Why I Bought a Chevy Volt, and a Tesla May Be Next

You can chalk up the Munarriz household as one of the few -- and proud -- Chevy Volt owners.

I went car shopping with my wife over the weekend. She had been enamored of General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) revolutionary plug-in hybrid for months, so it's where we went first.

Our first and only stop was our closest Chevy dealer. There were just two Volts on the lot. Judging by my area inventory checks in recent weeks it seemed to be the same two cars that had been sitting there for some time. Whether it's the stiff prices or Volt's battery-pack woes that have since been remedied, driving this Chevy to the levy has truly been dry.

This is normally the kind of dream situation that a knowledgeable buyer can pounce on, but preliminary checks through car-shopping services found that Chevrolet dealers weren't discounting the Volt by much.

We got lucky. We scored a reasonable discount, a sweet interior upgrade, and more than we were expecting on our trade-in. My wife is loving her new car.

Why did we go with the Volt over Nissan's (OTC: NSANY) Leaf or save up to splurge on Tesla's (Nasdaq: TSLA  ) Model S sedan that hits the market in July? As a Ford (NYSE: F  ) investor -- and owner myself -- I could've gotten a shareholder discount on the all-electric Focus model that will be coming out in a few months. Why did we pass?

Range anxiety!

All-electric cars are still limited by the range of their lithium-ion batteries. The Leaf has a range of 100 miles on a single charge. Tesla's entry-level Model S tops off at 160 miles, and it will cost drivers $70,000 for the Model S with the upgraded battery to get 300 miles between charges.

The Volt's battery is lightweight in comparison. It's good for roughly 35 miles between charges. However, a smallish gas tank is there to provide hundreds of miles of additional flexibility after the electric power runs out. Given my wife's brief daily commutes, it will probably be several months between stops at the gas station. She'll probably forget which side of the car has the nozzle opening.

However, it was the fear of taking the car out on a family road trip that nixed the all-electrics from our checklist. Gas stations are plentiful. Electric charging stations are still few and far between.

The electric car revolution has been a dud so far. It has deteriorated from being an environmental or economical shift to an unfortunate political tussle -- at least as it pertains to the Volt. However, as lithium-ion cells get cheaper and charging stations become more prevalent, drivers will come around.

I'm already dreaming of a Tesla Model X -- falcon wings and all -- to replace my Ford Flex in a few years. It may sound crazy now, but something tells me it will seem far more sensible in the future.

Hit the road
Tesla is revving up to be another potential winner recommended in the Rule Breakers newsletter service, but there's a different multibagger that has the growth stock service's attention these days. Find out what that stock is with a free report.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford Motor, General Motors, and Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Ford. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


Read/Post Comments (45) | Recommend This Article (21)

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  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 10:11 AM, Billiardman wrote:

    I will probably buy a Model S within the next year. Unless something better emerges. I will keep my current SUV and my wife's LS460 Lexus. As a second or 3rd car, there's no range anxiety. As a primary or only car, I agree. A pure electric is not ready for prime time. But most households today have more than one car. The biggest obstacle at this point is battery technology. Lower cost and faster charging is what's needed.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 10:59 AM, pupuke wrote:

    Please help me understand where the environmental benefit is. Now instead of burning gasoline, you're charging a battery from an outlet powered in large part by burning coal or by nuclear power which ultimately yields complicated waste. I think the electric car movement is inappropriately billed as environmentally friendly. Further, at the end of an electric car's life, what becomes of the battery? At least the Tesla S is nice to look at AND it seats 7. I'm still not a buyer though.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 11:14 AM, DaveSRQ wrote:

    Balanced article. Thanks for your perspective as a Volt owner.

    To answer "pupuke":

    Unlike gas powered cars which will always polute, EVs have the potential to get cleaner over time, without changing anything about the car itself. The source of electricity can evolve from coal to wind, solar, hydro, thermal, etc., as the US makes a greater commitment in these areas. Some projects are already underway. Also, homeowners in the south and west can install solar on their roof to provide clean electricity for their house, car, and for selling back to the grid.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 12:19 PM, bobbie12341232 wrote:

    @pupuke

    go to the utilities companies and govt energy documents.

