GM Volt

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Dave76
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Re: GM Volt

Post by Dave76 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:04 pm

TN_Boy wrote:It's difficult to take seriously a comparison between an 84 Sprint and a Prius, but for what it is worth here is an article on the Sprint:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/ne ... evy-sprint

Personally I think the Volt is an interesting technology exercise. I wouldn't buy one myself, but they are interesting.
The Toyota Prius is not impressive when compared to a Volkswagen Lupo (non-hybrid), which delivers 70+ MPG.

The Prius is an expensive economy car that weighs more than my Chrysler NY'er. 300 lbs more...

cbeck
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Re: GM Volt

Post by cbeck » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:24 pm

nisiprius wrote:
What I personally would like to see is a true "disruptive technology' that doesn't try to serve the same function as a traditional car.
It's called mass transit. The Japanese are far in the lead.

Shireman28
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Re: GM Volt

Post by Shireman28 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:29 pm

nisiprius wrote:What I personally would like to see is a true "disruptive technology' that doesn't try to serve the same function as a traditional car. I'd like to see cheap all-electric cars that are intended to meet only local driving needs. For retirees who don't commute to work. Much better weather protection, comfort, and cargo capacity than a bicycle. Something an 80-year-old can drive to the supermarket in the rain and bring back a week's groceries. Maybe, on occasion, cartop a sheet of plywood from Home Depot. And speedy enough for safe coexistence on 65-mph highways (urban circumferential interstates) for short distances. Plus, perhaps, some adaptation of local roads to allow for golf carts and Segways and other 15-30 mph vehicles. Rent a Zipcar when you need to drive to Philadelphia for Bogleheads or something.
I think the disruptive technology will be GPS computers driving our sensor equipped cars and trucks on the interstate highways, etc. This will eliminate many accidents and allow smaller vehicles. I imagine this is a generation away.

TN_Boy
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Re: GM Volt

Post by TN_Boy » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:36 pm

Dave76 wrote:
TN_Boy wrote:It's difficult to take seriously a comparison between an 84 Sprint and a Prius, but for what it is worth here is an article on the Sprint:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/ne ... evy-sprint

Personally I think the Volt is an interesting technology exercise. I wouldn't buy one myself, but they are interesting.
The Toyota Prius is not impressive when compared to a Volkswagen Lupo (non-hybrid), which delivers 70+ MPG.

The Prius is an expensive economy car that weighs more than my Chrysler NY'er. 300 lbs more...
Dave76, I've decided you cannot be serious.

Nobody could truly believe some of the assertions you make about cars. I like the way you ignored the article on the Sprint, which summarized nicely its many limitations, and changed the subject to another car.

I'd never heard of the Lupo before, but I found this article:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/consumer/ ... uto497.htm

Mopeds get good gas mileage too. Bicycles even better.

I get it. Only old cars are good.....

madbrain
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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:23 pm

Dave76 wrote:Fair enough. I stand corrected. However, after nearly 30 years, it is only a marginal improvement. See link below.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculat ... mn=1&id=37

Incorporating hybrid technology to achieve 51 mpg? What have we achieved?
Once again, you are comparing apples and oranges. That Chevy sprint is the subcompact/supermini class. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevy_Sprint .

The original model Toyota Prius 1997-2003 was a Compact, and since 2004 the Prius is a mid-size car. Again, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius .

If you want to look at the mileage, you need to compare vehicles of the same size. The Prius is quite roomy.

The new Prius C is subcompact, and does 53mpg on the current EPA test, slightly better than the larger version. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prius_c
Prius c is certified SULEV. The Prius would no doubt have far better MPG if it was not for the emissions control.

The 1983 Chevy Sprint probably could not be sold new today due to its emission levels.

So, it's clear that quite a lot has been achieved, indeed.

None of which has much to do with the Volt.

I think the Volt is very interesting, but the price needs to come down somewhat. Especially in California where electricity is not cheap and I would need to add a few more solar panels to charge it economically.

I was a very early adopter of the Prius, I bought the 2001 when it was the first year model. It was also my first car.
I have never had a car that was not a hybrid. My next car will hopefully be either PHEV or EV. I want to drive my current 2007 Prius for about 10 years. Hopefully the PHEV and EV prices will have come down sufficiently in 2017.
Last edited by madbrain on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

scouter
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Re: GM Volt

Post by scouter » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:52 pm

Dave76 wrote:
TN_Boy wrote:It's difficult to take seriously a comparison between an 84 Sprint and a Prius, but for what it is worth here is an article on the Sprint:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/ne ... evy-sprint

Personally I think the Volt is an interesting technology exercise. I wouldn't buy one myself, but they are interesting.
The Toyota Prius is not impressive when compared to a Volkswagen Lupo (non-hybrid), which delivers 70+ MPG.

The Prius is an expensive economy car that weighs more than my Chrysler NY'er. 300 lbs more...
You've got to be kidding. The Volkswagen Lupo, (not even sold in the U.S.) is by all accounts an uncomfortable, cramped go-kart. The Prius is a comfortable mid-size car. You might as well have compared a Honda 50cc mini-bike.

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scubadiver
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Re: GM Volt

Post by scubadiver » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:50 am

ualdriver wrote:
Jerilynn wrote:
ualdriver wrote:
I have owned my Volt for about a year now, which I purchased used/demo. It is the best car I have ever owned.
How inconvenient is it to have to plug the thing in every day?
I don't have to plug it in every day, but of course I do. Usually multiple times per day.

It's no more inconvenient than having to go to the gas station once a week and stand there for 5 minutes while the tank fills up I guess :)

I installed a 220V charger in my garage. I have the plug hanging on a hook right adjacent to where the charging port will be when the car is parked in its spot in our garage. When I turn the car off I press a button to open the charge door, get out of the car, plug it in, then walk inside. I think it took me longer to type all of this than the act of plugging it in.
Thanks ualdriver for the informed response.

Have you quantified the daily charging impact to your utility bill?

NHRATA01
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Re: GM Volt

Post by NHRATA01 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:53 am

Dave76 wrote:
Epsilon Delta wrote:
Dave76 wrote:
NHRATA01 wrote:
And both your examples don't even crack 50 mpg city as the Prius does.
They do. It's the Prius that does not.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/31836.shtml

At first I though you were just uninformed about the change in the EPA's MPG test in 2008,
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculat ... =1&id=1730
]
Those are the revised figures. I believe the Sprint was originally rated at 61 mpg highway.
It doesn't matter the original rating. If you want an apples to apples with a newer vehicle, you need to use the revised EPA ratings which come from a more realistic drive cycle.

That's like saying because a 1970 LS6 Chevelle has a 450hp rating it's engine is more powerful than a 2012 LS3 Corvette with 436hp. Except the it's not apples to apples since the ratings changed over the years from gross hp, to net hp, to SAE certified. The 2012 in reality is making more than 100hp over the 1970 car.

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ualdriver
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Re: GM Volt

Post by ualdriver » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:00 am

scubadiver wrote:
Thanks ualdriver for the informed response.

