• 64
It has long been apparent that the more successful a talk radio host is, the less relevant the facts become. Case in point is this week's apparent tirade by Rush Limbaugh against the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. No doubt the Volt's sticker price came in higher than most of us had hoped at $41,000, and Limbaugh may have had a slight point there. However, suggesting that the federal $7,500 tax credit for plug-in vehicles like the Volt and the Nissan Leaf was there as an admission that no one wants these vehicles strikes us as disingenuous at best, especially when you recall the tax write-offs that were available to people buying Hummers and other large SUVs just a few years ago. As far as we know, Limbaugh also made no mention of the more palatable $350-per-month lease deal available for the Volt.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Limbaugh also ripped into the Volt's 40 mile range, implying that the 40 miles of range from the battery is all that is available. He was either unaware of or chose to ignore the fact that in charge-sustaining mode, the car's onboard engine-generator can keep the battery going for another 300 miles on a tank of gas. If you don't have time to sit around while the battery charges, you can just take a couple of minutes to fill the tank and be on your way again, just as you would in a normal car.

Perhaps we should just give Limbaugh the benefit of the doubt and assume his cochlear implant was on the fritz.

*Update: When this story was originally posted, we were unable to find a transcript online. After reviewing the transcript post-publication, it's clear that the Detroit Free Press took Limbaugh's comments out of context just as much of the media did last week in the case of Shirley Sharrod. Limbaugh is clearly aware of the range-extending capabilities of the Volt powertrain, although he didn't make any mention of the lease deal.

Until a caller informed Limbaugh of the Department of Energy-funded Charge Point America program, he was apparently unaware that over 4,000 free home 240-volt chargers would be available. However, the reality is that the Volt can be charged from a standard 110 volt outlet in 8-10 hours because of its smaller capacity batteries. Speaking of its range, the continual harping on the 40 mile range neglects the fact that for the vast majority of trips that will be perfectly adequate and the car can continue on after that on gasoline essentially without driver input.

From where we sit, comparisons of the Volt (and other EVs) to the Apple iPhone are also flawed. At launch, the iPhone did not have a carrier subsidy from AT&T and while it did well, sales didn't really take off until a few months later when the service provider cut the cost. Those subsidies have been more than recovered by AT&T (and other cellular companies) through very expensive smartphone service plans. The groundbreaking aspect of the iPhone was its software, not its hardware which was not significantly more expensive than other phones. While it remains to be seen if battery-powered vehicles can change the game, there is no argument that they are currently substantially more expensive to manufacture. As long as the United States has significantly lower gasoline prices than other countries, EVs are unlikely to thrive at their true cost.


  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt passes a trolley while navigating the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt drives near the Golden Gate Bridge while on an engineering development drive in San Francisco, California Saturday, April 25, 2010. The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt navigates the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range on display at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt rolls off the line at the Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant Wednesday, March 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The pre-production versions of the Volt will not be sold at dealerships, but will be used to assure all steps in the production system will meet the quality targets set by the Volt engineering team. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet) (04/01/2010)
  • A Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 64 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rush will bash the GM Volt no matter what because of 2 reasons:
      1) The existence of auto worker unions; and
      2) It received a government bail-out.

      Never mind that workers in Germany and Japan are also unionized. The German workers receive higher salaries and more vacation time.

      It is all about knee-jerk ideology . . . you can't ever expect reasoned analysis from Rush.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spec:

        You forgot #3 reason and really the most likely the reason for this rant: Tax Credit.

        But I agree with you, because of your two reasons (and this 3rd one), Rush will never say anything positive about the Volt (or GM).

        I'm really considering leasing a Volt. I’m still trying to figure out how much it would cost to operate. My drive to work is about 32 miles or so. So I estimate I would have to do a full charge 6 times a week (adding one for the weekend, since I need to drive around town). So given Edison just raised my rates (I still don’t understand their Tier system and why they don’t charge less at night), worst case scenario, It will cost me .31 cents per kilowatt hour. So what would be my monthly cost just on “energy”, so that I can compare that to my current / future gas bill and see if it’s close or not.

