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The Chevy Volt is outselling the Nissan LEAF -- but not by much.  (Source: Autoblog (LEAF), GM (Volt))
EV hopes are weighed down by miserable sales

There certainly seems to be some members of the American public who are enthusiastic about alternative powertrain vehicles.  In February, hybrid auto sales soared 39 percent to reach approximately 23.3k units.  Leading the pack was the veteran Toyota Prius.

But amid that optimistic figure was a bit of not-so-happy news for a couple major automakers.  General Motors only managed to sell 281 Chevy Volts in February, down from 321 in January.  And worse yet, the Nissan LEAF only sold 67 units in the month of February.

To date the Volt has outsold the LEAF, 928 units to 173.  Neither number looks very promising, at face value at least.  

For GM, the issue may lie partially on the supply side.  Dealers are trying to gouge on prices of the scarce Volts, but ultimately these tactics may backfire.  We saw several eBay auctions (which aren't free, mind you) end with no buyers.  In each case, dealers were trying to charge several thousand dollars over the MSRP -- and customers weren't buying.

If GM can pump up its supply, like it's promising, the price may drop to the MSRP and sales may pick up.

With Nissan, the problem and potential solution is likely different.  Arguably Nissan's sales are the bigger disappointment, as the company was promising to beat GM in production volume and sales. However, it is currently failing on those fronts, by all appearances.  One major issue may be limited distribution.  In the U.S., the LEAF only launched in a handful of markets such as California and New York.

Still it's a bit of a mystery how the far-cheaper LEAF has fared so much worse than the Volt.  One possibility is that drivers are scared of not having a backup gas engine (which the Volt has).  At the very least, expanding sales to most of the rest of the country should help the LEAF catch up -- if only a bit.

To add insult to injury, Britain has temporarily banned LEAF vehicles from being sold.  The LEAF contains a noisy backup warning sound to warn pedestrians -- a necessity, given the vehicle's relatively quiet motors.  But apparently that warning violates British noise laws, which prohibits loud noises between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Where recent U.S. laws and federal guidelines require these noises, Nissan is having to race to remove them in Britain.  Rather than making the noises timing dependent, Nissan is attempting a cruder fix -- removing them entirely.  States the company, "The audible system on the LEAF did not allow for [a timing dependent fix], so the beeping sound is being removed entirely before the cars can be driven on roads in [Britain]."

As a result there's a "slight delay" in British sales while the vehicle's firmware is modified in the factory in order to convince Britain to lift the sales ban.

One company that is likely smiling at the sales numbers is Ford.  A late-comer to the EV game, Ford will release a plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) next year, and a battery-electric vehicle the year after that.  It's clear that even though Ford is coming in a year behind GM and Nissan, that there's plenty of room for improvement in the nascent field.

Another company that is likely pretty satisfied about the news is Tesla Motor Company.  Tesla's Roadster sales pace looks pretty impressive given the higher sticker, when compared to the LEAF.  Dramatic price difference aside, one key difference may be looks.  In an era where the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna reign atop pop charts, perhaps the LEAF's bulbous form is a bit too ungainly for a superficial public to bite on.  The sexy curves of a Roadster 2.5 EV or a Fisker Karma might be a little bit more pleasant EV pill to swallow, assuming you can afford it.

 



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not
By Doofenshmirtz on 3/7/2011 5:39:11 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not really surprised by poor sales, are you?




RE: not
By bug77 on 3/7/2011 5:42:50 PM , Rating: 3
There must be a mistake. Surely there must be legions of buyers somewhere, waiting to save the planet. There must be, because I read about that on the internet (and it was on TV, too)!


RE: not
By Sazabi19 on 3/8/2011 11:50:28 AM , Rating: 3
There probably are... and don't call my Shirley.


RE: not
By Autisticgramma on 3/8/2011 2:56:06 PM , Rating: 3
Since when did people looking to save a buck on gas, not save several thousand getting a used car instead? The point is people looking to save money by using an EV need one <20k. If the price is double the (gas)econ car, what did you save?

Hey I know, put a fruit sticker on the door. As long as it has one of those, people LOVE paying double.


RE: not
By callmeroy on 3/8/2011 3:44:09 PM , Rating: 1
You think a bit like me...

Last time I checked these "fancy smancy" hybrids or EVs are far pricier than their ICE counterparts.

I mean even if you blow $2-3k a year on gas, if your new non EV/hybrid car costs as much as $8-$10k LESS (and in some examples thats conservative savings as well)....didn't you already effectively cover a few years worth of gas in the savings?

And if you are saying "yeah" well what happens after you keep the car past the first couple years....well -- you are still ok because a) most folks only hold onto cars for 3-5 years these days anyway and b) the savings you would then realize had you gone with a more expensive EV/Hybrid is not a huge as advertised.

You know what logic is like this as well -- the solar panel "craze".....the promise of the ad "Install solar power and have the electric company PAY YOU!"......the reality -- a full fledge system w ability to replace the electricity company in your house -- that's Tens of thousands of upfront investment.

How much is your electric bill man? On a HORRID month I pay $180...maybe $225 during a cold winter month...even at that rate (180)...that's $2160 / year....so even at $20k for a solar system I'd have to wait almost 10 years to even START a return on my investment.

Folks should really think about these investments we make to save energy and money before they buy into them...


RE: not
By Hiawa23 on 3/8/2011 7:04:48 PM , Rating: 3
Let's see, bad economy, overpriced cars, most folks just holding on from check to check, really not surprised.


RE: not
By hyvonen on 3/8/2011 3:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
In Portland, OR, LEAF had a small pilot program, and the preorder list was full in a blink of an eye. The list was short, though.


RE: not
By Souka on 3/8/2011 3:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Still it's a bit of a mystery how the far-cheaper LEAF has fared so much worse than the Volt.


A Mystery? Uhm, look at the advertising budgets for Volt... all the press covering it, etc etc.

Lets not forget the "fear" people have of not being able to put gas into it...

Nissan? just a few commericals.

Also, if you were wondering: Would I buy an electric car? Nope.


RE: not
By Alexvrb on 3/8/2011 8:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lets not forget the "fear" people have of not being able to put gas into it...
What do you mean? The Volt burns gas just like anything else, once you "deplete" the battery pack. Any salesman at any dealer will tell people this, it is a big selling point over a pure EV.


RE: not
By jaydee on 3/8/2011 3:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, initial product of the Chevy Volt is ~300 per month, for Q1 2011. Can anyone find a Volt on the lot of a dealership that hasn't been presold already? Didn't think so. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.


RE: not
By Alexvrb on 3/8/2011 8:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, last I heard they were selling them as fast as they could push them out the door. Unfortunetely, that isn't very fast. They need to step up production.

The price gouging is an issue too, but I'm not sure if there is much they can do about it other than increasing supply, which won't happen overnight.


RE: not
By ArcliteHawaii on 3/9/2011 6:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised they are not trying to sell the Leaf on Oahu. Most people here don't drive 90 miles in a day ever. This is the perfect place to have a limited range EV as an only car. If they sold them here, and I lived in an apartment or house with the right recharging equipment, I would absolutely buy one.


