Episode 204 – Volt = 230 MPG, Viper May Get Ferrari V10, Goodyear Develops Moon Tire

August 11th, 2009 at 12:08pm

Runtime 7:43

GM announced that the Chevy Volt will be rated at 230 miles per gallon in city driving. The Dodge Viper could get a Ferrari V10. Goodyear and NASA have developed an airless tire for use on the moon. All that and more, plus a look at Toyota’s new Venza crossover.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. The Chevy Volt will be rated at 230 miles per gallon. The Viper could get a Ferrari V-10. And Goodyear comes up with a new tire for using on the moon.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, August 11, 2009. And now, the news.

General Motors announced this morning that the Chevrolet Volt will be rated at 230 miles per gallon in city driving. That’s 1L/100 KM. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will rate the mileage of plug-ins based on how many kilowatt hours they consume for every 100 miles of driving. GM says the Volt will use 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles. Since electricity in the U.S. costs an average of 11 cents per kilowatt hour, it would cost about $2.75 to travel 100 miles.

Last week we reported how the Chinese car market is roaring ahead. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the Brazilian car market set a record for the first half of the year and is on track to make that a record for the full year. Automakers are now starting to hire back workers who had been laid off. The resurgence is thanks to tax cuts, lower interest rates and longer length loans. Brazil is the sixth-largest auto-making country in the world.

Ward’s reports that the Panasonic EV Energy Company is ramping-up production of nickel-metal-hydride batteries (subscription required). The supplier is expected to have an annual production capacity of 1-million battery packs when it opens a new facility in Japan next year. It manufactures battery packs for all of Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. In 2008 Panasonic reportedly sold 500,000 batteries, more than 90 percent to Toyota. Going forward, nickel-metal-hydride will play a huge role in the electrification of the automobile because lithium-ion technology is WAY too expensive, at least for now.

The Dodge Viper has always been powered by a huge V10, but in the future, the engine may shed its Chrysler small-block roots in favor of something more exotic. According to Car and Driver, now that Fiat is in control, rumblings from Torino suggest that the bad-boy Dodge may get a 10-cylinder version of the company’s next-generation V8. It’s expected that the Viper would keep its current pushrod, over-head valve arrangement.

Former Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher has called off his return to the series. According to the AP, he won’t be returning to F1 due to lingering injuries in his neck from a motorcycle crash earlier in the year. Schumacher was going to replace Ferrari driver Felipe Massa for the rest of the season, after Massa suffered injuries in a crash during qualifying. Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer will race in Massa’s place instead.

Goodyear and NASA have developed an airless tire for use on the moon. The tire is made out of 800 interwoven load-bearing springs instead of rubber. It’s able to contour to surfaces to gain traction, and all the energy used to deform the tire is returned when the springs bounce back. NASA needed a new tire to replace the wire mesh tire used on previous missions and for use with heavier vehicles which could allow for greater exploration and possibly the development of a lunar outpost. Even though it was designed for use on the moon, it’s possible it could be used here on earth.

Coming up next, a look at Toyota’s new Venza crossover, we’ll be back right after this.

By sheer numbers, many consider Toyota the king of crossovers. Between its three brands it produces some 12 or so different utility vehicles and that’s not counting trucks or vans. But the company must’ve felt it was missing some part of the market because earlier this year it introduced a new crossover called the Venza.

This CUV is all about combination. It starts with the name Venza, which the company says is a union between the words “adventure” and “Monza,” a famous Italian racetrack. Meanwhile, the vehicle itself sort of looks like a cross between the Camry and Highlander SUV, which is ironic since it’s actually built on Toyota’s K-platform which delivers both of those vehicles as well.

Despite its Highlander heritage, the company actually describes Venza as 70-percent sedan, 30-percent SUV, which is the real difference between it and the rest of the Toyota family. Built on that Camry platform we mentioned, it’s got about five more inches of ground clearance than the car, but doesn’t require a running board to get inside.

And in fact, there’s more Camry under the hood. That’s where you find the same 3.5-liter V6 engine with 268 horsepower, along with the exact same six-speed automatic transmission. This package with the all-wheel-drive option is where the company expects 75 percent of the sales to come from, despite the fact that the standard Venza comes equipped with front-wheel-drive and a four cylinder.

