The current crop of EVs is the beta fleet. What we need is the base model, no frills (or thrills) model that everyone can afford. I can't for the life of me understand why the Leaf came with a GPS. Anyway, that's a little off topic, but both the Volt and Leaf are a little out of reach for the folks that need them the most, I'll give you that. The tax credit gets us a little closer, and if we can get off the OPEC drug, the peace dividend would cover the cost of the credit. Ethanol isn't all that great, we could feed people with the corn. Expensive gasoline (tax) in the U.S. does nothing to curb its use in China or India, the finite oil problem is global. The price of oil will go out of sight on its own as demand continues to exceed production. I like the T. Boone Pickens plan (but modified a little) of using diverse energy for electric and using NG and oil for farming and heavy transportation (except for electric train engines). I really like nuclear power, it solves many problems for a little hassle. I guess that the (now abandoned) Nevada nuke disposal site could flood 1,000,000 years from now and cause someone else a problem, but I figure an astroid will get us before then. I understand that there are few perfect solutions, but i cannot accept "doing nothing". I can do something, many of us can do something. Even a technology like solar hot water, with its quick payback, isn't mandatory for new construction in most of the US (if anywhere in the US). Why not? We know we can't continue down this unrestrained consumption path without horrible consequences, but yet we do nothing. I can afford a $400 lease payment and zero gas payment for a Leaf, I would guess the average new car buyer can also afford that. The old clunker is a keeper for longer trips, that's fine. At least we are doing something. A few years down the road, that clunker could be a used Volt with a new battery and barely used ICE.
We looked at NG, and found that the electricity to compress the NG is nearly the same as the electricity to charge the Leaf. Granted you can go 200 miles in the NG Civic on that one "charge" but I was shocked! (he he pun intended) I think the Obama's "all of the above" comment was right on, much better than the "you didn't build that" comment. We need an energy strategy that includes "all of the above" and the Volt and Leaf are part of that story.
Here's something I've said before but haven't heard from anyone else. If we leave our oil in ANWR, refuse to fund a military, and owe 16 trillion dollars to China, do we give them Alaska or do they take it from us? Just wondering. When we can no longer do the things we want to do, we will do the things we have to do.
Yes, your question has merit. But I can't spend money I don't have... even if the car runs on dreams and only butterflies and puppies come out of its tailpipe. Green initiatives are nice, conservation measures as well, but just like oil, my personal resources are finite, and so are yours. Ethanol has merit if only for the idea that it gets us a little closer to bringing home the soldiers. Wind energy - same story but what do you do when the wind quits blowing? solar - well it's a little increment in the big picture but not robust enough for current demands. Tidal power.... 30 states [more or less] are nowhere near the ocean. Coal is the real deal. We have a lot of it, and it makes cheap electricity, AND it is domestic. Still we have personal economics. Do you, on principle, borrow large sums of money or spend large increments over available technology just to save the earth? Buying that clunker is an undebatable form of recycling. I read recently that 75% of all the aluminum ever made is still in use! High-end batteries tap the earth of precious resources and noble metals. Not to mention that our new foreign dependence will just merely shift from oil to battery materials. It's all arguable to a point, but the day of all-electric or all-hybrid personal transportation is nowhere near sustainability yet, largely due to personal economics. I'm wondering... if your feelings about the middle east and the war "over oil" are that deep, then am I safe in assuming that you are in favor of even higher gas prices? After all, pump price is the usual justification for non-petroleum cars. Not jabbing you at all here, I just want to know.
While we complaining about tax reductions for purchasing vehicles that don't rely on middle eastern oil, why not add in the taxes we pay to keep that oil flowing. I get it that you are trying to make a point, but two of my kids are fighting for your oil, and thankfully they both made it home with all their body parts intact (this time). I can't see any reason to continue to rely on a substance that costs American families so dearly. I'll run my car on Kentucky Coal and a little solar power thank you. No doubt we as a group are in the 51% of the population that pays taxes, and even with the tiny $7.5K tax break President Bush came up with, I still pay thousands and thousands in federal taxes. Oil is finite. We can run out faster or slower, we will run out, and that's a fact. I have children and grandchildren. I'm more concerned about their future than I am my own. I will be worm food long before we run out of oil, but that doesn't enter into the equation when calculating the future of the world. When did everyone become so self centered? Fifty years down the road when we don't have enough cheap fuel to plow fields and grow food, our grandchildren will wonder "What were those idiots thinking?" We fully understand the solution to the problem, but what the heck, it's cheaper to buy a clunker and waste oil. To hell with our children and their children. I could be wrong, what do you think? How will the world's farmers support 10 billion people 50 years from now? Isn't that question worthy of consideration?
The Volt has a fuel management system that includes pressurizing the fuel tank and it has a complete protocol for keeping track of fuel age and also keeping track of the need to keep fresh oil in the upper parts of the motor. It will ask premission to run the engine to meet these needs. You can delay it for a while but eventually it forces you by running the engine to ensure the fuel does not go bad and the engine stays fresh with good oil.
BTW, if you add the fact that a Volt will never need new brakes and it requires one oil change every two years (for most users), you reduce the cost of ownership even more.
The car even has an emergency limp mode if you run out of battery and run out of gas. It basically runs the battery lower than normal to get you home or gas station at a slow speed. No other car has that much thought into it.
I really need to get some work done today, but the amount of interesting preceptions has managed to interrupt me yet again...
The EV1 by GM was indeed canned, but not before the engineers had learned a lot of details about EV vehicles. There is more to the Volt from the EV1 program than you know. For instance, when testing the EV1 cars, engineers added a small generator in a trailer attached to the car. That way they could drive in electric mode for very long periods of time - something required for reliability testing, particularly in extreme environments. So when Bob Lutz wanted a electric car, the engineers insisted on having a backup generator.
I can see your point about people buying the car because they feel they have to, but I am still looking for someone who is not impressed with their purchase. Last month while on my way to work a lady pulls up in her late model Jag and is simply beside herself about how cool she thought my dark blue Volt looked. I have to say, that is the number one comment I get from people who stand there and stare at it - "Wow, this thing looks cool! Not at all like the rest of the EVs that are available."
So I have to imagine you have not driven a Volt nor looked at how many used corvettes are available for sale (on carmax in my area, there are 15) and how many used Volts are available for sale (in my area, only 1). Hmmm, I think you have an idea in your head, but certianly not enough information to back it up. I am in an area where both cars are plentiful.
As I mentioned, after leasing one (my recommended method of purchase currently), I went and leased another one. Who wouldn't like to drive a Vette? But practicaly speaking the high cost, low utility, college costs, and risk of getting into serious trouble with the law force me to think outside the box and I get to save a ton of money on fuel as well.
I am still pleasantly surprised how fun it is to mess with people. I had a guy in a Honda Accord want to race, dusted him, he wanted to do it again, dusted him again. Pretty much you get the jump on anything because of the max torque at zero RPM. Since I get the jump, I get to decide when to let off and let them think about how much more I had available. Fun... staying within the speed limit... no trouble from the police - what more can you ask for?
The word will get out, it just takes time. In 2014 the Volt will have a 220 HP turbocharged engine available - to make it a bit more sporty.
I am disappointed at how many people think they are the only thinkers. We are all on the same team and we have to start thinking that way or we will be toast as a nation - who wants a nation full of negative nellies. Not me!
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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