Ground-breaking electric car set for UK production

General Motor's ground-breaking Chevrolet Volt is on course to be built in the UK, after top-level intervention by the UK government.

The project was given an initial green light in the past few days by business secretary Lord Mandelson. He is keen to see the revolutionary self-charging electric car being manufactured in the UK, report GM sources, and is said to have pledged outline government support.

GM bosses are expected to spend the next few months compiling an outline business plan, before more substantive talks with the government.

>>Read more about the Chevrolet Volt

Earlier this month, GM Europe boss Carl-Peter Forster said, "We would look at assembling Volt at Ellesmere Port if super-credits were included in the EU CO2 legislation - because this would encourage automakers to provide more ultra-low CO2 vehicles earlier and in greater volume. While the CO2 policy is close to finalisation, we will wait to see the final policy before making any further decisions."

Under the plan, the Volt would be made at Vauxhall's Astra plant in Ellesmere Port with production ramping up in early 2011. Even so, UK production of the next-generation Astra would probably not be moved to Russelsheim in Germany, GM sources insist.

Because of the extensive retraining and re-equipping of local suppliers likely to be associated with building the Volt, GM is expected to seek government aid and grants.

The Volt is based on GM's new Astra-sized Delta architecture, making the transfer to Ellesmere Port relatively straightforward.

Furthermore, much of the work converting the plant to build the new-Delta-based Astra, due in early 2010, has already been completed. The Volt is on schedule to be launched in the US in late 2010, and in late 2011 in Europe.

Today, Lord Mandelson will also make a speech to the Confederation of British Industry, which is due to make clear that the government wants to support the private sector in low-carbon industries and high-tech manufacturing.

He is expected to tell the CBI that the UK's manufacturing future lies with the"next industrial revolution and the low-carbon and post-carbon technologies that will define the 21st century".

Hilton Holloway

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24

3 December 2008

Lord "I'm another unelected Labour politician in a position of power" Mandelson is a snidey, overly smooth, vainglorious, untrustworthy guttersnipe-done-well. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him.

3 December 2008

Superb! I think that is fantastic and the aid/grants are not a bail out (which is brilliant!); aid/grants are common place in terms of inward investment and I think getting the Chevy Volt will be a huge boost to the UK!...go mandy!......I think that is brilliant as the Volt is set to be a world beating car that is much better than the Toyota P (which is now very old hat.....when you can buy several cars that give better fuel efficiency and less pollution with no batteries....it shows the Chevy battery/engine drive technology to be truly awesome).......go Chevy!...go mandy!

3 December 2008

Amazing. Excellent news really. Mandelson is no fool and must be 100% percent sure he can really do this as he is, after all, not the kind of man to stick his neck out on chances. I'm astonished. This coupled with JLR's proposed 'niche' exemption (they don't deserve it but I'm kind of glad they might get it - We should buy the thing off Tata now for nothing, nationalise it, turn it round and sell it.) would seem to suggest the government are taking an unusually pro-active stance here. They are ok in a crisis which is lucky as they do seem to be prone to them...

Bring back steel wheels.

3 December 2008

First he secured the Volt, then the Amp, and then he truly had the Power!

Calm down ladies. There's minimal chance of this happening. It's window-dressing and has obviously had its desired effect of sucking in some gullible ones.

GM is still likely to go into chapter 11 bankruptcy if not liquidation. Do you really think against that backround that some pol in a foreign country can define the plan for a branch plant three years hence and a still to be proved product?

First on the running order is the disposal of Saab, then there's the question of Opel, the mainstay of GM Europe. If Opel is sold off or nationalised in Germany the whole point of GMEurope will disappear and with it the Vauxhall brand and its sole car plant. The only feasible option then to have a Volt car built in Europe but not by Opel or whatever its successor becomes is a UK nationalisation of Vauxhall or effectively the Ellesmere Port assembly plant to construct the Volt. This will be a non-starter as a licence to build the Volt in England by GM or whatever it becomes in the next two years will require an engineering capability to go along with the assembly operation. This doesn't exist in UK. All the engineering resource is in Ruesselsheim. Unless the serial liar Mandelson is signing UK and its taxpayers on for a multi-billion pound(euro?) taxpayer funded venture into the unknown with effectively starting a vehicle brand from scratch with all its attendant engineering, admin, sales etc requirements this plan has as little future as the Chinese plans to restart mass production at Longbridge.

