Apr 08

Evolving toward the age of the EV: Volt dealerships are being shown the way

 

General Motors is deliberately and systematically training its sales and service personnel to set the tone for the Chevrolet Volt’s nationwide deployment by year’s end, and all that is to follow.

As a new kind of car being launched into a world where many have no clear understanding of how they work, Chevrolet employees are being sent back to school for supplemental training.

Chevrolet ordinarily does this to one degree or another for all its new cars, according to GM spokesman Rob Peterson. It has an online employee training program for initial and periodic continuing supplemental training.


As of late 2010, the Volt introduced components that will need diagnosing, repair and replacement that previously no Chevrolet technician had to know about.

But the Volt is special, Peterson said, and Chevrolet employees are receiving more focused attention than usual.

“Our target is to train 22,000 dealership personnel across the United States within the next six months,” Peterson said, “We’ll have 20 different training sessions that are in 20 different locations across the United States.”

The process has been on-going, he said, citing one session just finished three or four weeks ago in Detroit.

“It was a 10-day program that brought through nearly a thousand dealership employees for a half-day or full-day training session,” he said of classes held in successive waves.

In such classes, strategic and technical understanding is being carefully disseminated top-down, Peterson said. The Volt is even being compared to competitors in as neutral a setting as possible, considering they are all Chevrolet employees being trained by GM.


If this is to become a more common site in Chevrolet dealerships around the country, GM knows it will need to get its people ready.

“These technicians, these employees and technicians, they begin to understand the Volt,” he said, “They experience the Volt, they get an opportunity to drive the Volt, and to experience the Prius and the Volt and make their own judgment, you know, ‘what are the benefits of this?’”

Naturally, curricula are tailored for respective employee roles – for those who have to fix them, or sell them. Technicians who started out years ago imagining they would only have some complex electronics to repair, now have more to learn than they initially thought they would.

Preparation for a paradigm shift

From a marketing standpoint, it is vital to properly foster the Volt’s acceptance, and nothing short of ushering in the EV age is at stake, Peterson said. GM’s powers that be believe it essential for those purveying electric vehicles not to over-promise and under-deliver, or vice versa.

“The whole EV movement needs to manage expectations, and some of that starts with, you know, regardless of what manufacturer you have, you have to manage the expectations of the electric vehicles,” Peterson said, “There are certain things – you cannot overcome physics. Physics impacts electric vehicles.”


GM anticipates a bright future for the Volt. It is doing what it believes is required to best ensure it will happen.

By doing it right, Peterson said, GM will facilitate a smoother roll out and proliferation of cars powered by batteries.

“We need to be sure we are managing the EV story. And if we can set the expectations appropriate and manage them accordingly, the EV movement will accelerate from just a simple movement to moving into the mainstream,” he said, “So now when a customer comes into a dealership to learn more about Volts, we want to make sure they understand all of the Volt. That’s key because we think we have a significant competitive advantage there. But we also want to make sure that we are managing expectations so as they experience the vehicle, they know what to expect from it.”

Early adopters are seen from a certain perspective as well, Peterson said. The proverbial light bulb of understanding went on first in their minds, but ensuring the experience is properly transferred to others is important to GM’s overarching plan to organically cultivate growth of EVs from beyond their present fringe status.

Peterson used an apt description for consumers next in line to the first purchasers. “Fast followers” will be people who adopt from the early adopters, if you will, and take on the enthusiasm of those who first embraced EVs.


Gearhart Chevrolet Owner Judy Tilton presents Jeffrey Kaffee , of Parsippany, New Jersey, with his new Chevrolet Volt – the first Volt to be delivered in the country – Dec. 15, 2010 at Gearhart Chevrolet in Denville, NJ.

“These early adapters tend to be voices that influence the fast followers,” Peterson said, “So if we increase volumes, and we have the right ownership experience – and we will and we are, we’re seeing that already – if we have the right owner experience among our early buyers, it will accelerate the adoption and the pace by which electric vehicles move from a niche to mainstream.”

Peterson’s insights further explain GM’s thinking in light of his statement a couple days ago that a mere 1,210 retail sales in the Volt’s first quarter is “right on track.” It also helps explain why in year one only 10,000 units are slated for the U.S., why only 5,000 will go to the rest of the world, and why only key demographic areas were chosen up front in seven states to start with.

