• Dec 18, 2010
2011 Chevrolet Volt power button
But what all the debates leave out is the discussion about GM's right to take a leadership position on a new way to drive, and the unknown number of consumers who may also want to take a leadership position in their neighborhoods and workplaces.

I know it sounds corny, but Volt buyers are going to push the envelope to prove to themselves and their friends that electric driving is feasible. They will charge up overnight when electricity is cheapest. They will seek out places to recharge at work, the mall, parking lots. They will likely show loyalty to retailers that offer, for public relations benefits, a place to plug a car in while customers shop.

I feel sorry for Volt buyers who will be full-time explainers for the foreseeable future. But that's what they signed up for.
Early adopters of the Chevy Volt will undoubtedly try to maximize their electric driving, though they will do so without range anxiety (the fear of running out of juice). They will post to their Facebook pages, talk about it at neighborhood parties and backyard barbecues the way people have talked about their all-wheel-drive experiences plowing through snowstorms in their Subaru.

As the owner of a Volkswagen Jetta TDI, I can attest that I can find myself being a walking explainer and ambassador for clean diesel. "But you can't find it everywhere, right?" Argh. Of course, you can, I say. I have never run out of fuel, and I never will. I feel sorry for Volt buyers who will be full-time explainers for the foreseeable future. But that's what they signed up for.

2011 Chevrolet Volt engine

Now, the discussion is about extended-range electrics. Soon, discussion about the feasibility of natural gas vehicles will heat up, I predict. Replacing 3.5 million medium and heavy vehicles with natural gas vehicles by 2035 would keep the U.S. from importing about 1.2 million barrels of day, or more than is currently being imported from Saudi Arabia daily, according to a report by the Center for American Progress.

Payback on investments toward increasing electric and natural gas driving may be hard to justify at the moment. And they may not excite the boosters of horsepower. But there is a vocal minority in the country that would like the opportunity to make the case in the next decade that getting off foreign oil is a good thing for our country.

Tax credits and other incentives to bring start-up costs down make sense because the government is an interested party. After all, if the U.S. didn't need Middle East oil, far fewer combat service members would be needed.

***

David Kiley, the author of this post, an award winning journalist, covers the auto industry from Ann Arbor, MI. He has followed the industry for 25 years, and held posts including Detroit Bureau Chief for USA Today and senior correspondent for BusinessWeek. He is also the author of two books on the industry: Getting The Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall and Comeback of Volkswagen in America [John Wiley and Sons 2001], and Driven: Inside BMW, The Most Admired Car Company in the World [Wiley, 2004].


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  • 50 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Had this van 4 months ago having previously had the 2009 130 4 motion. Not as punchy as the 130 and has to be driven hard. Awful for towing no guts at all. Good mpg, but the build quality is also poor, lots of rattles from the dash and the radio doesn’t pick up any decent signal. £26k with a few extra’s wish I had gone for something different now! To add insult to injury these vans can not be re-mapped without VW knowing as the ECU has to be opened up, typical!! http://www.usedtruckstogo.com/
      tbirdal
      • 4 Years Ago
      What is the reason for buying an electric car? To avoid paying for gas and to save one the expense of the fuel and oil. It kind of defeats the main reason for buying an electric car, if the purchase price is so much higher than conventionally powered vehicles it would take 10-12 years of driving the electric car to make up the difference. the chevy Cruze , for example , gets pretty good mpg and costs about $20K less than the Volt. I won't bore people with the math , but I calculated that I would only save $800 per in fuel between the two cars. At that rate it might take me even longer to make up the difference between the two cars. Years ago I bought a rechargeable lawn mower and was glad to get it even though it cost $200 more than a gas mower. I could afford that difference. I can't afford nor do I want to pay an extra $20K for a car. Yes , i know there is a possible tax credit but that is the maximum credit and I might not be eligible for any credit let alone the maximum amount. then there is sales taxes which is assessed on the total price before any credits and the price of the Volt goes even higher. In short I won't even be looking at a Volt because of the price and it won't even be available in my state until 2012. Of course if the tax credit is increased to $20K , I might reconsider.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tbirdal
        Spec - "Tell us by what magic you know what the price of gas will be next year, the year after that, and the year after than, and so on for the next 12 years.

