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Motor Trend just published a 1-year review of the Chevrolet Volt. Given the Volt's importance to the economy as a whole (GM has sunk a ton of money and other resources into it), the Obama administration's image (yes, I know development was started long before he was elected, but the Volt has become inextricably connected with him in the public mind), energy policy and the environment in general, I thought it would be appropriate to post some excerpts from their findings.

2011 Chevrolet Volt Verdict
With a Year Gone By, Its Time for Some Answers

So there we are. A final curiosity from the car I drove from Detroit to L.A. with my daughter riding shotgun, filled 66 times with gas, charged 271 times, and a thousand times politely answered questions like "aren't you worried you'll run out of electricity and stop?" and "afraid of it catching fire?" and "how much?" Now that the Volt's year with us is up, it's time for some answers.

...

I'll start with those three questions I've heard so often. When the battery was depleted, the engine always started seamlessly. The Volt doesn't "die" at the end of its EV range, as pundits have claimed. Nor did it ever erupt into a lithium-ion inferno. However, it's quite evident from the car's sales that it simply costs too much for most folks (a $32,495 base price even after the federal tax credit).

Still, the real headline here is that nothing ever went wrong the car. Zip. Zero. It was breathtakingly reliable, given that the Volt is (and try arguing this with me) the biggest quantum jump in automotive technology in decades. Spooky-advanced-tech cars like this, I've noticed, are actually frequently more robust than conventional cars because their engineers are playing it very, very safe, knowing that everybody's watching with magnifying glasses.

I'd strongly advise reading the whole thing. This isn't from a lefty-political (or even political at all) source, nor is it from an environmental/ecological-based organization; this is friggin' Motor Trend. All they care about is the car itself, how it performs, how it holds up, how it looks and how it compares with the competition.

Their conclusion?

I just checked Prius (family) sales for April 2012, and guess what? It's in third place among all cars, behind the Camry and the Accord. My point is, we need a much bigger perspective here. The Volt's costs will come down. Efficiencies will be incrementally learned. Let's meet up again in 11 years and see how the 2023 Chevrolet Volt is doing then.
Sales-wise, they came up short of their goal last year, but have seen a substantial improvement so far this year. According to Wikipedia:

2010: 326 sold
2011: 7,671
2012: 7,057 (through 5/31 only; at that rate they should hit about 17,000 for the full year)

While these numbers would be barely rounding errors for any other traditional car, it's encouraging to see them ramping upwards.

Using the Toyota Prius for comparison (as suggested by the Motor Trend article; using U.S. sales only):

2000    5,600
2001    15,600
2002    20,100
2003    24,600
2004    54,000
2005    107,900
2006    107,000
2007    181,000
2008    158,600
2009    139,700
2010    140,900
2011    136,500
2012 59.1 (Through April 30)

While the Prius seems to have peaked in 2007 and has been dropping off since then, I suspect much of this is due to competing hybrid models upping their game. The point, of course, is that the tiny initial numbers don't mean anything; it's the trend that counts.

It should also be noted that these incremental improvements have already started. For instance:

--The Volt was released at $41,000; this has dropped to $40,000 (pre-credits, which bring the final price down to as low as $32,500, or $31,000 in California)
--The EPA-estimated EV range has increased by three miles, to 38 miles per charge
--They've added "hold drive" mode to improve battery efficiency
--The Volt is now eligible for single-occupancy HOV-lane access in California and New York

Also, one other tidbit I didn't know, which is welcome news to anyone who's concerned about the battery: The Volt battery is covered under warranty for 8 years or 100k miles, with no more than 30% reduction in capacity.

Plus, according to the 3-4 people I've spoken with who've actually been in one, it's a dream to drive, handles beautifully, and has the most precise construction of any car they've driven.

For my part, I'm hoping that my current car (a 2005 Hyundai) holds out long enough for me to be able to make my next one an EV...whether the Volt or a similar US-made model. If they can get the price down another $5,000 or so, I think they'll have a mainstream hit.

In the meantime, I went from seeing 1 Volt around here all last year to seeing 7 of them so far this year...including 2 of them right next to each other just the other day.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (177+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, daninoah, implicate order, jsfox, cosette, Lawrence, Ashaman, dougymi, Babsnc, silver arrow, Pozzo, citizenx, wxorknot, Horace Boothroyd III, 207wickedgood, Sanuk, gulfgal98, frsbdg, OpherGopher, mkfarkus, Dragon5616, Maudlin, gizmo59, HeartlandLiberal, Only Needs a Beat, MartyM, RLMiller, Gary Norton, Dirtandiron, monkeybrainpolitics, pixxer, jwinIL14, Odysseus, Bendra, wagdog, asm121, txcatlin, JDWolverton, ParkRanger, SCFrog, volleyboy1, defluxion10, nookular, Debby, Thinking Fella, javan, DRo, Arahahex, JeffW, native, milkbone, radical simplicity, pamelabrown, LaughingPlanet, DBunn, historys mysteries, mconvente, MKinTN, hungrycoyote, Habitat Vic, Simplify, wordene, Alan Arizona, Milly Watt, SlowNomad, Buckeye54, Deep Texan, Sylv, bfitzinAR, OIL GUY, GreyHawk, JBL55, kerflooey, Ammo Hauler, liberaldregs, paradox, wide eyed lib, TXdem, askew, filby, Lujane, Shockwave, Tod, Fiona West, CoyoteMarti, zubalove, cacamp, Bill in Portland Maine, HeyMikey, dRefractor, GeorgeXVIII, shopkeeper, FultonDem, eeff, wonkydonkey, 420 forever, cpresley, sagansong, radarlady, dle2GA, bill warnick, tacet, doingbusinessas, oortdust, cordgrass, tegrat, slowbutsure, JayBat, WisVoter, Sychotic1, Intellectually Curious, jamess, enemy of the people, highacidity, blue aardvark, offred, Assaf, Randtntx, cotasm, Siri, Panacea Paola, salmo, ColoTim, Melanie in IA, spunhard, Texknight, BlogDog, Buckeye Nut Schell, wblynch, poliwrangler, Oaklander, Hopeful Skeptic, Calamity Jean, Magnifico, antooo, Emerson, buckstop, tb mare, jazzmaniac, Rick Aucoin, SuetheRedWA, RhodaA, tidalwave1, joynow, VTCC73, Nowhere Man, rukidingme, Lorikeet, Neon Vincent, davehouck, TFinSF, nzanne, elwior, Dvalkure, lissablack, psnyder, ashowboat, DennisMorrison, BachFan, bnasley, reflectionsv37, uciguy30, The Hindsight Times, BYw, NYWheeler, DEMonrat ankle biter, Gilmore, ichibon, sawgrass727, kurt, rja, Troubadour, Zack from the SFV, etlingjm, arealniceguy, zett, DeminNewJ
  •  I want a Volt! (33+ / 0-)

    or even better a Leaf, but I can't afford either one...

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:06:09 AM PDT

  •  Know a guy who owns one and loves it (34+ / 0-)

    We work on forest preserve restoration work together, and when he pulls his volt into the preserve parking lot, it drives silently on the electric motor and all you hear is the wind through the trees.