Have you quantified the daily charging impact to your utility bill?
My electric bill has gone up around 20 bucks per month. If the battery is completely depleted, it costs me around a dollar to charge the car if, depending upon the time of day. That dollar charge will allow me to drive the car for around 40 miles.

SamB
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Re: GM volt

Post by SamB » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:20 am

Alex Frakt wrote:
The last thing they want to do is kill this off before they recoup their development costs.
Ford had no problem writing off the development costs of the Edsel, and it was gone in a flash. Fortunately, they knew when to take their losses, and went on to produce the Mustang, one of the most popular cars in automotive history.

Leesbro63
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Re: GM volt

Post by Leesbro63 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:43 am

SamB wrote:
Alex Frakt wrote:
The last thing they want to do is kill this off before they recoup their development costs.
Ford had no problem writing off the development costs of the Edsel, and it was gone in a flash. Fortunately, they knew when to take their losses, and went on to produce the Mustang, one of the most popular cars in automotive history.
Apples to oranges. The Edsel was just another car albeit with unique (the market said "hideous") styling. There was no signficant technological R&D involved. Yeah, Ford spent a fortune on the Edsel dealer network etc but it was more of a styling/marketing disaster than a big investment in technology. I remain agnostic on the Volt for now, but do see the potential for a future big payoff for GM and/or the industry. So GM has much better/bigger reasons to keep losing money on the Volt, for now, than Ford did on The Edsel.

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Re: GM volt

Post by Alex Frakt » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:15 am

SamB wrote:
Alex Frakt wrote:
The last thing they want to do is kill this off before they recoup their development costs.
Ford had no problem writing off the development costs of the Edsel, and it was gone in a flash. Fortunately, they knew when to take their losses, and went on to produce the Mustang, one of the most popular cars in automotive history.
Edsel and the Volt are in no way comparable. Edsel wasn't even a car, it was an entirely new brand, initially launched with 4 different models. It was supposed to fit between the Ford and Mercury brands in parent company Ford's lineup. But it turned out that that was too small a niche to support all the overhead that goes with a brand: including staff, dealers and national marketing campaigns. Especially as Ford botched both the niche marketing and their demand forecast for large cars. Edsel prices ended up directly competing with Mercury rather than coming in between Ford and Mercury and sales of all large cars dropped in the late '50s due to an economic recession. Ford certainly never made the 25%+ unit profit on Edsel sales that GM is getting according to the lead article.

There is one thing that GM hopes the Volt will have in common with the Edsel. Quite a bit of the capital that Ford expended during the Edsel program turned out to be a godsend when the Falcon came out in 1960 (the year Ford folded Edsel). The modernized tooling and additional plant capacity written off against Edsel allowed Ford to meet demand and supply 400,000 Falcons in its launch year. GM expects it will be able to reuse at least the knowledge gained during the process of creating and producing the Volt over a large number of its future designs.

Of course, it could turn out to be the next Corvair, which turned out to be a technological dead end for GM. But at least that car was profitable over its full run.

btenny
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Re: GM Volt

Post by btenny » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:23 pm

I'm sorry but GM may have gotten a balance sheet fix but the company culture is still a mess. Giving up to soon on a car model or make is one of the KEY cultural issue that GM needs to solve if they are going to be a long term competitive force in the auto industry. Toyota did not stop making the Prius when they only sold a few at first. They kept studying the maket and fixing the design. On the other hand GM killed off the EV-1 just when they were getting good publicity and starting to really understand how to build a electric car. Over the years GM has killed off dozens of older models just as they were starting to succeed rather than spend a little money reviving the car design or the reliability or other shortfalls. The Corvair is the classic. Yes it was a safety disaster. But it had some following and with some suspension updates could have continued to sell as a low price alternative to the Vette. Today MB sells several sprots car modesl to all price points, same for BMW.

GM did the same with the Saturn line. Those cars were loved by lots of customers a for long time. They sold a lot of them. The dealers style was loved by many versus. Then they starved them to death. Yes they stopped selling because they stopped updating the cars. Sort of a catch 22. Now they have Chevy lineup with too many models and too many market strategies that confuses the buyer. They did the same with the Pontiac and Olds brand. Refusd to fix the reliability issues and severly limited models. So BMW and others filled the driver car nitch and Honda and Toyota filled the relaible car nitch....

We will see but I bet GM gives up on the VOLT next year or the year after and starts over. That is their style . They will do a new design under the Cadilac brand that is higher priced plug in hybrid and abandon the broad low cost market to Toyota...

Bill

madbrain
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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:29 pm

btenny wrote:I'm sorry but GM may have gotten a balance sheet fix but the company culture is still a mess. Giving up to soon on a car model or make is one of the KEY cultural issue that GM needs to solve if they are going to be a long term competitive force in the auto industry. Toyota did not stop making the Prius when they only sold a few at first. They kept studying the maket and fixing the design. On the other hand GM killed off the EV-1 just when they were getting good publicity and starting to really understand how to build a electric car
Have to agree GM screwed up big time with the EV-1. I don't think they were getting much publicity to be honest, however. I never saw an ad for one. I had to really go out of my way to learn about its existence - online.
I might actually have bought one if GM was selling them. But they were only leasing them.

At least this time, GM is actually selling the Volt. I hope that's a sign that they are more serious and intend to at least provide parts and service for the longer term, unlike the EV-1.

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interplanetjanet
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Re: GM Volt

Post by interplanetjanet » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:40 pm

madbrain wrote:Have to agree GM screwed up big time with the EV-1. I don't think they were getting much publicity to be honest, however. I never saw an ad for one.
They got some airtime where I was living at the time (southern California), I test drove one. Fun car to drive, felt very futuristic at the time. My boss was seriously considering one but was turned off by the lease, I was just trying things out. A number of Hollywood types drove them or claimed to at the time, I think.

I do agree they were underpromoted and GM didn't back the idea when push came to shove. A disappointment.

-janet

lawman3966
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The Carbon-Producing GM Volt

Post by lawman3966 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:12 am

LH wrote:Would be nice to have an electric car, no messy hydrocarbons and such.
I can't help but respond to the implication in the above that driving a Volt produces no hydrocarbons. It's so wrong to say that, I don't know where to start. The electric energy that powers the Volt likely comes from the U.S. electric grid which is about 70% powered by carbon producing sources (this would be untrue only if you power your volt with solar panels or something else that is off the grid). An even higher proportion of the incremental contribution to electric energy generation required by electric cars is likely to come from carbon producing sources, since the main carbon-less sources - nuclear power plants - are commonly on much or all the time, for satisfy demand from consumption other than electric car charging.

If you lived in NJ, the energy for the Volt would likely come from one of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. The comparison of carbon output per mile between the Volt and the Prius would then become quite complicated. However, I've read that, in areas served mostly by coal plants (which generate 45% of U.S. electric energy), the carbon-equivalent mileage of the Volt is about 38 miles per gallon (I don't have the source handy, but there are resources on the Web that discuss this). In this case, the Prius would likely be the cleaner choice, at least as far as carbon dioxide emissions are concerned.