        I figure the Volt would be a good gateway car to get me using an electric vehicle. Hopefully once my lease is up, there are much better options. I could just wait, but figure I need to get a car soon, why not jump in. I would consider the Leaf, but I do need to do long drives for work at times (randomly, so planning isn’t really an option). I could get the Leaf and keep my old car, but I rather not have to (has over 120k miles and I fear its time to move to something else).


        • 4 Years Ago
        drp: You are quite correct that I forgot that big omission. And yeah, it is another brain-dead ideological view. And generally, I am very much against subsidies. I think the corn ethanol subsidies should be cut back. I think the tariffs against sensical Brazilian ethanol are silly protectionism.

        But EV tax-credits are very important. If we don't support our EV biz then we will just be allowing China and other countries to take-over that entire industry. Peak oil is on the horizon and EVs are coming whether people like it or not. And before then, we are crippling our economy by shipping off billions of dollars every single day to pay for all the foreign oil we import. We have to move away from oil. The knee-jerk ideologues will whine about it being for 'environmental whackos' . . . but that is only a small piece of it. It is much more about building a business of the future, reducing the massive trade deficit, and improving national security. (Stop funding enemies and reduce our need to waste billions policing the mid-east to ensure oil supplies.)

        Israel "gets it" . . . they are working with BetterPlace to move their automobiles away from oil and onto electricity that they can generate with wind, solar, nuclear, coal, natural gas, etc. They won't be reliant on their Arab neighbors that don't like them for oil.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "1) The existence of auto worker unions"

        Really, thats the ONLY reason. That they received a bailout is just a convenient fact to exploit. Never mind that its pennies on the hundred dollar bill compared to what banks and financial institutes got. These guys would have LOVED to see GM and Chrysler shut their doors and all those workers entered the unemployment lines. There would have a been a major cascading effect in dropping wages in other related industries, and thats really all these guys care about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GM would not have existed.
        The volt would be a CAD-CAM design never implemented.
        Toyota would have bought up the patents, developed a better Prius, and taken more US Marketshare.
        Most GM suppliers would have gone bankrupt, massive layoffs would follow, with a deeper recession in the belt states.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Invisible . . . you provide us with such a great example of the blind-faith knee-jerk nonsensical ideology zombie. Your blind hatred of the UAW stops you from buying a GM product . . . so instead you fund labor unions in Germany and Japan. And you whine about your taxes . . . well, you might have more American-workers to help shoulder that tax-burden but instead your blindly shipped your money overseas to Germany & Japan thus raising the amount of tax burden that you have to carry since those potential auto-workers are now working at McDonalds instead.

        Why do you hate America? (As you would ask liberals.) No, I know you don't hate America, you are just too blinded by ideology to see that actual harm your views and actions cause.

        And I bet you support renewing the Bush tax cuts for the rich . . . never mind the fact that means even more tax burden is shifted away from people that can easily afford the taxes onto you. Why? Because some flim-flam artist has tricked you into thinking that "all tax cuts pay for themselves" even though that is an obviously untrue statement. (Hey . . . let's cut ALL taxes and the government will have infinite revenue! Wheeee!)

        Seriously . . . try thinking about these things instead of parroting what your am radio shouts at you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spec, I don't care how or what other countries do with the tax payer's money.

        I live here, I get taxed, my money is then given to GM to be flushed down the toilet. Screw the UAW.

        I abhor them, I will not own a UAW product, not till Obammy has forced us to purchase his product.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And the maddening thing is, as I pointed out above, if Romney, say, had won, broken the unions, and forced through a bankruptcy reorganization with no bailout or takeover, GM would STILL have released the Volt around now. The Volt has nothing, NOTHING to do with unions or bailouts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm always suprised that rightwing hacks like Rush don't ever acknowledge the vast amount of subsidy we pay for oil - various "externalities" and even direct subsidies to oil companies. They never mention that. I bet he doesn't mention ethonol subsidy much either.

      Actually, I'm not surprised. Denial of reality is their forte.