        If you have that ability, then you have no need to save money because you can make millions on the futures markets.

        But the truth is, you really don't know . . . you are making a bad guess."

        Actually TBird is absolutely correct buying the Volt is a waste of money, not that people don't waste tons of money on their cars here in the U.S., and they're entitled to do so if they can afford to. If you think you have even the slightest possibility of saving money than you have been extremely mislead.

        Here's a financially better deal, by the Cruze which is essentially the same car for $20k less and then invest 1/2 of that ($10,000) into a pure E&P stock with good reserves (not a vertically integrated company). If oil plummets then you will break even or save money on fuel with the Cruze over the higher priced electricity. If oil stays flat then the earnings (or distributions in the case of an MLP) will pay for the difference in fuel costs. If oil rises substantially you will end up getting your fuel costs covered entirely by earnings and capital gains. If oil skyrockets you'll end up getting your Cruze for free. So worst case oil crashes, your stock goes bankrupt, you end up spending the same or less on fuel w/ the Cruze but you saved $10k (Obviously if Uncle Sam gave you $7500 your savings would be less).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @tbirdal
        tbirdal,
        Most people have a car budget, and the Volt is out of reach for many. Criticizing the Volt for not being within your budget is not valid criticism, and I think you know that, so you pretend that you are criticizing on value. What makes a BMW worth more than a Saturn or a Cruze? All new technology has higher costs in terms of research, design, and testing and usually early adopters are willing to pay a premium to get this new technology. If lowest price was the only consideration we would all be driving Yugos. People choose their car on many features that are important to them, and price is only one of those factors.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tbirdal
        Tbird, actually I believe you're overestimating the potential savings. I just checked SCE's rate plans, if you went to the expense of a 2nd meter and 240V charging circuit ($1500-2000) and charge only at Off-Peak hours you would still pay ~$.125/kW vs. current $3.30/gal if you drove 30mi round trip 7 days/week city&hwy ~11k mi/yr and got EPA estimated mileage (93mi/33.7kwh), a lot of if's and ideal circumstances, you would spend ~$500/yr on electricity. Rates would vary w/ Summer Peak rates of $.355/kwh costs could be nearly triple at times.

        A comparably equipped Cruze would be ~$18k cheaper, with very comparable performance and actually slightly more room for all passengers. At 31mpg combined mileage the same driving example above would give you an annual fuel cost of $1170 or a maximum savings of $670/yr. Not including the $7500 tax credit total additional cost of $21,250-21,750 (including sales tax not including additional insurance premiums) you would never be able to recoup the investment. Including the $7500 credit you would still have an additional cost of $13,750-14,250 to recover which would take longer than the car would last, including even a modest 5% loss of use on the investment the loss of use of the ~$14,000 would exceed any possible fuel savings.

        So people who wish to buy this vehicle as a statement are free to do so, but don't be mislead that it would ever possibly be a wise use of the money. Invest in insulation, dual pane windows, solar panels, wind turbines or something else if you wish to make a positive difference and not waste your money.

        Here is another way to go if you have a longer commute (depending on where you live), 6 months ago I purchased a 2010 Honda Civic GX for my son for college it has a practical range of ~220 miles (260 is the longest he's gone between fill-ups on a trip back from Las Vegas). He now has 21,000 miles on it w/ an average savings of ~$.75/gal (CNG vs gasoline) and average of 32 mpg. Savings to date ~$500, initial cost additional $6950 compared to Civic LX, tax rebate = $4,000, so I have about $2500 to go to break-even and he gets to use carpool lanes solo till Jan 1, 2015 the time savings and additional fuel savings will be a huge pay-off. A more reliable home filling appliance than the Phill is currently in federal testing, once it is available almost anybody in the country would benefit from lower fuel costs (~$1-1.25/GGE - http://www.natgascar.com/products.php).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @tbirdal
        Tell us by what magic you know what the price of gas will be next year, the year after that, and the year after than, and so on for the next 12 years.

        If you have that ability, then you have no need to save money because you can make millions on the futures markets.

        But the truth is, you really don't know . . . you are making a bad guess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @tbirdal
        I think you are making a huge assumption that the only reason for buying an electric car is to save money. I can think of a number of reasons that are not related to operating costs that would cause any number of sane people to purchase an electric car.