    He loves the car, has had no problems with it either.

  •  And the media fire coverage was really inexcusable (30+ / 0-)

    I've seen a gasoline car, a 90's Pontiac Grand Am, catch fire and burn to a cinder in a dealership parking lot!

    I never saw any nationwide articles asking why a gasoline powered car, that wasn't involved in a crash test, suddenly caught fire.

    As far as I'm concerned the gasoline in the Volt is more likely to cause a fire than the lithium-ion battery.  But that's how it goes with the scientifically illiterate.

  •  My best car ever (44+ / 0-)

    I've had a Volt since February, and still have not filled up the tank yet.  For those keeping score, that's 7 gallons of gas used over 4500 miles of driving.  My electricity bill has gone up by less than $10 per month, since my local utility changes it rate plan to give me super low Kwh rates during late night and early morning.  The Volt lets you set up times to charge the car to take advantage of the best electricity rates.  
    The car is quick, comfortable, and roomy.  And I concur with the review in that nothing's gone wrong since I bought the Volt.  

    If the Volt is the first generation extending range electric car, I can't wait for the next version.

    •  Only $10 per month!? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap

      Wow, that's impressive!

      My wife and I have one car between us, a 13 year old Volkswagen Golf TDI that gets about 50 MPG.  It's only got 170,000 miles on it, but the TDI is known to go 500,000 between engine overhauls.   So we're pretty happy with it, but I'm going to be working on the other side of the state starting in September, so we're starting to search for a second car.  

      The Volt sounds like it would be perfect for my wife -- she drives less than 20 miles per day.   I could take the TDI for my long drive across state once a week, and she'd be fine....  

      I should call our power company to find out if they have a similar deal, cause that's truly impressive.   I didn't want to spend more than $15,000 on the car (we pay cash whenever possible) but that could be a deal-changer.    

      •  Obviously this will vary depending on... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RerumCognoscereCausas, BYw

        ...how much you drive, what state you live in and so forth, but assuming even, say, $15/month extra, that'd still only be $180/year.

        Add another $100/year in actual gas and you're still talking about perhaps $280/year for fuel/electricity.

        Compare that with the $1,100/year that I'm paying for gas now, and that's $820/year saved.

        Plus, someone in this thread said you only need to change the oil about every 2 years; at around $35 per change (figure 3 times per year), that's another $90/year saved, or around $900/year total.

        Still pretty steep even at $32,500, but they're getting very close...

        •  Yeah, at first glance, those are some pretty... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brainwrap, rennert

          ...compelling numbers.   I might have to make a spreadsheet tonight when the wife gets home.  ;)  

          [inside joke:  my wife and I don't make any major financial decisions without first making a mathematical model, which is often done with a spreadsheet.  The last time we bought a car, the salespeople thought we were insane when we showed up at the dealership with a laptop and started plugging numbers into a spreadsheet which ran an optimization routine and spit out a a color-coded decision matrix .]      

  •  Any Technical Service Bulletins? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    Recalls?

    Warranty coverage of a part not otherwise covered?

    I was hoping for the juicy details and technical descriptions.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:27:57 AM PDT

  •  The Volt is a good and innovative car. (15+ / 0-)

    I'm sure we'll see improvements every year, especially in price and range.

    Lithium battery packs are projected to drop in price by up to 70% by 2016, so it'll likely get a lot cheaper.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:28:23 AM PDT

  •  My next car will be plug-in. Possibly Ford? (14+ / 0-)

    I've got a 40mpg VW TDI right now, and the only way to make a significant jump for me is to get a plug-in. The Volt is pretty high on my list of choices, but I'm actually leaning towards the Ford C-Max Energi, which is supposed to be coming late this year. Ford is also going to do a Fusion Energi next year, if you prefer a sedan shape.

    It's great to hear the Volt is doing well, but I want to see real competition. And it looks like competition is almost here.

  •  It is wonderful to hear (24+ / 0-)

    some good reviews on the Volt. Furthermore, it is a testament that America can design and manufacture quality...if it wants to.

    And its not just GM that is manufacturing quality vehicles; the strides that Ford has made are equally impressive with their lineup of cars, trucks, and SUV's.

    The naysayers at the time of the GM bailout don't like to hear about this, because it flies in the face of their "big government" only fouls things up.

    Incredible, these people in their heart of hearts were wishing for failure; American failure at that; add the fact that President Obama is tied into this success makes it a bitter pill for them to swallow. Good, I hope they choke on American success and the thousands of saved jobs.

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:51:23 AM PDT

  •  It is nice to see (15+ / 0-)

    Motor Trend do an article on the Volt. I recently Purchased a 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid. The 2012 model has 3rd generation hybrid technology which increased the gas mileage from the 2011 hybrid model of the Camry from 33-35 mpg to 41 mpg in the 2012. They told me I would have to wait til I hit 5000 miles to get peak efficiency on my car. My car had 64 miles on it at purchase. The first two tankfuls I averaged 30 mpg. Then on the third tankful it jumped up to 41.5 mpg average. So after 1100 miles (not 5000) I am getting what was promised. That makes me very happy :>) I now have about 3000 miles on it and have consistently gotten 41-42 mpg.

    I was nervous about buying a hybrid (let alone a Volt). I was worried about performance. I used to drive a V6 Camry and agonized over a perceived lack of pep. I finally went for a test drive and wow, no lack of pep there. It goes when I need it to. It is quiet, efficient, and the new 2012 body is sportier. I love my car!!! I am so glad I took it out for a test drive.

    My electric battery is also covered for 8 years 100K miles.
    The transition to a hybrid has been seamless. My husband almost talked me out of it because of battery concerns/mainenance. Even he loves my car and the gas mileage I get.

    The Volt stopped me because I didn't want to plug it in everyday. I figured I needed to work up to such a drastic departure. I am glad there are people out there pioneering this next great leap. I love reading about how the buyers like/dislike their cars, so I thought I would throw out my experiences with the hybrid.

    Truth is harmonious, lies are discordant.

    by Babsnc on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:58:56 AM PDT

    •  You wouldn't have to plug it in everyday (7+ / 0-)

      if you don't feel like it. It would just be a regular hybrid using gasoline like your Camry. That's the beauty of the Volt- you could plug it in or you could just fill it up with gas when you can't find a plug.

    •  Just keep an eye on the charge meter (7+ / 0-)

      It's simple, and makes a huge difference in battery life. If you see it getting below about 20% (note to those who don't own one: the meter is an easy to read thermometer bar style display on the dashboard, so it's not hard to see), let off the gas a bit to allow the charger to do its thing.

      Also, when you park, try to have the charge level up around 80%. Every couple of months, bring the charge down to whatever the computer's minimum is (around 5%, I think), then back up to 100%. This will "condition" the battery, by forcing the electrons to flow through the entirety of each cell.

      I drive in the mountains, on winding dirt roads, which is about the most challenging place to try to live by the 80%/20% rule. It should be much easier to do this in flatter areas with more pavement. Following it means I've managed to get my IMA batteries through 10 years and 250k miles.

