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Audi North America President Johan de Nysschen claims he didn't really call Volt buyers "idiots" and rather meant the business model was idiotic.  (Source: GM-Volt.com)

The Chevy Volt is set to debut next year, priced at approximately $40,000.
In an interview with a leading site on the Volt, an Audi executive looks to lay controversy to rest

Audi North America President Johan de Nysschen raised a ruckus earlier this week when he commented to a senior auto journalist that the Chevy Volt was a "car for idiots" and that the industry wasn't ready for electric vehicles.  Ironically, the comments came just weeks before Audi was expected to introduce its first plug-in concept.  Seeking clarification on the remark Volt-themed blog GM-Volt.com interviewed Mr. Nysschen.

In the interview Mr. Nysschen comments, "I don’t think the Volt is a car for idiots."

He says the journalists misinterpreted his comments, and that what he really meant was that he felt the Volt was "an idiotic business case."  However, from there his comments go south as he begins insulting the now-profitable Tesla.  He states, "We might as well have been taking about the Tesla.  I am not an enemy of the (Volt) concept."

He hints that he believes buyers of EVs to be foolish, remarking that they "cannot amortize their incremental fixed investment in the cost of the car to the savings in fuel consumptions."  He is careful to call the business plan, though, not the buyers, "idiotic".  He also opines that the environmental benefits of EVs are debatable. 

He states that he "cares very, very deeply about the planet, what we are doing to it and how our activities of today are shaping tomorrow."  He says he is "astonished" by the "misconceptions" he says that lawmakers and buyers hold that plug-in EVs are emissions free.  He refers to CARB report that claims that well to wheel emissions in the U.S. with plug-ins are higher than diesel vehicles as their electricity comes largely from coal plants.  The interviewer asked if he had read the EPRI-NRDC study from 2007 that showed that EVs feature less net emissions than gas vehicles.  He said that he was "not familiar with that study."

He calls corn ethanol an "outrage", though he says cellulosic ethanol is a good idea.  He also says that diesel is the best option, though he admitted that it didn't eliminate the U.S.'s dependence on unstable foreign sources.

Wrapping up, he admits, "I have never obviously driven a Volt.  [But I have] always looked at the car with great interest."

Still he is willing to judge the vehicle, stating, "Its not a premium car feel, but it’s got a premium car price."



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Wuss
By bhieb on 9/9/2009 3:22:13 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry to see him back pedal, as he was spot on. Volt buyer's are idiots. The price tag is just too high to justify. Love the idea, hate the result.

I'm with the GM guy that said $28K originally. You take a $18K car and throw in $10K worth of batteries and tech, you don't get $40K. R&D costs money, but 12K per car.. come on.

Not too mention the "true" price to the American buyer if you look at the future tax bills for keeping GM going.

When it was first announced at <$30K pricing, I was all over it. I live 3miles from work and 95% of my driving is within 10 miles. It would be the perfect car, but $40K is lots of money for the crappy little car it has become.




RE: Wuss
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 3:39:27 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. The guy has no intestinal fortitude. You called them idiots Johan, man up you coward.

Then he says something utterly idiotic and call diesel the answer that really isn't the answer, lol. Of course it isn't the answer. Its a trade off and a terrible one for the US. You are trading one fossil fuel for another in a complete and utter waste of time and resources. Converting pipelines from one fuel to another which will result in utter chaos and price spikes. Then you have the general public competing with the Military and Train industry for diesel fuel. Dumb.

The answer for the US is NG. It already has a separate pipeline system. It is also easily connected to every house in the US. You would basically turn fueling your vehicle from a commercial adventure search for the cheapest gas station to a utility based price structure. You get charged for what you use each month and the infrastructure upkeep cost is part of your bill. Gas stations will be converted for apartment dwellers and those unable to get NG service to their homes. Its pretty freaking simple.

That is until EV becomes a viable option. None of this 8 hour charging mess with limited mileage.


RE: Wuss
By PrinceGaz on 9/9/2009 4:54:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Then he says something utterly idiotic and call diesel the answer that really isn't the answer, lol. Of course it isn't the answer. Its a trade off and a terrible one for the US. You are trading one fossil fuel for another in a complete and utter waste of time and resources. Converting pipelines from one fuel to another which will result in utter chaos and price spikes. Then you have the general public competing with the Military and Train industry for diesel fuel. Dumb.


What?!? The only change needed for diesel to be available at filling-stations is for there to be a storage tank installed along with suitable pumps labelled to dispense it. Most filling-stations probably already sell it (they certainly do here in Britain, and quite a few sell LPG as well). Switching to diesel is the easiest and most sensible solution for the short-term, and fuel-cells for the longer term once the technology has matured.


RE: Wuss
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 5:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
your comparing your experience in Britain to the US, its just not the same situation.


