Completely agree. I leased a first gen and am now leasing a second gen volt. I'm actually considering buying my current car at the end of the lease. As a bike commuter, it is my only vehicle, which is why I went the hybrid rather than full electric route.
The first gen I got rid of at the first opportunity. The car did it's job but the shifter physical design was moronic and the fit and finish was so bad that I actually cut myself on a piece of the interior plastic one day.
The 2nd gen is 'just a car' a nice car actually. Excepting a maintenance screwup by a dealer I have had zero - zero - maintenance issues with the second gen. Because I don't ever have to charge it, and don't drive it much, I can usually charge it for free (I'm an apartment dweller). I spend about 80% of the miles on electric. I think I've bought two tanks of gas in six months.
Funny story...a friend of mine's mother was actually the lead systems engineer on gen one. I met her at a graduation party and we had about a 3 hr long engineering nerd out over the 1st gen. I asked about a billion 'why did you/why didn't you' questions and was amazed at how many good ideas were left on the table.
We also talked about variable regenerative braking which ended up in the 2nd gen
Lawyers and 'the idiot public' we're a lot of it.
People are weird. They set their clock five minutes ahead or whatever.
I also think an optional cellular/GPS based time update would be nice though.
Back in uni days I would set my bedside alarm clock 10 minutes faster. No joke it almost never failed to fool my groggy morning brain on days I hit snooze one too many times. "Oh crap I'm going to be late!" toss clothes on, run to kitchen for snack only to see that I've got another 10 minutes. whew. Crazy I know, but it worked. I also think I did similar with my cars clock by setting it faster when I first started driving to work. Now I smoke a little weed before bed, sleep like a baby and wake up much easier.
This is exactly the hidden complexity that HN users love to add to products that adds no real value and sells no extra product
Anyways, android and iOS and Mac and windows and etc all have the ability to fetch time or use gps to set time with a user override to do their own tricks. We all woke up today so I think the world survived.
Does anyone here with an Apple Watch use the time offset feature?
Owned a 2017 Chevrolet Volt, I made this choice because I wanted to "dip my toes" into the EV experience and only needing one car I needed one that could go anywhere. I make two trips per year by car one of which is thirteen hundred miles round trip.
The fit and finish was very good for any car, it drove very well, and EV mode was an eye opener. Being in Georgia meant that from spring to fall I could easily exceed the fifty three mile EV range, at times I approached seventy miles and this with AC on; disclaimer is that I had very little true highway speeds on my fifty four mile round trip to work. Cooler weather, as in forties or below drop the range below EPA and freezing opened up other opportunities. Mainly I would leave home with the car conditioned and turn the gasoline motor on for part of the commute to more readily heat the cabin and buffer my range for return trip home in EV mode. Cabin noise from the gas engine was incredibly hushed.
Now I own a TM3, I credit GM for that. The Volt sold me on EV driving. The effortless power that is present all the time and the quietness of the drive train. Why not the Bolt? Well GM was typical GM. They made a ZEV car and only went as far as they had to beat Tesla to the PR punch and soak ZEV credits to continue their sales of petrol burning cars, a fleet that ranks near the bottom.
The Bolt lost out for many reasons, the first being lack of range. No trip planner could get me through either of my two yearly trips; as in it was impossible on some legs. The TM3 blows through it because of range and charging options. The second reason was the same reason I did not buy a first generation Volt, the interior, namely the dash, looked Fisher Price. Throw in horrid front seats and yes they were bad, and it was a no go. I do like the packaging otherwise.
The Volt is gone because ZEV credits for PHEVs took a dive after 2018. As in nearly nothing compared to what they were. GM gamed the ZEV system in 2017 and 2018 so that they have banked enough credits till near 2021 which is when their EV focus will switch to Cadillac.
Now not to knock GM only, Tesla leaves a lot to be desired. Most of the features in my TM3 are very shallow implementations of other cars. My Volt had complete blue tooth audio integration, my Tesla requires me to use my phone to switch play lists, by artist, and such. Which is not fun because my state is a hands free state. The Volt had superior energy monitoring breaking out HVAC from the EV motor and even showing impact of the drive on efficiency. Tesla never delivered on voice commands, my car knows about six commands - a toyota corolla has more than three times as many. Instead Tesla gave me fart humor and a fireplace
Better phone integration would be great.
Either way, the electric car experience is so much better than anything else. Maintenance on my Leaf is near nothing.
And since none of this makes for a flash Elon Tweet or press release (for people who don't own one), basically nobody over there seems to give a damn.
It would be a tiny fraction of the price and you get a brand new car to drive!
I do this, because I realized I would have approx 80% by renting for these outlier events and taxis as I work from home.
Why not rent a car or fly?
Having your own car is predictable and low-risk, if expensive in other ways. But if your time has value, and you add the probability-weighted costs of not being able to leave for your trip on time, or go at all, or do it in a sub-standard car, renting can be pretty expensive too.
Ah well... It would be interesting to hear more of the reasons behind decisions.
One pedal was part of it as was how the gas engine was used and power scheduling...also when to use electric vsm internal combustion for heating, analog adjustment of regenerative braking, etc.