      The IMA light is always on, now, because the batteries no longer reach full capacity, but the battery pack is still going. The charge doesn't last as long, and I have to be sure to check the charge level before turning the car off.

      It's possible the car will rust out before batteries finally fail, at the rate things are going!

    •  Why don't you want to plug it in every day? (6+ / 0-)

      Do you not have your own space (garage, wall outlet, etc) where you could?  I have a pure EV and I don't plug it in unless the charge goes below half a "tank."  But plugging in takes what, 15 seconds?  That's a lot less time than it takes to make a trip to a gas station and stand around letting it pump.

      For those in apartments/condos/etc this is an issue.  But the Volt, like all plug-ins, can charge from a standard 120V outlet as well as the new J1772 240V standard.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:35:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Battery Life Study (0+ / 0-)

      I thought folks might be interested in this. The DOE did some testing on hybrid cars for fuel efficiency a couple of years ago, to see what happened to fuel efficiency as the batteries died. The official standard for "end of battery life" is 160,000 miles, so that's what they tested to.

      The results were surprisingly good:

      [PDF] http://avt.inl.gov/pdf/hev/end_of_life_test_1.pdf

      •    The results for the end-of-life (160,000 miles) static battery testing suggest that the two Civics have remaining battery capacities of about 68% and the two Insights have remaining battery capacities of about 85%. The two end-of-life Priuses have remaining battery capacities of about 39%.
      The cars were driven by multiple drivers, with different driving styles, with and without the A/C running, etc.

      I imagine that drivers who pay attention to charge level on any of these cars, keeping it in the magical 20 - 80% range, with regular conditioning, would find that the battery life far exceeds the 160k specified in the standard.

  •  I'm not sure this is true (11+ / 0-)

    According to Edmunds Inside Line for 2012 the Volt has been outselling the Corvette. The Volt has been delivered to7,057 customers. The Corvette 5,547. The Volt is on pace to reach about 20,000 sales for the full year. Just think how many the could sell if the price was about $10,000 less. Give it time I'm sure the price will come down.

    •  The limiting factor is the battery cost (6+ / 0-)

      The batteries are HALF the cost of a Nissan Leaf, which costs $38K before incentives.  The Volt is dealing with not only battery cost but also the tech to switch seamlessly between EV and gas-powered mode.

      Economies of scale will bring the cost down.  Right now, early adopters are willing to pay for an awesome new technology so they can be first.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:38:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  License the technology (6+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see GM license the Volt technology to any car company that wants to pay the license fee.  THAT would bring the price down and the benefits to millions.  I want the Volt technology, but not in the Volt car (wrong size for my needs) nor at the present Volt price.

  •  Actual Volt owner reviews (11+ / 0-)

    are spectacular.  42 5-star reviews on Edmonds.  I just wish I had a plug.  (live in a condo)

  •  this fall, (6+ / 0-)

    the new honda accord will have this technology available, but with a shorter electric range. only works all electric up to 62 mph, and 10-15 mile range.

    i think the smaller battery pack will make the car more affordable.

    i'm pretty sure there is a plug in prius available that you can buy right now.

    kudos to GM for bringing this technology to market in a careful way.

    I think the volt is a good looking car.

    •  You can also *easily* hack a Prius (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap, Sychotic1, ozsea1, JesseCW, elwior, BYw

      To be a plug-in, for far less than the sticker price of the plug-in.

      Most people who do so, do it AFTER the warranty expires.

      There's also a dashboard switch on the European version of the Prius that's replaced by a "blank" in US models (to appease the oil companies, I'm sure). The button allows you to run electric-only if you know you're driving in conditions that won't over-drain the batteries.

      You can buy a switch and replace the blank for a few dollars, and it only moderate skill to install.

      Once again, this is usually done AFTER the warranty expires. ;-)

    •  That is one of the great things about the Volt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap, elwior, BYw

      Whether you are going 5 MPH or 100 MPH, you can run the Volt on nothing but electricity.  With the Prius the engine kicks on at something like 25 MPH.  The new plug-in Prius has it's engine kick on at around 60 MPH.  Therefore, whenever you are on the freeway, you are running your ICE.

      With the Volt, you have the quiet ride for as long as your battery has juice.  

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:46:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  JD Power & Consumer Reports Both Love It (15+ / 0-)

    Volt gets very high ratings from both JD Power and Consumer Reports, but it gets very low ratings from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

    In other words, it's a great car!

  •  I looked at a Volt... bought a Plug-in Prius. (15+ / 0-)

    I was really excited about the Volt but disappointed when I drove it.  I liked how the car drove but I had visibility issues -- looking out the windows was like looking out slits; I felt like I was navigating a tank.  And the car felt small.  Of course, I'm a little taller than most but the cramped feeling was more a shoulders/side-to-side problem than headroom or kneeroom.

    Got a Plug-in Prius instead, and I'm quite happy with it.  And my driving profile fits the Prius better anyway -- about 52 miles each way to work, half back roads and half highway.  I get through the first 16-17 miles on electrons and then for the rest of the trip I regularly get about 65 mpg, so it's much better for long trips too.

    Let us discard all this quibbling about this man or the other man, this race or that race... Let us unite as one people declaring that all men are created equal... A. Lincoln

    by ThatTallGuy on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:31:10 AM PDT

    •  I would say that you nailed the one big drawback (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap, Sychotic1, kurt

      of the Volt.  The visibility is not very good.  The A-pillars (between the front door and the windshield) is rather huge and  looking in the rear view mirror or looking backward when going in reverse isn't great either.

      With that said, it isn't very difficult to get used to at all.  Around sweeping bends you have to move your head a little more but it is well worth getting the 350 MPG that I'm getting.

      I'm glad that you are liking the PiP but I'm not sure Toyota did the right thing with the vehicle.  It seems that the all electric range is very short and the engine kicks on too early if you go above a certain speed.  I think for most regular sized people the Volt will be the clear winner between the two vehicles if both are test driven but I do think that Prius owners love their cars and many will not test drive a Volt and will go with the PiP.

      Anyway, the more plug-ins the better and I hope the PiP sells really well and the owners are happy with it.

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:52:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've actuailly seen one (6+ / 0-)

    driving around here in Podunk.  I do hope the Volt succeeds.  The US auto industry needs to demonstrate that it is capable of successful innovation, and not just superficial updates in styling.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:34:07 AM PDT

  •  Two Volts at Once (15+ / 0-)

    Took this shot a few weeks ago, one in the foreground - another in the background.

  •  Motor Trend is a Reliable Source (9+ / 0-)

    Motor Trend is the absolute best of the car magazines, and their reporting is the best in the trade. Their annual best of class reviews are always a must read if you like dars (I have been a subscriber virtually my entire adult life to the dead tree edition).

    So if they are reporting this, you can take it to the bank. Although I would prefer you go to a credit union.

    Also, let me take this moment to praise the writers and editors of Motor Trend. The best auto journalism in the business. Wise and wise acre, but always a fun and informative read.

    Just as an aside: Some of the other auto magazines are so poorly written and edited it is almost impossible to read them without wanting to smack the writers for the self servicing self centered approach to car journalism, and their lousy writing. And no, I have absolutely no financial or other investment in or relation to Motor Trend. It is just one of the half dozen dead tree magazines we continue to subscribe to because they are so good.