        And once you take that metric out of the running as the only incentive then, well, the possibilities become much more interesting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really don't see the Volt as having much vision, despite all the reiterated GM PR-speak. It tries to adapt a product to a current consumption paradigm. At best it is a transitional technology. A half-measure. It is a cynical compromise between fear of change and change happening.

      The true EV is a transformational technology and the companies that are making it happen are showing vision. Nissan not only has developed a mass-market electric car, but they have developed a quick charger for less than $20k (a fraction of the price of a gas pump), and are working in partnerships to make infrastructure happen. Japan already has the country connected with quick-charging infrastructure and Nissan has placed additional publically available Level III quick chargers at dealerships throughout the country to connect it again for the Japanese LEAF launch tomorrow- making EV roadtrips possible with just a few 20 min stops along the way. More infrastructure is going in place every day.

      If the Volt came out when there were no mass-marketable EV's, then it would have shown vision. Gen II electric vehicles in development at Nissan with twice the energy density are scheduled for 2014, before the Volt has any hope of reaching profitability. As Nissan/Renault starts EV production to ramp up to ten times the global production of the Volt and its derrivitives, the Volt can't claim to show vision.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am not going to disparage the Leaf, as I applaud any automaker for advancing the technology and development of the electric car. However, for where the majority of this country is right now in its transportation and fueling infrastructure, I personally think the Volt makes sense. Yes, it is a transitional technology. I don't think any rational person would debate that. Does that necessarily make it bad, or backward? No. It's simply an acknowledgment of the current situation, and makes a reasonable compromise to help get us to "the next step".

        Also, in regard to the "Quick Charge" feature on the Leaf (I assume you're referring to the 440-volt charger) even Nissan itself has admitted repeated high-voltage charging at this setting will quickly degrade the battery, never mind the fact that 440v chargers are nearly impossible to find. Is the Volt perfect? No. But neither is the Leaf.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Making excuses for failure is how losing is done. In Japan, they started Level III quick charging years ago. They already have the country connected multiple times over. And currently they are in the process of scaling up for mass adoption. We may not have the population density of Japan, but because we have a bigger challenge isn't a legitimate excuse for having for putting forth a fraction of the effort and having a fraction of the total charging infrastructure available. A bigger challenge means we should be trying harder.

        Level III charging does put more stress on the battery, but even when it is available people rarely use it other than for long trips because charging at home is cheaper and more convenient. Nissan claimed that quick charging multiple times every day would create significant battery degradation, but that is highly unlikely for typical users. As such, level III charging seen in tests so far has had negligible impact on battery life.

        Compromise vehicles may be acceptable from some perspectives, but it is not showing "vision". We need to stop making excuses and vehicles that compensate for shortcommings and start working toward a leadership position. If we weren't diverting so much money to oil and ethanol subsidies, we could make major progress. The fact of the matter is by the time GM's compromise half-measure vehicle has gained traction, the leading automakers will have moved the ball.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree that the plea for praise on the vision thing is misplaced and a little pitiful in asking for praise. What we have with the Volt is a plug in hybrid, no more, no less. A little praise for being the first to market with one. Not much in the vision department since they had ample models to emulate in the after market. There are lots of demerits in the vision department for repeatedly saying it is an electric car and implying that the engine provided power only for the battery. No praise for that. Other vision demerits in my opinion: Conventional styling to match their other internal combustion engine cars, predictable pricing penalty for potential purchasers, planning only for limited production, little engineering expenditure on the very conventional range extending engine which is surprisingly inefficient when being used.

        Seems to me that vision is exactly where they failed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As usual, well put, Ine937. Wincross, agreed. IMO. Vision? I see Vision, the same vision as the last time they put a electric motor in a car. There vision seems to be, "lets build a car with a electric motor in it so we can attack EV's and discredit them in our add campaign. Last time around they made scary commercials for the EV1, this time around they just flat out indicate to the uninformed public theat EV's are bad and are not functional without a ICE on board. I would say their vision has not changed since the EV1.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Just a thought: you can't just take what "Japan is doing" and aaply it to the US.

        "Japan already has the country connected with quick-charging infrastructure"...

        Which is all well-and-good, except that the size and population density of Japan can make things happen much easier than in the US.

