One of the most costly things about owning an automobile is Insurance if you wish to talk about economics. The insurance companies are getting very fat and putting up huge buildings all over the place... they must be more profitable than the Auto Companies.
Too bad none of the Auto Companies have included that in their price. They could pick up a few bucks there, obviously and make owning an automobile a tad easier.
Mileage drops the faster you drive on an Expressway. 70 to 80 mph and watch your mileage go up. Returning to the Nixon Speed??? Why, that is the subliminal reason that everyone began to hate him. You must be driving an old klunker. Or surely you are kidding.
The Cruze ECO, much more comfortable than the Focus, gets 42 or more mpg. Handsome too. 50 mpg has been reported to the EPA.
Laissez Faire pricing of fuel??
Detroit has had a succession of wonderful Engineers. One of them was Bill Allison who, amongst many many patents for suspensions, invented the Packard torsion ride. In his retirement he perfected the wind engine hitting the Betz limit. And he would go into hysterics about the 3 bladed fans that were trying to fly and are catching on fire and blowing apart all over the world. The Betz limit is 59% efficiency. Those dufus 3 bladed versions are lucky to get 20% efficiency. So as an engineer interested in economics does a 300% increase in efficiency ring any of your bells? Or are you just another lemming?
Personally I have been thinking it Gas gets over $6/gal the Tesla begins to look attractive. I can install about 4KW of Solar on my house and charge the car using solar. Plus sell back excess electricity to the grid. I have been looking at solar for awhile now and it have just about reached the price point that make is effective for me. Of course VW is supposed to come out with their diesel hybrid next year and currently rate it at about 126 mpg. So it is a cost effective alternative as well.
As someone said, the economics are not there yet. Many proponents spout outrageous MPG numbers while ignoring all the other operating and ownership costs. Vehicle costs can generally be put into two categories. Per mile costs, and per year costs. I don't really care what goes into these costs, whether it's electricity or fuel, oil or batteries, but any new technology is going to have to be competitive in these two expense areas, and the Volt isn't. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that none of the current hybrid vehicles (even the Prius) are cheaper over the lifetime of the vehicle, than their ICE counterparts. MPG is only one aspect of the lifetime cost of a vehicle. For the economics to be there for EV's or hybrids, battery prices are going to have to drop dramatically, and ICE operating costs are going to have to increase dramatically.
If we as a country are really serious about reducing our demands on foreign oil, we are going to have to accept that there are no magic technology bullets out there sufficient to do it. We are going to have to make sacrifices. As a "car guy", it pains me to say it, but we would need to bring back the 55 MPH speed limit, and we would need to start buying smaller cars. Nothing else will reduce fuel consumption as much. Technology magic bullets can only go so far. There's no way around the fact that it takes a lot of energy (whatever the source) to accelerate a 4000lb vehicle to highway speeds. It's just physics.
For those who decry government investments in the development of the Volt, keep in mind that gasoline is already heavily subsidized. So for ICE vehicles, the government is already continually investing for every mile you drive. As for letting "the free market decide on what's best in terms of energy usage"... great idea! If you REALLY want new technology, and public support for it, just allow gas prices to naturally attain their non-subsidized levels. When gas hits $10/gal, you'll see ALL kinds of support for EV's, alternative fuels, and maybe even smaller vehicles and lower speed limits.
Truthfully I believe that the Volt was not enough, when for a bit more money you can buy the all electic Tesla base model S for $49,900 you get a 160 mile range and a 8 year 100,000 mile battery warranty.
Look at the long term picture. The manufacturing will improve, costs will go down, new technology will enter the market, the market will build, and market competion will lead to lower prices. Not much changes in life if you wait long enough!
Of course GM is not going to pull the plug on the Volt and it seems that every second nutcase had to scream out about the fires and he haw it up.