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:41:06 AM PDT

  •  And Yes, You Can Put a Gun Rack in a Volt (11+ / 0-)

    Despite Mewt Gingrich, it is true. Here is the video to prove it.

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:42:54 AM PDT

  •  One big monster mistake is the tax credit (0+ / 0-)

    It would make much more sense to just to lower the price of the car.

    It would be the same cost either way.

    Why does the government always have to use more opaque tax credits?

    •  There may be legal reasons for that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      I don't know anything about tax law or how the GM bankruptcy process worked, but my guess is that it has to do with transparency and/or the differences between personal tax returns and corporate ones.

      •  I think you may have gotten this issue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap, elwior, BYw

        wrong, brainwrap.  The tax credit was signed into law under Bush (but Republicans "blame" Obama for it) and it is based on the size of the battery.  The Volt has a large enough battery that it qualifies for the maximum tax credit.  The tax credit is set up a little weird though.  Each car manufacturer has a certain amount of credits that car buyers are eligible to use.  I believe the total is 200,000 per manufacturer.

        There has been some talk about it being a direct government rebate instead of a tax credit but that hasn't gone anywhere and likely won't with the Republicans in control of the House.  So if you don't have at least $7,500 in federal tax liabilities the Volt (and other EVs) will actually cost you more.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:58:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How does the government 'just lower the price (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, Brainwrap, elwior, BYw

      of the car'? The government doesn't control car pricing.

      •  Yes indeed, and just think of the howls of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        protest (and probably deservedly so) if such a nakedly GM-specific policy were put in place while the federal government had part ownership.

        Not good optics at all.

        Which is not to say that GM maybe shouldn't considering reducing the price by 1/2 or so to grow the market.   That'd only cost $300 million or so - or chump change for them.

      •  And how does the government give a tax (0+ / 0-)

        credit?

        Money is fungible.

        There is really no real difference except the purchaser would have more incentive with a straight price reduction.

        •  The US government doesn't have majority control (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brainwrap, elwior, BYw

          over GM, therefore cannot just order GM to price the car this way or that way.

          Also- GM would be losing money if they lower the price by $7500.

          •  I can think of about a zillion ways for the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior

            government to allow the price of this car to lowered other than the current mechanism.

            How about a tax rebate to the dealer for one?

            •  How about a tax credit to the purchaser? (0+ / 0-)

              If the guhv'mint is going to meddle in pricing, one meddle is about as sensible as another.

              Other than trolling, I don't see any purpose to your comments.

              "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

              by DaveinBremerton on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 06:44:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ad hominem? (0+ / 0-)

                He has some valid points.  I personally would be more likely to buy a volt if it was 7500 less than if I had to pay the 7500 up front and then get it back at the end of the year.  Also, the government meddling would not be the same meddling in the copr tax vs meddling in the user's tax because 1: it would consolidate the credits for the purchases into 1 credit rather than 1 per purchase, and 2: it would shift the burden on simply owing that much on taxes to the dealership rather than each individual purchaser.

                I am suprised that you'd accuse him of being a troll simply because you don't agree with him.

                "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

                by Aramis Wyler on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:26:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Two reasons I didn't buy one (4+ / 0-)

    1.No spare tire - in my town there's nails, construction and all sorts of junk all over our streets. I get a flat a couple times a year.

    2. It was the first year of production and I NEVER buy the first year of production of any car.

    Same goes for the Leaf - no spare, 1st year, no sale

    Maybe next time I buy a car, say in about 5 years or so they have that spare thing worked out.

    If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never has and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

    by JDWolverton on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:55:13 AM PDT

  •  My employer recently sent out a survey (7+ / 0-)

    asking about putting charging stations in the employees and visitors parking ramps.  Ordinarily I refuse to take surveys but this was one I happily responded to.  My end comments were something to the effect that charging stations need to be available so people won't hesitate to purchase electric cars.  I, too, will be looking at a Volt or similar electric vehicle when there is nothing left of my 2004 Hyundai.

  •  I drive a Prius... and I love the 40+ MPG but... (6+ / 0-)

    I too would like a Volt. I can't ever see myself going back to a regular gas car. I think my Prius has years to go on it, so it will be a while (it's only a 2009).

    Thanks for this diary, I like reading about things like this. They give me hope.

    "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

    by volleyboy1 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:04:35 AM PDT

  •  We're going to be buying new cars (5+ / 0-)

    in the near future. So this is a topic I'm really interested in, links to reviews, comments from people who own electric/hybrid cars are useful.

    My hybrid Prius is 5 years old, has 40K on the odometer. Never have had a major mechanical problem. Still getting 42-45mpg even when driving 75 mph with the air con on. The interior  fits 2 adults with enough comfort to drive 1K in 2 days, and can carry 2 adults around town or 4 adults down to Albuquerque if they don't mind the lack of leg room in the back seats.

    I can load 24 office file boxes in it when I lay the back seats down. Pretty good visibility, just enough buttons and dials to operate/check on all systems and functions. The first year the biggest danger was getting hypnotized by the 'energy/consumption' screens when we'd go up and down mountains.

    The only problem? My Prius has become the company car. Mr Red has had a decades long love of a specific sports car, so much that he's owned 4 of them in the last 30 years. I can't even get in the damn thing unless I get on the ground and crawl in like I'm getting in a Mercury space capsule. Despite his love of his sports car, when Mr Red needs to get across town, 9 times out of ten he takes my Prius.

    So does our executive office minion, since she drives an old clunker that the family bought for her when she graduated from college and needed wheels because she was living in LA. My Prius is the default car for all office-related errands.

    Now we're looking at buying a new car for me, and a car for the business. Even the accountant says we should have a 'company car'.

    I'm looking over the available general options and models of hybrids and all-electric cars before I start going to dealerships to actually try out a few of the possibilities. Should we get the new Prius model which has a larger interior and more cargo space, but has lower mpg than the standard Prius? Running errands in town may take all day, but rarely involves more than 30 miles of driving. That can fit into the range of many electric vehicles. But will those models be useful when we have stuff to haul around, like 24 file boxes filled with papers/books? The Focus is a sedan, and given what we need a business car for, I'd prefer a hatch back. Will we like it when the entire office (all 4 of us) are going to some event in town?

    I am interested in buying an electric/hybrid car, and would love to be able to buy a car made by Ford or GM. I can see us getting a car that can go 20-30 miles on battery alone for the business car if it has enough space for cargo and is comfortable for 4 adults to ride in short distances, and is reliable without major design problems and mechanical issues. Then I would be able to choose a hybrid for personal use that has a little more interior space and a few more options than the basic models. Yet some of the reviews I've seen of the GM and Ford electric cars have raised a few flags for me about the designs of the GM and Ford. I know I like my Prius and its reliability, and the local dealer is reputable and gives good service.

    There's also the cost of the GM and Ford all-electric models, since even with credits and rebates the cost is $Ks higher than 2 models of the Prius. I know some of that would be off-set by lower energy costs over the life of the car, but that's a big chunk out of the annual budget to invest in a car that probably won't rack up 10K miles per year unless we use it for road trips to conventions and other business related events, which is a possibility a couple of times a year.

