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Old 09-25-2009, 11:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up The Chevy Volt- Hit or Miss?


Chevy Volt | Electric Car - Future Cars | Chevrolet

Chevy, and even General Motors is banking on The Volt to be a big hit with customers. As of now rumors have it they have been testing the prototypes in The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee (not far from me). Word has it they want to get it right with the first generation and have been testing the car in the self described "real world" for many months now. In fact, many critics claim GM is taking far too long at bringing this car to market.

It is a car that charges up with a plug from a standard 110-120 volt (in U.S.) household electricity cable. It is supposed to be able to fully charge in about 8 hours (over-night) and be able to travel far and fast. The first 40 miles is ran on pure electricity. It's an electric car with a tiny gasoline engine to keep the single lithium-ion battery charged when the levels fall too low. Thus it works the opposite of typical hybrids in seeing it's main engine is electric, not gas. GM claims this car gets to what amounts to 230 MPG- but many question how they come up with that number and how they factor in the electricity cost. (Said to be at 75 cents to $2.50 USD a day tops! -depending on electrical rates) GM fires back with some very inexpensive numbers that almost make this car sound like it's the closest thing to being FREE to drive!

Given the market for cars, and all of the politics that go with that, what is YOUR OPINION ON THE VOLT from all you have heard about it? Do you believe it can deliver the goods? Even at the rumored $40,000 plus price? Please feel free to voice your concerns, as I come from a GM family and would love to hear it.

Personally I feel the biggest obstacle, if true, will be the $40,000 and higher price- IF TRUE. SO far nobody seems to be verifying this price at GM, not just yet anyway. I feel that if a customer can afford $40,000 and higher for a car they can afford to pay say $4.00 a gallon gasoline to run in it. I would think many such potential customers might prefer the luxury cars such as a Cadillac or Toyota Lexus. And there lays the kicker. If this car ends up costing over $40,000, BUT will get 230 MPG and use very little electricity will it be a fair competitor to the luxury cars in the same price range, or will customers opt for the safe option of buying a well known gasoline or diesel luxury car in the same price range?

I believe the car goes into production in mid 2010. It may come out as a 2011 model, but be sold in late 2010. At least that's my latest information about it. GM has all but admitted they are banking on this car to lead there way back to prosperity. Their people lite up when seen testing the car, and they act very assured that the car is something the world has never seen the likes of before.

Even if the car is a big hit, will GM have enough patents to stop copy-cat design cars from being sold by other car manufacturers? I understand they do have a ton of patents already on file, but if it really sales I would think the other car companies are not going to just sit around and watch a 230MPG car take their market share without a fight.

Opinions?


Last edited by Jammer; 09-26-2009 at 12:18 AM.. Reason: Fixing typos.
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I feel that if a customer can afford $40,000 and higher for a car they can afford to pay say $4.00 a gallon gasoline to run in it.
You surely must realize that that's entirely irrelevant to the people who'll be buying the first Volts. It's not that we can't AFFORD the gas, it's what burning that gas does to the climate. (Plus the desire to be the first kid on the block with the new tech, etc.)

Just for example, I could certainly afford to buy a Hummer (or any of those other expensive luxury cars you list) and pay for the gas to run it. Instead, I drive a Honda Insight. Why do you think I do that? Why do you think people pay $110K for a Tesla, 'cause they need to save money on gas?
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Frankly I haven't researched the Volt as at the rumoured $40,000 price the car is irrelevant to me personally. After the gummint's rebate it's still $32,500 which is about double the most I've ever spent on a vehicle, and that's before I swore off new vehicles.

However looking at the vehicles out on the road it appears money is no object for many, as they are willing to mortgage their houses or make payments for 5 years to have something new and shiny. So there should be many potential takers if the marketers can hit the right "buttons".

It would help if they'd price match Prius, which Edmund's says has a national base MSRP of $22,000 for '10. They aren't "equals" but I'd wager Prius is Volt's major competitor- initially at least.

On the other hand Prius plug-ins may come on the market at about the same time but from what I've seen they aren't competitive with Volt's claims in price or performance... yet.

It depends on how much dino fuels cost when this car launches. $2 gas and new vehicle buyers will still flock to Silverados; $4 and they'll give Volt a look. Even at $4/gal fuel is not the major cost of operation for the average U.S. motorist so maybe that has something to do with why many motorists just don't care about fe, in spite of all the whining when fuel prices go up.

I like the notion of plug-in hybrid i.e. full electric mode taking care of most motoring- which is relatively local putzing around- but not leaving you stranded after the initial charge is gone.

After that is where I get conflicted. Seems to me ICE>genset>battery>motor would suffer more conversion inefficiencies vs. a proper ICE>gearbox. I haven't found/GM hasn't released fe figures for that mode. Somewhere I saw 56/60 mpg which makes me think gee, an old Metro or VW diesel will get me that and I don't have to spend 40 large.

