AD #1672 – Profit Margins by Industry, EPA Rates New Volt, What’s a Speed Form?

August 4th, 2015 at 11:53am

Runtime: 6:40

- U.S. Car Sales Continue to Surge
- Toyota on Good Financial Ground
- BMW Posts Strong Numbers
- Who Has Best Profit Margins?
- 2016 Volt Gets EPA Estimates
- Mazda Vehicles Start Out in Purest Form

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36 Comments to “AD #1672 – Profit Margins by Industry, EPA Rates New Volt, What’s a Speed Form?”

  1. Rob Says:

    If GM really wanted to get some great EPA numbers from the Volt they should have developed a Diesel engine for that car. Since it is just a generator anyway and diesels are great for consistant RPM and high TQ the engine probably would have been smaller and used even less fuel.

  2. Neil Szigethy Says:

    Your story about Mazda’s “speed forms” reminded me of the genesis of the first Lexus Coupe in the early 1990s. Erwin Lui at CALTY Design first formed 3-D shapes by filling balloons with plaster and then manipulating them into pleasing organic shapes. From that point, CALTY moved to clay models. That was how the 1992 Lexus SC400 Coupe was designed, which sounds a lot like the Mazda process.

  3. Bradley Says:

    A Volt can go 52 miles on just electricity. If its an Extended range Volt it can go 420 miles and average 42 mpg.

    With the extended rage Volt, can you refuel the tank and go another 420 miles? Or do you need to recharge the EV side first? Is the gas engine connected to the drivetrain, or is it just a generator? ( I know that has been covered before…but…I don’t remember )

  4. MJB Says:

    I know this is an old topic (and a dead horse), but I really wish GM had not decided to take the styling of the Volt mainstream/generic.

    I know their rational was loosely, “If all cars will someday be hybrids, they should conform to ‘normal’ design standards”. But why not hold your ground and have the hybrid-electric design standard retain its individuality? Don’t come back down to Earth just because other cars are here. You should have held your ground, Volt designers!

    I don’t ever want to hear my wife say, “Oh, that’s nice. Is that the new Malibu?”

  5. Bradley Says:


    I agree..

    Safety standards and the laws of physics have shaped all cars to be very similar.

    That is one thing the Honda Insight got right. It is readily identifiable.

  6. Bradley Says:

    Basically, an extended range Volt gets you nothing.


    My Yaris gives 42 mpg consistently and I can easily put 420 miles on a tank.

    Yaris cost $15k….Volt $40k ?!?!

  7. Drew Says:

    Bradley, you are missing the key point of a Volt. For about 90% of the trips which are under 50 miles, the Volt will not use any gasoline whatsoever. You recharge it between those trips.

    Only when you have long trips, you fall back to the 42mpg rating as the ICE has to operate to keep the batteries charged.

  8. T. Bejma Says:


    Google search is your friend…

  9. T. Bejma Says:


    Exactly correct Drew! Most Volt owners use almost 0 gas and have a majority have LIFETIME mpg of 100! Kind makes a 42 mpg Prius (even my Cruze get’s 42 if I baby it) looks pretty unimpressive…

  10. T. Bejma Says:

    Correction: Yaris, not Prius…

  11. gary susie Says:

    Doesn’t GM say that 82% of Volt owners don’t use any gas. If thats true it is pretty impressive.

  12. gary susie Says:

    Doesn’t GM say that 82% of Volt owners don’t use any gas. If thats true it is pretty impressive.

  13. HtG Says:

    Does anybody know how GM got so much more EV range for the new Volt?

  14. MJB Says:



    This is a repeat of something I posted last week, but I ran into a 4yr Volt owner at the bagel shop one morning who was quite eager to share with me that he’s currently sitting at a 182mpg avg. He’s trying to break the 200mpg barrier. When he and his wife take road trips, they use their other car (a Jag).

    If I remember correctly, the only reason he hadn’t reached 200mpg already was because he tried taking it on a road trip once before.

  15. T. Bejma Says:

    #13 – HtG

    “GM fully redesigned the car’s drive unit and battery pack to wring out more efficiency while boosting power.

    GM created an electric transaxle that uses two motors to drive the 2016 Volt, in both EV and gasoline modes. The previous transaxle used one big electric motor.

    The new transaxle uses one motor at low speeds, a combination of the two at less than full power at cruising speeds, and both motors at full strength during rapid acceleration.

    A small third motor lubricates and cools components.”

  16. MJB Says:


    So then the Volt has three motors and one engine. Wow.

