Will the Chevy Volt Succeed?



  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399
    Coldcranker - I do agree. I'm hoping that space for four cylinders will support FC stacks soon! Thanks for the rational reply.

    My frustration is that we're still putting engines in cars - the logistical impacts of that are still there. Had they just left the engine out - and used the space to add an emergency battery pack with a 5-20 mile range to find a hummer (that is funny) or Lowes/Costco/Walmart electric station to plug into, I'd be jumping in line for one. (I know it takes 10 hours to "refuel" - another problem.)

    Honda has put the FCX on the road as we speak, and frankly, I'd be prepared to throw up some solar panels and make my own H-station for it. (heck, put solar panels on the Volt!) At $600/month incl insurance (and maint I think), the FCX is a win! Not in CA, I can't get one :(

    As for the Volt, never buy the first year model of anything could never be truer - I'll be waiting - let's see how it goes.

    I do seriously wonder if $85BILLION is enough to convert every "gas" station in America to support H-fueling, ya know?
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    If GM took the engine out of the Volt they'd be left with a vehicle that isn't very marketable. Also there'd be no point in putting an emergency battery pack in since after the Volt has gone 40 miles it still has enough charge left in it's battery pack to go another 20. Regardless, now you have an EV with 60 mile range instead of 40. Not many people will be buying if the price tag is over $30k.

    GM could probably lease the Volt for $6/month and not lose as much money per vehicle as Honda is by leasing the FCX for $600/month. The $600/month that Honda is charging is a token payment and should not be interpretted as anywhere near what the actual cost for a fuel cell vehicle currently is.

    The Volt will only be produced in very limited numbers the first couple years. Even at its high price I suspect that initial demand will far exceed supply. So buying the first year model won't even be an option for most people.

    I'd guess if you took the typical driver of a 4 cyl. Camry and put him in a Volt he'd cut his annual fuel consumption by over 50%. In my case I'd probably reduce my fuel consumption by 75%. Sure it's not the 100% reduction you'd see from a pure EV but it's more than a small step in the right direction. As energy storage devices evolve we might eventually be able to shed the ICE completely but the technology isn't there yet. A vehicle like the Volt will represent the best we can do at the present time and it shouldn't be dismissed because it isn't a perfect solution.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    There is a GOOD REASON that the Volt will not be here until 2010.

    The battery and gas engine "generator" system probably has yet to be proven completely road-worthy.

    Here's my thought.

    The gas generator engine will be required to produce enough electricity quickly enough that the battery will be charged "on the fly" while driving the car and have enough juice to push the car at highway speeds. Because supposedly, when the battery runs out of electricity from the "home charge" then the generator makes enough electricity FAST ENOUGH to power the battery enough to keep the car at highway speeds.

    That seems to me like a VERY DIFFICULT engineering problem. I don't know of ANY charging device like that which requires more than 5 volts and can provide enough charge to power the device while it's working and drawing a lot of power.

    And to produce 16 kwh on the fly? That seems very tough to do. I don't know that even a large solar array can do that.

    Any engineer types or battery experts care to pipe in and explain to us how that will actually work?
  • 2doorpost2doorpost Member Posts: 74
    I would love to see an electric car put the whammy on the oil industry.
    I think this car has been prematurely introduced in order to make GM seem "Loanworthy" to the Government.

    The battery life logistics don't make sense, and the fact that the car still has a gas engine on board eliminates it as 100% electric.It still sucks up gas.

    IMO- They are gambling that the shortcomings of the car will be solved by the planned intro date. Fueled , of course, by Fed $$.

    If you introduce a car- your purpose should be to get the public hot for it NOW- so it sells like hotcakes. Not have them ponder its shortcomings , pick it apart,or have the competition come up with its own versions. There will be other electric cars by 2010 after this cat has been let out of the bag.

    PS- It looks like a 1997 Plymouth Breeze. WTG Lutz.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Volt Battery technology still very much in "test" mode

    Not only does GM have the issue I mentioned earlier today to deal with, but they also have a LOT of battery testing yet to accomplish.

    Plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Volt began to seem feasible because of new technology that made lithium-ion batteries safer, more durable, and less costly. But while individual battery cells using the technology seem to work well, yoking nearly 300 of them into a battery pack has proved challenging. That, in turn, is forcing GM to design systems that make the vehicle more expensive. "At the cell level, things look good," says Mark Verbrugge, the director of the materials and processes laboratory at GM's research-and-development center. "There are still issues at the pack level that we're trying to iron out, which gets pretty nerve-racking as we get close to production."

