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Disclosure in case of doubt - I don't work for Chevy and no one in my family or close friends does and I am not a salesman:)

I also acknowledge that I am a lucky man in so very many ways and one is that I am simply able to afford a nice new car and I know that is not the case for the vast number of people in the current time.  I'm not a flashy person and I have always bought used and driven it for 10 years/150,000 miles prior to this and as you will read below my decision to do this came with much thought.  

With those considerations I'm going to tell you - if you can in any way, get your hands on a Volt and if you can't, tell Chevy to make more cars like it that more of us can afford!  Find out more below the squigglet.

Quick caveat to my buying rule - I also happen to be lucky that I can drive a street legal golf cart to work for the 6 mile round trip.  I got it a couple of years ago because I thought it was a good thing to do to show the locals that you could be green and have fun plus I got it for almost free because of a tax credit.

Like I dare say all of us here I try to be green.  I've grown better and better over the years.  I have my hypocritical moments but I think green whenever I can - recycle, conserve, turn it off, etc.  So, as my used vehicle started hitting the mid 100's I started reading about the Chevy Volt before it was ever available and I was impressed.

For those that don't know about it the crux is that it's an electric car which 100% of the time has the actual drive train powered by electricity.   It can however run by burning gas but when it burns gas what happens is that it acts as a generator - the gas powers the generator (which is a much simpler task than the firing of cylinders to move the car) and the generator power spins the wheels "on demand".  So, unlike a hybrid which flips back and forth in burning gas and using the electric motor the volt drives for 40 miles using zero gas and then it starts to burn gas if you go farther until you charge it again. After charging you go 40 miles 100% on the charge, etc. etc.

When it does use gas it gets an amazing 47 MPG (because again - the job of running the genny is easier than a fossil engine).   The car drives exactly the same feel-wise in either mode.   Additionally it is intended to use the gas not just as a fallback - in other words - if you wanted to drive from NYC to Florida it's perfectly fine - you would just mainly use gas.

A few things about this should be clear - if you live in a smallish community and have a short commute you may almost never use gas.   I have had the car for 3 weeks and I have used 1 gallon of gas and that is because the day I got it the dealer only charged it for an hour and it was a decent drive from home.   I am projecting that I make possibly 10-15 drives a year where I will use any gass at all - and at 500 miles to the tank well...... I'm pretty gas free.

Briefly I want to mention a few notes about my own feelings regarding buying a new car.  As mentioned before I always have bought used and I have mentioned to friends that the greenest car you can buy is a used car because everything that goes into getting that new car to you uses more  fossil energy than a lifetime of gas.

So why did I do this thing I have never done?

#1 - I do know that manufacturing needs to happen for the economy.
#2 - If it's going to be manufactured, if there is a component or a thought which leads to more green on at least some front then I want to be supportive.
#3 - If this technology is supported, hopefully it will spread to more affordable vehicles using the technology - IE - I want demand to spur production and thus to lower costs.
#4 - I've always bought American.  I am so excited that this genius technology is an American product and I believe it will bring new life to American manufacturing if played right.
#5 - One of the greatest things is it's an AMAZING car in so many ways - it's SO well made.  It's sleek and roomy at the same time.  It is the best driving car that I have ever owned by far.   I didn't need in any way to convince myself to buy it because of what it represented.  Although I have never bought a car for nearly the price, if I were spending the cost of this car and it was not electric and I had a choice between it and so many others I would choose it for it's styling, it's features, etc - it's a kick ass car and you sacrifice nothing by buying it.

I joke with my girlfriend that I need to preface my conversations with the fact that I am not a chevy salesperson.  I'm not - I just think that this car is a knockout and it represents so many good things.  I know that there is a long way to go.  I know that I have a short commute.  I know that the power to create the electricity for most comes from fossil (although to note - I have heard the conversion for those fules to electricity is extremely effiecient - comparable to 95 MPG converted) but, I am also looking into doing solar for my home to then be truly as fossil free as possible.