Put simply, the Volt is GM’s billion-dollar baby, the first of a new generation its people would like to give extra care. This they are doing, lest they inadvertently thwart the achievement of the precocious kid they expect it will soon be.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 8th, 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: 114


  1. 1
    Shock Me

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (6:45 am)

    One of my prerequisites for purchasing a vehicle has always been that there be service available nearby. Because the Volt is new and complex, this strategy will be even more important. By the time I am ready to buy the service staff should be quite experienced with the Volt’s quirks.

    Can’t wait to see this car in person at my dealer.


  2. 2
    Mark Z

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (7:16 am)

    Another great topic. Those who frequent this site have learned about the Volt over the past few years. To get the general car buying public up to speed requires careful training by GM for the dealerships that may only have a few minutes to summarize the advantages of the Volt. What an exciting time to be considering a new vehicle purchase. Go GM!


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    kdawg-san

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (8:42 am)

    I think word of mouth will be the Volt’s #1 asset to sales.


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    DonC

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (8:52 am)

    kdawg-san,
    You can’t possibly be in Japan. Wow!


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    kdawg-san

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (9:19 am)

    Yeah. Had a few quakes here in Tokyo, but didn’t stop the beer from flowing. (actually in a craft beer place now … finally a good Japanese beer)


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:24 am)

    From the article:
    “There are certain things – you cannot overcome physics. Physics impacts electric vehicles.”

    “Captain, I canna change the laws of physics!”


  7. 7
    flmark

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:25 am)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Just wanted to let you know that I don’t think a lack of comments on an article should equate to a lack of interest. Your articles are well written and thorough, perhaps leaving little room to add much. Most comments, as would be evidenced by yesterday’s discussion, often diverge from the topic anyway.

    Oh, and about that ‘proverbial light bulb’ that Rob Peterson mentions, I hope that if GM presents such a graphic during training sessions, the picture now shows a curly CFL bulb to demonstrate the major paradigm shift that the whole world must go through :)


  8. 8
    Jackson

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:31 am)

    flmark: Just wanted to let you know that I don’t think a lack of comments on an article should equate to a lack of interest.

    Back in the “heyday,” close to a third of the comments were the result of troll screed; in frequently organized attacks from multiple trolls.

    Sometimes, less is more. ;-)


  9. 9
    RB

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:35 am)

    Mark Z: To get the general car buying public up to speed requires careful training by GM for the dealerships that may only have a few minutes to summarize the advantages of the Volt.

    How to regenerate some excitement in the largest part of the US, where Volts have never been for sale, is a real challenge. The interest was there when the car was first introduced but that sizzle has now largely cooled off (at least around here). That is, the opportunity to be an “early adopter” has passed, as it is no longer early, and one can’t be a “fast follower” as there is no one local to follow.

    So the challenge to the dealer is how to present the car as better than any other car, mostly ICE cars, at the same price level, from a Chevy-level brand dealer, which here are mostly truck dealers. It is going to be tough, but I wish them well.


  10. 10
    Tom

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:38 am)

    Make that an LED light bulb!


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    woodturner

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:50 am)

    Held off buying a new vehicle for as long as I could, but when the Volt was introduced, it wasn’t in my area. No dealer training, no sale. Just bought a new Chevy Cruze ECO with no regrets. Getting 42+ MPG on highway, 33-35 in town. Would have preferred a Volt, guess I’ll be waiting for the next generation.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:54 am)

    Follow-up Training is a fact. I spent a half day yesterday at a seminar reviewing the Camaro Coupe, Convertible, and the Corvette Z-06 Carbon Edition. Focus was on proper operation of the Convertible’s top, OnStar MyLink, Genuine Chevrolet Accessories for your Camaro, and comparing the Carbon Edition to Aston-Martin Virage or Porsche 911 and Audi R8.

    It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. :)


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    T 1

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:11 am)

    woodturner: Held off buying a new vehicle for as long as I could, but when the Volt was introduced, it wasn’t in my area. No dealer training, no sale. Just bought a new Chevy Cruze ECO with no regrets. Getting 42+ MPG on highway, 33-35 in town. Would have preferred a Volt, guess I’ll be waiting for the next generation.