    It's not hard, less pollution from coal than gasoline and places like CA 50% of plants do not use coal. Vermont even less.

    let's break our old addictive habits of gasoline. You can change for the better.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 12:23 PM, bobbie12341232 wrote:

    The funny thing is if you're going to take long road trips often, you're not in the market of EV's.

    Why do people assume EVs have to fit everyone's bill?

    I don't EVER hear anybody say a ferrari sports car can't load up the entire family. Ridiculous argument and article.

    NOBODY says a ford focus can't fit 7 people so it's a useless car.

    I don't see you writing articles on how compact cars don't fit the needs of a SUV or luxury segment.

    We should get rid of all cars that do not fit seven adults and that doesn't go 500 miles on a gas of tank.

    LOL.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 12:51 PM, CraigZinser wrote:

    Although they are bad for the environment today, if you really want a plug-in, you should have waited for Ford's new one. Yes, they have both a BEV and PHEV.

    The problem with moving to Electric Vehicles is electric production is more polluting, per joule of energy produced, than gasoline used in most cars. Indeed, this is reflected in EPA studies on pollution in the United States. 27% of carbon pollution is caused by all road and non-road transportation (Cars, buses, trucks, trains, planes, ships, boats, et cetera) but 39% of carbon pollution is caused by electric production. Increasing electric production to cover automotive pollution disproportionately raises carbon pollution. This is not to mention the involved and lengthy process by which EV batteries are manufactured - a process which produces large amounts of carbon pollution, due to extensive transportation of materials, but also produces more exotic forms of pollution, including sulfuric acid pollution near ...the mining and refinery sites for the nickel used.

    Ultimately, while oil-based energy production for cars (gasoline, diesel) is unsustainable and polluting, it is less so than electric-based energy production at the time being. Currently, 40% of the nation's power is generated by coal, 20% is generated from natural gas, roughly 20% is generated from oil, and that leaves the remaining 20 or so percent shared by alternatives, including nuclear power. Current technology renders alternative energy production (except nuclear) too inefficient for cost-effective or space-effective use. Development is continuing on these, and I've no doubt they will eventually reach a point where they are viable for large-scale use, but that point isn't here yet. So, for the time being, it is actually negative to the environment to produce and use electric vehicles.

    People have simply bought into the feel-good message of electric cars, without fully researching the implications. Frankly, high-efficiency diesels are better options. They use less of a fuel which generates more solid carbon particulate than carbon-oxide pollution, and all-in-all less pollution than gasoline. This is more economically viable, and stands to reduce pollution in truth.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 2:42 PM, Hawmps wrote:

    On February 21, 2012, at 11:14 AM, marshdtm1 wrote:

    "Balanced article. Thanks for your perspective as a Volt owner.

    To answer "pupuke":

    Unlike gas powered cars which will always polute, EVs have the potential to get cleaner over time, without changing anything about the car itself. The source of electricity can evolve from coal to wind, solar, hydro, thermal, etc., as the US makes a greater commitment in these areas. Some projects are already underway. Also, homeowners in the south and west can install solar on their roof to provide clean electricity for their house, car, and for selling back to the grid."

    I just had to repeat that.... great comments marshdtm1. I second that! There WILL come a day when I charge my EV and power my home with solar generated electricity.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 2:47 PM, pupuke wrote:

    @marshdtm1 - the only meaningful change in the US electricity mix that I think we'll see in the lifetime of this Volt will be an economics-driven tug of war between natural gas and coal. If we like natural gas better than gasoline (and we should since we have lots of it and it burns cleaner), we should skip the plug-in w/ range-limiting battery and fuel cars directly with natural gas. I just see the move to plug-ins as a distraction that makes people who are not looking under the hood feel better about their carbon footprint.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 3:34 PM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @ CraigZinser