RE: not
By Nutzo on 3/7/2011 5:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
Not suprised at all. Nothing like bringing an overpriced car to market while the economy is still in the tank.
Add in the price gouging, and it's a major fail.


RE: not
By tamalero on 3/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: not
By Sazabi19 on 3/8/2011 11:53:33 AM , Rating: 4
Fuel prices are only rising because of the greedy bastards that are saying lets raise the price because something may happen. Supply has not changed and neither has actual price from when we had our gas for under $3. This is just a bunch of crap. And you sound very European ans snotty to me, knock the high and mighty attitude off, no one appreciates it and you make others in Europe look bad.


RE: not
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 12:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But I Still wonder, most people buy cars for the looks or for the "performance numbers" (the classic E-penis is everywhere!)
You don't know much about the US market. This is what Americans buy. With the exception of the pickups, all of the cars on this list are NOT gas guzzlers.

http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3022-autos...


RE: not
By Keeir on 3/8/2011 12:38:04 PM , Rating: 3
Hello Tamalero,

It is an interesting note that when you travel to countries other than the United States and look around... people who can afford "gasguzzlers" have purchased them and used them. Europe is often held up as the "pinnacle" of responsible motoring. Yet, the companies in the US with the lowest CAFE ratings are ... European companies.

People in the United States favor larger "more wasteful" cars because
A.) United States people spend more miles in Cars
B.) United States people spend more hours in Cars
C.) United States people share the road with Larger Trucks/Etc
D.) United States people pay market prices + small taxes for gasoline. A US gallon of gas costs ~$4.00 dollars. Even the cheapest country in Europe is looking at ~6-7 dollars a gallon, some even more.
E.) United States government does not levy large taxes and fees on Automobiles.

Most US consumers (when gasoline prices aren't moving all over the place) are reasonably rational when making car choices. They choose the largest, most comfortable, highest performance, best looking automobile they can for the amount of money they wish to spend. In the United States larger cars are worth more (see A-C) and cost less (see D-E) than in Europe, so the end result is larger cars and more gas consumed. Any people put in the same situation make the same choices.

If the US chooses to improve mass transportation or force people to live closer together, the value of larger cars may drop as the cost of operating them may rise. This would indeed shift the market away from larger cars... at the cost of the happiness dervived from having/using the larger cars. (How many weathly people own just a Honda Fit?)


RE: not
By tamalero on 3/8/2011 1:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
really interesting view, thx for clarification!.

my opinion was based in the fact that I've visited Houston a few times. and honestly, the first thing I noticed in the tollways was;.. how many people have these huge FORD LOBO or similar sized cars! (including the insane gas-trasher Hummer H2)
Pittsburgh in the other hand, wasnt that bad


RE: not
By Keeir on 3/8/2011 1:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
Houston for better or worse is one of the most spread out cities in America and probably the world. Pittsburgh is considerably more dense.

An average Houstonian spends more time in cars and pays even less tax (on said car) than the average Pittsburghian.

But I would point out that many people in the United States buy large trucks because of personal hobbies such as Horse Ranching, Hobby Farming, Water Sports/Towing, etc. And its true that they are often not used enough to justify the purchase of the trucks. People fool themselves into thinking they will have the time/money to enjoy such hobbies. This is one of the reasons people get angry about being "forced" into smaller automobiles, because then they would have to give up the hope that they would get to do such hobbies. The Full-Sized Pickup has essentially replaced the smaller pick-ups in the US market due to small differences in cost and LARGE differences capability.

Again, these are not irrational people. Most Europeans put into Houstan would make very similiar choices as the Texans that live there now.


RE: not
By JediJeb on 3/8/2011 2:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
As someone who actually uses a Pickup Truck on a regular basis the ones you mention have been a thorn in my side for a long time now. It used to be Pickups were simple, plain, no frills vehicles made to do a job. Now they are more like a luxury car with leather seats, carpets, power everything ect. I still drive my 96 model because all the new ones I look at are too expensive and almost make you afraid to scratch them. Used to be a truck was priced at about 1/2 the price of the average car, now many are at or above the price of an average car. What is sad is I paid $42K for my house and 3 acres 5 years ago and I can barely purchase a new truck for even half of that, and to get it at that price I have to special order it with all the bells and whistles removed and wait for it to be delivered.

My current truck has a cloth seat, vinyl floor, radio and A/C, I do kinda wish it had cruise control but I can live without it. We can't even get good deals on stripped down trucks at work anymore, so we just buy 2 year old used ones to save money even though they are still sometimes loaded out with options we don't need. I will try to keep my old one at home going as long as I can because I hate the thought of spending $30k on something I am just going to get dented and scratched while using it.


RE: not
By aguilpa1 on 3/11/2011 4:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
I drive a pick up also and prefer the stripped down models if you can find them. They keep getting bigger and bigger. I bought the last year were a true single cab was available for a Ford truck in 2004. Now even the "single cab" models are extended.

The answer which the auto industry would rather you not know to solve the need for expensive EV is just...., keep your old vehicle for 7 to 10 years. Keep up the maintenance and it will save the environment. No extra vehicles on the road, no extra manufacture or raw materials to use. I gave my last payment over 2 years ago and now my 4.2l truck that gets 20MPG in town with standard 5 speed and 23 on the road costs me just $650 a year on gas per year. I have had to do nothing but put a new battery in it this year at a cost of $180 (it was a nice battery). I plan to keep it at least 3 more years, then find a similar replacement if I can find it. I will have saved THOUSANDS of dollars on payments and no contributed to the extra waste that goes into manufacturing a new vehicle. How green is that?


RE: not
By ImEmmittSmith on 3/8/2011 2:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Dallas/Fort Worth, yes we love our high performance cars and trucks, but we usually spend 1-2 hours daily commuting and I love the price/performance. I drive a BMW 550i, because I chose too and love the adrenaline rush from hitting the accelerator and being sucked back into my seat. I think people in Europe drive the same type of cars we do, right!?! It is truly a great feeling, but don't get to do that much in the city. But, get me out of the city on some straight farm roads, and 145 mph is magical! So, for the Prius driver that saves a few bucks on fuel, but pays so much for very a little savings and no thrill of the driving experience, they can keep it!! Live is too short to not enjoy the finer things on occasion.


RE: not
By Johnmcl7 on 3/8/2011 4:52:07 PM , Rating: 1
As someone who lives in Europe and been to the US, your arguments make little sense or plain wrong:

"People in the United States favor larger "more wasteful" cars because
A.) United States people spend more miles in Cars

This is a counterpoint as surely if spending more miles in the car then fuel efficiency should be a greater concern rather than a reason for having a less efficient car. There's plenty of people in Europe spend their days driving all day and surprise, surprise efficient diesel engines are the choice for such work, not gas guzzlers.

B.) United States people spend more hours in Cars

Not really sure what this has to do with fuel consumption, again as per the previous point there's plenty of people in the EU who spend a lot of time in cars and you don't need a large inefficient engine to be comfortable, just look at BMW's diesel engines.

