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Captain Hybrid

Video: Would You Buy a Chevy Volt?

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Robinr
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Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
Robinr   8/9/2011 1:25:28 PM
I'd LOVE to have a Chevy Volt.  Unlike Mr. Murray, my drive to and from work each day is within the electric drive range of the Volt. I currently own two cars and a pickup truck.  I would LOVE to thumb my nose at big oil.

Would I BUY a Chevy Volt?  No way, not at that price!  Not included in the purchase price is the price of a new battery every year or so ($3000?). OUCH! Would I save that much in fuel costs every year? Not quite.

Also, I know the hassles one must go through to be an "early adopter." Been there, done that. When all the bugs are wrung out of the first year's model, and when the price of ownership drops below $30K, THEN I will look seriously into buying one.

But in the meantime, if someone wants to send me one to test for a year or so, I'll gladly drive it around!

 

 

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
Beth Stackpole   8/9/2011 2:15:54 PM
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I still see this car as a second vehicle as opposed to a primary vehicle even for someone like me who doesn't have a commute to work (I work at of the house). That said, my family does regular road trips of between two or four hours each way and the battery range issue would be a concern. As Chuck and Robinr note, however, the price point is far too high at this stage of the game to make this a viable second vehicle option (or a first car choice for many in this economy).

jtrantow
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
jtrantow   8/9/2011 5:05:27 PM
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curious_device
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
curious_device   8/10/2011 4:21:47 AM
At that price? No.  Also, in much of the USA, the more "plug in" your car, the more of a coal/NG/nuclear car you are driving.  ~64% of your electric mix.  Think of an EV as a coal powered car with a magic NIMBY exhaust system.

dnolek
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
dnolek   8/10/2011 9:24:45 AM
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This is the most exciting new product that GM has produced since the Buick Grand National.  It is really the ONLY GM product that I would credibly consider for a new car.  That being said, when looking for a new car (2 years from now) I'd prefer a Toyota, Hyundai, or Honda version.  Just based on my experience with all of these brands.

robots2rockets
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
robots2rockets   8/10/2011 9:28:04 AM
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Yes I would to own one too!  I have been lucky enough to have been able to drive several iterations during its development.  Even in the early prototype vehicle it was one of the most solid development cars I had driven in my 20+ years in automovite development.  The final production cars are testomony to the leadership at higher levels all the way to the ground level of GM. The center of gravity on the car thanks to it low slung batteries made it as nimble as the covettes I had driven in the past. The acceleration was not viper like but was enjoyable when paired with the quiet of the electric motor. 

The cost is a bit high but there are many reasons for this. Take the systems that are in charge of pre cycling of the glycol to keep the battery warm in the winter and cool in the arid heat of summer. They are an expensive engineering feat in themselves. Pair that to the system that allows you to continue on when the battery is discharged. You are now running two cars in one.

I look at it like this. The steam locomotive was likely less cost than a diesel/electric when the latter was first introduced. But if were not for the purchasing of the first diesels there would still be smoke stacks puffing on the rails today.

RNDDUDE
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
RNDDUDE   8/10/2011 10:41:37 AM
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It seems many of the posters are confused by the Volt. It is NOT a pure electric, it is a hybrid, and as such it has no range anxiety issues as long as you can find a gas station, just like any other gas powered vehicle. It makes more sense to think of it as a rather conventional car that has the ability to run in a high-effiency mode (electric) much of the time, thus lowering operating costs. I commute 75 miles each way a day, so it would definately save me money on operating costs, even though it wold run in electric mode only for the first part of each leg. Would the cost savings be a good tradeoff to the rather high initial vehicle cost? Probably not, considering that there are alternatives. I have weighed many options, and my next commuter vehicle will be a VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI diesel.

missnoitall
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
missnoitall   8/10/2011 11:29:38 AM
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I have always felt that TDI is the way to go for those that are looking to really do something that will save fuel.  I suspect that Chevy's attitude on the Volt is like American automakers attitude toward TDI.....'see, we told you it wouldn't work!'  Our Government, which can have great sway over such matters, needs to do the right things and promote this technology as best for the country. I would also include the most important part...local governments and the oil companies need to be exposed for their 'nobody will notice' attitudes toward diesel taxing and pricing....simply put, truckers won't complain when you gouge them for what should be the cheapest type of fuel....they simply pass the cost on to us, the consumer, and the politicians and big oil get free reign.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
OLD_CURMUDGEON   8/9/2011 3:54:56 PM
I certainly would NOT buy a Chevy VOLT, BUT I might buy a Ford "JOULE" or a Plymouth "AMPERE" or a Toyota "WATT".  However, this vehicle would have to be able to travel on the U.S. highways & byways at least 600 miles in all weather conditions, whether 95º heat or 15º cold, with rain, snow, etc.  Charging would have to be as simple AND quick as getting fuel is now, AND, when the batteries are permanently depleted, I should be able to go to SEARS, ROEBUCK for a drop-in replacement DIE HARD!

diskguy
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
diskguy   8/9/2011 9:38:24 PM
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You missed the volt, coulomb, and faraday.  And theres the henry but ford might object to that one.

gafisher
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
gafisher   8/10/2011 10:51:14 AM
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It wouldn't be at ohm in my garage.

