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naperlou
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What we've been saying
naperlou   8/30/2012 8:53:15 AM
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Chuck, if you follow the posts on these subjeects on this site, then the information in this article is not suprising. 

The Volt seems to be a nice car, but at the price only people who are not sensitive to the gas price can afford one. 

Ford is taking a different approach.  They are offering the same car with several alternative drive trains, including conventional ICE, hybrid and PEV.  This should lower the cost (lots of shared components) and make the marketing of the vehicle less costly. 

Until batteries come WAY down in price, these are just curiosities.  I think that the car companies are making a mistake by not developing the battery technology themselves.  It is kind of like IBM with the PC.  They farmed out the CPU and look where they are now.

Totally_Lost
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Silver
Re: What we've been saying
Totally_Lost   8/31/2012 1:50:25 AM
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@naperlou says They farmed out the CPU and look where they are now.""

And they farmed out the OS, creating another competitive monster.

My mentors always said, have control over your means of production.

Out sourcing production, means that is where revenue, skills building,  engineering, and sales will go in the end.

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Not a curiousity
akwaman   8/31/2012 10:00:41 AM
I would like to find those people that own these cars that complain about them.  I can't. It seems the opposite is the norm.  I have never talked to a Prius owner that thought that buying one cost them money.  I own one and it saves me 80-200 dollars /month, and it's not a plug-in model (Not offered where I bought mine).  The real problem with volume sales of EVs like the leaf and Volt (actually a hybrid), is that the industry doesn't want to sell them.  If they wanted to sell them, they would put them in the dealerships so people could walk out with them.  The only way you can get one is to get on a waiting list and Pre-buy them and wait.  What a joke.  Everybody knows that Americans want everything here and now.  In many cases it is need. I couldn't wait when I needed a car after some idiot totaled my first Prius (My wife and baby were not seriously injured, both walked away), we needed a car here and now, not months from now.  It is a technique used to fool us into thinking that the demand is not here, but it is here, and if they wanted to sell them they would put them in dealerships.  Smoke and mirrors, baby!  Simple mathematics is their best selling point, because when you do the math, even with higher vehicle costs, the savings in gasonline alone covers the difference in price (depending on how many miles you drive).  With every rise in the price of gasoline, the amount I save EVERY month increases.  Not to mention the oil changes, maintenance, etc.  Prius changes oil every 10,000 miles, and experience few breakdowns.

ChasChas
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Platinum
Re: Not a curiousity
ChasChas   9/4/2012 9:40:35 AM
 

akwaqman, is it possible that the dealership floorplan is too expensive? Or maybe they know they need to sell other models as well to remain a dealership.

I agree, if you look at your gas savings as real money, this makes sense. Many people can only see what they are spending, not what they are not spending.

It sure seems that, for most people, paying zero dollars for gas each month could easily make the battery payment and more.

ChriSharek
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Gold
Re: Not a curiousity
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:46:27 AM
You're exactly correct. I'm getting gas once every 3 months - and only about 8 gallons each time.  High initial cost, but saving $200/month in gas (at $4/gallon).  Imagine what I'd be saving if we were paying Europe prices for gas. 

Formula 383 SC
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Iron
Re: Not a curiousity
Formula 383 SC   9/4/2012 10:25:11 AM
Imagine that, a car company in the business to sell cars, doesn't want to sell cars. What?!

Dealers put cars in their show rooms that sell. They don't want to be stuck with something sitting there taking up space on the showroom floor. Also, GM dosent force its dealers on what cars to put in their showrooms. Dealers do. Again that brings us back to my first point.

The thing is, people who just don't go from point A to point B, that have a passion for driving, just don't want to buy them.

DanielJoseph
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Gold
Re: Not a curiousity
DanielJoseph   9/4/2012 10:40:17 AM
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I beg to differ about your comment regarding those with a passion for driving don't want to by a Volt.  Maybe you were lumping all EV/hybrids into that group.  But the Volt is fast, corners like is on rails (thanks to the very low COG), I have fun in my Volt particularly when I put it into SPORT mode and smoke everything that wants to take a shot at me.  The car is smooth as silk, makes nearly zero noise at any speed, has no rattles, responds instantly to what you want to do.   I've been racing my whole life, so I know what performance is.  I do miss the four-barrel roar of yesteryear, but I don't miss getting the policeman's attention when I am competing with someone. 

Watashi
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Platinum
Re: Not a curiousity
Watashi   9/4/2012 2:31:10 PM
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Your SPORT mode vs. my Daytona Charger anywhere, anytime!

If you can take me I'd have at least some respect for the Volt.  I would never drive one because of the size (charger was the only car that could get me out of my trucks).

Of course, if you win, I'd be too imbarrased to admit we ever raced.  I would just have another reason to cry at the gas station.

DanielJoseph
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Gold
Re: Not a curiousity
DanielJoseph   9/4/2012 3:11:09 PM
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Funny!  I probably would have a chance against a base charger, but definitely not a SRT!   I try to mess with rice burners and beemers mostly.

NadineJ
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Platinum
Re: What we've been saying
NadineJ   8/31/2012 11:44:03 AM
I agree.  I've used Ford's approach as a model example for my clients for a while now. William Clay Ford, Jr's presentation at the Commonwealth Club in California last year is great to hear a little about that.

I don't think the current pricing is as much of an issue as the consumer perception.  Creating the story is an important part of marketing but the current story told around EV's and hybrids is elitist and ignores the mass market.  Until people can see how a hybrid fits into their lifestyle, it will continue to be a curiosity.  EV's aren't convenient unless you have a very consistent and limited commute.  Aftermarket costs on hybrids are too high for average consumers who may be used to saving money, when needed, by performing basic maintenance on their own vehicles.

People need to believe they won't be stranded in an EV.  Consumers need to have choices for aftermarket parts and maintenance on hybrids.  Then, demand will increase...which will drop the price. 