C.) United States people share the road with Larger Trucks/Etc

Simply not true, we have large trucks in Europe as well but again I'm struggling to see what this has to do with fuel effiency. If this is to do with the safety rating of a vehicle and therefore 'bigger is better' then this probably is more an issue in the UK than the US as we have the problem of left hand drive trucks on UK roads. Due to the driver being on the left it's very easy for a car to sit in a blind spot which means when the truck moves to overtake they sideswipe the car

D.) United States people pay market prices + small taxes for gasoline. A US gallon of gas costs ~$4.00 dollars. Even the cheapest country in Europe is looking at ~6-7 dollars a gallon, some even more.
E.) United States government does not levy large taxes and fees on Automobiles."

Your last two points are really the only genuine ones, if it wasn't for the high tax rate on petrol and high road tax on vehicles with high emissions there probably wouldn't be the same drive on fuel efficiency.


RE: not
By Marlonsm on 3/7/2011 5:50:20 PM , Rating: 1
I'm also not surprised. I wouldn't buy an all-electric car myself yet, even if I had the money. They just aren't ready for everyday use for most people, slow charging in limited stations being the biggest problem.

But that's a start, and hopefully those few sales will start adding up to a number big enough so that a good infrastructure is created.
And with a larger production, tech will improve and get cheaper.

One example of how a good infrastructure can be created given enough time is Brazil.
In late 70s the government started promoting ethanol (from sugar cane) as an alternate fuel. A decade later, most new cars were already running on ethanol. Today almost all cars sold here are flex fuel, can run both on gas and on ethanol or a mixture of both. And usually ethanol is much cheaper than gas.


RE: not
By vol7ron on 3/7/2011 8:15:31 PM , Rating: 3
Instead of slow charging stations, I would like to see drive-thru battery replacements.

Instead of having to charge your battery, the station would charge a battery for you. Basically, electric cars should facilitate a mechanism to easily pull out the battery. Then, you simply put that in some console at the electric station, which would lock, then it would unlock the other side of the console, which would contain a fully charged battery.

This could all be managed by an independent company, which would run annual quality checks on the batteries to make sure they are falling in some level of quality control to hold a particular charge.

To me, the idea of easily exchanging batteries is more practical, then sitting at a fueling station to slowly charge it; especially when a lot of these vehicles will be used in cities, where owners don't have garages or the means to plug in their cars.

-- What do you guys think?


RE: not
By Marlonsm on 3/7/2011 8:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
I also like this idea, but it's not without problems.
It would either force manufacturers to adopt a standard battery, slowing down innovations (not good at this point) or force people to own more than one battery so one can be recharged at the station while the other is being used.


RE: not
By vol7ron on 3/7/2011 11:39:49 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it would just standardize the battery casing, not the battery per se; a standardized battery chasis might lead to a little economy to scale and cheaper battery. This could allow for a variety of capacities/types and internal technologies, that could all be interchanged.

Also, perhaps this could be a subscription service, rather than something that's mandatory. First, starting in the big cities (as mentioned) and then branching out to the 'burbs.

Still, the point would be that the station would do all the charging, and they should have a few hundred available. It should also create jobs as there would need to be some way to scan and set aside certain batteries that are out of service, though this task could be made easy with stickers, scanners, or color coding.

Really, though, batteries are environmentally unfriendly. People that think they are greener than "gas guzzlers" don't understand all that's involved from creation to disposal. Not to say that the historic application is any better, just, it's generally not a good idea to replace a noticeable problem that everyone can see public eye, with a solution that seems better because people don't see it, but it still exists in the background. All that's done is creating false-comfort.


RE: not
By tamalero on 3/8/2011 1:35:59 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose a similar approach as how some manufacturers of batteries are making only AA base alcaline, the rest are just AA batteries with cassing on top.


RE: not
By JediJeb on 3/8/2011 1:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
I guess one problem would be that the stations would need to be spaced out at less than the range of the batteries. If the max range was 100 miles then every 80 miles or so there would have to be a station to do the exchange, which would allow for long trips, otherwise if you are simply driving 20 miles a day it would be more convenient to just charge at home. For apartment dwellers without a garage there could be special combination parking meters/charge stations placed around for those where you swipe a card that will send in a final bill once you unplug, which is the same as filling with gasoline.


RE: not
By Proton on 3/7/2011 10:31:44 PM , Rating: 3
During the energy crisis of the 70's, I read about the idea of exchanging batteries as you mention. So that idea is very old, and obviously the problems of ending up with bad batteries and not being able to get you potentialy brand new ones back after an exchange, probably has made this technique still not possible to this day.


RE: not
By Spuke on 3/7/2011 11:31:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
probably has made this technique still not possible to this day
It's possible but how many people would willingly give up their brand new battery for an "old" one with an unknown amount of cycles.


RE: not
By vol7ron on 3/7/2011 11:57:30 PM , Rating: 1
I won't comment too much on this, but this would go into quality tests and some amount of regulation. The batteries would need to be service tested once/twice a year for quality.

Instead of giving up your own battery, you could buy into this service and they could give you one to start with. You could always lug around your extra as a back-up in case you break down sometime, or something happens to the one you're issued - sort of like carrying around a spare tire.

The more I think about the idea, the more I would be likely to buy a hybrid/electric. This is saying something, because I'm more for HP and torque and more opposed to the "green" electric movement at the moment, at least until it really becomes more green.


RE: not
By Schrag4 on 3/8/2011 9:24:18 AM , Rating: 2
Service stations would have to test the batteries that you bring to ensure that they're still good before they could swap them out. If they didn't, then a competing service station would simply have an employee drive an unmarked, station-owned car over with their bad batteries to swap out for good ones.

If this test takes a few seconds, then fine. If it takes 10 minutes, no thanks. Anyone have any idea how long it takes to test these batteries?


RE: not
By vol7ron on 3/9/2011 11:27:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's where the regulation comes into play. It'd be similar to how trash dumps work and how state inspections work on cars today.

The gas stations would just need to set aside the spare batteries that are out of service. There would be a weekly (or scheduled) pickup and the service station would get paid some percentage to do the work.

More than likely there would be only one company that handles the logistics of this type of service - that is the maintenance and actual ownership of the batteries. The consumer (day-to-day drivers) don't need to worry about any of this. They wouldn't see any delay, the gas/charging stations don't have stock in the batteries. They just charge the old batteries and make money on the swaps. The service station doesn't really need to stand by and check on things, a computer system could easily run quality checks w/o a person even being there. It's a win-win-win.

I don't mind being down-rated, but I do like to know reasons - maybe something I said was just retarded :)


RE: not
By vol7ron on 3/7/2011 11:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't around in the 70's so I wouldn't know about this; but that goes to show that no one really owns an idea.

quote:
obviously the problems of ending up with bad batteries and not being able to get you potentialy brand new ones back after an exchange, probably has made this technique still not possible to this day

I also was thinking of that exact problem while I wrote it. That is why I was thinking of scanning measures and quality tests on returned batteries. Really, you (the company) don't need to run quality tests all the time, you only need to run it once or twice a year on a battery - there could be a whole set of regulation involved, which could also create some jobs, or some additional income for mechanics. Batteries could have stickers on them to show when they were last tested. Also, drivers wouldn't really own the battery. They would only be using the battery for one charge, which could last them several hundreds of miles depending on if they drive a hybrid, or pure electric.

The bigger problem is having enough "fully charged" batteries on-hand for hot swaps. I'm not sure how frequent drivers would need to exchange at the station - perhaps a station could get by with numbers in the tens, since people don't exchange all that the same time and charges last a while.

The bigger issue, though, would be to push manufactures to have an easy way to pull out and insert (possibly many) batteries. I suppose the positive and negative contacts could be internal and the batteries themselves could have handles with safelock latches, that make them easy to slide in and out.


RE: not
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 12:40:28 PM , Rating: 2
Self discharge on these batteries is relatively low and they don't need to be stored fully charged. You could just cycle then load test them before you gave them out. The negative part is that these are "big" batteries and cycling them would take quite a while unless you have a large amp load and a large amp charger.


RE: not
By SnakeBlitzken on 3/8/2011 9:22:43 AM , Rating: 2
How would you feel about driving up to an exchange station in a brand new vehicle and swapping out for an old, used up battery? It would be inevitable but a little hard to take the first time.


RE: not
By jamesjwb on 3/8/2011 8:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure it's true these days. In Brazil the price has slowly crept up on Ethanol, and while it's cheaper per litre, it burns quicker, so you run out faster. It may still be cheaper, but not by much anymore.


RE: not
By Marlonsm on 3/8/2011 8:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
Usually it's much cheaper to use Ethanol. Although it gets you about 70% to 80% of the range, some times it's just over half the price of gas.
Right now it's not worth it, at least not in my state, but as most cars are flex fuel, all we need to do is to use gas until the prices go down again.


RE: not
By NicodemusMM on 3/7/2011 8:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not surprised by the poor sales given the mark-up from dealers on the Volt and the lack of range on the LEAF. I'd love to have an EV of some sort... but I can't really sacrifice comfort in order to do so. Traveling 250-600 miles/day means that comfort is as much (if not more) of a priority than gas mileage.

Until the tech matures more (specifically in storage) sales of vehicles such as this will remain stunted until the cost of fuel demands otherwise.


RE: not
By ZeeStorm on 3/8/2011 11:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, has nobody pointed out... the Volt is not an EV. Stop referring to it as one. It's an electric hybrid, very similar to the Prius -- which is also NOT an EV. Tesla Roadster? That's an EV. Nissan Leaf? That's an EV. Fisker Karma? That's not an EV.

Stop comparing 2 totally different cars, as they have 2 totally different purposes (Volt can go long distances, Leaf can't, etc.).


RE: not
By stephenbrooks on 3/8/2011 6:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
--[I'm not really surprised by poor sales, are you?]--

I'm not surprised by the poor sales because the LEAF looks like arse. ;)


No LEAF for me
By lightfoot on 3/7/2011 5:48:07 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The LEAF contains a noisy backup warning sound to warn pedestrians

That alone would prevent me from ever considering the vehicle.




RE: No LEAF for me
By Proton on 3/7/2011 10:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
In the UK, the backup noise is illegal (at night).

http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/07/nissan-leaf-del...


RE: No LEAF for me
By The Raven on 3/8/2011 10:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
Did you not read what Jason wrote? We know this, but thanks anyway.

You should've linked to this instead:
http://www.dailytech.com/Nissan+GM+Only+Manage+to+...

;-)


RE: No LEAF for me
By tastyratz on 3/8/2011 2:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on what they mean by loud.

Also I would imagine you are allowed to make SOME sound you silly brits, so who at nissan didn't think of the genius idea to... just turn down the volume instead of removing them all together?

I can see where the sound is helpful provided it is non intrusive and not annoying.

Don't forget your gas engine car makes sounds in reverse too they are just ones you are used to.


Let's see...
By Motoman on 3/7/2011 11:18:43 PM , Rating: 3
Pathetic range...check.

Expensive price...check.

No way to "refuel" while on the road...check.

Well, it looks fine to me...not sure why anyone would pass up an opportunity to buy one of those things.




RE: Let's see...
By piroroadkill on 3/8/2011 8:22:40 AM , Rating: 1
You know the Volt has none of these issues, right?


RE: Let's see...
By piroroadkill on 3/8/2011 8:22:59 AM , Rating: 3
Sorry, sorry, apart from the ridiculous price. It's definitely ridiculously priced.


RE: Let's see...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/8/2011 1:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
The Leaf has them because it is a true EV. Battery Maxim: Low Cost, Long Range, High Speed, choose any two. The leaf chose low cost and long-ish range.

The Volt is MERELY a plug-in Parallel Hybrid that has a top electric speed of 70 mph. When the Prius PHEV comes out next year for high-20's, low-30's, the Volt will be a total has-been. The Volt is not an electric vehicle. Why do I always see it in the same articles with Leaf's?


RE: Let's see...
By Motoman on 3/8/2011 2:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
I should have noted, I guess, that I really am talking about actual EVs...not hybrids. Hybrids at least can run on fuel when the battery runs out - although as noted they are still very expensive compared to a non-hybrid model.

EVs are all of the above...in spades.


Time for some creativity...
By jharper12 on 3/8/2011 9:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
Chevrolet needs to reduce supply of the Equinox, Cruze and Traverse to any dealer that charges more than MSRP for the Volt. This is miserable publicity, and completely against the point of having the Volt for sale at this point. They can't just crack down and tell the dealers not to overcharge, unfortunately they just don't have the legal right to do so, but they've overcome this sort of thing in the past by choosing who gets a limited supply of top selling vehicles, and that's what needs to happen now. The plan for the Volt was to sell up to 15k this year, originally I heard up to 12k. That can and still will likely happen. These things are severely supply constrained.

What people don't seem to understand is that they are very luxurious and fun to drive... the price tag is unrelated to the economy of the vehicle. This thing compares favorably to a luxury vehicle in the class, which will typically be around the same price, but it just happens to be an electric car that can keep going using gas. No range anxiety. People who see, get in them, and drive them, want one. It's a very moving and enjoyable experience to drive the Volt. I'm sure it's also enjoyable to drive the Leaf, but most people realize that with an 8-20 hour charge time the Leaf isn't going to make a lot of sense for them with such a limited range. Those same people see a car that goes up to 50 miles all electric (4-8 hours charge time) and then gets 37 MPG while the generator is running and they think, "win-win" this is fun to drive, good for the environment, and easy on the wallet. Buy the Volt and you'll have practically no maintenance worries and a lower gas bill. In the end it's far cheaper than most luxury vehicles.

