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GM's Bob Lutz  (Source: Photobucket/willfusion)

Production Chevrolet Volt
GM gives a thumbs up to the Volt's battery pack

General Motors' Bob Lutz made headlines earlier today for his comments on crash testing for European-designed vehicles. Lutz argued that differing crash testing standards are preventing the GM from bringing over smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles from Europe that would help the company boost its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE).

When Lutz isn't championing GM's efforts to pump the U.S. market full of high quality, fuel efficient vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs) and drivetrains, he is singing the praises of the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. In the latest saga of the Volt's development, Lutz proclaims that testing of the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack is going smoothly.

"We haven't hit any obstacles so far for the batteries," remarked Lutz to Kicking Tires. "They are all performing flawlessly. It's almost scary we are not seeing any problems with the batteries."

Lutz went on to explain that the batteries have been subjected to numerous reliability and durability tests which encompass rigorous road testing and extreme temperature variances. That being said, the battery life of the lithium-ion battery is a concern for GM. As a result, the battery along with other powertrain components will be covered under a 10-year warranty.

"We're being conservative on battery life. For our cost calculations we're assuming each car will need a replacement during the warranty period," added Lutz.

Lithium-ion batteries -- when used to provide 100% propulsion for a vehicle -- have largely been untested on a large scale in the U.S. auto market. There have been niche players like Tesla Motors with its Roadster, which features a 6,381 cell lithium-ion battery pack, but it also carries a hefty $100,000+ price tag.

GM's Volt, on the other hand, is expected to carry a much more palatable price of around $40,000 to $45,000 before the requisite government rebates and tax credits.

The Chevrolet Volt was recently spied on the set of the “Transformers 2” set wearing what appeared to be production bodywork. Shortly before the exterior was spied, picture of the Volt’s interior was also leaked for the world to see.



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10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 11:50:11 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
As a result, the battery along with other powertrain components will be covered under a 10-year warranty

OK, that's very impressive, but I'm curious what the mileage restriction will be. 100K miles? Asumming you drive the max 40 miles per day, 5 days per week, that will be 104,000 miles in 10 years. I guess that works well.

Hopefully the Volt 2.0 will be closer to $25K-30K and competitors will get even below that. Hmm... very exciting toys coming out! I'm first and foremost a muscle-car owner, but getting a Volt as a DD (daily driver) is appealing because all that money I'm not spending on gas during the week can go to modding my weekend cruiser!




RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 11:53:27 AM , Rating: 2
OMFG

I just did a little math. Assuming fuel costs over the next 10 years remain constant, I will spend $36,000 on gasoline alone if my current driving habits don't change. That makes the Volt essentially worth the asking price - at least for me. :P


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By repatch on 9/3/2008 11:59:58 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I just did a little math. Assuming fuel costs over the next 10 years remain constant, I will spend $36,000 on gasoline alone if my current driving habits don't change. That makes the Volt essentially worth the asking price - at least for me. :P


Umm, that's of course assuming that the energy used to propel the volt is FREE!??! It's not.

At best, you'll be able to use just electricity, which while currently cheaper then gas, it's price has been going up very quickly as well.

Nevermind the fact that the Volt USES gas if you exceed the battery capacity.

Don't get me wrong, the volt is a great idea, and should have been released ages ago, but please be realistic about it's actual costs.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By omnicronx on 9/3/2008 12:20:26 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently on average (and with current US prices) it will only cost around 85 cents to recharge the volt. Even if you were to twice a day, which frankly is not possible, it would only cost you a little over 6000$ over 10 years. Of course that number will increase to around 10k under the worst circumstances (if you live in hawaii and pay 16cents per KWA). For reference, California, which has the highest energy pries, would cost you a little over 7000$ over 10 years to recharge it twice a day, every day. These numbers obviously do not take rising energy costs into consideration, but it is still pretty good if you ask me when you take inflation, and the increase in avg pay that will also occur over 10 years.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By atrabilious on 9/3/2008 11:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
Thats only until everyone starts plugging in their Volts and the power companies have to raise prices.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Samus on 9/4/2008 5:37:20 AM , Rating: 3
The difference between electricity and petrol is you can make your own electricity in a variety of ways. Solar and wind both come to mind. A basic solar charging system with capacitance that matches the volts lithium storage capacity would probably cost $2000. You could let the station collect charge during the day and when you park your car at home, just plug it into the storage medium (could be flywheel, set of batteries, set of wet caps, whatever's economical and meets storage requirements) for overnight electric charge transfer.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Oregonian2 on 9/4/2008 6:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
Or work night shifts. :-)


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/5/2008 12:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
These ranges are only good if you are not running any of the other electrical services on the vehicle. Turn on the AC, or the heat and wipers, and your range is cut in half at least. I think we need to see some actual usage statistics over the course of a few years before we can start doing the math that GM wants us to do.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 12:28:22 PM , Rating: 3
Someone posted figures for the cost of recharging such a battery in 6 hours... I remember it being very low. But no, electricity isn't free.