PSiegel
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
PSiegel   8/10/2011 11:00:52 AM
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(Groan)

robots2rockets
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
robots2rockets   8/10/2011 9:39:52 AM
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AMPERE would unlikely be marketed by Plymouth. First is that Plymouth is no longer. And second even if they were still around the legal department would never try to win the copyright case over the similarity of AMPERA which is the OPEL model

http://opel-ampera.com/index.php/mas/home

Stay cranky! Technology doesn't mind. It will advance regardless of stubourn resistance to change. Have a great day!

 

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
OLD_CURMUDGEON   8/10/2011 10:33:49 AM
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robots2rockets: 

I certainly realize that Plymouths are no longer manufactured!  It was an attempt at wit, sarcasm, etc.  Obviously you are too blind to comprehend that simple tool of English literature.  I am NOT opposed to change, when "change" is for the better, AND has been determined to be of value.  The Chevy VOLT is NOT a value purchase for MOST Americans.  In my 45+ years of professional employ, I have NEVER worked for anyone that was within 15 iles of my residence.  Given the vastness of this country and the diverse needs for general transportation vehicles, and given the extremes in weather conditions from sub-Arctic winters to subtropic summers, the electric vehicle is NOT ready for prime time.  Consider, if you will, the recent analysis completed by CONSUMER REPORTS at their Connecticut facility where they tested an electric vehicle.  The published report explicitly states that the battery life was severely less than advertised.  WHY?  Because they did their testing in the winter months which necessitated the need for the cabin heater AND the battery pack heaters to be activated. 

I did NOT say that battery vehicles should be relegated to the curio.  My comments were directed at the present, and I stand by my conviction. 

M-I-T has demonstrated a promising breakthrough in battery technology.  When and IF it can be commercialized, THEN the electric vehicle WILL become a viable option for many more people.

 

robots2rockets
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
robots2rockets   8/10/2011 1:26:51 PM
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Oh yes I got the poor attempt at sacrasm/negative humor alright. Your combination of two makers that are still in existance with one that is no longer does not work in your "English literature" attempt at comedy. The using of Ford and Toyota along with a once premium Chrysler brand does not work. There is no consistency in the joke. You would buy a car from FORD, Toyota or a non-existant company over a GM. Got it, you are angry over a gas vehicle related issue you may have had or heard of. Therefore everything always stinks from (insert company you dislike here) so we should no longer consider anything else ever from them. Yep I got it.

My reply was an attempt to let you know your day job should be held on to with great effort. Comedian you are not. Next time try something more along the lines of Packard, Plymouth and Mercury aligned with the witty electrical terms. Then clarify the statement with a joke that has anything to do with the topic. It may almost make sense. You know something like "Even if Packard (a car once known to be too good for its own good) came back and made a Ampere I wouldn't by it for ten years." 

By the way. They do have snow in Michigan where the car was developed. So the car was "likely (sarcasm)" driven in the snow with the 12volt battery powering the heater motor. And they battery jacket cycling. Just a little known fact, the car was held back several weeks from the public until the mileage discussion was hashed out. How do you measure the mileage on this type of system and what do the federal results report when they reviewed documented testing. The automakers are not allowed to just make up the result number and stick it on the window.

The average fuel economy by ALL the manufactures is never black and white. Ford, Toyota and even the departed Plymouth play the games with economy numbers. Drove the car from home to the office in the winter last year. 22 miles one way. Engine kicked on about a mile from office. Is my trip the same as your trip? Less or more hills? More or less stop and go?

Like the VOLT a lot but I am still an engineer. Trust but verify. Identify the effectors and evaluate the impacts and define the nominal value.  

Again,

Stay Cranky it is fun to watch.  The world needs more visionaries with closed eyes. Have a great day!

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
OLD_CURMUDGEON   8/10/2011 1:46:54 PM
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robots2rockets:

Plymouth was NEVER a CHRYSLER CORP. "premium" brand.  It was their low-end series.  The ranking was CHRYSLER, DeSOTO, DODGE, PLYMOUTH!

Same analogy applies to GM:  CADILLAC, BUICK, OLDSMOBILE, PONTIAC, CHEVROLET ....

and, FOMOCO: LINCOLN, MERCURY, (EDSEL), FORD

p.s.  I drove a 1960 OPEL REKORD for several years!

p.p.s.  I'm NOT cranky.....actually I'm getting quite the rise because of your sensitivity.  It is irking you no end, and this I think is hilarious.

robots2rockets
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Re: Would I buy a Chevy VOLT?
robots2rockets   8/10/2011 2:00:08 PM
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Opps sorry you did get one thing right. AND you owned a 1960 OPEL REKORD so you do have a sense of humor! If you owned one while living in the US it's even more proof. I lived Plymouth from 1970 onward in both US and Canada so I have a difference frame of reference. Plymouth Prowler was not a down grade but confusing all the same.

Oh and I am laughing as well. This was a VOLT conversation

Most Plymouth models offered from the late 1970s onward, such as the Volaré, Acclaim, Laser, Neon, and Breeze, were badge-engineered versions of Chrysler, Dodge, or Mitsubishi models. By the 1990s, Plymouth had lost much of its identity, as its models continued to overlap in features and prices with other Chryslers, Dodges, and Eagles.[5] In an attempt to fix this, Chrysler tried repositioning Plymouth to its traditional spot as the automaker's entry-level brand. Part of this marketing stategy included giving Plymouth its own new sailboat logo and advertisements that focused solely on value.[5][6] However, this only further narrowed Plymouth's product offerings and buyer appeal, and sales continued to fall.[7]

 

William K.
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Would I buy a Chevy Volt?
William K.   8/9/2011 4:48:32 PM
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If the volt were not as expensive as a luxury car, I would be thinking about it, and if a Volt sold for $17K to $20K, I would consider it very seriously. There are quite a few things besides price that are probably show-stoppers, however, which include serviceability and the availability to charge the vehicle. 