    A battery pack for an electric vehicle is complex. The cells have to be wired together to deliver power reliably, despite the harsh vibrations and jolts encountered on the road. (For an example of what can happen when things go wrong, see "Electric Cars 2.0.") Even a few defective cells or connections can dramatically lower the performance of the pack. What's more, the pack includes complex electronic controls for charging each cell, delivering power, and capturing energy from braking to improve vehicle efficiency. And maximizing the battery's life requires a good cooling system. To make matters worse, methods for testing whether a battery pack will last for the life of the car are only now being developed.

    "There's only so much known about how to accelerate the testing of batteries," says Greg Cesiel, GM's program director for the E-Flex Vehicle Team, which is developing the Volt and related electric vehicles. Questions remain about how to simulate driving the car and charging the pack, and how to confirm that the pack will survive vibrations and exposure to hot and cold temperatures over the life of a vehicle.

    Verbrugge says that one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that the batteries won't fail in extreme climates, such as the deserts of Arizona. Conventional starter batteries already give automakers trouble in hot areas, he says. Today, they're the car part that most commonly fails under warranty in the Southwest. "Batteries don't like hot temperatures," Verbrugge says. "But we're not going to say to people in Arizona, 'We're not going to sell you our Chevy Volt. You can drive one, but we're not going to give you a warranty.' That's not an option."
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    And to produce 16 kwh on the fly?

    I'm not sure what you mean by that. The ICE generator only needs to be able to charge the battery pack as fast as its being drained. Let's call highway speeds 80 mph. A generator capable of producing 20 kW will be able to keep up. A 1.4L engine, probably rated at 80-100 hp, should be plenty big enough for that. Now there may be brief periods where the battery is being drained faster than it is being charged. Like when you're accelerating or climbing a grade. That's why the ICE will start re-charging when the battery pack still has 30% of it's charge. This extra reserve will allow the vehicle to temporarily access more power than the ICE is capable of generating, which is why in this configuration your performance is not limited by your engine's instantaneous capability.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I guess that's the answer - never letting the battery go below 30% charge. Is that what they are doing?

    If so, then the only hurdles remaining is perfecting the battery system, keeping it cool, keeping it secure, and making sure it can be affordable and warrantied properly.
  • dave8697dave8697 Member Posts: 1,498
    The best thing for the American car industry is for the average buyer to realize how they have let this country down. If our market collapse can cause the collapse of Japan's market, then their plan of supplying endless amounts of new cars to our country will have backfired. They will have overly poisioned America to the point where it is no longer a vaible customer. We are starting to hit that point. If my last purchase had been japanese then I would have felt so lucky that the cost of ownership was lower than that of the American competition by 500 or 600 dollars a year. But then as our country collapsed into what it became yesterday, Many of those average car buyers lost 50 years of savings in 5 months. Not part of the grand plan I bet. Glad to see that the Japanese market collapse, it is now losing many years of it's profits off of car sales to America in a single week. The after effects of killing it's customer. Finally some sharing in the pain.

    So what does this have to do with the Volt? Here we are critiquing the Volt and making arguments against GM's ability to ever become loanworthy. Right now America in it's entirity isn't loanworthy. We are worried that the Volt is part of a scam by GM to gain undeserved loanworthiness. The average buyer is not going to ever buy a GM anything so he doesn't want GM to ever be loanworthy. So American to not want anyone to ever get a decent job at GM. What isn't realized is that a country with no manufacturing base, as we have now nearly finished becoming, is a country where people can't pay their bills and where there is no growth in good jobs. That creates a situation where we lose in so many ways. There is nobody left believing that the economies of these places will ever return. Detroit will remain infested with foreclosures that will turn into low income rentals over time. No manufacturing base will return. Assemblers at Japan of America don't make the earnings to salvage any of the dying cities and towns across America. Our top universities now almost exclusively prepare non-US citizens for hi-tech jobs.

    If you are losing 3-4 billion a month, eventually, only the competitor is on TV with it's ads. That's called a downward spiral. Only problem is America goes down too. Is the average buyer now happy where this country is headed?

