Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Follies - Government Motors' electric boondoggle

The People's Automotive Collective #1 is marching shoulder to shoulder towards GOSPLAN's glorious five year target for renewable energy automobiles for the masses.  Hilarity exactly what you'd expect ensues:
Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.'s flagship vehicle makes economic "sense."The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue — the influential magazine's annual survey of vehicles — but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.

"When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer."

The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.
Look at that again: "25 to 27 miles on electric power".  It seems that winter in the Northeast (note: bastion of liberal quiche-eating, electric car buying target customers) is, err, cold.  When batteries get cold, they don't work well.  Man, that sure snuck up on everyone!  But don't worry, Northeast liberals - you can freeze in the dark!

Champion noted the Volt is about twice as expensive as a Prius.

He was said the five hour time to recharge the Volt was "annoying" and was also critical of the power of the Volt heating system.

"You have seat heaters, which keep your body warm, but your feet get cold and your hands get cold," Champion said.
But don't despair, quiche eaters.  An air conditioner compressor probably takes as much juice as a heater, so the Government Motors Chevy Volt will probably be as bad a fit for all those potential customers rednecks south of the Mason-Dixon line.

What's the old engineering joke?  It's slow, expensive, and feature-poor, but other than that it's awesome!

Boy, I'm sure glad that we don't have a Village idiot from Texas in charge.  Just think about what might go wrong ...


SiGraybeard said...

There's an engineering legend I heard that says back before they were peoples' automotive collectives and actually interested in making a profit, Detroit engineers examined the idea of the hybrid and declared it so economically stupid it couldn't sell.

In retrospect, they understood the numbers, but not the hippie "mind". And I use that term lightly.

Toyota's marketing department realized hippies would buy anything that could give them that smug, oh-so-much-better-than-you feeling they get from being green. And the Prius was born.

In 2004, when I bought my Toyota Matrix, the local dealers were selling Priuses (Priae?) for a k-buck over MSRP if buyers wanted one immediately, and full MSRP if they waited a year for it. They sold everything they could get. No one negotiated a below sticker price deal.

But unless you drive a lot, like over 30,000 miles per year (average is under 12,000), you couldn't pay the price difference between the 45 mpg Prius and the 30 mpg car in under 5 years using gasoline savings. Even at today's gas prices.

Raptor said...

This is why I'm gonna buy that '69 GTO one day. My way of giving the enviro-weenie hippies The Finger.

Joe said...

If I remember right, one of the editors of Car and Driver was looking at the Chevrolet EV back when it was being made. Much like today it was touted as having a 100 mile range. The editor of CD asked one of the engineers what the range of the EV was when it was below freezing, the heater, the lights and the windshield were being run and the engineer replied without hesitation, "12 miles".

ASM826 said...

Not going to sell me anything with a bowtie on it. I can't think of a situation that would get me over the bailouts. That being said, the Volt is going to be a disaster. If you need to feel superior, you can do that in a Prius and that's the only thing the Volt is selling.

I need a pickup truck, anyway. It doesn't have to be a great big truck, something the size of a Ranger will do, but it has to have a usable bed and it has to be able to pull a utility trailer. Going to do that with a Volt design?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the battery has a wet electrolyte to leak all over hell's half acrd in a collision?


Anonymous said...



Tam said...

The irony is that the Volt is the kind of electric most useful to the types of Americans who could actually get the best use from an electric. (Urban dwellers with short commutes who might only need to take a roadtrip once or twice a year.)

A 24-mile range is three days' commuting for my roomie, or a week's worth of errands for me.

Unfortunately for GM, that's not a huge demographic, and in a Venn diagram, it largely overlaps "Hipsters & Fashionistas Who Wouldn't Be Caught Dead In A Chevy."

Tam said...

(...and on further thought, Nissan probably torpedoed its Leaf by not putting in an on-board backup generator like the Volt has. Hipsters will drive a Nissan, but it can't be an only car if it won't make it the 300 miles to grandma's every November.)

Sarah said...

I would consider a GM offering only if the company made a vehicle that ran on hippie tears, as I'm all too happy to "encourage" the supply to increase.

Short of that, Government Motors can kiss my pickup-driving, SUV-loving, gas-consuming butt.

notDibert said...

The Engineers at Porsche Looked at the Rules for the EPA and Euro CAFE standards and Testing cycles and said ' OK ... we can make that work'

The result and car that gets rated 70+ MPG on the test cycle and can still do 180+ .....the 918.

OK..... so it's probably a $400K+ car and, like a similarly designed Ferarri, not exacatly a good choice for a commuter car, but it meets the rules and will boost thier respective CAFE averages.

What..... you mean that not what they intended??? Maybe the EPA should be run by Engineers and NOT Lawyers.

Anonymous said...

I drive a 76 F150 4X4 at a little over 20mpg. The cost of new truck equals 280,000 miles worth of gas. And sadly a new one gets no better mileage. I'll drive this thing till the wheels fall off. Then I'll put them back on and do it again. For a good Mechanic there is nothing cheaper to drive or more reliable.