RE: Wuss
By AEvangel on 9/9/2009 6:12:47 PM , Rating: 3
No he is right there would be no harsh transition to diesel. A large percentage of fuel stations here already have diesel for sale at the pump. I would still not call diesel the answer, but then by no means is a vehicle like the Volt. Lithium batteries are just as bad for the environment if not worse then current gas. Natural gas is actually a much better answer for most fleet vehicles, but diesel is still a really good choice compared to the current hybrids out there.


RE: Wuss
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 6:22:04 PM , Rating: 4
no, hes wrong. you are complete and very conveniently forgetting there are millions of gasoline cars on the road that you still have to support for a very long time to come. common guys...


RE: Wuss
By lco45 on 9/9/2009 9:12:13 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, economically impossible to transition to a new fuel.

Oh wait, what about unleaded?

Luke


RE: Wuss
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 11:34:50 PM , Rating: 1
which created shortages during a critical economic downfall period... looks nothing like todays period does it? if you didn't grow up during this time of gas rationing and hours of waiting a fueling stations for supply trucks to arrive you really need to go ask your parents how incredibly unintelligent your smug remark just made you look.


RE: Wuss
By lco45 on 9/17/2009 11:49:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're confusing the transition to unleaded with the OPEC embargo.

Luke


RE: Wuss
By JediJeb on 9/9/2009 6:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
Most stations around me sell Diesel along with three grades of gasoline, and have been doing that for years here in Kentucky. It is hard to find a station that doesn't sell it to be honest.

If I had any money to buy a new vehicle now, I would be looking at the new VW coming next year that is around 60-70mpg on Diesel. But since I couldn't even afford a scooter now I will just have to keep driving what I have lol.


RE: Wuss
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 6:25:49 PM , Rating: 3
and how many of those stations have as many diesel pumps as gas? how many of those underground diesel tanks do you think are equivalent to the gas tanks under the station? do you honestly feel these stations could easily supports hundreds of thousands of new diesel vehicles in a short period of time?

the switch you are referring to is on an order of magnitudes more complicated then you are making it out to be. seriously people, think about what you are saying here.


RE: Wuss
By Spuke on 9/9/2009 7:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the switch you are referring to is on an order of magnitudes more complicated then you are making it out to be.
I don't think it would be complicated. Diesel pumps are already here. What it would be is massively expensive. Especially for the gas station owners as they would have to shutdown for a period of time to replace their current tanks with diesel one's. Not to mention new pumps. Recently in California, owners were complaining about having to pay $11k (each) for these new state required pumps that emit less vapor. It put some smaller stations out of business (I read around 76 somewhere). How much would a diesel upgrade cost?


RE: Wuss
By SandmanWN on 9/10/2009 12:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
not that complicated? did we learn nothing from the Katrina disaster. Only two major pipelines were down and it caused utter chaos with gas prices around the country!

but lets say we did it... after that, instead of trucking in fuel for the limited amount of diesels on the road, you now have to truck in gasoline for MILLIONS of vehicles while your gas lines sit around at low capacity for a dozen years while people slowly make the transition to diesel vehicles. can we say economic meltdown?

your example is a little short sited. you are talking about replacing current pumps with newer models. in a gasoline to diesel conversion the changeover is much more dramatic. You may only have one tank for fuel at smaller stations, medium/large stations will have maybe two or three.

lets say you make the switch as a medium sized station, instantly you lose 50% gasoline capacity. unless your market is currently driving 50% diesel vehicles then you have not only lost lets say 11k for each pump you just installed, which is normally 4-6 for a mid-sized station, but you have drastically cut the number of gasoline customers you can handle for a non-existent diesel customer. have that sinking feeling already?

the larger stations get a break because they have more tanks and can make smaller cuts at say 33% of the pumps at a time.

the smaller stations have to go one way or another. lots of them probably die off. The medium sized stations are making a 50% or more transitions and dying off at a lesser rate, better be extremely sure about your market there. The only survivors will be the big players. as the market changes they buy up all the small and medium stations leaving just a few companies controlling all the stations and royally screwing you over on prices. of course if you are a small and medium sized station in the current environment you can just ask the government for another trillion dollars to help you out. *heads roll*

Think about it for a moment. This isn't a snap your fingers move. Even if people started buying diesels, which isn't likely given the economy, it would be years before the transition had any meaningful numbers. You would have to transition storage tanks at refineries, empty them, clean them, refill them. Same for pipelines, empty them, clean them, re-pressurize. All your tanker trucks have to go through the same process. All the stations have to go through the same process, plus new pumps, and inspections. All that for what is basically a non-existent market at present time.

But take NG for example. NG already has it own distribution pipelines, and they are better than gas/oil pipelines by leaps and bounds because they come straight to your front door!!! Over half of every home in the US has NG. Essentially you have millions of homes that become fueling stations with a simple home refueling kit. Instant market! Your regular gas stations continue to serve the gasoline market and can slowly add NG pumps as the market comes along. People can buy into NG at their own choosing which is when they hit the dealership for their next car. Its slow, gradual, and places no burden on any current market. NG is available outside of the trouble zones of the middle east and OPEC nations. You couldn't ask for a better market adoption strategy.

