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Captain Hybrid
Chevy Volt Owners: We'd Do It Again
1/3/2013

The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid got the highest score in Consumer Reports' owner satisfaction survey. (Source: General Motors)
The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid got the highest score in Consumer Reports' owner satisfaction survey.
(Source: General Motors)

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Elizabeth M
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Promising findings
Elizabeth M   1/3/2013 6:29:22 AM
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.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: Promising findings
warren@fourward.com   1/4/2013 9:48:54 AM
Sure the owners are happy getting a subsidized $100,000 car for $30,000.

Bunter
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Re: Promising findings
Bunter   1/4/2013 9:53:23 AM
Yup.  This is what makes any value comparisons, whether vs. Cruze or Prius or whatever, utterly meaningless.  It may be a great car, but it is easier to build a great 30k car if you can spend 60k, 70k or who-knows-what to make it.

When it is affordable and profitable I will be impressed.

Cheerio,

Dennis

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising findings
Elizabeth M   1/4/2013 1:33:01 PM
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Fair point, Warren! I think that would probably make me happy, too. :)

Ralphy Boy
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Re: Promising findings
Ralphy Boy   1/7/2013 5:22:16 PM
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Yup. Now tell them they should pay the rest of the REAL PRICE since they are so happy with the car... Then see how they answer. pfft...

 

tyme2par4
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Re: Promising findings
tyme2par4   1/8/2013 9:35:47 AM
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Ralphy Boy, you obviously have not read any of the comments. The Volt costs about $25k to produce, plus the R&D costs. We are paying the "REAL PRICE" of the car.

Don't try to reference the Reuters article, because that is a heap of BS.

Ralphy Boy
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Re: Promising findings
Ralphy Boy   1/9/2013 5:03:47 PM
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tyme2par4...

That's great... You're making the point I've made many times on this forum (and elsewhere); that the Volt is way over-priced. It is a sub-$30k auto...

This is the first time I've heard that the cost to manufacture was $25k... Mostly the Volt's proponents like to push the idea that Lexus and BMW owners should be flocking to the Volt because they are alike in luxury/quality, but that the Volt is a more awesome ride and has the ability to run at zero MPG...

Nice trick for GM to build a car that has all positives and no negatives (that's a battery pun btw). All the other luxury car companies must be run by morons I guess... it's amazing they're still in business and not just collecting government checks instead.  

Your accounting doesn't include the $14,000,000,000 that the tax payers will never get back from GM out of the bailout does it? If we gave every company billions and let them evaporate it away, most if not all of them could fund R&D the cost of which they could avoid passing along to the final customer... and they'd all receive highly positive reviews on their products. Gee, everything would be a bargan @75% off doing it that way.

The truth is that by throwing that much money in the hole there is no telling what happens to it. Of course accountants can make it look like the losses occurred in some other budgetary area... like disappointing government owned stock values for instance.

GM sealed their fate with many and the fact is that selling the Volt at a loss, no doubt to a higher than normal number of the choir is bound to boost the talk of buying another. 

But keep telling people that the car is only worth $25k and that will change too I think.

naperlou
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Perhaps not significant
naperlou   1/3/2013 11:50:52 AM
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. 

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Perhaps not significant
Cabe Atwell   1/3/2013 6:28:33 PM
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I almost got one myself. To get the full advantage out of it, you have to plug it in. Condo life in a high-rise does not allow for that luxury. So, the 50mpg Prius is my only option. Too bad.

C

Charles Murray
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Re: Perhaps not significant
Charles Murray   1/3/2013 7:38:45 PM
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.

VoltDave
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Re: Perhaps not significant
VoltDave   1/4/2013 9:39:36 AM
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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.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Perhaps not significant
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   1/6/2013 5:00:58 PM
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Hey Charles, I agree with that critical point too; I live in suburbia, I have a garage for daily recharge and I have a typical, repeat able commute.  So The Volt would be a great candidate vehicle for me.  The problem is that no Chevy Dealers keep them "on-lot"; they have to be ordered.  For me, that's a barrier to purchase.  I'm not going to put any deposit down on something I haven't driven and handled first.

VoltDave
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Re: Perhaps not significant
VoltDave   1/7/2013 11:09:53 AM
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Jim, I'm not sure where you live, but in my area most of the dealers have at least one Volt on lot, and a couple of them are successfully selling the Volt and have as many as a dozen to choose from. I hope you get a chance to test drive one, it's a great car.  It's well appointed, and drives and handles well.  My previous three cars were BMWs, and handling was a big part of the reason. 

tyme2par4
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Re: Perhaps not significant
tyme2par4   1/8/2013 9:33:51 AM
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Dave, In California, I'm sure it's not hard finding a Volt on the lot, but that's not the case with the rest of the country. When I leased mine, they happened to have 2 on the lot at the dealer. I've been checking all of the dealers around out of curiousity, and none of them have had a Volt on the lot in at least 2 months.

VoltDave
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Re: Perhaps not significant
VoltDave   1/8/2013 9:49:04 AM
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Actually, I'm in Minnesota, not California.  I just checked the inventory of the four dealers closest to me on line.  The dealer I used shows 11 (and it's a different variety than when I was shopping a few months ago), another shows 5, another shows 2 (one is a 2012), the last one doesn't list the Volt as a model to pick to show inventory.  What a wide variety in such a small sample.  My guess is it reflects the dealers' view of the car. If they believe in the car and get behind it, they can sell them. 