        To wit: Japan's physical size is somewhat smaller than the size of California alone. Yet despite that, Japan's population is almost 5 times more (150 million vs. 37 million). Hence, having a relative lack of resources (it is an island nation, after all) and more "mouths to feed" can encourage more green activity, such as distributing electric vehicle chargers nationally and developing public transit.

        In any case, distributing the costs of the electric chargers needed is more easily done when distributed over a much larger population. And besides, who would you think would pay to install a set of chargers on the LA-Las Vegas route in the Mojave desert, for example? Relatively few people live there, and until electric cars make more inroads in the US there will still be a chicken-and-egg problem we'll have to overcome for the less-densely-populated parts of America - which is probably why the Volt will find a potential market in the interim.

      • 4 Years Ago
      QUOTE: '' GM hasn't had a leadership vehicle like this in a long time. And Ackerson is insistent that we have that '' .

      I said early-on to include a small home biofuel maker and a windmill and a solar panel to fuel and recharge this car and the complete house. This add 300$ to 1000$ to the price approx and can get rid or 20 000$ or more in stupid energy costs and pollution. Is that clear or not ??

      Don't buy any gm, ford, tata, chrsler, bridd and stratton, boeing, pratt and whitney, white tractor-trailer, caterpillar, honda, toyota, fisker-karma, mitshubishi, etc, products until they include the necessary apperatus that should come with the car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You know how to create all the electricity to run a house for only $1000? Where I live windmills are not allowed, and solar is the only viable option. This is more like $10k to $20k. Can you tell me how to do this for $1k?
      • 4 Years Ago
      fnc,

      Nice write-up. Let's look at some numbers.

      The article said:

      Volt users are finding they can recharge a battery in about eight hours on a regular 110-volt household outlet.

      If they can charge the car on a standard circuit, figure 25 amps at 100 volts (with loss) gets you 2,500 watts of power/hour, or 2.5 kw. Clearly, after 8 hours, there will be 20 kwh of power available.

      From basic physics, we know that 746 watts is equal to 1 h.p. To make the numbers "nice" figure 1,000 watts. You can recalculate with more accurate numbers if you wish.

      'Pears to ME that you've got 20 h.p. for an hour, or some combination thereof (e.g. 10 h.p. for two hours).

      I wouldn't try to pass anyone with that.

      How about comparing this vehicle with a 20 h.p. gasoline engine? or even a 10 h.p. I'll bet the mileage of the gasoline vehicle would be quite high. Wouldn't pollute much either. The old v.w. was air cooled (no problems with heating) and had 36 h.p. and got rather good mileage.

      I suggest to you that the pollution caused by disposing of all those old batteries is gonna cause some real problems.

      Incidently, has anyone ever considered what is going to happen to the electric grid when everyone gets home at 5 o'clock and plugs in their car?

      always,
      tony

      • 4 Years Ago
      When I read some of the comments on this post I'm breathless. Lack of vision is death.
      I leave in Europe and was born there. But I always loved the US and visit you as often as I can. But in cars like in mobile phones as well as other things, Europe and the US had divereged big times over the last 20 years, and only recently started to converge again, for the better.
      On cars, divergence came from the fact that Europe had set huge taxes on petrol since last petrol chocs, essentially using taxes to keep Europeans away from massive oil burning trucks that had a huge success in the US with largest SUVs and Pick Ups, and force our best European Brands, especially Germans, to move to more diesel, and optimize their engines to burn less and less oil instead of always more.
      If petrol had not peaked, terrorism not happened, nor global warming arguments shown up, and taxes had stayed the same, we could have diverged for ever. But this happened, and although we're not sure Global Warming is as serious an issue as ecologists say, we now know oil is a limitted supply and has peaked, and it's meant to become more and more rare and expensive, with or without taxes added on top, and it is in the hands of un-friendly people that nobody wants to help any more, for the short term benefits of a few oil famillies.
      I'm a mechanical engineer who moved to IT business, I mean sales, but remain passionate in engineering. Looking at my next car, to replace my beloved BMW 530D that could not last more than 1 -2 Years more, I dream of something more efficiant than an ICE car. But I can only have 1 car since in my big city I only have 1 carpark. So I see the full electric Leaf as a pure gadget today, only usable as 2nd car for local commutings and shared fleets, ... at least before fast-charging 500+ Miles batteries may become available at acceptable cost. The best concept today for me is the VOLT, a real Plug In EV with (almost) all electric tracting engine, PLUS Extended Range. It's really a leadership and inspiring product, that is best optimizing the current constrains (Far too expensive hence too smal batteries), and showing the right direction to the World. Of course if you assume you have the 500 Miles battery now and it cost nothing, you can see it as pure crap. But that does not exist, and batteries improvements will take years. EESTOR seams to have been just a dream. Lithium Air may be the winner ...but it will be available for cars in only 5 to 10 years from now. GM just needs to offer more formfactors using that genius Voltec power train, while timely improving the battery capacity, and the generator power, so battery can be recharged while on extended range.
      I'm not a tax lover, but in this case it makes huge senses to pay for that huge tax credit. GM invested Billion of $ to develop that leadership concept. Once that investment will be recovered, such cars should cost less than regular cars, not just on Total Cost of Ownership, also on manuf costs, still keeping the battery aside. Artificially masking that temporary investment recovery cost with large tax rewards makes sense and will allow this concept to benefit much more people, much more fastly. Enjoy what you have guys.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Replacing 3.5 million medium and heavy vehicles with natural gas vehicles by 2035 would keep the U.S. from importing about 1.2 million barrels of day,"