Look, we keep gas because its cheap and any changes will destroy the economy in the current condition, not to mention switching pointlessly from gas to diesel for a few mpg's. The cost just doesn't justify the reward if the ultimate goal is to rid yourself of these fuels in the future anyway. Its a complete waste of time and resources that can be used toward developing good solutions like NG and new battery technologies.


RE: Wuss
By Spuke on 9/10/2009 11:59:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
your example is a little short sited. you are talking about replacing current pumps with newer models.
Does anyone know what an example is anymore? I'm not going to explain it twice I was pretty damn clear in my post. I disagree with the complexity of moving to diesel. It's NOT a complex process! It's already been done. Step 1: Dig up ground. Step 2: replace tanks. Step 3: replace pumps. Easy sh!t. What makes this unappealing is the expense!!!!! It will be incredibly expensive to switch to primarily diesel from primarily gas.


RE: Wuss
By marvdmartian on 9/10/2009 9:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
That's a California problem, for the most part, though. Since they require vapor recovery at the point of fuel dispensing, it causes a higher price (due to the added cost of the system involved to recover those vapors).

For 90+% of the country, that's a moot point.


RE: Wuss
By marvdmartian on 9/10/2009 9:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, and it would be incredibly easy. The internals of a gasoline, versus diesel, dispenser are identical. The only difference might be a 3/4" outlet, versus a 1" outlet for most diesel systems (big deal, just means you dispense the fuel a little slower). The biggest difference is in the size of the nozzle throat, which is larger for diesel than gasoline, but that only requires a simple (5 minute or less) change out of the nozzle.
In fact, the dispensing of E85 caused more disruption than switching over to diesel would, since the ethanol in E85 is so corrosive to aluminum.....and guess what the innards of most fuel dispensers have lots of? E85 caused the industry to develop dispensing units that are aluminum with nickel plating, so the ethanol wouldn't eat up the insides of the piping in the dispenser.

Switching over to diesel would be cheap and easy. The only slowdown would be if they decided the storage tanks needed to be cleaned before refilling with diesel fuel (and then you're only talking a matter of less than a week's time).

And yes, I do know all this from experience, as I've worked over 15 years in the liquid fuel maintenance field.


RE: Wuss
By Spuke on 9/10/2009 1:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The biggest difference is in the size of the nozzle throat, which is larger for diesel than gasoline, but that only requires a simple (5 minute or less) change out of the nozzle.
No. The entire pump has to be changed not just the nozzle and that's expensive. Not to mention all of the in ground tanks have to be changed.


RE: Wuss
By marvdmartian on 9/11/2009 11:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
You're not getting it. NO, the pump does NOT need to be changed. Same pump for pretty much any liquid fuel, be it diesel or gasoline. Same for the tanks, as I said....the only thing they may have to do is clean the tanks first, and maybe flush the lines.

You don't honestly think that the industry makes dispensing units and tanks specifically for gasoline or diesel, do you? Because they don't. That's why you can have two different products on the same dispenser, it's only segregated to different piping and pumps so that you don't blend the two fuels....but you can pump either fuel through either side of the dispensing unit.

Where I work, we installed all new dispensers, about 3 years ago. All 4 fuels we dispense use the exact same model dispensing unit, with the exception of the E85, which has the parts that are nickel-plated on the inside, due to the corrosiveness of alcohol with aluminum (like I pointed out in my first post). But we dispense unleaded gasoline, diesel, and B20 bio-diesel, through exactly the same style dispensing unit, with no difference in the specifications.

We also introduced the E85 and bio-diesel products when we did that change, as DoD has been charged with doing so, by law. Previous to that, our tanks were only diesel and unleaded gasoline (2 tanks of each product). We changed one diesel tank to hold E85 product, and one gasoline tank to hold bio-diesel product, just by cleaning the tanks and flushing the lines.

So you're wrong, in this regard.


RE: Wuss
By bhieb on 9/9/2009 3:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
Just to put some math to it. If you are the 100% ideal customer (exactly 40 miles per day every day) that is 14600 (we will just say 15000 you drive down hill both ways).

Get a nice car say $30K with a conservative 20mpg (15000/20=750gallons). That is $2,250/yr even at $3/gal. 10K price difference/2250 = 4.4 years.

Even if you keep it a full 5 years you gain $1350.

So for that $1350 you've bought yourself 5 glorious years with a crappy sub compact that has the ride and amenity's of a $20K car.

This is the best case scenario mind you, if you fail to drive exactly 40 miles every single day, or if the engine ever comes on, you eat into that "savings". Plus I'm assuming $0 for the cost of electricity!!!

So unless my math is wrong (and it could be). Buy one and you are an idiot.