Inside, there’s room for five passengers with a cargo area with more height and space than your normal station wagon, while up front the cockpit has a design that emphasizes the contemporary. Not only is the there a large, well-lit IP, but the center stack, which contains all the usual electronics has the unusual as well. This is one of two music player plug-ins in the Venza.

As far as competition goes, Toyota considers the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7 and Nissan Murano as its main competitors, though a big difference between all four vehicles is that the Venza is the only one that was designed, engineered and assembled in America. And that may be an important marketing advantage for a crossover available exclusively in North America.

And as far as sales go, the Venza’s been holding its own as the fourth-most popular selling utility vehicle in that large Toyota lineup.

By the way, the base Venza lists at 23 combined MPGs, and starts at about 28-thousand while the top-of-the line V6 all-wheel-drive version comes in just at over 40.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget to check out Autoline After Hours this and every Thursday. This week we’re broadcasting LIVE from the Woodward Dream Cruise, one of the greatest classic car events in the world. We’re setting up shop at Auto Zone Hobbies in Birmingham, Michigan, so if you’re in the neighborhood stop on by and say hello. Even better, if you’ve got a classic ride bring it by and we might just feature it on the show. For more information about Auto Zone Hobbies or the Woodward Dream Cruise check out the John’s Journal page of our website.

Anyway, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

37 Comments to “Episode 204 – Volt = 230 MPG, Viper May Get Ferrari V10, Goodyear Develops Moon Tire”

  1. pedro Fernandez Says:

    I don’t get the Volt mileage figures since the car only has a 40 mile range before the gas engine kicks in to keep the electric motor going, so why would they use the 100 mile figure to get the mpg? this is BS

  2. Alex Kovnat Says:

    We note that:

    >Goodyear and NASA have developed an
    >airless tire for use on the moon.
    >The tire is made out of 800 interwoven
    >load-bearing springs instead of rubber.

    I am reminded that years ago, Michelin developed an airless tire they called the Tweel. It showed a lot of promise for a while, but I haven’t heard anything about it lately.

    In the course of my job, I did an evaluation of the Tweel. It could be used for some purposes, i.e. robotic vehicles that don’t have to travel too fast, but there are vibration problems when you get up to 50 miles per hour or more. Also, dirt, rocks or other debris can get into the Tweel’s structure. That might be the big showstopper with this concept.

    I’d like to see how the Goodyear/NASA concept compares with the Tweel.

  3. Ron Harrington Says:

    The MPG ratings for the Volt prove that the Obama administration won’t let the truth get in the way of their agenda.

  4. Dave Says:

    The Volt will be yet another in the line of jokes from GM. Nice plan then change the body and jacked the price and then with ask “why are these not catching on..” Well I am sure that the dealers will have them marked up well above the 35 grand GM is shooting for. So, at 40 grand or so they will not sell to the gen public, just some tree huggers.

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Looks like GM is using smoke and mirrors to hype the new (re)volt.For 35k+ they will become lot queens.I doubt if even the tree huggers will pony up that kind of money for a pipe dream.

  6. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Maybe the Volt will have optional trap doors on the floor pan so the driver and passengers can push themselves along like the Flintstones mobile. This way they’ll get a workout at the same time.

  7. T. Bejma Says:

    Instead of all of the bashing, why don’t you look up on the Internet how the EPA (read – NOT GM!) comes up with their mileage figures.

    And then read John’s comments again that explain – “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will rate the mileage of plug-ins based on how many kilowatt hours they consume for every 100 miles of driving.”

    The ignorance is amazing…

  8. pedro Fernandez Says:

    So they’re ignoring that at 40 miles, the gas engine will start working to keep the car going. Now if you drive less than 40 miles a day then the gas engine will never kick in and you wont be using any gas at all. hence the 240 mpg figures. And no we’re not ignorant, the figures are deceiving, that’s all. The government wants GM to sell a lot of these so they can get their money back.

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I read it,so what.I don’t believe everything I read.And for the price of that vehicle,they will be lot queens.GM says it will use 25kw hrs.per 100 miles.Again,thats what they say.Where’s the real data?