NiteOwl_OvO
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Gold
Re: What we've been saying
NiteOwl_OvO   9/4/2012 10:03:01 AM
Big Blue didn't farm out the CPU, they chose to partner with another company (Intel) and use one of their existing processors, which makes good business sense. Big Blue messed up by farming out the OS and then again by failing to understand their market. They totally misjudged the importance of supporting third-party expansion cards. When they tried to "break the draft" and pull ahead of their competition by switching to micro channel (a move that would have cost their customers quite a bit), they wound up shooting themselves squarely in both feet.

Manufacturing today's high-tech batteries generates quite a bit of toxic waste. We would never tollerate the pollution in the US and the cost of making batteries with low pollution is very high.

akwaman
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Gold
Re: What we've been saying
akwaman   9/6/2012 12:05:31 PM
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naperlou, if you follow the posts on these subjects on this site, you would not make the statements you make, like "The Volt seems to be a nice car, but at the price only people who are not sensitive to the gas price can afford one."  Absurd, considering the guy who drives 100 miles/day commute and saves he and his wife 1000 dollars a month in gasoline.  He leases them and pays less than that for them/month.  They actually 'make' him money.  My Prius that doesn't do nearly as well on gas saves me 80-200 dollars a month depending on my mileage.  These are not mere curiosities, this is real life, happening in front of your eyes.  Battery prices have already come down, to replace a Prius battery is around 2500 dollars, not the 10,000 of yesteryear, and they will continue to go down as demand goes up and technology improves. 

Let's break down the pricing... for new:   39,145 sticker price, which we know is negotiable.

That is (at 3.39%interest for 70 months) about $575.00/month. If you drive 100 mile round-trip to work each day and drive a car averaging 25mpg, at 4/gal gas, that is 4*4=16 dollars a day * 5 days/week = 80/week * 4 weeks in a month = 240/month in gasoline JUST DRIVING TO WORK.  Let's say you drive another 100 miles/week for non-work stuff:  16 dollars a week recreatinal use * 4 weeks/month = 64 dollars a month recreational + 240 dollars a month work related = 304/month in gasoline costs alone (Not including routine maintenance, oil changes...)

Subtract 575/month in car payment, minus 304 dollars in gasoline, you get $271.00.  In this case, the person with this driving pattern can easily make a fiscal case for owning an EV.  These figures don't even include routine maintenance, or breakdowns typical of ICE engine powered cars.

A salesman would have no problem getting people to understand these numbers, good for some, not good for everyone... yet.  it's just really hard to sell cars that the customer can't drive off with (and wait many months). 

Now, figure out what your car payment is now, calculate your monthly mileage, and decide for yourself if it makes financial sense.  For some people, this would NOT be a good option, it would cost more than it saves, but for many people, it is a smart play.

naperlou
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Re: What we've been saying
naperlou   9/6/2012 3:44:34 PM
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akwaman, I almost don't know where to start.  To say the least, your analysis is flawed in both methods and facts.

First off is the matter of purchase price.  Let't stick with Chevy models.  If you look at the specs, the model that comes closest to the passenger and trunk volume is the Chevy Cruze.  Actually, the Cruze is larger in both respects. Since we are looking for least cost of ownership, let's take the base model.  The LS sells for $17,995 in my zip code.  The Volt sells for $39,995.  That means that we would have to save $22,000 with the Volt to break even.  This is how these analyses are done.

Let's look at gas mileage.  I will go with your drive to work scenario and use your cost of gasoline.  These seem reasonable.  Now, the Volt has an all electric range of 38 miles.  So, it would have to be charged (for a fee at a public charging station) or it will use it's gasoline engine.  I am assuming that the commute is all city driving.  The Cruze gets 25MPG, while the Volt is rated at 35MPG.  The amount of gasoline used per day for the Cruze is 2 gallons.  The Volt would use half a gallon.  At $4 per gallon, the daily cost for the Cruze is $8 and for the Volt, $2.  I will not even add in the cost of charging the Volt for this comparison.  If we just look at the commute, as you did, and we figure the cost per year, then the Cruze will cost $1,920 per year.  The Volt will cost $480.  I am assuming five days per week and 48 work weeks per year (2 weeks vacation, 2 weeks holidays).  Thus, the Volt saves $1,440 per year.  Now, if we talk only about the savings on the commute, the pay back period is 15+ years. 

As for some of your other points, Since the Volt and you Prius have ICEs under the hood, you do need to service them.  I am assuming that these costs are roughly equivalent.  Frankly, even if they were double for the Cruze, it would still not significantly impact the analysis.  Since you left them out of the analysis, I will as well.

Now, if you also take into account the battery replcement, and with the the payback timeframe we are talking about you must, this mode the difference in cost even more unfavourable.  You mentioned $2,500.  If you have to do this once, then cost differential is $24,500 for the Volt. 

The fact of the matter is that the Prius and the Volt are comparable in size to what is called a compact car.  In fact, the Prius and Volt are a bit smaller in the critical dimensions than the compact cars on the market.  The price, on the other hand, is comparable to a high end, full size car.  You will never win that comparison.

Just to summarize, I have not added anything to charge the Volt.  Whether you do this with the on-board ICE or plug it in, there is definately a cost.  The mileage we are talking about is 12,000 miles of commuting per year.  I have assumed that this a city commute, the worst case for the Cruze.  On the highway, it gets much better mileage. 

I hope that clarifies things.