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Perhaps not significant
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   1/10/2013 12:57:09 AM
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To answer to initial question, I live in South Florida; Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/West Palm Beach corridor, a.k.a. "Florida Gold Coast".  One possibility is the culture here is very transient, and Caribbean / European in nature. Not a lot of Fords and Chevys, but more Mercedes, BMWs and even Bentleys and Rolls-Royces than you can count. That is likely a contributing factor to Chevy dealers' apathy to the Volt Market.  Personally, I'd love to drive one, but I've never even seen one on the road!

Charles Murray
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Re: Perhaps not significant
Charles Murray   1/3/2013 7:34:58 PM
I agree, Naperlou. The real issue with the Volt is still cost. The price is inching downward, but as you point out, it still costs twice as much as a comparably-sized Chevy Cruze.

akwaman
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Not Surprised at all
akwaman   1/4/2013 9:49:31 AM
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Some people really need to look at the numbers, many people forget to factor in the monthly saving in gasoline.  If your commute is small, hybrids and electrics might not be your thing.  If you drive any kind of appreciable miles, there is a huge difference.

I just drove my Prius 2100 miles, and it didn't skip a beat, tight as a rock.  Hope you got a great warranty... and you are fooling yourself if you think OIL prices are going anywhere but UP.

Hybrids and Electrics have everything to like, and it is obvious that these owners surveyed don't miss their ICE counterparts in the slightest bit.  Do they feel cheated because their car payments are higher? Of course not, because they laugh at all the denyers at the pump putting $60-100 in their tanks.  I put 30 dollars in the tank and it goes 500 miles.  I just took a road trip 2100 miles in total, didn't worry about speed (avg 66mph) and got 47.9mpg avg in my Prius. Here is the damage:

Current trip:

43.84 Gallons used X $3.25 (avg Gas Price) = $142.48 for the entire trip

If I took old car, Toyota Solara: stats from previous trip, current Gas Price, 18.5mpg

113.51 Gallons used X $3.25 (avg Gas Price) = $368.91

That is a difference of $226.44

The savings paid for 2 hotels and food and drink on the trip.

Why the Hell would anyone want to go back to an conventional ICE engine?

Bunter
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Re: Perhaps not significant
Bunter   1/4/2013 10:03:19 AM
Hi Charles and Naperlou.

I would add "cost to manufacture" to your thoughts.  The Volt is currently sold at a loss, and I suspect volume will only get them part of the way there.  Personal guess is that the 40k price is GM's estimate of the profitable retail at high volume.  It is a slow seller (esp. to public) in the low 30k range.

At this point the public acceptance, or lack there of, of the Volt at it's fictional price tells us very little about the commercial viability.  This is one of the problems with govt subsidies (in anything), they block the manufacturer from getting vital information from the market that will help them make a good decision on the product.

 

Cheerio,

Dennis

rohvemula
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Re: Perhaps not significant
rohvemula   1/4/2013 12:58:11 PM
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Yes this is not a Cheap car. The extra cost is for technology and battery. Hope Chevay will not die because of so many factors..

Mydesign
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Hybrid Vehicles
Mydesign   1/4/2013 5:27:46 AM
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.

Bunter
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Re: Hybrid Vehicles
Bunter   1/4/2013 10:07:06 AM
We actually have plenty of oil in the US, modern methods are making it accessible (see ND oil boom, natural gas in east), getting access to fed land is the big hurdle to freedom from OPEC.

Cheerio,

Dennis

Mydesign
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Re: Hybrid Vehicles
Mydesign   1/9/2013 5:00:19 AM
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1 saves
Dennis, like in US, oil excavations are happening almost all corners in globe, especially with Asian and Arab countries. But one day, that treasure can also empty. More over environmental pollutions are more with petrol/diesel vehicles. That’s the reason most of the automobile manufacturers are turned to ET & Hybrid vehicles.

mikec711
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When the Market should choose
mikec711   1/4/2013 9:19:16 AM
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.

warren@fourward.com
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Re: When the Market should choose
warren@fourward.com   1/4/2013 9:46:20 AM
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Amen, brother. If it can't stand on its own I don't want it. I will never buy a GM product again because of government abuse of the marketplace.

kyleafdotcom
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Re: When the Market should choose
kyleafdotcom   1/4/2013 10:15:56 AM
I like your commitment. I was just wondering if you have the same thoughts about the government and farmers? Do you boycott food until farmers stop getting your tax dollars?

mikec711
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Re: When the Market should choose
mikec711   1/4/2013 10:27:48 AM
Point 1:  I'm not boycotting the Volt.  Just saying that the corporatism that goes into gov't having the taxPayers foot the bill on some items and not others is a bad thing.

Point 2: Boycotting food would be difficult (although doing it for a short stint probably would not hurt me).  I am against subsidizing farmers, and regulating them (ie: tobacco allotments).  I really am a free-market guy.  I can provide mucho evidence of abuse of the corporate entitlements ... but that is off topic.  I'm glad Volt owners are happy with their Volts ... I just think it's wrong that I had to pay for 70% of the vehicle.