    Where are you getting your information from with regards to EVs and pollution, Fox news?. Let’s throw some “real" numbers and information around. Let’s compare a Tesla Model S to a Lincoln Towncar and let’s say fuel oil #2 is used to generate the power for the EV- to make it simple, because it's a fairly good estimation for a full LCA. A Towncar gets around 18 mpg average, and the Model S gets 160 miles/40 Kwhr- check Edmunds.com for the info. Convert this to energy, a town car uses about 33.4 kwhr/18 miles. About (transmission and generation is typically 47-55%) double the energy usage for the Tesla due to transmission and generation losses and you get 9 kwhr/18 miles. Coal and other sources of energy require about the same amount. Couple this information with the fact that normal cars catalytic convertors are not meant to get rid the carbon dioxide. Coal, Natural gas and oil power plants DO a good job getting rid of the carbon dioxide and actually sell it as a saleable product (sheetrock precursors). What happens to the carbon dioxide after it leaves the tailpipe? It pollutes the atmosphere.

    In terms of diesel- it’s about the same energy density as gasoline. So to get a car to be less polluting than a Model S it has to get the equivalent of over 66 mpg on a consistent basis! The Volkswagen Diesel TDI doesn’t even come close

    You also cite batteries, the newer EVs do not use nickel, they use lithium which is very easy to refine and manufacture. Lithium is one of the most abundant materials on earth. You also fail to mention the fact the nastiest of all reactions and mining has to do with normal cars. If you think refining of base metals such as lithium and nickel are nasty, I direct you to research the manufacture of platinum and palladium. These metals are “noble metals” and are a pain to refine and are used in all normal cars (your catalytic convertor). Go to a chemistry lab with a rocks with lithium and platinum- alot easier to refine lithium.

    Also how about the manufacture or lead batteries in cars, or the manufacture of all the rubber and engine block in a normal car? Melting to cast iron/aluminum takes a lot of energy to melt to recycle. Refining recycled lithium from a used lithium battery is trivial and has a lower melting point than iron or aluminum.

    Also citing that wind/solar/hydropower is too inefficient is a common misconception and was a valid argument 10-20 years ago, but not currently. There are current technologies in which windmills become energy producers after 6 months and the monetary payback is around 6-8 years, thin film solar cells cost a lot less than older cells, energy payback is around 4 years, monetary payback is 8-10 years.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 3:38 PM, DaveSRQ wrote:

    @pupuke - You might be right about the "tug of war" between natural gas and coal. I already see this war of words in commercial ads between the two. Frankly, I prefer to choose neither. I have the opportunity to install a 5KW solar system for about $12K (after rebates), which will provide virtually all the electricity I need for my house and car for 20+ years. I spend more than that every 6 years in gasoline alone.

    This is the kind of conversation that consumers need to have. Companies are now making solar roof shingles. A new $300K home could otherwise be a new $320K home with free electricity for house and car for 20+ years. However, no large energy supplier can profit from that. Too bad.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 6:11 PM, ejclason2 wrote:

    I too wondered if electric cars simply moved the point of polution. Investigating, one thing I learned is that internal combustion engines are incredibly inefficient. To my suprise, its more efficient to generate electricity at a power plant, use the electricity to recharge batteries, and use electricity from the batteries to drive an electric motor which propels the car, <breath> than it is to use gasoline to power an internal combution engine to propel the car.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 7:21 PM, TexasVolt wrote:

    It is amazing to me how often the same old urban legend gets recycled over and over again. No matter where you live in the US, a Volt or other plug in is much more environmentally beneficial than an average US internal combustion car. An article in Scientific American (The Dirty Truth About Electric Cars) showed that in a handful of the worst states for burning coal, a Prius was more evironmentally friendly. But that was (a) a Prius so if you drive anything else the Volt is better (b) way back in 2008 when there was a lot more coal use before natural gas got so cheap.