Give me the choice and I'll pick a steering wheel rivaling an f1 car...but you can't sell that in any way shape or form.
The gear shifter? I thought electric cars didn't have those? I thought they were push-pedal-and-go like a go-kart?
The version on prototypes was super super awkward. The production version still made you have to insert your hand into a hole to shift into or out of park.
I cut myself on the big plastic surround of that part of the console
Never leave anything on the table.
At least in the US, I think you'd be underestimating how much one can rely on a proper fully electric vehicle (i.e. a Tesla, and perhaps Bolt?). I doubt a Model 3 LR holder would ever need a second sedan.
All the other manufacturers' cars (Renault Zoe, BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, VW e-Golf) were 145 mile range or less.
It's only recently that EVs like the Hyundai Kona (£30k for 245 miles) and the Jaguar I-Pace (£61k for 235 miles) have come on the market.
This isn't a long journey for the UK, which is not a big country. The only way I could realistically own a pure EV as an only car would be to hire another car for these journeys and use an EV for shorter journeys but an EV wouldn't really be worth it money-wise just for shorter trips and I'd have to put up with an underpowered hire car and the hassle of picking up and returning for the long ones.
Hybrids (not range-extenders like the i3) on the other hand do make sense and I suspect will see much better sales as people realise they don't all look like the (very ugly) Prius.
I don't know your specific route but there are plenty of routes in the UK that can easily be done. Brighton to Inverness and back can be done in a Model 3 with only 5 hours of charging along the way. Not great but also not horrible if they can be combined with regular rest stops.
In the US the charge networks were initially rolled out at odd locations that didn't make much sense but gradually they started putting them in office and apartment car parks and now thankfully in malls and retail areas where people actually go.
I still don't understand why restaurants haven't adopted them more when you have a captive audience for 15+ minutes and can upsell meals by offering charging discounts. I guess as adoption climbs they might catch on.
Because it is a lot
> but when those chargers are in Market or Restaurant lots where you can charge and shop/eat then they make sense.
Which would be great, but that's generally not what the charging infrastructure is like today; there's now a decent probability of a route-convenient charger on a long trip, but there's not a great probability that it's in the parking lot of market or restaurant, and an even lower probability that it's one that you would have chosen but for the charger.
Most of the market/restaurant chargers—mostly supermarkets or box stores like IKEA—I've seen are in urban areas, virtually none in the kind of places that are places you need to stop for fuel (or charge, with an EV) on the way between widely spaced urban areas.
I would much rather these people not say anything but ideally I would like to hear the feedback be more positive or suggestive in nature like "I drive a 500mi route semi-regularly and I just can't do it in an EV, I'd love if xyz existed so I could go all in on EVs."
The most constructive answer, I think, is to prefer plug-in hybrids as a drive train option (perhaps the default option) on "normal" cars/SUVs which people actually want to own. This is what Volvo is doing for example. It has a weight (and therefore efficiency) cost but a plugin hybrid with a true 100+ mile range is still incredibly worthwhile. Don't let the best be the enemy of the good.
There are still incentives to build out decent fast charging infrastructure in a plugin hybrid world - as stopping to charge instead of stopping for fuel has a cost advantage (though the time cost still needs solving - it's not just time to actually charge, it's also queueing time to be able to use a charger in many places).
Alas, we don't yet have battery tech that combines a 3-4 hour range with recharging at 16x the rate it discharged at, at a price people can afford :)
The on-demand 4wd of the V60 (the electric motor drives the back wheels) would be a nice additional feature (not sure if it will be available for the V40).
V40 (prototype "40.2"): https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/galleries/x701/...
Saying ">150 miles" was simply me being succinct.
The Volt was a political nightmare. trade rags beat this car night and day for being a fake. but honestly its a damn good car. it was never going to see tesla style torque or mileage but the people driving it werent the whole foods kind of crowd anyway.
the hybrid electric was borne out of the need to create something that couldnt be patent-struck by toyota, whos hybrid synergy drive is basically the entire hybrid market outside of Komatsu/Caterpillar these days. electric motor final drives until the engine kicks in to drive the electric motors also allowed them to avoid the honda tax on motors in the transmission that assisted the drive inline.
the engine drive was crucified by its owners for ever starting. in-town drivers would be well under the range of the vehicles batteries, yet routinely traded the car in or returned it when the engine kicked on. What they didnt understand is that this was done to prevent stale fuel or cycling problems in cold weather. The ECU was smart enough to maintain the engine even when you didnt need it.
If you find one of these used and youre into hybrid (mostly) electric drives, id recommend it. it has a planted and firm drive, similar to a windstar minivan but without the body roll.
The stereo is also surprisingly overpowered for something like this as it borrows heavily from Fords Shaker platform (harmon kardon.)
So you're saying widely publicized biased opinions based on antiquated but longstanding social norms were able to prevent good engineering, measurably better than the status quo, from coming to market? Are you saying that marketing and media can often overcome solid facts? Welcome to humanity.
What killed it was lack of marketing it as a better hybrid & the smaller size. If I had kids I'm not sure I'd of bought the car.
