Brian Fuller, editorial director of the EE Life Community for EE Times, is taking the vehicle around the country and blogging about it on Drive for Innovation, a partnership between UBM Electronics, the parent company of Design News, and Avnet Express.
He filed the video comment below on Friday, July 29, in response to Charles Murray's story, My Chevy Volt Test Drive. (Brian let Chuck take the Volt for a spin, and Chuck blogged about his initial impressions.)
Chuck's story noted that the Drive for Innovation partnership had paid $57,000 to acquire a spanking new, bright red Volt. Readers wondered why the price was so high, since the list price is only $40,000.
In his video comment, Brian explains the price and talks about the Volt's GPS and its issue with blind spots.
I think most intelligent car buyers have figured out that electric cars are more expensive, all things considered, than conventional IC-engine cars. I hope they have also figured out that electric cars are not necessarily "greener." Electrical energy is generated in some areas mostly by burning fossil fuels. Think also about the hazardous waste in the batteries. Why do people buy electric cars? Well, they are new (sort of; not really), and they are different. Give me a good reason to buy an electric vehicle and I will.
Several comments attempted to roll battery replacement costs inn with daily operation costs, and compare that with gas and oil for a regular car. The difference is that gas and oil costs are never a huge spike. They go up and we complain, but they never spike up to 20% of the vehicles purchase cost. And as far as the cost of engine replacement, I have never had to replace an engine, although once I did need to have a timing belt replaced, not because I could not do it, but because I had to have it done for the next day.
The fact is that as hybrid and fully electric vehicles become more common, there will be a number of catastrophic failures in the drive electronics, and the first time that happens to somebody whose vehicle is out of warranty, we will probably all hear the scream. so far there have not been any of the new ones around long enough for the warranty to run out, but eventually those new cars will be old cars and used cars and move into the hands of owners who did not choose to pay the new car price. After all, consider that in my area, southeast Michigan, any car that runs will fetch at least $200, usually the very next day. So we can all know that the electric cars will be driven until they wear out. MY question is, what will that first repair bill run? I am certain that it will be "a lot".
I agree with regards to including GPS as standard. Every smart phone has GPS included in it. This is a car which already has a giant display built in, how much more can it possibly cost to include the GPS? $20-40?
I find the subject of battery replacement cost on this topic fascinating. Not because of the subject but because of the comparisons.
I have a Toyota Hybrid Camry and did some research. As you may know many Prius's are in Taxi fleets in the US. I checked the usual sites of owners etc and a few folks I work with who are high mileage owners and the taxi operators to find a "life" of unknown for the battery pack. This is not to mean that the battery packs fail in an unknown manner but that No one I talked to had them fail.
A series of tests by consumers reports supports this with no observable degradation after 200K miles. Now THe part i find MOST interesting is the lack of discussion of IC motor replacement costs in the same topic lines. IF the battery is a 200K mile plus item it would not be the limiting life factor, the engine would then have to be pulled into the cost formulation.
Or is the conversation on operating cost still incomplete?
Actually if one looks at the idea of operating cost.....VS. LIFE cycle cost there is the rub. Operating cost is the day to day regular cost of operation ..Fuel, oil maintenance. ie what it takes to OPERATE a system. Ownership costs would include with this, insurance depreciation etc. and Life cycle would be full cost of a given item through it full design life (which itself is variable as to renovations to be performed if so desired...from cradle to grave. Including disposal.
A lot of discussions on cost miss these fine point and often compare "Operating costs of one item to ownership costs of another.
As it has been said ...statistics do not lie by liars do use statistics.
Right on with bringing up the battery replacement issue. Some 8-9 years back, when hybrids first started appearing in significant numbers (Honda Insight, Toyota Prius), battery replacement cost was all the talk. A number of publications, web sites, blogs, etc. (including this one, if I recall correctly) were crunching numbers and recommending that the price of replacement be amortized into mileage and other costs in order to get an accurate idea of just how much money it takes to operate these things. Done that way most figures came out showing that mileage was way lower and overall cost, including the higher purchase price actually ended up showing no saving at all or costing more than a "conventional" car. Can you say "pig in a poke"?
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.
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
People who want to take advantage of solar energy in their homes no longer need to install a bolt-on solar-panel system atop their houses -- they can integrate solar-energy-harvesting shingles directing into an existing or new roof instead.
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