Episode 494 – Chevy Volt In-Home Charger, Toyota Expanding Prius Lineup, 2011 Ford F-150 V-8s

October 7th, 2010 at 12:49pm

Runtime 7:47

GM just announced details on household charging units for the Chevrolet Volt.  Toyota is expanding its Prius lineup with two new models that are expected to debut by the end of 2012.  Not surprisingly, China’s booming car sales are giving its overall economy a big boost.  All that and more, plus the inside scoop on the new V-8 engines Ford is putting in the 2011 F-150.

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Top of the morning to you . . . or whatever time it is you happen to be tuning in.  This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, October 7, 2010.  I’m Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics filling in for John who is out of the office this morning, but he will be back in time to host After Hours this evening.  With that, here’s the news.

Automakers are working furiously to bring EVs and plug-in hybrids to market.  Batteries are the big hurdle, but there are other issues too, like chargers.  How much are in-home units going to cost, and how long will they take to top-off an EV’s batteries?  Clearing the waters a little, GM just announced details on household charging units for the Chevrolet Volt.  This 240-volt home-charging system is one of several options available for the car.  It can replenish the Volt’s battery in about four hours – less than half the time it would take a standard 110-volt household outlet to do the same.  The good news is, it’s just $490.  The bad news is that price DOES NOT include installation, which GM estimates at nearly $1,500!  HOLY CRAP!

TOYOTA EXPANDING PRIUS LINEUP (subscription required)
In related electric news, the Wall Street Journal reports that Toyota plans to introduce two new versions of the Prius by the end of 2012.  One of the models will be bigger than the current car, offering appreciably more interior space.  The other one will be smaller – probably the size of the company’s B-segment Yaris.  Toyota also promised to introduce a plug-in version of the Prius which can travel up to 13 miles on battery-only power.  Overall the roadmap of the company’s pledge to introduce six new hybrids over the next two years is becoming clearer and clearer.

HYUNDAI’S HYBRIDS (subscription required)
In yet more electric news, Hyundai says it’s developing two plug-in hybrids that will hit the market in the next two or three years. According to Ward’s, the company is working on a plug-in similar to the Prius that would use a conventional hybrid drivetrain BUT you could also charge the battery using a standard outlet. It’s also developing a Volt-like extended-range electric vehicle which can run on pure battery power with an onboard engine to keep the battery topped-up. Hyundai says the plug-in will be sold in South Korea and the U.S. but it hasn’t decided whether to employ the range-extender or plug-in hybrid approach.

CAR SALES HELPING CHINA’S ECONOMY (subscription required)
As loyal fans of Autoline Daily you know that new-vehicle sales in China have been booming.  It’s a big windfall for automakers but it also has other positive benefits, some of which aren’t as obvious.  According to the Wall Street Journal other businesses in the country are booming, especially those dealing with cars.  Over the last 10 years the government has promoted the construction of some 30,000 miles of expressway to help spread wealth beyond China’s urban areas.  Big-box stores – like Home Depot – are expanding in the country as is McDonald’s – followed shortly by the people’s waistlines.  The restaurant chain plans to nearly double the number of restaurants in the country over the next three years.  Drive-throughs are proving to be popular.  Not surprisingly China’s booming car sales are helping more than just OEMs.

Kia is getting set to introduce a hatchback-version of its best-selling export model globally, the Forte, which is known as the Cerato outside of North America. It has pretty much the same dimensions as the sedan but it’s slightly shorter. It also comes with the same engine options but new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions are available. At the front, a new radiator grille, new lower air-intake and new fog lamps are incorporated. In addition to North America, the new hatch will also be sold in South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Ford spent a lot of time and money, hyping the Fiesta’s introduction to the U.S. and it seems to be paying off, literally. According to Bloomberg, the vehicle sale mix is rich with high-content models selling for 3 to 4 thousand dollars above its $14,000 base price. Not only is it transacting at higher price than Ford’s outgoing Focus it’s also selling for a higher average price than the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Ford believed customers would embrace the Fiesta because it’s available with amenities that are normally found in larger vehicles. The top model accounts for nearly 40 percent of Fiesta sales in the U.S.

Coming up next, a look at the V-8 engines Ford’s putting in the twenty-eleven F-150.