    By next year, we'll be putting up PVC panels up on the roof if I have my way, so an electric vehicle is very attractive for local use as the business car.

    I'm interested in hearing from people who are buying and using all-electric and hybrid cars, especially those who own GM and Ford models. So add some comments, give us some links to follow and help a Kossack decide what sort of wheels will be sitting in the driveway of the business in a few months. There's even a chance we'll clear out the garage and use it for the purpose of keeping the personal use car out of the harsh sun and heat. I'd like to buy a union-built car if it all possible, made here in the good old USA.

    •  If you are looking for information on the Volt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap, Sychotic1, elwior, BYw

      you need to look no further than these two sites.

      www.gm-volt.com

      voltstats.net

      The first is a great resource that is unaffiliated with GM.  It is basically a bunch of us Volt owners talking amongst ourselves and helping out potential buyers.  There you will see the good and the bad posted about the Volt.

      The second is a site that has real world statistics from Volt owners.  This data is taken directly from Onstar and so is pretty reliable and realistic.

      I would highly, highly, highly recommend the Volt but if storage space is an issue I would say that I believe that the Prius does have a larger trunk space.  The Volt is also more expensive but the Volt saves me over $2,000 a year in operating costs and so the cost is similar to buying a car that is $10k to $20k cheaper than the Volt.

      Happy hunting and DON'T test drive a Volt unless you are prepared to own one!  Once you go electric you won't go back!

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:05:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your enthusiasm is exactly what I meant... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        ...about it being similar to die-hard Mac users 15 years ago (including myself). The passion and zeal is refreshing and heartening, especially coming from a self-described Republican.

        My own situation is this: I have a 2005 Hyundai Elantra, so I have no problem with small sedans. It gets around 30 MPG, give or take, and I spend around $1,100/year on gas (I just checked).

        So, my guess is that I'd probably save something like $1,000/year.

        My other question is about maintenance/service costs--I would imagine there's fewer moving parts to repair? On the other hand, there's also almost no places to service it outside of GM dealers, so I assume they charge quite a bit more?

        •  As far as maintenance costs go the Volt is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, BYw

          expected to be far lower.  For example, since I only use the ICE for about 10 percent of my driving the wear and tear on the ICE is very minimal.  In fact, after 17,000 miles my oil monitor says that I still have 67 percent of my oil's life in it.

          Of course, the big bogey in the room is the battery replacement cost.  It's warrantied at 8 years/100,000 miles but it is still likely that I will want to get a battery replacement around the 8 to 10 year mark.  It is extremely difficult to make a prediction about the battery replacement cost a decade down the road but I do know that you can get a Volt battery for around $2,500 to $3,500 (I forget which but it is listed on a GM parts store price list).  At this price, I'm sure they are losing tons of money on it because most estimates I have seen say the battery is in the $8 to $10k range.

          My guess is that they are offering the battery at that low price knowing that they aren't going to need to sell many of them and that prices will eventually start coming down when people do need to replace their batteries.

          As far as the Republican thing goes, let's just say I'm a Republican in name only right now.  And even the illustrious Kos was once a Republican!  I'm pretty ashamed of "my" party and will be working for and hoping for them getting thrashed this election.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look too promising to get the House and keep the Senate and WH.

          Be well.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:31:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Volt battery (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, BYw

            Here's The Volt Battery, it is listed as $2578.

            Considering how many $ would be saved in 10 years, having to buy another one at that time would not be a huge deal for me.   I figure with my driving, I would save around $2K per year.  So in 10 years, that would be $20K.   If you drive the Volt enough miles, it can actually pay for itself in fuel savings.

            The Volt also only requires an oil change every 2 years, and there will be minimal break wear due to regenerative breaking.

      •  thanks so much (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap, elwior, BYw

        I've come back a couple of times to this diary to add more bookmarks of links so I can do some serious reading and reviewing information that has been offered here.

        With all major purchases, I do check out Consumer Reports and specialist reviews if possible. But reading of personal experiences, good and bad, from people who are using the products I'm interested in is an important factor.

        Here's hoping by the end of the summer I'll be posting pictures and comments of our new electric/hybrid vehicles.

  •  Not only should the costs come down... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior, Calamity Jean

    ...the car needs to be a bit wider.

    My wife had to replace the car she totalled on march 15th, and took her cues from the April issue of Consumer Reports, picking five cars to test drive, including the Chevy Volt.

    Now, be adivised that she could have afforded to buy a Volt, since Calamity Jean is so tight with a buck, she had the money readily available in her checking account.

    The Volt was the last car of the five tested, and while it is in many ways impressive, it didn't even make it into the top two. Why? The driver's seat was too narrow for my wife to be comfortable on a long trip.

    I figure this is because the battery pack is in the centerline console. It is wide enough to crowd what might otherwise be a comfortable car. Calamity Jean bought a 2012 Volkswagen Golf instead, and we have made two 240-mile trips in it. I don't think the Volt would have been as comfortable for her.

    Still got a ways to go, but we're going!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:19:34 AM PDT

  •  Have there been any studies (0+ / 0-)

    about the expected coal use in power plants due to increased electric demand?  Not sure I want to swap gas for coal at this point.

  •  I want one... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, JeffW, elwior

    ... but I don't have off-street parking. Would be weird to run an extension cord out to the street, no? :)

    •  I've seen EVs plugged in on streets (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kalex, elwior

      in the UK, with the cord running across the sidewalk to an exterior outlet of a building. The car owners even put out a little traffic cone to warn people of the cord. Obviously not a designed charging point, just a few folks figuring out how to keep their EVs charged.

      There's plenty of plans and designs for public free or metered charging stations. One that really seems to be a great idea that needs a couple of major initiatives to happen nation wide is to place solar panels in the parking lots of shopping malls so visitors could recharge their EVs while shopping. Would be a multi-benefit project. Some designs put the solar panels over the parking spaces, like the roof on a carport. So the parking lot and the cars stay cooler since there's less radiant heat being absorbed by pavement of the parking lot and the cars while parked. The energy produced by the panels would not only charge EVs, but could provide some percentage of the energy use of the mall itself.

      It could be a revenue-creator for the mall if metered like parking meters, or could be an enticement to owners of EVs to shop at the mall and charge their EVs for free. Looks like a pretty large win-win-win if properly designed and executed. But it needs enough EVs in a metro area to make the conversion of the parking lot cost-effective, even with factoring in the energy saving to the mall by producing some large percentage of their electricity needs. Of course, many people are hesitant to buy an EV until they know there's places to recharge as needed. Once there's some critical level of ownership of EVs/charging stations in a metro area, projects like this should be plentiful, becoming common place in a decade or two.

