Any questions for the Chevy Volt team?

I will be talking to Greg Cesiel (pronounced SEE-SIL) this afternoon. Greg is the Program Director for the Chevrolet Volt – GM’s highly anticipated extended range electric car.

If you have any questions you’d like me to put to Greg, please feel free to leave them in the comments of this post or email them to [email protected].


  1. says

    Per your twitter request:

    Ask them what the life expectancy of the battery is? How many years before total replacement?

    How is the software coming along for determining when the mini-engine needs to kick in before i make it to homebase?

    Do they have an figures on how much carbon per mile is consumed? (think about how much carbon is emitted in order to recharge the batteries)

    That should do it. I am a fan and excited to hear more about the Volt.


    p.s. Have you seen this site?

  2. says

    How much is the car? How will they communicate to customers that the range is actually totally matching their needs, overcoming the fear that they might not have enough range? Imagine they sell a lot of these cars, will the sudden overnight need for power be actually a positive thing for power stations, balancing their load?
    Take care

  3. says

    Thanks for the opportunity… a few thoughts:

    1. The Volt has tremendous long-term value for both GM and the industry, but from what I understand the margins will be very slim. Given the state of liquidity in the market, do you see the program being put on hold?

    2. The electric/range extender is a fantastic concept: however, what about people that live in urban areas? Have there been any thoughts on how residents of a large city (with very few personal garages) might be able to successfully use this platform?

  4. says

    what other electric vehicles are planned? What is the time frame to be on the Market? Ate you planning a plugin hybrid? Are you striving for 100 percent electric and/or hybrid electric engines? If not, why? GM, because of its size, has the opportunity to be a world leader in this technology but currently Toyota has the lead. Your E85 vehicles are not environmentally friendly because of high CO2 emissions produced in current production methods of ethanol (i.e. corn). Until alternative biofuel production methods can be achieved (switchgrass, etc.) electric should be the focus, especially when clean, renewable sources can currently be achieved in electricity production.

  5. says

    When the Concept Volt was unveiled a couple of years ago, most commentators seemed to believe that when the pure electric 40mile range was exhausted, the petrol motor would kick in and charge the batteries, in order to go on delivering power. Now, with the launch of the (pre)production Volt, GM are saying that once the batteries are depleted, the petrol engine will kick in, but directly drive the electric motor – not charge the batteries.

    Questions related to this:

    1 – is this true?
    2 – if so, did this change happen during the R&D phase (and why if so?), or did the press originally mis-read the concept. Has the system – as proposed in the current car, always been proposed to work this way?
    3 – how efficient is the car when running on just the petrol engine, (ie, once the batteries are exhausted)? Wouldn’t a current production car, with a small petrol engine directly driving a crank/drive shaft be more efficient, because it wouldn’t have the added weight of the batteries?

    Second point is, I’m really interested to know more about how the interface works – GM have said that the car will actively manage the batteries, and know how to be most efficient, by knowing when it’s close to home/a charging point etc. Can they explain a little more about this. It sounds clever, but fraught with issues and complexities. Will the car come with an on-board, and up-datable database of charging stations in its computer system?

  6. says

    This is a Euro-centric view, but are there plans for a diesel rather than petrol version?

    Also was a rotary (wankel) engine considered for the petrol engine?

  7. says

    Are then thinking hot-swappable all electric cars in the future, and if so what are the technology implications, and if not, why not?

    What are the assumptions around oil price that are being used by Chevy for their business planning?

  8. Gina Porreco says

    Hi Tom,

    Is there any plan for battery disposal? While electric vehicles are by far a better choice for the environment, they create the potential for a huge hazardous waste problem.

    Cheers, Gina

  9. John Peavoy says

    Hi Tom,

    We have been talking a lot about the engine / propulsion system / battery and associated areas so far. (Quite rightly, I might add!)

    However, what other “green” or environmentally friendly materials and/or production processes are being used in the car and its production? Are GM investigating new materials & processes either as part of this program or other programs in the future?

    A more strategic view on the overall direction that GM are taking in this area, together with some granular detail would be great!


    John P

  10. says

    Just a further thought (sorry to hog comments). Wondering about Volt Pricing and how that’s working out. Unfortunately, I have to work in pounds sterling, as exchange rates are fluctuating so wildly at the moment… but:

    I reckon that GM can probably get away with charging around £25,000 for the Volt in the UK. Why? Because a Prius costs around £20k, and I’d predict the Volt will appeal a lot to early adopters, people who ‘want’ an *electric* car, and people who look at the price of fuel, and can see the cost saving potential. But more than £25k puts you well into BMW/Merc territory – and am not sure people would be willing to pay more than that for a Chevy.

    So – how do-able is this? Are GM confident they can price the car around this mark, sell enough of them, and make money?

  11. says

    Hi Tom

    Replying to your tweet: ask them to quantify the full environmental impact of actually manufacturing and recycling the car. For example, parts for the Toyota Prius are shipped and re-shipped from all over the planet and I, as a potential consumer, remain unconvinced that the Prius damages our environment less over its lifetime than a conventional car. Ask them how they’ve ensured the Volt isn’t more than a lifestyle product marketed to assuage the enviro-guilt of middle class America.

  12. Chris says

    Why don’t they come up with varying levels of battery capacity like they do engines (i.e. a $25000 version with a 20 mile electric range, $30000 for 30 mile range, and $35000 for a 40 mile range)? It’s what they do with regular engines and seems better suited for a variety of budgets and driving habits/ranges.