Quite honestly I simply can't see the dark cloud in this one -
- American jobs
- Cleaner environment
- Amazing car in looks, features and the way it handles responds and drives - WORLD CLASS
- New technology leading to new business (charging stations)
- Less reliance on foreign oil
- Helping to bring down oil consumption and possibly less need for foreign oil.

And in truth I haven't met a person in real life who had anything but praise for the car they see plugged in in front of my garage.  People want to know about it - that's exciting and is very positive.

But, guess what? there are plenty of people who actually opposed the Volt. I simply am dumbfounded. Guess who they are???   Here's a sample:

So - let me get this right - love America soooooooo much with all of it's exceptionalism but bash it's technology and it's techonology leaders.  Pro-America but not if it's a kick ass "librul" product/idea which has the potential to do great things for our country and maybe help the environment along the way.  Nahhhhh.

When I saw that I was interested - I searched on the Google - There are so many examples of negativity toward this amazing American product it's truly sad and that's what we're up against - but I will keep on fighting and without making a dime off it - I will keep on selling (oh .... wait .... not actually selling - promise!!)

Here's the fleet at the bluedog_sd (read my sig please!!!!) homestead


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Comment Preferences

  •  Just curious, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

         do you charge it at home, and if so, what does it do to your electricity bill ?

    •  Yes - see below (8+ / 0-)

      I charge it at home and I have gotten a bill for about 7 days of use.  The increase was pretty small - about $5 from the month before - I know there are a lot of factors in that so I don't have a multi-month barometer yet though.

      The golf cart for what it's worth was almost not noticeable over the past year  but I know it's a very different animal.

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:19:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Keeping a record of mileage vs. electric Bills ? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ezekial 23 20, Calamity Jean, BachFan

        BDSD -

        Thanks for this diary!
        Have you considered keeping a diary/spreadsheet
        of mileage vs. increased electric bills now that you own
        this cool car ? Maybe it would help me convince my wife~





      •  electric bill up, but equivalent to 3-digit mpg. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        adrianrf, drewfromct

        Sure your electric bill will go up, but as you probably know, that added electricity to charge up the car turns out to produce the equivalent of 3-figure gas mileage.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 127 miles per gallon if it was converted to gasoline, though technically it's kilowatt-hours per mile.  

        •  Unfortunately here in California (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, G2geek

          we have "tiered" electric rates (supposedly to encourage "conservation") which would result for most users in a car-charging price of about thirty cents/kWH . . . still probably a bit better than gas, but not by much (if any).  If we had a flat rate for electricity (as most sane places do) this would be a winner . . . as it is . . . not so much . . .

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 09:15:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  the most advanced vehicle on the road today. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drewfromct, zett, BachFan

        I've been following the Chevy Volt story since it came out.

        That is quite simply the most advanced automobile made today, and congratulations for getting one and reporting on it here.

        Generically it's known as a PHEV: plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  This is going to be the standard drivetrain in the medium-term future, with some room for variations on the type of stored fuel used (e.g. gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas, alcohol, etc.).  Daimler/Chrysler have been experimenting with this system for their large Sprinter van, but Chevy beat them to it here at home.  

        I saw one parked alongside the road recently and had to stop and take a look.  Yes it clearly appears to meet all reasonable specs for automotive interior design: plenty of room, all the usual amenities, etc.  And it looks cool.  And 40 miles on batteries means no more suffering the usual 5 - 10 miles per gallon penalty in local/city driving.  

        Now what would be majorly cool for these, would be a manual switch enabling you to select gas or electric on demand.  Thus, 5 miles on electric from home to freeway onramp, and then however-many freeway miles on the gas engine, and then get off at the other end and drive on electric power through the city to your destination.  Thus using gas engine mode at its most efficient (freeway) and electric mode at its most effective (city).  It wouldn't surprise me if someone started selling this as an aftermarket add-on.  