I would purchase a given vehicle if it met my needs, rather than because it was "green" or "cool", since I feel no urge at all to simply impress people. 

One of my biggest concerns would be how it would survive the huge amounts of road salt that are applied to all roads in this part of Michigan every winter. The conditions are far worse than the US Navy salt spray test, and the amount of vehicular destruction that results is large. Any vehicle that could last more than 5 years under these conditions would be a good candidate. BUt, would you spend some $8000 for a new battery pack for a vehicle that might fail after another 2 or 3 years?

vandamme
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How's the defroster ...
vandamme   8/9/2011 7:22:31 PM
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...when it's ten below zero?

diskguy
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Would I buy a Chevy Volt
diskguy   8/9/2011 9:34:33 PM
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No - I want the electric part enhanced for additional range and reduced complexity. A single engine, battery powered vehicle should be simple and reliable for 90% of the the trips I make. So for total miles this electric vehicle will become the primary car for driving. With range extending charging infrastructure, the anxiety over where can I drive to will reduce as the ability to recharge is increased. I see a number of comments on cold anxiety - when the vehicle is plugged in it can be warmed with AC electricity for both the cabin and the battery. And when you reach your destination, a hitching post would provide the same function.

Jluminais
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Volt will probably Bolt
Jluminais   8/10/2011 9:22:11 AM
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My daily commute to work is 7 miles one way, so I could easily drive a Chevy Volt for 2 to 3 days before recharging, but I will not buy one at any price.  In fact, I will not buy any GM car again.  Two years after I bought my Chevy Corsica, it was discontinued.  4 years after I bought my Saturn, it was .....  discontinued.  Wonder how long they will manufacture the Volt before they discontinue that.

jimwilliams57
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First car/second car
jimwilliams57   8/10/2011 9:24:45 AM
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In my household, we don't have the concept of first car or second car. I have my car and my wife has her car. When we take a long trip, we frequently don't decide which car to take until the last minute. I want a car that can go at least 400-500 miles between fill-ups. And I don't want to pay an arm or leg to buy it.

In fact, I'm the kind of guy the auto manufacturers hate. I never buy car when its new.  Only used.

SIMPLYPATRICK
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CHEVY VOLT
SIMPLYPATRICK   8/10/2011 9:33:01 AM
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What happened to the  electric vehicle that has a turbine that burns most any combustible fuel. Runs a ac generator which has a hermetically sealed dc converter (rosin motors). Last i heard 104mpg. in any climate or atmosphere (1.5k). and will retrofit into most vehicle type's.

 

 

 

vandamme
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Re: CHEVY VOLT
vandamme   8/10/2011 9:36:33 AM
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Read the story about the Chrysler turbine cars. It will break your heart...what they could do today with modern electronics and materials???

zlatko
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Silver
Electric car Chevy Volt
zlatko   8/10/2011 9:38:53 AM
No I would not buy Chevy Volt or any electric car. Electric cars are nonsense at this time.

I would (and will) buy Volkswagen Golf Diesel.

VW Golf Diesel has better mileage, it is much more reliable, it is faster, it will make 400K miles without any problems, it is half the price, it is of significantly higher quality that any Chevrolet, it has better re-sale value, even with Diesel fuel gauged prices it is cheaper to drive, and so on and on.

60% of all cars in Germany are Diesel and these guys know what are they doing.

At this time, until energy density of the battery is increased (battery 140 gasoline 12,000) which will never happen, until batteries becomes extra light, which will never hapen, there is no common sense to by any electric car. All these Teslas, Volts, Leafs, Fiskers will go bankrupt.

Simply electric car technology is not there yet and probably will never match Diesel or gasoline powered car.

akwaman
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Re: Electric car Chevy Volt
akwaman   8/10/2011 9:54:15 AM
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Spoken as someone who sells Volkswagons or Oil.  The assumptions here about electric cars are not well thought out, and obviously predjudiced by either stock in Volkswagon or stock in oil.  Electric cars make a lot of sense, and the energy density of batteries has improved to the point of sensable electric cars.  To say that they have no use is simply not true.  To say the range is an issue  is simply not true for most Americans, who commute on the average of 30 minutes a day.  Some longer, some shorter.  This relates to a distance of about 15 miles each way.  Electric cars have more than enough power to make many people's commutes to and from work.

 

akwaman
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Re: Electric car Chevy Volt
akwaman   8/10/2011 9:54:18 AM
Spoken as someone who sells Volkswagons or Oil.  The assumptions here about electric cars are not well thought out, and obviously predjudiced by either stock in Volkswagon or stock in oil.  Electric cars make a lot of sense, and the energy density of batteries has improved to the point of sensable electric cars.  To say that they have no use is simply not true.  To say the range is an issue  is simply not true for most Americans, who commute on the average of 30 minutes a day.  Some longer, some shorter.  This relates to a distance of about 15 miles each way.  Electric cars have more than enough power to make many people's commutes to and from work.

