SAMA members attending the October luncheon got a glimpse of the future, and the future looks good!

By Paul Borden

SAMA members attending the October luncheon got a glimpse of the future, and the future looks good!
   The Chevy Volt, a plug-in electric car unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January, represents "the most important project at General Motors today," according to guest speaker 
Bob Boniface, director of design for Chevrolet Volt/E-Flex Systems General Motors.

   GM, the luncheon sponsor, had the Volt on display on the pool deck of the Raleigh Hotel, where 35 members and guests gathered for SAMA’s eighth consecutive monthly luncheon (several members were out of town honoring earlier business commitments) and an up-close look at the exciting new concept car that has the industry abuzz. 

In addition to the new lithium-ion battery technology – the Volt runs off battery power and can be re-charged overnight to provide 40 miles of gas-free driving the next day or recharged while underway by an on board three-cylinder gas engine that extends its range up to 640 miles -- the sleek-and-stylish sedan features a futuristic look without the “funkiness” often associated with such concept vehicles.
Theoretically, a Volt owner could re-charge the Volt every night and if they drove the typical commute -- less than 40 miles a day -- the owner wouldn't have to buy any gas at all. On extended trips, when the gas engine would be used only to re-charge the battery and not to send power to the front wheels, fuel consumption would be about 50 miles per gallon – “a true 50 mpg,” Boniface noted.

The Volt is built under GM's new E-Flex System, which means the platform will be able to accommodate future propulsion systems, such as hydrogen fuel cells.
A four-passenger sedan, the first Volts likely won't be on the road until late 2010, which "might seem like a long time, but there are '08s are on the road right now," Boniface said.
No word on when the Volt will be available in our press fleet, though!
When it does go into production, Boniface said, the Volt will be priced at below $30,000 to make it competitive in the market.


Because of special events the next two months, this was our last luncheon for the year.

The press day SAMA breakfast at the South Florida International Auto Show will be the November event. Also sponsored by GM, the breakfast will take place Nov. 9 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Teresa Bravo, who heads up the breakfast committee, reported that we have been forced to alter plans for the room location for the breakfast because of a break-down of the second-floor air conditioning system at the convention center. Other locations in the center are under consideration and we will advise you by email as soon as the location is confirmed.

But, we will have a site for the breakfast, of course, and it will be indoors! The breakfast will start at 7:30 am. The guest speaker will be Tim Hudgens, director of regional marketing activities for Chevrolet, whose 

subject will be “The Greening of Miami: Gas Friendly to Gas Free.”
We also will announce our first auto show award winners, “Star of the Show” and “Concept Car of the Show” at the breakfast. Thanks to our treasurer Bill Adam, we will have a couple of nice trophies to hand out for our selections. The selection committee will judge the awards the day before press day.

Invitations to the breakfast have been mailed, and you should call 305-778-1611 or email  to RSVP. Please do so to enable us to get a good count for the breakfast. And please do your best to attend!  Speaking of RSVPing, John Kiskinis, who handles the press activities for the show, also noted that invitations have been mailed for the annual auto show luncheon, which will feature Troy Clarke, GM Group Vice President, and President of GM North America, as the guest speaker. RSVP by Nov. 2 at 305-447-1224. John also said if you haven't received an invitation to let him know.


The reason that we will not have a December luncheon is because we will host our first SAMA Holiday Party, this year graciously sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 17 or 18. Details are still being worked out, but SAMA President Ron Beasley assures us that it will be something a little different and a very festive holiday affair. Toyota 's Dick Kelley and Bonnie Jeyam will see to that!


One more reminder: If you haven't paid your SAMA membership dues yet ($50, good through next June), please do so today by sending a check along with a completed  membership application, available by downloading it from this website (click on "About SAMA" and go to the bottom of the page). Mail your check and application to Bill Adam, Treasurer, Southern Automotive Media Association, 13811 SW 67th Court , Palmetto Bay , FL 33158 .

Also, if you know anyone who is interested in joining our organization, let us know. Bring them to the breakfast! But first RSVP!

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