If you like the car, that's fine, you can always buy it. But, I confess to being amazed that much of the nation seems to incorrectly believe that if the last link on the well-to-the-wheel chain of events of energy generation is clean, then the whole chain is rendered clean. I have heard statements to this effect on our major networks including CNN, to my distress. In truth, in moving from a traditional car to the Volt, one has just moved the carbon-producing power plant that converts a raw material into useable power from the car itself (i.e. the gas engine) to the local power plant, and the power transmission mechanism is now about 20 miles long, instead of 8 feet long (i.e. crankshaft), and is made up of electric wires instead of a metal rod. However, there is still a power plant, and it still creates pollution.

A clean electric grid would require millions of windmills and likely billions of solar panels. I suspect it will be a century or more before that happens.

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Re: The Carbon-Producing GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:12 am

lawman3966 wrote:
I can't help but respond to the implication in the above that driving a Volt produces no hydrocarbons. It's so wrong to say that, I don't know where to start. The electric energy that powers the Volt likely comes from the U.S. electric grid which is about 70% powered by carbon producing sources (this would be untrue only if you power your volt with solar panels or something else that is off the grid). An even higher proportion of the incremental contribution to electric energy generation required by electric cars is likely to come from carbon producing sources, since the main carbon-less sources - nuclear power plants - are commonly on much or all the time, for satisfy demand from consumption other than electric car charging.

If you lived in NJ, the energy for the Volt would likely come from one of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation. The comparison of carbon output per mile between the Volt and the Prius would then become quite complicated. However, I've read that, in areas served mostly by coal plants (which generate 45% of U.S. electric energy), the carbon-equivalent mileage of the Volt is about 38 miles per gallon (I don't have the source handy, but there are resources on the Web that discuss this). In this case, the Prius would likely be the cleaner choice, at least as far as carbon dioxide emissions are concerned.
Sounds like you might have watched a bit too much Fox news. Here is a handy source that has more information on this myth. Seriously, the site states this myth was perpetrated by Fox :
http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/0 ... ars/185798

It contains carbon emission comparisons for EV, PHEV, HEV, and conventional gas vehicles.

Here is the data for the national average grid for which electricity comes 49% from coal.

Image

EV have the lowest emissions in all cases.

I am a little surprised that EV, PHEV and HEV are so close in emissions for the national grid. It's especially interesting to see that PHEV do the worst of these 3.
But all 3 are significantly lower emissions than conventional gas vehicles.

Here is the data for California for which electricity comes only 11% from coal.

Image

With the California grid, the difference between EV, PHEV and HEV emissions is quite dramatic, with EV the obvious winner.

It's interesting and disheartening to see that solar is not even on the radar as a source of energy for either of those grids.
My own solar panels cover 65% of my electricity, while reducing the bill 85%. I don't have an EV or PHEV yet. I do have two HEV (my partner and I both drive Prius).
If you like the car, that's fine, you can always buy it. But, I confess to being amazed that much of the nation seems to incorrectly believe that if the last link on the well-to-the-wheel chain of events of energy generation is clean, then
the whole chain is rendered clean. I have heard statements to this effect on our major networks including CNN, to my distress. In truth, in moving from a traditional car to the Volt, one has just moved the carbon-producing power plant that converts a raw material into useable power from the car itself (i.e. the gas engine) to the local power plant, and the power transmission mechanism is now about 20 miles long, instead of 8 feet long (i.e. crankshaft), and is made up of electric wires instead of a metal rod. However, there is still a power plant, and it still creates pollution.
Of course, you do have the option of having your own local power plant at home, with much shorter wires and almost no transmission loss, if you have solar panels. Every homeowner can make that decision if they want. For many individuals, it makes economic sense.
A clean electric grid would require millions of windmills and likely billions of solar panels. I suspect it will be a century or more before that happens.
This site estimates that large scale power plants in 7 states could provide 4 times as much electricity as the total 2008 US electric generation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_powe ... ailability

They do not estimate how many panels it would take.
Let me take a crack at it.

My 28 solar panels in northern California, which power 2/3rd of my mansion, generate a little over 11 MWh per year. That's about 400 kWh per panel. The panels are 2 years old, newer might be slightly more efficient and of course there are locations south of me that get more hours of sun.

Annual generation of 3800 TWh it would need about 9.5 billions of my panels in my location. In terms of cost, that translates to about $1.9 trillion for panels alone (that's without any incentives). And multiply that by about 3 to to include inverters and labor costs. So we are talking about $5.8 trillion . That does seem high :). I hope I am way off in the calculations. And of course, those would not suffice since the sun doesn't shine all the time. Other generators are still needed for non-sunshine hours. Or huge batteries somewhere, but those aren't renewable. So much for a 100% solar grid. But one can hope that it will become a higher percentage of the grid. I thought solar was around 2% but I guess that's wrong.

The California governor has signed legislation requiring 33% renewables by 2020 for the state solar grid.
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/ ... 375758.php
And the next milestone is 20% by 2013. I wonder which sources they consider renewable.

17.65% hydro, 4.62% geothermal, 2.61% biomass and 1.94% wind already totals 26.82% so I guess California is ahead of the first milestone. Just really surprised that the solar share is too small to list.

cjking
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Re: GM Volt

Post by cjking » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:28 am

scouter wrote:You've got to be kidding. The Volkswagen Lupo, (not even sold in the U.S.) is by all accounts an uncomfortable, cramped go-kart. The Prius is a comfortable mid-size car. You might as well have compared a Honda 50cc mini-bike.
Not joining in the argument (can't be bothered to go back and find out what you were responding to) but by way of information, since I've been on-line shopping for cars recently, I'm aware that the best diesels are in hybrid territory when it comes to fuel consumptions and emissions. I agree the Lupo is small, but the new Golf described below is a comparable car to a Prius. (Don't know if diesel Golfs are sold in the US.)

I calculate that 88 UK mpg is equivalent to 73 US mpg. Toyota UK web site is claiming 72.4 mpg UK for Prius, so that Golf seems to be about 20% more efficient.

I assume where only one figure is quoted that the 88mpg is combined. I have noticed that for the latest cars with stop-start there is often suprisingly little difference between urban and other figures anyway.
Volkswagen have unveiled the all new MK7 Golf upon the world prior to the Paris Motor Show later this month. The have been busy making some major improvements to its popular family hatchback with its super efficient BlueMotion model stealing the limelight.

The Golf BlueMotion model is claimed to return an epic 88.3mpg while emitting just 85g/km of Co2, that’s 4g/km less than a new Toyota Prius!
http://www.hypermiler.co.uk/green-car-n ... tion-model

Edit: Just realised the comparison may be slightly unfair, as that exact model of Golf will only start sellling at a later date than other mark 7 Golfs, the first of which will apparently be delivered in January. The MPG for the standard 1.6 litre diesel with dual-clutch automatic transmission is about the same as (fractionally better than) the Prius. (The bluemotion version that will get 88 mpg is the eco-optimised one.) (Since Diesel is slightly more expensive in the UK, the Prius may have a marginal overall lead in fuel running costs.)