        •  Unnecessary for the Volt. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CoyoteMarti, BachFan, JeffW
          Now what would be majorly cool for these, would be a manual switch enabling you to select gas or electric on demand.  Thus, 5 miles on electric from home to freeway onramp, and then however-many freeway miles on the gas engine, and then get off at the other end and drive on electric power through the city to your destination.  Thus using gas engine mode at its most efficient (freeway) and electric mode at its most effective (city).
          Because the engine doesn't drive the car directly, it doesn't matter when it runs.  It cuts on to charge the battery and cuts out when the battery is full.  The engine it therefore always running at it's most efficient speed.  

          Renewable energy brings national security.      -6.25, -6.05

          by Calamity Jean on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 12:12:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There's an Electric Micro or Scooter Type Being (9+ / 0-)

    prototyped now in NE Ohio. Just saw one last week, I've posted this several times.

    This one charges overnight on regular 110 house current or they think about 3 hours on a 220 outlet you might have for garage or laundry/stove.

    Image Hosted by

    Reverse trike, 2 wheels in front, looks like it'd serve bicycle / motorcycle-scooter niches.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:20:58 AM PDT

    •  ooooohhhhhhhhh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding, CoyoteMarti

      That looks so cool!!!

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:24:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Corbin Sparrow. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Originally that was the name of that one, but Corbin went out of business and the design got picked up by another company.

      Think of it as a fully-enclosed 3-wheel electric motorcycle and you're on the right track.  It's basically a commuter vehicle with room for one person and a briefcase or knapsack or a couple of bags of groceries.  Possibly a little more cargo space in the new version.  

      Top speed around 70 miles per hour, and range somewhere 50 - 100 miles, if I recall correctly.

    •  They should hit the sci-fi movies to look for (0+ / 0-)

      'body types', and see if they could produce some with bodies that mimic vehicles in movies like blade runner, judge dredd, etc.  I bet there are enough nerds out there who would snap them up.

  •  Wingnut Hatred of Alternate Energy Is Up To "11" (15+ / 0-)

    Anything not using fossil fuels just provokes their orchestrated hysteria.  It's just their latest scam.

    Drill baby drill ! America has all the oil it needs at $25 a gallon.

    It's all so clear to me now. I'm the keeper of the cheese. And you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.

    by bernardpliers on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:23:37 AM PDT

  •  Tipped and rec'd for all the reasons you (13+ / 0-)

    listed in this post.  Of course the corporate press is against this car.  It undermines the consumption of fossil fuel and that undermines their bottom line.

    I drive a Prius and I love it.  If I ever need a new car, I will be seriously looking at the Volt.  Love the idea of driving fossil fuel free.  Congratulations on your great car and thanks for this diary!

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:29:23 AM PDT

  •  That Is So Cool. So Darn Cool (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murphthesurf, JeffW, G2geek, adrianrf, BachFan

    Just as an aside I drive a VW. I bought the Passat I drive in 2001. I lived in DC at the time. I didn't drive much. I now live in rural Illinois, work out of my house, so I  still don't drive if I don't have to. It has 32,000 miles on it.

    I had to order the car from Germany cause I wanted a manual. I mean if I was going to drive a Germany car I wanted to be able to actually drive it :).

    I say all this cause my car, 2001, V6 gets 39 MPG.

    The Volt rocks. Don't get me wrong. But there is no reason why those of us that don't own a Volt are not in a car that gets like 75 MPG.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:30:29 AM PDT

    •  So true (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding, G2geek, drewfromct, BachFan

      There was a very old ad I saw posted about how I believe it was Ford in the 60's used to sponsor and MPG contest with their employees to push the limits of how far they could get a car to go on a gallon.

      That --- as we know - got stiffled at some point and needs to come back

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:34:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Come From A Family (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, BachFan

        where when I bought a non-US car there was almost a fist fight. I explained to my parents I'd buy American made if they gave me the quality I got via VW.