 

jkstoib
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Iron
Purchase Chevy Volt
jkstoib   8/10/2011 9:42:40 AM
If it were not for the price, I would buy the Volt - mainly to avoid going to the gas station so frequently.  The Volt can charge itself, from the onboard ICE, or plug into a standard outlet.  Add to that the extended range of the beforementioned onboard charging system and this becomes a primary commuter.  The Leaf, Tesla, and other pure electrics are limited to the recharge availability and we will see how long the battery life is in extreme heater/AC zones or areas of extreme terrain.  I originally thought that the Volt ICE was oversized for extended power production, but discussions with an engineer who had worked on the project outlined how the powerplant was sized to handle high altitude mountain driving with full GVW.

John D.
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Chevy Volt
John D.   8/10/2011 9:44:54 AM
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EV technology is too much of a work-in-progress for me. It will be many years before I will have sufficient confidence in that technology to invest multi-kilodollars in the purchase of a Chevy Volt or any other such vehicle.

Parkertnc
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Chevy Volt
Parkertnc   8/10/2011 10:04:56 AM
The Chevy Yolt does not make sense at this time. Especiaally at 40 grand + for the cost. The range it has makes it non-functional for 80% of the American public. It is another result of a government gone crazy with global warming. I have worked within the electric car industry and can tell you that battery technology limitations make this car and those like it, a bust. Battery technology must make a giant leap forward to make any electric car feasible in todays world. Intenal combustion engines of today burn gasoline more efficiently, ergo the vanishing local emmissions testing stations around the country. Don't fall for this push from government, They want cars that are efficient past logic, and are pushing automotive manufacturers to make "greener" cars. With that comes many more deaths from a lighter car. Complete nonsense.

SCEngMotorHead
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Re: Chevy Volt
SCEngMotorHead   8/10/2011 12:21:22 PM
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I beg to differ with your analysis.  When you say 80%, you may be speaking geographically vs population.  At present, estimates place urban dwellers at 80% of the population, the target users of this technology, which is what GM publicized. I for one believe this vehicle hits the right design point, given added flexibility to the vehicle beyond the range limit of all electric.  Consider the question - have you ever forgotten to plug in your cell phone?  What happens if you forget to plug in your all electric car?  You won't make many friends in downtown Manhatten or in the 405 if you run out of juice.....

Parkertnc
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Re: Chevy Volt
Parkertnc   8/10/2011 12:54:33 PM
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You never run out of juice if you keep gas in the tank.

mattvea
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Yes - used.
mattvea   8/10/2011 10:11:50 AM
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Yes - at $10,000 to $13,000.  Probably used, probably in 4-5 years from now, and most certainly not the first model year.

PSiegel
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Just a Bandaid
PSiegel   8/10/2011 10:32:46 AM
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Electric cars are just a bandaid for the problem.  To be completely successful, a vehicle must have a unrefueled range of at least 350 miles and refueling must be readily available and take no more than 5 - 10 minutes.  The Volt does not really fulfill these requirements because after only 30 miles or so, you may as well be driving a standard gasoline powered car.  My money is on fuel cells in the long run.

billbattle
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goverment intents
billbattle   8/10/2011 10:32:57 AM
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Its price. If the price was less than a conventional gas car of the same size, Chevy would not be able to keep them on the lots.

It always bothers me when someone rants about the government pushing hybrids. If the government was pushing hybrids then the subsidy would be much more than $7800. This is just a gesture to make it seem like they care.

Open your eyes do Politicians care about the environment or energy conservation? Maybe a little bit but, their lively hood depends on caring about where campaign money comes from.

Follow the money to find out what they really care about. If they wanted to push hybrids they would take some of the billions of dollars that are traditionally spent securing oil reserves and spend it on hybrid rebates, making driving a hybrid practical and advancing the technology and or any substitute technologies. But since oil companies put out big bucks for political campaigns it will not happen.

Sorry for actually paying attention

runuts
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Under No Circumstance would I buy a Volt.
runuts   8/10/2011 10:36:03 AM
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The Volt is a losing proposistion that cannot be justified economically, even if the Feds are using my tax dollars in an attempt  to bribe others to buy it.  Burning coal or natural gas to generate electricity, transmit it, charge the battery and then use it to drive a motor?  Too many conversion inefficiencies and losses along the way.  Makes as much sense as using food stock as a fuel base.  Get the government out of the equation and let the market find an appropriate solution.

j-allen
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Electric cars
j-allen   8/10/2011 10:50:51 AM
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I would like an electric as a second car for local trips. About 25 to 50 miles range would do.  (I would keep my Prius for long trips.)  I would use a solar photovoltaic array to charge the batteries.  (I helped a friend build just such a system about 22 years ago and he used it to commute to work and back on sloar electric.  That car had regular old lead batteries and worked pretty well.)

If one charges off the mains from a coal power plant, an electric is actually a coal-fired steam car. although the electric system (including the losses) does give better overall efficiency than a gas engine.

