#greenfail: WaPo GM’s vaunted Volt is on the road to nowhere fast

Russ Steele

 I have written about this before, but how the Washington Post has some thoughts on the Chevy Volt:

 No matter how you slice it, the American taxpayer has gotten precious little for the administration’s investment in battery-powered vehicles, in terms of permanent jobs or lower carbon dioxide emissions. There is no market, or not much of one, for vehicles that are less convenient and cost thousands of dollars more than similar-sized gas-powered alternatives — but do not save enough fuel to compensate. The basic theory of the Obama push for electric vehicles — if you build them, customers will come — was a myth. And an expensive one, at that.

Now what is the Governor and CARB going to do?  Here is an excerpt from the Governors Executive Order B-16-2012

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that these entities establish benchmarks to help achieve by 2025:

  • Over 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles will be on California roads and their market share will be expanding; and
  • Californians will have easy access to zero-emission vehicle infrastructure; and
  • The zero-emission vehicle industry will be a strong and sustainable part of California’s economy; and
  • California’s clean, efficient vehicles will annually displace at least 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels.

Customers are not interested in buying GM electric vehicles.  Only in California is it possible to command that we buy electric vehicles!


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

7 Responses to #greenfail: WaPo GM’s vaunted Volt is on the road to nowhere fast

  1. The Energy Department predicted that Nissan, recipient of a $1.5 billion government-guaranteed loan, would build 25,000 of its all-electric Leaf this year; that car has sold only 14,000 units in the United States total.

  2. Sean says:

    I read the WaPo article and it seemed to focus a lot of attention on value vs. price. There are other unknowns. One is the battery life. How long will it go before it does not hold a charge? Since the battery is a third of the cost of the vehicle, losing a lot of electric range over time can not be corrected economically. Then I’ve heard electrics don’t like heat or cold much. Not much of a bit deal on the California coast but in Arizona or Michigan, this is huge. Finally, it’s not really that efficient. Ford is planning on changing the F-150 truck from steel to aluminum in order to save 700 lbs and improve economy by 20-25%. The Volt’s electric drive train adds 700 lbs to the weight of the car.
    The Volt may be an interesting technology demonstrator but I think it highlights how big the problems are for electric vehicles to be truly competitive with current power trains.

  3. Arthur M. Day. says:

    The last I heard, the nation’s electricity grid was running about 5% into it’s 20% safety margin, 24/7. Where are we going to get the electric equivalent of 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuel?
    Does anybody have a nifty plan to cheaply convert oil refineries to elec. generating plants?
    The Groonies (green loonies) will stall the building of any sort of generating plant including wind and solar for some imaginary endangered organism’s benefit.
    But, that’s life in the vast open air madhouse, especially when the Devout Democrats have control of it’s management.

  4. gjrebane says:

    And the federal government is going to buy over 1,500 of these pieces of crap and force our military to use some of them is beyond laughable.

  5. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Came across an account, a couple years ago, that the Chinese have been buying lead-acid battery powered scooters for years. Long enough for the landscape to be littered with dumped dead batteries.
    I predict that an an upcoming scam will be rejuvanation potions for dying Prius batteries.

    • Sean says:

      The advanced batteries being used in today’s electrics contain quite a lot of nickel and cobalt, metals that are worth $3-4 or more per pound recycled. The scrap value alone will preclude dumping these batteries. However, theft may be another issue.

      • The extraction of those minerals are among the most polluting of mining operations, and the average green warrior won’t be fighting to be one of the workers that take old exotic batteries, reclaim the materials and make new batteries.

        Then we have the danger of internal arcing starting a virtually unquenchable fire in the car, igniting all those exotic metals being used to keep the body and electromechanical components as light as possible.

        Nasty technologies. Makes the most economic sense if you can charge the battery with cheap electricity made from Wyoming coal.

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