OK, let's be realistic. My current car cost about the same as the Volt. With the majority of my driving (~30 miles per day with commute/errands/events) falling within the bounds of the battery limits, I will use very little to no gasoline in any given month. With a 10-year/150K warranty, that pretty much ensures that the Volt will cost very little to maintain during that time (outside the standard stuff). No matter what, the car will cost less over 10 years than my current car. To me, that's a win.

However, since we have a lot of ethanol in our gas pumps in Minnesota, I wouldn't want it to sit in there very long. I know they are testing the vehicle in cold weather, but I'm curious what happens if the ICE isn't used for a month during a Minnesota January and you run out of charge... ICEs start really hard in cold temps, especially when they have been sitting. It would suck to run out of juice only to have the ICE not start because it's mechanically too cold.

Obviously, I'm not paying for this thing in advance, but I'm very, very interested!


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 12:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
8kWh worth of charge, plus about a 85% meter to battery efficiency, so really 9.4kWh.

If you live in the Pacific NW where electricity is cheap, it'll cost you about 75c for 40 miles.

If you live in California where its 12c/kWh, its $1.12 for 40 miles.

If you were to compare it to a Prius at 45MPG, excluding the initial price differential, gas prices would have to fall to between 85c/gal to $1.26/gal for gas to be as cheap as electricity.

At $3/gal, a Prius would use $800/yr at 12,000 mi/yr. A Volt would use around $282 in electricity (10,000 mi) and $200 in gasoline (2000 mi at 30MPGe from the generator), or $482 total, saving $318/yr. Not a lot, but you're practically immune to gas price spikes, you'd probably fill the cars tank once every 4-6 weeks, possibly with E85 (which I saw for $2.99 the other day). And unlike gas stations which change their prices once or more per day, my electric company has to go before the PUC to raise their rates.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt is rated at somewhere around 45 MPG on the gas generator. Not 30 MPG. 45 MPG for such a large car is pretty damn good. People seem to forget its a hatchback. Not a compact. It's the size of the Subaru Outback.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 1:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
Really? My own back of the envelope calcs said about 37MPG for gas and 30MPG for E85. I usually use the E85 number because (hopefully) by the time the volt is in mass production in 2011 we can use something other than corn and food supply for E85, and it'll be environmentally and financially viable to choose E85.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 2:18:34 PM , Rating: 3
All the PR so far claims 50MPG when relying on ICE to charge the battery.

I've seen a host of other figures floating around - but the 340-mile figure stands out as being either the TOTAL range or the ICE range. On an 8-gallon tank plus full charge, that either means 42.5MPG (40/300 bat/ICE) or 47.5MPG (40/340 bat/ICE). Since GM has been touting 50MPG, I would go with the latter being the case... but all this will change by the time Volt hits production lines.


By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 2:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All the PR so far claims 50MPG when relying on ICE to charge the battery.

I've seen a host of other figures floating around - but the 360 -mile figure stands out as being either the TOTAL range or the ICE range. On an 8-gallon tank plus full charge, that either means 45MPG (40/320 bat/ICE) or 50MPG (40/360 bat/ICE) . Since GM has been touting 50MPG, I would go with the latter being the case... but all this will change by the time Volt hits production lines.


Fixed.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By shin0bi272 on 9/3/2008 8:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA has stated that ethanol made from corn is 15-20% less polluting than gasoline but its 20-30% less fuel efficient than the same amount of gasoline. So your best hope is to break even on the pollution angle. In most cases its much worse for the precious environment than gasoline but no one mentions that in their push for ethanol. It also releases more toxic vapors that are more poisonous than what comes out of the gasoline car.

You have to remember Oil is a natural product too. It comes from the earth and to process it we heat it to 700 degrees till it evaporates and what ever level in the cooling tower at the refinery it condenses at determines what product we have. So in all truth Oil is a natural product and ethanol is a man made product that we take from corn (yeah good idea use food to run our cars that wont drive food costs up nooo), and add chemicals to in order to make it combustible enough to power our cars.

Ethanol is a horrible idea and we need to abandon it IMMEDIATELY. Cellulosic ethanol has less energy in it than corn ethanol and there hasnt been any real advancement in that area either otherwise we'd of seen it already. Cellulosic ethanol has been around for about 110 years (first produced from wood in 1898 in Germany) so obviously its a waste of time compared to the power we get from oil.

My last point about ethanol is simply this... If ethanol were a better alternative than gasoline then it would be brought to market without having to be federally subsidized or any laws being passed to fund its use.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By glennpratt on 9/3/2008 1:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps GM will include an automatic block heater by default, since there pretty cheap and the vehicle will be plugged in anyway.