    Awesome. GM got this one right–Volt as the halo vehicle and future savior, and Cruze as the current solution. Now, get those e-assist heavy vehicles produced ASAP before their low-mileage brothers’ sales plummet. Crude oil just went over $111.


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    Sonoma Richard

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:12 am)

    After three months (and 2900 miles with #324), I answer questions nearly everyday as we drive around on our errands. Many “that is a good looking car” to “is that the electric car, it’s the first one that I have seen”. One fellow came up to me in the post office parking lot and said he hoped that he wasn’t bothering me and we proceeded to talk about the Volt for nearly ten minutes. Most questions are about the drive train. Just about everyone compares the Volt to the Prius and people have a hard time understanding the difference in the relationship between the ICE and the electric motor within the two vehicles. I hope that people never stop asking us questions about the Volt.


  15. 15
    Jeff Cobb

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:23 am)

    flmark,

    Thank you Mark. Much appreciated. Comments are always nice though. When I started a month and a week ago, I saw as high as 147 comments in one day, and other days that crested 100.

    Side topics are fine. Please have at it. In fact, let me get one started:

    I just wrote a blog entry for AutoGuide about that campground story someone posted yesterday. It said a few RV parks are charging $8.50-$10 for four hours as a convenience to EV owners to plug into the RV parks’ high-output AC outlets.

    The RV association had actually given us that story the day before, but they were late getting me pictures, so I held it.

    Good thing too, because I saw comments yesterday, especially from Jackson, that $8.50 for four hours from a 240V, 50A outlet equals the energy of a gallon of gas, and is no bargain.

    Is it possible they pay a much higher rate and it’s a reasonable markup? How bad a case of gouging would some of you consider this? Or not?

    Not meaning to pick on RV parks, it makes me wonder about the future of recharging. For example, could electricity become the new gasoline, and price manipulations take over to a wider degree for a while?

    In the world of food, we have convenience stores still doing it. You might pay 3 times or more for some products you could walk into a grocery store and buy at a more competitive price.

    It’s human nature to capitalize on supply and demand. Remote fuel stations charge more, and for the time being a lot of EV charging stations will be relatively “remote,” even if they are in the middle of Philadelphia.

    Sorry if this has already been covered. Not sure, but thought I’d ask.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:27 am)

    kdawg-san: I think word of mouth will be the Volt’s #1 asset to sales.

    #3

    I’m trying as hard as I can, LOL. +1


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    Noel Park

     

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:28 am)

    Rashiid Amul: “Captain, I canna change the laws of physics!”

    #6

    LOL. Good one! +1


  18. 18
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Tom: Make that an LED light bulb!

    #10

    You got that right. Expensive, but I am quickly becoming a believer. +1


  19. 19
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    RB: That is, the opportunity to be an “early adopter” has passed, as it is no longer early, and one can’t be a “fast follower” as there is no one local to follow.

    #9

    I’m a bit more optimistic than that. The recent trend in gas prices is going to create a lot more “early adopters” IMHO. I cannot tell you how much I smile every time I pass the local ARCO station which has a line out into the street most of the time as it is $0.10 or so cheaper than the competition, LOL.

    I last filled up in Palm Springs on March 20. Priceless!


  20. 20
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    woodturner: Just bought a new Chevy Cruze ECO with no regrets.

    #11

    Good choice! +1


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    CorvetteGuy: comparing the Carbon Edition to Aston-Martin Virage or Porsche 911 and Audi R8.

    #12

    Kick a*s and take names! +1


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:37 am)

    T 1: Now, get those e-assist heavy vehicles produced ASAP before their low-mileage brothers’ sales plummet.

    #13

    Got that right! +1


  23. 23
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:41 am)

    You guys are on a roll today. Totally positive excellent comments. So many “+1s” I lost count.

    “Who loves ya baby?”


  24. 24
    Unni

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:50 am)

    New engine :

    http://youtu.be/uf_-IMgla34

    Michigan State University associate professor of mechanical engineering Norbert Mueller describes his Wave Disk Generator, for which he has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a prototype new engine and generator technology that can dramatically improve efficiencies and reduce costs of electric hybrid vehicles.

