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Chevy Volt's Big Problem Isn't Safety, It's Cost

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philipp10
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Gold
Re: Back to the drawing board
philipp10   2/10/2012 9:35:13 AM
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I agree, if you can keep the Volt under 40 miles and only drive on the battery, the numbers are compelling.  Concumers should be buying the Volt based on overall costs. The real problem for the Volt will happen when Toyota offers the plug-in Prius.  Then the Prius will again win out.

Its hard for consumers to kick out 32-40k for sucha  small car and on top of that, most consumers cannot do the math to figure out long term costs.

PghEE
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not just good for the environment? Maybe just not good.
PghEE   2/10/2012 9:32:08 AM
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re: "I'm a Volt owner since March, 2011. Before that, I estimate that I 'donated' over $2000 each to the Saudis and Hugo Chavez since 9/11/01. Since I bought my Volt, my 'donations' to anti-US regimes have declined by over 90%."

Taxpayer 'donations' to GM for each Volt are on the order of $250K

http://www.mygovcost.org/2011/12/21/gms-chevy-volt-costs-taxpayers-250000-per-vehicle/

If there is anything 'anti-US' it is an administration which trashes the rights of bondholders.

All OEM's increased in January, except for GM. Leading the decline was the Volt, with 609 units..

(edited to add link) U.S. New Vehicle Sales Recovery Continues in January http://blog.polk.com/blog/blog-posts-by-tom-libby/us-new-vehicle-sales-recovery-continues-in-january 

Subsidizing junk to push consumption is as anti-free market as you can get.

Let the Engineers design & build better cars, not the politicians & bureaucrats.

 


Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Not just good for the environment
Tim   2/10/2012 7:37:17 AM
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One reason that the Volt is not selling well is that really does not appeal to any type of family transportation. The large battery and fuel tank do help with the range of the vehicle, but the relatively small backseat limits the comfortable trip range. Pile on the easily googled fire issues on the vehicle, and most families would steer clear of the Volt

jim_in_nj
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not just good for the environment
jim_in_nj   2/9/2012 1:58:13 PM
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jhankwitz:  Thank you for the link!  I was repeating the numbers I hear in the media which are usually in the range of "6 million BPD U.S. production vs. 20 million BPD usage".  I see these numbers don't include bio-fuels and other liquid sources, which puts U.S. production of liquids to 9.7 Million BPD.  Soooo, my 'donation' numbers from my first post are inflated - i.e. I only gave $1400 each (roughly) each to the Saudis and Chavez over the last ten years, not the $2000 that I thought I did.

And also a good point:  Oil over $80/barrel will spur alternatives.  It's my opinion that the Saudi's have lost control of the market because they don't have the spare capacity that they used to have.

Other interesting facts from your link:

Top Sources of Net Crude Oil and Petroleum Product Imports:

Canada (25%)
Saudi Arabia (12%)
Nigeria (11%)
Venezuela (10%)
Mexico (9%)


It is usually impossible to tell whether the petroleum products you use came from domestic or imported sources of oil once they are refined.


Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not just good for the environment
Rob Spiegel   2/9/2012 1:42:29 PM
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Actually, Jim, the Arab oil producers are very well aware of your logic. The Saudi oil folks noted last year that high oil prices have spurred oil alternatives. They said they could stop the development of alternatives if they could keep oil down to $80 per barrel. So far, they haven't been able to pull that off.

jhankwitz
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Not just good for the environment
jhankwitz   2/9/2012 1:30:33 PM
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Less than half our oil is imported  (http://205.254.135.7/energy_in_brief/foreign_oil_dependence.cfm).  It's not less because our politicians won't allow extracting it locally.

jim_in_nj
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not just good for the environment
jim_in_nj   2/9/2012 12:10:11 PM
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Thank you, Charles.    One other reason for buying an electric might be the completely silent, vibration-free drivetrain.  My neighbor with an E-series Mercedes noted how my Volt is quieter and smoother than his 'benz. I actually believe the Volt should have been branded as a Caddillac or even a Buick.  People tend to pay the premium for performance and lack of Noise Vibration and Harshness, and the Volt excels in these areas. 

And Rob, I agree:  high prices will keep most Americans away from cars like the Volt and Leaf, UNLESS gas prices rise substantially.  Then electric cars could actually be cheaper to own and operate than gasoline cars.  The main reasons American cars fell behind in the 1970's was the jump in gas prices, and the fact that there were really no competitive, reliable U.S. small cars (i.e., Pinto, Vega and Gremlin).   If GM can cut the price down below $30K, and gas prices go up, GM would have to run triple-shifts to keep up with Volt demand.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not just good for the environment
Rob Spiegel   2/9/2012 11:27:49 AM
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Good point, Jim, but I would think the number of Americans willing to spend these high prices in order to buy American is very limited. There have been a number of periods when buying American cars would have helped our economy and kept Americans in jobs, yet consumers were still rushing to non-American cars. 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not just good for the environment
Charles Murray   2/9/2012 11:13:29 AM
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Good point, jim_in_nj.  There are other reasons to buy a Volt, and yours is a great one. I stand corrected.

jim_in_nj
User Rank
Iron
Not just good for the environment
jim_in_nj   2/9/2012 11:03:54 AM
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"the Volt is a car for those with an untraditional sense of luxury -- well-to-do people who are willing to spend the extra money to clean up the environment."

A slight correction is in order:   I know of a lot of other Volt and LEAF owners for which using made-in-USA fuel is their main reason for purchasing an electric vehicle.  When one realizes that 70% of our oil is imported, it's a great feeling to be using 100% made-in-USA fuel.

I'm a Volt owner since March, 2011.  Before that, I estimate that I 'donated' over $2000 each to the Saudis and Hugo Chavez since 9/11/01.  Since I bought my Volt, my 'donations' to anti-US regimes have declined by over 90%.

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