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    GM based it’s 230mpg figures on PROPOSED epa standards.Here,read this:


  11. Chuck Grenci Says:

    How are the figures, for the Volt, deceiving; they are explained (and since that’s the way they were derived, that’s the way they are presented). As other electric vehicles reach the market and are represented, they will be represented in the same way (and same formula). I do lament the dislike, dare I say hate for GM; is that company perfect, by no means, are they the home team (to this I say yes, along with Ford and Chrysler). I do take offense to domestic bashing, which seems to be quite prevalent around here.

  12. William R. Walling Says:

    “ANY vehicle can achieve this arbitrary number, 230 miles, or GREATER operated exclusively within an ‘enclosed’ research test course designed for aerodynamic effect and momentum management aiding in achieving a suggested number.”
    E.P.A. vehicle rating numbers are derived today employing a test vehicle affixed to their chassis dynamometer NOT atop our varied roadways or in weather!
    Feel free to believe numbers reported for TOYOTA’S 2010 ‘Prius’ as ALL ‘real world’ reports (thus far) support an advertised combined E.P.A. rating of 50 M.P.G. that ANY customer can readily acquire then replicate across America’s variable roads and weather.
    GM, freshly out of insolvency proceedings with an untested vehicle TYPE dependent upon America’s power grid = NOT LIKELY!
    Does anyone truly believe monthly power use billing is NOT going to dramatically increase once ‘plug-in’ electric vehicles become commonplace?

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    “domestic bashing”,yeah,your right.As far as GM and Chrysler goes,they deserve it.Ford has/is doing their own thing and doing it right.The other two,especially GM deserve no better.This is my own opinion which I am free to express.I wish I felt differently but I don’t.I don’t care for the foreign automakers and I do buy american for whatever that is worth.Chevy Volt:IF it turns out that 230mpg is in fact real,I will get on here and say so,and I was wrong,no problem.I just can’t believe that those figures,no matter who came up with them,is anywhere near realistic.Again,my own opinion.

  14. pedro Fernandez Says:

    They are deceiving because they assume you ‘ll be driving less than 40 miles per day, and you’ll recharge at night, fine. but what if you have to drive further for business use or like on a long trip and there’s no place to recharge the batteries, then that 240 mpg goes right out the window.

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    There needs to be a steady-state method for measurement; you can’t inject ‘what-ifs’ into the equation. The Volt followed the EPA guideline for evaluation (as all the future Ev’s will). I not totally against your arguments, just have to go with what is the ‘given’ at this time. (The majority of Volt owners will probably use their cars, as designed, and use them for commuting, where they will not need to access the gasoline engine, thus, for the most part, be in the design paradigm, and reek the benefit of the EPA numbers.

  16. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Chuck: let’s say the 230mpg figure is accurate, is it worth $40k fo a compact car with unproven technology? I guess consumers will be the judge on that question, right? I mean I drive a lot for work and I spend approx $2600 on gas yearly with a compact car, so lets say you keep the Volt for 5 years that’s about $13000 saved on gas. But a can get a compact for less than half of what the Volt costs so it comes out about evenly, I believe.

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    What I have yet to see addressed is how any of the electric/hybrids will do in extreme northern winters,and extreme southern heat.I also wonder how battery “memory” will be addressed.All this effects just how efficient a vehicle really is.As far as the new epa proposed standards of measurements go,we’ll see if it even comes close in real life.getting back again,I don’t see people paying 35k+ for a chevy volt…..it ain’t gonna happen.They will beat the doors down for a Prius or an Insight,although they may not be better,but only percieved as better.GM has a terrible reputation that they alone created.

  18. Salvador G. Says:

    Only for people that likes reading…

    The Volt totals:

    Combine electric and fuel= 240mpg’s range
    (obviously the 40 is for the electric engine alone)

    City driving in electric mode:

    In 100 Miles a total of 25 Kilowatts hours will be consume by the Volt.

    the Volt consumes 10 Kilowatts hours every 40 miles, wich will cost about $1.27 dollars.