    •  That won't work. The car needs to be no more (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW
      Would be weird to run an extension cord out to the street, no?
      than 20 feet away from the electrical outlet.  Unless you expect to have a garage fairly soon where you could park it, I recommend that you not buy one now.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:56:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I want a volt, too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, JeffW, elwior

    But the price would have to come down.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:41:31 AM PDT

  •  We just got a Volt (8+ / 0-)

    We leased it.  It was a fantastic deal!  And we adore the car.  My husband is a total car guy and a tech geek and the Volt appeals to him on both levels.  It has a visceral feeling that  is reminiscent of his sports cars, but doesn't cost him a dime in gas (unlike his Corvette ZR1 or his Mercedes S65 AMG).  We've driven it 800 miles so far and have used less than a gallon of gas.  The range on only electric is about 40 miles and then it seamlessly and without any notice moves over to gas.  

    About a month before we leased the Volt we traded in my Chevy Avalanche on a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.  I really like my Sonata.  It's very roomy and I visit the gas station now at most twice a month.  Since we now use the Volt for pretty much everything, that's gone down to once a month, max.  I'm beginning to forget what it feels like to go to a gas station!  My Sonata goes in-and-out of EV vs standard gas mode, and boy can you feel it!  It is a much cheaper car than the Volt and you can feel that, too.  I do prefer the Sonata's console (the capacative buttons on the Volt are a bit annoying, but who cares!  It uses almost NO gas!) and the amount of backseat room in the Sonata.

    So the Volt is our around town car which accounts for about 90% of our driving and the Sonata takes us on longer jaunts.  The Avalanche is gone and the Mercedes and the Corvette are on their way out.  We made the change because the prices were finally right for us (Hyundai was dirt cheap on a sale of the 2011 models and the Volt Lease came up to almost the same price as the payment on the Sonata, and both together equal about what we were paying per month in gas costs on the truck and the Mercedes), and we were quite frankly sick of throwing away so much money in gas and maintenance costs.  All of our gas-guzzlers were bought used (only way we could afford them, outside of the ridiculous maintenance) and our hybrid & Volt (not sure what to call it -- it's more Electric than hybrid) were brand new.

    All-in-all, the Chevy Volt -- especially the 2012 model which I like better than the 2011 we test drove last year -- is a spectacular car.  We get people staring at it and coming up to ask questions about it ALL the time.  It gets more attention than my husband's screaming yellow highly modified Corvette ZR1.  I think the Volt is going to go the distance and keep on improving.  As the prices come down or Chevy (or the government) offers more incentives, you will see more of them on the road.

    One other thing, you're also about to see the high end electrics make a debut -- the Tesla S and the Fisker Karma.  Gorgeous, great range, HIGH prices.  And the Tesla we got a preview of recently and were NOT impressed with the fit and finish.  But I think the electric market is set to really take off.

    They have created a world where everything is an opinion, and nothing is a fact, everybody is entitled to an opinion, and every opinion is equally valid.

    by SlowNomad on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:42:35 AM PDT

    •  About that Tesla... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jethrock, elwior, BYw, Troubadour

      ...how long ago was it? I know that they circulated a lot of "betas" that did not have the final interior.

      The Model S is shipping today; I'm looking forward to seeing how it is received.

      And, assuming it goes well...I am looking forward to their eventual goal which is a mass-produced sedan (lower price point).

      Barbara Lee speaks for me.

      by Oaklander on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:02:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was a beta (0+ / 0-)

        But it was about a month ago.  I adore the Tesla Roadster.  And I did like the S.  But the price is steep.

        They have created a world where everything is an opinion, and nothing is a fact, everybody is entitled to an opinion, and every opinion is equally valid.

        by SlowNomad on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:43:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I see them around here - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap

    SW Florida. But yes the price needs to come down - 5 grand would be great. I have no doubt if - when that happens sales will really increase.

  •  Useful update, thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, JeffW, elwior, BYw

    Our plan has been to wait another two years or so and see where the electrics are -- and I've been hoping the Volt survives.  (Fucking wingnuts.)

    What do we want? Compromise! When do we want it? Now!

    by itswhatson on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 09:50:03 AM PDT

  •  Decline in Prius sales volume post 2007 likely (6+ / 0-)

    due to Bush recession and lack of strong recovery.

    I would bet other brands/makes fared worse.

    In Los Angeles, electric only models get nice perks - e.g., free on-site parking at the airport with chargers for up to 30 days.

    That is normally a $35/day charge.

  •  A Cruz eco is a Volt in gas clothing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    Many of the advances in weight reduction have been implemented in the Cruzo Eco, which I have. I've had for 5 weeks, and am averaging 34 MPG in town!

    It's comfortable, feels really solid, we love the heck out of it so far!

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:04:38 AM PDT

    •  No, not really (0+ / 0-)

      The Volt is often compared to the Cruz, but compare what it's packaged with.  And there is no way to compare the pleasure of driving a car that isn't making all that noise running a gas motor.  

      It's very difficult to go back once you drive an EV or mostly-EV regularly.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:28:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, according to GM it is. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        The weight reductions, aerodynamics, and rolling characteristics were incorporated into the Cruze, and it's built on the same platform.

        I did the payback time on a Volt and it wasn't worth the extra almost 20K, at any realistic gas price or discount rate.

        I'm all for the idea of the Volt, but until it's price comes down, it's not going to be for most middle class families, not to mention our rapidly growing hand to mouth existence class.

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:42:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  New tech is never sold to the middle class (0+ / 0-)

          The middle class doesn't buy anything new when it first comes out because it's too expensive.  Nobody in the middle class bought the first CD players or cell phones, either.

          The price will eventually come down, but certainly not this soon.

          In capitalist America, bank robs you!

          by madhaus on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 12:07:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've driven a Volt. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paradox, Brainwrap, Sychotic1, elwior, BYw

    My employer (a power company) owns a couple and allows those of us who deliver Meals On Wheels to use them when it's our turn (once we take the defensive driving course and are instructed about the Volt specifically).

    according to the 3-4 people I've spoken with who've actually been in one, it's a dream to drive, handles beautifully, and has the most precise construction of any car they've driven.
    Ditto.  My motorhead husband has ridden with me (he's not an employee of the company so he can't operate it) and he was very impressed.

    I look forward to the price coming down, as it inevitably will.

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:05:30 AM PDT

    •  I am curious what people think who drive both (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, elwior

      a Volt and a Leaf.  Because I just like the Leaf better as a vehicle to sit in and play with the controls.  Driving an EV (or a Volt in EV mode) is a pleasure because of the quiet and the way you get all the torque the second you need it.  

      The Leaf is a great choice if your household already has another car, so you can use another one for a long trip that's beyond expected range (I get 80-90 miles per charge routinely).  I'm finding I drive it almost exclusively otherwise.

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by madhaus on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:26:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm the resident Republican here (6+ / 0-)

    and I have also owned a Volt for about 15 months now.  I've gone over 17,000 miles and am averaging about 350 MPG.  That's right.  That's not a typo.  350 miles per gallon.

    And, yes, it is quite fun to drive.  Electric motors just perform differently than ICE motors and once you go electric there is no going back.

    So let's see, fun to drive, check.  Great gas mileage, check.  Made in the US by a US company, check.  It is better for the environment, check.  It runs almost exclusively on American made energy, check.  It helps defund OPEC, check.  It's won just about every major car award in the world, check.  It has little or nothing to do with Obama, check.

