Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Chevrolet Volt: 230 miles per gallon

GM Says New Electric Car Gets 230 Miles Per Gallon
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

General Motors announced today that its forthcoming electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, will achieve city fuel economy of 230 miles per gallon, under testing that used draft federal fuel economy methodology standards for plug-in cars.
The Volt will become the first mass-produced vehicle to obtain a triple-digit MPG rating, the company said.

"The Volt is becoming very real, very fast," chief executive Fritz Henderson said. "The price of oil is going to go up."

The announcement of the mileage breakthrough comes after the government-rescued automaker received some strong criticism for failing to have more fuel-efficient cars.

Whether the Volt will be affordable enough to serve the American public as more than just a curiosity is unclear, however. Initial prices for the car may be as much as $40,000, analysts said.

But company officials said the car's price is expected to come down over time. They note, moreover, that gas prices will rise again, making fuel-efficient cars more valuable.

The Volt, which is scheduled to start production late next year, is expected to travel up to 40 miles on electricity from a single battery charge. The company says the car can extend its range to more than 300 miles with its flex fuel-powered engine-generator.

Assuming the average cost of electricity is approximately 11 cents per kilowatt-hour in the United States, a typical Volt driver would pay about $2.75 for electricity to travel 100 miles, or less than 3 cents per mile.

"A vehicle like the Volt that achieves a composite triple-digit fuel economy is a game-changer," Henderson said.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/11/AR2009081101090_pf.html

21 Comments:

At 11:01 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

I bet you 56 bike lane projects that less than 10,000 of these are sold in the next 5 years.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You mean that's what you hope is going to happen, but there's no reason to think it will. The reality that bike nuts can't face: motor vehicles are here to stay, and the great planet-saving bicycle will only be used by children and your PC fringe.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Wrong.

I hope the Giants would win the World Series, but I would bet against it because even though I would like it, it's not going to happen.

The burden of proof regarding the Volt is on the automakers. Why do you believe that they will succeed with this thing? General Motors hasn't succeeded at their core businesses, yet suddenly you believe that they will hit a Home Run with the Volt? The smart money says it won't happen.

Here's a simple anecdote. GM is down the street from the University of Michigan - one of the best Engineering schools there is. I have hired dozens of students from the UM over the years. I have NEVER feared that I would lose a good candidate to the automakers. Why would they work for those dinosaurs when they can come out to California and get paid more money to work at Google or Apple?

Result: Garbage in, garbage out.

Godspeed to them, but there is a big difference between a prototype and a production line.

Additionally, note the key line "expected to travel up to 40 miles on electricity from a single battery charge". That won't be enough for the majority of Bay Area Commuters to get to work and back. This would mean they would need to recharge the car midday, at the time when the electrical grid is stressed. 300 miles with "flex-fuel" option - translation, "running on Gasoline".

YOU are the one hoping this will happen because it's what you want, despite the evidence to the contrary. This puts you on the same evolutionary level as those claiming Obama was born in Kenya, despite no evidence.

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Gee, I guess we're going to have to rely on bikes after all, Murph, since you say---and you are the Irwin Corey of your generation---that this car won't do the job.

 
At 3:38 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Thanks Sarah Palin.

 
At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Tech said...

After the bankruptcy GM had to come out with a game changer.

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

I hate to say it Murph, but I think you're wrong about this.

The car will sell.

As to the impact on bikes -These cars will still cause the same traffic congestion as their more environmentally damaging counterparts.

It is nice to see some significant progress with alternative energy cars.

 
At 5:10 PM, Anonymous ilovemympg said...

i am really excited about the volt, but there're other car-related externalities and problems that high mpg won't solve, like parking, congestion, sprawling land use, lazy lazy people, and traffic-related injuries.

but, i guess if i get better gas mileage, i won't mind sitting in traffic as much, or driving around the block another 10 times for parking. shoot, forget about affordable housing, parks and open space, bring back the embarcadero freeway extensions and the wide wide roads!

 
At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuel economy is only one of many, many problems with automobiles.

 
At 9:25 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"After the bankruptcy GM had to come out with a game changer."

That's what they said about Digital Equipment Corporation.

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

GM agrees with me.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/pender/detail?entry_id=45351&type=autos

From an environmental standpoint, "I'm excited about these (mileage) numbers. I just want to make sure we don't over-hype the technology. GM is only talking about making thousands or tens of thousands in the early years. Plug-ins won't have a big impact until there are tens of millions of them on the road and that could take decades.

