Mar 23

For the rich, it’s becoming good to be seen as green

 

As electric cars like Nissan’s LEAF and Chevrolet’s Volt gain momentum in a world yet to be convinced en masse of their viability, it seems the usual impediments aren’t stopping the wealthy.

One of the biggest objections to cars like the LEAF and Volt is they deliver only so much performance for prices higher than comparable internal-combustion powered cars.

On the debates rage over their merits or lack thereof, and much is the sweat for some over whether an EV or hybrid makes sense for the family budget.


Chevrolet’s Volt already attracts stars, such as actress Alison Brie shown arriving at Global Green USA’s pre-Oscars party on Feb. 23, in Hollywood. Other elites want more, however. They are looking forward to their exotic hybrids being the star of the show.

But what if cost were no object? What if other factors like exclusivity, being seen as environmentally sensitive, savvy to the cutting edge and other prestige-enhancing factors are what drive you?

Or, if you’re an exotic automaker, and don’t want to A) be seen producing only exorbitant cars that spew pollution while delivering horrible fuel economy, and B) don’t want to be forced out of business by stringent European emissions regulations, what do you do?

Go green, of course.

At this year’s Geneva Motorshow, the sheer number of electrified high-end concept cars, near-production versions, and production-ready automobiles was noteworthy.

Elite manufacturers either testing the waters or definitely promising something include Rolls Royce, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, and more.

Why would this matter to someone only looking to buy a Volt, or another car in its price range?

Well, if you want to see the broader proliferation for this type of car, anything that helps the prestige of alternative power could be good for everyone.

Further, the more that advanced makers apply their talents to create workable solutions for the most demanding customers on earth, the sooner it could be that longer range, better performing vehicles may become available for the ordinary budget.

At least this is one way of looking at it …

A few examples

On Monday this week, plans for production were announced for what may be the most expensive hybrid on the planet, the $845,000 Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid. First announced at the 2010 Geneva show, and now slated to roll off the assembly line by September 2013, the 718-horsepower vehicle promises 78 mpg as measured by the European driving cycle, thanks to a pair of electric motors assisting the 500 horsepower V8 engine.

The 218-horsepower electric motors are to be powered by lithium-ion batteries, and will allow the supercar to travel in EV-only mode up to 16 miles in range, or up to 94 mph.



Porsche will build 918 copies of the 918 Spyder hybrid. Price is $845,000. It has room for one child to be taken to soccer practice, and maybe a couple grocery bags. Optionally, you could buy 20 Chevy Volts at $41,000 each, but your perceived prestige in some circles may go down if you do.

If 918 drivers are feeling less concerned about fuel savings, they can practice 0-60 runs in 3.1 seconds, or more than double the 94 mph EV speed up to an estimated 199 mph.

And if that is not practical enough, how about adding to your two-car garage a Lamborghini hybrid, maybe something with a V8 or V10 engine mated to electric motors that can also troll around town in all-electric mode?

Sources at Lamborghini have reportedly said such a car may come along by 2015, and they are working on the project now, as is Ferrari, which may have something sooner.

At this year’s Geneva show, Ferrari told reporters that its prototype 599 hybrid could cost as much as twice the $339,000 gas-powered 559 GTB Fiorano, but this could come down in four years to $491,430.

The green Ferrari is said to do 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and is able to hit 125 mph in 10.4 seconds. This is quicker than comparable gasoline-powered Ferraris.

Ramifications

Whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, it’s clear there is a widespread push for EVs among the upper crust. Old world supercars are threatened to be targeted by eco-politicians and their replacements threaten to become the new darlings among the wealthy politically correct.

Remaining to be seen is whether gas-electric cars costing hundreds of thousands up to the better part of $1 million will truly help the environment.

Certainly, the time required to pay back the extra cost paid for economy savings might not be measurable in years, but decades, if ever.


Cutting edge Ferraris are supposed to be red, aren’t they? Not if they are green like this 599 hybrid, they’re not.

At minimum, it is evident that that human beings are emotional, and do things because they want to, not because they’ve sweated the details as people do who decide between a Volt or a Prius.

It’s instructive also that the rich will pay up for exotic hybrids even though the growth curve for battery technology is expected to render major components in their cars soon obsolete.

Will these uber-EVs somehow obtain a collector’s status just the same? Are we misjudging the soundness of their buyers’ judgment? What if first generation exotic hybrids increase in value like the ’63 Ferrari GTO did because it was rare and had intrinsic factors that in time made it able to command millions?

Or will the pending crop of exotic hybrids plummet in value if someone comes up with a paradigm shifting battery, or a capacitor-powered EV as some at Tesla predict?

If nothing else, the fact that someone would spend the kind of extra money that an exotic exotic would command could be used to justify a $41,000 Volt.

Think about it: Here we see the beginning of a market where people may pay more than the cost of a small fleet of Volts just to acquire one coveted car with electric-plus-gasoline power. If one followed their rationale, wouldn’t it seem much less extreme to pay up for a $41,000 Volt?

We could go on, but will wrap up asking: Just what is this business with quasi-experimental cars that cost so much?

If EVs are supposed to be for the planet, to wean us away from oil, are those people who are producing and buying exotics that can still burn lots of fuel really even contributing?

Maybe. If the cars’ R&D helps stimulate EVs across the board, and profits from the sale are turned around and channeled into beneficial avenues, that much could be good.

What do you think?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 73


  1. 1
    Barry252

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:00 am)

    I really, really like that Porsche 918. But I think I’ll pass on it because I’m afraid that I’ll keep scraping the bottom on my driveway. My Volt scrapes, but it has a way-cool flexible blade underneath. AND my Volt goes 40 miles on Electricity before the mighty 4 cylinder kicks in!

    Volt 63


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:24 am)

    What’s happening at the 2011 World Car of the Year awards?

    Overall Finalists:

    Audi A8
    BMW 5 series
    Nisan Leaf

    Green finalists:

    BMW 320d EfficientDynamics Edition
    Chevrolet Volt
    Nissan LEAF

    If anything deserves to be a Green and overall finalist, it’s the Chevrolet Volt!

    Let them hear about it, http://www.wcoty.com/web/


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    NZDavid

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:42 am)

    Well it was always expected that the in people would go electric, if only to be seen as green.

    As has been said mutiple times, that’s the beauty of the Volt, and EV,s in general, there is something to like no matter where you are on the spectrum.

    In NZ with a 94% dependance on imported oil, its the ability to move in a crisis that appeals to me.


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    joe

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (7:40 am)

    Why so much negativity about the Volt’s price? If it’s too expensive, just don’t buy it. No one is

    twisting anybody’s arm. Having the Volt only gives us more choices and there is nothing wrong

    with that. In time the price will go down just like any other products!

    It’s just to show the media’s focus is on negativity, especially if it involves GM.


  5. 5
    kdawg

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (8:21 am)

    “We could go on, but will wrap up asking: Just what is this business with quasi-experimental cars that cost so much?”
    ———

    My guess it has more to do w/the instant torque off the line than the gas savings. Plus you get the official “green halo” card for topper use amongst other rich friends.


  6. 6
    Jim I

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (8:22 am)

    So these manufacturers will sell maybe at most a few thousand $500,000 – $1,000,000 “exotic” hybrids. That will really help their “green” rating!!!

    GM has already sold more Volts……….

    I think it makes just a bit more sense to work on Hybrids, BEV’s, and EREV’s that can be purchased by millions of people around the world.