 

 

akwaman
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Gold
Re: What we've been saying
akwaman   9/6/2012 4:19:12 PM
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A lot of assumptions on your part, and incorrect assumptions at that.  Of course, that is what happens when you assume.  I was not comparing to the Cruze, I would have to look at those numbers, it was a genererlized hypothetical case compaing monthly costs, and it was calculating by about 24000 miles/year, not the 12000 like you asssumed.  You are only assuming the amount of gas used on the trip, so I am not going to get into that.  You also assume that the maintenance is the same as conventional cars, but that is not the case, they don't work as hard or as often, and oil changes on my Prius come every 10,000 miles, which is also included with my deal with the dealership along with 100,000 mile warranty, so no maintenance costs at all.  Don't know how often you change the Volt's oil, but it's probably less often than the Prius.  Records show that they break down rarely.  This is a scenario that compares MONTHLY costs related to owning a Volt vs. a standard ICE car that gets 25mpg (generous, because my Toyota Solara averaged 18mpg city/hwy combined).  Also generous is the price of gas, because we all know that gas is only going to get more expensive, not cheaper.  You also incorrectly assume that I was comparing the Volt to the Prius, and you assumed incorrectly that I mentioned anything about compact or mid-sized cars. 

naperlou
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Re: What we've been saying
naperlou   9/6/2012 5:38:09 PM
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Well, you are correct that I used the wrong daily mileage.  You cannot however compare a Volt (or Prius) which are compact cars to a car that gets only 25MPG on the highway.   Those are much larger vehicles (assuming we are talking five passenger sedans). In addition, you have to compare to another car you might buy other than the Volt.  If you are concerned about mileage you have to look at the alternatives in the same class.  You also mention leases.  Have you leased a car?  The limit is usually 10K or 12K miles.  Over that you pay a penalty that be as high as $0.10 per mile.  After five years (when you might have to be replacing batteries, etc.) you have 120K miles on the car.  They can last a lot longer, but you will begin to incur costs, on all vehicles, for wear and tear that are significant.  Most cars cannot be leased for five years anyway.  If you look at what is on offer, they are generally 24 to 36 month leases.  I once did one for 48 months, and that was an execption.

So, I can get a conventional car with more passenger room (marginally) and more cargo space (about 50% more) for about $20K less.  I might save up to $5 to $6K in fuel costs over five years and that does not include the cost to charge the Volt.  So, your monthly costs are going to higher for the Volt, assuming you finance both cars.  That really was my original point.  I think Chuck makes the point in this discussion as well.  The point is that these cars will be bought by people who are not sensitive to the price of gasoline.  They are curios at this cost. 

By the way, the Cruze has a model which is only about $2K more with a more effecient engine that would also compare favourably with the Volt.  There are lots of other options out there for cost conscious drivers. 

 

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Re: What we've been saying
akwaman   9/7/2012 11:24:55 AM
I think you are missing my point.  I'm not comparing any 2 cars directly in any way, shape or form.  The exercise was to determine if a Chevy volt would fit into a monthly budget without adding to the monthly budget, ie: can you trade in your 25mpg car and buy a Volt, and have your monthly payment be even or less than currently (combined payment and gasoline charges).  I think the answer is found on a case-by-case situation.  I drive to work 4 mile round trip.  A Volt would not fit in my budget.  If I drove 75-100 miles round trip to work, it probably would.  I did not even include the giant tax break you get with the Volt, and no, I did not include the cost of the electricity, because that is difficult to determine, but from what others that own Volts say, it is miniscule in comparison to what they were spending in gasoline.  In one particular case, the gentleman said that he easily cut down on electric usage around the house to cover the difference of electric use from his cars.  I tend to agree that you can work the numbers, and each case is different. I never said this would make sense for everyone.  Gas prices are not going down, they will only go up, so the savings increase with each rise in the price of gas.  Do the calculations with $5 gas (coming soon to a town near you).  Additionally, I think that in a budget, it is nice to have less variability in our monthly bills.  The budget changes with the price of gas for many people.  The price of gas goes up, but your boss doesn't pay you more because of it, so OPEC is regulating our salaries.  They make more, we make less, and they do that by regulating supply and demand.  Isn't it interesting how gas prices conveniently go up just before a holiday?  Right before summer?  Hmmm.  Coincidence... I think not, OPEC has been doing this for long enough to know that they need to increase production before holidays and vacation season, but they conveniently get it wrong all the time.

Mydesign
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Platinum
Down time
Mydesign   9/4/2012 2:14:17 AM
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"General Motors plans to shut down the Michigan plant that builds the Chevy Volt for four weeks from mid-September to mid-October"

Charles, is it due to excess production or less demand from the market. Normally companies may take a down time for annual maintenance also.

Constitution_man
User Rank
Gold
Re: Down time
Constitution_man   9/4/2012 9:37:08 AM
The Volt is a failed White House pet project.  I've run the financials every direction and have yet to see how paying all that money up-front, even with cash, can be less costly per mile versus paying $15K less and then buying gasoline.  Of course, the future price of gasoline is unknown, but based on a reasonable extrapolation it still doesn't pencil.  The Impala sells well because GM [Government Motors] is, via the White house, strong-arming state agencies and others to ignore offerings from Dodge, Ford, and others.  It is true in MN and SD.  Look around your area.  State fleets, in the past, had some Fords, some Dodges, some GMs.  Now they are mysteriously all GM.  Plug-in cars come with an ideological shroud worn by the purchaser.  They know the performance stinks, the cost is high, and the batteries are too heavy and too expensive to replace... but the "feel-good" factor takes over.  Guys like me who have to keep their money together simply cannot buy cars on ideology.

ChriSharek
User Rank
Gold
Re: Down time
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:44:24 AM
You're ONLY looking at the economics and you're ONLY looking at them now.  Considering oil independence, air pollution, performance (apparently you haven't driven an EV), AND the economics, the Volt is very cost competitive.  I'm still blown away with how many folks CHOOSE a 20 MPG BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, [insert your favorite high-end import here] car.  Regardless of the immediate economics, fossil fuels (natural gas included) are a limited world resource.  It is only inevitable, a question of when, not if, we make the transition to EV. 

Mydesign
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Platinum
Re: Down time
Mydesign   9/11/2012 12:11:59 AM
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"Guys like me who have to keep their money together simply cannot buy cars on ideology"

Constitutional_ man, I totally agree with you. Since there is always a fluxuation in gasoline pricing, peoples may obliviously look for EVs. But as of now EVs are also have major drawbacks with batteries and power.  In current scenario the maximum output from an EV battery is 100-125 miles. It's better to replace the existing batteries with high yield batteries having yield of minimum 200-250 miles.