      You Ameicans never cease to crack me up. You think you have 25 years to deal with this? You're delusional. What makes you think you are even going to be able to continue importing oil? With what money?

      In two years these old debates over electric vs. oil are going to seem SOOOO ridiculous, and America will be rudely awakened to how badly she has been shafted out of ALL of her wealth.

      All money is debt. The only value money has is how well the citizens of a country can service their sovereign debt, by working to make new money via new debt. When the debt piled on debt becomes so large that citizens can't even service the INTEREST on their sovereign dent, the currency becomes worthless. Based on the debt to GDP ratio of the US, the dollar is WORTHLESS. Soon America is going to be coming back to reality and realize that it simply isn't going to even have the OPTION to import oil, since it will have nothing of value to exchange it for! Then people will be scrambling for EV's!

      Stop listening to the news!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I do not believe the average American thinks there will be the same oil supply in 2035 as there is today. Evidence to-day is that oil peaked in 2006, and we are looking at only 5 years before prices start rising dramatically.

        All money is loaned into existence. This policy ensures that countries and most people are in debt and have no option but to keep increasing that debt until bankruptcy. This is an unsustainable system. Not only is it loaned into existence, but from private banks.

        There is only one solution, repeal the laws that gave banks the right to create money. Right now banks are allowed to loan $90 for each $10 they have in assets. They should only be allowed to loan the money in their vaults.

        Governments world wide need to take back their right to create money. Inflation and deflation are best controlled by the amount of new money created, not interest rates. Governments should create just enough new money to keep inflation near zero. This money could be spent directly by the government to pay for any expense without a requirement to repay and no interest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If anybody doubts the "vision" thing, vision this.

      America is bent over a barrel taking it in the *$$ from every two-bit despot using oil for blackmail. Every time we say "uncle", they smile and pull the rod out a little bit, knowing they are in the meantime getting wealthier and wealthier even as we suffer here with recession and stagnation.

      To all you Americans who think you are patriots but criticize ANYTHING that saves us from that "vision" above, why do you hate America? Why do you love Hugo, Mahmoud, the House of Saud or Vladamir. Every time you whine and cry about about electric cars and hybrids, you put a smile on their face...and another fine young American soldier is killed protecting our oil interests with the same money you pour into that gas pump. (and no, buying oil from Canada does not exempt you from the guilt you deserve, it is a world marketplace)

      If you loved your country, your way of life, you would embrace and welcome this technology with all your heart. To do otherwise is unpatriotic.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Amen. I've always wandered how anyone could justify sending money to people who hated them.

        I think people got confused because many powerful US conservative families (cough...Bush...cough) were in the oil business. Therefore, what was against their interest was against America. Also, for them, anything Obama does, including championing electric cars, is automatically bad.

        ----

        Even with all the compromises, the Volt could become a era-defining car for GM. For the first time in a long time, GM has a leadership position in *something* and if they don't capitalize on it, Nissan will.