    JMHO


  7. 7
    kdawg

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (8:33 am)

    Jim I: I think it makes just a bit more sense to work on Hybrids, BEV’s, and EREV’s that can be purchased by millions of people around the world

    I think, if these exotic car makers can cash in on the green movement, they will coin the profit.


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    muv66

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (8:45 am)

    I look at these cars like the space program of the 60′s. I feel we will all benefit from these European car makers pushing the limits on EV’s and hybrids. It’s not us vs. them; ultimately, the gains from R&D will be shared internationally and we will all benefit. Plus, it’s good PR for the industry.


  9. 9
    Dan Petit

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (8:50 am)

    We’re all in it together.
    Within the context of the thread topic, few things would be more impressive than the well-off buying a Volt instead of an exotic, it seems to me.
    (It would send the message that they are secure in their beliefs and that they have (or are adopting) a “down to earth” set of values). Nothing proves that better than a Volt.

    Decades ago, the rage was “inconspicuous consumption”.

    Today with a Volt it would be one of the finest messages anyone could portray. (The well-off might close more contracts with the ownership of a Volt being known than something exotic, so, it could actually make a good background for them as a business case.)

    (My business model would require an extremely basic
    $32.000 version of Voltec with vinyl flooring, due to my need to step onto greasy shop service bay floors when teaching techs many times a day. (Plus, allergens really harbor and grow rapidly forever in carpeting once it ever gets wet from anything, so, carpeting isn’t a good choice for many for those reasons). With vinyl, you vacuum and then wipe it clean with a mild disinfectant and most of your allergenic reactions stay away with the climate control set on “recirculate” or “max”, (either of which cause the recirculation of air that has been already condensate-cleaned through the evaporator, cutting out almost all the induction of dirty outside air).

    The mystical luxury of Volt is the quietness of the ride. All the other stuff doesn’t matter by comparison.

    We’re all in it together.


  10. 10
    Raymondjram

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (9:21 am)

    Dan Petit:
    My business model would require an extremely basic $32.000 version of Voltec with vinyl flooring, due to my need to step onto greasy shop service bay floors when teaching techs many times a day.

    I believe that when OEM’s begin offering accessories (such as vinyl floor mats) and other add-ons for the Volt, then it becomes a mainstream vehicle as common as the Camaro, Corvette, and Malibu. I wish this does happen by the end of this year!

    Raymond


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    Dan Petit

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (9:30 am)

    Raymondjram,

    When I drove the Volt last year on the thirteenth of March, I was so profoundly amazed, that it is clearly one of those things that is so good, it is a good that is worth all the patience in the world to wait for.

    (But I have to hold out for the utilitarian vinyl all throughout, because any carpet is hygroscopic and begins to harbor hundreds of types of allergens. Vinyl floor mats only (with carpeting installed) will never do.)

    *****************************************************************************************
    ******* If I have to, I will rip out all the carpeting myself and replace it with vinyl. *******
    *****************************************************************************************
    So, if I have to wait for a commercial version of Voltec somehow, I must wait rather than suffer a lot with these nasal-constricting allergens that nest in carpeting located anywhere in the interior.


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    Mark Z

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (9:59 am)

    The Cadillac XLR sits in the garage while the luxury of the Volt is enjoyed. The quiet and comfort that the Volt offers will be enjoyed by those of every economic level. GM needs a Cadillac version because the Voltec power and feel is that good.

    A recent Cadillac rental car had a clunky feel to the transmission when shifting. I enjoy the regenerative breaking of the Volt that to duplicate it took putting that Cadillac rental down to “2″ to get any breaking from the transmission! However, the heated steering wheel, heated and cooled seats, and luxurious feel of that Cadillac were wonderful.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:14 am)

    joe: Why so much negativity about the Volt’s price? If it’s too expensive, just don’t buy it. No one is
    twisting anybody’s arm. Having the Volt only gives us more choices and there is nothing wrong
    with that. In time the price will go down just like any other products!
    It’s just to show the media’s focus is on negativity, especially if it involves GM.

    Answer: Because that is the only thing the long-time trolls have to cling to that they believe proves that the Prius is still “relevant” and still a better car than the Volt. Oh, wait! I hear that troll coming now! He will tell you that he makes $250,000 per year and can afford any car he wants, probably now including the Porsche 918, but that he drives his Pri-O-S because it’s “better”.

    Mmmm… Did I just say that out loud? My bad.


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    Gsned57

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:32 am)

    CorvetteGuy,

    The Prius is still very practical for taxi drivers or anyone who puts lots of miles on their car between plug in opportunities. But for 95% of the world who drive to work the Volt makes the most sense in terms of minimizing terrorist subsidies.


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    James

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:46 am)

    T here’s just so much about today’s piece …to start with – Who really is “rich” or “the rich”? I hate such broad brush categorization of which even our politicians debate at what income level in these United States should be taxed as “rich”. And if, by sheer measure of income, one of us with a net worth of a million or two dollars isn’t considered “rich” anymore. Who amongst us who isn’t ravaged by civil war, political unrest, poverty or natural disaster is NOT rich?! It’s relative – and everything listed above is purely relative. And think of the general public’s fascination with wealthy celebrities who divorce, sue and battle addictions of all sorts – when many of us of lower monetary wealth have happy families, children and people who dearly love us? How much is that worth? Doesn’t it make jealousy seem pointless?

    Rationally, we North Americans who could be classified as the “middle class” are precisely the demographic for mainstream transportation cars such as the Volt. The very same people who write about the Volt’s cost ( when they get it right ) often drive $40-$50,000 SUVS!!! Even Jay Leno – who just about everyone I know would classify as rich – with his hundreds of cars and bikes, purchased a Volt and said it would reside at his residence as a “daily driver”. Who are we to presume we know why a celebrity, corporate leader or oil magnate would buy any car? Cars of all kinds mean different things to different people – PERIOD. who is the author or any of us to presume we know why the guy driving next to us bought their wheels? Sure – we all can be presumptuous at times , smirking re: the mid-life crisis guy car – or the little guy driving the truck so tall it needs a rope ladder to compensate…or ….on and on…. But for the matter of a discussion like today’s – it’s oh so unfair to assume we know why any person buys what they do. Prius were in many Hollywood mogul’s and star’s garages when they surely could have owned a Tesla. Some did – but most do not. Right away, our little TMZ-addled brains assume they’re trying to cop an image. How do you know they don’t sincerely feel they are making a difference?

    Al Gore burns tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel in a private jet zipping around the globe spewing C02 talking about global warming – selling books and films for millions and profiting big on green-scare, or education – and we all have a bit of hyprocrisy in us no matter how “green” we feel we have become. Yet I believe I’d rather be breathing the air behind a Volt in electric mode any day than listening to Gore’s hot air. But I took a cruise a few years back in a ship that tossed loads of smelly diesel into our atmosphere – so who among us ISN’T a hypocrite at times?

    Read today’s article three times ( I did ) and the author seems to have a backdoor-type attitude about the Volt and LEAF. He’s saying – ” if buying a Volt or LEAF , justifying and debating it’s value is difficult for the common Joe , isn’t it sickening that these rich folks can just BUY ONE TO APPEAR GREEN AND COULD GIVE A *&^% if it retains it’s value or becomes a classic? ” !!!! Come on now – a 300 SL Gullwing sells for a cool million these days nearly every month somewhere, and each year Bugattis and Duesenbergs change hands for millions. Are their chassis’ performance comparable to today’s affordable cars? Their engine’s competitive with even a small DOHC 4 variably-timed valve computerized sport compact’s of today? This proposition that a hybrid exotic will/could lose it’s value is absurd!

