It's good to see car owners embracing hybrid vehicles and their satisfaction with them is a positive step in the direction to lessen the popularity of and dependence on traditional fossil-fuel vehicles. It really is the way forward to make cars more economical and environmentally friendly. As car makers improve hybrid technology in the future let's hope satisfaction numbers grow.
Cap'n, I read your headline and the first part of the article and remembered the article you mention later. Considering the adoption curve for new technology and the nature of the question, I would be interested in a more detailed statistical analysis.
We recently went through the process of buying a new car. Actually we bought a certified used car. This was for my wife, and she started out looking at Japanese cars. We encouraged her to look at some other brands, and we looked at some American and German cars. This was a car for commuting to work, so mileage was reasonably important. She ended up with a very nice Volkswagen. It drove so much better than many of the others she looked at. With the warranties and the miniscule differences in quality between the brands, we have many more choices we can feel secure with.
Considering the improvements in fuel efficiency we are seeing with ICEs, much of coming from electronics, and the fall in the price of gasoline, hybrids need to get much better to make a dent. Have you noticed that gasoline is down over $1 (closer to $1.25) per gallon over the past year? With new sources here, which are cheaper than middle east oil (I have seen figures of $47 per barrel), this situation should hold for the foreseeable future.
I am sure the Volt is a nice car, but for twice the cost of a comparable Chevy in its class, it is not that nice.
You've nailed the critical point, Cabe. The Volt is fantastic if you have a predictable commute that's relatively short. If the commute is less than 37 miles, and if you ar committed to charging it every night, you could go many months without putting gasoline in it. But as you also point out, many city dwellers like yourself don't have easy access to predictable daily charging.
Charles, there is no doubt that hybrid cars will gain more momentum in coming years. We cannot depend always on gasoline as fuel because of various crises in Arab countries. In such situations hybrid vehicles are the best solutions.
My concern is that, as a taxPayer, I funded LOTS of Volt purchases this year. I would love to see technology stand on its own sooner rather than have gov't make market decisions. Maybe the Volt is good stuff, maybe a better technology is out there that the gov't didn't choose to subsidize. I wish there was a model for introducing technology by which the market and not the politicians (using taxPayer $s) got to decide.
I have a Volt. Like the CR survey responders I am very happy with the car. A couple of comments. I don't think you could get a comparable Cruze for half the price. The Volt comes pretty loaded. And performance and handling are much better. My commute is over 37 miles. 37 miles is no limit, however, the advantages do diminish with a longer commute. I average over 100 miles per gallon of gas even with my longer commute. As far as being "committed" to charging every night, or thinking it is some kind of hassle. I would compare it to being "committed" to closing your garage door every night (it's every bit as much a similar habit now), and about as difficult as plugging in a cell phone charger. I estimate that it takes 30 seconds total to plug in and unplug. I'll take that 30 seconds of hassle every day to cut my number of trips to the gas station to less than one per month.
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
As it does every year, Consumers Union recently surveyed its members on the reliability of their vehicles. This year, it collected data on approximately 1.1 million cars and trucks, categorizing the members’ likes and dislikes, not only of their vehicles, but of the vehicle sub-systems, as well.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.