      But why do commenters on ABG fail to see that ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The right hates ethanol. They rip it for its subsidies and lower range all the time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        For every right wing talking head your can find opposed to ethanol, I can find two left wing talking heads that oppose ethanol. While philisophically a conservative may oppose any form of subsidy, reality is different. The politicians that support ethanol come from areas that have a vested financial interest in ethanol production. Those primarily rural areas are conservative- and pretty red.

        And, compared to electrification, oil companies love ethanol subsidies. Those filling stations love the E85 tax credits because it helps offset the cost of gasoline pumps. Ethanol suppliments and lets them maintain the liquid fuel transportation business model. It distracts people from having to make real efforts to curb oil consumption, like improving fuel economy. Those blending subsidies go to the blenders... the biggest "blender" is Exxon.

        The only thing they don't like about ethanol is the mandates that require them to blend into gasoline a certain amount of ethanol, which we are subsidizing them to buy (making subsidies a give away rather than an incentive, as the do not modify behavior).
        • 4 Years Ago
        But, lne937s, they support ethanol not because they're right-wingers, but because they're from corn states. Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin agree on ethanol, because they're from Iowa, not because of ideology.

        Almost no conservative think tank, pundit, media outlet, etc. supports ethanol for conservative reasons, with a few honorable exceptions such as The Center for Security Policy.

        Finally, the importance and influence of ADM, a favorite whipping boy of the anti-ethanol types, is greatly exagerrated.

        First of all, the biggest producer of ethanol is POET, a farmer-owned cooperative.

        Secondly, one pro-oil book hyped the fact that "between 1989 and 2006, ADM was the 85th-largest political donor in the U.S. (I am not making this up.) If that doesn’t scare you, consider this: over the 16-year period in question, ADM contributions to its top recipient, Illinois Democratic senator Dick Durbin totaled $57,350, while GOP Illinois congressman Dennis Hastert raked in some $38,500 — with average ADM yearly contributions to the two of them coming to $3,584 and $2,406, respectively!" Ooooo. Scaaaaary.

        And for the record, despite you trying to slip in an insinuation otherwise in order to stigmatize ethanol here, the oil lobby and the ethanol lobby are mortal enemies. It's a fact of life that people in both industries and everyone who is politically savvy understands.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The right hates ethanol. They rip it for its subsidies and lower range all the time."

        Some of the right that doesn't live in corn-producing states hate ethanol, because they don't profit off of it. But right wingers like Sam Brownback, James Inhoff, that live in corn producing states and have agribusines companies like ADM and oil comnpanies as main contributors are huge ethanol supporters. Many of the ethanol subsidies were introduced by right-wing Republicans from corn states.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "...However, suggesting that the federal $7,500 tax credit for plug-in vehicles like the Volt and the Nissan Leaf was there as an admission that no one wants these vehicles strikes us as disingenuous at best, ..."

      You know he is right. If the Volt cost $41,000, sure a bunch of rich people that have to be the first on the block to have the lastest cool gadget would buy one, then the next month's sale would be dismal.

      Of course the $7,500 in welfare to Government Motors is required to move their experiment.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are partially correct. Engineering that requires subsidies to be marketable is generally poor engineering. A good example was when solar cells were subsidized in the 70s. When the subsidies ended, so did the instalations of solar cells. They just could not create enough energy for most home owners to fork over the huge up front costs. However, there are some differences with the Volt:
        * Electric cars are an emerging technology. The solar cells of today are just as expensive and no more efficient than those of the 70s. Unlike solar cells, however, electric cars have great potential to get cheaper and better. Someone, though needs to produce, and someone else needs to buy the first generation of this technology so that everyone else can enjoy the benefits of future generations of the technology.
        * As an emeging technology, the US is wise to be at the forefront. There is more and more competition brewing from the developing Eastern world. Technology that will have a great market in the future must be developed here, if the US is to remain competitive.
        * The federal government has a vested interest in decreasing oil usage in the US and worldwide. If there was no importation of foreign oil to the US, there would be great savings of military resources and foreign policy and economic leverage. Therefore that cost of gas is not just what we see at the pump. Every gallon has been pre-paid to some extent. Also, since there is greater concern for the environment recently, there is real political advantage to subsidizing this technology.