    You would think that Republicans too would love this car but somewhere along the way Republicans got confused and decided to say that this was the Obamacar.  Therefore it had to suck.   Well, if it is the Obamacar he did one hell of a job because after 15 months I still smile almost literally every time I get to drive the thing.

    If your tax liability is over $7,500 and you can swing about $35k for a car you should definitely look at the Volt.  It's just a great car and it is saving me about $2,000 a year in operating costs.  What's not to love?

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:06:43 AM PDT

    •  May I remind you sir... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      That if it were not for our President Obama, GM and its Volt program would be on the trash heap of a corporate dissolution?

      That if it were not for the new CAFE standards pushed through on President Obama's leadership, that will require fleet averages for vehicles to approach 50 mpg in the not too distant future, that the whole economic rationale for the Volt would not have been justified to GM? e.g. the 350 mpg that you're touting is used to raise by substantial margins the fleet averages for GM products.  

      Just wanted to remind you of those little tidbits. Have a great day.

      --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

      by chipoliwog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:54:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great car (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Sychotic1, elwior

    I have one.

    I'm looking at the 2012 Chevrolet ZL1 Camaro, another nice ride.

  •  I WANTED to like the Volt. I really wanted to. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayBat, elwior

    We bought a Nissan Leaf, which is a pure EV (no internal combustion engine).  We visited the Tesla dealer, the Nissan dealer, and the Chevrolet dealer within the same 24 hours.  Tesla treats you great and makes you feel special, but of course they didn't have any cars you could test drive.  (this was in December)

    Nissan had a test Leaf and we took it for a spin.  It was love at first sight.

    Chevrolet had Volts and I must admit we got one of the most inept auto salespersons I have ever dealt with.  The good thing is he wasn't high-pressure, but the bad thing was he not only didn't know anything about the Volt, he didn't know much of anything about how to sell cars.

    We took the Volt for a spin.  I found it uncomfortable in the back seat.  There was a sea of buttons that looked alike for setting everything: audio, climate control, navigation.  We couldn't figure out how to shut the danged (LOUD) radio off.  Neither could the salesdude.

    It drove just fine, but after taking a ride in the Leaf it was so unsatisfying.  It was indeed just as quiet (when in EV mode) but it was like eating at Denny's when you just had a meal at Chez Panisse the previous evening.

    I am impressed with the technology in the Volt and the seamless EV to ICE mode.  I want it to succeed.  But I've been very unhappy with how the American companies design their cars compared to the Japanese firms.  It's like they take every switch, button, and lever and send it to a design firm and say "Make this suck as much as possible."

    The Volt has a longer battery warranty now because that's required to qualify for the HOV sticker for a PZEV (partial Zero Emission Vehicle) in California.  That led to the curious situation of Volts built before a certain date not qualifying and those built after were good to go.  The sticker is good until the end of 2014.

    In capitalist America, bank robs you!

    by madhaus on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:23:34 AM PDT

  •  was kinda fascinated by the Lincvolt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    though it has had a tough incubation -- burning up and all -- if they get it figured out better and can reduce the price of conversion... wouldn't that be great, to have some super-cool vintage american car refitted with electric motors as a commuter?

  •  It's funny (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJB, Sychotic1, JayBat, chipoliwog, elwior, BYw

    that I've seen some of the right-wing blogs attacking the Volt.

    As though better fuel economy and new technology is a BAD THING.  You have to be deep in the pockets of Big Oil to believe that.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:39:43 AM PDT

  •  Article table confirms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    What I've been saying about CO2 and EV's.  For my state the Volts' CO2 lb/mile is 34% higher than its gasoline equivalent CO2 lb/mile.  Those in some other states can reduce CO2 with the Volt...but for others of us it would actually increase CO2.

    I'm driving a Prius and averaging higher than 50 mpg actual over its lifetime vs. the Volt's lower 37 mpg figure.  

    "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

    by Celtic Pugilist on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:45:29 AM PDT

    •  I have had my Prius for 5 years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      and even when hypermiling I have only gotten it to 50 mpg on one tank.  Normally, I run between 41 mpg and 45 mpg depending on weather.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 12:09:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's out of the ordinary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        Lowest tanks we've had were in the low 40's four winters ago when it was less than 10 F for most of the tank and before I started doing grill blocking for winter.  The absolute low was 42.2 mpg back then.  

        In the past full year our low was 47.2 mpg during a winter interstate drive where defrost/defog was necessary the whole trip.  High over the past year was 56.1 mpg.  Only 7 of the 34 tank fills in the past year have come in below 50 mpg and none below 45 mpg.  

        I have seen reports of individual Prius that had low numbers like yours, with no assignable cause.  They aren't the norm though.  There is luck of the draw involved, but my car is not exceptional...and I'm not a slow driver...tend more toward lead foot although I manage momentum differently with the Prius.

        "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

        by Celtic Pugilist on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 12:27:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know, could be California's fuel blend (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zack from the SFV

          because I don't remember any other Prius owner thinking my mpg was out of the ordinary.

          "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

          by Sychotic1 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:26:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are stuck with 10% ethanol (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sychotic1

            which causes a fuel economy hit.  In Southern California you shouldn't have any of the winter time mileage loss we experience.  Folks in SoCal probably have to run the AC a lot more though, and that will hurt the numbers badly when stopped at lights and such.

            2007 and 2008 Prius are showing averages of 46.0 and 45.6 mpg respectively on Fuelly where people log their tanks.

            The good news from the article though:
            With your being in CA the table shows you to have a very favorable CO2 lb/mile for Volt EV.  For us it would be 3x higher.

            "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

            by Celtic Pugilist on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:50:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If I ever get another car it will be a volt (0+ / 0-)

              or something just like it, but I am hoping to never have to get another car again before I retire in 7 years.  At that time I am off to see the world which should take me oooh, the rest of my life.

              "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

              by Sychotic1 on Sat Jun 23, 2012 at 11:29:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  i test drove one recently... it is an amazing ride (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Sychotic1, elwior
  •  Let's thank Newt.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    ...the rise in Volt popularity can be directly attributed to the ignorant utterance of one Newt Gingrich.

    Ironic, when Newt spewed bullshit about the Volt, it was first time in his miserable life he actually had a direct hand in improving the economy...

    http://blogs.insideline.com/...

    Daily Kos Rule of Thumb #1: Any optimistic prediction for a Democratic candidate is a slippery slope to complacency.

    by wyvern on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:58:29 AM PDT

  •  I'm probably going to have to replace both ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    ...of our cars  soon, a 1997 Saturn SW2 wagon and a 2000 Ford Escort ZX2.  Both are getting up there in age (the Wagon is old enough for its own license!) and are approaching too-expensive repairs - the Escort is having trouble staying in 4th gear (keeps dropping back to third), and the Saturn is starting to see hesitation between 1st and 2nd gears -- basically the transmissions are starting to go.

    sadly, hybrids and electrics are way out of my price range.  If I went new, I'd be thinking something like a Ford Fiesta or Dodge Dart if I wanted something sporty, or possibly a Chevy Spark for very low price.