Compare it to a Lexus IS 250, which gets 24 MPG combined premium. Assume half your driving is all electric with the Volt with an average range of 35 miles and a $1.50 in electricity to charge it... that's extremely conservative. Then the other half you're getting 37 MPG. Over 100k miles you'll have spent $15,745.83 in gas on the Lexus, not to mention the regular servicing that will need to take place, and $7,249.61 in gas and electricity on the Volt. Just the price to keep the thing moving brings the Volt into the same price range, not to mention the reduced servicing requirements. Now, let's do a more reasonable comparison: 40 miles to a charge, 75% electric driving, and everything else held the same. $5,365.88 for the Volt. Less than a 1/3 the operating cost. It's only going to get more favorable, the more gas prices go up. People are buying the Volt for a reason, and the second generation Volt is already in the works. Can't wait to see it.




RE: Time for some creativity...
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 12:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What people don't seem to understand is that they are very luxurious and fun to drive
Wife and I went and looked at one. I wouldn't call it luxurious. As a matter of opinion, we were both surprised at how it was NOT luxurious. Even the spartan, Germanic interiors of BMW's are a helluva lot more luxurious than the the Volt. GM, charge another $2000 on the car and spruce up the interior a bit.


RE: Time for some creativity...
By Keeir on 3/8/2011 2:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even the spartan, Germanic interiors of BMW's are a helluva lot more luxurious than the the Volt.


Erm. BMWs have some of the best interiors (IMO) on Sub-100,000 cars out there. High quality materials and smart design choices are standard. Heck of alot better than the equivalent model Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, Caddy, Mercedes, Lincoln etc.

I think what the OP meant was that the Volt is not a sub-20k economy car with an electric drivetrain. Power Outlets, USB Ports, Automatic Climate Control, Bluetooth, Hard Drive based Naviation, 5 years of Onstar , Touch Screen center, Remote Starter, etc. Put every option on and you have leather, rear camera, heated seats, etc.

A Honda Civic which is still minus alot of features such as Automatic Climate Control, rear-backup camera etc, runs into the 26k range. Value of OnStar is debatable, but the Onstar site values 5 years at 1,500 dollars. TCO for a "loaded" Volt and an "loaded" Civic after 150,000 miles is remarkably similar.


RE: Time for some creativity...
By shin0bi272 on 3/9/2011 2:52:10 AM , Rating: 2
So in your communist mind they should cut the supply of cars that are selling well to push cars that arent? Do you not comprehend supply and demand at all? Supply goes up and demand stays the same ... price goes down. Supply stays the same and demand goes up Price goes up. If you want the price to go down on these POS EVs they will have to supply more of them first then when they dont sell the price will become more attractive near the end of the year when the next years models come out. Its like any new technology there's a price premium to be paid for early adopters. More people would put up with the volt if it were sub 15 or 20k... but till that day they wont sell well.

Luxury and fun are relative concepts. What you might call luxurious I might call bland. What you might call fun I might call dangerously loose in the corners... its all relative. You cant claim something is amazing and put everyone else down for not feeling the same way you do just because you enjoy something. I have a suggestion...why not drive a bently continental GT then drive a bugatti veyron (SP?) then drive a volt and then talk about luxury and fun to drive. Your entire post reads like you work for either GM or the federal government.

You cant assume that half of your driving will be electric with the volt unless you live and work less than 40 miles apart and never drive anywhere else without recharging the battery.

Instead of a high priced toyota lets compare it to an all gasoline powered saturn. I drive a saturn ION that gets 35mpg and it cost me 13,100 to buy. with gas at 3.50/gal I can fill its 10gal tank for 35 bucks. that 10 gal will last me a week worth of driving back and forth to my 2 jobs (working 2 jobs to buy a house not gas) which amounts to ~65mi/day. 35*52=$1820/yr in gas (again assuming gas stayed at 3.50 for this entire year... which it wont. the volt costs what 40k... pre government "incentives"? so 40k-13k = 27,000 bucks worth of gas I can buy before I even come close to what your volt cost. at 1800/yr in gas and I can drive for 15 YEARS before I come close to the cost of your POS Hybrid.

Please take your lips off obama's ass and learn to do math.


By shin0bi272 on 3/9/2011 3:00:19 AM , Rating: 2
Oh and also dont forget GM is still bankrupt... they are pushing a 40,000 dollar car that they arent even making a profit on in lieu of selling cars that they can make a profit on. I dont wanna hear that bs about they paid off their loan... they paid their first loan with money from the porkulus bill... so they paid us back with money we lent them... screw you GM!

And lastly you know what happens to batteries when they get cold (or hot) right? They lose efficiency... up to 50% efficiency in fact. So if the temp drops to lets say -10F your 40mi electric range will drop to about 20miles... enjoy your overpriced lawn ornament.


Here we go again.
By bah12 on 3/7/2011 6:08:29 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Still it's a bit of a mystery how the far-cheaper LEAF has fared so much worse than the Volt.

Um, not much of a mystery there scooby as you pointed out yourself.
quote:
One possibility is that drivers are scared of not having a backup gas engine (which the Volt has).
One possiblility...wow... How can you not wrap your mind around what a HUGE deal that is. You can debate all you'd like the EV vs. Hybrid debacle, the fact is this car is 100% undeniably useless after 100 (ish) miles.

Hybrid and extended range EV's (read volt), are a niche market, the LEAF is a niche of a niche market. Only a bafoon would be baffled as to why this car is selling poorly. My father-in-law bought a golf cart with windows and mirrors (literally) that was street legal, mainly to get it almost free because of a tax loophole (see below). Arguably the LEAF is little more than that. Sure it has a farther range and fully enclosed body, but I don't care if it's range is 300 miles if the damn thing runs dead and you are stuck at a plug for 4 hours it is pretty darn limiting.

Just really wish you'd pull your proverbial head out and see that comparing the Volt to the LEAF is really an act of lunacy.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487041...




RE: Here we go again.
By ZachDontScare on 3/7/2011 6:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if you can stick a small $200 backup generator in the trunk for emergency recharges.


RE: Here we go again.
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 12:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I wonder if you can stick a small $200 backup generator in the trunk for emergency recharges.
Sure but it will more than likely cost more than $200. There is a good 4000W generator that costs ~$350 but it's not small at all. Small will cost you $800 minimum just for a generator (1000W). Battery chargers are cheap. You can get a 40 amp portable for $100 which will run on that generator (depends on the continuous watts rating of the generator). The main problem is that battery chargers are designed to charge lead acid batteries and will only give you their rated capacity for a relatively short period of time. So even though you have a 40 amp charger, you will more than likely get less than a house outlet over the course of a few hours and probably would take longer than the 4 hours a house charger would take to charge your battery.


RE: Here we go again.
By vol7ron on 3/7/2011 11:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but just look at the picture. That Volt is so much sexier than the LEAF. Looks alone, I know what I'd rather drive down the street.


hello, research
By ciparis on 3/7/2011 5:55:52 PM , Rating: 4
Try finding a Volt for sale. Just pick one of the states that's currently selling it (tip: most are going to California), then call around and see who has one that you can go and actually buy right now. Good luck.

The numbers for February were low because of supply -- period. Current waiting times are weeks to months long, depending on what dealer you ask. I called all over the state in February looking for one that was available to purchase, because I was considering buying one (no luck). I can think of at least one other reason for calling around like that: writing an article ;)




RE: hello, research
By kraeper on 3/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: hello, research
By Keeir on 3/7/2011 6:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
Why let prefectly good logic and facts spoil a great story!