        When I moved from DC to Illinois I was the dude driving the U-Haul. My dad in my car. At times he just left my sight. Dad was getting on it. Or as he said, "my gosh your car is fun to drive."

        I've not been in the Volt. I have played with the Prius. Make a good car and people will buy it.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:47:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Whoops. 29 MPG n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:35:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You should have gotten a Diesel. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        petral, BachFan

        Heck, if ordering directly from Germany, might as well enjoy their superior Diesel technology.

        But even with 29MPG your point stands.

        Around here, a basic Volt is about 46,000
        A Toyota Camry LE  4Cyl(not hybrid)  is 22,000.

        If you keep both cars for 10 years this means the Camry is cheaper by $2400 a year.

        At 15,000 miles per year , 25mpg (that's a low estimate) and gas prices constantly at $4 per gallon you break even.

        This without taking into account electricity or gas costs or  for the Volt.

        15,000 miles a year means 40 miles a day, which is the upper limit of the Volt range on electricity alone. However, there will be days that the car  just sits there and days that we need to exceed the 40 miles range.

        For the average American that needs more than pure environmental or geo-political arguments to make a decision, the Volt makes sense only if you drive more than 15,000 miles a year and you expect gas prices to hover around the 4$ for a decade.

        "One might almost call it poetic, if poetry weren't the last refuge of the bearded, cricket hating sodomite."

        by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 08:00:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  At $5 Gas The Economics Become Compelling (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          petral, drewfromct, Calamity Jean, BachFan

          ......But it also depends on your electricity rates.  If you were charging your car in the Bay area during peak hours, gas would need to be near $6 a gallon.

          I did a term paper on this.

          I also assumes the battery pack never goes bad (big assumption).

          Otherwise the maintennance on an electric car should be very very very low, unless it comes with stupid design flaws.

          It's all so clear to me now. I'm the keeper of the cheese. And you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.

          by bernardpliers on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 08:22:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent choice. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluedogsd, JeffW, adrianrf, BachFan

    Go for the pv solar installation, so that you can do sun-powered driving!  You'll never love the feeling of driving as much as you will once you have done that.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:31:49 AM PDT

  •  Hmm, accompanying this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    an ad for an entirely gasoline powered Chevrolet . . . ..

    •  OT but - Man I hate the contextual ads (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      Totally different note - but - when I started researching the volt in the Goog months ago using the name "Volt" - EVERY ad on so many pages was for Chevy.

      I didn't buy it for that reason at all - in fact - it bothered me so much more that if I didn't like the car I might have NOT bought because it bugged so hard.

      Topic for another day ....

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:38:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess I should stop being a jerk... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...and actually put an exception in AdBlock Plus, since it appears to totally remove ads from DailyKos.

      •  I really haven't seen any advertising for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murphthesurf, BachFan

        the Volt - do you know if that means that they are selling all they can make?

        Or, as rumor has it that they lose money on each one they sell, maybe they just really don't care all that much to sell them?

        •  From what I know (5+ / 0-)

          First in terms of the loss - yes - I have heard it's actually a loss to sell them at current in order to drive the product.

          I don't think this is an unusual strategy given that it's a brand new pitch.

          In terms of not caring to sell them it's very opposite but - the production was limited in 2011 - for 2012 they are ramping up to do 5 times the production and they have a new entirely green run plant (a good deal of the power for the plant is solar)  which will be producing 95,000 Volts this year.

          FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

          by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:50:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just An Aside (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, BachFan

            My brother is a Cisco dude. Networking. His wife, maybe the leading liquor seller in the area. They are in their cars 24/7. Not this time, but last time gas went up they moved from their huge American SUVs to imports.

            Now I don't drive an American car.But they both did (as I used to). They moved to an import for better fuel efficiency. Dare I say, they will never change back.

            When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

            by webranding on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:59:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped, Rec'ced, and shared on Facebook (6+ / 0-)

    I can't afford a new car at the moment, and my current car is a 2005 with only 40,000 miles on it, so it'll be another 5 years or so (I hope) before I'm able to justify making the move.