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:59:39 AM PDT

  •  The Prius peaked in 2007 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    because of the recession started in 2008 and the cash bonuses for old car return programs in the US and in Europe benefited largely smaller cheap cars rather than the Prius

    Prius sales should rise again - there are many new variants rolling out. I particularly like the new Prius V the most.

  •  Sorry B, but the GM brand lost me long time ago. (0+ / 0-)

    My husband and I got burned twice. Never again! At this point, I'm still not sold on anything hybrid, yet.

    Perhaps, my mind would change if the other American car makers could create a car that can perform and ride as smooth as the one I'm currently driving now.

    I won't condem an entire industry for the stupidity of the one.

    Got a new b'day gift from hubby this year - BMW x5 series.

  •  Plug-in Hybrid is the future. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    Let's not kid ourselves the plug in hybrid is how things will be.  I can't wait to buy one.  I am waiting for a small convertible with plug in hybrid.

    I hope Chevy is smart enough to put out the first convertible.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:38:43 AM PDT

  •  Last Year the Altima Hybrid had a $4000 Rebate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    We needed a new car. We have always wanted a hybrid, but my guys were just too tall for most of them. The Altima has a great design for tall, long-legged men and we love the car.  

    Oh, it's good for short people too. I'm 5'2" but when I drive the Altima I do not get strangled by the seat belt like I do in most cars that are big enough for my husband and son.

    "The Trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." attributed to Lily Tomlin

    by uniqity on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:58:18 AM PDT

  •  I own a 2001 Toyota Prius... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    ...bought brand-new.  Although there were 2000 models, those were sold on a very limited basis, which explains the low number on your chart.

    Even in 2001, only 12,000 were produced for sale in the United States--every single one of those sold, obviously.

    My Prius has had to have one battery replaced, as well as an inverter coolant pump, but otherwise, it's chugging along.  The battery was replaced under warranty (due to a recall, apparently, even though I was well out of warranty at the time).  The inverter coolant pump could have been the inverter itself.  Both would have cost me around $4,000 to repair, had the one not been under warranty and the other been the inverter itself rather than the coolant pump.

    So I've got my eye on buying another car, and I had considered the Chevy Volt, but it's just too expensive, even with the credits available.

    I'm just suspicious of GM on this.  I've said this in the past--I think they put the price-point so high because they want to be able to say "Well, looks like Americans don't want to buy electric.  See?  We only sold 500."  Look at what they did with the EV-2.

    •  Neither of us knows the internal budget breakdown (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      ...of GM, but I'm pretty certain that they are NOT deliberately trying to sink the Volt, and that it really does cost that much to produce for now.

      There's a SHITLOAD of extremely expensive high-tech R&D that's gone into the Volt development.

      The EV-2 was a different time, under different circumstances. Plus, back then the auto industry was in cahoots with the oil industry to some degree. These days the oil industry has pretty much told the carmakers to go fuck themselves (or at least it sure seems like it to me).

      As long as they're still making a similar profit per unit, why would GM care whether their cars run on gas or oil, now that they've already spent so much on the EV development?

      •  All of those questions applied... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        ...to the EV-2, too.

        And don't kid yourself.  The Big Three are still in bed with Big Oil.

        When I bought my Prius, eleven years ago, they kept babbling about how hybrids were just a flash in the pan--they were working on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which they claimed were right on the horizon, "available probably in five years".  That was eleven years ago, and they kept saying hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles were "right on the horizon, probably five years" most of that time.

        Part of GM's deal to be bailed out by the federal government hinged on producing more fuel-efficient vehicles, in particular, the Volt itself.  Moreover, the federal government fronted a lot of the R&D money for the Volt.

        They have to make some kind of showing that they TRIED to sell the Volt, but they really want to be selling cheap-to-make SUVs instead.

        You just watch.

  •  Thank you so much for this post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    I want to purchase a hybrid.  In my city they had a special introduction to hybrids, plug ins, the city electric company giving rebates if you installed a separate unit in your home for your plug in car.  I test drove the Volt, Prius, Coda, Ford, and BMW.  There was a guy who is leasing the electric BMW but can't get the CA rebate because BMW will only lease it two years at a time, which CA requires at leave 3 years to get the rebate.  I read that BMW is hoping the whole electric car thing will fail.  There are more and more companies rolling out electric cars but if Romney gets into office or a majority of the GOP gets into office, you will see fewer hybrids to no fully electric cars.  I thought about the Coda, it gets good distance 300 miles in one charge (they say), drove well and it looked like my first Corolla.  I have decided on buying a Chevy Volt so thank you for this post.  I don't care the price as long as I pay less for gasoline.  If I ever need to drive cross country, I guess I could rent a vehicle but after reading this I am more determined to buy a hybrid.  

  •  $13,500 rebate in Colorado!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior

    Colorado offers a $6,000 state tax incentive on top of the $7,500 you get from the Feds for a total of $13,500.  This also applies to the Leaf...

    This brings the Volt price down to ~$26,500 retail.  Since the cars are widely available in dealerships now, people are starting to see the dealers willing to come down in price a bit.  A friend of mine just got one in Colorado Springs for 37,500.  After credits: 24,000!

  •  Ford Focus Electric (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, chipoliwog, Babsnc, elwior

    The tide is turning and the tipping point is not far off.

    "BYE OIL"  (love that one)

  •  Watt?! The current volt meets resistance? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, elwior, Zack from the SFV
  •  I'm looking to be a future Tesla owner (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, elwior

    I'm as much a fanboy of Tesla Motors as I am of Apple products.

    I think their design and engineering is top notch.  

    It will unfortunately be a few years before that happens.  My old prius will have to die first.

    --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

    by chipoliwog on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:59:15 PM PDT

  •  Love the whole concept of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    electric and electric/gas hybrids. But we live in VERY rural northwest Wisconsin and I travel through the state frequently for meetings and conferences. So we need a fuel efficient car that does not depend on non existant chraging stations, can handle some very bad roads, and doesn't cost more than about 15k.

    We have a Toyota Corolla. And we desperately need a beater pickem up truck. Finally, we're hauling around fewer kids and more crap.

    I could see an electric or a hybrid as a retirement car (presuming I don't just keel over in the pulpit some Sunday), but they've GOT to come WAY down in price before most folks I know could even consider it. If we had stayed in an urban environment, I would put one of them on the check it out list. But out where we are.....

    spits-adjusts antlers on hood

    can't do it.

    Nobody is normal because everyone is different- my eight year old daughter

    by left rev on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 02:46:27 PM PDT

  •  I can't afford either and even if I could (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    I'd have almost nowhere to plug it in since I'm an apartment dweller and there are no places here to plug in. Same with where I work, shop, etc. Making charging stations readily available to non-homeowners is where government investment and tax incentives are truly needed.

    "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

    by Sagebrush Bob on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 04:32:20 PM PDT

  •  Look for (0+ / 0-)

    the union label.

    It's on the Chevy Volt and not the Nissan.

    http://www.uaw.org/...=

    Be Liberal. Be Union!

    Netroots Nation: Burning Man for Progressives

    by Gilmore on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 05:21:47 PM PDT

  •  Tesla began delivering Model S today. (0+ / 0-)

    Big day.  

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:37:54 PM PDT

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