RE: Wuss
By Steve1981 on 9/9/2009 3:51:19 PM , Rating: 3
Problems:

1. We don't actually know what the MSRP will be. Maybe it will be 35k, maybe it will be 45k; we just don't know.

2. Tax credit.

3. We don't really know how "nice" it will be. Maybe it will have the ride and amenities of a 20k car; maybe it won't.


RE: Wuss
By aebiv on 9/9/2009 4:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
Problem with the Tax Credit, is we all end up paying it anyway.


RE: Wuss
By TomZ on 9/9/2009 5:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Who said anything about paying back the public debt? You think that will ever happen?


RE: Wuss
By AEvangel on 9/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: Wuss
By Spuke on 9/9/2009 7:20:10 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Then China and Japan will call our debt due and in trade of what we owe them take most of the West Coast as trade in against the debt.
It's already gone. The West Coast disappeared up into its own a$$hole years ago.


RE: Wuss
By Jaybus on 9/9/2009 8:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
It's the other way around. If you are holding debt in US dollars, then the last thing you want is the dollar to be devalued. You get paid back with dollars that aren't worth as much as the ones you loaned out. Why do you think the Chinese government is looking into real property investments instead of financial assets? If the dollar tanks, then they know they will take a beating.


RE: Wuss
By BansheeX on 9/10/2009 3:23:40 AM , Rating: 3
The holdings are already worthless since their "value" is a function of them never being spent. What good is accumulating IOUs that can never be converted into products? I wish I could convince people to accept my IOUs in perpetuity, I'd never have to work again.


RE: Wuss
By 67STANG on 9/10/2009 2:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'd rather give up the East Coast. It's worth less, gets beaten by storms every year, has dirtier beaches and has less attractive scenery, but they'd get get Washington D.C. in the deal, which is quite alright by me. Unfortunately they probably wouldn't take the deal because of all of the different annoying accents they'd inherit.


RE: Wuss
By mikeyD95125 on 9/10/2009 3:09:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah forget paying back the public debt!

I can't wait to be typing something like this in the future with my brand new $175,000 keyboard!


RE: Wuss
By omnicronx on 9/9/2009 3:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
I checked your math and its 100% correct.. That is if the Volt was recharged by peace, love and happiness.. Now I know you already stated this, but why even make a comparison knowing full well that you still have to pay for the electricity?

The math has been done, even if you take electricity pricing from the cheapest state, it still will not save you money over a 10 year period compared to hybrids such as the prius, which costs almost 20k less. Of course this all assumes your Volt battery even lasts that long, have fun earlier adopters!

Don't get me wrong, I fully support GM with their Volt venture, but to think it will be a cost effective solution right from the get go compared to other mature offerings is being completely naive. With even a drop of 10k the Volt becomes far more attractive. I could never see myself driving around in a Prius, it just is not roomy enough, but I could see myself driving a small sedan like the Volt.


RE: Wuss
By lco45 on 9/9/2009 9:20:08 PM , Rating: 4
Too many bean counters on DailyTech.

This car will be popular with tech enthusiasts, not accountants.

Luke


RE: Wuss
By 67STANG on 9/10/09, Rating: 0
RE: Wuss
By piroroadkill on 9/10/2009 3:37:00 AM , Rating: 2
What about people who don't care about the money, and just want a car that has electric only drive just for the novelty? If I had more money, I'd definitely be in that camp


RE: Wuss
By Entropy42 on 9/10/2009 10:53:23 AM , Rating: 3
The fact that you don't care about money and just want a novel car is probably the reason that you don't have more money.


RE: Wuss
By Machinegear on 9/10/2009 9:11:13 AM , Rating: 1
Not sure about that... but, maybe.

But I keep thinking that a new Chevy Volt is priced dangerously close to a slightly used Audi RS4. Only retards will take a Chevy Volt over a RS4. That car is sex on wheels...

This comparison could be made over an over with other 'cool' vehicles too, even other Chevys. Should I spend $35k on a Volt or $25k on a used Z06 Corvette with 10k miles on it???

The Volt has appeal... just not $35k worth of appeal in my opinion.


RE: Wuss
By Spuke on 9/10/2009 1:15:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But I keep thinking that a new Chevy Volt
Generally, you won't Volt customers cross shopping for Corvette's and Audi RS4's. LOL! Those are three different types of buyers there.


RE: Wuss
By Machinegear on 9/10/2009 3:11:00 PM , Rating: 3
I hear what you are saying Spuke, I do, but I still can't believe people are so stupid that they will buy in mass a pricey car that costs more yet offers less for the dollar than other pricey vehicles. If people want just transportation, they buy Kia. But anyone with a couple extra dollars looking to fulfill more than their needs will not buy a Volt (my opinion).

Come on, a RS4 or Z06 will get you babes without even asking... however what will driving a Volt get you? A hairy arm pitted hippie woman or a WoW playing 270lb 'grrl' I suspect.