ChriSharek
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Gold
The Volt is Unique
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:22:19 AM
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I've put 18,000+ miles on my Volt, averaging 222 MPG. VERY unlike the Priusm 90% of my driving has been all electric - I hate when folks lump the Volt in with the other "hybrids"). Maybe the other 10% I'm "only" getting 37 MPG, which is just about your Prius. I understand that the Volt is technically a hybrid, but that depends how it's driven.  It's a rare day when I dip into the gas.  The Volt truly is unique. American Engineering creatively inching us forward towards EVs. I will be truly amazed, and flattered, if I'm one of the 150,000 early adopters of "heavy Plug-Ins" in 2020.

Ralphy Boy
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Platinum
Re: The Volt is Unique
Ralphy Boy   9/4/2012 9:45:09 PM
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The first time I saw the Volt's tech I realized that it had merit. Curious, what is your plug in setup? Are you in a driveway or garage? Miles driven a day? Charging times?

EVs of all persuasions are at least in my mind mostly niche vehicles. Not everyone can use one every day. My main problem with the EV and specifically the Volt is the hype and the subsidies.

Tax breaks are not the same as out and out payoffs to the manufacturer and buyers. Solar has been being subsidized for decades now... I still see news stories of Gov grants for solar that don't add up.

Too much money being thrown around will usually attract corruption, and the corrupt will fight to keep the cash flowing even for unproductive ideas.

So when I saw the Volt and thought is would be good, I was thinking $25k to $30k. And something easy/safe to charge. That plus some universality of the chassie/drive train so that a number of models could be offered.

This one as interesting as it is, even after Gov Aid is a bit over priced for what it is to many of us.

Ralphy Boy
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Platinum
Re: The Volt is Unique
Ralphy Boy   9/4/2012 9:50:08 PM
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The first time I saw the Volt's tech I realized that it had merit. Curious, what is your plug in setup? Are you in a driveway or garage? Miles driven a day? Charging times?

EVs of all persuasions are at least in my mind mostly niche vehicles. Not everyone can use one every day. My main problem with the EV and specifically the Volt is the hype and the subsidies.

Tax breaks are not the same as out and out payoffs to the manufacturer and buyers. Solar has been being subsidized for decades now... I still see news stories of Gov grants for solar that don't add up.

Too much money being thrown around will usually attract corruption, and the corrupt will fight to keep the cash flowing even for unproductive ideas.

So when I saw the Volt and thought it would be good, I was thinking $25k to $30k. And something easy/safe to charge. That plus some universality of the chassie/drive train so that a number of models could be offered.

This one as interesting as it is, even after Gov Aid is a bit over priced for what it is to many of us.

DanielJoseph
User Rank
Gold
Re: The Volt is Unique
DanielJoseph   9/5/2012 9:44:05 AM
Good morning!  The charging setup I have is pretty basic.  I simply plugged one Volt on one side of the garage and the other one on the other side.   I am charging with 110V at home.  My wife and I are usually home by 8:00pm so the car are ready to go at 6:00am (typical max charge time at 110V is 9.5 hours).   I did add a KWH meter to one charging point so I could measure exactly how much electricity it takes.  14 KWH is what it takes.   I pay around .08/KHW, so total cost to charge at home is $1.12.  Ok, so I have two Volts charging every night, did I see any bump in my electric - well - no because I took steps to use less electricity in the house overall.  14KWH or even 28 KWH is not a lot.  I have a 3200 sq ft house and being in Texas, it get's hot.  So just a little tweaking with the house saves enough to balance it out.     At work we have a 230V charger and it charges empty to full in about 3.5 hours.

Miles driven per day - right at 100 for me, and probably close to that for my wife.  We live out in the country so nothing is close.  Right now, the best deal is to lease the car.  As I mentioned yesterday, GM is just now allowing dealers to put a couple volts into their loaner car fleet.  Once the cars hit a certian mileage threshold, they are then sold at a lower price, so... if you are worried about budget, keep your eye out for one of these.   It could be how the lower than average leases are appearing in the papers.  I am paying $320/month for 15000 miles per year on a 3 year lease.  I am saving a total of about $500.00 per month is fuel costs per Volt.  Pretty easy math.  I have never leased in my life until this car simply because battery technology is improving so quickly that I would prefer to move on to the next generation in 2014 and not have to deal with unloading the 2011.  However, if fuel prices comtinnue to climb, I doubt I would have any trouble unloading it.

I agree the price is too high, but so were plasma TVs when they first came out.  It took first adopters to move the price down over several years.  This car is far and away more sophisticated than any plasma TV, as as your life could depend on its reliability (unlikely to be the case with any TV), you will not see the same price decay curve you see with retail electronics.  

Personally, I think as Americans we waste more than we are aware of.  This car is an investment and I think if you fiddle faddle around worrying about the numbers, you will never take the oppportunity to be part of the solution of reducing America's oil dependence not to mention this: for about 98 miles each day I drive, my car's engine is generating zero heat.  Just eliminating all that heat is a cool thing to me. 

tekochip
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Platinum
Re: The Volt is Unique
tekochip   9/5/2012 10:25:07 AM
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Thanks Daniel, it's great to hear from somebody that owns the product.

kyleafdotcom
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Silver
No EV education
kyleafdotcom   9/4/2012 9:46:59 AM
I think the average Joe isn't aware of the current crop of EVs and how well they can fit into their lifestyle.  If your round trip commute is less than 40 miles, and you only want to own one car, a Volt is perfect.  If your rt commute is under 60 miles and you have a second car, a Leaf is perfect.  My spouse commutes in a Leaf, and I encourage her to drive swiftly in order to end the notion that the Leaf is sluggish.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Until people actually see these vehicles on the road, until they know someone that owns one, they are not likely to adopt a new technology.  I really haven't seen a Nissan commercial that tells the story.  I can Lease a Leaf for what it costs to own a Prius.  The Leaf costs about $1 a day for our 40 mile commute (not really, since we qualify for a "LEV" electric rate, our electric cost is free) and during the 39 month 48750 mile lease, we will not require any oil changes.  In 39 months we take the lease back and get a new one, no reason to worry about the battery.  I'm not a Leaf owner that will go around Volt bashing, the Leaf works for us, the Volt may work for someone else.  Oil is finite, when will everyone get that simple fact through their heads?