OK, one good example, at Camp LeJeune ... they had a huge media parade about putting solar panels in on all the barracks.  Sounded great.  I was one of the few who looked at the numbers for the article.  If the panels last 75 years with no operating costs, they will pay themselves off.  Problem is, they only last 25 years and they do have operating costs.  So it is once again the gov't throwing away tax payer $s.  Technology will get there.  The technology of yester-year did not get here based on gov't subsidies.  Technology is a good thing in and of itself ... let it earn its way ... and let's avoid resource mis-allocation because of political whim (note, I'm not picking a political side, I'm not calling anyone an xxx-tard ... I'm just saying stop forcing tax payers to fund political expediency).

warren@fourward.com
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Re: When the Market should choose
warren@fourward.com   1/4/2013 10:32:29 AM
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Interesting arguement.  Yes, I don't buy GMO modified farm products, which eliminates a lot of subsidized farming.  I grow a lot of my own produce and buy from the Amish.  

Where I don't have a choice, I buy, but I also fight against it.  The American farmer has made a pact with the devil, and the foreign produce is dominating the American market now.

DeVille
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Iron
Re: When the Market should choose
DeVille   1/4/2013 8:19:56 PM
For me, the Volt stands on its own as a beautifully engineered and well designed car. I spent a lot of time going over the engineering before I bought the car, a 2012.

For some reason, the Volt became a target of political opposition to the Obama administration's handling of the GM bankruptcy and restructuring. I'm a conservative myself, and am critical of the way GM's restructuring was handled.

But that has nothing to do with the Volt as a car. I've been following its development since early 2007. Bob Lutz spearheaded the Volt development at GM. He happens to be a conservative also and is a real car guy.

Following a lemon experience with a new 1973 Chrysler, I've been buying upscale foreign cars since, until the Volt. I wasn't part of the Consumer Reports survey, but count me as very satisfied with the Volt.

I traded in an Acura RDX for the Volt. The Acura is a good car. But I averaged 19 mpg with it. The Volt has averaged right at 250 mpg, using more than an order of magnitude less gas. That represents a technology breakthrough.  The Volt rides better, is much quieter, equally comfortable and has equivalent amenities such as audio and the navigation system. Given the twisty roads in the hill country where I live, the Acura tended to eat disk brakes. The Volt, with regenerative braking and a lower center of gravity, lets me make better time with no brake wear. It's an enjoyable driving experience.

I'll get a one-time tax credit of $7,500 dollars for buying the Volt. But I had to make the money to owe enough taxes to receive that credit, so I don't think my credit comes out of anyone else's pocket. The feds had decided, before Obama, that supporting electric vehicles was in the national interest. I won't argue that question. The feds subsidize a great many things, some of which I would agree with, others not. One of the big subsidies is on home mortgages. That contributed to the bubble in house prices and our current problems. But hey, I paid off my mortgage long ago, so I don't get any tax breaks for owning a house. Bottom line, I don't feel guilty about my tax credit for the Volt. :)

mikec711
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Re: When the Market should choose
mikec711   1/4/2013 8:30:18 PM
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First of all, if I am the start of the politics (though I specifically was not political but economic) ... I apologise.  I believe both parties are narcissistic monsters who are all-too-happy to take from some and give to others in an effort to garner support and move power from people to gov't.  That being said, the $7500 tax credit is a small part of the taxPayer support.  The manufacturing cost of your volt was approximately 3x its cost.  You sound like a person of substantial means.  If someone were to take your Volt (which you probably paid < $30K with the tax credit) and refund exactly what you paid (you will have had a car for free for a while) ... and give you the option to pay the true cost of manufacturing the volt ($100K) ... taking no profit ... would you be willing to pay for the Volt.  The decision as to whether or not a car would be purchased again is at least as much economic as it is technical and emotional.  If you had to pay the true cost of the Volt, would you?  If not, then just like the survey, it was a misLeading question.  If I saw a house that I thought was worth $120K ... but it had cost $300K to build ... and they were offering it to me for $100K (1/3 the cost, like the Volt) ... I would buy it. If they offered it to me for $300K ... I would not buy it.  Simple economics.  I don't care which politicians were involved ... the fact is, none of them should have been.

dr_innovation
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Re: When the Market should choose
dr_innovation   1/4/2013 9:42:52 PM
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What is the basis of youre claim, mikec711, that the volt production is 3x its cost. It seems you've been duped by bad data and biased reporting.

 The Volt is currently past "variable break even", i.e. its production cost is less what the manufacturer sells it for, see http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/09/10/the-real-story-on-gms-volt-costs/. 

The volt is not yet "profitable" because the R&D costs have not been fully recovered.  Various reports have tried to say the volt is 90K to make or more, because they try to allocate the R&D costs to the units already produced.  That is not how the proper accounting is done. 