The 230 mpg estimate grabbing the headlines is for city driving only and assumes the driver is operating mainly on electricity. GM has not released a freeway number for the Volt, but when it does, "it will be fairly significantly lower" than 230 mpg, says GM spokesman Rob Peterson.

At the U.S. average cost of electricity (approximately 11 cents per kWh), a typical Volt driver would pay about $2.75 for electricity to travel 100 miles, or less than 3 cents per mile."

In some areas like California, the cost of electricity is considerably higher. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average residential price of electricity in April 2009 was 14.2 cents per kilowatt hour in California compared to 11.6 cents nationally.

If you commute 40 miles or less per day, a Volt might save you money over the life of the car. But if you "commute from San Francisco to Sacramento, you are probably going to better off economically with a Prius. It will cost at least $15,000 less," If you commute 40 miles or less per day, a Volt might save you money over the life of the car. But if you "commute from San Francisco to Sacramento, you are probably going to better off economically with a Prius. It will cost at least $15,000 less," David Friedman, research director of the vehicles program with the Union of Concerned Scientists

 
At 10:49 PM, Blogger John G. Spragge said...

The ten top selling vehicles of 2009, accounting for about 30% of all projected deliveries, cost an average of about $21,000. That suggests a substantial fraction of the car market (~40%) can neither afford the 2008 of gas or the amortized cost of the Chevrolet Volt. Those numbers point to a real change in commuting patterns. Whether commuters opt for the health benefits and flexibility of the human-powered bicycle (and whether firms provide facilities for bicycle commuters) we don't yet know. In the likely event that fossil fuel prices rise to 2008 levels and show signs of staying up, the number of private cars will dwindle and the car will cede space on the street to public transit and the bicycle.

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I enjoy the Prius, but I'm skeptical of the hype around the Volt.

We're talking about a commodity the government has a vested interest in seeing succeed. I'd hardly be surprised if they practically gave away the cars on the tax-payers dime to "save the environment" and "stimulate the economy" at the same time. Consider it an extension of the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

“They don’t expect that people are going to flock out to showrooms and buy these vehicles, there’s limited production right off the bat ... it’ll be many, many years before we see GM return money, or make money on the Volt, that was the criticism of the task force.” -CNBC as quoted in http://www.newsy.com/videos/all_charged_up_over_the_volt

 
At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't illegal to reproduce an entire article from a news source without permission? I thought you were all about following the letter of the law, Rob...

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Where did you get that idea? It may be technically illegal, but I doubt that the Washington Post is worried about it.

 
At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The posting of the entire text of a newspaper article in a blog, for the purpose of stimulating discussion, almost certainly falls under the doctrine of fair use and is thus not illegal.

And, as Rob said, I doubt the Washington Post is too worried about it.

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger Lex said...

It's not just GM that's about to market an electric car. Nissan plans to start selling one late next year. Both Subaru and Volvo are working them too.

The hard core bike people tend to see everything through the lens of their ideology. "Soon we'll run out of oil. The suburbs will be abandoned and we'll revert back to a 19th century lifestyle and everyone will ride bikes and take the train."

But technology isn't playing along. There will be alternatives in the form of electric cars, cars powered by hydrogen, fuel cells, etc. The cars like the Volt and Nissan's Leaf are essentially prototypes. Sure, there will be teething pains and they'll be expensive. So were early flat screen TVs, CD players, and cell phones. In time the designs will be perfected and economies of scale will drive prices down.

Technology always trumps ideology.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, and I appreciate the sensible comment, Lex. Technology trumps ideology, and Reality trumps ideology, except in San Francisco, where progressives are always speaking truth to power and making the world a better place, no matter how stupid their policy ideas may be.

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The hard core bike people tend to see everything through the lens of their ideology. "Soon we'll run out of oil. The suburbs will be abandoned and we'll revert back to a 19th century lifestyle and everyone will ride bikes and take the train.""

You fucking idiot. Thinking that bikes will have an increasingly significant role in our lives is not the same as thinking everyone is going back to a 19th century lifestyle.

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger Lex said...

"You fucking idiot. Thinking that bikes will have an increasingly significant role in our lives is not the same as thinking everyone is going back to a 19th century lifestyle."

Ah. Angry as well as stupid.

 
At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course I'm angry, Lex. You're using underhanded strawman arguments.

 

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