        Further, about Rush. I am a conservative who listens to a lot of talk radio. However, I don't listen to Rush. After hearing him a few time, I just don't understand why he has such a fan base. Being uniformed on the issues is not uncommon for him. He seems more like a republican shock jock to me. If you want to listen to a consevative who is a bit more informed, more rational, and more interesting, I recommend Micheal Medved.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        No, I am correct. Photovoltaics are the dominate solar technology. Since the 70s they have not increased dramatically in efficiency, only marginally. The improvements are especially marginal when compared to every other technology since the 70s. Also, the prices have not gotten significantly lower. Don't forget that the solar cells are just a part of the system. The costs of the controls and electrical hardware is significant, and the larger the system, the more bang for the buck you get. I just did the energy analysis on a new, large building for LEED certification. Even with tax rebates, the owner is investing a lot of money into a large photovoltaic array. When you calculate the diversity in the system due to angle of the sun, projected cloudy days, etc, the total annual solar collection is far, far below peak capacity multiplied by 8760 hours per year. The annual solar collection for this array will only offset 2.5% of the building electrical use. Even with the tax rebates, his cost break even point will be at 30 years, and that is in Florida, where electricity is relatively expensive, and I used a significant projected energy cost hike.

        My point is that photovoltaic solar collection has been around for a long time, but has not made a big impact. Electric cars I believe will be mainstream.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nuclear has Massive "Negative Externalities".
        One nuclear terror attack could kill millions and cost hundreds of billions, with no ability to expect a cleanup for 10,000 years.

        Let's do some "risk management" when we pick an energy source.

        Solar has no negative externalities.
        • 4 Years Ago
        " The solar cells of today are just as expensive and no more efficient than those of the 70s. "

        This statement is just flat out wrong. Solar has been comming down in price dramatically and efficiencies have been going up. Low-cost solar panels can be bought for less than a dollar per watt in bulk- less than 1/10th of what they cost in the 70's (that's before you factor in subsidies and inflation). Right now, solar is becomming cheaper in many parts of the country than nuclear:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/business/global/27iht-renuke.html?_r=1
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        I did look at the article. I posted a reply, but am having trouble getting "reply" to work. They keep coming up as new posts. Anyway, I did skim the article and find it to be very flawed. I have a lengthy reply in the form of a new post somewhere near the end of this thread. The way this is going this comment will likely join it.

        I'll let you have the last word. I need to return to work. Thanks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bip D Bo,
        I am very much a nuclear guy, and don't think that with present technology we should be subsidising the installation of solar.
        However, I can't agree that costs have not gone down since the 70s or efficiencies increased.
        In fact, my argument is that instead of installing present, still relatively inefficient and expensive solar cells, we should be spending several billions on pure R & D in solar.
        I have no hang ups on also using solar if the costs can be reduced enough.
        We are still going to need the highly concentrated and despatchable power source that is nuclear power.
        • 4 Years Ago
        " I look forward to its release"

        First solar's panels have already been released, so you are in luck (if you can buy in scale). There have also been Kaneka solar panels available to consumers for $1.40/watt:
        http://www.atensolar.com/Kaneka-Solar-Modules

        And in case you are bad at math, Going from $100/watt to $20/watt in the 1970's is 1/5th, or 80% reduction. Going from $20/watt to $1/watt is 1/20th or 95% reduction. The cost of solar panels have come down a greater percent since the 1970's than they did in the 1970's. Considering that raw materials are now much of the cost of solar panels, the technology has come a very long way. Much of the other "elecrical scope" like cabling, inverters, AC disconnects, DC disconnects, etc. are needed for almost every form of grid generation.

        Is solar cheap- no. Do they sometimes not work out financially in some circumstances (especially compared to low-hanging fruit conservation measures), I am positive that is the case. Have they come down in price and become more practical than they once were- absolutely.