    However, when I do, I have vowed to myself to get an electric car. Preferably a Volt, definitely a U.S.-built Ford/GM/Chrysler model, but absolutely electric.

    Living in the Metro Detroit area all my life, of course, the Volt and GM hold particular significance for me.

    I'm utterly geeked about the Volt and can't wait to get my hands on one.

    And yes, the electricity they use still comes mostly from fossil fuels these days--but the MAJOR difference is that this doesn't HAVE to be the case. Gasoline can, for the most part, only come from petroleum (yes, I know about biodiesel/etc, but you get my point). Electricity can come from just about any source--coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, etc etc.

    •  Some additional thoughts on the Volt from... (5+ / 0-) brother-in-law, who had a chance to take one for a spin a few months back (a friend of his who worked on the braking system brought it by during testing):

      "It's much better-looking and more fun to drive than the Prius. My engineer friend is extremely impressed...

      "In terms of design, the Volt is far more "masculine" than the Leaf. In terms of engineering, the Volt is tuned for more road response and performance. There's room for both in today's market. "

    •  In Re the electricity source - Exactly! (8+ / 0-)

      To not buy electric at current because it's fossil doesn't add up - there is zero move for humans to stop using electricity - we can envision a fossil free world in som distant future but never an electrcity free one.

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:54:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had an idea for the volt (7+ / 0-)

    I wonder if it would make sense for Chevy to cooperate with a solar panel company to give the same sort of low interest auto loans for solar panels when you buy a Volt.  

    It seems like a no brainer.  

    Essentially, it would be the same as buying all you gas up front, but buying it with a low interest loan.

    Do you think you would have done that?

    From now on, it's called "Freedom Kissing!" "Wolverines!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    by otto on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:49:17 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the detailed info (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, BachFan

    I've been thinking about what my next car will be a few years from now, and this is helpful.

  •  The problem of course is the price. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande, drewfromct, BachFan

    However, I bet prices will come down dramatically once there will be a convergence of technologies and more car manufacturers start producing on larger scales.

    Reminds me of the Sony's Blu-ray vs Toshiba's HD-DVD wars when a lot of people did not buy the DVD players until there was a clear winner. Once that happened prices dropped significantly across the board.

    Now we still don't know if the winning technology will be standard hybrid, all electric or something like the Volt.

    "One might almost call it poetic, if poetry weren't the last refuge of the bearded, cricket hating sodomite."

    by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 07:56:07 AM PDT

    •  Which is why I noted that my purchase was .... (7+ / 0-)

      Driven in a lot of ways by the conceptual support of the situation and was that of an early adopter for conceptual reasons.

      Like I said - I know I am lucky - very lucky - to be able to afford it and as such I chose it where I personally would never drive a Mercedes or BMW but I bought this car in support and I think it does push the needle and it hopefully can be played properly by GM and other followers.

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 08:08:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the Volt will be the winning technology. (7+ / 0-)

      PHEV: plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: is the drivetrain of the medium - term future.

      Toyota was all set to do a PHEV version of the Prius.  Panasonic had geared up to make the larger battery packs needed.   And then Cobasys, which owns the patents for NiMH batteries and in turn is owned by Chevron, screwed them all and refused to license the batteries for this purpose.  

      Cobasys' patents expire in a couple of years.  At that point expect Toyota and Panasonic to go for it again, and more to follow.  

      •  An electric car (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        without "range anxiety" . . . gotta love it.  It should be a winner.

        But it only "works" in places where electricity is "clean" (there's not much environmental benefit if it's generated with coal), and cheap (unlike California, where you are penalized for "excessive" electricity use with dramatically increased rates).

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 09:24:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  even with coal... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... there's less CO2 per mile with electric and PHEV.  

