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Will the Chevy Volt Succeed?



  • According to this calculator from our local electric company the Volt only takes 13.2 KWH to charge. Time of day charging would cost $.92 at night. Standard KWH rate costs $1.62.

    Your math you did sounds way off. Did a decimal point get misplaced? What is your KWH rate? eVCalculator.html
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    If I use your 13.2 KWH estimate, and our current tier 4 rate it would be different than my original estimate. SDG&E has a 4 tier system that tops out at 31 cents per KWH after 672 KWHs of usage. With tax, distribution & misc charges I would have to pay over 40 cents per KWH, if I owned a Volt or leaf. My first charge last month would have cost me 40 cents per KWH. And it would go up from there.

    13.2 X .40 = $5.28 to go from 25-50 miles. Even at the maximum 50 miles it is higher than several gas and diesel vehicles, for those of US that live in the land of fruits, nuts and flakes.

    Keep in mind that the current real cost for solar electricity is $.55 Per KWH. That is where this state is headed.

    We just got notice our rates will be going up due to some kind of bill passed by our state government.
  • ighigh Posts: 60
    I am getting a 12kW system installed next month in the Bay area. It is costing
    me 48K before any rebates. The panels are guaranteed for 25 yrs and the inverter for 15. Conservatively speaking they will produce 16000 KwH per year. If you assume 20 yr life that comes to $.15/kwh not $.55. Solar panel cost is now $1.5/watt and dropping. After rebates the cost will be $0.09/kwh which is cheaper than coal I think. It is lower than current PG&E baseline rates. I plan to buy two Volts and use no gas in day to day living - only some during long drives and vacations. My commute - 7 miles, wife's commute 11 miles.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    A couple observations. What is the minimum charge from PG&E? When I looked into solar about 6 months ago they said it would not save me any money. SDG&E does not treat solar home owners real well. My minimum distribution charge last year was $39. My bill varies from $72 to a high this year of $134.

    Second point. $48,000 invested in a Jackson Annuity will pay you $200 per month forever. When you die your heirs are guaranteed that $48,000 death benefit. I would rather leave that to my kids than some worn out solar panels. I see them here in San Diego all the time. Many are eyesores to the neighbors. Does your 9 cent per KWH include the distribution charges from PG&E?

    Solar PV is still very expensive compared to other forms of generation. _sources
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,301
    Wow. That's a big system. Mine is a little bigger than half that and cost me half, of course. Both my panels and inverter are guaranteed for 20 years. I don't know if this is normal, but I also have a guaranteed output, and if any year goes by where the output does not meet the guarantee, they pay me a certain amount per kwh.

    I probably wouldn't have done it if it weren't for the SREC program here in NJ, though. So far, I've sold 2 of them for about $600 each, and I will be producing about 9 per year. That's in addition to me using the electricity. I'm saving roughly $1700 per year on my electric bill.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • ighigh Posts: 60
    Minimum charge for PG&E is $5.5/month. My house is all electric. I do not use any natural gas. The monthly bill varies from $100 to $250 which will now be $5.5. On top of that I will save $200 on gas per month. With distribution the cost is 10 cents/Kwh for solar. PG&E rates are 13 cents to 363 KwH. Then 18 cents for the next 110 kwh and then 31 cents after that.

    As for the annuity that income will be taxable for me at 37%. Also PG&E rates will only increase over the next 20 years. My costs are locked in. The panels will be at the back of my roof and certainly not visible from outside.

    The wikipedia article is mostly for large scale solar and not small distributed roof top solar. Its makes many assumptions on cost. My calculations make no assumptions except power output which is fairly well modeled by now. The study does not account for the fact that over the last 2 years panel costs have gone down by 60% mainly due to the entry of China into the market.

    After state and federal rebates my cost will be 30K. You can add the depreciation. I still do better after 20 years even after assuming no power rate hikes.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 9,260
    is in the spread of stealing your neighbors electricity for your Volt charges, since stealing their wireless internet is getting harder to do!
    Toy '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD, Commuter '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6 Turbo FWD, Wife's '17 VW Golf All-Track SE 4-Motion AWD
  • eliaselias Posts: 2,138
    edited August 2011
    PVs and doubling-down on volts is a strong move, cali dude.
    would be cool if you let us know how your fleet of volts works out.
    I settled for the "gas version of the volt".

    here are some thought experiments for the back of an envelope or cranium.

    how long would it take to charge a volt using whatever amperes can be squeezed out of a telephone line's 48 volt ring voltage? ( or, go all-out and charge twice as fast using two phone lines which I will gladly call repeatedly. )

    alternatively, how long would one have to ride an electric-generator treadmill or stairmaster or stationary bike similar to _soylent green_ ?

    Also, some Prius geeks use their Prii as generators.
    Maybe that's the best use for a Prius, to remain stationary and used as a generator to charge a Chevy Volt. (how long would the Prius have to fast-idle to fully charge the Volt via inverters or whatever it takes?)
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    My take on that is we have just burned through all the "early adopters" in the states where the Volt is now sold.