        Are your personal perspective and experiences representative of a universal truth that is irrefutable (and I realize you may have a hard time grasping this)- NO, they are not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        For reference:

        In the 1970's the cost (not sale price) of solar cells (not panels, much less complete system) went from $100 per watt to $20 per watt
        http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/solar_time_1900.html

        Currently, solar panels (including the cells, glass, frame and wiring) are available for sale for less than a dollar per watt:
        http://www.gizmag.com/solar-panel-1-per-watt-grid-parity/11143/
        • 4 Years Ago
        Did you even look at what I linked to? The article was specifically about photovoltaic solar panels in comparison to nuclear. The idea that they have not gone up in efficiency or have not gone down in price over the past 30 years is completely false. Your anecdotal account and inductive reasoning (with no 1970's baseline) is counter to the overwhealming trend in the industry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, he's not right. Tax incentives are used all the time to get promote programs and technology that governments feel are in the best interest of the country. As they become popular, the incentives are removed. ...Unless you're a multi-billion-dollar oil or mining corporation that lobbies successfully to keep them.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        For the first point, yes, there was a breakthrough in cost in the early 1970s, but there has not been anything significant since.

        For the second point, this company claims to have a photovoltaic cell that costs 1/3 to produce compared to the current technology. That an amazing claim, great news. I look forward to its release, so that they can make a system that combines these cells with the supercapicitors made by EeStor.

        The actual cells are only a part of the system. The entire installed price, including all of the impact to the electrical scope of work always comes out to be much more expensive than previously thought. The energy generation always comes out to be much less than previously thought. I work with business owners and architects all the time who have every intention of saving energy and being green. Most strategies work and are employed, especially have to do with high efficiency lighting. Solar is always greeted initially with enthusiam from the business owner. When its time to finalize the design, solar is almost always ditched due to the fact that it just costs too much money, and has too little benefit, despite the state run rebate programs.

        You can quote all of the articles you want, but the fact remains that despite all of the efforts, solar collection is not mainstream, and cost is the only reason.

        @Mike!!ekiM
        Currently France gets 78% of their electricity from nuclear, and they have much more logical methods of dealing with the waste. Asia is building reactors at a rapid rate. The US is at 20%, and resistance to building more reactors comes out of arguably misplaced fear.

        Nuclear is cheap, available, has a small land footprint, and has no emmissions. As good as it is today there is some very promising research currently under way to make it much cheaper and safer than before. Some of the most interesting are smaller, underground reactors, and even the use of elements other than Unanium.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not saying that solar does not have it's place. As the technology gets cheaper, and other fuels get more expensive, it will be more practical. As I see it, though, the current technology only has a niche market and will continue to have that for a while. The "green" market especially has helped this because it gives business something to brag about to environmentally concerned customers. To be a real success, it will need to be mainstream without large subsidies. It will need to be economical on its own merit. I stand by my prediction that it has a long way to go before it becomes a significant portion of our power generation. It would be nice to be wrong, though.

        As far as this Kaneka site: I checked it out. For a company that is claiming a new breakthrough technology with 2000% improvement in cost per watt, it looks a bit sketchy. The product is shown as some black panel that looks like a prop from 2001 leaning against a tree in someone's backyard. Not surprisingly, all of the items are sold out, but you can still pay for an order. The larger companies such as Kyocera are still selling the standard silicon cells that I am familiar with and have been available for some time. I wouldn't hold my breath for Kaneka.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bip-D-Bo
      Sorry, electric cars are NOT an "emerging technology"

      Electric cars have been around for over a century. Every other decade, the float to the top of the interest pool, then quickly sink again when the realities sink in.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "then quickly sink again when the realities sink in"

        You mean when the oil cartels stomp them back. In a few short years the tech will mature to where ranges are comparable and infrastructure eliminates any left over anxieties. Just think, in a few years one day you will be on the road and there will be an ev in front, behind, and to the side of you, and they'll all be shooting dirty looks at you for fouling up the air with your clunky gasser.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry, I meant to reply to your post, but it came up as a new post. It looks like you made the same mistake. See my reply below.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The right-wing talk hosts and their listeners live on a different planet. They live in a wonderful where you can make up your own facts. There is no reality to interfere with their fantasies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't get too smug. Confirmation bias is a universal trait.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kudos to ABG for running a correction and clarification so promptly.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Years Ago
      @lne937s
      I did skim the article that you posted, and I believe its claims to just be wrong. It claims that solar and nuclear have crossed at about 16 cents per kw*hr. Solar is still far above that. You may be able to get better on large solar farms, but you will loose more than you gain due to transmission losses. Also, with large solar farms you have to account for the loss of usable or untouched land. The new solar farm planned in Florida and supported by Charlie Crist has a projected cost of around 30 cents per kw*hr. The person qouted in this article is an ecomist not an engineer. Solar collection comes with a very large real world diversity, and in most climates, you don't get the peak flow when you most need it, so you typically only offset the times of cheapest energy generation from other sources.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        "You may be able to get better on large solar farms, but you will loose more than you gain due to transmission losses. "