I wonder if they put the volt drive train on a crossover how it'd sell. EV Range for the groceries, gas for the long distance road trip.
How does the Hyundai Ioniq avoid Toyota's many hybrid drive patents, and get comparable mileage to the Prius? It's essentially the same size of car, same aerodynamic design, same engine size, etc.
I have the impression that what is wrong with GM is not the Volt, or the old Saturn for that matter, but rather the people who run the company.
A bit cramped, but it's my commuter car, so don't care.
I drive 100+km a day and charge at both ends, and most weeks use no gas. But still have the flexibility to take very long road trips without the hassle of stopping at DC fast charge stations every couple hundred km.
When this one dies someday, I'll probably buy another used one if I can find one in good condition. The 2019 model is the best, with 7kw charging, power seats, and a new head unit.
Very sad to see it go.
What do you consider by fun to drive?
> An unnamed source cited by Bloomberg News estimates that General Motors is expected to take a loss of between US$8,000 and US$9,000 per Bolt sold. A GM spokesman first declined to comment on the expected profitability. Opel refuted that in December 2016 and states that GM has battery cell costs of $130/kWh, and industry is not yet optimized for mass production. A UBS teardown in 2017 suggested slightly smaller losses per vehicle, of $7418 on a base spec, or $5520 on a higher spec vehicle.. They estimate that by 2025 the Bolt will make a profit of about $6000 per vehicle.
The report argues that the Bolt is already profitable on a contribution basis (sale price - cost of goods sold), meaning that GM make money on every Bolt they sell. What makes the Bolt unprofitable is the high per-unit share of R&D costs and depreciation due to low volumes - the Bolt isn't selling in sufficient quantities to recoup the cost of developing it and putting it into production. The Bolt can become profitable even if manufacturing costs stay the same, simply by selling more units.
Demand for the Bolt is substantially outstripping supply in Europe, because high fuel costs mean that pure EVs already have a lower TCO than ICE vehicles; It's likely that GM can achieve profitability simply by ramping up production, assuming that their battery suppliers can keep up with demand.
GM does not sell the Bolt in Europe at all. It was originally sold as the Opel Ampera, but GM sold their interest in Opel. So demand in Europe is higher than the non-existent supply.
The Bolts battery and power train come from LG and apparently they contracted for 30,000 units or less annually. This may not be a problem for GM as US Bolt sales have not been great, 23,279 units in 2017, dropping to 18,019 in 2018. I think they have also sold several hundred units in Korea.
Currently Autotrader.com shows several new Bolts near me (California Bay Area) being offered at discounts of more than $4,000 from MSRP. So it looks like demand is soft even with the full Federal tax credit and the California EV rebate. Unfortunately for the Bolt, GM will lose the full Federal tax credit on April 1 raising the price of the Bolt by $3,750.
Personally, I'm disappointed by GM's failure to promote the Bolt and by it's low sales. I love my Chevy Spark EV and I like my Honda Fit, but it seems an overpriced weirder looking Honda Fit with a Chevy badge is not the way forward even if it is electric. I wanted to like the Bolt, it's not a bad car, I really prefer small but tall hatches, and am committed to electric vehicles and like to live frugally. After five great years with the Spark EV I'm not even afraid to buy a GM car. In other words, I'm probably the ideal Bolt customer. Which should make GM very concerned by the fact that I recently bought a Model 3 instead and am selling the Honda.
Got a source for this claim?
I bought a new ICE vehicle six months ago, in round figures it cost me $13,800 (that's the on the road price of the base model, including a couple of minor extras and all applicable taxes).
The electric version of that exact same vehicle has a list price of $31,300. No, that isn't a typo. The salesman seemed faintly embarrassed when we enquired about the EV version.
The depreciation curve for ICE vehicles is fairly well understood. So is maintenance and the reliability of key components (we've had a previous ICE from this manufacturer that ran for over 9 years without any out of the ordinary components failing).
Before we purchased, a salesmen noted that EV technology is changing so rapidly that even if you do feel like handing over $30k for an EV, in 5 years time it may not be worth very much. Whether its batteries will take you very far is also less than clear.
I wish all of these things weren't so, I'd happily own an EV, but not at current prices.
The key factor is fuel costs in Europe - even with oil at around $60 a barrel at the moment, you'll pay $6 to $8 a gallon because of high fuel taxes. Off-peak electricity costs as little as 8¢/kWh on some tariffs, with most EVs doing three to four miles per kWh. Incentives like purchase grants, subsidised charging equipment and reduced registration fees further tip the balance in favour of EVs. Lower maintenance costs are a factor, as is the possibility of lower-than-predicted depreciation due to higher-than-predicted durability of EV battery packs.
We're still some years away from TCO parity in the US, because motor fuel is still incredibly cheap and electricity is often relatively expensive.
Am I reading page 43 right? The cost of the battery in the Volt is currently $12,300? That's almost exactly 90% of the selling price of my new ICE vehicle!
Q: What's the projected lifespan of the battery pack in a Volt?
Yup, and it's why falling battery costs are such a big deal for the EV industry. It's worth thinking about the battery as a pre-payment for fuel; it's very expensive up front, but it substantially reduces your cost per mile for the life of the car.