          •  the difference is pretty marginal. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The boiler/turbine efficiency is somewhat higher than than spark ignition IC (Diesel is better), but not that much higher than lean-burn IC as used in the Prius.  And then there's transmission/distribution losses, the significant inefficencies of the battery charge/discharge cycle, and the high-but-less-than-perfect electric motor efficiency, none of which are seen by the in-car IC engine.  That pretty much levels the overall thermodynamic efficiency.

            On the "chemical" end of things coal combustion is Carbon combustion, while gasoline gets a significant portion of the combustion energy from Hydrogen, which produces the much less objectionable (than CO2) water as waste.  So for straight CO2 production the case for coal fired electric vs gasoline is not very good at all.

            The electricity need to come from somewhere "clean" . . .

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 04:51:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  interesting points. (0+ / 0-)

              OK, so here's something.  

              I talked with a friend in the solar industry about linking Chevy Volt to solar.  Lightbulbs went on in heads.  Something isn't going to happen immediately because these things take a while to set up.  But something will probably happen.  

              I can't say any more without violating confidences.  Just keep your eyes open and see comes along.  

              •  Weigh the economics . . . (0+ / 0-)

                and, again, the practicalities.

                Somewhere upthread someone commented about a utility "night rate" for electric charging, since that's when most "electric" cars would be charged.  At the risk of being too "cutesie" . . . what's the "night rate" for solar electricity?

                Calculate the cost/yield of an array of solar panels large enough to reasonably charge a VOLT . . . lets say 10kWH on an "average" day.  There are a lot of "favorables" one can take in such calculation, since the user is not dependent on solar . . . there's always the gas engine to get you home (or away from home on cloudy Winter days) so you don't have to design or install for "worst case". . . I'm not asking for 20kWh in the dead of Winter here.  Even so I think you (and your friend) will find that the capitalization cost of the solar array substantially exceeds the "replacement cost" of gasoline for life-of-vehicle service.  No "subsidies" please, we're supposed to be talking about "sustainable" here . . . and no fudging about recouping any appreciable part of the cost on resale at 10 years/100,000 miles . . . we both know what "old technology" is worth these days, and the cost to remove, repair and relocate something that's been outdoors for a decade.

                Just "run the numbers" . . . honestly . . . my "scrawled on an envelope" estimate suggests that the most you would save (assuming $5/gallon gasoline) would be perhaps $2/day, or about $7,000 over an extimated 10 year life-of-vehicle.  Adjusting for interest (cost of loan or lost investment income) that means the 10,000kWH array has to be priced ~$3,500-4,000 "new", and that's not for a 10,000kWH "rated" array, but for one that actually delivers 10,000kWH/day on average throughout the year.  If your friend can deliver that let me know . . . I'll take two, installed . . .

                Let me know also what the proposal is for energy storage, so that the solar power can be utilized for night charging.

                Ps.  I think that solar powered air conditioning in Tucson or Phoenix is at least approaching economically viable now . . . but thinking about that for a moment might illuminate the problem of the solar-electric car . . .

                Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                by Deward Hastings on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 07:57:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  This one should get Snopes check n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  thanks for cluing people in on this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, G2geek, Bluefin

        ...I had not run into the Cobasys story, though I did wonder a couple years back why Toyota was so silent on the PHEV concept that Prius enthusiasts were all over in a big way.

        a little Googling on Cobasys, and the backstory is wide open to see. absent that, if someone had said "Chevron has been actively suppressing a key battery technology to protect their gasoline revenues," I'd have thought "just another CT fantasy".

        and yet the key factual details are unmistakeable. damn.

        "Turning this country around [will] take years of siege warfare against deeply entrenched interests, defending a deeply dysfunctional political system." -PK

        by adrianrf on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 10:04:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But, but, but...I've seen their tivi ads bragging (0+ / 0-)

        on how 'environmentally sensitive' they are?
        Chevron wouldn't lie to us, would they?