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Re: GM volt

Post by SamB » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:54 am

Alex Frakt wrote:

Of course, it could turn out to be the next Corvair, which turned out to be a technological dead end for GM. But at least that car was profitable over its full run.
I owned a '67 VW Beetle and also a Corvair prior to that. It helped if you had experience sailing to drive the Beetle; I think 70% of the weight was in the rear. Nader dead ended the Corvair. It was no way unsafe at any speed, especially compared to the Beetle. In fact, it handled exceptionally well.

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Re: The Carbon-Producing GM Volt

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:31 pm

lawman3966 wrote: A clean electric grid would require millions of windmills and likely billions of solar panels. I suspect it will be a century or more before that happens.
A gas fired power plant produces about half the CO2 of a coal-fired one (450 gm/ kwhr vs. c. 1000 gm/kwhr). With the price of gas, the US is migrating towards far more gas fired power.

US has about 1000 GW of electricity generation capacity. Roughly speaking that is around 500,000 wind turbines (it would be worse than that, probably over 1 million, due to load factors of wind farms around 30% vs. say 60-70% for your average fossil fueled power station). US has largest onshore wind resource in the world (the Great Plains).

Solar panels it would be around 5m 1kw arrays (assuming 20% load factor-- high), so say roofs of 2.5m smallish homes.

Now my numbers are light, probably off by a factor of c. 2-3 (but remember, my numbers are *separate* ie I've double counted between the 2 technologies).

None of this would take a century to build.

In practice, the problem of intermittency (sun does not always shine, wind does not always blow) and the fact you cannot store electricity (without massive pumped storage) means you would struggle to build a robust grid with that much renewables *under current technology*.

Of course if you could tap millions of electric cars for power storage, drawing on them in peak periods, that would go a long way to solving your power problem.

There's also Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Oddly, I was at a demonstration last night. There are facilities (Weyburn in Saskatchewan, Sleipnir in Norwegian North Sea) that have been doing this in commercial quantities for years. Big projects are underway in Texas and Alberta (the CO2 can be sold to oil producers to reinject and enhance production).

Again it will take a decade before the technology is 'ready to roll' on huge scale, and then another couple of decades to roll it out.

But gas fired power stations last 20-30 years, coal fired ones 30-40 years (less than that: they need complete renewal every 25 years or so). Nuclear last 40-60 years. Hydro longer.

So in practice you will have to replace the existing fleet of stations anyways.

A very low carbon grid (say less than 100g/ kwhr vs say 750g/ kwhr now (UK is about 590)) is certainly feasible with existing technology. In 20-30 years it will be correspondingly cheaper on far better technologies *and* all those generation assets have to be replaced in any case.

Lots of challenges. But not probably bigger than the Moon Shot or the Interstate Highway system, in aggregate (or at least the 2 combined). ie say 2% US GDP for 20-30 years.

I can highly recommend David Mackay 'Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air'. It's available for free on his website OR you can buy it in book form (with prettier graphs). He is a Cambridge physics professor and now adviser to HM Department of Energy and Climate Change.

http://www.withouthotair.com/

it's realistic about the necessary scale of renewables. His example is the UK which is of course a small island, so harder than the US (we have a lot more fights about the visual impact of wind farms), we have a very poor solar resource compared to most of the US (Continental USA is south of the British Isles).

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Re: The Carbon-Producing GM Volt

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:38 pm

madbrain wrote: Annual generation of 3800 TWh it would need about 9.5 billions of my panels in my location. In terms of cost, that translates to about $1.9 trillion for panels alone (that's without any incentives). And multiply that by about 3 to to include inverters and labor costs. So we are talking about $5.8 trillion . That does seem high :).
That's about 40% US GDP. Spent over 30 years it would be less than 1% GDP pa (the GDP would grow in the meantime, and likely solar panel prices would come down).

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Frugal Al
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Re: GM Volt

Post by Frugal Al » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:43 pm

madbrain wrote:Sounds like you might have watched a bit too much Fox news.
C'mon, madbrain, no one mentioned Fox News but you. There were others that also misreported somewhat as well, so why just pick on them?. And then you have the nerve to submit evidence by another often biased source: Media Matters. I can remember all the great numbers produced by the Dept of Energy saying how great ethanol was, too. What a boondogle that continues to be.

The fact of the matter is an HEV acheives much of what a PHEV or EV can, and it's a more practical vehicle in both usage and price. We are forcing expensive technology into the marketplace for a marginal improvement in emissions.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by coldav » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:02 pm

According to automotive columnist, Eric Peters, the Volt costs GM $89,000 to build, sells for $39,350 with a payback subsidy to the buyer of $7,500. If this is true how are they making any money on this venture?

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Re: The Carbon-Producing GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:14 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
madbrain wrote: Annual generation of 3800 TWh it would need about 9.5 billions of my panels in my location. In terms of cost, that translates to about $1.9 trillion for panels alone (that's without any incentives). And multiply that by about 3 to to include inverters and labor costs. So we are talking about $5.8 trillion . That does seem high :).
That's about 40% US GDP. Spent over 30 years it would be less than 1% GDP pa (the GDP would grow in the meantime, and likely solar panel prices would come down).
That's a good point, I didn't think of it that way. Still, figuring out how to pay for it would be a challenge given the current US deficit.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by interplanetjanet » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:20 pm

coldav wrote:According to automotive columnist, Eric Peters, the Volt costs GM $89,000 to build, sells for $39,350 with a payback subsidy to the buyer of $7,500. If this is true how are they making any money on this venture?
Volume!

-janet (sorry, couldn't resist)

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:25 pm

Frugal Al wrote:
madbrain wrote:Sounds like you might have watched a bit too much Fox news.
C'mon, madbrain, no one mentioned Fox News but you. There were others that also misreported somewhat as well, so why just pick on them?.
If you read the thread you will see that I responded to a few other posts as well.
And then you have the nerve to submit evidence by another often biased source: Media Matters.
News to me. In fact, I had actually never heard of media matters until my google search yesterday.
Do you have data that contradicts what I quoted from them ? If so, I would be interested in it.
I can remember all the great numbers produced by the Dept of Energy saying how great ethanol was, too. What a boondogle that continues to be.
I don't remember but I never followed the ethanol thing. Would be interesting to see.
The fact of the matter is an HEV acheives much of what a PHEV or EV can, and it's a more practical vehicle in both usage and price. We are forcing expensive technology into the marketplace for a marginal improvement in emissions.
I don't think a PHEV is any less practical than an HEV or EV. You have the choice of charging or gasoline. I agree PHEV are still too expensive compared to both HEV and EV. Having the two engines of course may have a lot to do with that.