    Meanwhile, in the rest of the country, a plug-in does much better. We drive our Volts on 100% Texas wind power bought from our local utility. It costs $1.20 to drive 40 miles on 100% renewable energy. This urban legend needs to be retired.

    Rick, you will love your Volt. It is a great car. There is a reason the Volt beat our the Porsche 911 as the car with the highest customer satisfaction score in Consumer Reports last year. (In fact, the highest score ever recorded in the magazine's history.) Enjoy!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 10:46 PM, ejecea wrote:

    My Chevy Volt is powered by Hydroelectricity from the local dam... TRUE ZERO EMISSION TODAY!

    I am personally saving about $230.00/mo on "fuel"

    AND I'm redirecting about $180.00/month away from foreign oil countries like Saudi Arabia to my LOCAL UTILITY.

    It's a no brainer.

    Good for the economy, good for the air I breath and good for MY pocket book.

    DUH!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2012, at 10:49 PM, ejecea wrote:

    Oh yeah... And it is the fastest, most responsive, car I've ever owned. It's like driving a dragonfly!

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 5:47 AM, NoFoolRules wrote:

    For now I'll probably keep my ICE for longer family trips (no range or charging worries) and pick up an EV for local run around trips. Still EVs are expensive at the moment. Once EVs come down in price and are more comparable in price to a cheaper ICE I figure more folks will have them as a second car for running around locally (almost like a nice golf cart?).

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 8:03 AM, JohnnieBD wrote:

    Everybody grow up. The electric car "Died in 1931" with the closing of Detroit Electric auto production. There will be no Lazarus like resurrection other than Ellons veiled "Gaming" of the big board. I'm not going to roll it all over again. Do your homework like it was your Doctoral presentation time and you will understand. Beyond that I can not believe that guys as smart as you are with money could be duped into NOT buying a Volt at dealer cost and possibly if you really wanted to "grind"...into the hold back. This is NOT A DEMAND PRODUCT. There is no PREMIUM on this car. Dealers would literally kiss your durrierre to get one off the books. The same for a Nissan Leaf. Let the "Sparks Fly".....

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 8:55 AM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @ JohnnieBD

    If there is no demand for EVs. Where are you getting your information from? Let's face it the Volt is a plug in hybrid, not a true EV.

    The Leaf, MiEV and Tesla are the only true EV's on the current market. In the case of Tesla, why are there close to 10,000 Reservations for Tesla cars and that close to none of those people have even driven the car and Tesla has not done any significant advertising.

    Riddle me this...

    Why did a reservation for number 4,086, that initially cost 5 K, probably purchased 6 months ago sell for over 10 K

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Tesla-Tesla-Model-S-Reservati...

    That seems like a huge demand to me. If someone is willing to pay 5K more to jump in line a few months without even driving one or seeing one on the road.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 10:10 AM, JohnnieBD wrote:

    There were 17,000 deposits for Nissan Leaf in advance and they only delivered about 10,000 first year. These kinds of over optimistic claims are part of the "Hype". Even if it turns out to be so, it is likely they will have then exhausted the buyers with the means to fund their emotions. Where do I get my numbers: From the sales reports. It is available everywhere. These cars are all commercial duds.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 11:09 AM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    10,000 cars per year are duds? For a newly introduced car? Is the XJ series of Jaguars a flop, How about any type of Porsche- no one type of Porsche sells more ? Ferrari only sells around 4,000 to 6,000 per year.

    You do realize during the first few years that the Prius did not pass 20,000 sales per year until 2001. The first year the Prius only sold 3,000 units. Premature to say it's a flop after one year. Last year the Prius sold over 200,000 units!

    You cite the Leaf- it's on par with where the Prius was after one year of introduction. The Volt is kind of lagging, but they completely handicapped it by limiting the markets.

    http://www.plugincars.com/global-nissan-leaf-sales-eclipse-1...