    This will help Voltec to reach CS mode 100+mpg or even new CS mode only products with 100+mpg.


  25. 25
    Unni

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:52 am)

    Tom:
    Make that an LED light bulb!

    Leaf comes with ones, they are not expensive, Nissan has some way to produce them in less costs.


  26. 26
    LauraM

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:59 am)

    I went to the Macy’s flower show in New York a few days ago. They had a Volt on display on the 8th floor, along with a “volt garden” and a large sign comparing the Volt’s horsepower to the Prius. It seemed to attract quite a bit of interest…


  27. 27
    LauraM

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    Jackson: Back in the “heyday,” close to a third of the comments were the result of troll screed; in frequently organized attacks from multiple trolls.

    Sometimes, less is more. ;-)

    And don’t forget how many of the other replies were in reaction to the trolls. Complaining about the trolls, etc.


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    T 1

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:03 pm)

    Noel Park: You guys are on a roll today. Totally positive excellent comments. So many “+1s” I lost count.
    “Who loves ya baby?”

    Keep spread’n the love, brother!

    Your enthusiasm makes you a natural guest-writer, IMO. Let’s see it!


  29. 29
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    Unni: Michigan State University associate professor of mechanical engineering Norbert Mueller describes his Wave Disk Generator,

    #24

    I’m from Missouri. As I said on the forum, hook this to EEstor and you’ve really got a winner, LOL.


  30. 30
    jeffhre

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:37 pm)

    The Volt is obviously vaporware and will never be produced in numbers to make a difference. Hydrogen is obviously the future. The Prius does the same thing but better and being less expensive, lighter and more refined, it makes a real difference.

    Ha, I got a million of ‘em, I should start an EV based stand-up routine – rim-shot please!

    Sorry Noel, please continue with the positives, I just wanted to keep Jackson entertained :)


  31. 31
    jeffhre

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:44 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Good thing too, because I saw comments yesterday, especially from Jackson, that $8.50 for four hours from a 240V, 50A outlet equals the energy of a gallon of gas, and is no bargain.
    Is it possible they pay a much higher rate and it’s a reasonable markup? How bad a case of gouging would some of you consider this? Or not?

    My question is who would eat in the cafe or bring their family to to a place they discovered while EV’ing, if the most memorable part of the discovery is the feeling of being gouged? Seems like a smart business would try pricing and policies that attract customers not repel them.


  32. 32
    Tex-Arl

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:50 pm)

    It is good to see that the GM Training Centers are up and going full blast to train these mechanics
    to service the Volt as well as the Cruze etc, etc.

    My experience with them is they do a fantastic job.

    Did notice in the Dallas Morn News today a program to install chargers so that the battery only people feel safe.


  33. 33
    Raymondjram

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    You have a good point there, which may deserve a follow-up article. But there is the new concept of generating your own electricity, so if you could resell your excess energy, you become a competition for the power producers, although your output is much less. Replicate this scenario by a few million, and you have a network of localized, small electrical power suppliers that could sell for much less than the “big guys” because they have little administrative overhead, because it is excess energy being sold, and their need of income is lesser. More and cheaper charging will help sell more EVs.

    So, as the arrival of gasoline powered vehicles sprung up the competition between suppliers in the past century, we will see the same happen as the EV takes over in this century. Then the gas stations will be converting to charging stations with Level 2 and Level 3 charging at competitive rates.

    And finally, our air will be cleaner and the foreign dependency to oil will be gone. I may be a dreamer, but I expect this dream to become a reality You guys here at GM-Volt.com are already making part of that dream come true!

    Raymond


  34. 34
    Jeff Cobb

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    jeffhre,

    The campgrounds are reportedly just being asked, so individual owners are saying, “sure, plug in …” then deciding what they want to charge. It is way too early in their case to say they are gouging.

    Is $8.50 a rip-off? I am unsure what rates campgrounds pay with all those RVs taking juice from a 240 line to keep their flat screen TVs, microwaves ovens, and tiki lights going … :)


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    Noel Park: #24

    I’m from Missouri.As I said on the forum, hook this to EEstor and you’ve really got a winner, LOL.