The EV are getting very attractive in price though. Unfortunately their range prevents them from being your only car. One would need to rent a car for the long range trip. Or own a second car such as HEV for the long range trips. Both of which kill the economic argument. Owning an HEV + EV is always going to cost more than owning one PHEV.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:31 pm

coldav wrote:According to automotive columnist, Eric Peters, the Volt costs GM $89,000 to build, sells for $39,350 with a payback subsidy to the buyer of $7,500. If this is true how are they making any money on this venture?
How about reading the beginning of this thread ?

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 3#p1486139

Hint : it is not true.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by SP-diceman » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:35 pm

A neighbor of mine (who I don’t know) just bought one. (Volt)
I live in a apartment, he runs an extension cord out of his bedroom window at night.

Curious to see how ugly it gets when bad weather starts?



Thanks
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Re: GM Volt

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:37 am

Frugal Al wrote:[I can remember all the great numbers produced by the Dept of Energy saying how great ethanol was, too. What a boondogle that continues to be.
I am not aware that 'great numbers' were prepared by DOE? Numbers justifying it, surely, as it was government policy, but not 'great numbers'. There were lots of studies by authoritative independent bodies (like National Research Labs). Most showed it was of benefit, but not great benefit. I happen to be very opposed to bio-ethanol because it worsens the environmental problems of the American corn monoculture-- in particular you can see evidence of that in the vast nitrogen runoff 'bloom' in the Gulf of Mexico.

I think the benefits were overestimated and an agricultural incomes policy was disguised as an energy policy, to suit local peculiarities. Not uncommon, in agriculture, all over the world.
The fact of the matter is an HEV acheives much of what a PHEV or EV can, and it's a more practical vehicle in both usage and price. We are forcing expensive technology into the marketplace for a marginal improvement in emissions.
In the short run yes, in the long run no.

The Hybrid gets you to around 100g CO2/ km (I think there is one at about 80 on the UK government test standards)-- Prius is 95.

PHEV can get you below 50. If mostly used for urban commuting, lower than that. Estimates for EV in the UK take you down to below 20g/ km.

EV can get you to zero, if all of your electricity is carbon-free. For example, if you charge at night, and there is a significant nuclear and/or wind component to your electricity, it could well be carbon free in the early hours of the morning. Ontario as an example is 50-60% nuclear and c. 25% hydro, in the middle of the night it winds up paying Michigan to take its electricity (it's not possible to take a nuclear station 'off grid' at a short notice).

UK is about 16% nuclear, 6% hydro, 3-4% wind. Rest a balance between coal, gas and imported electricity (much of that French nuclear).

At 4pm UK carbon intensity is around 590 g/ kwhr. In the middle of the night it can be below 300. As the coal shuts down (mostly replaced with gas in the short run, but offshore wind is growing fast) then it will drop well below that.

What's going on here is, as with transistors, cellular radio and a host of other innovations, the governments are creating the market. Economies of scale and technological progress really kick in when there are a lot of these vehicles out there. Say 1m+ worldwide. A car is a complex beast: 100 years old, yet we are still making significant technological innovations. To figure out all the quirks, battery packs, recharging infrastructure etc you have to 'salt' the market. Remember the old Dilbert joke when he gets the first videophone-- he has to wait until someone else gets one to take a call. Network externalities (the benefits that are not captured by the individual user or manufacturer) are large in this technology.

Electric cars are simply in their early days, as were Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicles once. They promise amazing transformations: for example mechanically radically simpler vehicles (therefore more roomy, more reliable).

It is also your classic 'disruptive' technology. The early PCs were just not as good as IBM mainframes or DEC VAX machines (wave of nostalgia for BSD UNIX on VAX ;-)). It was originally suggested (no kidding) that people would have PCs at home to 'keep recipes' on. It was really seen as a sophisticated form of typewriter a la the IBM Selectric.

No one imagined that they would almost completely replace the mainframe in corporate life (except for big transaction processing and query systems). That they would obliterate the mini. That they would then go on to threaten the phone company, the shopping mall and kill the newspaper industry (and they might yet do it for Hollywood) not to mention the recorded music industry. Or that the *phone* would become a more ubiquitous computing device than the PC.

Disruptive technologies are never as good as what they disrupt, in fact, markedly inferior. But they meet a consumer need, maybe a need the consumer doesn't even know she has yet (my 80-something mother has become a convert to email!). In time they get better, and the original product has a smaller and smaller market share-- there are still film cameras out there, 25 years (?) after the first digital camera was introduced, but it's a shrinking market.

We surely won't see the end of the ICE engine car (except as a minority interest like classic cars or steam trains) in 30 years. 50 years? Not so easy to assert that.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by HardKnocker » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:29 am

The Volt is a political statement not an economic statement.

Moneywise it's a big loser. Sooner or later GM will pull the plug. Perhaps the knowledge gained will emerge in another, more financially do-able vehicle.

It's like the Apollo Space program. We got to the moon. Once there we found nothing but rocks. But we got Velcro.
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Re: GM Volt

Post by nisiprius » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:33 am

Valuethinker wrote:It was originally suggested (no kidding) that people would have PCs at home to 'keep recipes' on.
Indeed. The PC-in-the-kitchen was a fairly common early fantasy, probably because marketers wanted to invent reasons for "the gals" to have one.

In reality, the commonest early question about early microcomputers was "what can you use them for," and in reality the market that brought the product to critical mass was hobbyists--people who just wanted to own a computer, laypeople learning to write programs in BASIC just for the heck of it. A significant number of the content of early magazines and computer books consisted of programs written in BASIC, hundreds of lines long, which people would simply key in to their computers manually. The result would typically be some rudimentary character-based computer game. It wouldn't be a good game, not comparable to an Atari video game. But it didn't matter. People just wanted the hands-on experience. Like building Heathkits.

From what I've read, I get the impression that there was a good deal of that motivation in the early days of the automobile. There wasn't much of any place to go--no roads as we know them. Personally dealing with breakdowns was part of the fun.

The funny thing is that the PC-in-the-kitchen has come true, sort of, but it didn't really happen until the development of the Web. My wife hasn't bought a cookbook in ages--she gets most of her recipes off Internet sites.

We don't go in for serious nutritional planning--I think that was part of the PC-in-the-kitchen fantasy--family database of how many turnips you were feeding the kids--but we're both following a point-counting diet plan. My wife does hers online on the plan's website. After each meal the runs to her PC and logs on to enter her points. I have a little app for that on my Kindle Fire, and, yes, I have my Kindle at the kitchen table and enter my points right there. The time I save by entering my points right at the kitchen table are lost by the extra time I have to spend cleaning greasy fingerprints of the screen, but there you have it.

The other fantasy that came true was "doing your taxes on the computer." You certainly couldn't do that on a Commodore PET with a cassette drive for storage, and I don't think VisiCalc form-1040 templates really cut it, so early marketing suggesting that use were exaggerated. The first year I "did my taxes on the computer" was 1986, with MacInTax, which had a WYSIWYG design and you typed your numbers onto a screen facsimile of the form.