    At this point, the GM marketing machine will be driving all the new sales. You'll have to get them on the lot and THEN convince them to buy it. You'll have fewer people coming in saying. "I *WANT* a Volt" and more saying, "I'd like to take a look at a Volt."

    Once they start offering them in more states, you'll see a huge burst of sales.

    The (still) poor economy is not helping either.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    This might sell a few to the people "for whom money is no object." lac-elr/797?tag=mantle_skin;content

    You know electric cars are making a mark when the luxury auto market decides to get involved. General Motors announced today that it plans to create a production version of the Cadillac Converj Concept. Built on the gasoline-electric Voltec platform - that also powers the Volt - the Cadillac ELR will be the company’s second extended-range electric vehicle. Some of you may have seen the concept at the the Detroit Auto show last year.

    Like the Volt, the Cadillac ELR will feature a four-cylinder 1.4L generator and a lithium-ion battery. In all likelihood, the car will use electricity for the first 35-40 miles after which it will switch to an extended-range mode.

    Specific details about the car’s price, specs or release date weren’t announced, but the Coupe is rumored to go into production in 2013.

    From all the details we’ve received though, the car seems like a Chevy Volt in a new skin.

    Though Don Butler, vice president-Cadillac Marketing said, “Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”

    Cadillac isn’t the first company to enter the luxury-electric company and GM is likely to face competition from car manufacturers like BMW and Volkswagen who’ve both announced extended-range electric vehicles of their own.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Cadillac has done rebadges before with disastrous results to their standing as a luxury vehicle. You would think GM learned some lessons from past failures.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    They've also had successes, like the Escalade.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    That is true. It is the Escalade that has kept Caddy from going the way of Pontiac and Olds. I was thinking of the cheapo Cimarron that was a total POC.

    Yet even years after the model was discontinued, the Cimarron's legacy remains negative. The car has become a staple of books and articles about bad cars. Forbes placed the Cimarron on its list of "Legendary Car Flops,

    Will a luxury car buyer want a Cadillac Cruze. :sick: If the Volt was a runaway success rather than a flop in the making, I would say maybe try a Buick version and see how that sells. I am sure it all has to do with Tax Payer subsidies keeping the concept alive and on life support.
  • fho2008fho2008 Posts: 393
    Why is GM in trouble? (sarcasm everyone)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Who in their right mind would pay $50k for a Volt? That car should not sell for over $30k. I don't think GM can build them for that. A dead donkey IMO.
  • Maybe they'll be able to lower the price by taking out the "American made" figure in the equation...

    "GM considering Chinese Volt Assembly" :lemon:

    Meanwhile, one of the Volts competition is doing the opposite...

    LEAF To Be Built Alongside Maxima and Altima in US

    Oh the irony... :D
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Volt to China:
    Leaf to TN
  • Sure I will admit with all thehype it is disapointing the price is so high on the Volt. However once you drive the car, learn about the technology in it, and the quality in it the price does not seem as bad. If it were a BMW we would not be having this discussion. I have seen multiple BMW owners say the Volt handles and performs as good as a BMW. Yes they need to build a cheaper version. One with a more simple driver info center and radio. Make more equipment optional and not packaged so the dealer can order a lesser priced Volt. Doing all that I believe you could get the Volt to around $32-35K.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Time to bury the Volt before we waste more tax dollars propping it up.
    September sales 723 units. Probably sold to Chevy dealers in the states where they are not available. par/sectioncontainer/par/download/file.res/Deliveries%20SEPT%202011.pdf
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    At $7,500 tax credit per pop, those 723 cars represent $5,422,500 in tax money handed out just in Sept....

    But, as is my style, I must mention that the Volt is preferable to the "only runs on electric" options we have, since it has no "range anxiety" issue. It can go across the country just like a regular car.

    The Plug-In Prius coming in 2012 will be a help for the Volt too, because it will help people understand how a car can be BOTH an electric and a gas car.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    The tax credit is chicken feed when talking Volt. How about the $300 million for a battery assembly plant? It was just a political move as we are not going to manufacture the batteries. Only assemble them for the Volt. One article tags each Volt at $197,000 in subsidies. To add insult to injury so far most of the Volts have been sold to other Chevy dealers who use the tax credit. I don't expect the Prius Plug-in to do much better if the price ends up on the high end with a VERY SHORT 10 mile EV range.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "To add insult to injury so far most of the Volts have been sold to other Chevy dealers who use the tax credit. "

    Gary, be careful there. You took one little story and ran with it, facts be darned? That particular right-wing-fueled falsehood has been debunked.