Now you just need some fuel stabilizer.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Alexvrb on 9/3/2008 8:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
Fuel stabilizer isn't a bad idea as long as you pay attention to the ratio on the back of the bottle. Heck, using fuel with 10% ethanol in a properly sealed tank will help prevent ice from forming in the fuel lines, etc.

As for including a block heater on all of them, when 95% of them sold won't need it? I doubt it. If you do need one, I'm sure you can get one installed either from the factory or aftermarket. It's a modern ICE with modern fluids and lubricants, and it is designed to fire up and run warm or cold at fixed RPMs. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm not even really sure a block heater would help you at all, unless it was powered on the road by the onboard batteries. You could unplug the block heater, and drive off on battery power. Assuming the engine really did need to be preheated, if the climate is really that cold, won't the engine just be cold again by the time it needs to fire up to charge the batteries?

If you wanted to do something to help the motor in a cold enviroment, you could always use a good quality synthetic 0w30 (30 because I'm assuming this Ecotec motor will recommend 5w30 like other ecotecs). Also throw in the occasional dose of isopropanol (the preferred fuel system drier).


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 1:42:37 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, I would expect the ICE to start up at least once a week for at least 30 seconds to make sure everything is OK and still works. You don't want to not use the ICE for 3 or 4 weeks and then find out its not working when you need it. GM will probably advise drivers to always have at least 1 gallon of fuel in the tank (which would be burned through about once every 4-6 weeks).


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 2:10:43 PM , Rating: 3
That's what I'm thinking. It must come on automatically from time to time. Surely the largest auto-maker in the world wouldn't forget this fundamental of ICEs. I suppose it will have some algorithm to know when to activate it based upon all sorts of causal factors.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 2:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't that be dangerous to have an engine coming on by itself in a garage?


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 2:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
I would assume it would be while you're driving around somewhere (e.g. vehicle is not in park). If you dont drive it more than once a week, well, you'd have been better off spending it on a Civic.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 4:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Not for 30 seconds. Unless you make a habit of pushing used newspaper under your car so high its packed against the tail pipe.

And this does make sense. One potential problem I see with the Volt is that gas eventually goes bad. If you constantly only use the battery during the day, you might go months on one tank of fuel. Sales of fuel stabilizer for Volt owners may be high.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Siki on 9/4/2008 4:13:45 PM , Rating: 3
I regularly use 1+ year old fuel for my lawn mower. I don't see several month old gas as being a problem. Maybe I'm just optimistic.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 2:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 60 mile commute (round trip). Can anyone do a quick calculation on how often I'll need to fill up with that commute? I heard the range was down to ~360 miles. It seems I'll still be filling up every week but the cost to fill would be lower. Doesn't seem like enough of a savings for me to justify the price of the car.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 2:33:32 PM , Rating: 2
At 50MPG with an 8-gallon tank and 20 miles/day using ICE, $4/gallon, and $1/charge, I came up with a daily operating cost of $2.60. I'm bad at math though... :P

quote:
Doesn't seem like enough of a savings for me to justify the price of the car.

Very few vehicles can EVER justify the expense of a new one. To me, this car looks cool, has reasonable performance, and would serve my commute very well. The $40K price range is where I like my cars anyway, so if I'm already going to spend that much... Volt becomes a very good option because it will save me at least $30,000 over 10 years. That's a small downpayment on a house... a college fund... diapers... LOL


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 3:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Very few vehicles can EVER justify the expense of a new one.
True, but I usually compare my old car with the new one to see if the extra expense is worth buying the new car or keeping the old car until a new car is worth the extra expense or buying a less expensive new car.

I'm comparing the Volt to a new MINI Cooper S. The MINI would be more fun but, if the Volt is not too slow (or too heavy), my wife could have fun in that car too. The present PR says 0-60 in 8.5 seconds or so. A bit slow but maybe the production car can do better. She says she doesn't care but I know she doesn't want a slow car.

We'll see what happens in a couple of years. It'll be about that time anyways when I'll be in the market.


By Mojo the Monkey on 9/3/2008 5:37:19 PM , Rating: 3
8.5 may sound a bit slow if you're reading about sports cars all the time, but if you take a few moments and go to a comprehensive car review site, you may find that a lot of sufficiently powered cars and "powerful" SUVs are in that ballpark.

Unless you find yourself at the red-light-race in front of a freeway onramp, needing to get over to beat another driver who is aware of your intentions... I don't think you'll be the car holding up traffic in the volt.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 2:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
So to add on, $13/week (5 days commuting), plus any weekend driving not on gasoline, plus the $5 in electricity. if you drive 300 miles a week now, and even at 30MPG, you'd be paying $35/wk on gas, so you'd save about $15/wk, more if you get less MPGs.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Digimonkey on 9/4/2008 9:21:09 AM , Rating: 2
He figured in gas being $4 a gallon not $3.50. So it'd be closer to $20 a week in savings.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By walk2k on 9/3/2008 4:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you can plug it in at work it'll go 30 miles 1 way just on battery alone.