 

mikec711
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Re: When the Market should choose
mikec711   1/4/2013 10:00:05 PM
We're both trusting "trusted sources" and it is hard to say who is dup'd because that is being specifically hidden from the consumers because the taxPayers have already taken a bath on GM and will continue to do so and costs will be obscured as best as possible.  You seem to suggest that R&D costs need not be re-couped.  Bottom line, based on volume, R&D amortization is necessarily high on each vehicle.  ROI on this vehicle is obviously worse than a joke right now.  My simple point is that, as long as gov't is using taxPayer $s and typical gov't funny-money accounting ... my source will say $100K, your source will say < $30K ... and neither will be able to empirically prove the other wrong.  If Volt truly did have a < $30K unit mfg cost ... why are they obscuring so much information?  Are you by chance getting your info from the gov't?

dr_innovation
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Re: When the Market should choose
dr_innovation   1/4/2013 10:38:20 PM
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Sorry,mikec711 , that you cannot be bothered to read.  The article I cited was from forbes, not the government.  Even the Rueters article said the cost to prduce was 20-32K.. the rest was allocation of R&D costs.   You have not provide any sources, trusted or not, saying it costs 3x its selling price.

Yes R&D costs need to be accounted for, but proper accounting is over the lifetime of the R&D payback, i.e. all the products share in the cost.  If you allocate it over a 10 year product life cycle, including the ELR and others the R&Ds per car will be much lower, per car.  The volt is still not profitable if one does that, but pretty close. 

Furthermore, since the vast majority of the R&D cost was pre-bankruptcy, its formally a already allocated cost, treated as a loss in the brankrupcy proceeding.  The loss was absorbed by the "bond holders", but thus is no longer an accountable value for cars in production. 

 

 

DeVille
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Re: When the Market should choose
DeVille   1/4/2013 10:24:58 PM
Mike, your "simple economics" argument would be persuasive if it had any factual basis. But it is based on an absurdly wrong assumption that it costs GM $100,000 to manufacture a Volt. That isn't a fact. Where did you pick up such a riduculous figure?

When a business (any business) inroduces a new product it will have invested in research and development of the product. Then there will be labor, materials, facility and equipment costs in the actual manufacture of each new unit of that product. A business plan will be used to estimate the number of units that can be sold at a given price, and so how long it would take to amortize all the costs and make a profit from the product.

In the automobile industry, most business plans for a new model assume that it will be produced for a number of years, allowing amortization of the R&D costs over a number of units. The more units produced, the smaller the relative cost of amortization of the R&D cost will be, per unit.

From comments made by Bob Lutz, as well as from GM spokesmen, it would appear that sales of Volts are already near, at or even better than break-even on manufacturing costs per unit. Sales are trending up, and economies of scale improve as more Volts are manufactured. An expensive component, the large lithium-ion battery, is trending down in cost per unit.

Already in 2012 the Volt had reached the median level of unit sales of all models of automobiles sold in the United States, that is, more Volts are being sold than sales of half the automobile models sold in the U.S. The Volt is also the top-selling plugin electric vehicle.

But GM had spent a great deal of money -- more than a billion dollars -- in R&D leading to the production of the Volt. How can that be recovered, with eventual profit to GM?

If GM were to cease production of electric vehicles, that R&D investment would have to be written off. But GM recently announced that it plans to sell hundreds of thousands of electrified vehicles over the next several model years. There will be Volts, but also other GM lines (starting with Cadillac) using the Volt technology. There will be at least one pure electric vehicle, the Spark. And there will be other variations of "electrification" in GM models. All of these will be derived from GM's investments in electric technology, and so will amortize the R&D costs. Those investments will become increasingly important in achieving the federally-mandated fuel requirements.

The decision of Bob Lutz to bring an extended-range electric vehicle into production has given GM a leg up in the very competitive automibile industry. Other manufacturers, including BMW and Ford are introducing similar vehicles. In other words, the time for this product has come. I predict it will be with us for the foreseeable future.

 

GTOlover
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Re: When the Market should choose
GTOlover   1/4/2013 9:49:11 AM
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I am also skeptical of the results. Low volume sales of a high priced hybrid/electric would tend to go to those most passionate of the technology and climate change fears. Their 'feel good' attitude is biased. What would be more interesting is to watch warranty claims if/when the volume of production goes up. At low volume, it should be easy to make good cars!

akwaman
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Re: When the Market should choose
akwaman   1/4/2013 9:58:39 AM
How can you be skeptical of the results? GTOlover:  Toyota has sold millions of hybrids, and their repair records are unbeatable.  Since the ICE engine is the most complicated, expensive and problematic component of a car, the hybrids and electrics have the advantage.  For instance, my Prius only needs an oil change every 10,000 miles, because it is not used nearly as much  or as hard as a conventional ICE.  I am really suprised that the bias caused and created by oil companies toward electrics and hybrids is actually believed.

mikec711
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Re: When the Market should choose
mikec711   1/4/2013 10:05:00 AM
Not sure how this justifies having the taxPayers fund 70% of the cost.  Maybe the technology is the best.  If so, it should win out in the market.  As it is, when a huge extra-market force manipulates, resource allocation is completely skewed.  Ask the Volt owners how many would buy their new Volt if they had to pay for it all themselves (ie: $100K instead of $30K).  That technology might be a harder sell.  I'm not against the Volt, just against paying for lots of Volts that I don't own ... and not allowing competing technology the same advantages.

Bunter
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Re: When the Market should choose
Bunter   1/4/2013 10:13:48 AM
Good point. Prius owners happy with their car is good info, they bought a viable commercial product at a profitable price-this is sustainable.

