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Old 07-28-2010, 01:01 PM   #41
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I think the Volt is a statement. That a car made by a non-foriegn company can do it too ... even though, late at the party.
The Tesla roadster made this statement. That is why Toyota is trying to get in on the ground floor and take them over.

Chevy is embarrassing us yet again with this almost openly admitted failure. A gov't subsidy is inappropriate in this case; we're collectively pushing bad product.

We should be celebrating Tesla, and subsidizing the opening of American power companies to install charging stations; recycle batteries; etc.
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Old 07-28-2010, 02:25 PM   #42
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RE: subsidies for EVs versus other subsidies...
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EVs in my opinion will provide a better quality of life for society as a whole, so I think it 'fits' in with education, emergency services, etc.
Sure, all the things you mention are somewhat subjective and people will have differing opinions as to their worth.

When it comes to EVs, I'd be more accepting of the idea of subsidizing them if I felt it would really help them advance. But I don't. I think we've had this discussion before, and the limiting factor for EVs is batteries. There is already huge demand to push better batteries, and selling a few XX,000 more EVs (or whatever #) is still a drop in the bucket to overall demand for batteries. I just don't think it will help in the slightest, let alone $7,500 per vehicle's worth. Very poor ROI, IMO.

Plus, technology improves at a pace that is limited by more than just demand. If the government subsidized home computers, we couldn't have gone from 1MHz 8 bit computers to 3GHz 32/64 bit computers in one leap, just because of demand. The chip makers had to learn how go to sub micron technology in steps, get some experience and then move to the next step. IIRC, 90nM hit a big stumble, they worked it out, then moved to 65nM and now 45nM. Same with batteries, they advance a step at a time, and it just takes some time to gain experience with each step. As some of my bosses would say, nine women can't make a baby in a month.

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Chevy is embarrassing us yet again with this almost openly admitted failure.
I'm not sure how I feel about the 'embarrassment' part. I understand what you say, but OTOH, they were getting a lot of political and public pressure to produce higher mileage and 'green' cars. And to some extent, they were being embarrassed by that. Personally, I think they should have the guts to come out and say it isn't viable at this time, and we are not going to waste money on it. But that isn't PC in this climate.

I'll say it again - the time for EVs in the US will be years after they become mainstream in Europe. With their high gas prices, and generally shorter commutes, it just seems obvious to me that if EVs were ready for the US market, Europeans would have been buying them up for along time. What is the EV market % in Euro-land?

It's a two way street - demand does not push technology so much as technology pushes demand. Look at solar cells - at first their cost was so high, the only place they made sense was in satellites - because they were cheaper than the alternatives, so the military used them. With experience, value improved, and then they made sense for some additional specialized markets, which increased demand. In turn, at each step of improvement, demand increases because it makes economic sense to use them. It is a natural progression, and I just don't think there are too many places where subsidies improve that, dollar for dollar.

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Old 07-28-2010, 03:06 PM   #43
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I see the Volt being an economic failure for GM (and the taxpayer owners) - people buying them will be those trying to make an environmental statement. Smarter folks will do the math and buy a conventional 40 mpg car.
GM knows this car will lose them money for years, and they've known it from the start. It's mostly about branding themselves for the future according to them:

GM: We’ll Lose Our Shirts on the Volt, But That’s OK | Autopia | Wired.com

Quote:
The Chevrolet Volt might just prove to be the game-changing car its supporters say it is, but General Motors expects to lose money on the car "for years," said Vice Chairman Bob Lutz.
Maximum Bob’s frank admission isn’t terribly surprising given the resources GM is pouring into the Volt and the expense of the technology behind the range-extended EV, but you’ve got to admire his honesty.
"We won’t make a dime on this car for years, and the board is OK with that," he told a group of Volt enthusiasts at the New York International Auto Show, according to the Detroit News.
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:09 PM   #44
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I'll add to my already too long post, as the CPU analogy (can you use a digital device in an analogy?) got me thinking of how subsidies can stall advances.

Imagine at the time that Intel could sell all the 90nM processors it could make, because the govt was subsidizing computer sales to increase demand.

Where is the incentive to go 65nM? Hmmm?

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Old 07-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #45
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I'll say it again - the time for EVs in the US will be years after they become mainstream in Europe. With their high gas prices, and generally shorter commutes, it just seems obvious to me that if EVs were ready for the US market, Europeans would have been buying them up for along time. What is the EV market % in Euro-land?
The Europers don't have the same hatred of diesel that our greeners do. They are all driving around in highly efficient diesel cars that are getting almost 70 MPG while burning the new cleaner diesel, and paying less than half the price of a Volt.

Ford Ka Overview - Information & Features of the New Ka - Ford UK

We will figure it out eventually. But Winston Churchill knew his 'Merkins well:
Quote:
“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”
Meanwhile politicians get the green vote and the greenies pat themselves on the back, even if we eventually later realize there was a much smarter way to be doing all of this.
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Old 07-28-2010, 03:59 PM   #46
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The Europers don't have the same hatred of diesel that our greeners do. They are all driving around in highly efficient diesel cars that are getting almost 70 MPG while burning the new cleaner diesel, and paying less than half the price of a Volt.
I recently came back from England, and what struck me most (other than driving on the wrong side of the road) was how few trucks, SUVs and minivans there were. Reflecting on the experience, I observed several factors in play:

For one thing, the price of gas (err, I mean petrol) is really high; when I was there it was something like 1.15 to 1.20 UKP per liter, which is a little over $6.50 per gallon at the prevailing exchange rates at the time.

Secondly, the parking lots are not friendly to big vehicles. This isn't Texas, that's for sure. It's a matter of practicality, and you won't fit a Hummer into the spaces at ASDA (which is basically Wal-Mart in the UK).

Thirdly, registration and road taxes in the UK are based on CO2 emissions. Since vehicles with lower MPG will emit more CO2 per mile driven, these vehicles have road taxes of up to more than 400 UKP annually (over $600) while many smaller, newer cars with high MPG may pay one third of that amount or even less.

And finally, there's the idea that when everyone around you isn't driving a huge SUV, you don't need one to "feel safer in a crash" which is what some people who don't need big vehicles in the US use as a justification.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:15 PM   #47
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DW and I will be in the market for a new vehicle in about six months. Currently lease a Saturn Vue for 36 months @ $336/month, and had no out of pocket costs. I don't want to put any cash into a car. Although I am a GM retiree, I feel no alegiance to the company since they eliminated our health care coverages. Don't tell me about buying American. I can afford to drive a Cadillac if I want but choose not to for a number of reasons. I was looking at the new Cadillac SUV (off shoot of the CTS) and discovered it is being assembled in Ramos Arispe, Mexico. I look at cars any more as what is best for us from a dollar standpoint. DW wants a Toyota Prius and I am not apposed to that except it is not a good return on investment. Follow me on the math:
lets say a Prius gets 50 mpg on the high side. If you drove one 36000 miles and gas is $4/gallon you would spend $2880 to fuel it for a three year (our normal lease period). A regular gasoline SUV at 25mpg (easy to calculate) would use twice the fuel or cost $5760 for the three year period. That's a fuel savings of $2880 and if you are just trying to save money, you would be losing because the Prius hybrid costs about $5000 more than the standard Prius.

We are also concerned about the environment and at this stage are not decided which way we will go. You also lose a lot of comfort and performance going to a small vehicle like the Prius. I'm 6'3", 225# and feel cramped in the Prius. Which way to go
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:32 PM   #48
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I excited about the technologies and challanges the auto companies face, but with my LBYM tendencies, I'll let the guinea pigs work out the kinks probably get a used hybrid or EV about 5 years from now

I think it's a winning situation for the consumers as no one is really forcing us to buy EV or hybrid, but that's just one more option out there.

Kind of like all the new phones. No one is forcing you to go iPhone or iPad, but let the "imitation is the best form of flattery" come and may the consumer win.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:43 PM   #49
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I just finished reading a Time article about the GM Volt. One of the things that struck me was that it would cost $.03/mile to drive a Volt using a electricity vs $.10/mile on gas for most people in the US. As Nords as says living on 30x40 mile island any of the electric vehicles would be ok for me. Although the article said that if you don't live in cool flat place that the Nissan Leaf range drops to 47 miles which would be to low even for me. The state has understandably made a push for electric vehicles.

On the other hand electricity rates in Oahu are $.25/KWh and well over $.30 in the other islands. So that means it would cost close to $.10/mile to charge the car. Now this makes sense since more than 80% of electricity in Hawaii is generated by burning oil. It isn't significantly more efficient to turn oil into electricity, transmit via power lines and charge batteries to run cars than it is to put oil directly into an internal combustion engine.

The subsidies in this whole business are pretty amazing. I can get a 35% subsidy to install a solar system in my house (which of course doesn't produce electricity at night to charge the car) to charge my Volt with a $7500 rebate, which is produced by Government Motors with its own long list of subsidies.

At this point, I think it would be better to give everybody a bicycle and go back to where China was a 20 years ago.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:55 PM   #50
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The subsidies in this whole business are pretty amazing. I can get a 35% subsidy to install a solar system in my house (which of course doesn't produce electricity at night to charge the car) to charge my Volt with a $7500 rebate, which is produced by Government Motors with its own long list of subsidies.
We get the federal subsidy, too, roughly another 30%. I'm counting on those subsidies when we upsize our array to handle an EV recharge.

The PV array has to be oversized to generate enough during the day to handle 24 hours of consumption. HECO credits excess generation during the day (for up to 12 rolling months) and we can use it at night free of "storage" charges.
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:08 PM   #51
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I think it's a winning situation for the consumers as no one is really forcing us to buy EV or hybrid, but that's just one more option out there.
Not quite. If you pay taxes, you'll be "buying" electric cars whether you actually get to drive one or not. That's the part to which I object the most.
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:18 PM   #52
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Not quite. If you pay taxes, you'll be "buying" electric cars whether you actually get to drive one or not. That's the part to which I object the most.

I do understand that. But I see it as future to stop our addiction from oil is a greater good.

I see it similar to my property taxes pay for local schools and the library. My school days are over and I haven't gone to the library in years. But if I go to school or not, I still pay property taxes for that. Yet, I see education in the local schools is the greater good.

Or in my landline(remember those things? ) phone bill there's a $1 charge for 911 service whether I call 911 or not. I've never called 911 for an emergency (except for plumbing..but that's a different post ) so I get socked with a charge month and month again but I believe that's a greater good to have 911 service paid for.

I do see it's doesn't seem right as you are paying and you don't have the up/down vote. Like new sports stadiums that get subsidized by taxes. The city decides to build a new sports stadium and the taxpayers, whether they go or not get socked.
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Cost of charging electric car
Old 07-28-2010, 06:27 PM   #53
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Cost of charging electric car

So, you are saying, one charge, from a 110-volt outlet, will use a total of 8KWH, or 8KWH * 6.5 hours (52KWH) to go 40 miles (presumably without using either the heater or the a/c, which probably would reduce the mileage a good bit).

I've been curious how much it would cost to charge an electric car by plugging into the GCI outlet in our garage, and how that would compare to the cost of gasoline. Electricity costs us ~14 cents/KWH, so those 40 miles would cost either 8x$.14, or 52x$.14.

My gas-powered car gets 30mpg in mixed driving. To drive 40 miles (a bit more than my daily commute) costs $3.50 at today's gas price.

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From some Internet searching, it looks like it will require about 8 KWH to charge one up, over a period of 6.5 hours. That means that the car will draw 1,230 watts -- essentially like a hair dryer.

A room air conditioner draws about 1,000 watts, and a central AC about 2,000-5,000.

The fact that they are charging at night is a big factor. Also, they won't be charging all the way every night.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:41 PM   #54
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Not quite. If you pay taxes, you'll be "buying" electric cars whether you actually get to drive one or not. That's the part to which I object the most.
Wasn't also true of the Interstate Highway System and, by extension, all federal transportation funds that impose taxes on people who don't drive?
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:43 PM   #55
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So, you are saying, one charge, from a 110-volt outlet, will use a total of 8KWH, or 8KWH * 6.5 hours (52KWH) to go 40 miles (presumably without using either the heater or the a/c, which probably would reduce the mileage a good bit).
The *total* was 8 kWh over the 6.5 hour period, which (locally at 11-12 cents per) is about 90 cents of electricity to go up to 40 miles.