    I wonder what the ratio of people not paying for their place to stay on time is vs the ratio of people not paying their Japanese car payments on time is? I'd bet we pay Japan first in this comparison.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    At $600/month incl insurance (and maint I think), the FCX is a win! Not in CA, I can't get one

    You have to be a Hollywood star to get one. Or at least some kind of mogul. That is just a figure they get to eliminate the riff raff. The car still costs $100,000+ to build and an H station would probably not be feasible or given a permit for in CA at least. It is all a publicity move by Honda. GM has the same kind of thing going with their hydrogen SUV.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "You have to be a Hollywood star to get one. Or at least some kind of mogul."

    Typical generalization. Incorrect again. They did not lease all 200 of them to celebs or to moguls.

    The first vehicles were delivered to select customers including Jamie Lee Curtis and her filmmaker husband Christopher Guest. Curtis and Guest have owned other alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, and they continue to seek out ways to live and advocate a greener lifestyle.

    Demand was greater than supply for these new vehicles so Honda developed criteria for fuel cell ownership, included proximity to hydrogen refueling stations, driving patterns and vehicle needs. Plans call for Honda to deliver 200 FCX Clarity vehicles to customers in the U.S. and Japan in the first three years of production and leases were initiated in July. About 200 go to consumers in the next three years. Most will be leased for $600 a month to average customers in Southern California who have other cars and live near one of three 24-hour public hydrogen stations.


    Honda Fuel Cell Vehicle Firsts

    The original FCX became the first EPA- and CARB-certified fuel cell vehicle to also meet all safety standards in July 2002. The FCX was also the world's first production fuel cell vehicle, introduced to the U.S. and Japan in October 2002. Additional highlights include:

    * The FCX was the first fuel cell vehicle to start and operate in sub-freezing temperatures (2003).
    * The FCX was the first fuel cell vehicle placed in the hands of an individual customer, the Spallino family of Southern California (July 2005).
    * The world's youngest fuel cell customer, 17-year-old actress Q'orianka Kilcher leased an FCX in March 2007, making her the first person ever whose first car was powered by hydrogen.
    * Honda becomes the first auto manufacturer to manufacture a dedicated fuel cell vehicle on a production line solely dedicated to the production of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles (2008)
    * Honda becomes the first manufacturer to create a fuel cell vehicle dealer network


    The three-year leases cost $600 a month, which includes maintenance and collision coverage. The car has a range of about 270 miles per tank. Honda said it received 50,000 applications.

    "You're not sacrificing anything, and actually for me it's an enhanced driving experience," said Jon Spallino, a Redondo Beach, Calif., businessman who previously drove an older version of the FCX and will lease the Clarity. "I think that's a misconception people have, that you're puttering around in an underpowered cramped little soapbox."

    Sure, Honda used a little "star power" in their program. They want exposure and they want to be in the news. It's called MARKETING and EVERY COMPANY NEEDS IT.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    According to GM if/when fuel cells become viable it will be a relatively simple modification to pull the ICE out of the Volt and replace it with a fuel cell stack. I'm not sure why Honda sees no value in pursuing this intermediate approach while simultaneously refining their fuel cell technology. Maybe their position will eventually take the same 180 degree turn that Toyota's took. Until about a year ago Toyota was adamentally opposed to the idea of a plug-in Prius. Now they are racing with GM to bring it to the market before the Volt.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    larsb said: "And to produce 16 kwh on the fly?"

    I think you mean kilowatts, a power measure, not kilowatt-hours, an energy measure. Energy is the accumulation or usage of power over time.

    Your point about what the gas engine/generator would do when the batteries were way down on charge is a good one. I think Chevy may have a way to leak some amps over to the electric drive motor directly without going through the batteries first. This is needed because the point is to charge the batteries, and there is a heat loss if you route all amps through the batteries. My expertise is really mechanical/aerospace/software engineering, so maybe some electrical engineers or techs out there can set me straight if it is possible or advisable for some of the gas engine electricity to go directly to the electric motors under some circumstances. Like I said, this should prevent the kind of high-amp heat losses of going through the batteries during times when the electric motor needs amps that the batteries can't provide.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Typical generalization. Incorrect again. They did not lease all 200 of them to celebs or to moguls.

    And how many joe blows got one from the first batch? There is no guarantee they will ever build all 200 handmade cars. I think they have built less than 12 to date.

    I was only responding to an individual that thought he could go to his local Honda dealer and lease one. It does not work that way.