ChriSharek
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Gold
Re: No EV education
ChriSharek   9/4/2012 9:54:37 AM
Amen, KYLEAFDOTCOM!  Most folks, like "Constitution Man" below, aren't ready for the EVs. 

DanielJoseph
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Gold
Inventory Balance is Not New, but Volt IS a Dependable Car
DanielJoseph   9/4/2012 10:17:48 AM
I find it hard to fathom that a company's inventory balancing activity is news.  August 2012 will be the highest sales month for the Volt to date.  Yet, even when everyone knows by now the factory is shared by three platforms, when they pause for any reason, the headline is GM HALTS VOLT PRODUCTION or some flavor of that. 

What is news is that the car is saving the folks that have one a lot of money in fuel.  I have two volts.  Both get driven long miles (more than 100 a day in most cases).  We were spending nearly $1000/month in fuel between my wife and I.  Now we spend about $50.00. 

Saturday I had my red volt at the grocery store where I was approached by a couple that owned two pickups, a Chevy Tahoe and a Corvette.  They had never seen a Volt before but had heard about them.  The wife was spending $77.00 in gas every four days to keep the Tahoe on the road.  They love their Tahoe for trips, but hate the miles they have accumulated on it in less than a year and the fuel costs.  They like the idea of the Volt to use for everything but the long trips and keep the miles off the Tahoe and put the savings in their pocket.  The wife was amazed at how comfortable the seats were.  She was amazed at how roomy the back was and that she could fold down the seats for even more room.  She really liked that she could install two car seats for her young grandchildren.  She really liked the backup camera with the grid showing where the car would go with the current steering wheel position.  I told her our local dealer had 6 brand new ones on the lot and she should go down and drive one.

Last week our dog was bitten by a copperhead snake and we had two Volts neither even close to being fully charged in the garage.  Got in and drove one to the nearest pet hospital over 40 miles away.  Got there without any issues.  It is a car you can really depend on.  Our dog survived after two viles of anti-venom.

GM is now allowing the dealers to put a couple Volts in their loaner car programs where folks can have a chance to drive one on their terms.  This is just starting and I think it is a great idea. 

mrmikel
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Iron
Selling a car is not a technical matter
mrmikel   9/4/2012 10:30:11 AM
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If all people thought about when they bought a car were its specs, we would be driving black cars because that is what they offered in the beginning.  GM is right to be out there trying to sell them, even if they don't make much on them.  They are getting production knowledge which you can't buy and the GM name is associated with vehicles that will likely become standard over a period of time.  They dropped the ball badly back in the 1970s and drove away a generation of buyers from American cars.  It is wise to avoid the same kind of mistake again.

swed
User Rank
Iron
Re: Inventory Balance is Not New, but Volt IS a Dependable Car
swed   9/4/2012 11:33:22 AM
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Yes, I do love driving BY gas stations, especially at $4.25 / gallon, Diesel almost $4.50 / gallon.

Everyone who rides in the Volt remarks how smooth and quiet it is, gre3at accelleration, wonderfuil handling. For reference, when not driving the Volt I ride a Hayabusa.

So folks money talks and mine is not filling a gas tank. I actually had to put fuel stabilizer on the shelf for this car because I use so litle gas, 0.4 gal so far in 2 months.

If I behave the battery range can be as high as 45 Battery miles indicated about 37 street miles.

Oh, and if you by a Volt get the 240V chaging station, worth the money, full charge in 3.5-4 hrs.

Chevrolet got it right with one.

Comfortable, safe and quiet ride.

 

LED MAC
User Rank
Gold
Idle Again, and again, and again....
LED MAC   9/4/2012 10:52:35 AM
I think that we should get used to seeing the Volt production idled.    There is no genuine market demand! 

 

This is just another example of a malinvestment made by central planners,  spending other peoples money.  ( <-- period )

 

The technology may be whiz-bang spectacular, but if there is no demand, the market will not make it a winner.

 

I expect that we'll see GM's palms up again within five years, pleading for more bailouts.   The "saving the automotive industry" line that the statist left loves to toss around was really just a transfer of wealth from the rightful owners  ( bondholders...people buying GM bonds over the course of a career) to the auto-unions in exchange for continued political support.  It's a disgrace.   But, for GM, it means that the company still hasn't made the kinds of changes necessary to put it on a sustainable path.   The 'GM failure can' has been kicked, that is all.

LED MAC
User Rank
Gold
Re: Idle Again, and again, and again....
LED MAC   9/4/2012 10:52:54 AM
By the way, why is it that during GWB administration the media gave us DAILY stories about gas higher than $2 per gallon, but during the reign of King Barry have remained virtually silent on the issue??

Droid
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Idle Again, and again, and again....
Droid   9/4/2012 11:34:30 AM
Agree - Although I would tweak the comment by saying that there will eventually be a demand, but not at the current vehicle price.  We can still buy a lot of gas for the extra cost of one of these machines. Some leap in technology to bring the cost down is still required for the average stooge like me to buy one of these.

Also agree that GM will be back once again begging at the public trough in time to come.  Not because of a project like the Volt, but because the bailout was really a union bailout and the long term issues were never properly addressed as they could have been through bankruptcy.

By the way - you can always tell when you've successfully touched a nerve when someone accuses you of being a "republican" or "conservative".   However, you really haven't come full circle until they take a shot at "God" or "religion"....   So keep trying.  LOL...

swed
User Rank
Iron
Chevy Volt
swed   9/4/2012 11:03:56 AM
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I love driving quietly by gas stations where the price is $4.25 / gallon.

I pay about $25.00 electric a month, beats $125.00 / month.

Smooth, quiet, well built, no maintenance, no gas, no oil, just plug in when I park the car.

If people understood the savings they would buy or lease one.