    With regards to the Tesla and people withe the means to buy it, it's a tad different than the Leaf, each reservation holder had to shell out at least 5% of the cost up front, some putting out 50%. Chances are these people will not back out. Also I would cite it as a competitor to a Audi A6 series and they sell 100,000 units per year.

    the converse way to look at it is that people do not want to be guinea pigs, but once the early adopters get theirs and the public fears are calmed regarding resale, range, etc, more people will get them

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2012, at 2:23 PM, Hawmps wrote:

    Teslafan81... I like you. :)

    My folks (retired) are planning to build a new house in the next year or two and part of the plan is a full PV rooftop system and having the garage wired specifically to accomodate a Tesla in a year of two after it is built (likely a Model X). I will be adding a similar system to my place not long after they finish theirs.

    One thing about electric cars that nobody seems to think about... maintenance. There are sooooo many fewer moving parts and constantly pumping fluids in an electric car than a petrolium car and therefore the potential for far fewer maintenance dollars to be spent. Food for thought.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 9:50 AM, PGIxFL wrote:

    Would you by a car that if your battery became completely discharged (from, say, sitting too long) would require a $40,000 replacement part that is NOT covered by the manufacturer nor by your insurance? AND the manufacturer is trying to keep quiet!!!

    "Tesla Motors' lineup of all-electric vehicles — its existing Roadster, almost certainly its impending Model S, and possibly its future Model X — apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a "brick": a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Unlike practically every other modern car problem, neither Tesla's warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss."

    http://jalopnik.com/5887265/tesla-motors-devastating-design-...

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 11:30 AM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @PGIxFL

    not exactly true. If you read the owners manual it clearly states that you should not keep it unplugged for an extended period of time. If left out for a week, you lose about 50% of the total charge. After that week it decreases around 7% per week after.

    Keep in mind, besides the one in Japan (even that one is kind of suspect- if I buy 100 K vehicle, I would be making sure all the Ps and Qs are in place). The rest could be chalked to not following directions.

    1. You have a guy that did not follow the "warning" in the owners manual

    2. You had a person who used an extension cord (big no no, common sense says not to do that, but maybe there should have been a warning on the Roadster display and he should have noticed the next day if his charge was low)

    3. You had a person whom already did the same to another EV. That's like saying I redlined my one car and blew the engine, got another car and did the same thing.. Maybe the car is not to blame

    The article is fear mongering to say the least, it sucks for those people, but if it says it in the owners manual to NOT do something, don't do it.

    @Hawmps

    If you are converting for your garage, make sure you have enough Amps coming in. For a decent charge you need a 50 A/240 breaker, 40 A constant draw and 240 V

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 3:55 PM, PGIxFL wrote:

    If you want to take trip across the Mohave or to Death Valley FORGET IT:

    ....does not cover damage caused by exposing an unplugged vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for over 24 hours....

    According to Green Car Reports, Tesla has buyers sign a document acknowledging their responsibility to maintain a charge in the pack and stating that any damage caused by failing to do so is not covered by the warranty. The Tesla Motors “Disclosures and Acknowledgements” form specifically states, “Note, your Roadster warranty as it relates to the battery does not cover damage caused by exposing an unplugged vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for over 24 hours, storing an unplugged vehicle in temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit for over seven days or leaving your vehicle unplugged where it discharges that battery to at or near zero state of charge.”

    IT SURE SOUNDS LIKE A VEHICLE TO STAY AWAY FROM.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 5:56 PM, DaveSRQ wrote:

    @PGIxFL - So, would you purchase a gas powered car and never change or add engine oil, let the engine seize up and die, then claim that customers should stay away from this vehicle?

    Ridiculous!

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 6:16 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    If it takes you over 24 hours to get through Death Valley, you deserve whatever is coming to you. They don't call it Death Vally for nothing. Have you ever been through Death Vally? It's not 24 hours across, let me tell you.

    Do you know what else you're not supposed to do? Let an internal combustion engine run completely out of fuel. Or leave it sit for more than a couple of weeks without refilling the tank.

    All of this sounds suspiciously similar to exactly what you're panicking over.