    People thought I was trying to cop a “green” attitude when I bought my Prius 4 years ago. I believed I could contribute to cleaner air and save on gas! It was funny. Sometimes it felt like they were intimidated – or maybe even felt a bit guilty (?)…I’d try to tell them about our dependence on foreign oil – but we know that just pisses people off even more. To them – you think you’re smarter than they are. The blue collar guy driving the Pinto has oft chafed at the banker from the expensive neighborhood drivng the Caddy. Societal disdain over class is nothing new, but it never has been productive, positive or fruitful in any way. 40 mpg cars are breaking out like hives these days – a new one seems to pop up every week or so. Hybrid and non-hybrid. Each one covers a different spectrum of buyer and budget. The “raging” debates about Volt will subside as more are purchased and believe me – with $4.00 gas there is no doubt many will be purchased.

    Ask anyone from a complete car nut to a person who knows nothing about cars which is better – a $40,000 car that costs $7.50 to fill up ( conveniently in your garage on American electrons ) to get to work for a 5 day work week, home and errands – or a $40,000 dollar car that can do that for $40 ( 20 mpg ) being generous to the latter? They’ll realize how they truly drive and how smart the Volt is in time. And it won’t be years, it will be MONTHS – as gas prices are skyrocketing. Everyone thought I was a dork for buying a Prius until the 2008 gas crunch, THEN I WAS EINSTEIN!

    All this fretting and boo hooing on how many Volts have sold, or the water cooler debates over Volt’s viability, the hand-wringing, government-blaming and fear mongering over change will fade quickly as oil rear’s it’s ugly dinosaur-head roots in the pocketbook of John Q. American.

    When you can drive happily by in a cool, American-designed-and-built ride that is fast, quiet and clean while he parks his dino and rides the bus or bike …. It’s a new playing field. The 40 large doesn’t seem such a “barrier” anymore.

    Lastly – Get your facts straight. Ferrari, Lamborghini and the others are not striving to make hybrids due to a green image. It’s my understanding it’s all about the more stringent European tax codes and regulations being implemented and steepened. Each year more pollution free/no ICE city zones are created. Green isn’t only a fad in Europe – they often pay ten times what we do to fill up. Also the 918 Spyder is being pitched in the traditional supercar way – for sheer racing tech and prowess. It’s not about being green. Porsche motorsports engineers began researching hybrid systems for racing in 2007, conducting thousands of hours of computer simulation and analysis before starting to build anything. During that time, Formula One decided to allow its teams to use mild hybrid systems called kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) for the 2009 season. While most teams that developed KERS opted to use batteries, the Williams team created an electro-mechanical flywheel. Porsche eventually licensed this concept from Williams and set about adapting it to endurance racing.

    Imagine the benefits of pitting less in a race, especially an endurance race like the Le Mans Series – and imagine the many benefits this system – not a hybrid you think of with batteries, but instead a flywheel that can store .2 kw of electricity for 6 second bursts of passing speed! The Porsche GT3R hybrid racing car is actively racing now in the Carrera Cup Series, and the 918 will showcase this technology in a supercar only Arabs and social networking website founders can own. So get it right. It’s still about people with a lot of money buying the fastest available, raciest, sexiest cars. The best tech from racing, high performance, and yes – super exotic type cars for the rich does seem to trickle downstream to us commoners. Someday I feel these cars will be all electric, and in our near future we all can only benefit from being a bit less judgemental, a bit more responsible and buying smarter – paving the way forward.

    A VOLT PURCHASE IS LOOKING SMARTER BY THE MINUTE! ,

    James


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    stuart22

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:48 am)

    Mr. Ackerson, it’s time to dust off the Cadillac Converj and make it happen pronto.


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    Truman

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:51 am)

    Innovation anywhere becomes an example everywhere.

    I like the Tesla electric motor, which goes up to 14,000 rpm, and doesn’t need a planetary gear system to combine the rpm’s of two electric motors to handle the full speed range, such as is currently done in the Volt.
    http://www.teslamotors.com/roadster/technology/motor
    They have tweaked the design of a regular electric motor to be able to handle massive currents (up to 900 amps in the stator), and they use specialty polymers to insulate the wires, special air cooling fins, etc. Not rocket science, but it allows for a single traction motor. I wonder if GM can develop something similar, or license these ideas ?

    If the Volt had such a traction motor, they could drop the planetary gears, and the genset generator would only be used as a generator, never a motor to assist the Volt traction motor. They would never need the ICE to clutch to the wheels, and the ExtendedRange mpg would go up, free to use the huge battery buffer more in a pure serial hybrid, fuel sipping setup.

    It would also be much simpler to explain to newbies how the Volt works…


  18. 18
    charlie h

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:53 am)

    (click to show comment)


  19. 19
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:56 am)

    joe:
    Why so much negativity about the Volt’s price? If it’s too expensive, just don’t buy it. No one is

    twisting anybody’sarm. Having the Volt only gives us more choices and there is nothing wrong

    with that. In time the price will go down just like any other products!

    It’s just to show the media’s focus is on negativity, especially if it involves GM.

    No offense intended Joe. Your points are valid. I merely document that there are people in income brackets who would buy a Voltec car, but can’t. The solutions the Volt offer are to help many who drive. I’ve heard people here on this forum who’d love to have a Volt, but can’t. I expect there are others out there too.

    When I wrote a piece about the Volt’s price possibly being cut, many people were happy to hear that.

    I try to support statements by facts. Please don’t read it as negativity. I think the Volt is a great first start. :)


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    Truman

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:56 am)

    I also like the idea of supplementing the li-ion battery with an ultra-capacitor subsystem, to more efficiently grab all the energy from regenerative braking. We are still quite far from being able to run the entire car on ultracaps, but if some luxury car developed a working hybrid-battery system (ultracaps plus lithium ion), I think that would spur other auto designers to look into the benefits.

    Trickle down – introduced in a ridiculously expensive car, but later mass produced to get the benefits to a much wider audience. I think ultra-caps are a prime target for this.


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    Bonaire

     

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:12 am)

    A story about the rich is polarizing.

    First, when rich people do stuff, their fans follow. Going green nationally is probably only going to be happen if Oprah and Ellen tell their followers to do it. ;-)

    But also rich people can be bought (hence, they are rich). It’s hard to know if GM or other companies just give them cars, pay them to talk about them, etc. So, I have a hard time believing anyone rich about anything. Call it cynical but the rich got that way through either selling something to the masses who paid into their scheme (including actors, musicians, politicians) or by somehow getting involved in monetary adventurs and they made out well (bankers, gamblers, stock-traders).

    We need the rich folks to talk up electric cars – but only if the “poor” can afford them. In this current environment, the middle-class and higher are really the target market for the Volt and other EV technology. Joe six-pack really isn’t able to “go green” just yet.


  22. 22
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:14 am)

    James,

    RE: Lastly – Get your facts straight. Ferrari, Lamborghini and the others are not striving to make hybrids due to a green image. It’s my understanding it’s all about the more stringent European tax codes and regulations being implemented and steepened.

    You mean like these facts? -

    Quote: “and B) don’t want to be forced out of business by stringent European emissions regulations, what do you do?”

    “Old world supercars are threatened to be targeted by eco-politicians”

    … I am a word person. I knew full well I used that hot button word “rich.”

    If a person has the discretionary income to purchase a $500,000-845,000 car, am I forbidden to use a perfectly good word in the English language?

    Of course someone may beg, borrow, or steal the money to get one of these cars some other way. That is obvious.

    But generally, if you have 8/10 of one million to spend on a car, you are rich. There is not one hint of jealousy in this piece.

    I am not envious of someone who can buy more than me, so please do not lump me into such people who speak of “the rich” in those tones, with that underlying mixed motive.

    Thanks for your comments. You make many valid points. All part of the big picture, which is what I am trying to look at with a piece like this.
    :)


  23. 23
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:22 am)

    James,

    RE: “Right away, our little TMZ-addled brains assume they’re trying to cop an image.”

    RE: “Read today’s article three times ( I did ) and the author seems to have a backdoor-type attitude about the Volt and LEAF. He’s saying – ” if buying a Volt or LEAF , justifying and debating it’s value is difficult for the common Joe , isn’t it sickening that these rich folks can just BUY ONE TO APPEAR GREEN AND COULD”

    ###

    James, I did not know what TMZ was till I looked it up. Then I remembered I’d seen a blurb that it is something young kids are taking.

    Rest assured, my brain is not addled by it.

    And you are right, the author “seems.”

    Next time ask me. I can tell you what I think. You read way more into this than I meant to say. We all hear things through our filters. But you do not know me. I am not Every Liberal Writer.

    Nothing is “sickening” to me about this. I raised issues neutrally, knowing many in the world DO have the attitudes you contend.

    I am far more on the sidelines over this than you imagine.


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    Dave G

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:32 am)

    joe: Why so much negativity about the Volt’s price?

    Because the Volt was originally announced as a car for the masses.

    With the current price, they’re talking about going green for the rich.

    And by the way, I don’t really care much about being green. I care about energy independence. And I’m not alone. In fact, looking at the poll on this subject:
    http://gm-volt.com/2010/01/29/lutz-driven-by-peak-oil-not-global-warming-how-about-you/
    we see people on this site were most concerned about:
    Energy Security 50%
    Peak Oil 24%
    Global Warming 11%
    Latest Technology 8%
    Other 6%

    Any marketing person worth his salt would look at this and immediately notice that going green represent less than 20% of the market. So why are they still pushing the green angle? Perhaps when you look at wealthy people, going green is a bigger concern.

    One thing is for sure: GM needs to get the price of the Volt down significantly, otherwise it will be a niche car that won’t make any real difference.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:33 am)

    James,

    As you lumped me into a category of people who use words and think in fallacious ways that you “hate.” …

    (RE: I hate such broad brush categorization of which even our politicians debate … )

    … So, I can tell you unequivocally that your comments, while containing good points, do not apply to me. I know what I meant, even if you read way too much into it.

    I would now suggest that even as you accuse me of stereotyping based on assumptions, that you have clearly stereotyped me.

    Sorry you hated my choice of words. “Rich” is still a valid word. Yes it gets misused. Words get co-opted by the political and social causes of the day.

    Have a good day. :)


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    Noel Park

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:40 am)

    NZDavid: Well it was always expected that the in people would go electric, if only to be seen as green.

    #3

    That would be us, LOL.

    Nice to see you here brother. +1


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    Noel Park

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:50 am)

    Jeff Cobb: If a person has the discretionary income to purchase a $500,000-845,000 car, am I forbidden to use a perfectly good word in the English language?

    Of course someone may beg, borrow, or steal the money to get one of these cars some other way. That is obvious.

    #22

    Well I dunno, I think that I will wait for the Gen II Ferrari myself, LOL.

    Easy Jeff, its the blogosphere and these responses are all part of the fun. You’re doing great. Smile.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:59 am)

    A GREEN FERRARI!!!
    NO!
    NO!
    NO!

    Aw man, I know it’s “Green” in concept but not in color. It should be RED, Ferrari RED!
    Not green, ouch my eyes! My Eyes!!!!! I need to close them now.

    Ferrari is my bestest car.

    /need a double shot of Kahlua for this one…. :-(


  29. 29
    CaptJackSparrow

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: use words and think in fallacious ways

    wha? what’d I do now?????
    lol…… Cheer up bro, it’s all good!


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:03 pm)

    Noel Park: #22

    Well I dunno, I think that I will wait for the Gen II Ferrari myself, LOL.

    Easy Jeff, its the blogosphere and these responses are all part of the fun.You’re doing great.Smile.

    Thanks, my friend. I may not always hit a bulls-eye, but this piece was done just to spur thoughts. Obviously, on that part it succeeded! LOL

    I’ve read other auto writers, I forget who, who have commented that certain people will buy a Prius just to be seen in a Prius. There is a social aspect to what you drive. That is plain.

    “You are what you drive,” is an oft repeated cliche. People like to avoid cliches and stereotypes, but they persist.

    In this politically divided society, people get most irate when their innate sensibility gets ruffled.

    My, oh, my, how careful must a writer be not to upset someone. Is it possible?

    For the record: I am neutral. I raise issues for others to contend with, and sure, I have my feelings, and thoughts, but I am looking at the big picture, learning as I go.

    Thanks for posting on Motorcycle.com. Ken (Morbo) answered you, asking about the Volt, if you saw that?

    :)


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:05 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: fallac

    I know, tell me about it. Ferraris should be red. :)


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:09 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    #23 Jeff Cobb – ” I am far more on the sidelines over this than you imagine.”

    GM-Volt used to be written by a very passionate guy named Lyle Dennis. Although he made GM-Volt a side business – it was his true passion for the Volt’s promise that came through week after week.

    His believing that GM would keep it’s word – his ability to get signatures and attention…It all fed into this shared mentality that lead many here – and we stayed: The regulars.

    I’m no longer a regular. Jeff, you’re doing a yeoman’s job – trying to pull off a Volt site when you’re, as you say ” on the sidelines”. It’s not a personal beef – it’s just an observation that you, like many people out there…wonder what is up with this passion and following for the car, it’s technology, it’s founders and it’s evangelists.

    IT WAS THE PASSION. And it is our passion that Voltec is so great it will change our world.

    Again, no offense, you’re doing the best job you can – I appreciate that.

    James


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Dave G: I don’t really care much about being green.

    I don’t either. I just hate donating my hard earned $$$ to OPEC.
    Plus I want to top off at home and not in lines at the stinky gas station.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:22 pm)

    James,

    You are free to read or not. Agree or disagree.

    I am in favor of solutions that the Volt is intended to solve — all of them. My writing attempts to be more neutral because that is the difference between a blog and journalism.

    Staying above the issues, and at least attempting to maintain objectivity is the best course.

    I am well aware of the Volt’s many attributes and great possibility, and have credited it and will continue to.

    Lyle created this site also because of what the Volt represented – a way to help American industry, get us off oil, solve “range anxiety” with the generator paired with a motor, help the environment and more.

    The Volt is a car. It is a means to an end; a solution now.

    To get where we need to go, I look at all the issues. The site was created to get the Volt into production. On that mission it succeeded.

    Staying mindful of the overarching goal of why Lyle liked the Volt concept in the first place, I ask where do we go from here to accomplish the mission the Volt set out to achieve?


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (12:57 pm)

    Jeff asked me to weigh in on this discussion, so I shall.

    I respect the opinions of Jeff and James and appreciate the value of debate in adding to the greater good of this site. As always, personal attacks should not be tolerated and be volted down.

    My mission for GM-Volt in 2007 was to help compel GM to build this car. I wanted to help spread the word in an interesting way so that an ever increasing number of people could become engaged as I was by hearing about the incredible concept.

    Over the years the drumbeat grew louder and many things fell into place, and eventually the car was built.

    It is still too expensive for the average consumer and with gas prices as they are is close to an economic wash over an equally priced gas car.

    Still there is deep value to driving without or with as little gas as possible. I and many are willing to pay a premium for what amounts to a bit of an early adopter “privelege” right now.

    These super electric cars are a unique way of riffing on the new theme of plugin drivetrains. They are awesome intellectual and design exercises and help build allure to EVs.

    All of these efforts will continue to push pricing down and very soon EVs will be affordable to the mainstream.

    I always saw GM-Volt as evolving into an owners forum which is what it has become today. The daily blogs should be about interesting new developments in GM, the Volt, and the electrification of the automobile.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: I ask where do we go from here to accomplish the mission the Volt set out to achieve?

    As Lyle said, the (core) mission was to get the Volt produced. Mission accomplished.

    Where do we go from here? Get more Volts produced and sold, and more other Voltec vehicles produced and sold. Oh, and more li-ion dresses like Alison’s, produced and sold.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (2:17 pm)

    MegaMillions Lotto will be $304,000,000.00 on Friday.
    I suppose if I win, I will have to get a VOLT -and- the Mercedes All-Electric Gull Wing:

    e-benz.jpg


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (2:22 pm)

    I tried 3 times to respond to Jeff’s comment at #30 but my comments wouldn’t post. Finally the edit function told me that my comment was seen as “spam”. Go figure.

    Anyway, people clearly drive their cars as fashion, and even political, statements. Am I doing it with my Volt? Partly. It’s a statement that needs to be made IMHO.

    And I did go back and respond to the comment at the motorcycle blog. Thanks for the heads up. What fun!


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (2:32 pm)

    Noel Park:
    I tried 3 times to respond to Jeff’s comment at #30 but my comments wouldn’t post.Finally the edit function told me that my comment was seen as “spam”.Go figure.

    Anyway, people clearly drive their cars as fashion, and even political, statements.Am I doing it with my Volt?Partly.It’s a statement that needs to be made IMHO.

    And I did go back and respond to the comment at the motorcycle blog.Thanks for the heads up.What fun!

    Sorry about the “spam” block. I had hoped things were resolved. Let me know if you keep having problems, Noel.

    The watchword for me is “intellectual honesty.”

    I attempt to live it. Sometimes that means I have to admit I am wrong, which I am willing to when I see that I am.

    It is vital for all truly useful discussions. That, plus manners, not making personal attacks, and a great deal of benefit of the doubt are needed …

    Your comments on that motorcycle forum are good. You speak about the Volt from your personal experience, and no one can argue with that.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (3:01 pm)

    Isn’t it really cool that, for once, an advanced technology is available from a manufacturer like GM/Chevrolet ahead of all the “exotics” and other “high end” manufacturers?

    If all the “Best” awards the Volt received didn’t convince everyone how amazing this car is, the fact that every other Car company in the world is rushing to jump on the bandwagon should do so.

    And, when you see the prices for all these others, the $41,000 for the Volt is starting to sound pretty reasonable. I think that by the time all the others get started in production, the Volt will already have lowered prices, improved on it’s already brilliant design, and selling in large numbers.

    Jerry, #536


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    nasaman

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    Lyle: “…These super electric cars are a unique way of riffing on the new theme of plugin drivetrains. They are awesome intellectual and design exercises and help build allure to EVs.

    All of these efforts will continue to push pricing down and very soon EVs will be affordable to the mainstream.

    I always saw GM-Volt as evolving into an owner’s forum which is what it has become today. The daily blogs should be about interesting new developments in GM, the Volt, and the electrification of the automobile…”

    Jeff Cobb: “…The watchword for me is “intellectual honesty.”

    I attempt to live it. Sometimes that means I have to admit I am wrong, which I am willing to when I see that I am.

    It is vital for all truly useful discussions. That, plus manners, not making personal attacks, and a great deal of benefit of the doubt are needed …”

    As a person who’s read nearly every post here for several years, I want to add that Lyle’s obvious passion for the Volt concept has never interfered with his objectivity and intellectual honesty at this site. These qualities are what attracted so many of us here, including several key General Motors decision makers. Lyle, your unquenchable, infectious enthusiasm —coupled with your fairness, courtesy and integrity— have been the hallmarks of gm-volt.com from the outset.

    I’ve also read everything Jeff has posted here since he joined gm-volt.com. And I truly believe it would be hard to find a better guy to “follow Lyle’s act”! Jeff has manifested the same sterling qualities as Lyle long pioneered here and that made this site so successful. Keep it up, Jeff!

    I believe gm-volt.com under Jeff’s guidance will continue to be the best place to find (and to contribute comments about) the GM Volt and the Voltec drive train, as well as about interesting new developments at GM as well as the electrification of the automobile in general, as Lyle says above.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (3:20 pm)

    Jerry: Isn’t it really cool that, for once, an advanced technology is available from a manufacturer like GM/Chevrolet ahead of all the “exotics” and other “high end” manufacturers?

    #40

    Amen. +1

    #1756


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (3:22 pm)

    nasaman: I’ve also read everything Jeff has posted here since he joined gm-volt.com. And I truly believe it would be hard to find a better guy to “follow Lyle’s act”! Jeff has manifested the same sterling qualities as Lyle long pioneered here and that made this site so successful. Keep it up, Jeff!

    #41

    I agree. +1


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    flmark

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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (4:58 pm)

    James,
    You know that I have philosophically agreed with you on many levels and when I read your original post, I gave it a +1. I did not do this though, with your later discussion. I think you went a bit overboard and read intent into text where none existed. In general, the more you re-read something (or listen to a voicemail, as I have encountered), the more you can color the content with emotion.

    Jeff Cobb,
    I have, in general, felt you have done a good job picking up where Lyle left off. It is obvious that you are serious about the endeavor and don’t overly color your pieces. This article, I felt, was in the true spirit of the forum to address industry developments and how even small footprints can be felt in the world at large.

    I have similar feelings about the ‘rich’ label (as James), as many would have tagged us ‘rich’ (at least until Hurricane Charley, combined with the recession, cut our income in HALF- effective with this tax return). When your income arises from dentistry, you sit in a sort of no-man’s land. You are at least partially thankful that you are not directly in medicine, as managed care has ravaged that profession’s ability to do what is right, not just what is covered. On the other hand, you are confronted daily with the elective view that many hold with respect to the services you provide. Other than cosmetics, no one WANTS to give their business to you. They WANT to buy stereos, TVs and cars. They don’t WANT to buy a new crown. They evaluate an auto repair as a necessity, but live with rot and decay in their heads (as long as no pain is involved). And the worst part is that they don’t want to pay good dollars to get good service. And they further decide they don’t want to spend the money with you, because they don’t want to support your lifestyle, as they perceive you as rich.

    Meanwhile, we actually have people who cannot see the paradox of their own words. They pull up in a Cadillac, discuss the cruise they went on last month, but yet become incensed that you are trying to extract money from them unjustly. We have seen that priorities are personally established and subject to great emotion. My sister in law claims to be broke, but sends her daughter to private school. For the vast majority of us, ‘rich’ is a matter of degree, not a threshold. Very few wouldn’t like to have a bit more funds in order to avoid making a compromise on something.

    With that said, I think it ridiculous to NOT label a person ‘rich’ (or ‘foolish’) who electively spends twenty times more on an item than can be logically justified based on WHAT the item does for them in comparison to other items. The corollary would be to buy twenty times the quantity. This concept applies to cars, golf clubs, hand bags, houses, etc. If the item doesn’t perform twenty times better, hold twenty times as much, etc., I think it impartial and practical to stamp the label on the buyer. Since most of our tax code seems to focus around a dollar quantity of value or dollars spent, I think I can be objective in that assessment. By the same token, LACK of objectivity is apparent when you literally waste 95% of the dollars you shell out.

    One cannot reason with such a purchaser or find reason in the purchase. Practicality is out the window. Therefore, to ask WHY this purchase was made or hope there is some trickle down effect in the purchase is inane. These ridiculous toys of the rich are a curiosity, at best. What a million dollar EV says about the success of practical EVs is meaningless. It has no more bearing on real life than the 15,000 sq foot castle that the person might live in with his spouse and two children. The trickle down effect of these mansions is not better housing for the commoners in the adjacent community. No, the trickle down effect is more shopping malls and auto dealerships being erected in between the ‘haves lots’ and ‘just haves’. While it would be nice to hope that a NASA-like benefit can be found, it is an absurd argument of philosophy to hope and search for a meaning in these amusements of people who don’t think like the rest of us.

    Today’s article was a conversation piece, much like a tabloid staring you in the face at the checkout counter. Don’t think too hard or look too deep. There is nothing there. The Volt established a precedent- and is here in the REAL world. Note that NONE of these overpriced pieces of self absorption is even in the realm of purchase yet. If anything, we have a trickle UP concept. The rich and delusional decided that they wanted to play with an electric car and therefore, their pet automakers had to extrapolate the real world into a justification to blow several hundred thousand dollars more than necessary.

    Now I’ll get back to working on the web page for our business and finishing up the taxes- because the real world is calling.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (4:59 pm)

    joe: Why so much negativity about the Volt’s price? If it’s too expensive, just don’t buy it. No one is
    twisting anybody’s arm. Having the Volt only gives us more choices and there is nothing wrong
    with that.

    There’s still a massive gap between Cruze & Volt. Nothing available isn’t a choice.

    If GM would have followed their original plan of a Volt for the masses, a second high-end model would be fine. They didn’t though.

    The lowest price is too far beyond what the mainstream can afford.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (5:42 pm)

    Hey Jeff,

    You are doing an incredibly terrific job every second as far as I am concerned!!!

    Your upgrades to the site are like lightning, and always perfectly effective.

    Your technical precision by which you describe everything sets the bar far higher than
    any other technical writer on the Net.

    I like to use the term “well-off” because it depends how we compare ourselves. Americans are mostly thankful to be more “well-off” than the rest of the world.

    Once again, Jeff, I really like and deeply appreciate how extremely well you run things around here.

    /…. now to go back up and add a plus one to every one of your posts!!


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (5:48 pm)

    flmark,

    You are right that I take the job seriously. As I observed the term “rich” has become laden with meaning in some circles, but I maintain it is still valid.

    For that matter, as I’ve already said, some perfectly good words have been co-opted and laced with ideological undertones. It is a sad state of affairs, IMHO.

    I chose to use the term anyway because I will not be bullied by political correctness. I am not part of that fray, and people will have to learn that I am not just another mouthpiece, and part of the system.

    I’ve said it before, and will say it again. I need the benefit of the doubt and support of readers, not insinuation about my values and integrity and “passion.”

    Lyle spent four years building up the contacts he did. I know he caught flak from some along the way too.

    GM’s media people do not want to tell me about Gen II, new Voltec platforms, etc. They are in the job of getting out their corporate message, and if it does not suit them to tell something, they won’t.

    It won’t be overnight to get these kinds of stories. First up, I’m trying to get a Volt to drive.

    Is there anything you’d like reported on from that?

    Also, I’m actively making friends and contacts. I have contacts now at EPRI, Plugin America, GM, and more.

    Certainly, I can come up with more stories that are of interest and value, but I need the time to get up to that consistently.

    I respect the work Lyle did, and it has been made abundantly clear that he was special. I will note that he left, and turned the site over to the company I work for.

    He has said I am doing a good job, and all I can do is keep at it.

    Further, I welcome anyone who wants to write a guest post to let me know.

    That offer was out there when Lyle was running the show. And it still stands.

    Guest writers are wanted.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (5:53 pm)

    These exotic cars (Not the Volt) are as useless as usual . as in only a small percentage of people would be able to buy one and only a few will be made…. but in this case they are helping to spread the adoption of the electric car… so they will be more useful than normal.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    Dan Petit:
    Hey Jeff,

    You are doing an incredibly terrific job every second as far as I am concerned!!!

    Your upgrades to the site are like lightning, and always perfectly effective.

    Your technical precision by which you describe everything sets the bar far higher than
    any other technical writer on theNet.

    I like to use the term “well-off” because it depends how we compare ourselves.Americans are mostly thankful to be more “well-off” than the rest of the world.

    Once again, Jeff, I really like and deeply appreciate how extremely well you run things around here.

    /…. now to go back up and add a plus one to every one of your posts!!

    Thanks Dan,

    I appreciate that. I guess I can use synonyms for “rich” but if you read above, that was my thought for today.

    In the “culture wars,” I think we all have suffered loss in one way or the other.

    Jeff


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (5:58 pm)

    I’ll say one thing… this young lady compliments the Volt better than anyone I’ve seen yet… maybe GM should hire her!


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:06 pm)

    I agree Jeff is doing a good job.

    One thing I would like to see is a production number updated… would be nice to keep track of how many are being built.

    Another thing is owners experiences … would be nice to see something like a spreadsheet of real owners MPG miles driven etc.

    Thanks.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:12 pm)

    pjkPA:
    I agree Jeff is doing a good job.

    One thing I would like to see is a production number updated… would be nice to keep track of how many are being built.

    Another thing is owners experiences … would be nice to see something like a spreadsheet of real owners MPG miles driven etc.

    Thanks.

    Thanks for vote of confidence, and the suggestions. I’m open to ideas, and would also like to meet new contacts who can keep me in the know about Voltec news, and so forth.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:28 pm)

    Hey Jeff,

    Here’s an idea. How about a new feature called,
    Post promotion.
    “Your post is requested for promotion up to “Topic Guest” for tomorrow/[date]. Is this OK? Y/N.

    (There might be real time staff seeing some interesting content during the initial writing phase, and, the content would be saved for the next day and not actually posted. The writer could just choose to post something else instead so the first topic content would be fresh for the next day.)

    (Maybe even some live edit help with red underlining to suggest rephrasing or dropping a sentence or two.
    We would need to be gladly expecting suggested alterations to help keep the intended message clear,
    after the Y/yes box is clicked, to avoid the thread going off into an unintended direction.)

    The idea is to just promote a carefully written post up to the top as the thread topic for the next day. That might help for the weekends if it seems that the post activity has slowed down quite a bit.

    Since there is a generous half hour for polishing our posts, this might be something that works.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (6:55 pm)

    Dan Petit,

    Hi Dan,

    Sorry, I’m a little unclear on what you mean. Would you mind if I emailed you to discuss?

    Thanks,

    Jeff


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (7:09 pm)

    .