 

DanielJoseph
User Rank
Gold
Re: Idle Again, and again, and again....
DanielJoseph   9/4/2012 11:48:02 AM
As I mentioned from down here in Australia (not really), the factory has three platforms and every year, at model change time, the factory is stopped and started for various reasons.  In this case inventory balance and Impala remodeling.  The headlines give the impression the Volt is faltering, but in fact, it is the top seller among all EVs and is increasing as a trend.  I also mentioned this past month was the best sales month ever.  By the way, I am a life long Republican.  Go figure that one out! 

LED MAC
User Rank
Gold
Re: Idle Again, and again, and again....
LED MAC   9/4/2012 11:51:35 AM
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@Architect:  disrespect crossed with ignorance;  you have revealed yourself to be a frequent drinker of leftist flavorade.  And no, I am not a Republican.  I happen to be a fiscally conservative, socially liberal American, thanks for asking.   Parties are blinders; I suggest you take yours off and start being honest with yourself.  (i.e. think for yourself!)

melllowfelllow
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Gold
Volticide
melllowfelllow   9/4/2012 12:28:27 PM
If we ignore "mandatory government coersion" and look at successful products from Pet Rocks to Iphones there are two primary drivers to successful products - [1] folks want them and [2] folks can afford them. Technical excellence and need are down the list.

Part GM's problem is that they shot themselves in the foot when they spent considerableable money to repo and crush their EV1 rolling laboratories and data collection vehicles. GM has failed to create any real 'buzz' or 'lust' for the Volt and they have failed to price it effectively - presumably due to high manufacturing cost. 

Off the wall...

A comparison of Corvette vs. Volt [yes, they are apple and orange] will show that they have similar low production volumes and a $50k vs. $40k price.  A look at the buyers and potential buyers will show that the Vette has a lot more 'lusters saving up' and the Volt purchasers consist of a number of reluctant purchasers who have made their decision based on rising gasoline prices.  What all of this means is that the Volt is in trouble for the long run.  Their Marketing and Promotion Plan for the Volt stinks.  If they continue down the current path, the Volt will likely fail...

6Lz

DanielJoseph
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Gold
Re: Volticide
DanielJoseph   9/4/2012 1:16:17 PM
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!

Ralphy Boy
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Platinum
Re: Volticide
Ralphy Boy   9/5/2012 12:28:12 AM
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"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."

This is not even apples and oranges... This is sand on a beach and water in a desert... Even 1 Volt on the used market in an area is a decent percentage...

"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!"

So... blindly believe that the over-priced government-subsidized volt is awesome or be a negative nellie? Way to make friends.

See I was being nice but it appears that there are a number of people posting on this topic that have vested interest in the Volt/GM... Biased much?

This thread officially reeks of desperation.

melllowfelllow
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Gold
Re: Volticide
melllowfelllow   9/5/2012 3:54:35 AM
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Thanks to the folks that took the time to read one or two sentences from my original post and use it as a platform to say what was on their mind. In case someone actually read all of it and is still confused about used Corvettes, I will try to clarify.

I only identified 2 issues that I have with the Volt -

1. Marketing and Promotion.

2. Price.

The comments on the Volt and Corvette were about 2 limited production products that represent a drop in the GM bucket of units shipped [1-2% total??].  One of the lines [that would be the Corvette] has the 'buzz' and folks wanting it and is intended to be a limited production vehicle. The other line [that would be the Volt] was intended to be at a higher volume by now - but it is not.  The point is that GM has failed to effectively Market and Promote the Volt.

Amazing talents...

I am amazed that some folks can know what others have driven or not driven, what vehicles they own or do not own, and what they know or do not know.  These revelations often occur when the target has not engaged in the appropriate amount of 'happy talk'.

6Lz

akwaman
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Gold
Where's all the disgruntled Volt owners?
akwaman   9/5/2012 9:26:02 AM
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I put up a challenge for all those people with Volts to tell us what they think about their car, and...  No negativity here from the owners, only praise.  The negativity is from the people that DON'T own one.  Hmmm.  Exactly as I expected.  Even after a contributer tells in detail how much money they save and how much they love their Volt, some genius writes a comment about how they "think" that they are priced too high and nobody wants them.  A lot of opinions from people who have no evidence, EXCEPT THE PEOPLE HERE TELLING YOU HOW MUCH THEY LOVE THEM AND HOW MUCH THEY SAVE !!!!  Some poeple are so set with their ideas that they can't even see what is right in front of their face.  Mellowfellow is right about one thing, there is a problem with marketing and promotion... they don't WANT to.  You really think Chevy doensn't know how to market a car?  GMAFB

 

Ralphy Boy
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Volticide
Ralphy Boy   9/5/2012 5:50:08 PM
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I say the Volt is over priced... because @ $40k it is not an everyman's car...  1.5 million Vettes were sold over the years, but from early on it was never an everyman's car. It was a Vette' for God's sake. It's sales in the beginning were also very low, but WOW what a car. I compared these two because there seemed to be some stretching by others to make a comparison... I would never do that on my own.

I was actually hoping to be able to look at the Volt in 08' when I bought my Accord. Perhaps I would have waited the year or 2 with that purchase (I actually wanted to) but the Volt's projected price and delays made that something that I decided against. The Accord is an awesome car btw @ only $18k (what I paid) and 28mpg without a sneeze for 120k miles. 

The place I work at had a policy in 08' that allowed employee EVs to be plugged in for free. Since I drive 45 miles each way... that'd be perfect for the Volt. I'm not sure if the policy has changed. No one has taken them up on it at our plant but we have an older company owned Prius sitting in the lot, (needs a battery).

My old partner at work was drooling over the GM/Chevy line in 2010. He is an ex-union car body company tool maker... and Obama voter. I quote... "um um um um ummmm... GM finally got it right." For days in our cubicle...  then he pulled out his money and bought a Hyundia Sonata at $20k...

Like it or not this is the competition for the Volt with many of us every-day-people. That and the Hybrid Sonata and the like @ $25k... Even giving extra credit for extra effort on the drive train... $30k is pushing it. Minus those like myself who resent the $25B still out standing on the bailout, and some other missteps from a publicity pov... and good luck.