        No you don't. Transmission losses are rather small ... 5% or so.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        The "facts" supplied stated in the article he referenced are wrong. They were stated by a very optimistic economist, and they go against so many other reports on solar. Further, I am a mechanical engineer who does energy analysis calculations for energy code compliance and LEED certification. I, personally, have professional knowledge in this field and can tell you that the 16 cents per kw*hr claim is either wrong, represents a brand new breakthrough technology that hasn't made it to the marketplace yet, or that it calculates the cost after heavy subsidies.

        Why do you think it costs so much for so little benefit for the solar panel sunroof option on the Prius? Why do you think that of all the buildings that get built, only a few have solar cells? Why do you think power companies build coal, and push for nuclear, but only solar when government pays the bill. Conspiracy theory? Solar is expensive.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        I need to be more precise for the sake of clarity. As I stated previously in this thread, photovoltaic is the dominate solar technology. That is what I have knowledge in, and that is what I have been debating about. Specifically, my knowledge is point of use (rooftop) solar collection. I have personally crunched the numbers and performed the energy and economic analysis on these systems, so yes, I am serious.
        My professional knowledge is not in remote solar farms. I am only extrapolating my professional knowledge plus what I have personally read into that field.

        There are other forms of solar. Some generate electricity using parabolic mirrors. They claim to be economical, but then why are they therefore not dominate? There is also an entrepenuer in Australia that wants to create a giant "greenhouse" with a vertical draft "tower" in the middle that will use convection that will create enough wind to spin turbines.

        There is also solar to heat water. This is much more economical. Companies arescrambling to make rof mounted solar water heaters which may soon be mandated by many states residential energy codes. I personally, however prefer using heat of rejection from air conditioning or refrigeration (such as in grocery stores) condenser loop. That system is more widely used because it is even cheaper than solar and does not involve glass tubes on your roof which are suseptible to wind borne debris.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        In 2007, average transmission loss was estimated at around 6.5%, which you're right, is fairly small. I was surprised. I thought it was higher. However, the improvement in "investment dollars vs. electrity out" effeciency when comparing point of use (on your roof) collection to large remote solar farm collection is also very low, especially when the allocation of usable land is considered.

        I do know that transmission loss is higher with greater distance. Solar farms, like nuclear reactors are usually located far from point of use, so I would think that transmission losses would be higher.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        @Bip-D-Bo- Are you serious? Facts! lne937s and evnow gave you the facts, but you chose to dismiss them. Feel free to dis solar power all you want, but get your facts straight. You might lose fewer stars that way.

        Oh here is another little fact I found while doing some research. "As of 2010, solar photovoltaics generates electricity in more than 100 countries and, while yet comprising a tiny fraction of the 4800 GW total global power-generating capacity from all sources, is the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics

        So much for your fact that there aren't that many installations of solar power these days.
        BipDBo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Wow, look at me loose my stars! Oh, no! I guess most ABG readers don't like it when you dis solar power by stating the *gasp* facts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Doesn't Rush own a Maybach? Didn't the US subsidize Europe by rebuilding it under the Marshall Plan. So doesn't Rush own a car from a company that was subsidized by the US gubment?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Volt subsidize vs. Maybach, Marshall Plan. Wow, the weirdest comparison ever. EPIC

        Aren't all US citizens Europeans and Africans anyway? BS on the go!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think you're right, he said his car gets 8 miles to the gallon, probably a Maybach.