Country Bumpkin
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Why would anyone buy a Chevy Volt
Country Bumpkin   8/10/2011 11:00:28 AM
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Let's be practical.  The chevy Volt has a 40 mile range, more or less.  How many people live less than 20 miles from their work place?  Maybe, after the Socialists force all of us to live in Government Housing next door to our work place, maybe.  Then let's look at the physical aspects.  It has no ground clearence and my wheel barrow has a larger tire.  A skinny cat would have trouble getting under it.  Not good when you live in a rural area where the snow drifts are 5 to 6 feet high and the roads are snow packed and icy from mid November to mid February.  In Summer we have pot holes that a large dog could lay down and die in.  It has no passenger room.  Not good for running errands with the kids or for taxi service on school days.  Basically, Chevorlet has built a very expensive, street legal golf cart and the Green Peacer have went gah gah over and expect the rest of us to 'get with it' and buy the stupid thing.  Nope in this life time.  Like it or not, it is a novelty that is just not practical in the real world, at least the one most of us working stiffs have to live in.

philipp10
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Re: Why would anyone buy a Chevy Volt
philipp10   8/10/2011 1:10:32 PM
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First off, let’s address the issue of battery life in the Volt as well as the Leaf.  Looking at the life of the Prius batteries, we have about a decade of experience where these batteries are lasting well over 10 years. In addition, the existing IC system with its troublesome automatic transmission is eliminated in an electric car so I would argue that the replacement of batteries after 10 years is about a wash since the automatic transmission is also expensive to re-build.

 

As far as the economics of the Volt, I believe it is too expensive of a system to make it a viable replacement for the standard IC car of today.  As the writer states, the Volt is economical at daily driving under the threshold where the gas engine kicks in.  Therefore, it is only economical at commutes under 40 miles per day.  As soon as the gas engine kicks in, you might as well be driving a standard IC car.

 

GM made a decision to include a gas engine on the Volt so drivers would not be put off by the 40 mile range that the Leaf has.  Somehow though, they managed to basically create a $40K Prius which will be a tough sell in this market (Prius runs under $25K).  If you want a economical electric car and can stay under 40 miles a day, buy the Leaf.  Typical GM management.  Will they ever learn.

Finally, to address your comment "how many people live within 20 miles of work", I say it plenty.  Not only that but, in the near future, employers will have chargers for their employees, thereby concievable doubling your possible commute.  Also, batteries are improving as we speak. We as engineers MUST learn to realize, its not a static world.

gafisher
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Re: Why would anyone buy a Chevy Volt
gafisher   8/10/2011 5:19:56 PM
As you note later in your post, the Volt uses an IC engine; that is coupled to the electric motor and drive train through a very "automatic transmission-like" planetary gearing system.  In other words, the "existing IC system with its troublesome automatic transmission" isn't really eliminated.  Further, the Volt's IC engine runs far more than just beyond the 40-mile (best-case) battery limit -- in fact, when the air temperature drops below about freezing, the IC engine runs continuously just to keep the battery and occupants warmed.

The Volt is a concept car which might have been used to develop ideas for future production vehicles but shouldn't have been brought into production itself.

gafisher
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Nobody wants them!
gafisher   8/10/2011 11:09:16 AM
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Google "Chevy Volt sales" or jump to this article -- the Volt makes the Edsel look like a home run.  There were four times as many Volts available for sale in dealer showrooms as the company sold worldwide in July.  If you're selling only 20% of your production "excessive demand" isn't the problem.

It appears that what will be required to get customers to buy the Volt will be the same thing as what it took to get GM to sell it: "offer you can't refuse" pressure from Washington, perhaps enhanced by the removal of other options.  (Anyone care to guess what a 56mpg family car will be like?)

mbunds
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Not yet...
mbunds   8/10/2011 11:23:19 AM
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The total cost of ownership over 5 years for this car is roughly $0.54 per mile under "avereage" driving conditions. The Honda Civic, and the Honda Civic Hybrid both cost roughly $0.46 per mile, and the Nissan Leaf around $0.47 per mile. Cold climate under-performance of this car makes this a deal-breaker for me.

Mike C
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Why buy a chevy volt
Mike C   8/10/2011 12:09:30 PM
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I buy cars to fit a mission. Last few cars:

95 Honda Accord wagon. new 21K including finanacing. Ran 280K miles $8K after destroyed in accident. Avg 28 MPG. Avg mileage excess of 30K per years first two years over 40K. Used to raise family with LA to Pheonix commute (weekly).

03 Toyta Higlander....replaced the Honda. similar need  3 kids partner at home. active in Scouting soccer and basketball, camping etc as with the accord. still own. Car has 240K drove 8 years at nearly 30K per year. Now semiretired. Engine blew a few years back with 195K . In good spahe use for heavy lifting and camping.

08 Toy Camry Hybrid...current commuter car avg 37 mpg in LA commute. Lousy for Home Depot trips. Fuel savings significant pays for the car and insurance compared to highlander. otherwise cheaper to keep one car.

 

In general havnig one car is far cheaper than two. I have a bit of an advantage as the higlander is worthless on the used car market with the milage. IF I was buying the Toy new. I would have to facotr in it complete lack if utility for camping and Home support vehicle and I would have bought a Venza or Subie wagon.

The Volt the Leaf etc are good IF you have another car for all the BS a homeowner deals with or if you living in an apartment in the city...where public transportation will be useful.

The misson of these electric cars is not ameanble to enough of the public therefore it is a market failure. Note too Leafs are very availble at local dealers. not just Volts. The hybrids are very nice economical alternatives, but the real mileage winners will be well desinged high compression smal engines in midsized cars with 6 to 8 speed high efficency tranmissons with good aerodynamics. sort of like the accord wagon which with a poor tranmission (compared to today) and ealry engine management systems did a great job hauled a lot and was cheap and durable.