    The Volt should be much more of a practical vehicle than the FCX. Though I would expect the lease price to be about the same $600 per month.
  • keepinonkeepinon Member Posts: 10
    I hope the Volt can deliver as advertised. That said, can I remind folks that fossil fuels (coal and oil) provide the energy to produce the electricity needed to recharge the Volt's battery in many areas? In other areas it is nuclear energy (which produces the most toxic substance on the planet as a by-product). So, don't get too enamored with the "green" technology. Just sayin.
  • 2doorpost2doorpost Member Posts: 74
    After buying 20-plus GM cars brand new in the last 34 years, I am sure my efforts have put a little coin in GMs pockets.Never bought foriegn. They still rust around here- besides the draining the economy aspect.

    The issue boils down to credibilty, along with a long record of misses and not hits.
    Who here bought a Chevy Vega? A diesel Olds? A V8-6-4 Caddy?

    Get the battery pack together - show me a car that I can drive to save real cash and I'll believe.

    Think credibility- not credit.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    keepinon says, "That said, can I remind folks that fossil fuels (coal and oil) provide the energy to produce the electricity needed to recharge the Volt's battery in many areas?"

    Well, you might remind us, but let me add these caveats to your attempted buzz kill:

    The amount of fossil fuels which are being burned to produce electricity is going DOWN year by year as more renewable energy sources come online. Every year, that PHEV will be using cleaner and cleaner power.

    And the amount of pollution created by the electricity that an electric vehicle uses is a very small percentage of the pollution directly created by burning fossil fuel in an engine on the vehicle itself. Even using coal, emissions are lower with EVs and moving the pollution away from population centers is a good thing. Utilities have plenty of excess generating capacity at night which could charge millions of plug-in cars. While electricity is getting cleaner and more renewable every year, even the cleanest gasoline car becomes ever more polluting. An electric car, on the other hand, just gets cleaner over time as the grid gets cleaner.

    And nuclear energy is cleaner than you think. The by-product is being dealt with in responsible ways all over the world. France is the leader and they do not "glow in the dark" as of yet. The technology to store the nuclear waste is improving at a fast rate also, just as are most technologies in the area of energy production.

    So yes, EVs do reduce pollution, and will continue each year to be even cleaner.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Protecting the environment is not the only reason behind the renewed interest in EVs. Becoming energy self sufficient is another major factor. The US has the capability to produce all the electricity it needs to power a fleet of electric vehicles. We cannot now and never will be capable of producing enough oil to power a fleet of ICE vehicles.
  • coontie66coontie66 Member Posts: 110
    WELL I am one of those owners of Chevys.. I had a 72 Vega and it was one of just two vehicles that I bought new that I couldn't get to 100,000 miles. I also owned a 80 VW Rabbit ---ugly little sucker.

    The common thread is Consumer Report! Recommended by CR and I have not read their magazine since.

    I now have a 06 Chev Silverado diesel... what a wonderful vehicle. Also own a 03 Buick Park Ave.. another wonderful vehicle with great gas mileage. 30-32 on the road...--its too bad GM didn't tell anyone. My OLD 91 Chev 1500 Chev 4 X 4 gets 22 on the road and can haul its weight in mulch and other STUFF.

    Remember when you buy foreign EVEN if its built in TN or some other state the Profits still went back to Japan. Those profits were not spent on things in the USA but in Toyko or somewhere. I would like to see a Tundra pull up to my 5th wheel camper and pull it up Saluda Mtn on I 26 here in WNC.

    Even my OLD Chevy gets better gas mileage than my buddy's and we drive them all the way across NC to the Outer Banks each fall and fish ON THE BEACH ... No rust on my OLD Chevy but its showing up on the Toyota already. SUPERIOR TRUCK?????????? I don't think so.
  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399

    I was only responding to an individual that thought he could go to his local Honda dealer and lease one. It does not work that way.

    If so, you didn't understand the post. Honda is on the right track, GM is not, imho.

    We need to change the thinking. The sooner Americans are thinking about the race to electric propulsion in the same way we thought nationally about putting a man on the moon, the sooner we will be able to end the Fossil Fuel Age of dino-combustion.

    Sure, you have to produce hydrogen and manufacture fuel cells. I'd rather spend my money on that, rather than paying environmental protection money into carbon credit cartel schemes.ymmv
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    I drive it between 7-40 miles per day to/from the park n ride and ride the bus, which costs $3 to get to work. I have no car payment.

    With the battery range of 40 miles..for you..it would effectively be an all electric fuel source car. Put some synthetic oil in the engine that you rarely use and be happy.
    Of course it still has to come out, and you still have to desire and be able to afford it.