Also I believe in the K.I.S.S. principle and am a bit leery of all hybrids because of that.
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
You surely must realize that that's entirely irrelevant to the people who'll be buying the first Volts. It's not that we can't AFFORD the gas, it's what burning that gas does to the climate. (Plus the desire to be the first kid on the block with the new tech, etc.)
No that thought never occurred to me. I don't know of a single person personally that buys a new car based on the climate. The people I know buy new cars based on cost, reliability, cost to drive, expected lifespan, looks, and how well it serves their needs (some need large 4x4 trucks to tow things for example) and many of them choose luxury cars for all of the cool options and the smooth ride, with very little road noise and that sort of stuff.

If your worried about the climate then one needs to factor in their electricity used, see if it's from COAL, and compare it to driving other fuel cars and see which is better. The Volt may very well be a good bet for the climate even if using coal generated electricity.

You make a good point about the customers that like to be the first kid on the block with new technology. That's a big one for sure.

But, at least where I live we have very clean air and nobody ever talks about the climate, (not in the context as you mean) and they certainly don't factor the climate into a new car purchases here (of all the people I have meet here). Thus the selling point with the people I live near would have to be the price/performance ratio, including all fuel and maintenance costs. Then would come the quality of the ride and how the car drives etc.
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
Frankly I haven't researched the Volt as at the rumoured $40,000 price the car is irrelevant to me personally. After the gummint's rebate it's still $32,500 which is about double the most I've ever spent on a vehicle, and that's before I swore off new vehicles.

However looking at the vehicles out on the road it appears money is no object for many, as they are willing to mortgage their houses or make payments for 5 years to have something new and shiny. So there should be many potential takers if the marketers can hit the right "buttons".

It would help if they'd price match Prius, which Edmund's says has a national base MSRP of $22,000 for '10. They aren't "equals" but I'd wager Prius is Volt's major competitor- initially at least.

On the other hand Prius plug-ins may come on the market at about the same time but from what I've seen they aren't competitive with Volt's claims in price or performance... yet.

It depends on how much dino fuels cost when this car launches. $2 gas and new vehicle buyers will still flock to Silverados; $4 and they'll give Volt a look. Even at $4/gal fuel is not the major cost of operation for the average U.S. motorist so maybe that has something to do with why many motorists just don't care about fe, in spite of all the whining when fuel prices go up.

I like the notion of plug-in hybrid i.e. full electric mode taking care of most motoring- which is relatively local putzing around- but not leaving you stranded after the initial charge is gone.

After that is where I get conflicted. Seems to me ICE>genset>battery>motor would suffer more conversion inefficiencies vs. a proper ICE>gearbox. I haven't found/GM hasn't released fe figures for that mode. Somewhere I saw 56/60 mpg which makes me think gee, an old Metro or VW diesel will get me that and I don't have to spend 40 large.

Also I believe in the K.I.S.S. principle and am a bit leery of all hybrids because of that.
All very good points!

Not to get political, but with the news today about IRAN, we might see a fast spike in oil prices due to incrased tensions with an oil producing country. Get ready to FILL UP!

By the way, what is the "K.I.S.S. principle"?
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Jammer -

I like the Volt in the sense of "trickle down" tech. Just like the luxury Acura/Lexus SUVs that came with hybrid options. Personally I can't imagine paying $40K for a car. I spent $21K in 1997 and that was over my limit when I had $$. I categorically *hope* it succeeds, but I won't be buying one. I have heard that a lot of the engineers from the GM EV1 are on the team, so that's another plus.

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Old 09-26-2009, 05:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The Chevy Volt: 230 mpg for car and need 230 new nuclear electric power station

I miss the point of this ""eco"" car.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by noxman View Post
The Chevy Volt: 230 mpg for car and need 230 new nuclear electric power station

I miss the point of this ""eco"" car.
Well if the specs that G.M. is feeding us are correct, this car uses very little electricity given how far it can be driven on a charge/gas. The end result appears to be a car that is one of the most efficient cars ever invented. I used to have a girlfriend that had a disability and had to use an electric wheelchair. As I recall it cost her almost as much in electricity as this Chevy Volt is said to use. That is quite an accomplishment if true.

One thing that makes it eco-friendly is that a single overnight charge is enough to run the car around for 40 miles. Based on polling data the vast majority of people drive less than 40 miles a day (Not for people in my shoes though- haha)- that would mean that for many people this car would not need to burn one drop of oil based fuel on most days. And the electricity could be as cheap as 75 cents for a full charge, so the worry about the increased electrical demand is not that big of a deal.


Last edited by Jammer; 09-26-2009 at 01:02 PM..
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