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Chevrolet Volt

Bob Lutz is a legend among auto enthusiasts  (Source: Patrick Arena/The Car Lounge)
Bob Lutz is tired of the Volt haterz

The Chevrolet Volt has been a bit of a lightning rod in the automotive industry and political arena. The vehicle was first shown as a concept back in early 2007 and went into production in late 2010. 

The Volt can travel from 25 to 50 miles on battery power alone before the gasoline engine/generator kicks in to keep the vehicle moving. All of this technowizardry comes at a steep entry price, however. The Volt's base MSRP is $41,000 before a $7,500 tax credit

Because of the Volt's high price tag and GM's past bankruptcy, the Volt program has come under a lot of scrutiny. Rush Limbaugh was a vocal critic of the Volt, noting in July 2010

I'm not going to recommend people go buy an electric car that gets 40 miles to a charge.  That would shoot my credibility.  It takes three to four hours to charge the thing, 40 miles to the charge.  And then there's a backup gas tank that gives you 375 miles.   

So who's kidding who here?  And all this is 41 grand.  This is the most expensive Chevrolet outside a Corvette.  

Bob Lutz, former vice chairman and "Car Czar" for General Motors, is fighting back at the critics in a new book due out next month. Lutz, who identifies himself strongly with conservative ideals, had some harsh criticism for some of the more vocal critics in the media according to Motor Trend magazine

Animosity towards the Obama administration is so intense among the right-wing talk-show hosts that any vulnerability, however tenuous, must be attacked and blamed on ‘socialist influence’, with no regard to truth or to the damage these reckless claims can make to GM, an American corporation, to the dedicated and hard-driving members of the Volt team, and to a now-misinformed public that may be steered away from a transportation solution that would fill their needs perfectly.

Lutz went on to say that these people hurt the credibility of the Republican Party. The outspoken Lutz doesn't take too kindly to people criticizing the hard work that went into developing the Volt, and feels that the Volt is just the beginning of a new wave of advancements in automotive powertrain design.

The skeptics, the pundits, the GM haters, and those who detest lithium-ion as a chemistry will all be dragged, however unwillingly, to the same conclusion. Volt paved the way; Volt was the first with the extended-range EV concept; Volt demonstrated the will and the technological capability of General Motors.  And to all the doubters, opponents, critics and skeptics… [including] Glenn Beck, I say: ‘Eat your hearts out. Volt is the future’. 

The Chevrolet Volt (EPA classified as a compact) is definitely not for everyone – its high price of entry (before tax credit) makes it a non-starter for many people. And in many cases, sub-$20,000 compact cars that can achieve 40 mpg or greater on the highway and roughly 33 mpg combined make better buying options. Likewise, hybrids like the Prius, Fusion, and Sonata offer more room than the Volt, excellent fuel economy, and much lower price tags.

However, for those that like to stay away from gas pumps as much as possible, but still want the added security of a gasoline backup when needed, the Volt makes a credible alternative to all-electric vehicles like the Leaf.

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RE: Hybrids
By Motoman on 5/1/2011 8:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
I am not sure why you would need a wind gen. that large or go 500 mph to charge. there are small 5 kw wind. generators on the market that can provide a whole house electricity with 20 mph winds. they are bigger than a standard alternate, but they are not tha big.

Methinks you greatly underestimate the amount of electrical energy generation you'd need to keep your battery charged...can you generate electricity with a fan that wouldn't be obtrusively large mounted in/on your car? Sure. Will it generate enough power to make a substantive dent in the charging requirements of your battery? Hell no.

I understand the limitations of the solar panels with night, but it seems like you could supplement the system with it, especially with the new thin film panels.

Again, it's just a matter of the relatively tiny amount of power they generate. Does it help? Sure, I guess...but again it's not going to make a noticeable dent in your charging requirements.

keeping the ice, wouldn't be so bad if you could use methanol, ethanol, hydrogen, or something a lot cleaner than gas.

Gas can be plenty a perfect gas/oxygen mix, the only resulting outputs are carbon dioxide and water. The issue is that we basically can't hit that perfect note all the you get minute amounts of hydrocarbons out of the tailpipe too.

As for your fuel cells, sure you can say they're "efficient and proven." But the cost of getting hydrogen out of water is really high...and transportation of pure hydrogen could be the stuff of nightmares. HI is a very unusual an island in the middle of nowhere, they have to pay to import all of their gas at very high cost...but of course, they have plenty of water around. And they don't have to transport the hydrogen very far once refined - the biggest island is tiny by the standards most people are used to. There is no reason to think that anything that is successful in HI would work anywhere else.

...and seriously, your "onboard hydrogen generators" are SCAMS. I suppose you have magnets on your fuel lines and PC fans "pressurizing" your air intake too...

RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/3/2011 8:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
The on board hydrogen gene are not scams. Maybe some are, but there are some that work. In fact in DOE studies have noted that it does improve the efficiency and gas mileage. Also, Exxon mobile has recently announced their onboard hydrogen generators that they have made. They are the same concept as the ones people are already installing.
Hydrogen is not as dangerous as you think, in fact there are many tests recently conducted that indicate hydrogen is safer than gasoline.
As for transporting it, you can even make it on location. Gm has home hydrogen stations already.
Anyway, I am not here to argue, I am just trying to get an idea of some thoughts of others on a few things I have wondered for a while.
I beleive we need a solution to eliminate the use of gasoline. For many of the obvious common sense reasons. I don't care if it is fast charging elect, hybrid, or hydrogen, it needs to be done now. I understand that these sources will still take the use of fossil fuels, until the gap is bridged. The gap will be bridged, as smaller more powerful solar, wind gens, and other tech gain momentum and decrease in price.

RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/3/2011 8:46:47 AM , Rating: 2
Here is a link to some good info. On the hydrogen kits. There is also a DOE study that I will have to dig for, and will post it when I locate it. All indications are that the hydrogen kits actually work when installed properly.

RE: Hybrids
By texbrazos on 5/3/2011 10:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
Here are a few more hydrogen links
Although, Exxon's approach to using gasoline instead of water seems dumb, unless you work for exxon and want to continue to make money from the production of gasoline. Why would they want you to be able to produce it from water. They can't sell water.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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