Friend of mine has a plug-in Prius conversion and charges it from the solar panels at work (a winery in Napa). His commute is about 30 miles (round trip) but he charges it at work for free off the solar excess (during the day they generate way more electricity than they use so it's totally free energy). During the summer he doesn't even charge it at home at all.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 4:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
No battery chargers where I work.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By srue on 9/3/2008 5:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree, but Bob Lutz and others at GM have repeatedly said that if you drive less than 40 miles/day, you'll never use a drop of gas. Clearly if the engine is coming on occasionally for maintenance you'll use some gas.

Also, think of a backup generator. Do those have to be run occasionally? I thought they often sit unused for years, ready to spring into action when the power goes out. The Volt ICE is essentially that.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By JediJeb on 9/3/2008 6:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, backup generators do run occasionally. I know someone who has one of the natural gas ones at his house and at least once a month or maybe every two weeks the thing fires up automatically and runs for about 5 minutes just to keep the engine lubricated. If you don't run ICEs occasionally the oil can settle to the oilpan and when you start it you will have more wear on the bearings than you should.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By AE3Wolfman on 9/19/2008 1:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Worse is corrosion between the piston and cylinder walls. Will cause all sorts of problems.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By walk2k on 9/3/2008 4:09:10 PM , Rating: 3
That also assumes gas prices will stay the same, but of course they will not. In 10 years gas could be $10-15 gallon...


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 4:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
Only if we follow the Democrats plan and don't drill for oil. Funny how 10 years ago gas was less than a dollar a gallon and we wanted to drill. The Democrats said no because it'd take 10 years to get rolling. Now here we are 10 years later and gas is $3.50ish a gallon and we want to drill again(of course most of us never stopped wanting to). And again the Democrats say no because it'll take to long.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By InsaneGain on 9/3/2008 5:43:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think the logic is that the price of oil is determined by global supply and demand, not just American. Given that the daily global supply and demand of oil is enormous (79 million barrels per day), the amount of oil that would be added by USA offshore drilling would be inconsequential to the global price.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Ringold on 9/3/2008 7:41:55 PM , Rating: 3
By that logic, nobody anywhere should ever drill again, because on the margin each individual project will have limited effect. Maybe this lousy logic can go unquestioned on CNN, but I'll wave the BS flag. This attitude towards drilling is unfounded defeatism. I suggest anti-depression medication. :P

If US output could rise by just a million barrels per day even, that'd be a substantial improvement due to the wild price elasticity involved.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By sinful on 9/4/2008 1:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
By that logic, nobody anywhere should ever drill again, because on the margin each individual project will have limited effect. Maybe this lousy logic can go unquestioned on CNN, but I'll wave the BS flag. This attitude towards drilling is unfounded defeatism. I suggest anti-depression medication. :P


It's not defeatism, it's common sense. Boosting supply by 1-2% over a period of 5 years is nothing; in that same time, demand will likely increase significantly more than that.
Unless you're going to force those companies into a deal where they have to sell to the US, all that oil is going to the highest bidder - China.

Additionally, it's been speculated that the vast amounts of steel needed to build the refineries, pipelines, oil rigs, etc would drive up the price of steel considerably, thereby making it a wash in terms of prices for the average American.

People like to look at the full cost of Solar, etc, but tend to ignore the need for multi-billion dollar oil rigs and refineries to pull more oil production off.

Those costs would be directly passed on to the consumer, so you realistically wouldn't see any substantial improvements until all their capital investments are paid off.

In other words, it's not to help for 5-10 years, and when it does, it's not going to be that much.


By marsbound2024 on 9/3/2008 9:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Each party has its pros and cons. I personally think we should start drilling everywhere we can while trying to protect any fragile environments we may impact. But I am far from being a Republican. Republicans don't act in the best interests of the entire nation in my opinion... just white, upper-middle class/wealthy individuals... oh... who are typically straight and christian. If you fit this bill then why would you vote anything else? Perhaps if you were a bit altruistic and willing to think of others. Nonetheless, I don't want to get off on a tangent.

We should support the Pickens Plan, obviously. It's a plan and hardly anyone else out there has put forth a more realistic one. We should stop bickering about the little things and move on to solving our problems the best way we can.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By sinful on 9/4/2008 2:12:31 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that McCain said no to drilling too....
=P


By silversound on 9/3/2008 2:03:40 PM , Rating: 1
Looks 10k too expensive for me too, 30k-35k is a good price point. 40k and up is close to luxury cars...

I would get BMW 335 coupe or Audi A5 over this anytime!
A domestic GM? Good for news, but chicks wont dig it!