And by the way unless the powers that be, i.e. Mandelson and the people behind him, can reflate the credit bubble, by spending trillions of taxpayer-to-be-paid-for IOUs, then the price of oil will contnue to fall, back to $30/barrel or even less. At those levels, even if the totalitarian authorities increase fuel tax by 100%(there'll be a real revolution if they try it) the cost of fuel will be too low to make a viable economic argument for electric/hybrid powered vehicles. This can be seen already since the price of gas in the States halved since the summer. Sales of Ford's Focus are off by over a third whilst the gass-guzzling F-series truck is down by less than a fifth. Tesla is all but bankrupt, needing $100+/barrel oil to be minimally entertained by serious punters.

Interesting times indeed. Just what UK needs now is some socialist regime by fiat pouring taxpayer money into a 'five-year-plan', command economy, 'great-leap-forward' white elephant, with no democratic oversight and anyone who objects branded a heretic or an economy talker-downer. Stalinism redux.

3 December 2008

Autocar in an article in January 2008 stated "....originally GM mentioned a US price under $30k (£15,000), but recent comments by Lutz suggest that it might cost more...."

This would probably translate into a GBP35k price for an Astra-sized car! With a currently (sic) - unknown battery replacement cost

Good luck.

3 December 2008

Perhaps the joke in my last post was a bit oblique.

I would feel greatly comforted if there was a socialist (or any other) cabal running this country. Sadly, the reality is it's just a bunch of self interested gobshites with their noses deep in the trough, of whom I would be wary of assigning even the most general political stance. Only venality unites them as they lurch from crisis to crisis. What we have is a government that is capable of making rational decisions but only in reaction to events. If there is any chance of anything good coming out of this it will be as they attempt to save their skins.

I would argue that, in this case, the interests of car production in this country and the personal interests of certain politicians are in tandem. Also I feel that this recession will pass. It's already been going a year or so and, like every other recession/depression since time began it will end.

Until then watt hertz just gets bigger...

Bring back steel wheels.

3 December 2008

No, no, no. The Credit Crunch® has been going for a year or so. The Downturn® for about six months, and the Recession® officially begins early next year.

© Robert Peston, natch.

3 December 2008

GM will get a big shock when it discovers that no-one wants to buy said goodie.

It is a 1400cc two ton motor with electric side effects. Once the battery is flat (40 miles) it's all petrol.

Much too slow!!

3 December 2008

First, see from the link below, the "year to date figures" (overall sales) of the Ford Focus in the USA are up just over 15%, Honda Civic is up as is the Ford Fusion (on total sales); you are quoting monthly figures and it is coming to Christmas (i.e. money for presents)...this graph shoudl explain:

http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autosales.html

This shows "from a year ago" levels i.e. Toyota sales down 34% while Ford was the lowest at 31%; on this time last year and Ford at 7% down from October with Toyota down 14%..check this out on CNN:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/02/news/companies/autosales/?postversion=2008120212

Point notes, Chevy is not Opel and thus even if Opel was nationalised in Germany (which I doubt) it does not matter as it does not effect Chevy; Ellesmere port might not be sold if Opel (which I strongly doubt) is nationalised.

The Chevy Volt has been under development (I think) for about ten years and it is one year from launch in the USA i.e. the tooling is being bought (if not bought); thus I think it is safe to say it is good to go!

I do not see why it requires an engineering section any more than present; typically line workers and production engineers; they have design engineers in the US, they will have designed both hands of drive; thus not from scratch in the UK.

All companies coming to the UK can gain "inward invesment"; if you call up your local RDA (regional development agency) you find it is standard operating procedure; many grants are paid on "job created" and or objecitves acheived, thus there is no gamble with UK tax payers money, if they do not do it, we do not give them anything.

Tesla has very wealthy backers, I think one of the "Google" pair & chap (I think) from Pay Pal; I have every confidence they are fine; they have just secured $£40m USD http://www.teslamotors.com/media/press_room.php?id=1037 and at $100K (I think they are $100K) I do not think people are buying them for the "payback" against oil prices is an issue.

The Chevy Volt does somethign like 150mpg, it will be a reasonable cost, have no raod tax, have high residuals & thus will be an excellent choice for companies/public; it also effectively isolates you from petrol prices (as it uses so little); they are big factors.

The plant will make a high tech car, will employ UK people and will get the UK involved in a car that currently no other manufacturer is coming close; personally I think that is brilliant; on bringing in the jobs alone!...well done mandy! (and well done GM)....so white elephant...no way...I heard people say the same about NaRec in Newcastle....now its "rocking" as a centre of excellence...even the dome came good....O2 arena!

3 December 2008

Delorean - Here we go again!

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