Of course the numbers for the Volt and Leaf are low... the companies are not delivering enough to customers! Both are still in the backlog stage.

Total Nissan Leaf: 173. I thought the Leaf has 20,000+ deposits!

Total Volt: 928.

A sales is not a -SALE- until the car is out the door and the money is in the bank. Can anyone say there really are only ~1,000 people in the US that would buy there cars?


RE: hello, research
By MeesterNid on 3/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: hello, research
By shin0bi272 on 3/9/2011 2:28:23 AM , Rating: 2
obviously we can because they havent even sold 500


Uh...... Supply problems, anyone?
By CharonPDX on 3/7/2011 8:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
And Ferrari only sold 5 vehicles! Obviously Ferrari is about to go out of business because nobody wants them.

Last I had read, both the Volt and Leaf were supply-constrained. They may have only sold a couple thousand, but they sold every one they made - they just can't make them fast enough to keep up with demand.

Just like when the second-generation Prius came out. They didn't sell too many in the first few months, but it was SOLELY supply side.




By Spuke on 3/8/2011 12:34:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And Ferrari only sold 5 vehicles! Obviously Ferrari is about to go out of business because nobody wants them.
Actually Ferrari sold 92 cars last month but exclusivity is part of the deal so I don't know if that's apples to apples. Point taken though.


By MonkeyPaw on 3/7/2011 5:59:43 PM , Rating: 2
Gee, the Volt is already more expensive than its "competition," and those are cars that are better at many things, yet still probably cost less to own and operate over the entire lifespan of the vehicle. As a consumer, if I already consider the Volt overpriced, then inflated auctions aren't going to help. This isn't an early edition sports car we're talking about. It's a family sedan that you need to plug in everywhere for optimal efficiency. No, the Volt should have been something different. Something worth the price (like a sports car or something) until the technology is proven and affordable. The Leaf and Volt really are in the wrong markets. Even the Prius found a good market niche.




GM goes under again cause no one buys Volts
By stm1185 on 3/7/11, Rating: 0
By jharper12 on 3/8/2011 8:52:55 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt is a halo product only... the plan was to sell up to 15k units this year. GM had a solid 4th quarter...

Why is it that people want GM to fail? GM is wholly committed to paying back the taxpayer, if the treasury hadn't sold IPO stock at $33 the taxpayer would have made money off of the bailout. Millions of jobs were saved, the tax payer will get paid back, GM is making some of the most fuel efficient and dependable cars on the road, and people still want them to fail. What's the deal people?


I'm "shocked"
By overlandpark4me on 3/7/2011 9:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
No pun intended. Throw the economy aside, the over sticker gouging, and the fact that the cars are way overpriced, even at sticker. People have started to do the math and realized that they will never get their money back on these cars. I guess if you hang with it for 10 years, you have a shot, but what about the batteries? No proven track record, and I can't even fathom how much they are to replace. Buy a Civic or the like, take a small hit on the mpg, but stay "miles" ahead dollar wise.




fix it with duct tape
By Shadowmaster625 on 3/8/2011 9:11:35 AM , Rating: 2
All you need to do is put a piece of tape over the speaker. Then the backup warning sounds will simply be quieter. Just keep adding tape until it is within the noise spec.




I can't stop laughing!!!
By The Raven on 3/8/2011 10:40:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Where recent U.S. laws and federal guidelines require these noises, Nissan is having to race to remove them in Britain.


It is all I can do to keep from crying!

Well I guess I can sit back and watch the circus that will be the battle between the visually impaired lobbyists* and the insomniac lobbyists*.

*none of whom actually suffer from the problem or give a D about others, just unscrupulous lawyers who want to exploit those whom the public pities.




Who's hopes?
By shin0bi272 on 3/9/2011 2:22:58 AM , Rating: 2
Who exactly was hoping for these cheap POS vehicles? The environmentalists who hate all humanity? These are like those retarded smart cars that are a deathtrap (google smart car vs semi truck ... you'll puke) only a little bigger and way more expensive. Lets face it people... till theres better battery tech that can last 500miles of driving at 65mph and recharges in less than 5 minutes you will NEVER see a massive push for these in the market. Hell the federal government PAYS you to buy them and they cant even sell 500 COMBINED in a month. Why cant the greenies get it through their heads that no one wants these things? Are you just that sold out to your religion of environmentalism that you will refuse to see the truth that your ideas are a failure?




GM deserves to bite it
By MartyLK on 3/7/11, Rating: -1
RE: GM deserves to bite it
By Hafgrim on 3/8/2011 2:27:14 AM , Rating: 2
Soemthing dosnt smell right with this articles interpretation of Nissans prospective sales.

I am buying a leaf & i made it onto the waiting list way back when Nissan first started taking names but they wont sell it to me officially yet until April or whenever they choose because im not in one of the areas they chose to get it first. So Im sure there are many Nissan Leaf buyers like me just sitting here waiting by no fault of our own, when we would have purchased it already months ago..


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By jharper12 on 3/8/2011 8:49:27 AM , Rating: 3
Idiot.

There is a planetary gear set that allows the engine to be part of the drive train over 70 MPH, because the two electric motors only produce 153 HP. They produce 278 ft-lbs of torque, which gets you great acceleration, but people want to be able to go 100 MPH, thus the planetary gear set. This thing still operates all electric for up to 50 miles... and most people aren't going faster than 70 MPH during their daily commute.

Obviously what GM created more people wanted than the Leaf. Why are you angry again? Because GM offered a car that didn't require 8-20 hours of charging to be useful?

The Volt is far from a hybrid, 99% of the time this thing runs entirely off of batteries... when the engine is running, it's charging the batteries. It's a range extender, get your facts straight. I'm also not just some guy that read about the Volt, I've driven it, long distance, three times. I know what I'm talking about.


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By Keeir on 3/8/2011 12:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly, no. 153 HP is enough to get a car the size and wieght of a volt up to 100 MPH. The Engine is only capable of ~70hp remember?

The issue is more to due with gearing (I believe). Nothing is more efficient than a fixed single gear. Looking at the Volt powertrain, the idea was the use a fixed single gear for as long as possible. Unfortunetly, the Volt's electric motors must experience power and efficiency fade at high RPM levels. See an example motor?

http://www.teslamotors.com/roadster/technology/mot...

Under the power fade and efficiency fade the question probably became whether to switch electric motors, use a twospeed gearing system or to direct connect the wheels using a clutch + power sharing device. Perhaps (A guess) switching electric motors was impossible or impractical. An inexpensive twospeed gearing system would have robbed electric only range... perhaps significantly. Thus the choice was made to use a clutch + power sharing device.

I hope for Volt 2.0 a new motor will be used that will allow the power sharing device to be removed.