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Ammohunt on 9/3/2008 2:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
$40,000? lets get practical! (all numbers are basic averages) if you bought a small car that averaged 25MPG for $10,000(roughly the going rate) that would leave you with $30,000 to buy gas 30k/$3.99 a gallon multiplied by 25MPH = 187970 miles. So for the price of a volt you can drive your small car at 25MPG for close to 190K miles at roughly $4 a gallon. Even if gas goes to $10 a gallon you can still drive that car nearly 100k miles. Most small cars get better then 25MPG. I will pass on a volt just doesn't make economic sense at all...the volt will be a niche foo foo item.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 3:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt is not a small car though.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By Doormat on 9/3/2008 12:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
10yr/150,000 miles is the quoted warranty length.

I would expect a Volt 2.0 around 2015. Probably around $23K for a 30-mile version and $30K for a 60 mile version (depending on your driving habits). Maybe a bit higher, its tough to know what exactly is going to happen in the battery market. Some innovative battery technologies are finally starting to actually be produced and put through testing instead of the usual "three to five years away" garbage.


By djkrypplephite on 9/3/2008 12:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
I would suppose they're estimating the average miles per car per year, which is typically around 12,000-15,000.


RE: 10-year... how many miles?
By randomly on 9/3/2008 2:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
it's a 16kwh pack, but they only charge it to 80% capacity and discharge to 30%, using only half the capacity. This increases the cycle life in two ways. One is that staying away from the maximum and minimum charge states of the battery reduces the capacity decline of the cells and it also effectively doubles the cycle life compared to a battery that is fully discharged and charged each cycle.

At 40 miles a charge it will take effectively 2500 cycles to achieve 100K miles. The A123 batteries are certainly capable of doing that.
http://www.a123systems.com/#/applications/phev/pch...

Realistically there will be more wear and tear on the batteries with all the micro cycles of regenerative breaking and generator charging. However it's looking pretty good to me.


Estimated Electric Costs
By Murst on 9/3/2008 12:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
Lets assume that you will not need to drive more than 40 miles in a day, so you can get by w/o using any gas.

Has anyone seen an estimate how much it would cost to recharge the Volt's battery to full each night, assuming current (average) electricity prices?




RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By Murst on 9/3/2008 12:17:22 PM , Rating: 2
Nevermind, found my own answer:

quote:
The U.S. average for 2007 is 10.65 cents. To see the numbers for the current year click here. If we use the average, the cost to recharge the Volt will be $0.85, and the range for 2007 will be from 48 cents to $1.34 depending where you live.

http://gm-volt.com/chevy-volt-reasons-for-use-and-...

Now, by 2010, if prices keep going up, it could cost $1 - $2 to recharge the volt. So, lets take the average and assume $1.50 for 40 miles.

If you do the math, the Volt costs half as much to drive for the first 40 miles as the Prius (after that they're equal), but then again, the Volt costs 20-25k more. That doesn't really seem like that much of a bargain.


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By MozeeToby on 9/3/2008 12:38:29 PM , Rating: 3
Well, they're calling the $50k price a misquote now, and saying that although it's still just an estimate the price should be around $35k puting it in at $10-15k more than the prius.

For that, you save about $2 every day you drive the battery dry... for myself that would be about $40-50 a month or $600 a year. 10 year lifetime would put the price difference in at $4-9k. Depending on where you life, if you fill it up with E85 you can probably bring it down to near even.

Of course, you also get 60 HP more than the Prius, you look like less of a tool (at least in my opinion) and you support American automakers at a time when they desperately need it (if you care about that kind of thing).

Finally, keep in mind that this is the first generation Volt, Toyota has had years to trim the fat out of the Prius design. Also, I suspect that within 5-10 years, the seriel hybrid drivetrain will be available in a number of GM vehicles which should reduce per vehicle engineering and manufacturing costs.


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:44:14 PM , Rating: 3
One definite thing the Volt has over the Prius is styling. It's also a larger vehicle that will better suit families.

The Volt will be a bit expensive. But if I needed a hybrid, it'd be what I was going to buy.


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By 67STANG on 9/3/2008 12:56:52 PM , Rating: 3
One thing I haven't seen, now that you mention the volt will "better suit families" is how the expected electric range is diminished when the vehicle seats a family of four as opposed to just 1 or 2 drivers. Is the stated range a worst case scenario, or is it with 1 average driver?


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 1:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
That is a good point. I don't know whether they're rating it at 40 miles on batteries with one driver or four people in the car. I would assume that number would reflect that average number of passengers for a days drive.


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By Murst on 9/3/2008 1:03:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Finally, keep in mind that this is the first generation Volt

That's the exciting thing about it. I actually hope this is a huge success, so that many more cars (built on similar technology) come out in the future at lower prices.

