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President Obama with a Chevrolet Volt

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)  (Source: flickr.com)
Despite recent issues with the Chevrolet Volt's battery, GM expects increased Volt sales for November and a recent survey found that Volt customers are satisfied. A GOP lawmaker may, however, ruin EV success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit

General Motors Co. may have hit a few speed bumps this year with the Chevrolet Volt extended-range EV's battery-related incidents, but things seem to be looking up with an expected increase in November Volt sales and a recent survey that confirmed Volt customer satisfaction.

The Chevrolet Volt had its best-ever sales month in October 2011, but according to GM Spokesman Jim Cain, November Volt sales are expected to surpass the previous month.

In October, GM sold 1,108 Volts, which was the first time it had outsold the Nissan Leaf EV since April. For the year through October, GM sold a total of 5,003 Volts.

Experts say that it is now very unlikely that GM will meet its sales goal of 10,000 Volts sold in 2011, but GM predicts increased sales in November over the month of October. The final sales figures for November have not yet been released.

Perhaps the reason for increased sales expectations is Volt customer satisfaction. According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, Chevrolet Volt owners "love their cars."

The Consumer Reports survey, which was released Thursday, is based on over 314,000 opinions of 2009-2012 model year vehicles. The survey found that 93 percent of Volt owners who participated said they'd buy the EV again.

However, the survey was conducted only a few months after the Volt hit showrooms, and mainly consisted of early buyers and enthusiasts. The survey was also taken before the formal investigation of Volt/lithium battery safety began.

Earlier this year, the Volt underwent a series of tests at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test on May 12, the Volt went up in flames while parked at the facility, catching nearby vehicles on fire.

This sparked a NHTSA investigation, where three more Volts were tested November 16, 17 and 18. One battery had normal results while another emitted sparks and smoke, and the third caught on fire one week later. The NHTSA is now conducting a formal investigation of the vehicle's safety.

The Volt may be seeing the upside of a nasty situation for now with a potential sales increase and customer satisfaction, but one GOP lawmaker is looking to throw a wrench in the EV industry's success by fighting the $7,500 tax credit.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) told Congress Wednesday that he wants the $7,500 tax credit for EVs to cease because he says electric vehicles have not met desired goals and the tax credit only benefits the wealthy. He specifically noted that the annual income of Volt owners is $175,000.

"[The Volt] has become the poster child of President Obama's failed green agenda," said Kelly. "Like many green initiatives promoted by this administration and bankrolled by the American taxpayer, the electric car is better in theory than in practice; has limited consumer demand; is heavily subsidized; and has fallen short of reaching targeted goals. Despite the fact that the federal government has no business subsidizing a product that a manufacturer could just as easily promote through rebates and other buyer incentives, the tax subsidies are largely going to the affluent few who can actually afford to buy an electric car, which costs anywhere between $40,000 and $97,000."

Kelly's "like many other green initiatives promoted by this administration" comment was more than likely referring to this year's Solyndra disaster, where the U.S. government loaned solar panel company Solyndra $535 million in 2009 despite warnings that the company would go bankrupt. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy on September 6, 2011.

Sources: The Detroit News, The Detroit News



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RE: A Republican in the House
By Masospaghetti on 12/1/2011 1:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Personally, I think if the Volt was the same cost as its ICE-only counterpart, it would be a great idea.


You expect a car with an electric drive and ICE to be the same price as one with just an ICE? That's not realistic.

quote:
But please stop asking me to pitch in to pay for your car.


Subsidizing new technology allows it to gain a foothold in the market, where economies of scale gradually take over and make the technology self sustainable. At this point, everyone is better off.

quote:
However, spending an extra 15k (or more) on a car to save a few k on gas over several years is idiotic


The Volt is more luxurious than a typical $25k compact, but even in your example, the payback period is 7.5 years, maybe 10 years with the cost of money. Not unreasonable.