    I like Tesla and electric cars, although I'll stick with riding my trust bus, thanks very much. Leave the driving to the pros, I always say.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 6:16 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    *trusty, that is.

    The Trust Bus sounds like some horrible political slogan.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2012, at 7:02 PM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @PGIxFL

    so let me get this straight. you need to spend 24 hrs driving in Death Valley, The Roadster holds between 200-400 miles per charge depending on driving conditions.

    So in order for that scenario to happen, you need to drive between 10 to 20 mph in a 2-door sports car for 24 hrs straight AND it's daylight all the time (temperature drops at night). Who is going to do that? If the sun never set in Death Valley in a 24 hr time frame, and you are only going 10 mph- There's much more pressing concerns than wrecking a car battery

    The realistic approach in Death Valley would be to stop after 150 miles, charge up, eat, bathroom break, etc, etc and do that.

    Do you happen to know why those two temperatures were chosen? It's simple, because that's the operating range of the standard 50/50 mix of antifreeze for the lower range and at 120 F, you do diminish the heat transfer from the car to the surrounding air (engineering 101), with any car you will have heating issues at prolonged use at high ambient temperatures.

    I agree that owners should be made clear that you should plug in the car when not used for prolonged periods of time, It's new technology and not common knowledge to do that.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 12:02 PM, stokboy74 wrote:

    I have to say that I am dissapointed whenever I read people's comments regarding Natural Gas, as if it is a viable option for a motor vehicle. CNG is in use. LNG is not in use. NG is not in use. Puke is no scientist.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 12:42 PM, drborst wrote:

    Nobody seems to have commented on it, but a large percentage of the electricity where I live (the pacific northwest comes from hydro power, not coal (they even had to shut down the wind farms here last summer because the system couldn't handle all the extra renewable electricity being generated). Its a great place to own a Volt and a great place for a power hungry industry like a data center.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 12:49 PM, devoish wrote:

    So we have learned that you can successfully kill a Tesla by letting the battery completely discharge.

    In my experience people have successfully killed Internal combustion engines, by not replacing the anti freeze in winter, not changing the oil enough, leaking oil, burning oil, and of course overheating.

    Some people have even tried to kill gasoline engines by forcing diesel fuel into them.

    Here is a list of parts that will never fail on a Tesla.

    spark plugs, wires, electronic ignition, coil. oil pan oil gasket, oil pump, piston rings, valves, camshaft or valve seals, head gaskets , timing belt, chain or tensioner, starter, alternator, intake manifold, intake manifold gasket, fuel injector, fuel pump, fuel filter, muffler, resonator, catalytic converter, tail pipe. Air filter, egr valve, evap cannister and controls. Mass air flow sensor, map sensor, air temperature sensor.

    I could go on.

    and on and on.

    For those of you with the requirement to get your car inspected, rest assured the Tesla will pass emissons every time.

    I am sure that every driver here can take a look at that list of parts and identify at least four they have heard of from the wrong side of a repair bill.

    When estimating the repair and maintenance costs of a fully electric car as compared to a gasoline or diesel powered one, for everyone who is not destined to be one of darwins teaching moments, the phrase that should come to mind is 'significant savings'.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 1:40 PM, texan15 wrote:

    Hope you feel good investing your money in a company that screwed its stock and bond holders and is now owned by the Obama administration and the UAW. I think that in 5 years we will look back and laugh at all of these attempts to make plug in electric cars a viable option to the gasoline engine. And those tree huggers who claim that they are using "clean electric power" - where do they think this electric power comes from - most of it still comes from coal fired power plants. You also have to look at all the pollution created to make the batteries for this car and then the cost of disposing of them in a few years when you discover that the new battery pack will cost more than the car is worth!

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 2:00 PM, levelplayinfield wrote:

    Craig, your not limiting your knowledge to the kindergarten networks are you. GE (big stake in ""Green Power" owns one of the kindergarten networks.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 3:36 PM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @texan15

    You cite batteries and refining the lithium as a polluter and do not point out recycling the batteries.