As for 54 mg fleet average.....good bloody luck.

Trackday
User Rank
Silver
Volt or Prius or Leaf???
Trackday   8/10/2011 12:17:24 PM
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The Volt will appeal to people who have never driven a car before or people who hate driving in the first place. The Euro only e-drive Volvo turbo diesel line of cars and SUV’s get over 800 miles per 15 gal tank of fuel. If you look this up (at the Volvo Euro site) you will see that is over 60 mpg in a vehicle that is not nearly as embarrassing. A Volt or Leaf or Prius will only be for the people who need to make a “I’m a better person” statement when in reality they are not.

spike54
User Rank
Iron
LIked the Toyota hybrids better
spike54   8/10/2011 12:19:33 PM
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Not likely. I did own a 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid for 3 years. I loved that car, but I had more need of a truck, so I traded it in. The Highlander's big engine was quite peppy and fun to drive. Their rear wheel electric drive system for additional traction seemed like a great idea to apply to other vehicles. Freeway mileage was a disappointing 22 mpg, but around town I got around +28. Unlike the Volt, you could drive the Highlander indefinetly on gas. I also suspect that the battery packs last much longer because the Toyota charging system always kept the battery charge/dishcarge levels around the mid range. I wonder what the average lifetime of the Volt battery with its high charge/discharge cycles will be? A battery pack replacement will be extremely expensive.

Absalom
User Rank
Gold
Too little, too limited
Absalom   8/10/2011 1:08:56 PM
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For me, a vehicle needs to be 4wd, the size of my Dodge Ram pickup, have a 300 mile range pulling a 4500 pound trailer and cost about $30,000.

BobGroh
User Rank
Platinum
So an electric car has disadvantages? So what.
BobGroh   8/10/2011 1:13:20 PM
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Like every other car, a car like the Chevrolet Volt has advantages and disadvantages and it will NOT fill everyone's needs.  The running cost may be low (ignoring the unknown factors such as repair costs and that dreaded battery replacement) but, overall, the Volt is not likely to be a total winner on overall cost.

Add to this the fact that the whole electric car marketplace is new (or at least "new'ish") and, yes, it is time for the early adopter's to step in. You know - those strange people who bought the first VW bugs back in the 1950s. As with all new market place developments, there will be winners and losers but,jeepers, you have to start someplace! 

The Chevrolet Volt at least seems like a well built and mostly satisfactory car.  I haven't taken a test drive in one yet (but hope to soon) but it might (other than the cost)meet my set of requirements - i.e. short trips around town for the most part and, if I make a long trip, then I have the gas engine for backup and, with gas refills, an unlimited range.

So would I consider buying one?  Yes. Heck, I used to own a bunch of VWs back in the day (about 7 of them all told) so it is just my radical nature coming out.

rcjuras
User Rank
Iron
Would you buy a Chevy Volt?
rcjuras   8/10/2011 6:11:37 PM
Having driven one, and understanding all that it can do, I would have no problems with owning one.

I have to say that the Volt is not "perfect". But neither is any other vehicle I can even think of. But it will work for me and it clearly fits what I think the alternative vehicle industry should be doing right now.

Unless the auto industry is actually pushed, they will not see cash flowing in anything other than what they are comfortable with. Which is fossil fuel (ICE) powered vehicles. That is simply what corporations do. There honestly are very few that are willing to spend any cash to develop things. This goes beyond just making alternative powered vehicles. So for me, I would have no problem putting my money where I would like to see alternative powered vehicles go.

In the current economic atmosphere, where government funding for just about anything is grinding to a complete hault, it will have to be the public that shows corporations what they want.

Unless you are the military, we can not even put things up into Space anymore.

Mike Ellis
User Rank
Iron
Would you buy a Chevy Volt
Mike Ellis   8/10/2011 6:14:58 PM
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I have driven a Volt. It drives very much like a Chevy Cruze. It is the first electric hybrid that I have driven that does not remind me of a golf cart. I am not trying to insult you Prius or Civic owners, but the feel of the Volt was very different. I drove like a regular car. It is said that 80% of car owners drive 38 miles or less per day.

I would purchase a Volt for a second vehicle if it was less expensive.

tiorbinist
User Rank
Silver
What would it take to get me to buy a Volt?
tiorbinist   8/10/2011 7:13:35 PM
NO RATINGS
I would consider buying a Chevy volt if:

-the electricity required to recharge it came from non-polluting, non-wasteful sources. I don't see a benefit in pretending that electric vehicles will reduce pollution or save the economy when the very same process is used to make the electricity as to drive 'normal' IC cars (and even the Volt can't get away from having an IC engine on board!) Meanwhile, our government dismantles nuclear power plants and disseminates falsehoods about them, because they don't fit current politics. 

-The volt had a reasonable range, which, for me, is safely in excess of 100 miles. Because of the economy, I have to commute 96 miles a day, and it is not possible to stop every 30 miles or so to recharge.

-The price was affordable for real people. (Note: note even President Obama owns one! He had to borrow one to get the Volt experience!)

-The batteries didn't add enough weight to the car to override its paltry crash-safety 'features', cost enough to pay for two small commuting cars, and have a lifetime slightly shorter than the average mayfly.

-it weren't a fad, which, as far as I can see, amounts to the whole desirability of the car.