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By chunkymonster on 3/8/2011 12:28:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
and most people aren't going faster than 70 MPH during their daily commute.
Not sure where you live, because if you are on any major roadway or interstate within NJ, PA, NY, CT and are driving anything LESS than 70MPH you better be in the right hand lane lest you will have a line of very angry daily commuters behind you.

quote:
The Volt is far from a hybrid
Wrong! For someone who claims to have driven the Volt, you fail miserably. The gasoline acts as a range extender but the Volt is (and will always be) a hybrid vehicle. Just so you understand, if a vehicle has both a gasoline engine (regardless of how it's used) and electric motors powered by a battery pack; it's a hybrid! Specifically, the Volt is classified as a serial-hybrid vehicle as opposed to the Prius which is a parallel hybrid vehicle.

The primary issue about the Volt, aside form the outrageous MRP and price-gouging by dealers trying to cash in on the latest "green" vehicle, is that Toyota, Nissan, and Honda studied, researched, and developed serial-hybrid vehicles and all determined that the parallel hybrid design was a better design and ultimately more marketable than the series hybrid. What does that say about GM? Other than leave it up to a company that wasted my tax dollars getting out of debt to release an inferior product late to the hybrid vehicle market.

Fact is, GM has done more to stifle alternative fuel vehicles in the past 20 years than they have to successfully develop and sell them; the buy out/licensing of A123 Systems battery technologies (and then choosing LG over A123), the failure to continue R&D into fuel cells, and dropping the ball on the EV1.

Looking out the next few years, European car makers will be marketing diesel electric hybrids expected to get 60+mpg and ranges of over 700 miles between refueling. If GM has any vision or foresight, which they don't, they would start developing a diesel electric hybrid for the American market, but they won't. And, not for nothing, but if start-up companies like Fisker and Tesla can produce an EV with ranges up to 300 miles between recharge, with all their money and resources, especially considering the jump start they had with the EV1, why can't GM also develop and market a competitively priced EV?

GM = FAIL!


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By Spuke on 3/8/2011 12:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If GM has any vision or foresight, which they don't, they would start developing a diesel electric hybrid for the American market, but they won't.
Yes, because there are lines around the corner to buy just the plain diesel cars. Who's going to buy the hybrid diesel again? ONE person on an internet forum that wants a product does not equal demand for a product. What really cracks me up is that 90% of you guys that ask for these products wouldn't buy it even if it was available. So why should these cars be built for a market that does not exist?


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By Keeir on 3/8/2011 1:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And, not for nothing, but if start-up companies like Fisker and Tesla can produce an EV with ranges up to 300 miles between recharge, with all their money and resources, especially considering the jump start they had with the EV1, why can't GM also develop and market a competitively priced EV?


#1. Fisker is making a Serial Hybrid.
#2. Telsa has yet to make an Electric Car less than 100,000. Even the base Model S with a 160 mile range will be 50,000 AFTER federal rebate.

quote:
Fact is, GM has done more to stifle alternative fuel vehicles in the past 20 years than they have to successfully develop and sell them; the buy out/licensing of A123 Systems battery technologies (and then choosing LG over A123), the failure to continue R&D into fuel cells, and dropping the ball on the EV1.


Tell me a company that has done more in the US? Honda (it sells Civic NGV in some areas)?

quote:
The primary issue about the Volt, aside form the outrageous MRP and price-gouging by dealers trying to cash in on the latest "green" vehicle


Dealers try to price gouge ANYTHING in high demand. In my area, Dealers were trying to put 1,000-2,000 above MSRP on VW TDI models. Performance or limited run models often have the same issue. The Volt's MSRP is not "outrageous" but inline with the market. Over 10 years/150,000 miles, a purchaser will only pay a relatively small premium for a Volt versus a comparable Civic (Essentially even post Rebate) or Prius (~3,500 after rebate, 350 dollars a year).

quote:
is that Toyota, Nissan, and Honda studied, researched, and developed serial-hybrid vehicles and all determined that the parallel hybrid design was a better design and ultimately more marketable than the series hybrid.


Outside the Toyota Prius, give me one "succesful" Parallel Hybrid in the US. Certainly not the Honda Accord, Civic, Insight 1.0, Insight 2.0. The Honda CRZ is still out for discussion. How about the Nissan Altima? Toyota Camry? Lexus I250h? I guess we can call the Lexus 450h Crossover and maybe the Toyota Highlander "successful" but the take rate on them are very low. (VW sells more of thier WAGON DIESELS than FORD sells mid-sized SEDAN HYBRIDS even though Americans prefer Ford, Sedans, and Hybrids to VW, Wagons, and Diesel... they even cost very similar)

Hybrid success in the United States has been extremely limited to just 1 model from 1 company. Hybrids are alot more popular in.... JAPAN. Why? The Japanese system of taxing, driving distances, road conditions, electric and gasoline costs, inspection cycles, etc favor cheap efficient cars ... which result in Parallel hybrids having significant additional value. Serial Hybrids have significantly greater upfront costs are balanced by long term savings. But in Japan, it costs alot of money to keep cars due to yearly inspection requirements (past 3 years of age) and mandatory fixing... ever wonder why Japan exports large amounts of USED cars in good condition?

quote:
Looking out the next few years, European car makers will be marketing diesel electric hybrids expected to get 60+mpg and ranges of over 700 miles between refueling.


Ugh. It is unlikely that within a few "years" that anyone can make a Diesel Electric Hybrid with a "prefered" shape that gets 60+ MPG EPA combined. Lets look at the Lexus 200CT? Toyota/Lexus is a company with large amounts of Hyrbid experience, yet a small C-Segment Luxury car is unable to get more than ~41.5 MPG Combined on a 1.8L engine? Shove a Diesel/Electric Hybrid powertrain in the same car and your unlikely to get more 50 MPG combined. Why? Well, one of Diesel's strengths is high torque in low RPM ranges and high efficieny at steady states. The Atkins. Cycle engine used in Toyota/Prius hybrids already has high efficieny, almost as high as a diesel at steady states. The electric motor is used to replace the low end torque lost by the Atkins. Cycle engine. Essentially a Diesel Engine already utilizes the strengths of a Hybrid system! Hybridizing a Diesel Engine will do almost nothing for the HWY mileage, and will only bring the City Mileage into the range of HWY mileage (Diesel Engines in the past have not been as good at Start/Stop as Gasoline engines).

Oh, and anyone can make a car with 700+ miles between refueling, just make a gas tank really large! Apparently the US market is not calling out for 700+ mile ranges, I would expect any serious maker to reduce the size of the gas tank to ~400 mile ranges for the US market unless sharing the tank with a non-hybridized gasoline model.

I am not entirely happy with the Volt either, but instead of running around angry, maybe you should look at the market and regulations in the US? The Volt is an attempt to create a new class of cars... uniquely suited to the US driving habits and consumption patterns. Maximizing battery usuage while allowing maximum daily range but still allowing the majority of miles to be electric rather then gasoline. It's a fair first attempt. Looking back at the First and Second generation Prius, you had a car that cost more, had less features, got 25% worse mileage, was smaller, and looked even worse than the Third/Fourth Generation Priuses that we have today.


