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Chevy Volt Concept

Production Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt MPV5 Concept
GM revises its all-electric range for the Chevrolet Volt

At lot has changed with the Chevrolet Volt since it was first shown in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show in early 2007. Gone is the swoopy bodywork (which was deemed elegant, yet not aerodynamic enough), support for E85 fuel (the Volt now requires premium), and the gas tank was cut in size from 12 gallons to less than 8 gallons.

One thing that remained constant through this constant state of change with the Volt program over the past three years has been the electric driving range of the vehicle. General Motors has always stuck to a 40-mile range for the vehicle on battery power alone. Now, however, GM has revised the battery range to "25 to 50 miles" according to the Associated Press.

GM spokesman Rob Peterson says that the revised range figures come as a result of extended testing including operating the Volt in extreme temperatures. Other factors that will come into play include whether the driver is traveling on flat or hilly roads, whether the HVAC is operating, or if the driver has a lead foot.

By stating this change now, GM may avoid complaints from customers in the future who don't achieve the previously stated 40-mile battery range. On the flip side, Volt owners who drive on absolutely perfect/level roads, don't run the AC, and drive miserly can at least be delighted at the potential for 50 miles of battery-only travel.

The additional driving range provided by the gasoline engine/generator remains the same at 300 miles.

GM expects to build 10,000 Volts by the end of 2011 at a cost of $41,000 each (before a $7,500 tax credit). The company hopes to boost production to 30,000 the following year.

The Volt will be joined at a later date by the Volt MPV5 which offers a crossover body style and seating for 5. GM stated that that the vehicle would have an electric driving range of 32 miles at its announcement – there's no word on what the revised figure will be once it reaches production.

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RE: To much money....
By ralith on 9/24/2010 4:44:05 PM , Rating: 3
Did you include the electricity cost in the fuel equation? With 27mpg on your current car it might end up being more of a wash then you'd think depending on your electricity rates.

RE: To much money....
By Mitch101 on 9/25/2010 12:56:22 PM , Rating: 2
I thought of that but tried sticking to best case scenario without writing a book on every situation.

I park outside and im sure on rainy days I would probably run in the house before I plugged in the car forgetting the following day I would be using gas instead of that initial charge. Maybe 15 days a year?

It would be great if someone purchased the Volt and detailed its true cost over a year. Right now its best guess.

RE: To much money....
By Hoser McMoose on 9/25/2010 8:27:06 PM , Rating: 4
Working on 52 weeks, 5 days per week (which I believe is what the original calculations were for) we can get a rough estimate of electricity cost. The Volt uses 8.8kWh for a full charge, though we can maybe estimate 9.0kWh for a bit of charging overhead (Li-Ion batteries can be charged at better than 95% efficiency, but there is a slight loss).

So, we're talking about 2,340kWh/year here. Electricity costs in the U.S. range from about 6 cents/kWh in places like Idaho up to about 20 cents/kWh in California. A few places have increasing rates when you exceed a certain amount per month, but for the sake of discussion, let's use a fairly reasonable 12 cents/kWh as an estimate. That works out to $280.80 per year.

So actual savings per year are $280 of electricity replacing $1,330 of gasoline (that's a 27mpg car travelling 46 miles per day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks of the year with gasoline at $3.00/gallon), for a total savings of $1,050 per year. At an extra $10,000 in up-front costs, if we ignore the an interest on car loans or the time value of money, works out to roughly 9 and a half years to break even, or just in time for the battery to die (electric vehicles batteries are generally being designed with a 10-year typical lifetime in mind).

If we change the gas cost estimate to $2.80/gallon the savings work out to $960/year for a pay-back time of just shy of 10 and a half years.

I like the basic idea of the Volt, I honestly believe that GM is on the right track with this vehicle and that, 20 or 30 years from now, it will prove to have been a pivotal vehicle in the automotive industry. However until they can get the cost of batteries down (and ideally the energy density up) this sort of vehicle is going to remain a real niche product. Fortunately for GM (and us unwilling shareholders of said company) there is money to be made in this niche product, especially when you get corporate welfare of $7,500/vehicle or more (it's $10,000 worth of corporate welfare here in Ontario, Canada... where, per capita, us taxpayers paid the highest quantity of corporate welfare in the GM bailout).

RE: To much money....
By Mitch101 on 9/25/2010 8:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
Awesome post thanks for doing that.

RE: To much money....
By theapparition on 9/27/2010 7:55:23 AM , Rating: 2
True the Volt isn't for everyone. Some people it will save money, others will never break even.

or just in time for the battery to die (electric vehicles batteries are generally being designed with a 10-year typical lifetime in mind).

FYI, GM is including the first battery replacement in the initial cost of the vehicle. In other words, that first battery replacement is at no cost to the consumer. Personally, I think they made a mistake, and should have lower entry price rather than trying to include future maintenance costs.

However until they can get the cost of batteries down (and ideally the energy density up) this sort of vehicle is going to remain a real niche product.

True, but one of the only ways to get costs down is to make them. The first commercial 40" flatscreens cost $15k. Now, they run for under $500. Once production gets going, and manufacturing process improve, you'll see prices drop and adoption increase.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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