        Also, they should stop confusing the message and drop that hydrogen and natural gas crap.
        • 3 Years Ago
        William, while I would accept NG as an alternative, your post is so full of false myths regarding EV, it's not even worthwhile responding. BTW, this is over 2 months od and nobody is looking anymore.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Nick, if you want to get off the oil addiction the only choice for the next 20 years would be Nat Gas. CNG/LNG is viable and cost effective today, not tomorrow, not in 10 or more years like electric vehicles. As NRB states below the Chevy Volt / Nissan Leaf, etc are dismal failures if ROI is important, could they be a step in the right direction? Possibly but I doubt it, there are still way too many caveats.

        Bottom line is mass adoption of electric vehicles currently represents bigger problems than the reliance on oil. Simple put to make EV's effective and cost efficient requires major use of rare-metals, these rare metals are in far less supply than oil. ~95% of all of these rare metals from known deposits exist in China, they have realized this and have already started to up the tariffs upon them.

        Further more there is far more pollution from the manufacture and use of EV's than a comparable CNG powered vehicle - From the vast waste lands known as nickel mines to the increased burning of coal (Majority of US electricity generation). Ever wonder why the Honda Civic GX has been voted the Greenest vehicle sold in the US for the past 10 years.

        The electrical grid in the U.S. is failing, outdated, and over-burdened, where as we have the most advanced and greatest NG transportation system in the world.

        So adoption of EV's as a strategic goal is adoption of further dependence on China in lieu of the Middle-East, where we could be relying on ourselves and the abundant cheap resources we have at hand instead. It is a fool's effort to over-tax a failing electrical grid instead of the under utilized NG distribution system in place. With electricity you have loss across the grid and in storage that you simply do not have with NG.

        Many countries already have realized this and are far ahead of us in the move to CNG/LNG (or even LPG as many European Nations), Pakistan & Brazil are 2 with extensive use, Germany w/ bio-methane, Israel & Iran are planning nationwide infrastructure, even China is building out their LNG infrastructure faster than we are. Fact is there are dozens of countries w/ greater use of NG for transportation as percentage of use than the U.S.

        Will this equation change over time very possibly yes 20+ years in the future, France has relied on nuclear power (fission) for over 20 years for over 75% of total electricity generation, they are now embarking on the 1st large scale Fusion reactor as a test of it's productive capabilities. Battery technology will evolve, but there are many other obstacles that must be overcome and either replacements for the rare-metals or new resources in stable/friendly political environments must be found. IMHO it would make far more sense to use these rare metals in power generation such as wind turbines than to simply waste them on batteries and magnets etc in vehicles.

        This is the first competitor in the CNG home filling market that may revitalize this endeavor delivering a faster/superior/longer lasting/easier serviceable product - http://www.natgascar.com/products.php - currently in federal testing, should be available by late 2011. Great video on the safety of CNG cylinders.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Tweaker, obviously I know the date of the article, but it is still being touted in their featured list, hence how I stumbled upon it today. As far as myths go you need to do a little homework as everything I stated is proven fact, there are not enough proven reserves worldwide to equip the 500 million cars on the road with batteries, efficient magnets for generation and motors etc.

        Now will more reserves be found? Of course they will just like oil/gas/gold or any other resource. My point is of known reserves we have a greater supply in terms of reserves vs demand of natural gas than oil and oil compared to the needs of EV's. So currently people are talking about "Peak Oil" in our future and are wondering if we are trading off to a "Peak Lithium" or a "Peak Neodium" or in the case of cheap solar panels "Peak Tellurium". Again my point is why not invest the dollars in converting vehicles to the resource that is both affordable and the most abundant worldwide.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Volt detractors on this forum have clearly not experienced the car itself. They're just stuck in the past and hating GM for specious reasons. The more you sound off against the Volt, the more idiotic you make yourself look in the long run.

      I own a Volt, I love it, and it's actually the greatest hope for widespread electric vehicle acceptance. The relatively short leash on all other EV-only offerings is abhorrent to most American drivers, and it will keep them for a while in a narrow and fringe niche. Also remember that this is Volt 1.0. Can it be improved? Of course, and I'm sure it will be. But the level to which this car is already engineered is astonishing, and the quality is first rate.