To get back to cars, at least--another conspicuous fantasy-come-true is the GPS. Anyone remember the moving map display in James Bond's car in, IIRC, Goldfinger? I never expected to have one of those!
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Re: GM Volt

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:42 am

HardKnocker wrote:The Volt is a political statement not an economic statement.

Moneywise it's a big loser. Sooner or later GM will pull the plug. Perhaps the knowledge gained will emerge in another, more financially do-able vehicle.
There's not a whole heck of a lot of evidence it is a 'big loser'. In that, as a new vehicle technology, it will not fully amortize its development costs. First-Of-A-Kind (FOAK) never do. Prius certainly did not.

Consider where you are as the Board of GM back in the early 2000s. Toyota has this Prius. Toyota therefore has a car for a very different world (one where energy security and environmental issues are paramount). If GM does not develop the technology, and that world takes place, then GM is finished.

One could not then have predicted the demise of GM, the world's largest car company (and at one point the most profitable). Of course the signs were there, but a more nimble management might have deflected doom.

Roll forward until now. The US is not alone in having ambitious automotive efficiency targets. GM is a global car company that will be competing in China, Europe and Emerging Markets where it will have to meet those standards. Companies in those markets will be exporting to the USA-- strong analogies to the way Detroit ignored small and fuel efficient cars until it nearly finished them off. God does not ordain that Americans should pay $2/gallon for gas when everyone else pays $5. Volt is there and it works and it points towards achieving those standards.

GM has also commented that the buyers they see in the show rooms for Volt are buyers that GM dealers have not seen in a generation. Environmentally conscious professionals, some of whom are opinion formers. 'Leading edge' early adopters. Such people can have a disproportionate impact on the style and consumption choices of a society. The sort of people who might never buy a Toyota Prius, but would surely buy a hybrid Lexus (google the Dani Minogue ads for the CT200h in the UK-- they are on Youtube 'Lexus: the quiet revolution').

It's been a long time since a GM car attracted early adopters. This car is a bridgehead into demographic groups and communities where North American manufacturers have been absent for decades. (I always remember the off-colour on percent cars US vs. Japanese by state-- Vermont and New Hampshire were coloured 'neither' because of the fondness for Saabs and Volvos ;-)). People are going to wake up and find out their neighbour bought a GM, where a GM car (if not SUV or truck) has not been seen in years.

Think of Cadillac. A dying luxury brand-- uninteresting to the people who once craved to buy it. And now? Maybe it should have been 'the Cadillac Volt' ;-). I keep thinking of that Superbowl ad (Clint Eastwood for Chrysler) and the tag line 'Imported from Detroit'. *I* felt patriotic, and I'm not an American ;-). (And our one GM car, a 1978 Pontiac Lemans, was a total disaster-- AMC Rambler, Dodge Dart, Pontiac Lemans (rhymes with 'Lemon'), Chrysler Le Baron then no less than 3 Honda Accords, almost the archetype of the loss of the 'middle market' professional as car buyer).

Strategically the world's car manufacturers are in a tough place. Environmentally and in terms of energy security their products are Public Enemy Number One (two, after coal-fired power stations). Cars (ie traffic accidents) kill over 1m people a year in emerging markets. And in developed markets, traffic congestion and other factors seem to mean the younger generation just does not identify with cars and car ownership the way its parents and grandparents did-- new models like Zipcar may come to dominate, having $30k of capital sitting unused 90% of the time is just not efficient). And in Emerging Markets, there are new competitors coming up the track very quickly-- look at the success Tata has made with Jaguar Land Rover, a basket case under Ford.

All they can do (besides investing in Emerging Markets) is to design cars that meet the demands of the 21st Century (basically the functionality of the 20th century car, but with lower resource use). Things like robot navigation on freeways etc. are to come (and will, no doubt).
It's like the Apollo Space program. We got to the moon. Once there we found nothing but rocks. But we got Velcro.
Beware reasoning by false analogy:

- Apollo was 100% government funded. It was always about national prestige when the US saw itself as being in a 'to the death' competition with Soviet communism. it was like a major weapon system which is constructed and then never used (one could name 100s, but the US nuclear arsenal comes to mind). There was not a significant private sector content (except as contractors). Volt is a private sector car, with state subsidies for purchasers (I presume GM got tax breaks on R&D).

There's no doubt it succeeded on the prestige front-- the United States is the only country that has put a man on another world, still. Most of us who were alive then remember Neil Armstrong and that day.

- Apollo was always about pure scientific knowledge and discovery. In which it succeeded immensely, I would argue. To the extent that we think the Moon is boring now-- the focus of interplanetary exploration has moved to further worlds. Robots have, so far, done that more cheaply, and the pace of robot technology has outpaced our ability to put men and women on far worlds. In a very real sense, the human race has spawned its first children, and they have begun to explore the universe on our behalf.

I also remember Chinese history too well. In the 1300- 1400s China was ahead of Europe in exploring the coast of Africa. We could have arrived there in the 1400s and 1500s and found the Chinese Empire well entrenched, thus rewriting 200+ years of Western depredation on China and India (google 'Opium Wars' for a feel). But the fleet was ordered home, and the Admiral was told to destroy his charts.

Civilizations that stop reaching outwards, upwards, higher have a historical tendency to stagnate and die. Along with the creation of great buildings, art, music, I would argue that the essence of civilization is a drive for 'useless' knowledge.

On the commercial side Apollo could never be commercial. But the spinouts of the US space programme, notably in computers, but also in aerospace generally, materials science etc, have been huge.

I look at Apollo the way I look at major wars. They accelerate technological development hugely. Apollo was a war in which nobody got killed, except in accidents. It's a lot less painful to commemorate the Gemini Astronauts than however many died in Normandy, Italy, North Africa, South Pacific....

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Re: GM Volt

Post by SP-diceman » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:00 am

Valuethinker wrote:
HardKnocker wrote:The Volt is a political statement not an economic statement.

Moneywise it's a big loser. Sooner or later GM will pull the plug. Perhaps the knowledge gained will emerge in another, more financially do-able vehicle.
There's not a whole heck of a lot of evidence it is a 'big loser'.
Id say your company going bankrupt is a good first indicator. :)

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Re: GM Volt

Post by coldav » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:50 am

The government will try it's hardest to keep this thing going with the Volt. The $7,500 tax subsidy is set to go to $10,000 in the next 2013 federal budget. If that doesn't work it would go to $15,000 and onward & upward. The sales are at 14,000 so far, 26,000 less than the projected 40,000. The target buyer of this vehicle are those making $170,000 a year. How many in that bracket would forgo a BMW, Lexus, or any comparable $30,000 auotmobile for a Volt? Well, we have 14,000 and I doubt the sky is the limit on it. If this does end up like all successful evolutionary business products, GM will probably be somewhat analygous to Sperry Univac the first producer of the computer: a footnote in history - albeit, a large one instead of small.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by Frugal Al » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:55 am

Valuethinker wrote: Maybe it should have been 'the Cadillac Volt' .
Yes, that worked so well for Cadillac when they put their name on another downscale "J" platform, called the Cimarron, or should have been called the CiMoron. Let's hope GM doesn't screw up thier Cadillac branding once again.