I don't dislike the workers at GM, but I do resent the loss of $25B to prop up a company that makes average cars. That $25B was a huge negative in many minds and it is up to GM to over come that. Reworded; $25B in negative publicity. And WE didn't do that to GM... 

Lastly... get that Volt lease that  Architect   pointed to @ 9/4/2012 1:25:34 PM to come to my area and I absolutely will consider doing a lease in another 2 years when I replace my Accord. Heck I might even look at that lease deal right after Christmas... (market at that price point... and if the Volt meets the hype watch them sell).

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Volticide
Charles Murray   9/5/2012 6:45:43 PM
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RalphyBoy, I agree with you when you say that the Volt is not an "everyman car" right now. I've had the opportunity to drive the Volt on two occasions, each for a week, and it's a wonderful car, a joy to drive. But it's hard for the average American to justify spending $40K on the Volt when he/she can get a Chevy Cruze Eco for about half that price. GM knows that it needs to squeeze a lot of cost out of the Volt, but the company's engineers believe they can get there, and I believe they will stick with it until they do.

DanielJoseph
User Rank
Gold
Re: Volticide
DanielJoseph   9/5/2012 10:03:45 AM
So have you driven a Volt? 

...and I'm missing the over priced part... it's brand stinking new technology so it DOES costs a lot to build.  There's more software in that car than a new Boeing Dreamliner 787 by over one million lines of code.  We're not talking about a TV here. 

I don't like the Gov't trying to pick winners and losers, but the prius got the subsidy until their sales volume exhausted it,  why shouldn't the domestic Volt, or Ford's offering?, I appreciate the offerings we have to date.  Time will only bring more choices and lower costs. 

Blindly believe... come on man, I have two of them.  There is no believe, I am kicking butt on the money I am not spending on fuel.  At the end of the year my wife went on a trip to NYC to see three broadway shows with our two daughters with the money she saved in fuel costs.  We are better off because of these cars and so is anyone who can acquire one.  And we eliminate any worry about how fuel costs affect our budget.  It has ZERO effect now.  I spend more on snacks during a week than I do on gas for a month. 

Constitution_man
User Rank
Gold
Re: Down time
Constitution_man   9/4/2012 12:58:43 PM
GM's website dedicated to the Volt has on online realtime counting mechanism.  It counts miles driven by the Volt and the resultant gas gallons saved.  Adding up the miles, then dividing by the gallons "saved" one can say that GM claims a gallon saved for each 48 miles driven.  Interestingly though... if you write down their numbers, wait an hour, and do it again, it amounts to one gallon saved per 160 miles.  I smell a rat, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for this analysis.  In 100000 miles, that's a touch over 2000 gallons, or less than $8K lifetime gas savings.  That's on a $46,000 car. Even if you take the $6000 of "free" money from Uncle Sam, I make this comparison:  For about half the money I can buy a car that meets my needs.  For about 1/3 the money, I can buy a used car with only 30K miles that meets my needs.  For $3000, I bought a nice LOW MILES 4-door that gets 27mpg all the time.  Bottom line is STILL that I am not in a position to buy cars on ideology.  I didn't say the ideology was BAD, just that I cannot justify it on my family's budget, and we are by no means poor. Most self-sufficient Americans do the math similarly.  Yes, fossil fuel is finite... but they've been saying that since 1974 or even before.  Americans need a solid reason BIGGER than ideology to buy into something like the VOLT.  It'd be even more credible if the FEDS weren't tossing in $6K to pump up their miserable sales figures.

kyleafdotcom
User Rank
Silver
Re: Down time
kyleafdotcom   9/4/2012 2:22:41 PM
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?

Constitution_man
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Re: Down time
Constitution_man   9/4/2012 4:22:10 PM
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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.

kyleafdotcom
User Rank
Silver
Re: Down time
kyleafdotcom   9/4/2012 5:16:13 PM
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@ Constitution_man

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.

Bryan Goss
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Gold
Will the Volt owners have trouble with Gas going bad?
Bryan Goss   9/4/2012 1:14:19 PM
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I have been watching the commercials for the Volt with owners talking about not filling their cars for months. I know if left for too long gas does go bad. I wonder if this is going to start being a problem with these hybrid electric / gas cars? Any thoughts?

DanielJoseph
User Rank
Gold
Re: Will the Volt owners have trouble with Gas going bad?
DanielJoseph   9/4/2012 2:08:26 PM
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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. 

 

Bryan Goss
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Gold
Re: Will the Volt owners have trouble with Gas going bad?
Bryan Goss   9/4/2012 2:32:11 PM
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Interesting, Thanks for the answer Daniel.

Ralphy Boy
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Platinum
Re: Down time
Ralphy Boy   9/4/2012 7:11:36 PM
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Ralphy Boy
User Rank
Platinum
Price check...
Ralphy Boy   9/4/2012 9:31:58 PM
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Yeah I dig that... But why so huge a difference in the price? Is Detroit subsidizing the Volt? Or autos in general?

Chevy site calls for about what I found local... and possible $7500 tax credit. And a little better lease deal.... Have you a link to the super sales prices you were quoting?

http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car.html?seo=goo_|_2012+Chevy+Retention_|_IMG+Chevy+Volt_|_Volt+Leasing_|_volt%20lease

 

warren@fourward.com
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Platinum
GM milliVolt
warren@fourward.com   9/5/2012 7:06:26 PM
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Well, Government Motors' 5 year plan didn't work, again?  Now they will do another 5 year plan?  Maybe the Czars will decide the Volt failed because it didn't have fins.  So they will produce the same lousy car with fins, and again, no one will buy it!

Instead of looking at the market from a capitalist point of view, they do what governments always do.  They make decisions they are not qualified to make.  The marketplace decides that they don't need all size "8" shoes.  It also needs all other sizes.

Get the government out of business!!!  Let failing business models fail.  Let America give you the right to try and the right to fail (emphasis on the word "fail").  Central planning never will succeed.  Never has and never will!