Bobolink
User Rank
Iron
Re: What would it take to get me to buy a Volt?
Bobolink   8/10/2011 7:32:54 PM
I drive a Volt. I am getting 50 miles on the battery before it seamlessly switches over to the electric generator. Passengers never evem notice the transition. My average commute is 60 miles round trip, so I use 0.2 gal of gas. The 50 miles of electric drive costs me $1.34, the 10 miles on gas $0.76. The car has been totally problem free and is by far the best car I have owned in 25 years.

The average new car for 2011 is $30k (what people are paying after incentives, etc.). Fully loaded my Volt was $34k. The $4k difference will be recouped in gas savings within the first three years for me. Meanwhile I get to drive a solid, fun, luxury car that just so happens to enable me to drive on cheap electricty for 80-90% of my normal driving.

I replaced my luxury European import with the Volt and could not be happier. My neighbor is selling his Mercedes to buy a Volt.

I have already driven the Volt on several, hundred mile day trips where I averaged 41.5 MPG @ 65 MPH. I can tell you the bucket seats are very comfortable and with plenty of head room.

The Volt has the highest customer satisfaction ratings ever according to the recent JD Powers survey, It also has the highest crash test ratings

Jim Corning
User Rank
Iron
Why I bought a Chevy Volt!
Jim Corning   8/10/2011 7:40:51 PM
Those of you who are old enough will remember the frustration, and, dare I say it, some sense of helplessness, waiting in the gas lines of the 1970's. For us, the Volt is a long awaited dream come true. Electricity is the one power source that is widely enough distributed in sufficient volume to be a competitive alternative to petroleum fuels.

I bought a Volt knowing that it was something of an engineering compromise, having both an electric and a gas engine powertrain stuffed into one car. But I got to tell you, it really works! The electric drive is powerful enough to blow off a lot of "conventional" cars at stoplight sprints. It'll do 101 MPH before the speed limiting electronic nanny gets involved. And, it's good honest fun on a twisty road.

A lot of you are hyper-analyzing this car in terms of cost. Would we be having this kind of analysis about a Chevy Tahoe? I bought a Volt because it was really important to me to help begin the movement away from fossil fuels. GM made a big investment in this technology, and the best way to encourage a business is to buy their stuff! (It's way more encouraging to a business than government mandates.)

Following the path of least resistance, or the path of the cheapest alternative is what has gotten us into this shotgun marriage with unfriendly oil producing nations. Aren't we strong enough to invest in the alternatives that will allow us to stand independently again?

If we were analytical about it, the best use for electric transportation (given today's battery technology limitations) is for local travel, our typical 30 or 40 miles a day to work and play. If we just used gas and diesel for cross-country travel, we could probably be energy self-sufficient for transportation. Until now, you'd need two vehicles to do this. My Volt does it automatically, by switching to gas when I exceed my battery capacity. And, it got 37 MPG on my last long road trip to California.

Finally, consider this: 99% of our electricity is generated from resources we own and control. We own all the coal, uranium, natural gas, hydroelectric dams, solar and wind that we need to produce electric power. Nobody had to go to the Middle East to protect the electricity I use in my Volt! I don't know about y'all, but I am tired of sending dedicated young people over there....

For the first time in a long time, we have an opportunity to take action, to lead the transition to a new energy economy. Electric cars can be powered by renewable energy, too. Mine is, when I plug it into my grid-tied solar home electrical system. Some say this stuff is impossible or impractical. Well, I'm doing it, and it works great!

Bobolink
User Rank
Iron
Re: Why I bought a Chevy Volt!
Bobolink   8/10/2011 9:33:33 PM
Last month, I averaged 150 MPG (not a typo) over 1200 miles of city and highway driving in my Volt. Take that OPEC! And I am at the low end, many Volt owners are getting far higher mileage in the 200-300 MPG range.

GM took a lot of heat for announcing the Volt might get up to 230 MPG. In my experience they were more right than wrong. This is a tremendous engineering achievement.

Everyone I have given a test drive comes away amazed at how fine a car this is. Nothing like the GM cars of the past, it originally slated to be a Cadillac brand. This is truely a car they can be proud of.

GMStoffa
User Rank
Silver
Why I bought a Volt
GMStoffa   8/10/2011 11:21:01 PM
The Volt has exceeded my expectations of a hybrid automobile.  It is a comfortable, solid automibile that puts out.  My family has a 2004 Prius, a 2010 Honda Insight, 2009 Pruius and now a 2011 Volt. Getting in and closing the door, the car sounds and feels solid.  The car is roomy (I am 6'3") and I fit comfortably.  There is room to manuver in the seat, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. It is quiet, and rides and manuvers well. The aaccelleration is incredible - unlike the sluggish, noisy performance of the Insight or Prius.  I have driven over 300 miles, and have used only 1 gallon of gas (averaging +250mpg) .  I am averaging 44 miles on a 10 hour charge with the 110 volt charger every other night.  IF I want to go beyond 40, 80 or 150 miles - I can- and have  (unlike the less expensive LEAF).  I have zeroed out the trip odometer and watched my highway driving when running on the gas engine generating the electricy for the battery.  I averaged 39 miles per gallon on gas.  I agree the price is excessive - a ploy by Chevy to get as much from the consumer as possible (justifying the cost by saying you are only paying $33,500 becuase of the $7,500 federal tax credit).  But I plan to drive this at least 120,000 miles like I have with my past vehicles.  I figure if I compare the 120,00 miles to the Prius or Insight getting 45mpg, the gas requirment would be over 2500 gallons.  Assume over the coming years an average cost of $4.00/gallon, the cost for gas for 2500 gallons to provide the 120,000miles would be $10,000.  I am sure I will be purchasing some gas, so I will assume a savings of $7,000. Applying this "cost avoidance" with the current $7,500 tax credit,  the cost of the car at 120,000 miles works out to a "purchase price" of $26,000 - more than the Insight, but in line with the Prius.  The trade off of having accelartion (to quote my wife "I feel G forces - not like the Prius or Insight!"), pure quietness, comfort, and the ability to go beyond an 80 mile range is worth the investment compared to the other choices currently available in the hybrid/ electric market. 