        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

        by Bluefin on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:35:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Problem with plug-ins is still CO2 (0+ / 0-)

    While eventually battery based/plug in vehicles will become the norm, at this time a 50 mpg hybrid is a lower CO2 fit for those of us with older coal-fired electric-generating facilities nearby.  (We're averaging 50 mpg over 3 years in the Prius.)  

    I went through the CO2 calcs on this a few years ago assuming 0.25 kWh per mile for the electric at the drive wheels, then adjusting for electrical grid transmission and vehicle charging losses.  It looks like the govt. values are coming in around 0.35 kWh/mile.  For us, the low efficiency coal plant nearby means that a 50 mpg hybrid is more CO2 efficient than a plug-in.

    Shouldn't be difficult to design a 2 plus 2 seating hydrid that would fulfill the same functions as the Volt at 60+ mpg (lighter, lower profile/cross section)  Main problems I experience with the current hybrid efficiency are major hits taken on short commutes when the engine is running for no good reason.  This is particularly problematic in winter.  (We get about 45 mpg in Winter, 55-60 mpg in Summer.)  Having temp. control shutters on the radiator and the ability to override some of the auto engine start at low speeds would go a long way toward addressing this.  At present the car is obsessed with warming the cat and coolant.  I don't really need that.   It could do that warm up when it was actually called to do some work, not when it would be best left in "golf cart mode."

    If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 08:52:44 AM PDT

    •  Kudos on the 50mpg and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks for the analysis - that's the part where I will feel really great when I can afford to put the solar on my roof (I know there are deep discounts/credits but after the car at current I am not able to afford that part yet)

      FYI - the bluedog thing is about my dog ... I'm a liberal left winger and proud of it.

      by bluedogsd on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 09:08:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My next car will be a Tesla (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluedogsd, CoyoteMarti, BachFan

    all electric.  Motor the size of a watermelon.  No internal combustion engine.  

    Aside from the savings I would get in not filling up twice a week (I put 25,000 miles on my car per year) I would also save a ton in maintenance.  No oil changes,  no spark plugs, no exhaust systems, no cat converters to replace, no belts, no engine.  This year alone I've spent easily $5,000 on maintenance, other than tires and brakes all of it would not have to be done.  

    Even at $50,000 minus tax credits, the amount I drive, the car would virtually pay for itself.  If I combine it with solar panels to recharge it even better.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 09:43:06 AM PDT

  •  Coal Electricity vs Gas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Everyone argues about the conversion % etc...  "No really it's replacing gas with coal so the Volt sucks." blah blah blah.

    No one in the world is dropping bombs right now for coal.

  •  Is it basically silent in electric mode? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Or did they add something to make it noisier?  I've heard there was some concern with sightless folks not being able to hear electric vehicles coming at them.

  •  I'll probably get a plug-in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Either the Volt of the new Toyota Prius plug-in that is supposedly going to be available in 2012 model year...I think it has a shorter range than the Volt but still decent, and their hybrid technology is a generation or so past GM's (imo).

    Unfortunately I'm in a condo right now, so no place to charge it, but hoping to buy a house soon.

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 12:56:48 PM PDT

  •  I will never buy a GM car again. (0+ / 0-)

    I leased 2 GM EV1s, the cars were great and I would have them today if GM had not forcibly taken them away.

    I was lied to from the first day by GM.

    GM lied to the public and to the government.

    They claimed there was no demand for the car, but then they ordered their EV1 Specialists not to add anyone to the waiting list.

    The CEO of GM may have changed but the culture of dishonesty and indifference is still there.

    I am happy for anyone that has a Volt.

    I would like to buy an American electric or plug-in hybrid, so I will  wait for the Tesla Sedan or hope that Ford brings a world class hybrid to market soon.

    Unless you like being lied to, DON"T BUY ANYTHING FROM GM.

    Note to GM, the truth is an affirmative defense. I dare you to tell your side of the story.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire

    by leftover on Fri Jul 01, 2011 at 09:17:16 AM PDT

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