I have no problem with Volt owners being happy with their vehicles but I have to wonder what the scores for Porsche Carrera 4S owners would be if they got them for 30K.

Or Prius owners scores if they got them for 5K.

Enjoy,

Dennis

GTOlover
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Re: When the Market should choose
GTOlover   1/4/2013 10:24:41 AM
Counting all vehicles sold since 1999 at over 193 million and about 1.2 % of this number is hybrids and all electrics do not even make into a rounding error. I guess you may have a point about my skeptism. As far as complication, I drive a 1968 Pontiac! Think about the ease I have in repairs (if needed). Changing oil is not a warranty issue.

I will give you this, Toyota has a good record. but the bulk of sales are with the last 5 to 7 years. Again, at these low volumes, they should be making good cars!

Bunter
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Re: When the Market should choose
Bunter   1/4/2013 10:47:13 AM
Hi GTO,

Just a  note, the Prius is a volume seller, in December it was the 14th largest seller.  It is typically in the top 20.

People often dismiss it as a "green-freak only" car but it very mainstream, it is earning market share on value.

Cheerio,

Dennis

kleetus
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Re: When the Market should choose
kleetus   1/4/2013 10:48:40 AM
Bias from the oil boogieman... er, companies? Really? Couldn't possibly be that the general public just thinks they suck, and would rather have a real car that can actually haul 4 normal adults at greater than the speed limit?

 

Nah... that couldn't be it.

akwaman
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Gold
Re: When the Market should choose
akwaman   1/4/2013 2:35:53 PM
Kleetus is a perfect example of why hybrids and electrics are taking so long to hit the mainstream... misinformation.  At current prices, these cars are not for everybody, but as demand goes up, prices will come down.  Here is someone who thinks that hybrids and electrics don't have any power. "(I) would rather have a real car that can actually haul 4 normal adults at greater than the speed limit?"  Prius does 90 smooth with 4 adults no problem (@ well over 40 mpg).  It has no problem getting up to speed either. It is suprising... to the uninformed, that electric is powerful (not saying the Prius is a race car by any means).

GTOlover:  Great car, but not great for commuting, they are for Sunday drives and car shows.  I used to have one, and it got a wopping 8 mpg with the 455 I stuck under the hood with the Holly double pumper.  I could have taken that on my trip and spent $853.00 instead of $140.  If GTOlover has a substantial commute to work, the VOLT would, in essense... be FREE.  LOL.

***  Why all the stink about tax breaks for hybrids and electrics?  Why isn't anyone complaining about the billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies? Maybe we should, instead, make the annual tax on your car adjustable by it's rated gas mileage?

kleetus
User Rank
Silver
Re: When the Market should choose
kleetus   1/4/2013 4:39:22 PM
Let's see your volt take 1000 pounds of passengers up a WV highway hill at 90... My LS can do do it with pedal to spare. Come out of Denver and head west up the pass... with the heater or the AC on... I'm sure it can do 90 on the level, after a few miles of run up... 

 

I'm a perfect example alright, of people that recognize a farce at 100 yards.

dr_innovation
User Rank
Iron
Re: When the Market should choose
dr_innovation   1/4/2013 5:15:48 PM
Kleetus said.. "Let's see your volt take 1000 pounds of passengers up a WV highway hill at 90... My LS can do do it with pedal to spare. Come out of Denver and head west up the pass... with the heater or the AC on... I'm sure it can do 90 on the level, after a few miles of run up... "

 

I've taken my volt up that I70 as well as up Pikes Peaks,  and its not a problem at any speed.   I've have it to 100mph (and it was still accelerating) with 4 passengers and a full load of cargo. -- all in battery powered EV mode.   The speed is artifically limited to 100mph (which given US speed laws is reasonable).  

It would be useful if you had basic facts straight, but then again we've come to expect that lack of knolwedge and mis-information amoung the anti-volt crowd.  Motor trend test it tup to 100mph, so you don't ave to believe me, read the reviews. 

tyme2par4
User Rank
Iron
Re: When the Market should choose
tyme2par4   1/4/2013 5:19:44 PM
Kleetus, the Volt would have no problem hauling 1000 pounds of anything up a highway hill in any state. During testing the engineers drove a Volt up Pikes Peak. There are dozens of Volt owners in CO and none of the ever have a problem climbing the mountains. 

I'd challenge you to take any number of compact cars up some huge hills and compare them to a Volt. The Volt isn't a sports car, so it shouldn't be expected to perform like a Ferrari...

The upcoming Chevy Sonic EV out permorms the gas version in just about every aspect.

rohvemula
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Silver
Re: When the Market should choose
rohvemula   1/4/2013 1:02:12 PM
NO RATINGS
Chevy is not only the vehicle got Tax rebates. All other Hybrids got US GOVT help to buy. Even the expensive an highest tech car Tesla owners also gets the same tax credit. When Oil companies are getting Govt help nothing worng to get GOVT/tax dollars. The same dollars are given in form of food stamps. But it has defeated the purpose and widely missued.

dr_innovation
User Rank
Iron
Re: When the Market should choose
dr_innovation   1/4/2013 5:00:23 PM
Bush defined the "tax credits" for which the Volt currently qualifies.  The deisgn of the credit was not to give money directly to companeis, but rahter define an incentive that is paid only when the Manufacturer actually sells the car, i.e. it is a market driven incentive.   