Jluminais
User Rank
Silver
Re: Why I bought a Volt
Jluminais   8/11/2011 8:01:25 AM
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All this high mileage sounds really great, but I haven't heard anyone say how much their electricity bill has gone up from the charging.  Any Total Cost of ownership analysis would have to include that.  Curious to know what it is.

Shallowford
User Rank
Iron
Re: Why I wouldn't buy a Volt
Shallowford   8/11/2011 3:52:50 PM
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I don't really have to do much math here to say that I would never buy a Volt.

My 8 year old Pontiac Vibe has 208,000 miles on it, averages 30-32 MPG and cost a little under $16000.  If gas is $4 a gallon and we use 30 MPG for a Vibe/Matrix or something similar, then assuming the electricity is free, it would still be almost five years before the Volt started to pay itself back.  The cost to borrow an additional $16,000 to buy the Volt is just a slap in the face on top of that. 

Driving a larger, more comfortable car with a 400 mile range and $16000 in the bank sounds like a better idea to me.

By the way, my tax dollars subsidizing (through Federal Tax Credit) someone else's bad math is a slap in my face even though I made the right choice.

 

GMStoffa
User Rank
Silver
Re: Why I bought a Volt
GMStoffa   8/11/2011 5:15:06 PM
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Okay you guys win. Disregard my initial post (GMStoffa  8/10/11 11:21pm). I bought a Volt because: 1.) It is damn quiet and has a great Bose sound system.  2.)  It looks sharp.  3.)  It is extremely comfortable 4.) It has FANTASTIC acceleration. (It also gets great mileage, supports hybrid technology to move away from dependency on total combustion engines cars, and has a greater range than any pure electric car on the market.... but I don't want to go through those arguments all over again).  You are all right - the Volt is expensive. But hey, there is a wide variety of cars on the market: you can spend a little, like with a Kia, or go high end with a Lexus, Hummer, or Vette.  Buy whatever floats your boat. For me it suits my taste and needs: It is a quiet, comfortable, good looking car that is fun to drive (with minimal trips to the gas station). 

DRL
User Rank
Iron
Chevy Volt is not green
DRL   8/11/2011 11:02:50 AM
NO RATINGS
OK,

1. The useful energy of 1 kilogram of gasoline in an internal combustion engine is ~4 kWh.

2. The conversion efficiency of the electric generator in the CV is ~20%

3. The electricity used to charge the battery at home was most likely from a coal fired plant.

4. The energy storage of the LI batteries is at best 200 Wh /Kg. An electric car would need to have 200 Kg of battery storage to make up for 10 Kg of gasoline storage.

5. The charging efficiency is 50% at best

So what is it about the Chevy Volt that is green? Do the math.

 

GerryJDail
User Rank
Iron
Re: Chevy Volt is not green
GerryJDail   10/21/2011 9:36:37 AM
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Well done.  I have neglected to do the calculations, but this shows pretty clearly that if we continue using fossil fuels for electrical energy production, which we will, then electric cars at this point in time are not a good idea.

Rick DeMeis
User Rank
Silver
Driving a Chevy Volt long distance and in the mountains
Rick DeMeis   8/11/2011 11:12:55 AM
I had the Chevy Volt for a week and drove it long distance from Boston into the Catskill Mountains. You can read my Driving Impressions report (and find out if I would buy one) on Automotive Designline, the UBM site for automotive electronics design engineers.

Cheers,

Rick DeMeis

Editor, Automotive Designline

Retired Engineer
User Rank
Iron
Would I Buy A Volt? - Not 'til its Reliability is Proven!
Retired Engineer   8/12/2011 1:36:13 AM
NO RATINGS
I am content to let the "early adapters' find the reliability and serviceability issues with the Volt.  As a retired engineer with experience in reliability and design of electronics, including the initial launch of vehicle electronic engine control systems,  I am impressed with the complexity of the battery management system, the batteries themselves [especially the high voltages involved], and the radically new drivetrains on this vehicle. How many of you have had a "Service Engine Soon" light come on in your existing car?? Ask me again in 5+ years!

 

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Would I Buy A Volt? - Not 'til its Reliability is Proven!
sensor pro   8/12/2011 12:32:17 PM
NO RATINGS
I would not buy it. I think that this GREEN movement is too polytical. We have so many nice reliable cars to choose from, so why to jump into this one. It is expensive and with no reliability data.

pdenholm
User Rank
Iron
chevi volt
pdenholm   8/23/2011 9:17:09 AM
NO RATINGS
I might buy one, depending on my financial distributions when I retire in 40 days. I travel outside town about once a year, otherwise I will be driving on all electric energy.

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