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Often forgotten
Charles Murray   9/7/2012 6:15:54 PM
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When it comes to the Volt, one thing that's often forgotten is that credit is very tight today, and that makes it difficult to buy a car like the Volt, even if the gasoline savings justify it in the end. These days, many people have trouble securing a $30,000 car loan, and the automakers are painfully aware of this.

Bunter
User Rank
Platinum
Volt losing 49K per car
Bunter   9/10/2012 12:51:01 PM
I have long maintained that the Volt, however excellent an engineering exercise, should not be compared with any profitable, commercially viable vehicle on any sort of economic basis as the retail price was money losing fiction...but I didn't think it was nearly as bad as the reality.

Losing $49k per car?  This little buggy is a loooooooooooooooooong way from being a viable alternative to the current offerings on the market.

Don't get me wrong, I recognize that throwing a new idea out at an initial loss can be a good thing long term.  Prius is an excellent example.  But the Volt is not going to change the game any time soon.  Opinion.

Cheerio,

Dennis

sblozis
User Rank
Iron
Prius Plus in - User experience
sblozis   9/22/2012 4:57:03 PM
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2012 Prius Plug In (not advanced model) – delivered April 2012

$36,157 out the door in CA (1.79% for 72 months @ $530/mth) with $2500 federal tax credit and $1500 state rebate (credit and rebate not deducted from total price).

30 mile one way daily commute charging 3.1 KWH into the 4.4 KWH battery at work – per tank MPG range is from 51 to 68 MPG depending on number of electric recharges (EV miles are added to gas miles divided by gallons of gas). Use EV (electric) mode on surface streets (work to freeway 4 miles and home to freeway is 2.5 miles) and switch to HV (hybrid) mode when on freeway at speed. Individual  30 mile commute with battery usage is high 60s MPG with highest recorded 91 MPG during Friday return home where freeway traffic is slow and I can stay in EV mode on the freeway and totally deplete the battery (due to start/stop technology, using battery even in HV mode during low speeds/low power needs and regenerative breaking the Prius will give best MPG in slow rolling freeway traffic). During long trip with no battery charges I get 52-54 MPG just on the gas engine in HV mode.

 Comments

1.       Purchased the Prius Plug In for better gas mileage and ability to get the car pool sticker (40K in CA).

2.       I don't think that the EV or Plug In HV are currently economical but I think gas prices will increase to $6-8/gal range where the payback period will become much shorter so I jumped in now for the perks (e.g., rebate, credit, car pool sticker, free charging) outweighing the higher cost/immature battery technologies.

3.       Purchased the Prius Plug in rather than the Volt due to the mature/proven technology on the Prius except for the new larger battery, ability to hold 5 persons with good room in the backseats and higher MPG in gas mode for long trips.

4.       Would reconsider leasing Volt (Aug special was $199 to $249/mth) since it would be less expensive monthly payment, if there was a long term problem with the technology I could turn it in before the problems surface, normally there are only 3 persons in the car and if I need to hold 5 I still have the MB, I haven't made that many long trips that I need to worry about the gas only MPG and battery range is 40 miles in the Volt so I could do most of the entire round trip commute on the battery (free charging at work).

5.       Either the Prius or the Volt would be good for user who has only one car. Pure EV like the Leaf would also work for me since I could switch out to MB for longer trips where I couldn't be sure I could recharge or were outside battery range but not for person who has only one car (unless most everywhere you go is within 80 mile range and then you could rent gas car for longer trips).

6.       At work there are four EV recharge stations. It was OK until the 5th EV showed up. As there are more EVs you can't count on the recharge station being available and even when it is you need to be able to dedicate the delay in the trip to recharge (e.g., I have killed time at the winery and shopping center to complete free recharge on 240V @ 1.5 hrs). The best option is to be able to fully charge at home and then "save money" by being able to recharge at work or other locations that offer free recharging to reduce the amount of charge at home to completely fill the battery.  At some point this recharging will no longer be free so the economics will need to be based on your home electric rates and the EV range dictates your maximum range unless you also have the gas engine.

7.       The Prius gets 25 – 35 MPG during the initial 4-6 minutes of engine warm up. At $4.00 gas the cost to go 10 miles @ 50 MPG is $0.80 and @ 25 MPG is $1.60. To fully charge the battery (3.1 KWH = 10 miles) @ $0.08 per KWH is $0.25, @ $0.13 per KWH is $0.40, @ $0.30 per KWH is $0.93. My E-1 electric rate is $0.13 KWH to 100%, $0.15 to 130% and $0.30 to 200% usage and during the summer I'm below 130% and in the winter below 200%. If I can keep my usage rate below 130% it makes sense to recharge at home and it even makes sense to recharge up to 200% if the Prius is going to be used for around town/local driving since the gas MPG is lower.

8.       I will be moving to the E-9A time of use electric rates (one meter for home and EV), recharging the Prius both at home and work and fully exhausting the battery during each leg of the commute. The rate between midnight and 7 AM is $0.05 KWH so there will be even more savings but the rates are much more expensive 2 – 9 PM weekdays in the summer ($0.30 KWH < 130%) so we'll have to watch our AC use. Since the charging rate is 8 amps at 120V and the Prius needs only 3 hrs to fully charge I will not get a 240V home charging station. For larger batteries like the 16 KWH Volt and 24 KWH Leaf I probably would consider (additionally cost $1K- $1.5K for charger and installation).

9.       The perfect EV for my current situation would be the Prius Plug In with 30 mile battery range that drives (handling)/interior comfort like at MB. When I drive to the airport and park or go to offsite meeting or make long trip I don't have to worry about recharging and battery range. Obviously if I lived closer then the battery range could be smaller and having the gas engine does increase the car weight, cost and increases the maintenance expenses but I don't have to worry about range. IF I could trade out cars with my wife and take her gas car leaving her with the EV (without range problems for her) when I needed the longer range then I would consider an EV only (e.g., reduced operating cost due to no gas engine maintenance).

10.   Although not hard to do, taking the AC recharging cord out of the car, plugging into the AC wall outlet, flake out to the charge port and plug in does take some time so it would be nice not to have to do it that often (e.g., larger battery or inductive charging mat so you don't have to plug in the cord).



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