    If half the cars sold in America used 80%+ less fuel...as the Volt should do...we would really have something.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Ya, 200 cars effectively don't really exist in any practical way for the larger population.

    Just a pilot test program that may or may not come to anything.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342

    If so, you didn't understand the post. Honda is on the right track, GM is not, imho.

    Your other posts indicate you are a big proponent of transitioning to an electric fleet. So am I. If the Volt is introduced in 2010 and fuel cell vehicles aren't viable until 2020 (optimistic) how many electric miles will have been logged by GM vehicles compared to Honda?
  • dave8697dave8697 Member Posts: 1,498
    credibility based on what they did in 1984? I'm glad my last mortgage application didn't ask me for my 1984 stats.

    Following Hollywood's lead is elitist to me.

    College is the equivalent of 4 new car payments a month expense for the next 86 months for me. About $100 a month of that comes back through Bush's tax credits for tuition. I can't sell my house in a dead ex-GM town. My last vehicle purchase was a '99 GMC pickup for $2500 that gets 26.5 mpg on the hwy and 24 mpg city. Squeezing 123% of EPA out of a recycled vehicle is my non-elitist approach. GM doesn't need to put a Volt out there to secure my future business.
  • morey000morey000 Member Posts: 384
    Wow- that Steven Colbert interview with Bob Lutz made Lutz look like a dottering old fool. He was stammering, wasn't witty, and didn't seem to have the quick tag lines down about the car. He could have done so much better. GM should have sent one of their younger marketing guys.

    What is this guy doing leading GM?
  • 2doorpost2doorpost Member Posts: 74
    Thats what I dont understand- the gas miliage that I get on my 05 Chevy far outstrips a new one. What happened in three years time? And we wonder why theres a glut of new ones sitting unsold?

    1984? The pinnacle year for GMs crappy phase- But name me a homerun that actually happened since?

    OK, I'll give you the Aztec.

    This could be that homerun. Get the technology set and run with it.

    You can't shout it from the mountaintop until you've climbed it.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    The Volt is GMs 9th try at a practical EV type vehicle. The last was the S10 PU EV that was scrapped the same time as the much more publicized EV-1. All seemed to die of high cost. Will that be the fate of the VOLT?

  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Mr Volt may die of high cost too. What it has going for it is that it is not range limited, and the battery does not have to store as much energy as in the previous EVs where it was the sole energy source, theoretically allowing for a lower price..eventually. we must add of course the fact the gas is much higher in price now and battery tech is improving as we speak. They really do need to get the price down. On the other hand, Tom Edison and Co tried a thousand times to perfect the light bulb.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    Toyota came out with the Prius in '99, back when GM/Ford/Chrysler laughed at them for doing so. "Gas is cheap, use all you want, take showers in it if you want...etc." said the Detroit big 3. "Buy huge monster vehicles..." I remember reading the market evaluations.

    You've got to admire Toyota's foresight. And Honda, too. Their Insight that they are bringing back will sell for $20,000, a bargain for a serious hybrid.

    Now we are here debating whether or not the Volt will make it. The fact that GM has said the Volt will sell for about $40,000 means the market will buy 2 Honda Insights instead of only 1 Volt for the same money.
  • duke23duke23 Member Posts: 488
    larsb wrote :
    " Typical generalization. Incorrect again. They did not lease all 200 of them to celebs or to moguls."
    From news reports, I had 600 as the total for the project and your point is certainly well made, Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest would hardly qualify as celebrities. The primary criteria I saw, since you didn't mention it was access to a pumping station. I wish GM every success with the Volt. Though I love the idea of fuel cell, if it requires natural gas and platinum as a catalyst, the economics aren't really there. Green yah, energy efficient, nein.
    Good post btw G.
  • duke23duke23 Member Posts: 488
    Senor CC, that seems to be a high end estimate. Thy wrote :
    "Now we are here debating whether or not the Volt will make it. The fact that GM has said the Volt will sell for about $40,000 means the market will buy 2 Honda Insights instead of only 1 Volt for the same money ".
    The actuality is unknown since it is not on the near horizon. But global slowdown tends to depress all prices.
    Per Wikipedia, :
    " At the time of unveiling, the Volt project had been in existence for less than a year. The Volt was targeted to cost around US$30,000. As of April 2008, General Motors Vice Chairman of Global Product Development Robert Lutz was quoted as saying that the realistic unsubsidised price had risen to US$48,000[52][53], that he reckoned that US$40,000 might be possible, without making any profit, and that only government tax incentives could take the price tag nearer to US$30,000. When asked directly about the price later, Lutz indicated that this was a misquote - and said "The answer is that we don’t know."[54] As of August 2008, General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner was quoted saying that the price of the Volt would likely be in "the mid to high 30's", suggesting a price of more than US$5,000 more than originally targeted. "
    I do not argue your ultimate cost for a Volt except to say, the final cost is not known and that GM has finally,or so it appears, gotten it's head OOIA ( out).
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    duke23, good post background material. If the Volt could get to $30,000, I don't see how Chevy can make money on it. They desperately need to be profitable. It only highlights how GM's lack of investment in a decent production hybrid in the past 10 years has put GM in the position where Toyota can now produce a profitable Prius at a reasonable price, and GM can't. Sad.