(...again, my opinion) ;-)


RE: Wuss
By wired00 on 9/10/2009 12:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
although i agree with all the rambling on pricing and idiocy ;) ...

remember this will be the first RRP. It will surely drop in price as the years go by especially with the constant drop of battery prices as battery tech advances. How much did the PS3 cost on release $700US??


RE: Wuss
By foolsgambit11 on 9/10/2009 1:01:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
if you fail to drive exactly 40 miles every single day, or if the engine ever comes on, you eat into that "savings". Plus I'm assuming $0 for the cost of electricity!!!
Actually, you don't eat into that savings if you drive more than 40 miles a day. In your comparison, you'd still be saving more money. The Volt gets better mileage than than the 20mpg car you've compared it to. Therefore, you'll continue to save gas over the competitor. Driving more than 40 miles a day, all else being equal, would reduce the time to cost parity in the model you described. (Of course, your model was something of an ideal scenario for the Volt - putting it up against a cheaper car, with better gas mileage, maybe even a hybrid like a Prius, would lengthen the time to cost parity, if it could be practically reached at all.)

That being said, I don't think the Volt is the car for me, for a variety of reasons. Cost isn't necessarily the top of the list of those reasons.


RE: Wuss
By Masospaghetti on 9/10/2009 8:34:03 AM , Rating: 2
"crappy subcompact"? You have no real idea how well the Volt will come equipped. On the contrary, GM tends to buffer the cost of new technology by increasing standard option content (see 2-mode hybrid trucks) so that is more likely the case.

And you really think that gas is going to stay at $3 a gallon?...maybe it will, maybe it won't. But at least with the Volt you have some independance from it.


RE: Wuss
By bhieb on 9/10/2009 9:28:21 AM , Rating: 2
I can only make assumptions on what we know now. The picks and previews certainly put it in the lower end car category to me.

As far as gas staying at $3, that was conservative since where I live it only hit that for about a week over a year ago. We rarely get above $2.60. And this week I filled for $2.20.

I gave the Volt every advantage I could in the calculations, hell I even let it drive for free.


RE: Wuss
By Steve1981 on 9/10/2009 10:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can only make assumptions on what we know now. The picks and previews certainly put it in the lower end car category to me.


The problem is that we know nothing .

We don't know the price of the car, which makes your calculations utterly worthless in the first place.

As far as the previews putting it into the lower end car category.... The previews have been of Chevy Cruze test mules fitted with the Volt powertrain. Trying to ascertain anything about the amenities offered in the final production model that is still more than a year away is pointless at best.

quote:
As far as gas staying at $3, that was conservative since where I live it only hit that for about a week over a year ago. We rarely get above $2.60. And this week I filled for $2.20.


Perhaps, but we are talking about the average price over a five year span here, not five weeks. As such, I wouldn't call $3 a gallon particularly conservative. Details like diplomatic tensions or the revival of the world's economies easily have the potential to throw your numbers out the window. Heck, you see who is in power in our country. Do you suppose they would never ever raise the gas tax or tax the oil companies because they're evil corporations?

quote:
I gave the Volt every advantage I could in the calculations


You forgot the tax credit too. You might not agree with it, and yes somebody will have to pay it all back someday, but it certainly affects the calculation.


RE: Wuss
By gstrickler on 9/10/2009 4:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt is estimated to sell for $40k (we don't know if that's before or after the tax credit, but let's assume it's before). The battery on the Volt is estimated to last 150,000 miles before you have to replace it (estimated @ $8k).

If gas averaged $4.00/gal ($0.08/mi on the Prius or the Volt after the 40mi battery range), you would spend $12,000 on gasoline for 150k miles on the Prius. Since the Prius is $15,500-$18,000 less than the Volt, even if gasoline nearly doubles in price and electricity were free and you never use gasoline in the Volt, the Volt still costs more than you could save in energy costs in 150k mi.

But, let's look at it in more detail. Let's assume you want to replace the battery when it wears out and drive it until the whole vehicle is worn out. So, we need to calculate the cost/mi of the battery + the cost/mi of energy.

That's $8k/150k mi = $0.053 per mile just for the battery cost on the Volt. At $0.11 per KWh, 25KWh to charge it for 100 miles (GM estimates), that's 25 * $0.11 / 100mi = $0.027/mi for electricity. $0.053+$0.027 = $0.08/mi cost for battery + electricity on the Volt. The Prius battery also wears out. Prius battery is also estimated to last 150k miles and costs $2000-$2500 for the part, let's call it $3k with labor. So, battery cost for the Prius is 3k/150k = $0.02/mi. At $3/gal, Prius cost for gas ($0.06) + battery ($0.02) is $0.08/mi.

So, at $3/gal vs $0.11/KWh the net costs for operating the Prius and Volt are the same. Right now, gasoline is well under $3/gal in most parts of the country, making the Prius cheaper to operate than the Volt.