Comparing the Volt to the Prius is actually fairly disingenuous. The Prius was a first of its kind, and even so it hit its market reasonably well; not so, the Volt.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by HardKnocker » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:05 am

Valuethinker wrote: GM has also commented that the buyers they see in the show rooms for Volt are buyers that GM dealers have not seen in a generation. Environmentally conscious professionals, some of whom are opinion formers. 'Leading edge' early adopters.
People who buy a product to make a political statement, i.e. "I am a socially conscious person."

Unfortunately there are not enough of these people to put the Volt into the black.

Thank you for agreeing with my statement. :wink:

The simple fact is the Volt is too expensive for what you get.

As for the comparison between Apollo being wholly government funded and the Volt not, that is only a difference in degree as the Volt is indeed a partially government funded project.

Perhaps GM could move production of the Volt to China to reduce costs.
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Re: GM Volt

Post by SP-diceman » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:46 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
HardKnocker wrote:The Volt is a political statement not an economic statement.

Moneywise it's a big loser. Sooner or later GM will pull the plug. Perhaps the knowledge gained will emerge in another, more financially do-able vehicle.
Volt is a private sector car

...at least it was. :)

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:11 pm

SP-diceman wrote:
Valuethinker wrote: There's not a whole heck of a lot of evidence it is a 'big loser'.
Id say your company going bankrupt is a good first indicator. :)
Right, it's obvious that the 2009 bankruptcy of GM should be blamed on the 2010 release of the Volt .

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mo ... ganization :
On Feb. 26, 2009, General Motors announced that its cash reserves were down to $14 billion at the end of 2008. G.M. lost $30.9 billion, or $53.32 a share, in 2008 and spent $19.2 billion of its cash reserves.
How many of those $30 billions of losses in 2008 had anything to do with the yet-unreleased development of the Volt ?
And we are talking about just one year of losses.

Remember national gas prices hit $4 in 2008. If anything, their lack of fuel-efficient vehicles is what drove GM into bankruptcy.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:21 pm

coldav wrote:The government will try it's hardest to keep this thing going with the Volt. The $7,500 tax subsidy is set to go to $10,000 in the next 2013 federal budget.
This tax credit is not just for the Volt for but all electric vehicles from all manufacturers. I was not aware it was going up to $10,000 . Has that been confirmed ?

The EV tax credit have a limit in terms of number of vehicles per manufacturer. Just like the hybrid tax credits used to have.
The limit is that the tax credit can only apply to up to 200,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer.
If that doesn't work it would go to $15,000 and onward & upward. The sales are at 14,000 so far, 26,000 less than the projected 40,000. The target buyer of this vehicle are those making $170,000 a year.
Who said that was the target buyer ? My income is in that range and I would not buy a BMW or Lexus. It's really easy to forgo buying one of those when my Prius has a much lower total cost of ownership.

If the Volt had lower cost of ownership, I would buy it in a heartbeat also. But it's not there yet, unfortunately. Neither is the plug-in Prius which has only a 12 mile EV range which is not enough to justify the additional $5000. I think the battery prices must be a large part of the reason for the high vehicle costs. The battery technology needs to be more cost-effective. Especially when time comes to replace them.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by coldav » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:49 pm

The $10,000 subsidy is already in the 2013 federal budget as a line item that won't be voted on until after the election. Also, this tax payer sweetener will be at point of sale.

Dan Akerson GM CEO said the target buyer for the Volt was an individual making $170,000 a year.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by interplanetjanet » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:12 pm

madbrain wrote:Who said that was the target buyer ? My income is in that range and I would not buy a BMW or Lexus. It's really easy to forgo buying one of those when my Prius has a much lower total cost of ownership.

If the Volt had lower cost of ownership, I would buy it in a heartbeat also.
I think that everyone needs to work out their own TCO, along with any other harder to quantify factors there may be. One thing that surprised me the last time I was doing a lot of driving was that for me the vehicle with the lowest TCO wasn't a hybrid, it was a 3 year old CNG Crown Victoria - which came in much cheaper than even a significantly older 60+mpg first-generation Insight. Funny, that.

-janet

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Re: GM Volt

Post by ualdriver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:16 pm

coldav wrote:The $10,000 subsidy is already in the 2013 federal budget as a line item that won't be voted on until after the election. Also, this tax payer sweetener will be at point of sale.

Dan Akerson GM CEO said the target buyer for the Volt was an individual making $170,000 a year.
I believe the comment was that the average Volt customer, at the time the comment was made in late 2011, earned $170,000 per year. That was also when only a couple of thousands Volts in total had been sold and they were selling for full sticker at the cheapest. I doubt the Chevy people are specifically targeting people who earn that kind of money for Volt sales, although they probably won't turn them away! I mean, after federal and state (where I live) credits/rebates, the thing costs in the upper 20's or low 30's if you check every box on the order form. We're not talking HUGE dollars here that require that sort of income. A quick Google search shows that the average cost of a new car is a little over $30,000 in the US. In my state and a few others that's about what a Volt will run you after the aforementioned rebates/credits.

Now if you're talking Tesla or Fisker Karma, then I could buy the $170,000 figure.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by Leesbro63 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:52 pm

What's the current lease deal on the Volt? And does a lessee get the $10,000 tax credit?

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:24 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:What's the current lease deal on the Volt? And does a lessee get the $10,000 tax credit?
No, the tax credit are for the buyers. As a lessee you get savings that are passed on to you, which means a lower monthly lease. Same way you can lease solar panels at a reasonable cost.

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:28 pm

ualdriver wrote:
coldav wrote:The $10,000 subsidy is already in the 2013 federal budget as a line item that won't be voted on until after the election. Also, this tax payer sweetener will be at point of sale.

Dan Akerson GM CEO said the target buyer for the Volt was an individual making $170,000 a year.
I believe the comment was that the average Volt customer, at the time the comment was made in late 2011, earned $170,000 per year. That was also when only a couple of thousands Volts in total had been sold and they were selling for full sticker at the cheapest. I doubt the Chevy people are specifically targeting people who earn that kind of money for Volt sales, although they probably won't turn them away! I mean, after federal and state (where I live) credits/rebates, the thing costs in the upper 20's or low 30's if you check every box on the order form. We're not talking HUGE dollars here that require that sort of income. A quick Google search shows that the average cost of a new car is a little over $30,000 in the US. In my state and a few others that's about what a Volt will run you after the aforementioned rebates/credits.
Hmm, I did an online quote a few days ago for fully loaded and it was $45k . Add about 10% for CA sales tax & registration, and we are at almost $50k. You get $7500 federal tax credit and $1500 CA incentive but that still puts it as $41k inclusive of all taxes and incentives. Far more than you could spend on any Prius.