My comment was more from my own personal view about buying the 1st gen Volt - it just doesn't make that much sense when you look at it as a way to reduce your cost of driving.

And yeah, it looks much better than the Prius. Hopefully they don't change the design too much before it goes to production.


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 2:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hopefully they don't change the design too much before it goes to production.
They had to change it because the concept car had terrible aerodynamics. See the spy pic article.


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By jimbojimbo on 9/3/2008 4:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
Let's assume you actually get 40 miles per charge. Odds are if you're using anything else electrical and with stop and go conditions you'll get far far less than 40. If someone tells you "up to 40 miles" it probably means on a closed course going at optimal speed non stop with nothing else on.

Again I ask though, why aren't all the panels made of solar panels?? My car sits on the street for 2 weeks at a time before I drive it and by then it'd probably be fully charged each time! For free!


RE: Estimated Electric Costs
By Ringold on 9/3/2008 7:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My car sits on the street for 2 weeks at a time before I drive it and by then it'd probably be fully charged each time! For free!


Because GM understands what environmentalists dont. Solar panels make no financial sense, at least not in this application.


By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2008 9:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Again I ask though, why aren't all the panels made of solar panels?? My car sits on the street for 2 weeks at a time before I drive it

My house sits on the road for 50+ years at a time before I... errr. drive it? And my house never gets parked under a tree or in a garage where the solar panels are useless.

And it's cheaper to mount solar panels on the roof of a house than the roof of a car.

Ohh, and if they're on your house then you DON'T have to lug them around with you everywhere you drive, which for many people would waste as much energy as they generate.

Solar panels belong on the roofs of houses and buildings that DON'T MOVE! Putting them on top of cars is just stupid.


Reality will disprove theory
By Beenthere on 9/3/08, Rating: 0
RE: Reality will disprove theory
By pauldovi on 9/3/2008 12:25:43 PM , Rating: 1
"Fuel Cells" is a broad term for anything that holds energy. NASCAR refers to the gasoline tank as a fuel cell, so I would be careful with using that word when you probably mean hydrogen power vehicles.

As the SAE Powertrain leader said, Hybrid powertrains are the powertrains of the future, and will always be the powertrains of the future. Their energy density / cost is too high to be a viable solution.


RE: Reality will disprove theory
By Curelom on 9/3/2008 1:02:50 PM , Rating: 2
"hydrogen power vehicles" also isn't specific enough. You can have hydrogen powered vehicles that burn hydrogen, rather than convert it to electricity.


By Misty Dingos on 9/3/2008 12:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
The hybrid car design is as yet to be market proven. It is at the current time a government subsidized market. Until the hybrid designs are stripped of their government blanket it is impossible to tell if they will be a purchase worth making.

One thing I will say is that the hybrids long term costs (battery replacement) is something that hasn't been truly addressed. Once the battery pack is spent it will have to be replaced at great expense. If this cost is foisted on to the used car market it will destroy the resale value of the hybrid cars.

Also hybrid cars life span is in contrast to a public that is buying cars for longer periods of time as opposed to buying new cars every few years. If I were a car manufacturer I would love hybrids. A car with a five year life span and then requires replacement. This in contrast to the new vehicle I bought in 95 and am still driving today and plan to drive to at least 2015.

The cheapest car you will ever own is the one you own today.


RE: Reality will disprove theory
By randomly on 9/3/2008 3:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
I would disagree. The current crop of hybrid vehicles like the Prius are clearly an improvement over standard gas engines. The Plugin hybrids like the Volt are an improvement on that and give you a viable option of using whatever economical source of electricity is or becomes available.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles don't seem to have a very promising future. They are only competitive when compared against gasoline driven vehicles because of the high efficiency of reforming Methane to hydrogen (about 80%). If your primary energy source is electrical (nuclear, solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal etc.) battery powered cars are 3-4X more efficient than fuel cells.

An MIT study found that even with the promised improvements in fuel cell technology that they would be outperformed well to wheels comparison by a simple diesel hybrid through at least the year 2020.

The losses of producing hydrogen from an electrical power source, the energy losses needed to compress and transport the hydrogen, and the practical efficiencies of fuel cells under load in a automotive environment all add up to choke the life out of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Not to mention the cost and complexity is more than the battery vehicles.

I have faith in the batteries myself. The major cost premium of battery powered cars is the battery pack. There are no intrinsically expensive materials in them and as volume production increases the prices will drop. They will also have a high residual value at the end of life, for recycling materials or for derated use in other applications. End of life is considered 80% of original capacity, that means you'd still have an almost 13KwH capacity battery out of a Volt.


RE: Reality will disprove theory
By djxtreme on 9/8/2008 1:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
AS far as this type of car (volt, whatever) entering Canada. I heard the argument it wouldn't happen because of the construction and safety issues. But if ALL cars were of this type thats a mute point, everything has to start somewhere.