Since I've included the battery cost in the per mile operating costs, we have to deduct the cost of a battery replacement from the initial purchase price of each:
Volt = $40k - $8k = $32k (or $24.5k after $7.5k tax credit)
Prius = $22k - $3k = $19k (or $24.5k - $3k = $21.5k if you use the top end Prius).

Any way you look at it, the Prius has a $3k to $13k price advantage over the Volt, and currently has lower operating costs. Gas must average >$3/gal and/or electricity must average < $0.11 for the Volt to even begin to be less expensive to operate than the Prius. The Volt has one advantage, because most of it's operating costs are in the cost of the batteries, it's operating costs are less sensitive to changes in the energy (electricity) cost.

Yes, battery costs are likely to drop for both vehicles so that in 150k mi when you need it they won't be $8k/3k, but the Volt batteries will still be 2x or more the cost of the Prius batteries simply because of the capacity. The numbers will change, but the results won't be much different.

About the tax credit:
The credit will be applied to the first 250,000 plug-in cars sold in the US and will be phased out to 50% for the following two quarters, and 25% for the two quarters after that before ending.

That's all plug-in EVs, including Tesla, and the new models coming from Toyota, Nissan, etc., so it is only likely to apply for the first 18-30 months on the market and will be much smaller in the last 12 months of that window.


RE: Wuss
By Masospaghetti on 9/11/2009 12:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Volt is estimated to sell for $40k (we don't know if that's before or after the tax credit, but let's assume it's before).


It's almost certainly before...nobody has estimated the price to be $47,500.

quote:
The battery on the Volt is estimated to last 150,000 miles before you have to replace it (estimated @ $8k)

If I recall correctly, the purchase price of the Volt includes one replacement battery pack - although this may be for GM's own pricing and warranty purposes, not for the end consumer to utilize. And where is the $8k figure coming from?
quote:
If gas averaged $4.00/gal ($0.08/mi on the Prius or the Volt after the 40mi battery range), you would spend $12,000 on gasoline for 150k miles on the Prius.

Valid, but it's not far fetched to think gasoline may become much more expensive than even $4 a gallon - It rose from $2.50 to $4.50 in about a year before the economy crashed.
quote:
At $0.11 per KWh, 25KWh to charge it for 100 miles (GM estimates), that's 25 * $0.11 / 100mi = $0.027/mi for electricity.

You're assuming realistically high electrical rates. Not only are most peak rates below $0.11/KWH (I know here its $0.0787/KWH in NC, similar in GA) but most of this would be during non-peak hours when rates are significantly less. I don't have non-peak rates here but even so the rate you use is way too high.
quote:
So, at $3/gal vs $0.11/KWh the net costs for operating the Prius and Volt are the same. Right now, gasoline is well under $3/gal in most parts of the country, making the Prius cheaper to operate than the Volt.

Again, $3/gal is pretty cheap in the scope of things and it probably will go up, sooner rather than later, and 0.11/KWH is unrealistically high.
quote:
Any way you look at it, the Prius has a $3k to $13k price advantage over the Volt, and currently has lower operating costs.

I agree that the Prius will end up costing less in the long run, but I think your numbers make it look more dramatic than it really is. And with all new technology (Volt), it's more expensive to be an early adopter -- but also with new technology, future generations of the Volt hold far more potential than Toyota's HSD.

That's what it comes down to - if there's enough people willing to pay extra to have cutting edge technology. As early hybrid drivers (first gen Prius, Insight) showed, there are plenty of them.

I personally would rather pay for a revolutionary powertrain like the one in the Volt as opposed to double-stitched leather, 12 heated and cooled cupholders, unicorned-skinned steering wheels, self-closing trunklids, and windshield wipers that turn themselves on...because its such a hassle to push the button yourself.


RE: Wuss
By gstrickler on 9/12/2009 4:10:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And where is the $8k figure coming from?
GM
quote:
You're assuming [un]realistically high electrical rates. Not only are most peak rates below $0.11/KWH (I know here its $0.0787/KWH in NC, similar in GA) but most of this would be during non-peak hours when rates are significantly less. I don't have non-peak rates here but even so the rate you use is way too high.
Nothing unrealistically high about them. That's only slightly higher than the current national average, and it's less than the May 2009 average rates in 15 states.
http://www.neo.ne.gov/statshtml/115.htm

Not that it matters, since over 65% of the cost/mi for the Volt is for battery wear, lower electric rates don't significantly lower it's operating costs. As I said, it's less sensitive to energy prices, but the down side of that is you can't lower costs much either.

Don't take my word for it, run the numbers with $0.08/KWh and $4.00/gal gas. The Volt is $0.073/mi, and the Prius is $0.10/mi. At 150,000mi, that's $10,950 for Volt, $15,000 for the Prius, so you could save $4,050 of the price difference.