    For the past 10 years, couldn't GM have warmed up to this Volt concept by providing a Chevy Malibu with a tiny 1.0L engine up front, with an electric motor driving the back wheels to fill in the transient torque demands, similar to the Nissn Cube's e-AWD -- click here for info on that. That kind of vehicle would get great MPG. The problem with 1.0L engines are that they don't produce enough torque for acceleration or going up hill, and an electronically controlled rear electric motor with some Prius-style NiMH batteries would allow the engine to be lightly loaded up front, making it possible.

    The separation of a small IC-engine up front (like normal front wheel drive now) and an independent electric motor driving the back wheels would allow modular engineering that makes sense. Weight distribution on a Malibu like that would be 50-50 as well, helping handling and providing AWD traction when needed.
  • dave8697dave8697 Member Posts: 1,498
    So the Prius outshines the Volt and the Malibu hybrid?

    The Volt is badly needed, overpriced and overdue and improperly executed and poorly marketed? Why can't they copy Nissan?
    You just fired a few thousand workers at GM for poor performance. I'm glad your not my boss.

    500,000 US auto workers have recently lost their jobs. It probably took 50 million foreign car sales to make that happen. The benefit of 100 people enjoying the excellence of a foreign car for every displaced American worker isn't bad. Lets finish the job because there is still some fool at GM that still thinks they can do this car thing.

    Today's news: Japan to buy JP Morgan for pennies on the dollar.

    Lets keep bashing our own country. I like where we have been headed lately and you are still not my boss.
  • hoyahenryhoyahenry Member Posts: 399
    Yes, that's one way to look at the opportunity cost - and frankly, we'll have gas powered vehicles until... they are banned, I would predict.

    My point of view is that I will not spend large cash prizes using scarce $s on a vehicle that includes a combustion engine. period. I don't want to add to the recycle bin of oil-contaminated metal. If I need a new car before 2020, I'll buy a used one just to know that I did not create the demand for a new engine.

    Extreme? Yes, I supposed so. It's a cold turkey approach. It's time to get it done and it's not getting any cheaper to do it.

    "Houston, do you copy?" ya know? ;)
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    If I need a new car before 2020

    recycling a used car is environmentally more sound than buying new any day of the week. I am not sure that would include buying a used Hummer. :shades:

    My prediction is the Volt or most of the Volt will be built in China. So it will not help US workers much. The battery, motor, electronics will all come from China. Sheet metal and assembly here to call it "Made in the USA". Content maybe 40%.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    "So the Prius outshines the Volt and the Malibu hybrid? "

    Yes, the technical and market facts are what they are, regardless of what you want reality to be. Sorry.
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  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The fact is that EVs will have limited range compared to ICE powered vehicles. Maybe someday we'll have a network of fast charging stations making this limitation less of a factor but for now it is. So most people that would buy an EV will also own an ICE for longer trips. Is it really better for the environment to have 2 vehicles as opposed to 1? The presence of a range extender in an EV will allow this vehicle to be used far more often, resulting in more electric miles and fewer gasoline miles than had it been a pure EV. So I'd argue that a car like the Volt will do more to reduce fuel consumption than an EV with a 40 mile range.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    tpe says, "The fact is that EVs will have limited range compared to ICE powered vehicles."

    Not the Volt.

    It's an EV and will have a range of 640 miles, per GM. That's more than a lot of gasoline cars.

    But I understand you were speaking in generalities and in that respect you are correct - most PURE EVs (no generator on board like the Volt) will definitely have a lower range than ICE vehicles.

