This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

How the Chevy Volt Became a BMW

Stocks in this article: GM

Now we know why former Volt-boss Weber has been in hiding for the last year. BMW has released preliminary information about its i8 model, anticipated to hit showrooms by the first half of 2014.

And guess what? BMW's bet on the future looks a lot like the Chevrolet Volt. Surprise!

Before you spit up that hot coffee and start writing me a nasty response, let me clarify: The BMW i8 is not a perfect copy of the Volt. There are some differences. I am not suggesting certain patent infringement. Let me point out the two major differences between the Chevy Volt drivetrain architecture and that of the BMW i8:

1. BMW has moved the Volt's generator from the front of the car, to the back.

2. BMW has added an electric traction motor in order to enable all-wheel drive, similar to the Tesla (TSLA) Model X prototype unveiled on Feb. 9.

But really, when you consider all the alternative architectures BMW could have chosen, the BMW i8 is very similar to the Volt. Just consider the Volt's revolutionary on-axis placement of the gasoline generator with the generator-motor and the main traction motor. On the Volt, that package sits up front. On the BMW i8, it sits in the rear. BMW has not released information about whether the on-axis design is substantially identical to the Volt's -- or not. In GM's case, it didn't release this information either, until just before production started, so that it could file all the patents.

It is the power-combining of that on-axis placement on the Volt that yielded GM supposedly over 200 patents. How would BMW get around those patents?

For a more detailed description of the patented genius of the Volt powertrain, see this 36 minute video featuring Volt chief powertrain engineer Pamela Fletcher taken in October 2010, shortly after GM filed its patents.

Once you have watched that video, just imagine moving that powertrain from the front wheels to the rear wheels, and then adding an electric traction motor between the front wheels, and you have . . . a BMW i8! It's a distinction without a difference, as we say.

Furthermore, the BMW i8's battery looks to be almost the same shape as in the Volt -- and for that matter the Fisker Karma. It's placed in the center tunnel, which is where it is best protected from a crash perspective. By the way, that Henrik Fisker guy -- he was a top BMW designer, but long before he founded his own car company.

2 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs