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Old 09-12-2011, 04:27 PM   #61
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Just buy it. You don't owe anyone an explanation, an apology or an esoteric discussion of the politics of energy policy.
+1.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:19 PM   #62
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Thank you for a reminder of the SciAm article.
The issues I see with it 'on the surface' are.

They are comparing some hypothetical future where a 'fleet of electric cars' exists, yet they don't define what comprises that 'fleet'. In addition, they eliminate renewables and nuclear from the grid stating that those sources are 'already spoken for'.
Not sure what difference the size of the fleet makes, they are looking at % differences per vehicle.

As far as renewables/nuclear - I agree that is somewhat debatable. IIRC, they based it on the idea that no nukes are being permitted, and most of the hydro that is available has already been tapped, or that it was already 'spoken for' by increased consumption over time.

On one hand, I like the fact that EVs are 'source neutral', they can use anything that produces electricity. OTOH, it's a bit of a 'cart-before-the-horse' situation until we actually have those sources and they are reasonably competitive.

Quote:
An odd bit of information from their article is that in NY, an all electric car will only save 11% oil. The only way I can see this is if NY uses a lot of oil to generate electricity?
Yes, they show the sources and for NY it is 67.2% oil, 29.4% NG, 3.4% coal.

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It is very good for people to be aware that electric vehicles are not a perfect solution. And any marketing that states these cars produce NO greenhouse gasses or CO2 is obviously wrong.
Agree again, yet, this is the message that the average Joe/Jane keep getting from the media and politicians - 'zero-pollution', 'green', you get to use the car-pool lane because you are so green, etc).

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I don't think 'Hands down winner' is an exaggeration. We produce about half of our own gasoline. If some people have their way and we open up ANWAR, unlimited off shore drilling, etc, you might get that to 60% or 65%.
Canada, which I don't believe would be considered a threat to national security, is one of our biggest sources of imports. Mexico used to be number 1, not sure if they still are or not.
So really, for national security purposes I think we would need to cut our imports from ~50% to ~30%. So to answer your question if we can have enough EVs on the road, yes, I believe we can.
That's a lot of EVS. Hard to imagine this based on the time it takes the fleet to turn over, combined with the slowwwwwww cost curve and limitations we've seen on EVs. Even though 98% of my trips fit the range of an EV - until I can use one for those 2-3-4 longer trips per year, that's quite a dis-incentive to buy one.

The EV-1 from GM had a range of 70-100 miles on lead-acid batteries. That's right where we are with the Leaf, 14 years later in a 'high tech', aggressive industry.

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EV's are new products and as such, the price is expected to come down as production scales up and battery technology advances.
I've said it before - battery technology is being pushed by computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices (these EVs just use a bunch of those same cells/technology). As noted above, 14 years later and the range is the same, until you get into the +$100,000 Tesla, with ~ 200 mile range. But that is clearly not something for the masses.


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And for the advantages on a personal level, there is some premium built in. Just as someone paying a premium for a Cadillac SUV pays over a RAV4. The premium isn't just because it is larger. It is there because of the better handling, quieter ride, ammenities, etc.
Offset by the lack of range, needing to have a charger installed in your garage (assuming you have a garage with power - many, many people do not), and limited charging facilities away from home (almost necessitating a back-up vehicle for long trips).

Like the vast majority of people, I don't own anything equivalent to a Cadillac SUV. EVs need to compete with the likes of a Honda CRV or other mass-market vehicle to hit the numbers you are talking about.

I actually like the idea of an EV, I just don't see them as any more than a niche for the foreseeable future, and I don't see them as any significant answer (actually may contribute to the problem) to any environmental or oil conservation issues. I suspect that the 'answer' will be something none of would have foreseen. In the same way that the city people in the 1890's who saw dead horses, horse manure, and flies as a major problem that needed to be solved would not have envisioned that the ICE automobile would solve that problem.

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Old 09-12-2011, 08:30 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
Just buy it. You don't owe anyone an explanation, an apology or an esoteric discussion of the politics of energy policy.
+1.
I don't understand posts like the above. Clearly, the OP was looking for a discussion, and we are providing it. Yes, I understand the 'approval' (which he also put in those 'scare quotes') was a bit tongue-in-cheek. But he is looking for input, and thanked those providing it.

.... bold mine ....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Retire2014

Please share any thoughts, advice that you may have on this topic.


....

You all gave me a lot to think about. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, comments, and encouragement.


Retire2014
Am I gonna have to barge into a pet thread with more recipes?

-ERD50
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:30 PM   #64
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You all gave me a lot to think about. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, comments, and encouragement.
Hi Retire2014,

Any update on you treating yourself to a Chevy Volt?

I've been visiting a friend in the hopital every day for the past week. It's about a 50 mile round trip. No doubt, the gas usage adds up quickly.

I was thinking..."Man, I wish I had a plug-in hybrid" to cut down on the miles each day. Something like the Volt would have been ideal. Go to the hospital then come home and plug in in for the next day. Instead of using 50 miles of gas each day to-from the hospital, I'd only use about 10.

Of course, I really can't get a plug-in now anyhow since I live in a condo and don't have a outlet to do the charging (I don't think my neighbors would like me using up all the common grounds area to charge up a plug-in). I can still daydream though

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Old 10-25-2011, 05:59 PM   #65
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Retire2014 should have no trouble finding one if he wants one. They are apparently sitting on dealer's lots for a long time despite the tax incentives we are paying to unload them on the public.
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The Volt would cost its buyer almost $40,000 — even after a $7,500 federal check — and that’s more than twice the price of a comparable Chevy Cruze, [Chevy dealer and Rep Congressman Mike] Kelly told The Daily Caller. “I just pay interest on it, insure it, and in another week or month, we’ll scrape snow off it.”
His lonely Volt, however, isn’t truly alone. There are 3,370 Volts sitting in auto lots around the country, up from 2,600 on Oct. 3, according to cars.com, one of the nation’s largest automotive classified sites.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:07 PM   #66
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The market speaks.
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“Nobody comes in to ask, nobody comes in to look … The American people are smarter than the government — they’re not buying that car,” said Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, who owns the auto lot where one of General Motors’ combined electric-and-gasoline powered Volt autos sits unwanted, unsold and unused.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:21 PM   #67
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Chevy Volt. There is a central European language in which the word volt=was. I do think of this thing in the past tense.

I think that car is phenomenal boondoggle foisted off on the unsuspecting AND uninformed environmental idealists.

It was developed at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, or using the old bait and switch routine will make the Chevy Spark instead, which likely will be made in Korea assuming Government Motors is forced to build more and more by the benevolent dictatorship of USA

Now contrast that electric disaster with the 2012 Skyactiv Mazda 3, with a 2 litre, 40+ MPG engine of direct fuel injection into the cylinder, with 12:1 compression. Plus a whole bunch more innovations, somewhat too technical to elaborate here. Price range 16K for basic to 25K or so for the GT model.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:33 PM   #68
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But they've made so much progress with electric cars. Imagine, 40 miles on a charge!

This 115 Year Old Electric Car Gets Same Mileage as Volt | Geekosystem

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Old 10-26-2011, 12:08 AM   #69
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The market speaks.
That wasn't the market, that was a politician who is also a GM dealer with a grudge against GM (he had to sue GM to avoid loosing his Caddilac dealership).

That said, all GM dealerships are assigned a demo model of the Volt. I believe that is about 2200? Nationwide rollout of the Volt is November, so it is just becoming available in some areas. As for demand, I know mine was on the lot about 16 hours until I drove off in it

Retire2014, if you are still considering it, try a test drive. It is a very nice car. I was actually quite surprised at just how nice it is.

As for the price point, yes, that will definitely keep sales down. And ERD, I agree with you, they should have done better. But for us, it is the best vehicle for our driving habits and what we want in a car.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:48 AM   #70
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That wasn't the market, that was a politician who is also a GM dealer with a grudge against GM (he had to sue GM to avoid loosing his Caddilac dealership).

That said, all GM dealerships are assigned a demo model of the Volt. I believe that is about 2200? Nationwide rollout of the Volt is November, so it is just becoming available in some areas. As for demand, I know mine was on the lot about 16 hours until I drove off in it
I checked a few dealers around this area. A few had 1 or 2 in stock, two of 'em had 4 in stock. I'm curious, so I'll watch see how fast those stock #'s move.


Quote:
As for the price point, yes, that will definitely keep sales down. And ERD, I agree with you, they should have done better
.

Done better how? Battery technology/cost is still the limiting factor. What 'should' they have done? Only answer I can think of is to wait until batteries are at the point that this actually makes sense beyond some small niche.

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Old 10-26-2011, 09:22 AM   #71
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I checked a few dealers around this area. A few had 1 or 2 in stock, two of 'em had 4 in stock. I'm curious, so I'll watch see how fast those stock #'s move.
It will be interesting to see. But more telling I think will be the overall sales numbers now that they are available nationwide. My situation may not be typical, or the lot that has one sitting for 6 months may be the outlier.
After driving one, it really reinforces my questioning of their badging the Volt as a Chevy instead of a Cadillac. The refinement and high tech is pretty nice. And comparing a 45k Volt against other 45-50k Cadillacs is a lot easier than comparing it 15k Chevys.

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Done better how? Battery technology/cost is still the limiting factor. What 'should' they have done? Only answer I can think of is to wait until batteries are at the point that this actually makes sense beyond some small niche.
You are the one that implied they haven't improved over a 115 Robert Electric car.
Quote:
But they've made so much progress with electric cars. Imagine, 40 miles on a charge!
I was simply agreeing that improvement is necessary

The biggest area of improvement I see, since you asked, is their internal combustion engine (ICE) efficiency.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:37 AM   #72
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I see a big spike in gas prices as inevitable. Even if it doesn't make sense economically, won't the volts fly off the shelf then?
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:52 AM   #73
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I see a big spike in gas prices as inevitable. Even if it doesn't make sense economically, won't the volts fly off the shelf then?
Probably on the fringes. There seem to be people who over-react, and buy high mpg cars when gas prices go up, even though the economics don't work out. I'll be shopping for SUVs with ridiculously low prices then, since I drive low miles each year.

But once you get past the people that can't seem to calculate fuel costs versus their car payment (or amortized cost if paying cash), the buyers will dry up. Hard to say where that point would be, but it does not sound sustainable to me. And I'd guess that if gas prices double or triple, electricity will increase too.

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Old 10-26-2011, 10:01 AM   #74
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Oh darn, I thought this was all a question of economics, but now I realize that this is one of those politically charged, Us vs Them topics in which victory is never achieved while arguments fly until the pig makes its appearance.

Pardon me, go back to what you were doing.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:16 AM   #75
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Oh darn, I thought this was all a question of economics, but now I realize that this is one of those politically charged, Us vs Them topics in which victory is never achieved while arguments fly until the pig makes its appearance.

Pardon me, go back to what you were doing.


Was it ever a question of economics? I didn't see where the OP was trying to do a calculation of cost of the car versus fuel saved. I got the impression he just 'wanted it'. I never did figure out why.

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Old 10-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #76
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Was it ever a question of economics? ...

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From the perspective of GM, it must be or the product will not be successful. The market for expensive items that don't make economic sense is somewhat limited.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:27 AM   #77
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I got the impression he just 'wanted it'. I never did figure out why.
Different strokes, maybe?

If I insisted on understanding why everyone wanted stuff I had no interest in, I'd go looney -- as others might in trying to understand why I want stuff they think is silly.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:32 AM   #78
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OP's reason as given in the OP:
Quote:
I can afford the 2012 Chevy Volt (electric car); will pay cash for it. My daily roundtrip commute is under 40 miles so I will be within its daily charge and will potentially not need to buy gasoline ever again unless I am making long road trips, etc.

The question is should I treat myself to a new car? I understand that we are, for the most part, on this Forum, a frugal bunch, so I am asking for "approval" from fellow Forum members. I currently drive a 9 year-old Corolla with 100,000 miles on it. My job is secure. I am nearly 4 years away from ER. My mortgage will be paid off in 6 months. I have NO other debt. Everything is on track for ER. Should I splurge and buy the Chevy Volt? I have kept each vehicle that I owned over 11 years and I intend to keep the Chevy Volt even longer since it will be my ER car and will see a lot less mileage on it (When traveling, I tend to use air transportation).
Good enough for me. Let's talk colors . And what about that new dryer, did it get delivered yet?
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:35 AM   #79
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On the face of it, it seems that we haven't made progress, in that the volt only goes 40 miles/charge.

This car went 40 miles/charge:



And this car goes 40 miles on a charge:



But consider that the volt weighs much more, goes faster, has headlights that you don't have to light with a match, is many times safer, can be driven in the winter, can go hundreds of miles using its generator, etc., and you have to admit there's been a lot of progress.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:36 AM   #80
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Different strokes, maybe?

If I insisted on understanding why everyone wanted stuff I had no interest in, I'd go looney -- as others might in trying to understand why I want stuff they think is silly.
True; I drive a Caddy SRX (V8 - 13-14 mpg in the city) because I want to - not because I need to.

Of course, since I'm retired and put only a few K on the odometer every year, it means much less than the younger person who still has a j*b and needs to comute many miles each week. Heck, in my early years, I used a MC to commute to work to save gas (along with the gas lines, of many years ago).

You need to get all the facts before you give your opinion if any purchase makes sense...
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