    Goodbye to the days of the weekend, grease-monkey, backyard mechanic…

  17. T. Bejma Says:

    More on #13

    “This newfound EV range comes thanks to the 2016 Volt’s 18.4-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery. Rated at 106 MPGe by the feds – exactly what was promised by a June leak – the 2016 Volt improves nicely on the current model’s 17.1-kWh, 98-MPGe battery back. There’s also a marked improvement when relying on the gas-powered on-board generator.”

  18. HtG Says:

    15,17 thx, TB. I also saw a CD piece on the battery. I’m not sure from the articles if the battery holds more energy or if a greater percentage of the energy can be drawn upon. But it looks like GM is working all the energy and mass angles.

    I also thought the surface detailing on the car belied the more mainstream anatomy.

  19. Bradley Says:

    So the Volt’s Gas Engine is just for making electricity.

    Therefore, if I was driving across the country I would have 420 miles range on the first tank of gas, but any following tanks of gas would have less than 420 miles of range as the batteries wouldn’t be charged. What is that range value when the batteries are nearly depleted and I leave with a full tank of gas?

  20. Bradley Says:

    I assume the gas engine can generate enough electricity to keep me moving and maybe charge the batteries a little bit.

  21. T. Bejma Says:


    420 miles minus 53 miles of all electric.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    #16 Those days are long gone, my friend, unless you go and get yourself something from the 80′s or 90′s, even then, some luxo brands were already getting complicated with all the electronics.

  23. HtG Says:

    It’s like the end of the era of sailing ships.

  24. HtG Says:

    Attention Nissan Versa Haters

    Baltimore Ravens egghead/guard drives a Versa.

    smart man

  25. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ HtG: ‘Fulton’s folly’ sure sealed that up….

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    And a used one to boot, I guess not all jocks have to own a Bentley or ‘scalade with the 24″ rims.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Speaking of the Versa, I wonder how much market is taking from the Sentra and why neither Honda, Toyota or even the Koreans have tried to take it on?

  28. C-Tech Says:

    @ #27 After riding in a Versa and seeing one after an accident, I’d prefer a used Sonic over a new Versa.

    Seeing a used Volt with 60K miles and no problems, it makes the list of used cars to consider.

    Jocks buying Escalades, BMW’s and Mercedes keep a lot of people employed when they are new, and when they are sold after the bankruptcy.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    We have received our anti-hacking software update recall jump drive and most of the fleet has been updated. waiting to see who gets hacked and humiliated next.

  30. HtG Says:

    Harman radio was in Bloomberg today on the subject of how Jeep got hacked. It seems some carcos modify their radios.

    Why is this interesting, you ask, C-Tech? Because in the mobile computing industry the way things work is that different licences are sold, which allow varying degrees of modification to the IP. Someone like Apple gets an architectural license and can basically make their own chip, while other makers buy basically off the shelf designs. Now it seems the carcos have to play this game too. While it will be interesting to see how Jeep got in trouble, it’s good that vulnerabilities are being exposed.

  31. don wagner Says:

    #29: I’m wondering about your statement that you only needed one jump drive to update your entire fleet. I went to the web site and found a link at the bottom left column under ABOUT YOUR VEHICLE called “Uconnect Software Update”. That opens a new page to enter your VIN. That tells you if your vehicle needs the update and then there are other paths to get to the correct file to download and run. Copy the resultant file to a flash or as you put it, jump drive. Find the version of software in the vehicle and insert the drive and compare. If lower, proceed. I have a 2014 Grand Cherokee 3.6 Overland and a 2015 Cherokee Trailhawk 3.1. The new software versions were NOT the same. GC was 15.26.1 and the KL was 15.17.5. There is a list of steps for each version to print and follow during installation. I suppose the opening and closing the door has some sort of check on turning off the system to set the final results. I wanted to re-use the drives that I generated to save some photos and noticed a .txt file that I had not installed. Printed it and found many pages of the installation log. Lots more updates than just the security update. When I get the drives from FCA will my early adoptions have the same versions as the drives?

  32. don wagner Says:

    Sorry, the Uconnect Software Update is in the right most column.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A couple friends have Volts, and both use almost no gas. Their normal commutes are within the electric range, so the ICE gets use only for occasional road trips. That is the type use where the Volt makes sense.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    TB, the new Volt will directly connect the gas engine directly to the wheels under some conditions, like at highway speed, will it not? That would help get the best possible mpg.

  35. Brett Says:


    My guess would be that if you had a fleet of twenty or thirty Cherokees you could flash ‘em all with the same thumbdrive.

  36. BobD Says:

    Both the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Volts could mechanically transmit power from the IC engine to the wheels in the “extended range” mode. The motors are in the loop too, to act as an electric CVT.