However, all of that is assuming you never use gas in the Volt (drive less than 40 mi between charges), and that the electric rate averages significantly less than the current national average, and that gasoline prices increase more than 70%.

Do you really think there is the slightest chance that electricity is going to average $0.08 over the 12.5 years it would take you to put 150mi on a Volt by driving under 40mi/day? I don't. I do think it possible that gas will average less than $4/gal over those same years.


RE: Wuss
By omnicronx on 9/9/2009 3:47:17 PM , Rating: 5
Your point of view is quite flawed. Volt buyers are not idiots, Volt buyers buying the car thinking it will save them money are. Because of its high price point, it will be nothing but a fashion statement for most people in its first few years of production, but that does not make its buyers idiots, it just puts them in the same class as anyone who buys a high end car (deep pockets).

All of this being said, I don't agree with his statements either. GM needs something revolutionary to stay in the game, and while the Volt may not be economical right now, neither were most of the inventions you use today. Without innovation, prices will not fall and technology will not improve. Those at the forefront of new technology are usually those that reap the benefits and have a greater influence on the industry .

By his logic, many Audi buyers are idiots too. I mean why pay a large markup for a car in which under the hood is fundamentally the same engine and parts as its VW little brothers with a fancy paintjob, a little metal trim and a redone interior? Oh wait.. perception of a higher end product sells cars, whodathunkit? (I'm not talking about all audis, but particularly the low end)


RE: Wuss
By Spuke on 9/9/2009 4:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not talking about all audis, just the one's that cost $50,000 and under.
Fixed that for you.


RE: Wuss
By Anonymous Freak on 9/9/2009 6:23:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your point of view is quite flawed. Volt buyers are not idiots, Volt buyers buying the car thinking it will save them money are.


Exactly. I bought the Prius when the second-generation model came out (2004,) and when it was red-hot. I did a massive spreadsheet comparing it to two other roughly-equivalent-size cars we were also considering. Even taking into account that my 'high estimate' for gas was $2.00 per gallon average for 10 years, (HAH!) and correcting it last year, the Prius still takes about 10 years to 'break even' in comparison to the other two cars we were looking at.

Now, I've driven more miles than I thought I would, and gas has obviously cost a *LOT* more than I thought it would; so I'd estimate that realistically, I'll break even sometime next year.

But, I went in to this not expecting to 'save' money at all. The money was a potential future benefit, not a purchase-time decision.


GM: Anybody that buys a Audi/VW...
By Marlin1975 on 9/9/2009 3:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
and think they will get a reliable car are idiots.

;)

<-- Worked on MANY VW/Audi's in my day. Still has to work on SiLs A4 all the time now. :(




RE: GM: Anybody that buys a Audi/VW...
By TomZ on 9/9/2009 3:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
I love when people try to make statistical conclusions from anecdotes.

For example, last time I had to bring my Toyota in for service at the dealer, there were tons and tons of other customers also needing service on their Toyotas. Does this mean that Toyota has crappy quality?


RE: GM: Anybody that buys a Audi/VW...
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 3:50:39 PM , Rating: 3
His particular example is anecdotal but VW/Audi do consistently end up on the bottom half of every automobile reliability/repair list in the US that I've ever seen.


RE: GM: Anybody that buys a Audi/VW...
By walk2k on 9/9/2009 4:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe but where is GM in that list? Underneath no doubt. I mean... GM boasting about reliablity? GM?? I don't think so.


RE: GM: Anybody that buys a Audi/VW...
By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 4:16:50 PM , Rating: 2
GM is a corporation. If we are talking about the individual brands, they are somewhere between excellent and piss poor given the badge. Take your pick.

There is no maybe about it for VW/Audi. The data isn't mine, its a national statistic by people and organizations who's opinions are sought after and compensated for their studies.


By Spuke on 9/10/2009 1:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
Audi's not bad if you look at the dependability study (longer term) but VW is right at the bottom with Suzuki. BTW, there looks like some changes since the 2008 list.


By jmarchel on 9/10/2009 8:42:32 AM , Rating: 2
By Masospaghetti on 9/10/2009 8:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
It depends on the quality study, but Cadillac and Buick have consistently been in the top 5 out of all makes in 90-day quality, and even the worst offenders (Pontiac is one of the lower ones) are in parity with VW products.

I don't have access to CR online (I don't think CR ratings hold any water, but hey, seems like a lot of folks do) but they generally rate the VW and Audi products poorly - if you care to go to Borders and take a look at their mag.

See: http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/dependability...


By omnicronx on 9/9/2009 4:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
Probably because most machanics won't touch them. Its like VW tried to move all normal serviceable engine parts to areas in which you cannot reach them unless you drop the engine, or remove 1000 parts..