Which state can you get one in the upper 20s ?

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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:30 pm

interplanetjanet wrote: I think that everyone needs to work out their own TCO, along with any other harder to quantify factors there may be. One thing that surprised me the last time I was doing a lot of driving was that for me the vehicle with the lowest TCO wasn't a hybrid, it was a 3 year old CNG Crown Victoria - which came in much cheaper than even a significantly older 60+mpg first-generation Insight. Funny, that.

-janet
I don't think used cars can be accurately compared in TCO, you can't predict what the repairs are or whether you may have to junk the car, whereas you can limit them for some time with new cars by purchasing long-term extended warranty from the manufacturer. Something that is probably wise to do on new technology like the Volt, IMO.

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interplanetjanet
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Re: GM Volt

Post by interplanetjanet » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:44 pm

madbrain wrote:
interplanetjanet wrote: I think that everyone needs to work out their own TCO, along with any other harder to quantify factors there may be. One thing that surprised me the last time I was doing a lot of driving was that for me the vehicle with the lowest TCO wasn't a hybrid, it was a 3 year old CNG Crown Victoria - which came in much cheaper than even a significantly older 60+mpg first-generation Insight. Funny, that.

-janet
I don't think used cars can be accurately compared in TCO, you can't predict what the repairs are or whether you may have to junk the car, whereas you can limit them for some time with new cars by purchasing long-term extended warranty from the manufacturer. Something that is probably wise to do on new technology like the Volt, IMO.
I think your standard deviation is larger (percentagewise) but you can definitely project a confidence interval. In my case, the cost of fuel, insurance and tolls over a 3 year period were on the same order as vehicle purchase costs, so the upfront cost of the vehicle by no means dominated.

I did these calculations because my commute had grown substantially lengthier and the price of fuel and tolls had also climbed. I had a reasonably reliable vehicle that only got about 26mpg, so I wanted to know first of all what kind of a payback time I would be looking at if I changed to a vehicle with lower monthly costs. The next question was which vehicle would be the best choice based on a 3 year projection - the assumption being that my commute situation and fuel prices would remain fairly stable (they did) and that the likelihood of a total vehicle failure was low, though I budgeted for maintenance. It helps that I'm very comfortable with automotive work.

-janet [and a former MVAC tech. funny world. that was my family's fault.]

Edit: I mention insurance and tolls because they varied substantially. Tolls, especially, made and make a $1200+ difference between those vehicles that got discounted rates (such as AFVs) and those that did not.
Last edited by interplanetjanet on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

coldav
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Re: GM Volt

Post by coldav » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:56 pm

The only way the Volt will move is by increasing the point of sale tax paid subsidy to such a degree that one might consider buying it. Otherwise, it will go the way of the Edsel.

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ualdriver
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Re: GM Volt

Post by ualdriver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:52 pm

madbrain wrote:
Hmm, I did an online quote a few days ago for fully loaded and it was $45k . Add about 10% for CA sales tax & registration, and we are at almost $50k. You get $7500 federal tax credit and $1500 CA incentive but that still puts it as $41k inclusive of all taxes and incentives. Far more than you could spend on any Prius.

Which state can you get one in the upper 20s ?
One online quote is useless in my opinion. When I bought the Volt, I went to the GM website, got a list of all the dealers within XXX miles of my house, and sent their internet sales departments all the same e-mail telling them that I had sent the same e-mail to many other dealers in the area and was buying the car cash in a few days.....so send me your best deal. If I had gotten one on-line quote, I probably would have been quoted sticker like I think you were.

IL.....$4000 rebate
FED...$7500 credit
7% sales tax

$38,429 invoice, including delivery (and dealers were just recently selling BELOW invoice, check out the GM-Volt forum for details)
x 7% sales tax
=$41,119
-$7500 FED
-$4000 State
=$29,619

Add a few thousand and you can get a very nicely equipped car. Once in a while you can find a demo with a few thousand miles that hasn't been titled and still get the rebates and knock a few thousand dollars more off the price. That is what I ended up doing.

If you live in CA, check out Keyes Chevrolet (I have no relationship with them or anyone) and get a quote from them. Tell them you read about their deals on the GM-Volt forum. They and Stingray Chevrolet in Florida have been on the GM-Volt forum offering below invoice prices on 2012's, although I don't know if they are today. They were a couple of weeks ago. They had pretty low lease rates, too.

I own a Prius. The Prius is a great car. We get anywhere from 38 mpg (winter) to upper 40's mpg (summer) in the Prius. Apples to apples, a similarly equipped Volt will cost more than a Prius, but in my opinion the Volt is worth the extra money. It's just a nicer overall car IMO. To each his own.

madbrain
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Re: GM Volt

Post by madbrain » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:45 pm

ualdriver wrote: One online quote is useless in my opinion. When I bought the Volt, I went to the GM website, got a list of all the dealers within XXX miles of my house, and sent their internet sales departments all the same e-mail telling them that I had sent the same e-mail to many other dealers in the area and was buying the car cash in a few days.....so send me your best deal. If I had gotten one on-line quote, I probably would have been quoted sticker like I think you were.
Yes, I think this was sticker price.
IL.....$4000 rebate
FED...$7500 credit
7% sales tax

$38,429 invoice, including delivery (and dealers were just recently selling BELOW invoice, check out the GM-Volt forum for details)
x 7% sales tax
=$41,119
-$7500 FED
-$4000 State
=$29,619
Thanks for providing that info, that puts it into perspective. I take it this was the base model ?
Add a few thousand and you can get a very nicely equipped car. Once in a while you can find a demo with a few thousand miles that hasn't been titled and still get the rebates and knock a few thousand dollars more off the price. That is what I ended up doing.
From what the dealers say any car which includes navigation - and I wouldn't consider a car without one - automatically gets an expensive trim package that adds $5000 to the car.
If you live in CA, check out Keyes Chevrolet (I have no relationship with them or anyone) and get a quote from them.
Thanks, looks like they are in socal though and I'm in norcal, 400 mile drive down there. I may give them a call still.
I own a Prius. The Prius is a great car. We get anywhere from 38 mpg (winter) to upper 40's mpg (summer) in the Prius. Apples to apples, a similarly equipped Volt will cost more than a Prius, but in my opinion the Volt is worth the extra money. It's just a nicer overall car IMO. To each his own.
I actually just came back from a dealer in San Jose to test drive the Volt before their closing time. It seems OK, but I don't think it's as anywhere as roomy as the Prius. It's a 4 seater for one thing vs 5 for the Prius. The trunk space appears to be smaller in the Volt as well. I have lugged so much Ikea furniture boxes in my Prius, I am not sure it could have been done in the Volt. I get 43 mpg in the winter, 48 in the summer on my 2007 Prius.

The dealer said the Volt is not selling much outside of California. The leases are supposed to be cheaper on the 2012 models than the 2013, but they already sold out of the 2012 .
Seems with the EV tax credit increasing to $10k, it would make sense for anyone wanting to buy an EV to wait a few more months.

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