The Volt is one of the finest automobiles ever designed and it was designed under the direction of Bob Lutz who was very much into the process of turning GM around. He too was the father of the Cruze, the Malibu, the HHR, and probably the importation of the Holden as the Pontiac G series automobiles and probably the beautiful Opel/Saturn rebadgings. The Cruze ECO currently has the best mileage of all the "conventional" vehicles "out there".
The recent announcement by President Obama about GM returning to #1 in the auto industry is directly attributable to Robert A. Lutz.
The problem that developed at GM and other corporations was the MBA's and accountants who had absolutely no idea of the consequences of their absurd actions and dictates. (Bean Counters). Lynn Townsend drove Chrysler into the ground the first time around.
The Volt shows the depth of the design and engineering talent at GM's disposal and believe me it is deep.
And GM is continuing the longstanding tradition of larger corporations of not giving credit where credit is due. The new bosses are ready to push their pusses and waive their arms and smile and take credit and hide his contributions.
Now sales targets in any industry are akin to targets in the stock market. Very, very, very few people know what the hell they are talking about in either case. Lutz does. 20-20 stupidity reigns in general. He's behind way to many design winners to be shunted and ignored.
And his comment directly to me that the Converj should be on the road now shows the depth of his perceptions.
Perhaps because of the political climate after the extreme disaster perpetrated by clearly one political party the emphasis was placed upon having an every day, every man vehicle which turned out to be too expensive to sell to them. Even the colors offered were as blah as could be chosen for everyman, the TCMITS. But the Converj (Now diminished by the name ELR) clearly has an abundant supply of beauty which that vehicle deserves. They should have launched the Converge first so that those who are enviornmentally and socially concerned, yet well heeled enough to plunk their money down on the world's finest automobile could have done it.
In Bob's book "Car Guys vs Bean Counters" he outlines the problems that he solved at GM and also points out some that still are in place like Personnel Departments not understanding passion for automobiles. Sloan put in place the disaster that unfolded. H. Ross Perrot really gummed up things by forcing all calculations through his entity. The engineers were hamstrung.
When the Business Review of Western Michigan awarded their Innovation Michigan award to the Volt. GM did not respond until 2 weeks before the event and they did not invite Bob when the Business Review was primed to make him the keynote speaker and put on a parade of Volts.
I understand disparaging GM based upon the past but it all depends upon the leadership in place at any given point in time. Is there integrity in place?
The conversation for the electric powered vehicle is well in place now and it's ultimate success is inevitable. If you are aware of what Bob is doing with VIA you will see that he is on top of the future of vehicular transportation in the world.
And he has abundant integrity because he stood up and pointed out that Mitt is totally misrepresenting the situation that was present in the bailout.
If the banks can't provide the loans then the Federal Government has to be the Bank of Last Resort. What happened was totally proper and success is well on the way. Ignoring Lutz is like disparaging Washington in general.
It all depends upon the brilliance of the leaders.
I remember that when the Volt first came out, GM said that they would put solar panels on the roof, hood & trunk to charge the battery when it is sitting out in the sun.
It's been out a while and to date have not seen anything other than the initial statement about solar panels. Where are they? Seems like a natural and with new solar technology, they could be done so that at first glance you'd never know they were there. That first 40 miles on pure electric could be stretched out much longer before the ICE kicks on.
Now everyone is waiting for the next generation of batteries, so lots of people who might have bought a Volt figure they'll just wait it out. Put the solar panels on it and I'll trade in my Civic for a Volt.
In the meantime, oil continues to be a dwindling resource. We won't get off that teat until it dries up completely. Might be too late by then, but isn't that human nature. A fascinating read is "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. It might provide some insight as to where we are headed. Alternately, you can rent "Idiocracy". That also provides some insight as to where we are headed. It will be interesting to see which prediction comes true first. My money is on "Collapse".
The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement.
Advantech has launched a new series of motion-control I/O modules to meet the increased demands that come with more distributed industrial systems that require control of a growing number of axes and devices.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is