      I have just 3 more words for the Volt haters out there: get over it!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I was originally a strong proponent of the Chevy Volt, but at this point am convinced that it was practically obsolete on the day it was launched.
        This was due to the inability of GM to understand the economics of EVs
        in general, and batteries in particular. At a time when batteries were exorbitantly expensive, as they were when the Volt program first began,
        it made sense to design the car as an EREV. Those were the days of $1000
        plus for each kWhr of battery capacity. Those days are gone forever, with Tesla currently paying $200 for the same capacity. GM still pays over $600
        for the Volt batteries. And anyone who buys into the Volt is buying into proprietary hell - no one makes those batteries except LG, and in 10 years, it's highly unlikely they will still be produced at all. And the Volt's design foolishly constructed a battery pack that cannot be expanded. The Volt
        has managed to bring together in one car the worst of all possible worlds -
        not one, but TWO completely separate drivetrains and , unbelievably, a battery pack of small size and power, that takes forever to recharge. How they managed to do that is a complete mystery, since fast recharging battery packs have been available 3 years before the Volt was put on
        the road. The Volt seems designed to take advantage of all the ignorance out there in the buying public about electric cars. And most hilarious of all is the fact that GM did all this in order to reduce "range anxiety." The Volt has a driving range of 300 miles but, guess what? The all-electric Tesla Model S will have a driving range that's also 300 miles. And the Tesla can be recharged in less than 1 hour, making it every bit as much a long distance traveller as the Volt. I hate to mention this to someone who already has been conned into paying $42K for what amounts to a $15K vehicle, but
        the YouTube videos of the Model S shows the consumer what can be accomplished if people with brains are involved in the process. The Model S can easily outcompete any BMW 7 series or upper end MB out there.
        And it only costs 28% more than the Volt. Now perhaps you understand why
        first adopters or those looking to broadcast their "energy conscientiousness"
        would be well served to pay attention to what they're buying and give up the non-sensical idea that it will make one whit's worth of difference whether you buy a green vehicle now or a year (or five years) from now.


      • 4 Years Ago
      And seriously, has nobody here ever worked with a lobbyist before or had one advise them. Girsky knows what he is doing- he isn't just venting. Let me translate: "We want to show technological leadership, and I'm pushing for it along with our leadership, but we are just under so much financial pressure that the board is reluctant to go along with it....(unsaid, but implied: if only there was some way to relieve the financial burdon, like that $14.4 Billion in new DOE loans we are requesting to fund technological development.)"

      Kind of like the kid who is complaining about how they really want to do their homework, but the computer is just too slow (after asking for a new computer). I'm sure many parents can insert a similar situation. The "remarkablly candid" remarks to the public are a way to bolster GM's case for the additional government money they have asked for.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good grief!

        The biggest enemy of the EV, is it's own environmentalist supporters!

        GM, goes ahead, for whatever reason, and builds a practical, working EV, as does Nissan, Mitsubishi, Renault, Peugeot, Toyota and smaller makers like Blade, Think, Tesla, etc..

        So how do those who have pontificated for years about 'Who Killed the Electric Car' greet this exciting advance ?

        Yeah, that's right the usual whining, snide, armchair expert comments. The same tired old crap, ranging from how much better they could do if only some completely mad official put them in charge. This is followed by the even more clichéd anti-capitalist conspiracy theory, and rounded out with the smug indignation of proudly proclaiming their refusal pay a premium to support the development of a product, compatible with the ideals they have boring everyone with for years!

        (Oh, and of course, endless sneering at the Hybrid, range extended 'compromise!')

        Lets face it! Nothing would be good enough for these sort of whingers, especially if it was produced by GM!

        If you can't spare an extra $30 pwk to drive an environmentally friendly product, then that the thirty pieces of silver of silver your values are worth!

        Hey, I got an idea! Don't like GM or your fellow US workers? Build your own EV? Too hard? Yeah, I thought so!

        Toyota, is to be praised for popularising acceptance of the EV concept though the Prius, and more cunningly the Lexus prestige brand. Toyota knew that armchair environmentalists were a valueless market, and instead bet on those people already successful and adventurous in life who still wanted to opt for interesting new technology, some moral worth, but practical value.