2011 FORD F-150 V-8 ENGINES
Last week we brought you up to speed on the new V-6 engines Ford is dropping in the F-150, and today it’s time for a look at the eights.  Again, Autoline Daily Correspondent Craig Cole has more.

You’re already familiar with Ford’s reborn 302.  This 5.0-liter V-8 debuted in the 2011 Mustang and now the company is putting it in the F-150.  For car duty it cranks out up to 412 horsepower and has a screaming 7,000 RPM redline.  That’s great for a sporty coupe, but less than ideal in a pickup.  For truck duty Ford made a number of changes.

These changes reduce output by quite a bit, BUT the five-oh is still plenty potent, delivering 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque.  Of course if that’s not enough you can step up to a MASSIVE 6.2-liter V-8.  Just sitting on a stand this thing looks HUGE.  You might think the F-150’s engine bay had to be completely redesigned to squeeze it in, but surprisingly that’s not the case.

The 6.2 cranks-out 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque giving the F-150 a maximum tow rating of 11,300 pounds.  Interestingly, the EcoBoost six we talked about the other day is rated to tow the same amount.

Thanks again, Craig.  You know, these engines look good on paper, but I’m really excited about trying them in person to see how well they perform in the real world.

And that’s a wrap for today’s show.  But before we go just a friendly reminder to check out Autoline After Hours, TONIGHT.  The shindig kicks off at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  You can watch it LIVE on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv.  Of course if you never want to miss an episode you can subscribe to the podcast-version of the show on iTunes or the Zune Marketplace.  Oh, and like I mentioned earlier, McElroy will be back.

Again, I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics.  Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time.

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17 Comments to “Episode 494 – Chevy Volt In-Home Charger, Toyota Expanding Prius Lineup, 2011 Ford F-150 V-8s”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I never thought that buyers would spend so much money on an “economy” car like the Fiesta, I guess all that media blitz did work.

  2. LEX Says:

    The Government will needs to increase that EV rebate from $7,500 to $10,000 to cover the additional cost of installing the Charging Station for the Chevy Volt in household garages. In the Northeast the estimated installation cost of $1,500 will double to $3,000.

    I am still waiting to hear from my local Chevy Dealer as to when the Chevy Cruze is available for a test drive.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why can’t you just use your clothes drier’s 240 volt outlet, If its good enough to dry your clothes, why can’t it charge a battery, as long as the receptacle has some kind of surge protection.

  4. tj Martin Says:

    My question about the new E/V chargers is , with California just announcing that their Electrical Grid is at or above reasonable capacity , just where is all that electricity going to come from to power these Home Chargers , in light of CA’s soon to be mandated E/V numbers ?

    On Toyota announcing even more Hybrids . Isn’t that just fantastic !?! Now I’ll have even more opportunities to get stuck behind one of the little slugs when they’re wheezing and sneezing up the slightest of inclines .

    @Pedro Fernandez – You of all people should know the answer to your own question ” Why can’t you just use your cloths dryers 240 volt outlet ? ”

    Because they want to make even more money from you than just the Sale of the Car , Parts & Service , along with what ever else they can come up with will get them .

    GM etc. has to figure some way to recover all their shortfalls and debts and the Gullible E/V customer is the perfect target . To paraphrase the old TV Cereal Commercial

    ” He bought an E/V . He’ll buy anything ”

    Am I a cynic ? Well yes I am .

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Get in line, Ed Begley Jr, Al Gore, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins et al, your volt awaits you along with its overpriced charging station, just in time to show up at the next Oscar awards so the world can see what good people you all are!

  6. tj Martin Says:

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    It Slices . It Dices , Protects your daughters , walks the dog , feeds the cat , washes your dishes and Trims your hair ! All while maintaining a perfect charge on that pretentious ( oops meant to say precious … can we edit that ? ) Brand New E/V you’ve just taken delivery on .

    Guaranteed to get you to work and back ( assuming you only live 5 miles away ) each and every day !

    All this …. for the low low price of……. $19.95 ( plus $19,995 shipping and $2000 installation charges )

    But Wait ! There’s more !!

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  7. Don MacConnel Says:

    Good question on power grid’s capability to run large numbers of EV chargers. Part of the Smart Grid technology includes smart meters that allow different electrical cost rates for different times of the day, days of the week and types of loads.

    Off peak, late night charging would cost less than peak load times such as those times when millions of air conditioners are running.