    Dont know on eestor but seems maxwell has a production ultra capacitor which can replace the battery in an eassist setup.

    http://maxwell.maples.com/blog/2011/02/21/ultracapacitors-could-assist-gm%E2%80%99s-eassist-hybrid-auto-system/

    it wont take too long to replace battery with an ultra capacitor. China has some buses called capabus . Expect these ultra caps to progress ….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capa_vehicle#Capabus

    from wiki : The ultracapacitors are made of activated carbon and have an energy density of six watt-hours per kilogram (for comparison a high-performance lithium-ion battery can achieve 200 watt-hours per kilogram, but the ultracapacitor bus is about 40% cheaper than a lithium-ion battery bus and far more reliable).


  36. 36
    Truman

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:14 pm)

    T 1: Crude oil just went over $111.

    Yup, you can’t buy advertising like Peak Oil approaching:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/

    When gasoline hits $4, lots of people who didn’t intend on looking into the Volt will start paying attention when they see articles and stories on other people who are beating the high gasoline prices. And the longer it stays over $4 this time, the more people will be interested.


  37. 37
    Jeff Cobb

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    When gasoline hits $4, lots of people who didn’t intend on looking into the Volt will start paying attention when they see articles and stories on other people who are beating the high gasoline prices.

    Here’s one –

    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/04/chevrolet-volt-customers-getting-1000-miles-per-tank-full-gm-says.html


  38. 38
    flmark

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:31 pm)

    Tom:
    Make that an LED light bulb!

    Well yes, and I have largely switched to LED. However, the swirly CFL is easier to recognize. But I definitely agree with the sentiment.


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    Truman: When gasoline hits $4, lots of people who didn’t intend on looking into the Volt will start paying attention when they see articles and stories on other people who are beating the high gasoline prices. And the longer it stays over $4 this time, the more people will be interested.

    Jeff Cobb: Here’s one –

    Update: WTI just went over $112 today.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:52 pm)

    jeffhre: Ha, I got a million of ‘em, I should start an EV based stand-up routine – rim-shot please!

    #30

    Puts me in the mind of our local DJ/comedian Frazier Smith. He used to say, “The man so lean, the man so mean, they had to call him Shecky Green”. +1

    And his exit line at the end of the show, “Shecky, get the jet. I’m outa here!”


  41. 41
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    Tex-Arl: Did notice in the Dallas Morn News today a program to install chargers so that the battery only people feel safe.

    #32

    Safe from running out of juice, or safe from the dangerous Volt drivers, LOL? +1


  42. 42
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    Raymondjram: You guys here at GM-Volt.com are already making part of that dream come true!

    #33

    Everyone tries to do their bit as best they can. Thanks. +1


  43. 43
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (2:03 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Is $8.50 a rip-off? I am unsure what rates campgrounds pay with all those RVs taking juice from a 240 line to keep their flat screen TVs, microwaves ovens, and tiki lights going …

    #34

    Well someone said that it takes 13.4 kwh to charge a Volt from “consumer depletion”, or whatever it’s called. They may be charging “on peak level 3″ or whatever, but I can’t imagine it being over $0.25/kwh. So that’s $3.35. So that’s a pretty stout markup IMHO.

    Others here are much more knowledgeable about such things. What’s a real number guys? I’m pretty interested because I’m thinking of offering my local merchants and travel lodgings something to plug in and I wonder how much would be appropriate.


  44. 44
    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (2:05 pm)

    Truman: And the longer it stays over $4 this time, the more people will be interested.

    #36

    Got that right. +1


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (2:09 pm)

    T 1: Update: WTI just went over $112 today.

    #39

    Mama Mia!!!!! Scary. At last I got the timing right on buying a Volt, but you have to hate it anyway. Oh well, we knew it was coming sooner or later. I guess we just have to hunker down and tough it out. Good luck guys, we’re all gonna need it!

    +1 for keeping us current, as much as I hate the news. You know what happens to the messenger, LOL.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (2:11 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Comments are always nice though. When I started a month and a week ago, I saw as high as 147 comments in one day, and other days that crested 100.

    #15

    I’m trying, LOL!!!


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    WVhybrid

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (3:21 pm)

    Rashiid Amul:

    “Captain, I canna change the laws of physics!”