    “I recently set out to determine how honest General Motors is being when it claims that demand for the Chevy Volt is exceeding supply,” the author wrote, “It was not hard to discover that this is not the case as retail sales remain dismal.”
    He goes on to cite Volts for sale on eBay with no bids, six dealers he said he found with unsold Volts within 70 miles of his location, and a couple dealers that have unjustifiably taken the $7,500 tax credit for themselves. These dealers, the writer contends, bought the car, claimed the tax credit, then turned around and put essentially new cars up for sale as used at inflated prices – with no credit available to the buyer.
    And indeed, it does appear true that a few dealers have tried charging almost as much for a used Volt as a new one. At least one has even tried for over MSRP.
    It is not true GM endorses this or is at fault because what a few bad apples do.
    After its one-two rhetorical uppercut last week, the NLPC followed through with a second piece yesterday reasserting its previous allegations, and defending itself with jabs against those who disagreed and said the NLPC was just a biased, right wing hate group.
    “This seems to be a popular political tactic used when certain ideologies are presented with criticism; ignore the facts and attack the source,” the NLPC writer said.

    Price on the Prius Plug-In starts at $29K. And that's 13 miles on EV. Which for me would be most of my commute. rst_drive_review

    From one real-world tester:

    I am driving a test Prius PlugIn car and have been for six weeks. This is a great car...goes approx 15 miles as an EV, recharges on 110 in three hours, 1.5 hrs if 220 outlet. Currently we are operating 27% in electric only and 73% in hybrid mode and are getting 66.5 mpg. These are from the various readouts that are part of this car. Have three more weeks until I have to turn car in, but I am REALLY going to miss driving "my" electric Prius! Will be first in line when they rollout, and I expect at least 40 electric only operation when they are sold. Roy Boyer/Boulder CO 7/28/11

    'Yota is pricing the Plug-In Prius for a successful launch.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    You must have missed this post a few days ago. There are more Volts for sale in the USA today than have been sold since it hit the market.

    Volts 4 sale

    Every thing I have read including the article you listed from last year has the Plug-in Prius base price at $33k with a top of $39k.

    As far as a credit, according to the IRS the Plug-in Hybrid must have at least 5 KWH battery. The Prius only has a 4.4 KWH battery.

    Internal Revenue Code Section 30D provides a credit for Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles including passenger vehicles and light trucks. For vehicles acquired after 12/31/2009, the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours. The total amount of the credit allowed for a vehicle is limited to $7,500.,,id=219867,00.html
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Happy to edumacate you, Amigo:

    Prius Plug-in starts at $32K. Here is the website:

    No $7500 IRS plug-in tax credit will be available for the Prius. No one at 'Yota has ever said that it would be....BUT it might be up for a $2500 tax credit, depending on what the IRS decides to give:

    Will the Prius Plug-in qualify for the federal tax incentive?
    While the federal government has yet to certify the Prius Plug-in for the incentive, purchasers of a Prius Plug-in vehicle may be able to take advantage of a Federal tax credit estimated to be approximately $2,500.

    August 2011

    Individual purchasers of a Prius Plug-in vehicle may be able to take advantage of the Federal Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle tax credit. The Prius Plug-in vehicle tax credit is estimated to be approximately $2,500. However, the Internal Revenue Service has not yet reviewed or confirmed the specific amount of credit, so at this time there are no assurances any purchasers will be able to take advantage of any specific amount of the credit, from zero credit up to the above estimate.

    To qualify for the potential Plug-in tax credit:
    1. The Plug-in vehicle must be new. Used vehicles will not qualify.
    2. The Plug-in vehicle must be purchased. Leased vehicles will not allow the lessee to take advantage of the Plug-in tax credit.
    3. The Plug-in vehicle use is primarily in the United States.
    4. The purchaser must retain appropriate documentation showing the purchase of the vehicle and the date of the delivery of the vehicle.

    For personal use vehicles, the Plug-in vehicle tax credit is treated as a nonrefundable personal credit and is limited by the taxpayer's amount of tax liability for the year the car is placed in service. Individual purchasers and corporations who have business use of the Plug-in vehicle are subject to different tax laws that may also substantially reduce or eliminate the above benefits.

    All persons considering the use of this important Federal Plug-in vehicle tax credit should consult with their own tax advisors to determine the specific amount of benefit, if any, that they may be able to claim on their federal income tax returns. Your tax advisor may also have further information on the many state and local tax incentives that may be available to Plug-in vehicle owners.

    The above summary is based on the federal income tax law in effect as of summer 2011, and individual tax implications may change, without notice, depending on subsequent changes in the federal tax law or further action by the Internal Revenue Service.

    Please find more information at the Internal Revenue Service (
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    Don't count on any of those $32k Prius to show up on the lots. It will more than likely be $35k+ models. And the reason I mentioned the TC is several publications have speculated on the Tax credit of $2500. There is a discrepancy between the Fuel Economy site and the law posted on the IRS site. As with all TCs I will believe it when I see it on my return.

    Prices for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid start at $32,000 and the top-of-the-line Advanced will cost $39,525; reservations for both start next month. Most buyers should be able to get a federal tax credit of $2,500 to ease the sting.

    That said, any reason to think the Volt will survive here in the USA? Or will it become an import from China as GM has speculated?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    The Volt will survive. GM has too much of an investment in it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,135
    GM has little or NO investment in the Volt. It is all our tax dollars my friend.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Um, yeah, only SOME of it. Some of the investment happened after their IPO.
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