    For the most part those batteries will always have some finite worth, either as scrap or as electricity storage for the grid. There will always be value to recycle the batteries, look at lead batteries as an example, 99% are recycled and they are comparatively CHEAP.

    Did I mention that some lithium batteries can last 10,000 deep cycle charges without significant degradation, Lightning GT from the UK (that's 120 years of normal driving- those batteries will outlast my grandchildren!),

    Let's see to put a "new engine" in a 10 year old car costs more than the car is worth, that's why we get rid of our cars and scrap them after a certain number of years. Also consider the cost of batteries and technology- they go down in price, in 10 years, maybe the biggest Tesla battery may cost 8 K, where a gasoline engine will STILL cost 12 K, and maybe the battery could be sold as used and you could get a new one. Selling a battery with an easily identified range is alot easier for both the seller and consumer than determining engine wear on a used engine

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 5:15 PM, VolkOseba wrote:

    Until they take mere minutes to charge, and until I can bring a high capacity battery that isn't too heavy from the charging station to my dead car, I can't consider all-electric cars a viable option.

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 9:25 PM, Hawmps wrote:

    Teslafan81 - No worries... I would probably run a 100amp subpanel with 4AWG off the main dedicated to the Tesla charger so there is plenty of copper and extra capacity to also disipate the heat generated from the current draw.

    Also working on a 10 year projection of cost/benefit of ownership of a Model S/X with the home PV system using historical increases in electricity rates and gas prices in my area and projected annual maintenance costs of a similarly priced luxury sedan (obviously there is no data for annual maintenance for a Model S, but I am willing to play devil's advocate and say it is significantly less than an ICE). The way I see it is this... I am not in the market for a Model S/X today, but would potentially be in the market in say 2 - 4 years (apparently most nay-sayers can't see that far or farther ahead). The cost of owning an ICE car will always go up x% per year on average over the holding period and I expect the cost to install the PV system to continue on a downward trend. I picked a 10 year period simply because I have two vehicles, one is 10 years old and the other is 9 years old and they are both in better than average to very good condition (aside from a 10yr DCF being a standard for many types of analyses). I'll blog it here at some point when I'm done.

    Oh, and about the $40k battery story...

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1073312_is-tesla-brickin...

  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 9:50 PM, CaptainWidget wrote:

    <<Unlike gas powered cars which will always polute, EVs have the potential to get cleaner over time, without changing anything about the car itself.>>

    WE also have the potential of creating cold fusion and reconfiguring molecules to produce anything our heart desires for next to free.

    But....those things won't happen anytime soon. So I'm not making my investment choices on those potential (but unlikely) possibilities. By the time we develop cold fusion, the world around it willing to take advantage will be completely different. And by the time electricity is a cheaper and cleaner way to power a car, your Volt will be obsolete.

    Electric cars:

    ...are less durable

    ...more polluting

    ...less safe

    ...more expensive (both initial and per mile)

    ...uglier (OK that's subjective)

    ...and a waste political willpower

    So you bought the Volt because you wanted a Volt. That's fine.....don't pretend like you're saving the world though. It sounds pretentious to other people.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2012, at 9:34 AM, rqtect wrote:

    how,s that working out for ya?

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2012, at 3:33 PM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @Captian Widget

    Yes, they do have the capability to be cleaner over time. What you fail to realize that as technology develops and more clean energy is used, the fuel over long term becomes cleaner. It is not a function of the car, it's a function of power plants. You can't change a regular car's engine to run significantly cleaner, but you an add thin film solar cells to make an EV significantly cleaner.

    Let's get rid of your myths and lies you are spreading right now using common sense and studies that have been done.

    EVs less durable?

    The fact the EVs have LESS moving parts means they should be more durable. 30 moving parts on an EV verses 600 moving parts on a regular car?