    Well, you might be able to change the laws of physics in an alternate space-time continuum. Otherwise, thermo rules!


  48. 48
    John

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (4:10 pm)

    I know every once and a while when there was something truly new and interesting Lyle would send out a mass email to everyone who had left an email on this site. I’ve noticed that hadn’t been done yet since he left. Perhaps when you feel there is something important to report on you could send out an email and increase readership and comments for the day. Good stuff though Jeff.


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (4:11 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    I got my Volt. I think that charging is a big issue that is being royally screwed up. J1772 specifies a cable and very expensive connector to plug into the vehicle. Can you imagine that these won’t be stolen? Especially since they also specified a very expensive box to guarantee that there will be no power on the line when a vehicle is plugged in. Keep the vandals and thieves safe!

    How many replacements will a provider supply before he gives up? An outlet into which the user plugs his cord would have been a more rational solution. (Using the outlet already available at the RV park would have been intelligent, but not profitable for vendors.)

    Imagine EVs constituting the majority of vehicles on the road. How many charging stations will be wanted at popular locations? Does making an installation cost thousands of dollars make any sense at all? It looks like there is a commitment to making a profit but certainly no commitment at all to making EVs successful.


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (4:14 pm)

    WVhybrid: Well, you might be able to change the laws of physics in an alternate space-time continuum.

    Any such attempt could cause a quantum vacuum fluctuation resulting in the complete destruction of both continuums. Physics: It’s not just the law, it’s a darned good idea. :-P


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (4:18 pm)

    jeffhre:
    The Volt is obviously vaporware and will never be produced in numbers to make a difference. Hydrogen is obviously the future. The Prius does the same thing but better and being less expensive, lighter and more refined, it makes a real difference.

    Ha, I got a million of ‘em, I should start an EV based stand-up routine – rim-shot please!

    Sorry Noel, please continue with the positives, I just wanted to keep Jackson entertained

    You break me up, dude:

    Oh, Ho haw haww(gasp) Ha ha ha ha-a-a-aa … (wheeze, cough), He he he he …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH23-hDB8wE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw0df0wNnVQ
    Keep an eye on Korman (for you whippersnappers, he’s the one in the chair)


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    Noel Park,

    Thanks Noel! :) What number is this post? Number 16? You only have 90-100 more to go today and we’ll have a new record! LOL


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (4:41 pm)

    John:
    I know every once and a while when there was something truly new and interesting Lyle would send out a mass email to everyone who had left an email on this site.I’ve noticed that hadn’t been done yet since he left.Perhaps when you feel there is something important to report on you could send out an email and increase readership and comments for the day. Good stuff though Jeff.

    Thanks. I’ll have to look into that. Did not know it was something Lyle did.


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    EVO

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (5:17 pm)

    This is excellent news. I stand back and applaud politely.

    I would like to see more articles on charging installations and interviews with owners of malls, large retailers and chain restaurants as well as muni/county gov’t folk (and DOT for highways) on charging installation commitments and completion. I have a 3 year deadline to meet so that Jackson doesn’t laugh in my face, so please do lots of them quickly. Make sure to ask them questions about multi level charging options (always including down to 120v level 1 and garden variety 3 prong plug) and test them whether they know where on the vehicle, for every single make/model of every plug in vehicle of all types, is the charging interface, so they can orient the stations to the parking spaces appropriately (hint: front, back and near middle of both sides to handle all vehicles).

    Persistent attention, pointed questions and a little $ => a lotta action.


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (5:52 pm)

    EVO: I would like to see more articles on charging installations and interviews with owners of malls, large retailers and chain restaurants as well as muni/county gov’t folk (and DOT for highways) on charging installation commitments and completion.

    OT, but a ‘giant leap’ toward eventually FREE (or very cheap) electricity: General Electric has just announced it will build a large solar cell/panel production plant that should make it possible for a home owner like myself (as well as business owners considering EV charging facilities) to install solar panels that can produce MORE electricity than needed. (In my case, the excess should be adequate both to charge my Volt AND to sell to FPL [Florida Power] at a rate sufficient to fully liquidate the cost of my home’s solar arrays!) This 3:43 video is an overview of GE’s plan and I promise it will be well worth your time to watch:

    http://www.ge.com/audio_video/ge/innovation/ges_solar_breakthrough.html


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (6:44 pm)

    Jackson: Any such attempt could cause a quantum vacuum fluctuation resulting in the complete destruction of both continuums.