The Bolt's battery pack has an 8 year/100,000 mile warranty, with a maximum capacity loss of 40% during that period. Data from Nissan Leaf owners suggests a capacity loss of about 20% over five years, while Tesla Model S owners have reported much lower capacity loss - sometimes as little as 10% after 150,000 miles. Pack longevity has been increasing due to better cell chemistry and improved thermal management, but only time will tell how well the Bolt's batteries age.
Nissan offer a refurbishment program for the Leaf, which will restore the pack to its original rated capacity for $2,850; I would expect most manufacturers to follow suit. Battery pack refurbishment is also available from a number of third-party providers. Given the excellent durability of the rest of the powertrain due to the very small number of moving parts, EVs may prove to be surprisingly durable - with a battery refurbishment after 10 years, an EV may give 20 years of good service. The Nissan Leaf has fairly high depreciation due to the poor initial range of earlier models, but Teslas seem to be holding their value fairly well.
If one were to attempt to market an ICE vehicle that lost "up to 40% engine performance" over 8 years/100k miles, one would struggle.
> EVs may prove to be surprisingly durable
There are many cheap, modern ICE vehicles that are already surprisingly durable - I have the service receipts for the 9 year old VW Polo (bought new, and which we traded in in 2015) as a data point.
Again, I wish EVs were already competitive, but aren't they still stuck as a lifestyle choice for those with "spare money"?
In Norway, a new electric car car is obviously better on a TCO basis, due to much cheaper fuel, no VAT or other taxes on purchase, free passage through toll roads, cheaper ferries and free parking. Most of those are political incentives, so I can't speak for countries that have no such incentives.
"Much of their money" - got a source for that?
At least where we are, there is a competitive market in servicing of ICE vehicles, and I won't be getting the new vehicle serviced at this dealership, I'll be going to a third party shop much closer (and cheaper). The vehicle warranty isn't affected.
> obviously better on a TCO basis, due to much cheaper fuel, no VAT or other taxes on purchase, free passage through toll roads, cheaper ferries and free parking
Thought experiment: what % of EV ownership will your country have to reach before those incentives disappear? There is this annoying issue of governments needing to raise tax revenue one way or another ...
Subsidies are a stopgap measure, not a permanent fixture. Economies of scale are hugely significant in the motor industry, presenting EVs with a catch 22 - they're too expensive because not enough people are buying them, and not enough people are buying them because they're too expensive.
Volumes are increasing and prices are falling rapidly, which should allow for the phase-out of incentives within the next few years. Government investment in public charging infrastructure is probably necessary until at least 2035.
Where in Europe do you live?
Frankly, it should be accounted for on the basis of the carrying cost of the r&d debt. If I open a bakery and buy a ton of expensive equipment, I will have huge accounting losses per cookie for years but I may very well still be cash flow positive. That’s all that matters.
GM can clearly make money from this vehicle if the tighten up their production. I'm sure engineers there know exactly what needs to be done to get there. It probably takes investment, but there will only be a return on the investment if many more Bolts are sold.
To sell more of these cars, they have to overcome public perception that they are some weird new technology. They have to make hybrid engines "feel" as solid as a Hemi. They have to make these cars known, understood, and "normal". Most people just want a car that fits in, they don't want to make a statement. This is why the blandest vehicles, e.g., Toyota Corollas are so popular.
Unfortunately, engineering rarely changes the way someone feels about a product, marketing does.
So to make the Bolt profitable, GM will need to make a significant investment in advertising and marketing to make it the new normal. They don't seem up to that.
Also, many places in the US already have government incentives or requirements for charging infrastructure.
Personal experience is also hugely relevant. If a friend gives you a ride in their electric car, many of the advantages become immediately apparent - the silence, the interior space, the remarkable acceleration and the general normality of an EV. A brief conversation with an owner will reveal that many of the fears about EV ownership are just myths.
Tesla have done an important job by making EVs cool, but equally important is simply getting used to the presence of EVs. That's not an overnight process, but it's already starting to happen, at least in Europe. The sight of cars with no tailpipe or someone plugging in to a rapid charger is no longer unusual. EVs are starting to seem less like a weird option for hippies and nerds and more like the inevitable future of motoring.
I feel thats the main difference in philosophy between US and german car manufacturers. I guess theres is a place for both.
I'm not sure I agree. In Germany, marketing is still hugely important, it's just that they often focus on marketing engineering innovations. People don't select German cars because they have better engineering, they select them because they feel like they have better engineering. Marketing there still matters, but it's more tied up with the engineering.
As much as really really want that to be true, it just isn't for most people.
An electric car is ~£30k, but most people pay much less for petrol cars because there is a great second hand market. I'd say typical is ~£5k.
Most people do something like 150k miles on a car. Assuming 40 mpg (8.8 miles per litre) which is fairly typical for motorway driving. The price of petrol has been around 120p/L for several years. That puts the total cost of the petrol car at: about £25k. Still less than the purchase price of an electric car.