Am I the only one here who is NOT a skinflint?
By Davelo on 9/3/2008 3:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
Seems everybody here only cares whether or not a Volt will save them a few bucks. Nobody ever thought to ask the hard questions about real life expectations. I would be curious to know what the battery range is when the AC or heater is on. Also, what kind of performance can be expected? Will it be able to do 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds?




By Spuke on 9/3/2008 3:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's supposed to do 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. The battery range can be anywhere from 13-130 miles, supposedly, based on driving style and environmental conditions.


By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2008 8:55:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would be curious to know what the battery range is when the AC or heater is on.

It will get worse mileage with air conditioning turned on, EXACTLY like how a gasoline powered vehicle gets worse mileage with the AC on. In fact the Volt should be better in this regard since it will be generating less waste heat that needs to be counteracted.

Same goes for radio, lights, etc. ALL of these things drain power. With the Volt most of that power will come from very high efficiency Li-Ion batteries and an electrical generator. With a conventional vehicle that power comes from gasoline through a fairly low efficiency alternator.

Heating might be the only exception to this rule. Because internal combustion engines are so inefficient they generate TONS of heat. You're heat in a conventional vehicle is "free", it's heat that would otherwise need to be bled off through your radiator. By virtue of being MUCH more efficient at using energy the Volt will generate significantly less waste heat. The plus side is that the AC needs to work less hard, the downside is that it might need to use some electrical power for actual heat.

As for performance, GM's official line is that it'll do 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds. Unofficially they're sandbagging, this car will shock the pants off most people when it comes to performance. I'd be very surprised if 0-60 times are more than 7 seconds.


How about apartments
By bobcpg on 9/3/2008 4:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
So i was thinking, I currently live in an apartment with no electrical hookup where I park my car. At least no hookup metered to my service.

How do you suppose this will work out?




RE: How about apartments
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 4:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How do you suppose this will work out?
It won't for now. Maybe it will in another 20 years.


I hope this car does well!
By Rob94hawk on 9/3/2008 2:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
There are a lot of just flat out retarded comments about the Volt. I hope it does well regardless. As much as I love my V8 Pontiac Firehawk and my Dodge Durango (I don't like my Toyota Matrix), it's time to move on to something much more practicle.

As for charging the Volt, maybe a couple of solar panels on the roof of my house could do just fine.




If driving becomes cheaper ...
By LostInLine on 9/3/2008 5:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
the gub-ment will just tax us with a congestion charge.




I don't understand what is taking so long?
By pauldovi on 9/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By amanojaku on 9/3/2008 12:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
Lockheed Martin seems to be managed a little better than Chevrolet. And they have more money to spend on development, which means more labor, better design tools, etc...


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By pauldovi on 9/3/2008 12:36:01 PM , Rating: 1
Lockheed Martin is a smaller company than GM. GM pulled a revenue of $181 billion last year while Lockheed Martin has a $42 billion revenue.

But that is not the point. The Volt's development time is unreasonably long.


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By amanojaku on 9/3/2008 12:46:18 PM , Rating: 2
GM is larger than Lockheed Martin, but GM has more products to design, build, and sell. Lockheed only works on a few things at a time. It's easier for Lockheed Martin to focus on designing one plane for the US instead of the 40-50 cars Chevy sells worldwide. I'm not saying Chevy can't get this out faster (I have not clue what goes on there) but I'm sure they have less resources to throw at the Volt than Lockheed Martin had for the F-22.


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 1:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
LOL again!!! The ignorant comments persist! Why can't you guys just simply ask a question when you don't understand something? You might actually get explanations instead of rate downs. The two posters are right, it's far easier to focus on a product or two versus multiple one's.

The Volt isn't the only car that GM makes, they still have to provide R&D and support for their other cars as well as other future cars. Do you see any other car company with a Volt-like car that's almost ready for production? Where's the hate on those other companies? What about crappy Chrysler that's doing nothing?


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By 67STANG on 9/3/2008 3:17:40 PM , Rating: 1
The world's oil supply is estimated to last until 2050.

Do you think Chrysler is going to be around in 2050? I think it's a wise move on their part.


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 3:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you think Chrysler is going to be around in 2050? I think it's a wise move on their part.
Bleed red for the next 40+ years? Yeah, real smart.


By 67STANG on 9/3/2008 7:32:20 PM , Rating: 2
Who said they'd even be around for 10 more years? Interestingly enough however, I did just find this: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26533073/ so apparently they are working on something. 3-5 years before they come out means they are coming a bit late to the game, however.


By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 4:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
And they said that it would run out by now in the 60s.


By djxtreme on 9/8/2008 1:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
If the Govment here really wanted too, I'm sure it could be helped to speed up the process


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
You're joking right?