    #50

    “There’s a disturbance in The Force Luke” +1


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (6:48 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Thanks Noel! :) What number is this post? Number 16? You only have 90-100 more to go today and we’ll have a new record! LOL

    #52

    Well it goes pretty fast when your standard comment is “Amen. +1″, LOL Thanks. +1


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (6:51 pm)

    EVO: Persistent attention, pointed questions and a little $ => a lotta action.

    #54

    Well that sounds like the definition of optimism to me, LOL. But you’re right, if nobody pushes nothing happens for sure. We all need to do what we can at our own local levels IMHO. One plug at a time. +1


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (7:17 pm)

    Got to drive a Volt here in PA… one is at our neighborhood Chevy dealer for testing in this area.
    They want worst case driving in this area.. he is running parts for the dealership with it. He put 14,000 miles on it in 3 months. And I don’t think he is charging it. They want worst case .. he said he is still getting 40 mpg… putting over 100 miles a day on the car… and he goes up and down the largest hill in pa routinely.. rt 40 over the summit… which is like pikes peak around here… even 8 cylinders groan going up that steep grade which is about ..I would guess 5 to 10 miles of very steep grade… he said the Volt does it with ease.


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (7:27 pm)

    nasaman: ‘giant leap’ toward eventually FREE (or very cheap) electricity

    A word of caution that I did not see addressed in the video- AREA. While I haven’t paid attention to the concept (and developments) lately, the last time I brought it up, it was still confirmed- AREA. While everyone gets excited about thin film, standard panels provide TWICE the energy production per unit AREA compared to film. You only have so much roof space which faces the right direction. I simply would not have been able to eliminate my electric bill with thin film.

    My word of caution is mostly about those sitting on the sidelines waiting for something drastic to take over solar PV as we know it. Tech (like computers, cell phones) will always be better tomorrow than it is today. If you continue to focus on that, you never get the tech at all. I look forward to reduced costs and better performance for buyers that follow in my footsteps. However, nothing has shown me that changes will be radical vs incremental. Many are spending hundreds of dollars every month RIGHT NOW that could disappear by next month with a PV purchase. Utility dollars are dollars that have no chance of ever being seen again, while PV dollars are spent on hard assets that increase the value of the property.

    PV is already cheaper than my install from three years ago when I decided to purchase (and most states have reduced their solar rebates accordingly!!!), but I do not regret the purchase. I hope others will take the plunge as soon as they can (and now microinverters allow you to buy one panel at a time if you want). Go Solar!!


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (7:42 pm)

    Noel Park: +1 for keeping us current, as much as I hate the news. You know what happens to the messenger, LOL.

    Yeah, they get the message first. :)


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    RA Romshe

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (8:11 pm)

    I received a call from my Chevrolet dealer that a Volt was in their lot and would I like to take a
    look. I and my wife was most impressed. I did not dirve the volt just took a ride. wife and I were very happy with the way it rode and sounds. Will definitly buy one when they come to Stillwater, OK.


  63. 63
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    Apr 8th, 2011 (9:20 pm)

    Plugging in at an RV park would work only as fast as the 120 volt Volt charger line could accept.

    Also, although those outlets at 30 amps have been in the rain, been overloaded and more often than not the load carrying leg is pretty carbon coated inside, you would need a 30 amp to 15 amp adapter for a Volt to be plugged in.

    Often, (for that supposed 30 amp outlet,) back at the circuit breaker box where its line is connected, only a 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker is installed, which, when routinely overheated, weakens the connections at the breaker bar to the extent that you may only have about 11 to 13 or so amps net service arriving at that plug.
    (One such space had twist nuts connecting three cable segments and the unmerry vacationers were wondering why their RV was loading the line down to 98 volts. Another wondered why the roof air conditioner high speed fan circuit burned out. The stories go on forever….)