    Sorry I still don’t use email due to the junk and security risks. If it helps, see my cell number in the box above,
    where an email address would be located, however, if the system will let you do that.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (7:15 pm)

    Dan Petit,

    I’m open to trying stuff, but what would be simpler is if someone wants to just step up and commit to an article. We can discuss the idea, and they can do it. For the weekend would be ideal.

    I know there were guest posters before. I can help with editing and post it.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (7:16 pm)

    pjkPA:
    These exotic cars (Not the Volt) are as useless as usual . as in only a small percentage of people would be able to buy one and only a few will be made…. but in this case they are helping to spread the adoption of the electric car… so they will be more useful than normal.

    #48

    Good point. +1


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (7:54 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: what would be simpler is if someone wants to just step up and commit to an article

    Have you asked Statik? He’s had some pretty good articles. And some of the people who own a Volt have written some good stuff, too. How about celebrity guest writers? Bob Lutz would be great, for example, or Jay Leno, or Chelsea-what’s-her-name. Or, Alison Brie! Free pub for them, interesting reading for us, good pub for the site–and we could use some new blood, IMO. You could also get the current blood flowing some more by having a Prius or Leaf fanboy write an article. The biggest viewership and responses seemed to come from some of the most controversial articles, like what the mileage and price would be.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (7:56 pm)

    James: GM-Volt used to be written by a very passionate guy named Lyle Dennis. Although he made GM-Volt a side business – it was his true passion for the Volt’s promise that came through week after week.

    Yep, just like you were passionate when you said Lyle, “sold out.”

    And Jeff don’t worry, I have a feeling James will get through this crisis :)


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (8:13 pm)

    Lyle: Over the years the drumbeat grew louder and many things fell into place, and eventually the car was built.

    It is still too expensive for the average consumer and with gas prices as they are is close to an economic wash over an equally priced gas car.

    Still there is deep value to driving without or with as little gas as possible. I and many are willing to pay a premium for what amounts to a bit of an early adopter “privilege” right now.

    Hi Lyle… hope all is going well with the new position at the hospital.

    My Volt with the premium interior upgrade, red paint, and rear facing camera cost $40k out of pocket after the tax credit. Driving the 2011 Volt is a very smooth, high tech, and comfortable experience. Most $25-$30K cars I have driven feel crude to the levitation-like quiet and road gripping ride of the Volt. Yes, $40k is a lot of money. But there isn’t another car on the road that I would pay $40k for.

    At over 2100 miles I am not even close to having to stop to buy gasoline. My insurance rate with $450 deductible collision coverage is surprisingly low. This is probably a result of the governed 100mph top speed of the Volt. And the safety airbags which are in all locations within the car.

    The TOTAL electric bill for my condo including all appliances, in ceiling electric heat, computers, refrigerator, electric water heater and Volt was $111 for the month of February. No purchased gas folks. That’s right, no OPEC, no lines, no smell, and no stack of $20′s being sucked into the Arco self-pay ATM.

    =D-Volt


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (9:41 pm)

    From the article
    On the debates rage over their merits or lack thereof, and much is the sweat for some over whether an EV or hybrid makes sense for the family budget.

    This debate wouldn’t need to occur if the EV and hybrid were the same price as an ICE vehicle.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (9:57 pm)

    jeffhre: Yep, just like you were passionate when you said Lyle, “sold out.”

    And Jeff don’t worry, I have a feeling James will get through this crisis :)

    Thanks jeffhre.
    :)


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (9:57 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Lyle spent four years building up the contacts he did. I know he caught flak from some along the way too.

    Yup, and many people defended him, including me.
    You are doing a fine job, Jeff. I don’t like the long weekends with no new post, but I understand it because everyone needs a break from work.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:10 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: Yup, and many people defended him, including me.
    You are doing a fine job, Jeff.I don’t like the long weekends with no new post, but I understand it because everyone needs a break from work.

    Thanks Rashiid. I appreciate that.

    Any one who wants to post on the weekend can let me know.

    This past weekend I was working 20-22 hrs per day. Flew back and forth across the country and had full days every day, interviewing people, evaluating electric motorcycles in the rain with little sleep, etc.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:14 pm)

    joe: It’s just to show the media’s focus is on negativity, especially if it involves GM.

    Yes. The media is programmed to keep the public in fear. Fear of climate. Fear of terrorists. Fear of the economy. Swine flu. Fear. Fear. Fear. And if your programming features people suffering, the audience can feel better than them. It’s the oldest propaganda trick in the big book of propaganda. And media’s favorite bad guy is GM – symbol of capitalism.

    But GM is changing and the media is losing readership and audience by the millions. Large media companies are folding newspapers – unnecessary in the day of iPads and Smartphones. This is good. Old school media is learning that people have LOTS of alternative places to spend their time.

    The public is learning they don’t need to know all that garbage CNN beams at them. This is healthy. Green is going to be adopted by wealthy (conservatives mostly) because it offers jobs to their countrymen and keeps cash at home. And most don’t like supporting hostile regimes. The left will begrudgingly adopt the energy independence agenda because its better than nothing. Real conservationists would always be green because electrification eliminates fossil fuels and protects areas worth protecting.

    And Chevy Volt accomplishes all these things no matter what your political agenda.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:51 pm)

    BTW, Jeff – you’re doing a fine job. Thank you for your good, thoughtful work. Do not hesitate. Persevere.


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (10:56 pm)

    flmark,

    Jeff Cobb and Lyle :

    My sincere apologies guys as it seems my post was construed as a “personal attack”. I’m thankful somebody took over GM-Volt.com and it didn’t just die on the vine – which happens alot in today’s info age.

    Not everybody gets the Volt or it’s superiority over the broad automotive market. I have to plainly disagree even with Lyle when he supposes that the Volt’s price is a bit extreme or unnattainable to a fault. It isn’t. the $40,000 space is a pretty interesting space indeed when we compare apples-to-apples these days. Ford’s newest Explorer SUV came out recently, as you know. This SUV used to be nearly synonymous with “middle class”. Heck, an Explorer at the supermarket in the ’90s was as common of sight as a VW Beetle was back in the ’70s, or a Prius is today. Recently a major auto publication admitted that, while their test Explorer had a base price of around $28,000, theirs had been optioned out at near $52,000! Today’s automaker bragging rights are not really about total sales anymore. Today’s “hot” topic at year’s end is profit over base. With options being sold in bundles, much as the practice in the telecommunications industry – noone buys just one thing these days. Only a few years ago “must-have” goodies like Bluetooth and heated seats, infotainment-nav systems and tech packages would seem more at home in a top-tier luxury brand such as Lexus or Mercedes Benz. They have trickled down to become nearly attainable by the common Joe. “Just add a tad bit to your monthly payment” is the mantra, and even a tiny box with wheels like a Mazda2 or Honda Fit would seem a penalty box if it didn’t have MP3 accessiblity. Out the door prices are what matter and even some of the most percieved middle-class machines are leaving dealerships loaded and costing much more than we would expect.

    Enter the Volt. At $34-37,000 after tax rebate, give or take for home charging unit you get a car that has a luxury feel, a planted driving experience unlike unlike any CT or HS Lexus hybrid can offer. Volt doesn’;t punish you for driving efficiency as other hybrids do and it doesn’t require you to baby some tinny half-car on high mileage tires ( think Prius ). Those X3 BMWs or entry level Volvos out there vying for your $45,000 can get you 23 mpg mixed – maybe. What’s odd is they even brag about it. Sure lots of manufacturers including GM offer small to mid SUVs, sedans and crossovers for less than $40,000 – yet it’s amazing the long list of cars that are selling in large numbers for over that price that are just plain gas monsters compared to Volt ( and are being pitched as “….the high mileage Ford Taurus”…etc etc.