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By theBike45 on 3/13/2011 1:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
I have followed the Volt development from day 1 and , back then, felt (and still do) that it was the only means of obtaining electric drive miles. But then lots of things happened that caused me to re-evaluate the engineering.
The original "slightly less than $30K" price spoken of by Volt execs turned out to be horribly wrong - off by almost 50%. Somehow, GM forgot to ask either of the two competing battery companies for a price estimate!!! Which makes one wonder how GM ever came up with their estimated price in the first place. Are these people really that clueless?
No wonder they went Chapter 11.
Then they had to destroy the original styling (that which had attrected so much enthusiasm) in order to "get better aerodynamics." Once again, don't those people have a clue?
And how come Tesla produced a beautiful design for their electric which, by the way, happens to be more aerodynamic than the Volt? And their stylist used to work for GM!
Then that 40 miles of driving range promised (which was their stated reason for replacing their original styling with 21st century Ugly) turns out to be, well, not exactly guaranteed and even required more wear on the battery pack to achieve what they did get (25 to 45). And that promised 10 year battery warranty also went by the wayside.
The main problem with the Volt is that it was obsolete by the time it came off the assembly line. Time doesn't stand still and batteries got a whole lot cheaper from the original prices of slightly north of $1000 per kWhr (which strangely isn't reflected in the Volt's price). The RETAIL cost of Tesla's batteries, as installed in the Model S, and superior by far to anything GM has in their Volt
(not to mention also not poprietary, unlike GM's) comes
out at $575, and that includes everything - all that's needed to install the batteries and keep them temp controlled. That price drop is what killed the Volt design, which depended in toto on very high priced, very heavy, very large batteries that took a long time to recharge. The Tesla will recharge 300 miles worth of driving range in 45 minutes. The Volt cannot recharge 35 miles of driving range in under 3 hours. The Volt recharges 40 times slower than the Model S??? Where is the battery expertise that GM supposedly bought from LG? The Volt is hideously complicated and prone to unreliability and will be fixable only at select GM dealerships, at a very high price. So much space is wasted on gas engines and exhaust systems and transmissions, etc. that the Volt has to be 40% larger externally to equal the space efficiency of the Model S. MY prediction is that in five years it will be impossible to sell a Volt at 1/4th the original price. The batteries will be almost used up and may or may not be available, since the Volt will likely be out of production by then.
The Model S battery pack and motor place zero demand on interior space. Tesla designed a very smart, fast, elegant and attractive car. GM designed the Volt. Take your pick. Anticipate GM's first EV to mirror the Tesla Model S. I'm sure GM's engineer's and stylists are smart enough to know when they've been creamed and will simply copy the Model S architecture.


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By Keeir on 3/13/2011 7:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you have been following that well

quote:
The original "slightly less than $30K" price spoken of by Volt execs turned out to be horribly wrong - off by almost 50%.


That was after the 7,500 rebate. Turns out they were wrong by ~11%.

quote:
Then they had to destroy the original styling (that which had attrected so much enthusiasm) in order to "get better aerodynamics." Once again, don't those people have a clue?


The original styling was unproducable. Like 95% of concept cars. This is a duh moment.

quote:
And how come Tesla produced a beautiful design for their electric which, by the way, happens to be more aerodynamic than the Volt?


Well, the Roadster is not more aero-efficient. I also think there is a large degree of difference between a 100,000 car and a 40,000 car. If you mean the Model S, Tesla -still- has produced one for sale. As of yet, I couldn't say which was more "Aerodynamic". We will see where the price of a Model S ends up. Given Tesla's history, I expect the "50,000" dollar 160 mile will be more like 55,000-60,000 AFTER rebate. Yet again, I think there is a significant difference there in price. On top of this, Tesla's battery warranty is well... inferior to the GM's Volt.

quote:
Then that 40 miles of driving range promised (which was their stated reason for replacing their original styling with 21st century Ugly) turns out to be, well, not exactly guaranteed and even required more wear on the battery pack to achieve what they did get (25 to 45).


The 40 miles was promised on the pre-2008 EPA City and Highway cycles. The Volt is likely capable of acchieving this. Only an idoit would expect a Volt to get 40 miles of driving range -regardless- of the conditions.

quote:
And that promised 10 year battery warranty also went by the wayside.


Yep, turned into an 8 year warranty. Equivalent to all Hybrids. Superior to all BEVs.

quote:
The RETAIL cost of Tesla's batteries, as installed in the Model S, and superior by far to anything GM has in their Volt


Really? That Model S that hasn't been made yet? It will have cheaper batteries (which are also more simplistic) than cars made today? Gosh! I would recommend you read the Tesla's Battery Warranty Carefully. After 7 years, less than 50% range is acceptable. Thats some quality there!

quote:
The Tesla will recharge 300 miles worth of driving range in 45 minutes.


Err... no. The Tesla model S will recharge 140 miles in 45 minutes. A "Quick Charge" uses a special 480V power outlet (not able to be installed in most US homes) to charge ~85% of the battery. Tesla is fond of talking charging times for the lowest range model of the Model S. Quick Charging will also lower battery life.

Let me put it this way, if you really could recharge 300 miles in 45 minutes, that would require ~100 kW electrical source. At 480V, thats 200 amps. More electrical power than is typically wired to an entire house!

The Volt's maximum charge time is based on drawing ~12 amps at 110V. Safe enough for even very old household wiring since its less than a Hair Dryer. Using the Volt's 220V charger, which does indeed cost extra, will cut the time significantly.

quote:
The Volt is hideously complicated and prone to unreliability and will be fixable only at select GM dealerships, at a very high price.


Really? Only time will tell. I wouldn't expect though to buy a Model S and have it serviced anyplace but at a Tesla Dealership.

quote:
So much space is wasted on gas engines and exhaust systems and transmissions,


Yep. However, you can drive anywhere there is a gas station. All the "QuickCharge" capabilities of a car like the Tesla Roadster will do you no good unless you can find a place to charge it.

quote:
The batteries will be almost used up and may or may not be available, since the Volt will likely be out of production by then.


Sigh. Go read the Volt's warranty. If you experience signifcant range drop within 8 years, GM has to replace the battery pack.

quote:
The Model S battery pack and motor place zero demand on interior space.


Really? A 85kWh battery pack is small? You not using you head. Look at the space inside the Volt that is taken up by a 16kWh battery!

Prepare to be disappointed by the Model S. Its an expensive large car which will have relatively low usuability after 5 years. For example the 160 mile range will be 112. The huge battery pack will ensure that the Model S is not significantly more roomy than cars a class level down... though it will have nice storage room in the hood.


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By MartyLK on 3/8/2011 1:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
Dickhead...explain why all the secrecy of the changed configuration? If an engine-connected driveline is so good, why not announce that way in the beginning? Why did they change everything up at the last minute...dumbass moron.


RE: GM deserves to bite it
By shin0bi272 on 3/9/2011 3:06:53 AM , Rating: 2
Survey says! "they claimed it had a 230mpg rating when they unveiled it" DING DING DING DING!!! WE HAVE A WINNER!


"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner














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