        The smartest guy in the EV industry, is William Clay Ford. Bill Ford (and cousin Edsel) have been successfully investing personally in the development EV's for the commercial market for over twenty years.

        He chose this market because he wouldn't have to put up with the sort of nonsense that has greeted GM's Volt! He understood that business would buy commercials on commonsense not esoteric rubbish! Business also has money!

        Do these US citizens get any credit? Hell no! Not from the armchair experts, conspiracy loving know-it-all's.

        Vision? Vision must be tampered with reality! The majority of these posts criticising the Volt, lack any sense of reality or the understanding of the dynamics of mass manufacturing. Instead of supporting a relatively well made and competitive US product, these clowns whinge on with the same old unrealistic, what if, conspiracy theories.

        The reason they can spout this rubbish, is that they have no idea of the complexity, difficulties and factors that contribute to manufacturing a volume production automobile,profitably, let alone an EV!

        The reward for GM and Nissan, this time round, is the eager acceptance of the Volt by those looking for a better looking, more electric Prius. (some are even patriotic enough to support US workers, and industry by buy their nations product!).

        Hell, I'm Australian, and I already own a PIBEV (Blade Electron,($48,000) a rental fleet of Vectrix, and a Lexus 450h, and several EV modified trucks 7 Prius), but when the local GM (Holden) dealer releases a right hand drive Volt, I will be the first in the queue.

        No tax subsidies either in my state!

        I have already ordered 6 Nissan Leaf(ves?) for our London office.

        So stop whinging and put your money where your mouth is!(or should be).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am a physicist at Groom Lake NV airbase and work in continued refinement of zero point energy systems in many flying vehicles we use today for many classified objectives. When our government decides to have a full disclosure and declassification of this data in the near future, we will avoid the coming oil crisis that is intent on world economy destabilization. This technology will eliminate any need for oil, gas, coal and electric batteries.
      We have refined this energy usage over the last 37 years for use in forms of transportation of automobiles and aircraft and are ready to meet all of the world's energy needs if our political construct can move forward to enable a new way of life for all of the people of this earth. It has not been easy for our government to move forward at any reasonable pace due to disclosure restraints it has imposed on itself to protect the economy from a possible immense failure by its citizens knowledge that we have are not alone in this galaxy and we are now emerging new members of a larger community of beings of people that span the entire galaxy that is constantly being explored by them helping others as they have been helping us here on earth. I eagerly await the day of disclosure so we can end these years of painful discourse and join our friends from above in a common new peaceful stage of development so we can emerge into the galaxy with mankind as a co partner in all exploration activities in the next century. Please keep a open mind and rest assured this day is coming within the next 4 years as the presidents latest executive order will provide immunity for all military and scientific personnel who come forward and testify and reconciliation with all the unknown will become known to all.
      Dr R, H******
        • 4 Years Ago
        Im not a physisist but a el-cheapo car consumer, which equal in my point of view the competance and knowledge of physisists, traders, journalists, politicians, car technicians, car engineers, car and lawn-mower mecanicians,inventors, etc.

        The u.f.o and aliens should not be deceive by us, if they discover that we paid for fuels and especially if we have to preserve it and import it from hostile contries. How can we go into another galaxy if we have m.p.g and pollution problems ?? This is a shame, having to pay for fuels. This shame is named gm, toyota, porsche, aston-martin, pacific gas and electricity, tony karts, bridgg and stratton, detroit diesel, mercedes, daihashu, bic lighters, etc.

        Don't buy any fuel cost products and don't pay a cents via tax to any madscientists working for goverments or under the law business like aol, videotron, news agencies, microsoft, intel, kingston memory, western digital hard drives, asus motherboards, sony play-station.

        All of these products can be made cheaply by small local business with new and old spare parts. All computers and blu-ray players and burners and telephone and satellite connection programms and storage devises and micro and camera and games can be included in a 100$ hdmi 22 inchs monitor with wi-fi connectivity to control, monitor and programm your car and house. This alleviate costs and pollution. Any monitor is good for more then 30 years without any update, patchs or paying anti-virus and the internet connection is free of charge via 24/24 worldwide satellite connectivity, only a few ads sometime if you have to go someplace for hotels, leisure and restaurants.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry for making such a long post, but that's the kind of view I imagine most any debate about the merits of electric transportation REALLY ignore.
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