Maybe it will change when electric cars with a good range have been around for 20 years so there is a decent second hand market, but at the moment it just isn't true. Sorry.
I would expect a completely new product category to have higher development costs, I'm not sure its reasonable to shoulder the first fruits of that R & D with all the costs. Especially as this may well literally be the future of the company.
So then the question becomes, is someone setting the Bolt up to fail? Trying to make it look bad against Tesla? Or what?
For comparison, VW wanted to build their own gigafactory and LG Chem is holding them hostage, threatening to not sell them the batteries they need for their EV inititiaves. Funny enough, VW is buying Tesla PowerPacks for their Electrify America charging stations for peak demand shaving (the Electrify America brand is distinct from VW, as VW is not permitted to VW brand the charging stations as part of their dieselgate settlement).
Not a Musk fan, but him and JB Straubel knocked it out of the park with their foresight and strategy (build all the batteries we can, sell them in sexy cars).
The high amperage 18650 cells from LG and Panasonic mean that more are now able to be used in UAV applications, which previously could only use lipo batteries which top out at 177Wh/kg.
I picked my base model 2018 Bolt for $31k, after discounts. (pretax). $23.5k after tax rebates.
Compare that to the Tesla Model 3 which is $44k and has about the same range. (Bolt 236mi , Model 3 249mi)
I'm not surprised GM is losing money on them when Tesla is having issues with profitability at their price point.
With current battery tech and infrastructure, EV is a 50 mile technology. It has nothing to do with battery tech itself, doesn't matter how light or dense the battery is. The limit is infrastructure. 50 miles is about what you can charge with a level 1 charger overnight. Within those 50 miles EV is amazing, quiet, clean, it's clearly superior technology. And 50 miles is enough for a lot of vehicle trips such as getting groceries, going to school, commute to work, etc.
But imagine you have a 50 mile EV, how to extend the range to something everyone is used to, like 200-300 miles for road trips? There's two options, more batteries or an ICE engine. The problem with more batteries is charge time. It's not good enough right now. Even Tesla is 120kw, which is 30 minutes for 80%. And all other EV are far behind this and the charging network outside Superchargers is pathetic. Range anxiety was only part of the problem, slow charge time will be the bigger issue.
It will never be as fast as filling a gas car because that gets into the megawatt range. However, CCS spec can go up to 350kw. This would be good enough, 80% in 10 minutes. Still not fast as a gas car (which is about 5 minutes to fill a tank), but 10 minutes is ok. Combine that with a 300 mile battery, and it can be a road trip car.
There's basically no CCS chargers at 350kw and no cars that support that rate. EVs will get there eventually and replace everything (ICE, PHEV, etc.), but it's too early now. Also, there's a limit to worldwide production capacity for batteries. The amount of batteries in one Tesla could support 10 PHEV cars. PHEV is a bridge technology, but it's too early to abandon it. Now is the time when every car model should be changing to PHEV.
The vast majority of first-time EV buyers also install a 240v charging station, which typically costs about $1200 including labour and will fully charge most cars overnight. Frankly, you'd be mad to spend $40,000 on a new EV but hamstring it by cheaping out on charging.
> The problem with more batteries is charge time. It's not good enough right now.
It's already good enough for most users, assuming you have reasonable access to suitable rapid chargers on your route. Very few people drive continuously for three or four hours, stop to refuel and immediately return to their car - human biological functions are a meaningful factor. You might be surprised at how long it actually takes you to refuel, pay for your fuel, visit the restroom, buy a coffee and stretch your legs, especially if you've got kids in tow. Rapid-charging an EV does take longer than refuelling a car, but you can do other stuff while it's charging.
Most ICE car owners only infrequently take long journeys. Most EV owners who do take longer journeys find that charging times only add a few minutes to the duration of their journey and are not a significant inconvenience. Charge times do remain a major obstacle for people who drive substantial distances for professional reasons, but they represent a small minority of car buyers.
Sure, but when I do take a longer journey, I don't want to have to hire a car or something. I can see an EV currently being good for 90% of my journeys, but what about the ~8 journeys a year in the ~200 mile range, with the last 30 or so generally on steep/winding roads trying to find a cottage in the middle of nowhere? How practical is that currently?
Edit: making the numbers a bit more realistic
That really depends on the quality of EV charging infrastructure in your area. Here in the UK, it's pretty trivial - aside from mid-Wales and the Scottish highlands, there's blanket coverage of EV rapid chargers. It's no big deal to stop at a motorway service station or a supermarket and get a quick top-up on a rapid charger. It's the same story in most of western Europe.
You don't really have to plan your journeys more than you would in an ICE car, because the sat nav system is aware of range and charging points and will re-route you to a charger well before there's a risk of running out. Long journeys are very slightly less convenient, but that's balanced out by the day-to-day convenience of charging at home and waking up every morning with a full charge.
In much of the US it's more of a challenge, simply because you'll struggle to find a rapid charger en route if you're going anywhere rural; that's a political issue as much as anything.