    More polluting- Only a few cases that the PHEV NOT EVs are more than a Prius, if you put any other regular car in that study the PHEV is less polluting, they are less polluting compared to other cars

    Less safe- There's only 3 cars with PERFECT 5 star ratings, 2013 Camaro, Volvo, and the Tesla Model S- so there goes that argument, and it should also be noted that the Tesla has less of a roll-over risk than either those 2 cars (so technically an EV is the safest car on the road). Also if you want to cite the fire risk with the Volt, regular cars have 3 times as much fire risk. GM and Toyota recalled millions of regular vehicles in 2012 due to spontaneous fire risks

    More expensive- even without rebates, a MiEV or Leaf costs the same as a regular base Corolla over the life of the car assuming average driving and average car life. I did the calculation myself and it turns out a fully loaded, bells and whistles Model S, over the course of the car life would cost me as much as a base Mustang

    Ugly- that's a matter of opinion. I think Hummers are ugly, did not like the remodel of the late 90's Cougar, I like the old 70's style of Camaros vs the reboot and the hate BYD EV that looks like it's from the 90's. I like the Model S, Delorean, Persu Hybrid, and 3-wheel Aptera- they look cool to me,

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2012, at 9:22 PM, geezer27606 wrote:

    The Volt does not save money because the $10000 cost of the battery could be better spent on gasoline so long as gas costs less than about $6 per gallon.

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2012, at 7:06 AM, Teslafan81 wrote:

    @geezer

    At what mileage. If you make a statement, please have numbers to back it up:

    Here's the numbers @ $0.10/kwhr, assuming this remains constant as gasoline increases/decreases

    Price /gal Miles after Volt becomes more

    economical

    $6 57,000 miles

    $5 70,500 miles

    $4 92,300 miles

    $3 133,333 miles

    $2 240,000 miles

    $1 1,200,000 miles

    Currently the Volt becomes more economical at around 100,000 miles at current gas prices

  • Report this Comment On February 27, 2012, at 11:02 AM, nickolassc wrote:

    Congrats at being able to afford a great vehicle! From an engineering standpoint, I strongly believe GM should have made the car electric drive only and coupled it with a gas turbine generator instead keeping the direct drive linkages and the traditional piston engine...However, what they put out is certainly a step in the right direction!

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 1:43 AM, DanFPilot wrote:

    The only 'cars' that Chevy builds that are worth owning are as follows...Grand-sport Vette, Z06 Vette, and especially the awesome ZR1 Vette. Also the upcoming ZL1 Camaro looks to be an awesome rocket powered beast of a car. Chevy also builds excellent full sized trucks and SUVs. Electric cars are lame. Even the Tesla. And assuming the author took the Federal Incentive (From Obama's stash 'o cash).....thanks for contributing to the deficit. I'm also curious as to how CO2 is a 'pollutant' when all humans and mammals exhale it. I'm waiting for a one degree average temperature increase in the climate to destroy all life as we know it.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 2:24 AM, wishboneash007 wrote:

    If you had the option to have a second car, a Leaf or a pure electric makes much more sense than a Volt. The Volt still has an ICE, which needs to be maintained just like any other car on the road. I personally see no benefit to having a car which is more complex than a BEV and an ICE combined. Might as well get a Prius plug-in hybrid.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 8:19 PM, Shaunt1 wrote:

    Damn, I read all the comments. I think the Tesla is doing the right thing and would buy one. Nothing is perfect but there is more potential in EV and who cares about carbon emissions? I like it primarily for the cheaper fuel and greater connivance. Yes it would be nice if the price of the car was less but like most new tech it's initially more expensive. Besides if it lasts longer because of less parts/maintenance. It could still be well worth it now. It also depends what you compare it to:

    For example, a Tesla compared to a similarly priced Mercedes or other similarly priced car would be cheaper because of the fuel.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2012, at 9:40 PM, subrot0 wrote:

    I am very old school on this one. A car should be a personal choice and the market should decide. You got a Volt fine and dandy.

    I want to know how come there is not a range full range of choices available to the consumer.

    EV, CNG, Diesel, Hydrogen, Biofuels (whatever that maybe).

    Let the consumer decide which one is the best.

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