    Given these very real facts, I believe the Chevy Volt to be quite an astounding value. What other car can do what it does? Primarily it’s only obstacles to mass acceptance seem to be the fears people have of change and uncertainty, and the sheer enormity of lack of knowledge to how Volt works vs. a non-plug in hybrid or EV.

    Add to this equation $4.50 per gallon gasoline, and Volts will begin forcing the market to change according to large demands. There is way too much pressure these days to try and justify Volt, which seems ludicrous seeing the condition the world is in today. Oil is in the news every day whether it be about the Middle East’s reprocussions, a large spill ruining an entire ecosystem, or a president in South America begging oil deals with South Americans when we as a nation teeter on going into a third simultaneous war, one where oil connections to Europe and ourselves seem even more obvious than previous ones.

    Yes, the Volt is remarkable and a value. Fiat’s upcoming NA version of the 500 minicar sells for as high as $23,500 with automatic trans. A minicar that takes a second longer to reach 60mph than a Volt and can only sit elves in the rear seat. Think about the roominess and driving dynamics of a Volt vs. a Smart car 2 seater ( 36 mpg ), an ICE Toyota IQ 2 seater, a Honda Fit or even a Civic Hybrid. There is absolutely NO COMPARISON. When folks compare a plug in Prius, a Hybrid Fusion or any other car I can think of – to the Volt they will walk away a changed person. People who are so concerned the price is too much just don’t know cars. They don’t know how much the average person pays OUT THE DOOR for that Camry or Highlander. If they did, they wouldn’t be saying a car that can go to and from work all week for pennies on the dollar is such a rip off. Even if the literal payoff doesn’t justify the cost ( I think it will with rising gas ) more and more people will understand Volt’s “deep value” as Lyle explains it. The world is a rocky place right now and it’s mostly oil, not earthquakes that make it so.

    There seems to be a modern trend for the Bill Gateses and Warren Buffets to give back their enormous fortunes to charity before they die – because, after all, once you’ve been everywhere, done that and purchased most of everything you could have ever imagined – what else is there? I hope it’s a trend that grows exponentially. I saw a comic film recently where a bunch of regular guys were lamenting re: What ( or who ) Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise have never done. Literally, once you’ve reached a certain point of wealth , it’s “ho hum” maybe I’ll fly off the handle and rant on YouTube! – Unfortunately for many it becomes sort of a competition to attain more preposterous wealth – for what? For the likes of Gadhafi or Arab Royals it is as much about power as anything else. What charitable causes have we learned Arabs love to filter their billions to? After 9/11 we learned one of their favorites was global Jihadism. Only another reason to dig deep and buy a Volt.

    These are all high causes and I’m sure many who buy $44,000 Toyota Sienna Limited or Odyssey minivans give such things little thought or few who dish out $31,995; $41,775 “as tested” * for a V-6 2012 Chrysler 300 ( the V-8 is a large heavy Fiat-owned hunk of steel that pushes mid-high 40′s and the upcoming SRT-8, $50,000+ ) will consider such issues. It is, however, when the price at the pump hits their pocketbook that these high ideals, thoughtful comparisons and worthy thought will hit them right between the eyes.

    Sorry again Jeff if you took my writing as a personal attack. None was intended. After a day with little sleep, two ill children out of school and a few days of curtailed, 200 word GM-Volt articles that appeared to be chopped in half – I was not in the best of moods.

    Good luck on your GM-Volt endeavors and I hope that test drive and some eye-opening facts such as I’ve shared here begin to expand your horizons of thought.

    Cheers,

    James

    * Motor Trend


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:01 pm)

    I suggest you all rent and see the 2009 movie “The Joneses”.
    That puts this topic into perspective.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


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    Mar 23rd, 2011 (11:28 pm)

    James,

    James I appreciate the explanation. I just got off of a long coast to coast working weekend. Prior to that, every night for the past three weeks I sweated the story for the next day, not sure how it would be received. I edited them more than most anyone would.

    (And by the way, you know those last three curtailed pieces posted in my name were not written by me, right? I’ve changed the bylines since.)

    As for the pieces I wrote, I knew Lyle was a tough act to follow from all the comments saying “I miss Lyle” and others alleging VerticalScope was running the site into the ground in short order.

    It’s been a lot of work, and I still have much to learn. It’s true, I’ve not yet driven a Volt but if GM’s Rob Peterson can come through, I may soon enough.

    fyi, I’ve tackled way more hot button topics than these. In today’s culture, it’s easy to be misread, but I’ve caught only a minimum of criticism in past reporting I’ve done. I’ve handled topics dear to “liberals” and topics dear to American patriotic conservatives. On both sides, hardly anyone came at me and said I was biased, off base, so on.

    In the quasi-editorialistic piece today I left myself more open to that possibility, but if you look at it, I am not making ultimate pronouncements. I realize if people buy these hybrid supercars, it may be good. It may not be. Macro economics is a complicated subject.

    I would not presume to really call the effects at this point.

    Any way, thanks for writing. Lyle is not really posting any more. He keeps tabs, and is welcome back any time, but for now it’s me, trying to get connected and more knowledgeable as fast as possible. I won’t always hit a home run, but so it goes.

    If you feel like writing a post some time, you can let me know. You obviously have thought about issues.

    And by the way, I do think the Volt is probably the best thing going for alternative transportation. Lyle today told me it is a “bridge.”

    I think that is true. Pure electric EVs are limited range. Most Americans want their mobility. I am one of them. I like to do “road trips” and that is a core benefit of owning your own car.

    Studies about average daily commutes make good appeal for selling, but people vote with their checkbooks. You suggest it is ignorance, or lack of knowledge or mis-perception, or how ever we wish to delicately phrase it.

    In the free marketplace, I think the truth about the Volt will get out. In the mean time, I hope Chevy is working on Gen 2, even if they won’t come out and give me details when I ask them.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    Mar 24th, 2011 (12:51 am)

    Nelson: I suggest you all rent and see the 2009 movie “The Joneses”.That puts this topic into perspective. Volt#671NPNS!

    YES!!

    When I was writing up #44, I thought of this, but my commentary was already too long. When my wife and I finished watching the movie, we discussed it and I felt the concept was absolutely believable. Those who let other people do their thinking for them indeed end up drowning in their own swimming pools (strapped to riding lawn mowers)- if not literally, at least morally. (sorry, should have given a spoiler alert)


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    Mar 24th, 2011 (4:52 am)

    #36 Lyle
    Lyle,

    Hey, you inadvertantly gave me a belly laugh – thanks for showing us your blood runs Viridian Joule with your “Voltian Slip”… ( from paragraph 2 ) -
    “..As always, personal attacks should not be tolerated and be volted down.”

    L :) L ! We have to keep our sense of humor!

    James


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    Mar 24th, 2011 (5:22 am)

    I, for one enjoy pictures like this of the uh, Volt.

    Volt_Brie.jpg


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    Mar 24th, 2011 (9:02 am)

    Jeff Cobb: I hope Chevy is working on Gen 2, even if they won’t come out and give me details when I ask them.

    Sucks that GM is not repeating the openess of Volt v1. That openess provided A LOT of the substance of this site.