It's worth noting that the range of affordable EVs has been increasing drastically over the past few years. The Nissan Leaf launched in 2011 with an EPA range of 73 miles. The 2018 model does 151 miles per charge and Nissan have just launched a 62kWh model with 226 miles of range. The Chevy Bolt, the Hyundai Kona and the Kia Niro all do about 240 miles per charge. That trend is continuing apace, nibbling away at the long journeys issue.
The inexorable increase of range will help matters, but the US really needs to make a serious commitment to infrastructure. Public rapid chargers aren't hugely expensive to install or maintain, but you need government investment to break the chicken-and-egg problem - there aren't enough charging points because nobody has an EV because there aren't enough charging points.
It's not, but it could be. There are no fundamental technical barriers to overcome, just social ones.
It takes 15 to 20 minutes. I know because I watch the GPS and I check the ETA number after a stop.
Will 20 minutes be enough for 3 hours of driving?
or buy a L2 charger that plugs into their 220 dryer outlet for $250
And on a road trip I'd expect to be stopping, and looking at stuff.
EV is a 50 mile technology
PHEV is a solution looking for a problem. You only add a little bit more range versus a plain ICE, and that's at the expense of lugging around an extra motor and battery array. The whole carpool lane eligibility for hybrids is a crutch and the only selling distinction for PHEVs. (If you're driving far enough for a carpool lane to even matter, you're going beyond your battery range on the trip... so you're ultimately releasing as much carbon.)
I’d be surprised to see this is actually true, but I guess it depends on where you live. There are some cities where a long commute time can be significantly cut by an HOV/carpool lane, even if the number of miles traveled isn’t that great. If you have a 40 mile commute then the Volt can run on electric for pretty much the whole thing, but that’s plenty long enough to save significant time bypassing traffic in a dedicated lane.
If you have a 40 mile commute then the Volt can run on electric for pretty much the whole thing
Manufacturers like Tesla control both “X” and the charging station layout, and have limited influence over “Y” except insofar as it affects their ability to sell cars. Presumably they’ve crunched the numbers and concluded that they can’t support a reasonable customer base on small values like X=50.
I want an EV badly but I just can’t do my regular Portland to LA drives in them right now.
I think most people would need to stop a couple of times on route. I doubt EVs will ever be suitable for you.
6-8 hours is about what I can do on a plane without getting up too so it's not too bad for me. Truckers do it all the time too so it's not that rare.
If electric can get to 400+ miles (already there almost) I'll be sold. That's enough for me to do the entire trip with only adding an extra stop if I drove nonstop. When I calculated with the 200-300 mile range a year or so ago it would have been too much waiting around for a charge.
Per DOT rules, truckers here are allowed up to 8 hours non stop, with a mandatory 30 minute break if they go over. They can drive up to 11 hours in a 14 hour window.
PHEVs are something that some manufacturers market to extend the runway of their legacy technology while they figure out how to get to fully electric. There are a lot of manufacturers that have stopped talking about that now that they have fully electric vehicles coming to the market. They'll be around for a while of course.
GM seems to have concluded that it makes no sense whatsoever to keep on subsidizing volt sales at a loss and the product simply makes no sense at its real price. The only reason they are keeping the bolt around (which has the same problem) is to have something to sell while they figure out how to build EVs properly so that they can make a profit. Buying a phev of course makes a lot of sense in the same way that an ICE car is still a sensible purchase. It's just that EVs dropping in price is making Phev related investments not a solid long term plan for most manufacturers. They'll milk it while they can but at this point they need to be mostly investing in EVs in order to stay in business long term.
Most EVs right now are indeed on the expensive side. This is a problem for manufacturers because expensive ICE cars used to be how they made money. That segment has been seriously impacted by Tesla coming out of nowhere and taking a huge portion of that market. That's why they are all scrambling to get in on that action. They have no other choice. The net effect of this will be that economies of scale will kick in and production of cheap and mid range EVs is where the action is going to be next.
You seem to insist range anxiety is a thing. It's not much of an issue for most drivers. It's a lot less dramatic than running out of fuel. Running out of fuel can cause all sorts of issues with cars. E.g. with a Diesel you can't just refuel the car and get going again. Running out of battery on the other hand is fixed by ... plugging it in. Worst case you have to call somebody to get you towed (or plugged into a mobile battery). And the car will tell you this is about to happen long before it happens. Only if you ignore all the warnings that you are about to run out of power and fail to address that, will you run out of power.
In any case, taking a 30 minute break after a long drive is a pretty good idea and probably something you should do regardless of your fuel/electricity needs. So, not the end of the world. Also, most people don't drive that far that often. So, having a lot of anxiety on this front is kind of irrational. Some people do drive this much of course. In that case they'll still love electric because of the fuel bills and indeed may spend a bit more on something with a bigger battery and higher charging capacity.
quick-change batteries would work for now
However, it was probably inevitable once batteries got good enough. Removing the combustion engine and replacing it with more batteries probably saves far too much money.
The current problem I have with electric vehicles is simply that right now they are "5 year" vehicles instead of "20 year" vehicles. Things are changing so quickly right now, that there is zero probability that any electric car I buy today I will have in 20 years. Contrast that to vehicles bought in the late 1990's/early 2000's that are still in decent shape (barring things like winters in the Northeast US) and still running.