The iMev was/is not pupular so it is earning its comapny few incentives.  The Volt is the most popular plug-in-vehichle so its earning GM a better return on its R&D investment. 

None of your tax dollars went into a buying someone a Volt. They simply get a tax credit, if they have earned enough to have that tax libility.  I went out and earned 50K extra to buy mine for cash, and paid 14K extra in taxes on that 50K income.  The "credit" just allowed me to keep a little more of my tax money.... none of yours entered the equation.

By your logic, iff you have ever taken any deduction, then I've paid for some of your home, medical expenses, children, church...     

I'd be happy to see the government clean up the tax laws snd remove all deductions, stop the incentives, and stop the subsidites, direct and indirect, for oil/gasoline. 

 

 

g-whiz
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Gold
How many polled were actual Volt owners?
g-whiz   1/4/2013 9:46:16 AM
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Of the 350,000 polled, how many were actual Volt owners? 100? 200? From what I've read, if you eliminate the Volts sold to the government, sales have been dismal.

dr_innovation
User Rank
Iron
Re: How many polled were actual Volt owners?
dr_innovation   1/4/2013 4:52:42 PM
Fleet sales, which would include all government sales  as well as commercial sales are < 6%. 

If 92% of 100 replie postiviely, it would be  stastically very meaningful. 

btwolfe
User Rank
Gold
Old gas problem?
btwolfe   1/4/2013 11:04:31 AM
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Lots of comments on this article, but didn't notice anybody bringing up this issue so I'll ask: with a plug-in hybrid, if you never run the engine because your commute and charging renders it unnecessary, doesn't the gas go bad? I've had this problem in smaller ICE motors (e.g., lawn mowers), so I wonder if it's an issue with the smaller engine of the Chevy Volt.

rohvemula
User Rank
Silver
Re: Old gas problem?
rohvemula   1/4/2013 12:52:14 PM
One day or the other the gs engine kicks in at various climate conditions.  If the owner thinks that he does not need the gas at all based on their driving distance need not fill the gas full to its capacity of 10 gallons. Even Gm suggests no fill full to have less dead weight in the car.

I own Chevy Volt, I do not know how many people have personal driving experience of This is the smart car and smat technology , one should drive or own it to enjoy it before they write any on Chevay Vlot.



dr_innovation
User Rank
Iron
Re: Old gas problem?
dr_innovation   1/4/2013 5:08:09 PM
The volt uses a preassurized gas tank so the gas lasts longer.  THey recomment top-tier preimum, as it lasts longer.  Every 6 weeks of non-use the engine will run for 1-2 min (using .03 gallons as I recall) to keep the engine lubricated and in running order.  If you keep your gas longer than 12 months,  it will do a "fuel maintence run" and burn off half a tank.   So some people, like Jay Leno that drives his almost every day but uses almost no gas, will reach they are forced to burn some gas.   Personally I don't have that problem as I take enough long trips every year.. I'm a volt slacker as there are people using less than 1 gallon every 2000 miles.. 

From 10/29/11 to 12/29/12, my Volt went 11097 on 27.7 gallons of gas + 2742kWh of "green/wind" electricity. Total fuel costs=$259.27, yielding: 0.25 gal./100mi, 400.5 MPG, 101.73MPGe, 166.5 MPG$ or $.0234/mi.

btwolfe
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Gold
Re: Old gas problem?
btwolfe   1/4/2013 11:07:58 PM
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Thanks for the details. Sounds like the Volt engineers came up with some smart solutions.

It's good to see at least one thread on this blog being non political.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Old gas problem?
Charles Murray   1/9/2013 1:16:37 PM
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Those are amazing stats for someone who calls himself a "Volt slacker," Dr_Innovation. Even though you do consider yourself a slacker, using 27.7 gallons of gas to go 11,097 miles is amazing. It's a great example of the advantages that a plug-in hybrid can deliver.  

GTOlover
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Platinum
Re: When the Market should choose
GTOlover   1/4/2013 11:07:14 AM
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Republican wars continued by the Democrats! Farming got involved as someone compared farm subsidies to EV subsidies. Both are crony capitalism corrupting free markets!

I am not opposed to hybrid owners enjoying their cars. They made a free choice to pay the extra cost. And it seems that several have calculated savings by driving one frequently. Kudos to them. But their free choice should not be at my expense (tax subsidies). Eating, everyone has to eat!

 I am investigating purchasing a hybrid and will probably buy one within a year or two. But it will be my choice. I appreciate articles the DN brings to its readers so we can make informed choices. Politics aside, reality is a better teacher!

GTOlover
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Platinum
Re: When the Market should choose
GTOlover   1/4/2013 11:45:02 AM
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Wow, talk about philosophical reality! Watch a movie!

You do understand that private sector decisions that are bad usually end up as businesses that no longer exist. Unless you advocate bailouts! But Detriot is the model of political ideology leading to utopia. As far as getting rid of people, pro-choice is already taking care of that!