        I also wanted to point out that this post is misleading. Although I disagree with the man, and his comments are more misleading, and he clearly doesn't understand the vehicle, you can't argue that he thinks it will only go 40 miles. He states several times in his comments that, "then there's a backup gas tank that gives you 375 miles." If you're gonna knock the guy, at least get the facts right.

        Full transcript:
        http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_072810/content/01125106.guest.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        Volt subsidize vs. Maybach, Marshall Plan. Wow, the weirdest comparison ever. EPIC
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rush knows politics...thats why I listen to him.
      I was listening to him the other day when he was talking about the Volt...I knew he was wrong...it made me a little frustrated, but I dont listen to the man to learn about cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There's alot of people out their who know politics, and do the art of propaganda more skillfully. The guy is the radio equivalent of a sarcastic internet troll, though there is a large enough group that is so susceptible they need direct marching orders.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've found that most reporters are idiots when it comes to technology. They miss important facts or get them mixed up routinely. I guess Mr. Limbaugh qualifies as a reporter since his degree, if he has one, isn't in engineering.

      From an EV'er standpoint the Chevrolet (GM doesn't like the word Chevy) Volt is a joke. The 1999 GM EV1 got an EPA certified 140 miles on "inferior" NiMH batteries. Now in 2010 the best the same company can do is 40 on an "advanced" lithium battery. The range is so deplorable they had to add a generator that burns premium gas to make the car usable. And you pay for it to the tune of $41,000, enough to buy 2 cars, you are after all buying 2 drive trains where only 1 is needed. For $41k you can pick up a pretty nice BMW or Mercedes not a general purpose family vehicle.
        lasertekk
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed on reporters' abilities on certain subject/topic matters. However, politicians are even less educated tech and science-wise and certainly are not qualified to make any decisions centered on those disciplines.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My point about mentioning the EV1 is to point out that GM has done better in the past with old technology. Even the 1997 EV1 with lead acid batteries gets twice the range of the Volt once good batteries were installed. Granted the EV1 was more of a sports car but they had built a 4 seat prototype in 2003.

        GM did America a great disservice by destroying the EV1 and stopping all EV research. As the biggest member of the Automobile Manufacturers Association (or whatever they call themselves) coerced all of the other manufacturers into destroying their EV's as well. If it wasn't GM it was the oil companies.

        So here we are 8 years later. Stuck with out of control oil prices. Whatever the price is we have to pay it. Why, because we have no alternatives. The fastest and cheapest solution to the problem was wiped out in 2003.

        All we have is promises that EV's are coming. Meanwhile oil (aka fuel) prices are rising again. No significant numbers of alternative fuel vehicles exist to fall back on. I ask, is America better without EV's?

        As a side note the Chinese are going to beat out both American and Japanese car makers to the market. The Weego Life will be on the road before the Volt or the Leaf and at a cheaper price. GM handed the EV lead to foreign companies on a silver platter.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Randy, the EV1 was a little 2 seat coupe, not a full sized, four door family sedan.

        And the MSRP (even though you were not allowed to buy it) was $34,000 in 1996, which in 2009 dollars is over $46,000.

        By contrast the Volt costs $41,000, and after the tax credit costs only $33,500.

        So for $12,500 less in real terms, you get a bigger, more practical vehicle, with a longer range.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I also wonder why GM didn't make a EV2 using newer LiFePO4 batteries, but built as an aerodynamic car like the EV1 was. If they sold it for $25k (before gov rebate, which I might agree with Rush that GM just increased their price by $7500), They would get a lot of people buying it. And they could have sold it in 2008.

        Now I'm wondering how far a new EV1 would be able to travel on a SCiB or LiFePO4 battery pack with a large number of aH.

        (And Rush did like driving the Ford Focus EV when he was on Jay Leno's 10pm show. But, I'm sure he is getting some kickbacks from the oil lobby to push their agenda.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        As a Republican Ideologue he let's the Saudi Funded Republican Party do his thinking for him.

        Until you start demanding Republican fund raisers refuse Saudi Money this is what you're going to get.

        - Global Warming Denial
        - Massive balance of trade issue
        - Anti advanced tech, on everything from EV's to insulation to energy efficient homes and windows.