And the whole "customers prefer SUV's" thing just drives me bonkers. Customers don't inherently prefer SUV's--the automakers market the hell out of SUV's because they are so profitable. And then everybody has a bunch of vehicles that they won't drive when gas goes up again.
I'm still waiting on an all electric with battery and propulsion tech competitive with Tesla's but fit, finish and quality found in Honda or Toyota. That really will yield a twenty year all electric car.
But hey, it's a car, it gives you the freedom to roam wherever you want... As long as someone paved the road and you have the cash to pay the fuel bills (which you arguably have to work for) - what a nice, free and independent life!
CAFE was poorly written from the word go, and should have been replaced rather than extended.
I mean, people don't treasure classic cars from the 50s because of their superior technology or features. It's all nostalgia.
I wouldn't be surprised if first generation teslas or volts are extremely valuable in 20 years.
Depending on how much you drive, two electric cars over 20 years might well be cheaper than one gasoline car lasting that long.
This might be true if it weren't for the fact that the price of a new car keeps going up as a percentage of median income rather than down.
I had two cars bought new from the late 1990's (one finally got totaled). The annual maintenance cost could be quite high (I calculated that about $4K per year would be the breakpoint) on those and it would still come in lower than the equivalent class of car (another used car doesn't reduce the maintenance much and you have a lump payment). I would have the discussion with my wife to get rid of one of them every year, and every year we would come to the same conclusion--replace them when they die and not before.
Now, some of this is dependent upon whether your car is your sole source of transportation and whether you can cope with your car breaking down (money, time, etc.). It was no big deal for me to lose a car and put it in the shop--someone else will have a different reliability calculation.
I got rid of an old junker car after I almost got into what could've been a really bad highway accident (at speed) caused by someone not seeing me and trying to take the lane I was in. My car almost lost control when I swerved into the break-down lane to avoid him. A modern car with electronic stability control, or frankly even just no mechanical/structural problems, would have fared much better. No one is spending thousands of dollars replacing the entire suspension system in a junker car, but that's just the start of what you'd need to do to try to make an old car safer.
It's important for the used car market. I've bought all of my cars used and because I picked cars that had been well maintained I've never had any major issue. The same wouldn't be possible with cars that were at the end of their life at 10 years.
That said, I have no idea why the other commenter thinks current EVs are five-year cars. My Model S is four years old and drives like new. I see no reason it won’t last just as long as a conventional car.
This is a classic short sighted GM move. I hope that at the very least they somehow sell the Volt to another major manufacturer. I'm not transitioning to the Bolt.
I suspect he is averaging the free charging at work which cuts the true cost in half.
A better headline would be:
The Volt Dies but the Bolt Lives On.
I feel like the Chevy logo and branding didn't help much with Volt sales. They could have done something similar to what Toyota did with Scion. Create a unique logo and branding.
Create a high tech brand that isn't associated with "Chevy". Is that just me?
If you're spinning a new brand out of a known brand, you'll have to educate customers with large marketing investments. This will have to be massive for the car industry.
Given the car's not very profitable already, they'd be running a huge loss for a long time.
But most importantly, I love the way an electric car drives. Smooth, incredibly fast, quiet acceleration is a joy, and the times I have to go back to driving an ICE car I immediately miss having an electric motor.
Only problem I have is they use normal car engines as range extenders. Could've gone with a simpler/cheaper wankel or microturbine optimized for high RPM, but I guess it's quicker to slap on an engine you already have.
In these size classes, it's pretty hard to beat Otto or Miller cycle efficiencies, especially with a Wankel configuration or a small Brayton cycle ("microturbine"). You can get much higher power-to-mass with Wankels or gas turbines, but their thermal efficiencies (again, in these kinds of size classes) will be lower with today's technology. And since the overall fuel economy is less sensitive to mass than engine thermal efficiency, these avenues wouldn't make much sense. I do think there are ways to potentially meet or exceed Otto/Miller cycle efficiencies with a gas turbine, but it would require significant dedicated engineering. Not something that would make sense for GM to pursue when they can seek greater payoffs from lean combustion technologies, etc.
To put it another way, as far as the Volt combustion engine is concerned, GM made a sound engineering decision.
(Anything below 6 USD/gal is quite cheap here.)
I'm not entirely sure whether we have more highly subsidized gas prices than most of the developed world, lower gas taxes, or a bit of both, but our low prices—even in California—sure seem to be an anomaly. if we paid closer to the average first world price for gasoline, hybrids and electrics would suddenly get _way_ more attractive, and we might be a lot less keen on SUVs.
(Back somewhat more on point for the linked article, I'd have considered a Chevy Volt if they were just a little closer to my price range. I drive enough—and occasionally in rural enough areas—that with the possible exception of Teslas, pure EVs are still a no-go for me, and Teslas are still out of my budget. And, frankly, I don't at all like the "shove everything possible onto one big touchscreen" approach to automotive UX design.)
That. In Europe fuel taxes are easily half of the pump price.
Converted to your units, yesterday's average for my region was $6.12/gal.