    But consider this possibility:

    Consider that in the future people will do these things to cope with the high price and lower availability of gasoline:

    1. Move closer to work.
    2. Use an EV or PHEV as their commute vehicle.
    3. Rent a gasoline-powered car or SUV ONLY when they need to take a trip.

    That would solve a lot of the expected "long term problems" related to converting a whole fleet over to EVs or PHEVs.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
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    Article Comments - 2011 Chevy Volt First Look
  • mikey38mikey38 Member Posts: 141
    "Thats what I dont understand- the gas miliage that I get on my 05 Chevy far outstrips a new one. What happened in three years time? "

    When you read many of the posts in the forums you'll see a common thread of....we need bigger cars, more horsepower, etc. Detroit builds what people ask for.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    People are not looking at the new thread so here is a link
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    1. Move closer to work

    I think people will/are trying to do that. But with two workers in a family, the frequency of job changes these days, limitatiions of moving while owning a home and the prices of in-city houses, I think it is limited. Other ideas are four day work weeks and more telecommuting.
    2. Use an EV or PHEV as their commute vehicle

    .I am in the camp that thinks partial use vehicles will have a problem for some time. Listening to the nay sayers on EVs, we find that range limitations are the prime negative...well that and price. If you have a PHEV and/or whatever we call a Volt, it is pretty much an all purpose sedan. That said if you could make an BOEV that functions like a real car and has a range of 75+ miles you would probably find a decent amount of takers...assuming you can make it for a price that rivals or beats a cheap subcompact

    3. Rent a gasoline-powered car or SUV ONLY when they need to take a trip.

    Or just keep their current vehicle as a backup...but in the case of the Volt, you have a sedan for such purposes...one that will get great gas mileage on your trips and save the expense of renting.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    There is a movement afoot in some larger cities to make downtown more "livable" and attract residents who work downtown.

    It will gain more of a foothold now that gas prices are up. It is a real advantage to live a few blocks from where you work and be able to live without a car.
  • giny1giny1 Member Posts: 3
    Let's talk about the Volts competitor! Nissan is working with NEC and has produced a battery with a 300 miles charge and it's been tested to last over 150,000 miles so far.... and will be in their 2011 Electric vehicle priced $10,000 less than the Volt. The Nissan/NEC partnership will create mass production and Nissan will be launching over a 1/2 dozen other models into the N. American market by 2012. It's time for GM to look to those creating proven and successful batteries and work on a Electric Vehicle we can actually afford. More details on the companyhere “Nissan firmly believes the ultimate solution for sustainable mobility lies in zero emission vehicles. Electric vehicles represent one clear strategic direction embedded in Nissan GT 2012, our new mid-term business plan,” said Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Let's talk about the Volts competitor

    I'd like to, but they seem to want to keep a narrow focus here. Link to a thread or start one if none are appropriate. I haven't heard about anything with a 300 mile range.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    From the link:

    In contrast to popular (and our) impression, once a driver uses up his 40 or so miles of electric power, the 1.4-liter gas engine generates electricity to power the electric drive motor, but does not recharge the batteries.

    I don't see this as a problem, unless the engine is not powerful enough to fuel the car in all conditions. If the 50 mpg is still valid, then this is just a good nudge to always plug-in. I guess it could make for some wasted energy though.
  • tlongtlong Member Posts: 5,194
    Let's see.... I can buy a very reliable Prius with a fair amount of room for $23K and get 50mpg.

    Or I (supposedly) can buy a Volt in a few years for $37K that can go 40 miles if I recharged it with a plug, then I use regular gas. And I wait to charge it. And I pay for the electricity (probably less than gas cost, true).

    How many miles would I have to drive to make up that ~$14K difference in purchase cost?

    Sorry, I think GM is toast here.
  • tlongtlong Member Posts: 5,194
    [Double post deleted]
  • eaton53eaton53 Member Posts: 356
    And that is bad because?

    Only an utter fool would actually want the engine to charge the batteries.
    All you want is just enough to keep things moving along until you can plug in again.

    "After the 40 or so miles, the battery becomes 400 pounds of uselessness, at least until the owner can plug the car into the electrical grid for a recharge."

    400 pounds of uselessness, hmmm? Gee, you don't think this author has an agenda do ya? I'm sure the batteries are still perform a function (such as capturing free braking energy) and are not "uselessness".

    But I'm sure this author knows the system inside and out...
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