    Remembers that GM never says that the range of the Volt is 100 miles, they just measure the kilowatts cost used in 100 miles.

    as GM says…
    The EPA methodology uses kilowatt hours per 100 miles traveled to define the electrical efficiency of plug-ins. Applying EPA’s methodology, GM expects the Volt to consume as little as 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles in city driving. At the U.S. average cost of electricity (approximately 11 cents per kWh), a typical Volt driver would pay about $2.75 for electricity to travel 100 miles, or less than 3 cents per mile.

    PS: Nice show JohnMc. have a good one at the festival.

  19. John Says:

    Kilowatt per Mile (KPM)

    “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will rate the mileage of plug-ins based on how many kilowatt hours they consume for every 100 miles of driving. GM says the Volt will use 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles.”

    KPM would be a better way to compare electric Vehicles to each other.

  20. Dan Keefe Says:

    >>So they’re ignoring that at 40 miles, the gas engine will start working to keep the car going.

    I guess I understand the negative comments considering GM’s record of the past 25 years, but what GM is saying is:

    1) Assume the battery is initially charged at home
    2) The car travels 40 miles on electric only (using zero gasoline)
    3) The gas engine then starts, powering the car and charging the battery. During this time, the car travels a number of miles unknown to us at this time, but it is using gasoline.
    4) When the batteries are charged, the gas engine then turns off and we go back to bullet # 2, and the car runs on the batteries again for another 40 miles.

    GM is saying steps 2 & 3 repeat themselves over and over, achieving 230 total miles traveled in city driving, until one gallon of gasoline is consumed by the gasoline engine.

  21. Bill Says:

    If Enron and AIG and others can use cute accounting methods, why can’t GM.

  22. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Pedro, I’m with you (and some of the others) in principle; I’m just saying, according to the rules (and yes, for electrics, they are changed), that the Volt delivers what they advertise. As the other ‘electrics’ come on line, the comparisons should be on equal footing. MPG and KPM are just going to be different.

    General comment: I welcome the debate (as we have seen) but still don’t care for the scenarios that are contrived to support individual arguments. Let’s look at the ‘forest’ and stop nitpicking at the ‘trees’.

  23. JFD Hamilton Says:

    So, sounds like a lot of you won’t be buying a Volt, so why not just shut up until the electric/fuel mileage conversion becomes clearer and don’t discourage those of us who might ! You know negativism’s easy; but GM might just have something and I don’t think Obama’s got horns. You’re Americans, at least give them benefit of the doubt. ANYBODY can say: “I told you so”, but really…who cares…then; if you don’t try you can’t fail !
    And now on to the important stuff: a Ferrari V10 in the Viper ! Wow ! From American Muscle to World Class sportscar credibility in one jump !! And speaking of cred, I’m really sorry that Michael Schumacher’s not going to race in F1, God knows they need something !

  24. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Dan: as I understand it, the gas engine is just for keeping the electric motors running when the battery gets too low, it does NOT charge the batteries. If I’m mistaken, please someone correct me on this. Also, we have to believe that other companies including Nissan and I’m sure some Chinese company will be entering the electric car field at a lower price than the Volt

  25. Episode 204 - Volt = 230 MPG, Viper May Get Ferrari V10, Goodyear Develops Moon Tire | Equity Loan Says:

    [...] Original post: Episode 204 – Volt = 230 MPG, Viper May Get Ferrari V10, Goodyear Develops Moon Tire [...]

  26. Dan Keefe Says:

    Pedro: Looks like you’re correct. Initially, stories like this they claimed it would recharge the battery:


    But it looks like things have changed:


    That makes it far less appealing in my mind.

  27. Dave Says:

    No one is talking about the cost to keep these hybrid and EVs on the road. The upfront cost is one thing but, the service is what will be the killer. Also once the car is out of war. the car will be worthless..

  28. John Says:

    Not all EV’s are designed equal.

    I know I have seen a reference to a certain very expensive electric car that has a battery supply that is literally a bunch of laptop batteries wired together.

    Bob Lutz and Chevy have designed a purpose built Electric Vehicle engineered and designed for mass production, longevity, safety, performance and durability.

    Look at the quality of the Malibu. Look at the power with excellent fuel mileage in the Camaro.