    California has a Catch 22 situation with mandated EV numbers combined with environmental blocks to bringing new power plants on line.

    Serves them right.

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I thought the same; that the Volt’s 240v charger could be plugged into your dryer outlet. I can’t think that the draw would be over 240v at 30 amps (my electrical service runs a double 30 breaker for the dryer; enough power?………….plenty)

    Did I miss the news ‘here’ that Buick was going to get variant of the Cruze (named the Verano); I hope that GM can differentiate it enough to avoid that ‘rebadging’ stigma that they have had in the past.

    And then there’s the new Mini Countryman (largest mini offered to date); smaller FWD BMW’s?………………..can you maybe say redundant.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    I think rebadging is ok as long as it’s done right, unlike the Cimarron (sorry couldn’t help it) and most of GM’s 1980′s crap or Ford/ Mercury redundancy. Look at Nissan/Infinity and Honda/ Acura.

  10. Rope-Pusher Says:

    It’s easy enough to conceive that some houses won’t have a 240 V high-amp outlet located near where the vehicle is parked and other houses will need their electrical services upgraded before such a circuit can be added. For those few of you with electric clothes dryer circuits in your garages, is Suzy going to be driven to her soccer game in a half-charged vehicle and wearing a half-dried uniform? Sharing an outlet might get old real fast.

  11. Dave Says:

    Car 44 grand, dealer mark up as high as 20 grand, charger 2 grand…66 GRAND..OH the 7500 tax rebate that you MAY get the following year tax return..Man what a deal%#@%@#%

    Anything called GREEN just means it will take all the green you got to save cents on the dollar.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:


    I said it yesterday, but I’ll say it again today. A Prius has plenty of power to keep up with normal traffic, and these new Toyota hybrids will too. Some Prius owners drive like jerks, just as some drivers of every other vehicle are inconsiderate drivers. It’s not the car, it’s the driver. Have you ever driven a Prius, or a Fusion hybrid? They both drive just fine.

    Regarding EV charging, if you have an unused dryer outlet in your garage, it would work fine for an EV charger, but, as R-P said, most people wouldn’t have such an arrangement. It happens that I would have been able to easily install a suitable 240 outlet at a house I had for several years. The water heater was in the garage, and the house had been wired for an electric heater, as well as being plumbed for a gas water, which I had.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “And then there’s the new Mini Countryman (largest mini offered to date); smaller FWD BMW’s?………………..can you maybe say redundant.”

    I didn’t realize it until today, but the Countyman is not only longer and taller than the other Minis, but is WIDER and is actually built on a somewhat different platform from the other Minis. Maybe that is the new, bigger BMW front-drive platform, but they haven’t officially announced it yet.

  14. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    If Ford added something like Self Parking to the Fiesta, those upper trim prices wouldnt seem all that high.

    You can get 25-30 Minutes out of a quick charger these days, guys. The Volt still lacks this.

    I do know of the Blue Will Hybrid (the Volt like Hybrid), but the other I didnt know about. I do know Hyundai has 2 Hybrids down the Pike- Blue Will and Accent. Unless they have decided to plug in that Accent, then the Prius like Hybrid is new to me. Thanks for the Scoop John.

  15. Nick Stevens Says:

    “LEX Says:
    October 7th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    The Government will needs to increase that EV rebate from $7,500 to $10,000 to cover the additional cost of installing the Charging Station for the Chevy Volt in household garages.”

    It is NOT the Government’s money, it is my hard-earned tax dollars, and the Stupid, Incompetent fools in DC should NOT abuse them to manufacture winners and losers in the marketplace.

    IF they let things be, and, as Hippocrates wisely said, “First, Do No Harm!”,

    we would all be driving NON-hybrid, just start-stop equipped Euro-spec DIESELS and get 60 and even 70 MPG without even a hybrid system, and would have NO NEED WHATSOEVER for the stupid plug-ins, their overpriced charging stations, Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars, or any other Non-Flying Pigs.

    But I am expecting too much from these BOZOS in DC.. I am expecting honesty and rational thought. FAT CHANCE.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree that we should allow Euro-spec diesels, but it wouldn’t be good to have them everywhere. While they are clean, they are not clean enough that you’d want millions of them in LA, and a few other metro areas.

  17. Nick Stevens Says:

    In LA, since they arr willing to pay the significant price premium, they can have a diesel-electric hybrid and be even cleaner.