The F-22 started its life in the early 90s.

http://www.f22fighter.com/history.htm

You clearly know absolutely nothing about this amazing aircraft.


By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
And the early 90s was just the F22 as it mostly exists today. The program really traces back to the early 80s and it wasn't until the mid 80s that the design was started.

http://www.f22fighter.com/timeline.htm


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By amanojaku on 9/3/2008 12:49:48 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, the F-22 began in the '80s. 1986-1991, to be exact. That was the prototype, and then the production model was designed starting 1991.


By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
Must have been typing when I posted the above.


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By randomly on 9/3/2008 3:19:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually some of the F-22 design concepts go back as far as 1903... maybe even farther. That's a hell of a long design cycle.


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By Spuke on 9/3/2008 3:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually some of the F-22 design concepts go back as far as 1903... maybe even farther.
Stupidity goes back even further.


By randomly on 9/3/2008 4:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
Do you draw that wisdom from personal experience or from an older relative?


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By dagamer34 on 9/3/2008 12:47:56 PM , Rating: 1
Because a fighter plane has INFINTELY more space than a car. And weight doesn't really matter on items that the GOVERNMENT buys, and not consumers.


By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 12:53:22 PM , Rating: 2
Did you just say that weight doesn't matter on a plane designed to outmaneuver any other fighter plane ever built? Or even just a plane in general? Every pound counts on a fighter plane.

And space on a plane is at an all time premium. It is not a luxury. Every component has to justify the space it takes up. The bigger something is on a plane, that's space that can't be used to store fuel.


RE: I don't understand what is taking so long?
By walk2k on 9/3/2008 4:36:27 PM , Rating: 1
The oil cartels fund kickbacks to the automakers and the government to stifle innovation and maintain the gas-guzzling status quo, that's why.


By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 7:45:04 PM , Rating: 2
Put on your tin foil hat. The aliens might be scanning you.


Flawless?
By MrSmurf on 9/3/08, Rating: -1
RE: Flawless?
By Murst on 9/3/2008 12:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
GM makes some very good cars... for example, Corvette. Saturn is also a pretty nice brand, as is Saab. And the quality of their vehicles has been getting better every year.

Also, I don't think GM is in the battery business, so that will most likely be outsourced to someone who is.


RE: Flawless?
By Spivonious on 9/3/2008 12:51:17 PM , Rating: 2
They should rename Saturn to Opel, since that is what they all are now.


RE: Flawless?
By Murst on 9/3/2008 12:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think the used to sell the Opel brand in the US in the 70s, but it failed.

Also, the Saturn brand is pretty well established now, and Opel isn't (at least not in the US).

In the next few years we'll probably see more and more European models being brought over and re-branded under established US names.


RE: Flawless?
By bhieb on 9/3/2008 12:46:52 PM , Rating: 2
True but what car maker is "flawless". In my experience not a single one. And I've owned BMW, Mitsubishi, Ford, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, and Caddy's. Currently I have a GM and will stick with them, in my experience they are no better or worse today than anyone else.

Luck of the draw plays into it for example by far the worst experience I've had with a car was with BMW, and I will never own another. Not just mine either but my sister in law's too.

In my experience Hyundai followed by GM has had the best customer service when something does go wrong. And that is what I look for first, the car will more than likely have problems (they just do), so who steps up and fixes it the quickest.


RE: Flawless?
By 67STANG on 9/3/2008 1:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
I've owned quite a few vehicles:

My experience is that Mopar is the worst as far as quality goes... My '07 Chrysler 300 is in the shop for the 3rd time in a month because the front suspension is falling apart... it only has around 30k on the odometer...

I've owned some GM's and their quality was sub-par as well. My dad's 6-month old Camaro blew it's engine while cruising at 70mph on the highway... That was the last GM he ever would buy (1989).

Never had a problem with any of the Honda's I've owned or any of the Ford's I've owned. My Wife's Kia Sorrento has been flawless for the past couple of years as well.

My '06 Nissan Sentra SpecV on the other hand, it ate about 2 quarts of oil every month and sometimes had troubles starting.

My 2000 BMW 528i I got rid of a few months ago with the odometer reading 172k. The car started to fall apart at around 150k. Not really all that bad, although most domestics will do that now... at the same time, most domestics wouldn't last that long in 2000...


RE: Flawless?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 1:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
My parents 04 Durango has around 70K on it without any real issue. There were a few minor electrical quirks but they got sorted out under warranty.


RE: Flawless?
By 67STANG on 9/3/2008 3:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like things have gotten worse since 2004.
http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/2...

They now get a whopping 4 out of 10.


RE: Flawless?
By FITCamaro on 9/3/2008 4:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
Dunno. They're not driving it much anymore cause of gas prices. They'd get rid of it but they owe too much on it. My mom wants to get a Saturn Vue.


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