I recently had the opportunity to test drive the Chevy Volt as part of Drive for Innovation, a partnership between UBM Electronics, the parent company of Design News, and Avnet Express. During the test drive, EE Times' editorial director, Brian Fuller, asked what it would take for me personally to buy a Volt. I talk about that in the video below.
Source: General Motors.
It's a good question. The short answer, though, is pretty simple: money. The Volt's MSRP is $40,280, which is high, at least for my pocketbook. If you subtract the $7,500 tax credit, it comes to $32,780, which is still about $7,000 more than the base price of a Nissan Leaf.
For me, though, the money issue is also inextricably tied to another matter: all-electric range. At first glance, that might seem like an odd statement, since the Volt has a gasoline backup and an overall range (electric and gasoline) of more than 340 miles. But, right now, I own two cars with more than 150,000 miles on them.
My annual mileage clocks in at well over 30,000 per year, with a high percentage of my trips exceeding the Volt's 40-mile all-electric range. For me, the $12,000 penalty imposed by the Volt's 16kWh battery doesn't make sense, since so much of my time is spent well beyond the all-electric range. In much of my driving, I'd be lugging around a depleted, 400-pound battery that would actually cut my fuel efficiency.
That driving profile is unusual, of course. But Fuller's question raises some valid issues: If you buy an electric, does it become your first car or your second? If it's a second car, is the price within your means? Finally, what driver profiles are well-suited to the Volt's capabilities?
If you want to learn more about the Volt, we recommend you go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow Fuller's cross-country Volt journey. On his trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire engine red Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
In the meantime, let us know what you think: What would it take to make you buy a Volt?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.