At your 14 cents per kilowatt-hour, 8 kWh is $1.12 for the 40 mile charge.

Granted, at $41,000 there's no way the reduced energy cost per mile comes close to offsetting the price tag. But you have to start somewhere and if there are enough devoted greenies with money who don't care about bang for the buck, more power to them.

And in the future, if this works I can see "Off peak" pricing for overnight charging catch on which would likely reduce the cost per kilowatt-hour when done while the grid has more than enough juice.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:13 PM   #56
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I'm having a hard time believing the GM numbers. 1 kilowatt is the same as 1.34 horsepower, so 8 kWh is equivalent to 10.72 horsepower for 1 hour.

Now the 8 kWh that goes into the battery isn't going to come back out at 100% efficiency, and the motor and drivetrain won't be 100% efficient either. But forgetting that for a moment, what GM is saying is that 10.72 horsepower is enough to propel the Volt at 40 mph, so after 1 hour it will have gone the rated 40 miles.

I suppose that's just about possible, although 10.72 horsepower seems awfully low to push such a big car through the air.

But how realistic is this scenario? I have to believe that in real life the gas engine is going to come on long before the 40 mile mark.

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Old 07-28-2010, 07:36 PM   #57
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I'm having a hard time believing the GM numbers. 1 kilowatt is the same as 1.34 horsepower, so 8 kWh is equivalent to 10.72 horsepower for 1 hour.

... what GM is saying is that 10.72 horsepower is enough to propel the Volt at 40 mph, so after 1 hour it will have gone the rated 40 miles.Peter
Exactly.

Quote:
I suppose that's just about possible, although 10.72 horsepower seems awfully low to push such a big car through the air.

But how realistic is this scenario?
Very realistic. It only takes an average of about 11HP to move a car along a typical drive pattern.

Telsa gets ~ 225 miles from 55KWH, so about the same ratio as 40 to 8.

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Old 07-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #58
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I do understand that. But I see it as future to stop our addiction from oil is a greater good.
OK, but how much 'good' do we get for our $7,500 per vehicle? I've got to believe there are better opportunities for higher returns for those dollars.

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Old 07-28-2010, 07:40 PM   #59
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Wasn't also true of the Interstate Highway System and, by extension, all federal transportation funds that impose taxes on people who don't drive?
I'm sure there are some income tax revenues that end up paying for road infrastructure, but the majority of funding for the Highway Trust Fund comes from gasoline taxes. Of the federal tax (18.4 cents/gal), a portion (2.86 cents) goes to mass transit, so actually at least some of those folks who don't drive or buy gas are being subsidized by those who do.

States add their own fuel taxes as well, often to pay for roads.

I wonder how those residents downwind of coal-fired plants that produce the electricity for these "green" cars feel about their tax dollars being used to encourage more of them?
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GM sets Volt lease at $350 per month
Old 07-28-2010, 08:18 PM   #60
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GM sets Volt lease at $350 per month

here's the sweetheart deal... they'll lose money on every car but make it up on volume !

Quote:
General Motors Co. likely convinced some shoppers to buy the Chevrolet Volt by unveiling a $41,000 price tag and three-year, $350-a-month lease on Tuesday, analysts said.
GM executives answered the long-lingering price question at the Plug-In 2010 conference in San Jose, Calif., gave a peek at the Volt's marketing strategy and explained how customers can order the vehicle, which initially will be in short supply.
The lease deal ensures the Volt will be comparably priced with its closest competitor, the all-electric Nissan Leaf, whose monthly lease price starts at $349. The Volt lease price includes a $2,500 down payment while the retail price falls to $33,500 after applying a $7,500 federal tax credit.
From The Detroit News: GM sets Volt lease at $350 per month | detnews.com | The Detroit News
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