This is not supposed to be about politics, but if that is what you want?

irishmuse
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Silver
What people say differs from what they do
irishmuse   1/4/2013 11:49:46 AM
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This just demonstrates self confirmation as a behavior.  When asked about a decision people made that is conteversial, or expensive, they tend to justify the decision.  They do not however tend to make the same decision again.

So, when a VOLT buyer is asked if he likes the car, and if he would do it again, it says "yes, what a smart decision I made!", thus self confirming.  However, when going to buy another vehicle, or replace that one, he makes a different choice.

Current hybrid vehicles do not make economic sense, nor do they make environmental sense, nor is their lifecycle energy use better than similar gasoline powered vehicles.

Hybrids are energy entensive to build, and the systems are energy intensive to recycle, the "savings" are minimal at best, and with grid power from coal and distribution losses considered, may actually use more energy per mile than conventional vehicles.

If you want one, buy it!  But don't fool yourself into thinking you are doing the environment any favor or saving any money.

rohvemula
User Rank
Silver
Re: What people say differs from what they do
rohvemula   1/4/2013 12:46:05 PM
I am owner of Chevy Volt. Many or most of the buyes of Chevy Volt not to save money in GAS or others. Most of them are alternate energy enthusiast. It is not a cheap car to spend that kind of money for a small car. But it is functional car. There may be some flaws in its price. But some one should try. This is the future of the auto if we want to save fossil fuel for bettr purpose rather than using it in private transportation. If the Chevay Volt price is comparable to other gas driven cars there should not ahve been this much talk in media. No one is talking about Tesla which is highly expensive and made by new company witout any kind of track records. For this car ( Tesla) tere are several thousand people are in wait list by paying $5000 per reservation. Tesla collected severl millions which is interest free capital. Morevoer it is availalbe only for buy . If you want to finance the downpayment is an average $20000 + car.  It is not availalbe to lease, why????????????????????????.

At prsent conditions Chevy Volt is the King and no comparable auto is availalbe to buy or lease.

But GM should look to improve this car in design. Altlease they should cahnge the desing of back seats. They should make this car for FIVE pssengers or have the seat for five. This degign would give better look. 

tyme2par4
User Rank
Iron
Re: What people say differs from what they do
tyme2par4   1/4/2013 3:34:59 PM
irishmuse,

how do you explain the fact that the number 1 traded in car for the Volt is a Prius?

irishmuse
User Rank
Silver
Re: When the Market should choose
irishmuse   1/4/2013 11:59:14 AM
NO RATINGS
The government uses taxes, and the stick, to encourage some behaviors and discourage others.  It discourages me that we do this since this is just the majority, or the politically connected enforcing thier beliefs on others.

I am amused sometimes to hear someone complaining about homosexuals not being able to marry, and then driving off in a hybrid car.  You do realize this is exactly the same?

This "oh well, that is government does" attitude is discouraging.  With that attitude things can get pretty bad because governments are historically terrible.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Totally Disgusting
ChasChas   1/4/2013 12:47:49 PM
 

In the onset almost everyone said that the EV was fine except for the cost. So now when the government paid for 2/3 of the cost the people says "yes I would do it again.

We didn't learned anything except that we have a stupid government and most people are easily hoodwinked.

rohvemula
User Rank
Silver
Re: Totally Disgusting
rohvemula   1/4/2013 1:03:06 PM
The tax credit is for limitd time not for ever.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Totally Disgusting
ChasChas   1/4/2013 1:11:41 PM
 

Sorry rohvemula.

That is just for the final purchase price only. The government paid GM 2/3 of the overhead cost to make the Volt.

I see they hoodwinked you also. I am so sorry for our government.

Bunter
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Totally Disgusting
Bunter   1/4/2013 2:27:13 PM
Agreed Chas.

If I can get a Lexus for the price of a Corolla I would feel pretty good too!

But the price is just a fictional number on the Volt.  Only a small group want it for a price it cannot be produced for, not even close.  Not likely at volume.

It seems very difficult to get across to Volt owners that I am not saying it is a bad car, I am not saying they got a bad deal.  I am saying that I do not believe it can be produced profitably at a volume attractive price anytime soon.

IMO the Volt will likely go the way of the EV-1.  It is not a sustainable product and will not be very soon.

Cheerio,

Dennis

tyme2par4
User Rank
Iron
Re: Totally Disgusting
tyme2par4   1/4/2013 3:26:41 PM
Bunter,

I can assure you the Volt is here to stay. It is a phenomenal car and sales have grown every month (with the exception of November due to low inventory). The Volt outsells over half of all car models sold in the US. No it's not selling like the Corolla, but it's also a very different car. Price is the big sticking point for a lot of people, but it will come down. Anyone remember the price of a DVD player or BluRay player when they debuted? $2000+. Now you can get one for 60 bucks.

You also have to look at the lifetime cost of the car. If you take into account the $1500 (est) a year you will save on gas, plus oil changes and other maintananced, the cost drops a lot. Add in a $7500 tax rebate and it's actually quite competitive. And also consider that is is a more upscale car than a base mode Cruze. It a joy to drive!

And don't complain about your tax money going to everyone else. It's a tax rebate, so it's my money that I get back, not yours. Oil companies get $4 billion in US tax subsidies every year. Subsidies are your money.

Bunter
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Totally Disgusting
Bunter   1/4/2013 4:12:33 PM
Hi Tyme,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I think you are missing my points.

