelixDeCat

Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
26,611
560
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Obama is the worst president in history. Squandering trillions on bankrupt companies and paying people to do nothing.

"Change you can believe in." :rolleyes:
 

Svnla

Lifer
Nov 10, 2003
17,916
1,362
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Federal government owns 500 million shares of GM.

And that's no delusion.

Uno
And in order to get back all the money from the loan, GM shares need to be in the mid 50's per share. As of Friday, its shares were not even half way there ($24.xx/share) = https://www.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:GM&ei=rAyDUKjjIJm2lgPneA

GM is still owes the government/tax payers tens of BILLION = http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/043012-609777-general-motors-not-really-repaying-taxpayer-bailout.htm

GM is alive indeed.
 
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werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
460
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In my defense, I didn't write it :)

There is a lot of gray area between a regular hybrid, a plug in hybrid (like the prius plug in) and the volt, but of course the main thing differentiating it from the competition is that it functions as an electric car with a gas backup, as opposed to even the plug in prius which is more or less a regular hybrid except with an unusually large battery (for a hybrid), but it still falls out of EV a lot--the battery continues to supplement the ICE-drivetrain.
:D Understood.

Some of the general contractors had Priuses (Prii?) and discovered that if they kept it under 35 or 40 mph, they could drive in town on just the battery. It's a pretty sweet car. The Volt's major problem is it's half again as expensive but not nearly half again as good. Compound that with GM's hot train wreck in general and sending hybrid/electric development to Red China and it's surprising that anyone buys a Volt except government and as a show of support for Obama.

I'd like a plug-in hybrid Ford 4WD Escape with the same design concept as the Volt's original - IC engine decoupled from the drive train, battery-only range of at least 30 miles and at least 50 mph. That would be perfect for me. (Unfortunately I can't afford even the present FWD, small battery hybrid Escape so it's unlikely to matter to me if Ford begins to make such a critter.) As for GM, I see no reason to consider GM (or Chrysler) preferentially to a foreign competitor. Only Ford remains a true, private sector American car company. And even then, some foreign competitors (notably some Toyota models) actually have higher American-made content.
 

WackyDan

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2004
4,794
68
91
Paying them full pay is stupid and a hallmark of how union contracts go wrong.

Now.. I understand that the workers may have a skill set that could be needed next week when the plant needs to make batteries again... So I would think a furlough from work, with some pay, that is better than unemployment, maintains benefits, and time in the company would be ok... but full pay? Ridiculous.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
460
126
Paying them full pay is stupid and a hallmark of how union contracts go wrong.

Now.. I understand that the workers may have a skill set that could be needed next week when the plant needs to make batteries again... So I would think a furlough from work, with some pay, that is better than unemployment, maintains benefits, and time in the company would be ok... but full pay? Ridiculous.
From the OP's quoted section:
Now a new report says in one Michigan plant, built with $151 million in federal money to assemble battery packs for the Chevrolet Volt, workers have been paid for months to do nothing. According to WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Mich., the 300 workers at the LG Chem plant in nearby Holland have yet to ship a single battery pack since the plant opened late last year. While employees have built battery cells for testing, those were shipped back to LG Chem's home labs in South Korea months ago, leaving workers to do odd jobs around the factory, volunteer for community projects or just sit and play Monopoly. Several say training also stopped months ago, leading some employees to quit in frustration.
Not when the plant needs to make batteries again, the plant has never produced batteries except for small quantities of test batteries. GM got the federal government to pay for a factory to build the batteries in the USA, but instead of building the batteries in the USA, GM is buying the batteries from the cheapest source whilst getting taxpayers to pay salaries for three hundred union workers with nothing to do.

Not only did Congress (and admittedly, Obama too) fund a factory with nothing to build, but Congress is also responsible for the tax laws that make it impractical to build batteries here. I could add that Obama heads the regulatory burden that goes along with this except I'm generally in favor of these regulations; battery manufacturing can be extremely dirty if not regulated tightly.

This is Obama's baby, but it's a bipartisan problem. One cannot simply throw a few hundred million to build a battery plant while leaving in place the tax and regulatory structure that prevents such a factory from being workable at good union wages. I suppose a non-union plant paying low wages might be feasible or nearly so, but if we're to chase the bottom there's hardly any reason to try to keep manufacturing. Either way, we need to pick a lane; funding a plant with tax dollars when the plant cannot be feasible is just stupid.
 

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