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Volt selling well as other green cars falter

Sales of the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle have been very much up and down since the car launched. At one point Chevrolet placed production of the Volt on hold due to poor demand only to restart production earlier than expected due to an uptick in sales. At the same time, sales of the pure electric-powered Nissan Leaf have continued to struggle as it becomes clear Nissan will be unable to meet its lofty sales goals for 2012. 
 
Nissan had expected to sell 20,000 electric vehicles in the U.S. during 2012 and has so far only been able to sell 3,543. During the month of July, Nissan sold just 395 Leaf EVs, which represents a decline of 58% compared to July 2011. 


Nissan Leaf
 
Although Nissan isn't selling very many Leaf EVs, the automaker still insists it will meet its 20,000-unit goal for 2012. That goal seems very unlikely since Nissan will need to sell close to 3,300 Leaf EVs each month for the remainder of the year.
 
"Our target has not changed," said Nissan spokesman David Reuter on Wednesday, acknowledging that, "sales to date have not met our expectations."
 

Chevrolet Volt
 
GM is faring better with its Volt with sales rising compared to July of 2011 to 1,849 units in July 2012 compared to only in 125 units in July 2011. Through the first first seven months of 2012, GM has sold 10,666 Volt extended range electric vehicles for an increase of 270% compared to the first seven months of 2011.
 
Detroit News reports that sales of the Volt have been boosted by factors outside of Chevrolet's control, including the fact that California granted lone Volt drivers the ability to access carpool lanes. One in every three Volts sold are purchased in California.
 
GM sold more than twice as many Volts in July as Toyota sold Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles. Toyota moved only 688 of the latest Prius variant during July.

Source: Detroit News



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Simple Question
By ewhite06 on 8/2/2012 3:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
Why doesn't GM or Nissan put solar panels on the roof to help recharge the battery? Didn't the Prius have this option? I know it was only used to power a small fan to help keep it cool inside in summer. It doesn't seem that like that much of a stretch to use similar panels to put some juice in the batteries. Sure its not a lot but its 'free' electrons. Is a sunroof THAT important?




RE: Simple Question
By Solandri on 8/2/2012 7:24:33 PM , Rating: 4
Because people vastly overestimate the effectiveness of solar panels, and don't know how to do the math to calculate it.

Figure the roof is 1.5x1.5 meters, or 2.25 m^2. With 16% efficient panels, that's 288 Watts when the sun is directly overhead. If you're at 35 degrees latitude (California, Arizona, Texas), the roof is going to generate a max 236 Watts at noon. That's about 0.316 horsepower.

A typical sedan needs about 25 hp to maintain high cruise. 0.316 hp is 1.27% of that. The Volt is EPA rated at 35 miles on a full charge, so the panels would extend that by 0.44 miles.

That's at noon on a sunny day. Figure a morning or late afternoon rush hour commute. 6 am sunrise, 6 pm sunset. At 8 am/4 pm the sun is 30 degrees up. So its incident angle on your panel cuts its power to sin(30 deg) = 0.5. Figure 70% sunny days. So on average the rooftop panels will extend the Volt's 35 mile range by 35*.0127*.5*.7 = 0.155 miles. About 820 feet.

If you leave it parked in the sun for 8 hours as you work, the movement of the sun will knock the average Wattage down to about 177 Watts (skipping the integral for movement of the sun - take my word for it). Figure 70% sunny days, and it drops to 124 Watts average. Times 8 hours = just under 1 kWh. Electricity costs about 11 cents per kWh, so the rooftop panel saves you about 11 cents per day. Working 250 days a year, you're saving $27.50/yr vs. just plugging it in while you're at work.

There are a lot more easier ways to save $27.50/yr.

Remember, the solar energy concepts you see on TV and in movies are fiction. Reality is much starker. Panel efficiency will have to improve considerably (from about 16% to probably to over 65%) before some of that fiction starts to become close to attainable in reality.


RE: Simple Question
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 7:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
Even if we had 100% efficient panels, the sun doesn't put out all that much energy compared to other forms of power. So you need massive panel coverage to get a good result. The size of a car roof would never cut it.


By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 8/3/2012 11:05:02 AM , Rating: 3
True, though having solar in the roof and spoiler would be helpful to keep the 12V system charged and to run cabin fans.


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