When you talk about the price to the consumer I agree it can make sense...for the consumer.  The 40K retail is a money loser for GM. The consumer electronics analogy is faulty IMO.  While the Volt is "new" in the way it combines various items in the propulsion system none of the items are new tech.  The designing of the Volt for production is still very typical of the auto industry.  It costs alot to build because the parts are expensive.

As you note-the volume is up, and they still can't build it profitably for 40K.

The main drag, batteries, is a very mature industry and the cost will come down slowly.  We are talking 200 years of work on electrical storage-this will not be a Moore's law situation.

This blog has gone over that subject many times with much expert testimony that we should not expect a miracle battery.

As I said, it may be a great car for 30K, but most companies can build a great 30k car for 60-100k.  Once the consumer is faced with the Volt at profitable retail it is dead.

Sales should grow for a 60-100k car for 30k-duh-but a company can't do that for ever.

My thoughts.

Dennis

tyme2par4
User Rank
Iron
Re: Totally Disgusting
tyme2par4   1/4/2013 5:14:18 PM
Bunter,

GM is not losing money on the Volt. No it hasn't recouped all of the R&D costs yet, but it is on its way there. I REALLY hope you're not referring to the Reuters article about them losing $89,000 per Volt. If you are, you should actually read the whole article and take a finance course. That number is rolling the whole R&D cost, plus the production cost over the 20,000 Volts built at the time. That's just plain stupid math. A number of GM people have noted that the car is infact making money, and is well on its way to recouping the development costs.

No, we wont see a 500 mile range battery anytime soon, but most the price will come down. Yes, we've been working on energy storage for 200 years, but Li-ion batteries have really only been a major player for about 10 years. Even in those 10 years they have inproved significantly.

tyme2par4
User Rank
Iron
Re: Totally Disgusting
tyme2par4   1/4/2013 3:33:14 PM
ChasChas,

Please explain how the govt paid for 2/3 of the overhead of the Volt. Don't say it was the bailout, because it wasn't. The Volt had been in development for 5 years prior to the bailout. The government actually wanted to kill the program, but GM insisted it was vital to their success. By the time the bailout happened, all of the R&D was basically complete.

BTW Ford accepted billions from the govt for alternative fuels research just a couple years ago.

rohvemula
User Rank
Silver
Re: Totally Disgusting
rohvemula   1/4/2013 5:40:59 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for your comment , you need not be sorry for our Government action. They do many mistakes. But we cannot help. Atleast in this country we have the right and guts to criticisze. But some countries they take it granted.

In making Chevy Volt, some one should vouch for the technolgy to make it possible. otherwise we may have to depen on fossil fuel for ever whcih is not renewable. If you ahve the oppertunity drive the Chevy Volt to ahve first hand informaion and feelng.

I am not a sales person for GM, I am one of the user of Chevy Volt. Some people are having very wrong feeling and or image about Chevy Volt and American made cars. Just for your information in my family we have Lexus, GM Potiaic Van, Ford Mustang, Chevy Volt. We are very happy with Amrican car then Japan made Lexus. It is expensive to maintian and not duarable like Aemrican Cars. this is our personal experience. All American Cars and lexs mentioned above are driven an averagge of 130,000 miles except Chevy Volt.

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Re: When the Market should choose
warren@fourward.com   1/4/2013 4:49:38 PM
It's only recently since the republicans became democrats that they have become warmongers like Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Truman, etc.

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Re: When the Market should choose
warren@fourward.com   1/4/2013 4:53:30 PM
Can't we all get along? Lets just agree to agree with me, since I'm right.

Rigby5
User Rank
Gold
Volt excellent transition
Rigby5   1/5/2013 12:40:12 PM
Hybrids are not the goal, but a necessary transition.

Because we have not prefected an alternate fuel yet, and have not invented an ideal storage medium, a hybrid has to have 2 redundant power sources.  That is not optimum because you have double the weight and complexity.  But it is the only way to get from the old gasoline cars that can't continue, to something else.

So it is worth the government subsidizing this essential transition a little.  And GM has done a wonderful job in making this work.  If I was in the market for a new car, the Chevy Volt would be on the top of my list.

bobl
User Rank
Iron
Chevy Volt Owners
bobl   1/18/2013 12:25:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Only 2% behind the Volt, were owners of Dodge Challengers.  Now, I admit that the Challenger is not even in the same market as the Volt, but I would buy mine again.  It is a fun car to drive.  I am enthusiastically a (though not counted) member of the 90% group.

Gorski
User Rank
Platinum
Chevy Volt Owners Would Buy Again
Gorski   2/9/2013 3:54:03 PM
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I have limited experience witha Chevy Volt. My stepson leased one because he felt ownership would be financially risky. While it rides and sounds like a conventional car, I found one glaring fault. Being a senior citizen, I found it difficult to enter and leave teh back seat, especially with winter coats on. The Volt has to be smallish to get good fuel economy but I think it is too small. My Malibu is about the right size for me.

 

GORSKI PE

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Chevy Volt Owners Would Buy Again
Charles Murray   8/26/2013 8:28:18 PM
NO RATINGS
Definitely true. A Malibu is bigger than a Volt and its cousin, the Chevy Cruze.

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