        By protecting Saudi interests against American interests,
        he promotes the ability of Oil to make No Investment in Future technology,
        allowing China to control and retain all future job growth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As an owner of an Insight,
        I'll tell you the Volt has the advantage of being the MOST Advanced design on the market.

        Running a Large Electric Motor, with incredible Torque, puts it at the top of the list.
        Plus you get a plug, and can run virtually gas free for 90% of your usage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        rcappo said, "I'm sure he is getting some kickbacks from the oil lobby to push their agenda."

        You really think that Limbaugh personally hates oil, but is taking money to pretend to love it?

        Limbaugh signed an 8 year, $400 million contract in 2008. He doesn't need anybody's money.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes, I know that at the beginning of the 20th centuries there were many electric cars. Gasoline, steam and electric cars were in a technology race similar to VHS vs. Beta or battery vs. hydrogen. Gas won out, and for about a century, was the only real option. The electric car technology of the early 1900s only lived on in the form of todays golf carts or NEVs. The EV-1 was a case study that showed that even recently battery cars were not viable for mainstream transportation.

      Only since the vast improvment in battery technology from lithium cells, have electric cars become viable again. For the first time in a century, electric cars have a chance at being a viable alternative to gas. There is a huge amount of money being spent right now in this field, so yes, it is an emerging technology.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've been frustrated by the Right's over-identification of the Volt with Obama. Because this car is being released during Obama's term, many feel obligated to oppose it and look for the flimsiest excuses to do so. There's constant talk of it as an Obama-mobile, etc., treating it as something the government is force-feeding us, etc.

      They ignore that it was begun in 2006, in the Bush Administration, when the GOP controlled both houses. Not that GM started it because the government told it to then either - it was reacting to Tesla's breakthroughs. Good old fashioned capitalist competition.

      And Bob Lutz, the father of the Volt who had been pushing for it since 2003, wasn't the kind of guy to be pushed around by government. In fact he retired in 2009 because of frustration that the Obama Administration was pressuring GM to make cars that bureaucrats wanted rather than cars that the public wanted.

      If the USSR had had 78% of world oil reserves, I think most conservatives would have supported moving heaven and earth to get off oil ASAP to bankrupt our enemies. We need to do a better job making this a non-partisan issue, and making the Right realize that OPEC is just as sinister an enemy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm Conservative. I don't like oil or OPEC. I'm all-in for BEVs, PHEVs and CNG
        cars. I think GM is going to have a problem selling Volts, so maybe they should
        switch to something they already make for other countries: CNG vehicles; and
        let somebody else (Ford) make the BEVs if GM can't do it. I'm sick of
        dependence on foreign petroleum. I think that either buying or converting
        a vehicle to a fuel (electrons, CNG) that eliminates our dependence on
        despotic governments is one of the most patriotic things a citizen must do.

        By the way, someone was talking about Big Oil taking and holding the NiMH
        battery patent so that the technology could never be used for EVs. In
        case you haven't heard, NiMH technology patents have reverted back to
        the original holder.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It is not the USSR anymore but Russia does now produce just as much oil as Saudi Arabia today.

        Yeah . . . some of the biggest oil producers are Russia (some 10 million barrels/day), Saudi Arabia (also ~10mbpd), other Muslim/Arab countries, Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, and Canada. OK, Canada is our friend but the rest of them are not exactly our friends and they are getting wealthy off us. I don't understand why that is such a blind spot on the right . . . you'd think they would be upset by that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's not about the Volt. it's about the bailout of GM and Chrysler. The bailout was strictly a pay back for the UAW, their pensions were secured while the bond holders got the shaft. That's the over riding issue. Had GM and Chrysler been liquidated there would have been some job loss, but the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, Saab and Jeep brands would have survived, albeit owned by different companies. As for Rush, he is an entertainer with a large following. The right to express your ignorance falls under free speech.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But if McCain, Romney, or whoever had won in 2008, there would have been no prioritizing of unions over bondholders. There would probably have been no union ownership of the two companies, and no or less federal ownership and influence as well.

        And GM would have come out with the Volt anyway, as it had been planning to all along.

        Obama may be racing to have his photo taken with this milestone vehicle, but he deserves little if any blame or credit for it.
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