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PghEE
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not just good for the environment? Maybe just not good.
PghEE   2/10/2012 10:06:17 AM
NO RATINGS
Even at $25K per Volt (you didn't really mean $25, did you) it's obscene that the general public has to foot the bill for a product that would not succeed on its own. It is certainly not succeeding even with subsidies, whether they be $25K per, $250K per, or somewhere in between.

Businesses don't work that way. Well, real businesses, not UAW welfare programs anyway.

"We're only losing $25K per unit!"

"That's ok, we'll make it up in volume!"

 

 

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Back to the drawing board
naperlou   2/10/2012 10:02:25 AM
NO RATINGS
rickman, your analysis is good.  On the other hand, you leave out one other consideration.  New gasoline powered compact cars are much cheaper to purchase still, and get very good gas mileage.  Their TCO, even with much higher gas prices, is what puts the Volt and Prius out of reach.  Another interesting phenomemom in this market is the used car.  Even a used car with modest gas mileage is cheaper to own.  Driven by Toyota, all car companies have improved their vehicle quality so that these used cars are a reasonable alternative.  As a result, used car prices are through the roof.  Frankly, mileage figures for new cars are not much better that they were ten years ago.  Do your analysis on a good used car with half the mileage of a new gasoline powered compact and you get better TCO. 

It is interesting to note that the existence of different types of technology for transportation has spurred people to do these TCO analyses for their vehicles.  This would not have been the case ten years ago.

Hellmut Kohlsdorf
User Rank
Gold
Henn-and-egg problem
Hellmut Kohlsdorf   2/10/2012 9:55:58 AM
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The problem with electric or hybrid cars is the henn-and-egg problem. Volume in sales helps to drop prices, maturing battery technology helps to reduce prices and volume, and weight in those cars. So applying the standard quadrant method of the market. Only early adopters will purchase electric or hybrid cars today. Once prices and technology have matured you will have the early mayority jump onto the waggon.

Recent studies her ein Germany have shown that, of electricaöl energy is not produced by clean sources the CO2 balance for electrical cars is not as good as that of a modern combustion engine.

So have the early adopters and their experience with those cars help to improve technology at the manufacturers side.

jim_in_nj
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not just good for the environment? Maybe just not good.
jim_in_nj   2/10/2012 9:53:30 AM
NO RATINGS
That $250,000 per Volt subsidy number is totally wrong.  First, it counts hundreds of millions in subsidies given to battery maker A123, but the Volt uses LG Chem batteries.

Second, it doesn't count the fact that this money went to plants that make things other than the Volt, and will operate years and probably decades longer.

Third, it doesn't spread the cost over Volt-developed technology that is now being used in other GM Products (e.g. the start-stop tech in the new Mailbu and Regal).

And fnally, it only divides ALL of these subsidies by the amount of Volts sold through November 2011, not across all vehicles for which this money is used.

A better analysis from thestreet.com puts the gov't subsidy at $25/per Volt. 

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11354404/1/setting-it-straight-chevy-volt-vs-the-government.html

 

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not just good for the environment
naperlou   2/10/2012 9:50:36 AM
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Extraction costs really don't matter that much.  Middle East oil, which costs very little to extract, costs just as much.  Sure, there is a greater profit, but that goes to national governments.  These typically don't spend it very efficiently. 

The oil extracted here would provide more profits here and royalties paid here.  From a national economy point of view, this is useful.

The other thing to remember, though, is that gasoline powered vehicles are still cheaper to own than the alternative.  There have been many articles in Design News and other publications discussing this.  Even in Europe, where gas was at $4 per gallon ten years ago, when I lived there, the vast majority of vehicles are gasoline or diesel powered.  The price of gasoline is significantly more there now. 

Until the battery issue is solved, electric and hybrid vehicles will be more expensive to own.  The interesting thing is that these are all smaller, or perhaps, mid-sized cars.  At least in most of the US, this is a small segment of the market.  We have also not really seen the end-of-life costs of these vehicles.  What happens to the batteries when they are retired? 

rickman
User Rank
Iron
Re: numbers say
rickman   2/10/2012 9:50:34 AM
NO RATINGS
@Arden -- As confirmed by Kiplinger, the Volt comes within $1,000 of a Cruze after 5 years. Not 20 years. That's without adding leather or other options that increase the Cruze price to better match a comparable Volt.

jim_in_nj
User Rank
Iron
Re: Not just good for the environment
jim_in_nj   2/10/2012 9:47:23 AM
NO RATINGS
Actually, the Volt works well for my family.  We have a 25 year-old daughter, and she and her 6-foot fiance regularly sit very comfortbably in the back seat of my Volt.  And, actually, the 'trunk' is quite large since the Volt is a hatchback. In fact, when we need to move larger items, we use my Volt instead of my wife's Fusion or daughter's Camry.

  You're right about the 'fire' non-issue.  It's too bad that so much negative press was made out of such a non-issue, because it will probably cause people ot avoid the Volt.

Arden Dulou
User Rank
Silver
numbers say
Arden Dulou   2/10/2012 9:42:21 AM
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If you do a quick spreadsheet, at today's prices, the return on investment is 20 years on average. If you want to spend less on fuel, get a Fusion Hybrid, a Cruize, or VW diesel.

If you want to save the world, have China reduce their emissions and work on developing cost effective fuel cells for all wheeled vehicles...

philipp10
User Rank
Gold
Re: Not just good for the environment
philipp10   2/10/2012 9:37:57 AM
NO RATINGS
Wrong.  The US is running out of cheap oil.  Whats left is expensive to extract. Lots of oil in ND and Colorado but extraction costs are $60-80 a barrell. Politicians are not preventing extraction except on teh coast of California.

nyeng
User Rank
Gold
Re: Not just good for the environment
nyeng   2/10/2012 9:36:13 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree that price is the problem.  I'm always looking to save money but alternatives such as hybrids and electric will save me gas but not money.  Usually my analysis tells me what I'll save in gas I'll spend on higher payments.

I think area utility prices have a lot to do in the decision as well.  For the person who did the spreadsheet where VOLT pays off in 5 years I'm guessing you have a good electric rate.  GM advertises $1.50 per day charge based on 12 cents per kwh.  Here in NY, thanks to the corruption and graft, I pay 25 cents per kwh.  Only another $1.50 per day, but it still makes a difference.

Diesel cars and domestic natural gas powered cars are the answer.

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