It's also a bad economic decision to buy a V8-powered Land Cruiser or to pay $1000 for "silver-buffed wood" on an Infiniti. Obviously buying a car is an emotional decision, so its not far to judge the Volt only on it's economic payback period just because it has one.

Also, it'd be naive to assume gas prices won't rise again.

The Volt isn't perfect. But I defend it because for once, an American company has the most advanced technology in the market and it works - in too many industries, and for too long in the automotive industry, the American companies have always been a step behind. It's refreshing, and I hope it succeeds. We're falling behind in the global economy, and innovation is the only way we can get back on top.


RE: A Republican in the House
By obsidian on 12/1/2011 2:07:03 PM , Rating: 2
Every industry has R&D costs with developing and marketing a new product. The auto industry is a multi-billion dollar industry (GM alone received a $50 billion bailout). They are the ones who should be footing the bill for developing new technology, not the taxpayer. There's no reason taxpayers should be forced to hand over money to multi-billion dollar companies.


RE: A Republican in the House
By tng on 12/1/2011 2:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Volt is more luxurious than a typical $25k compact, but even in your example, the payback period is 7.5 years, maybe 10 years with the cost of money. Not unreasonable.
Not realistic either. I don't expect that many people who bought this car are using it for a long daily commute so extend that time out to 10 to 15 years. Most people who I know in CA that want one only have about a 5 mile drive to work and at that rate it would be much longer.
quote:
It's also a bad economic decision to buy a V8-powered Land Cruiser or to pay $1000 for "silver-buffed wood" on an Infiniti.
Granted, I wouldn't do that either, but back to the point, I also would not expect Uncle Sam to give buyers of a Infiniti or Land Cruiser a kickback either.


RE: A Republican in the House
By Masospaghetti on 12/1/2011 4:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
...At the current price of fuel.

How much was a gallon of gasoline 10 years ago?


RE: A Republican in the House
By Dorkyman on 12/2/2011 10:12:34 AM , Rating: 2
Granted, it was cheaper under previous administrations. But I see that as an indictment of the current Bozo in the White House, who has gone out of his way to stifle exploration and stoke uncertainty in the industry.

Bozo leaves next year. Then the cost of gas will decrease.


RE: A Republican in the House
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 6:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Granted, it was cheaper under previous administrations.

Did you adjust for inflation or would that undermine your agenda?


RE: A Republican in the House
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 6:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
stifle exploration

Yeah, BP really got screwed with that issue.


RE: A Republican in the House
By Schrag4 on 12/1/2011 5:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You expect a car with an electric drive and ICE to be the same price as one with just an ICE? That's not realistic.


Actually I couldn't care less what it costs. If it's too expensive (it is) then I'll just get something else.

quote:
It's also a bad economic decision to buy a V8-powered Land Cruiser or to pay $1000 for "silver-buffed wood" on an Infiniti. Obviously buying a car is an emotional decision , so its not far to judge the Volt only on it's economic payback period just because it has one.


I don't see it that way. Perhaps if I had more cash than I knew what to do with then it would be an emotional decision. Or maybe if I just cared more about cars (I'm not a car guy). No, for me, it's about getting from point A to point B safely and cost-effectively. Dropping 30 or 40k on a new vehicle - any vehicle - just isn't a realistic option in my mind, when I can get my family and my stuff back and forth for so much less with a decent used vehicle. I'm glad so many other people are willing to take that 50% drop in value in the first several years of owning a new car, though.


RE: A Republican in the House
By Spuke on 12/1/2011 6:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm glad so many other people are willing to take that 50% drop in value in the first several years of owning a new car, though.
This is why I'm pretty much done with new cars. The loss of value is just not worth it when I can simply buy a used one with low miles without the depreciation hit.


RE: A Republican in the House
By YashBudini on 12/2/2011 12:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
I always questioned whether a leased car with low miles was a good buy. The owner knew they weren't going to keep it, how well would anyone maintain a car under such conditions?

Consider buying last years model near the end of December. And buying a car that finished 2nd or 3rd in a magazine's article saves some money as well.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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