This way you have to go to the dealer ;)

'VW?' is the first question I ask when someones asks where is a good place to fix their car. If its anything major, its not even worth the trouble of bringing it elsewhere. (unless you know your machanic and you know he works with VW's often)

You might aswell add on the cost of having to service your car at VW to the sale price when you buy one..


RE: GM: Anybody that buys a Audi/VW...
By Radnor on 9/9/2009 5:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry to interrupt mates, but as an European, VW/AUDI (SIVA groups cars) are generally pretty tough.

Unless the mecanics differ from this side of the pond, i don't really know what you are talking about.


By SandmanWN on 9/9/2009 5:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
yes you are correct, it is a different story on the other side of the pond.

Here, it's not just the mechanics but the factories for the most part. They have very high defect/warranty repair rates. Can't remember the averages but it is expected your VW will certainly see the dealership repair shop more than once during its warranty period.

Don't know why, that's just what the numbers say.


By jmarchel on 9/10/2009 8:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
Most European cars are not rated very high in quality in North America. J.D.Power rates Audi on par with Ford and VW dead last in logn term durability. And we are talking only the best, German cars. French, Italian and cheaper models of German cars are not even sold here.


First rule of PR
By halcyon on 9/9/2009 4:08:29 PM , Rating: 1
If you've already painted yourself into a corner,
don't try to paint yourself out from there.
It ain't gonna look pretty and it sure as hell ain't gonna work.

Should have stick to his guns.

Anybody buying an American car from a bankrupt company that can't design, manufacture or service long lasting and energy efficient car is a moron.

No two ways about it.




RE: First rule of PR
By Spuke on 9/9/2009 4:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anybody buying an American car from a bankrupt company that can't design, manufacture or service long lasting and energy efficient car is a moron.
What do you consider "energy efficient"?


RE: First rule of PR
By jmarchel on 9/10/2009 8:44:59 AM , Rating: 2
Long lasting ? I see large number of Chevy's from 1980's I don't see many of VW or Audi of that age around anymore.


RE: First rule of PR
By Masospaghetti on 9/10/2009 9:06:37 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah, no two ways about it. You must speak the law.

GM is not a well run company but to say they cannot design or manufacture a fuel efficient car is ridiculous. They have serious management issues but the engineers and technicians have shown they can build a good car.

Malibu, Cobalt, Impala, Equinox, and Silverado are all fuel economy leaders in their respective classes, even if the Cobalt and Impala are nearing the end of their product cycle. Toyota only really trumps GM in fuel efficiency with the Prius b/c GM doesn't have a direct competitor until the Volt arrives.

Malibu (2.4, auto): 22/33
Camry (2.5, auto): 22/32

Cobalt (2.2, manual): 25/37
Corolla (1.8, manual): 26/35
Cobalt (2.2, auto): 24/33
Corolla (1.8, auto): 26/34

Impala (3.5): 18/29
Avalon (3.5): 19/28

Equinox (2.4): 22/32
RAV4 (2.5): 22/28

Silverado (5.3): 15/21
Tundra (4.6): 15/20


RE: First rule of PR
By marvdmartian on 9/10/2009 9:23:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, the way this guy keeps sticking his foot in his mouth, pretty soon he'll be up to his knee!! ;)


Dollar for dollar, no.
By crimson117 on 9/9/2009 5:02:45 PM , Rating: 4
Dollar for dollar, the price premium for a super-low-mileage vehicle (prius, volt, tesla) isn't worth it right now if your only perceived benefit is lowering your fuel costs.

But it may be worth it to you if you are pleased by the knowledge that you're consuming less fuel than you would have traveling the same distance.

Hopefully you get the same pleasure by biking/walking instead of driving, consolidating trips/errands to minimize car usage, carpooling as often as possible, telecommuting one day a week instead of driving to work, using public transportation, etc.

But chances are you're not doing all those things, because you can't just throw money at them to make them happen. A car, however, you can throw money at it to make that environmental impact, get that instant karma, and you're not suffering for it like you would suffer biking all over town in the rain.

So... all I'm saying is that profit isn't the only motive one can have when deciding to do something.




RE: Dollar for dollar, no.
By Beenthere on 9/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: Dollar for dollar, no.
By Masospaghetti on 9/10/2009 9:11:15 AM , Rating: 3
A power plant will always be much more efficient than a small-scale gasoline engine. The gasoline engine makes lots of efficiency compromises to operate at a large range of temperatures, power requirements/RPM's, to remain inexpensive, and to be compact and mobile. A large coal-fired generator is optimized for efficiency only and thus does a much better job at harvesting the power in the fuel.

An EV using coal-based electricity produces about 60% less CO2 than a gasoline car. This doesn't take into account that some of the electrical energy produced here comes from cleaner (Nuke, hydro) sources.

Battery disposal and recycling is definitely going to be an issue though.


Johan de Giant
By Lord 666 on 9/9/2009 3:12:27 PM , Rating: 4
Understood the R8 is a low sports car, but he looks seven feet tall in that picture.




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