Edit: the comment reply form could show other replies, I find myself dupeing a lot because I think I'm the first one to it, with the view of no replies 10 minutes ago.
(I don't know how well they account for taxes)
That's the dream, anyway
Think of phev as replacing two cars
However, if you look at the mpg figures of, as an example, Toyota Prius with similarly sized traditional car you will notice that it indeed is worth the extra weight.
not having to lug a traditional gearbox around
The drivertrain in the hsg is pretty much tje electrical motors. I did not say it is lighter. I said some of the weight is offseted by the fact that the ice part doesnt have to lug all the traditional components. Not completely offseted, just helped a bit.
Aside from oil changes and tires, the only real maintenance needed was to top off the battery coolant once. (And that was due to a known manufacturing defect in my batch - fixed under warranty, flawless since.)
Its a very reliable car.
Aside from the sedan question per-se, it's interesting to me see tastes change so rapidly.
What’s interesting is that Honda’s hybrids have basically the same drivetrain as the now discontinued Volt. They too discontinued (edit: some) of their plugin hybrids, which is also too bad.
Looks like the Prius plugin is gonna be the car to pick for a plug-in hybrid. I wish it looked much better, but judging by their success, Toyota seems to know what it’s doing with the Prius’ styling.
That to me sounds like a decent number. I guess they were selling them at a loss.
The total absense of advertising for a vehicle that so many people loved has always reeked of lack of commitment from one side of the house.
That doesn’t even factor in how Chevy dealerships would actively try to talk you out of them.
So I wonder if you could elaborate on what made the name a turnoff?
I could almost see their reasoning for naming it volt: They figured that the Tesla company used that name because of Nikola Tesla, I guess they decided they too should use another name related to electricity, the volt (cue applause at their brilliance). It seemed very lazy to me.
For me, the bigger issue was that the name - to me - implied that it was an electric car, not a hybrid, so it felt like unsubstantiated marketing spin.
Maintenance schedules for the engine are extended as a result. Oil changes, for instance, are automatically tracked and I only had to do one oil change after about 2 years.
I'm coming up on 3 years with a gen 2 Volt and it's been very reliable and more fun to drive than the ICE vehicle that it replaced.
No oil changes, no fluids, nothing. Averaging 1.2l/100km
You're simply wrong.
In my experience (we own a Pacifica PHEV), a PHEV means less expense than a 100% ICE vehicle, but more than a pure EV.
Why would I buy a Volt when I could buy a Model 3, a Leaf, or another EV? Electricity is cheap, no need for fuel or oil changes, and the driving experience is better (at least in Teslas with quick 0-60 times). You also are still eligible for the federal tax credit at its full amount for EVs where the manufacturer hasn’t sold 200k EVs yet.
The Volt died for the same reason the SR71 did: it was no longer needed.
Disclaimer: Tesla owner
It’s the single best solution on the market to cutting fuel usage by about 90%, being fun to drive and not having all the headaches that go with range anxiety / locating available charging stations.
The real question is why you’d by an all electric when the Volt was an option? They’re totally impractical for anything other than a 2nd car.
I’ve driven my Tesla from the west coast to the east coast with minimal hassle (using only Superchargers), and with newer EVs having longer range and fast charging stations being deployed rapidly (Electrify America), I argue that the idea that an all electric vehicle is impractical except as a second vehicle is an antiquated notion.
It also has better fit and finish despite costing less.
The Volt was an all around better car than the Model S I test drove and that’s why I have one (and two other cars in a similar price bracket so that is clear it wasn’t a price issue).
This is a little off-topic but your comment resurfaced my sentiment on the matter... I firmly believe Tesla is making cars that survive on halo effect more than substance and am extremely excited to see what other manufacturers come up with in the future.
Also, to understand the benefits of the gas engine look at it like this.
Presuming you’re not one of the owners using/abusing supercharging to replace a home charger, the Volt ICE is like a supercharger.
You only use it on long trips or to top off when you’re a little low and want to get rid of “range anxiety”
Prius isn’t even in the same conversation...which is why the total lack of marketing of the Volt is the biggest problem it’s had. I’ve driven both, there is no comparison.
Because you could commute on pure battery, but still drive anywhere an ICE can go without having to plan your route around charging stations and kill time while your vehicle charges. Seems like a reasonable use case to me...
While the Volt had a niche, it seems it wasn’t competitive enough versus newer market competitors.
PHEVs seem like a nice option for the people who find that an EV is not suitable for their long distance travel, but would like something environmentally friendly for their short distance needs, and do not want to have two cars.
Also if my charger somehow fails in the middle of the night, I can still drive to work without issues.
Then I would challenge your understanding.
That combustion motor 1) is not running anywhere near as much as a normal combustion engine, 2) has no mechanical transmission to go bad and 3) can be tuned for a much narrower range of RPMs than a normal engine.
Removing a mechanical transmission is huge. Everything else is upside.
>So, yeah. The maximum price-per-vehicle for a Chevy Volt is $250,000 per vehicle — right now — if you make all the most pessimistic assumptions and the government hands over all their grant/subsidy money to companies who don't meet the goals built into the programs.
And this particular article was written in 2011.