    GM’s recent quality and product lines show major improvement over past decades.

    Does anybody think Bob Lutz is going to let us and Chevy down ?

    Bob Lutz has integrity and what I see is a trend of under-stating the promise and over-delivering the result.

    I am sure a Chinese knock-off EV will be cheaper, but just like buying a Chinese electric drill from Harbor Freight instead of Milwaukee power tools, you will get what you pay for. (or not)

  29. C-Tech Says:

    I hope the Volt is successful. Why people blame the president for auto industry hyperbole I don’t understand. GM and Chrysler from top to bottom must understand and take to heart the fact that they have lost the respect of many customers in the 35-55 age group who have owned bad GM cars (Quad 4 engines that turned to junk at 100,000 miles, expensive intake gasket repairs on the 3.1L and 3.4L engines, I could go on) and they are not the preferred cars of the under 35 group.

  30. C-Tech Says:

    I look forward to your show from the Woodward Dream Cruise. It was a great big all kinds of car party all week in Detroit! I loved attending when I lived there. SenD me a T-shirt, John!

  31. Ron Harrington Says:

    Chevy’s already hyping the 230 mpg rating (I got an eMail). Now that GM stands for Government Motors, I s’pose we’re just supposed to swallow all this hype whole? I think not. And no, Mr. Obama, my ’88 V8 Camaro will never be a cash-for-clunker.

  32. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @JFD Hamilton:I’ll shut up about the electric/fuel mileage after they prove the crap they are talking.When it becomes “clearer”?? Should have told GM that,don’t ya think? They are advertising 230mpg city.In truth,if they actually realized half of that claim I would be impressed,but certainly no 40k worth.

  33. Willi Says:

    WOW! great posts, great arguments, great info

    i’ll keep all this for future reference

    it will take awhile to take hold

    but i’m one that will be on board with anything that will reduce the money for oil going to other countries that don’t like us

  34. Gerard.Belle Says:

    Hi all…race drivers in the left lane ..in any Wonderfull and Beautyfull city here on this nice planet.
    Yeah we belong in the transportation age.and everyone is right and know’s everything about cars and trains and light rail transport ,big rigs that race on our beautifull highways, eh!

    I think we should go back to square one and get every one thas not working and is still young and fit back to work …so they can earn a lot of monnies and and be happy… so manny older people still want to work and need thatbgreen stuff. O.K. hire these persons too .. hm!

    O.K… Here comes my dream.
    After seeing so manny movies from Hollywood we could hire all these able and hungry men and women to restructure the infrastructure of our highways.and byways and express ways and flyover ways etc etc ..hm.!

    Lets face it ..!if we all are allowed to “FLY ” ,or go super fast in a Ferary or Chevey Volt.or a Boat.in the water or Airoplane….. hm, all these stong persons schould use their shovels and groovers,and under water sprinkler equipments.to make trenches,or groves or what ever YOU can dream about to start lay a NETWORK of electric wires ..or magnetic wires or steel wires..under the pavement of our streets.
    Now we can design vehicles that drive .(move up.or away.)to these lanes and by levetation or other automatic attach system get transported to their differnt destinations.
    Big Brother can direct us or you to any part of the land or world eh!
    and ..than we can design a parachute big enough for airoplanes .like a airbag.if we have (mayday..mayday. ) and automatically the persons on that craft will be saved and slowely decent to safety ad they dont have to land
    on the Hudson river.
    and we could design a eject-black box system so with a bouy and or beacon flashing lite we will find them
    or we use the On star system.
    So You see everyting is possible
    Yust predict your own future and than keep gooing and create it .O.K.

    cheers, all for now

  35. Willi Says:

    nice – some wishfull thinking, but productive

    one thing though: no one American can buy this stuff if he / she has no job, takes new business and the incentives to start them, and taxing these potential business owners to no end will not get those jobs going …

  36. Tom Pryde Says:

    FYI. The Ford Edge is assembled in Oakville, Ontario, CANADA. Just 3 hours from Detroit.

  37. Roy Says:

    The 230mpg figure is for electric only usage (no gasoline at all, $10/gal ?)