    Believe me, I have assisted more RV park circuit faults in these matters, yet even after only about 6 or so months of all these renewed connections, outlets, circuit breakers, breaker bars, etc, being out in the rain, snow, wind, (and with many of these plugs installed with the wrong phase polarities), they can be degraded rapidly, so, it may not be a good idea after all to use them.

    I would be concerned that an onboard charger may be overloaded by being under served.
    Also, one may experience an additional reduction in wattage service in a 108 volt brownout in addition to the insufficient amps coming through. This can happen when many RV roof air conditioners are pulling the panel amp rating completely, at the same time as occupants start to also use the microwave oven at lunch time in addition to those roof air conditioners. With the base load demand in the average RV at around 8 amps to 12 amps, there could be a total load of well over 35 amps per RV for very long durations of time.

    (Although State and Federal park service outlets are usually maintained in an excellent manner and almost never ever have these problems. These problems occur at the privately owned parks if they happen to be full and all the spaces have their outlets drawing power.)


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:08 pm)

    I personally cannot wait until LED headlights become available for my Volt. “My VOLT” license plate just arrived in the mail. Got my first Onstar Mylink report. 53% Electric Miles including my drive back to Florida from Michigan. My last 1600 miles 1.1 Gallons of Gasoline. Mileage above 80MPG and rising. Estimated savings of gasoline 88 gallons. 3351 total miles on the car. 1776 all electric miles. 29 KWH/100 miles = $2.90 per 100 miles. What does it cost you to drive 100 miles.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:23 pm)

    So far plugging in has not been a problem except for Bealls Florida where the store manager thought my car would damage her cash registers. I have free plug in at Walmart, Alva Diner, Home Depot, Beef-O-Bradys, and daily plug in at work where they charge me 75 Cents per day flat rate to plug-in.
    Businesses get my business who are willing to let me plug-in while I am doing business with them. These days finding a place to recharge is not much of a problem. When all else fails my 240V charger in the garage is always available.

    Take Care,
    TED


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    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:32 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    I really enjoy your articles even though I don’t always comment and I already have my VOLT.

    Thank You for your continuing efforts to provide informative and entertaining reading material.

    Take Care, TED


  67. 67
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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:41 pm)

    nasaman: General Electric has just announced it will build a large solar cell/panel production plant that should make it possible for a home owner like myself (as well as business owners considering EV charging facilities) to install solar panels that can produce MORE electricity than needed. (In my case, the excess should be adequate both to charge my Volt AND to sell to FPL [Florida Power] at a rate sufficient to fully liquidate the cost of my home’s solar arrays!)

    This seems a lot more interesting: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/03/ncoera-20110327.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20greencarcongress%2FTrBK%20%28Green%20Car%20Congress%29&utm_content=Google%20Reader


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (10:42 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers:
    Jeff Cobb,

    I really enjoy your articles even though I don’t always comment and I already have my VOLT.

    Thank You for your continuing efforts to provide informative and entertaining reading material.

    Take Care, TED

    Thanks Ted! Nice of you to say so. Like I keep saying, it’s a day-by-day effort. Just made a new GM contact today, so this process of getting in touch with news sources is working. I’m hoping to get a Volt on loan within a month. The press fleet is said to be tied up till third week in April or later.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    Apr 8th, 2011 (11:09 pm)

    Dan Petit,

    Good information. This RV park phenomenon is new, and the RV campground association that sent a press release is saying “look, this is happening, do you know if this is happening at other campgrounds than these few we know of … ” (paraphrase). It looked good to them, but that is all they know.

    Maybe RV parks ought to shelter these better from weather, if that’s possible. From an environmental standpoint, towing an EV behind a gas-or diesel-guzzling RV would improve the average fuel usage somewhat. You’d have around 5-16 MPG (bulk of miles) or so from the RV, and zero fuel consumption possible from the limited-use electric car. It would be better than an ICE anyway.

    It could assuage the RVers conscience a little, if they have the budget for a new EV, which many of them no doubt do.


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    Ted in Fort Myers

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    Apr 9th, 2011 (5:29 am)

    I have a friend who has an e box which is a scion xB which has been converted to electric use by AC propulsion in San Demas, California. When traveling longer distances than his battery allows (120 miles) he pulls into RV Parks/Campgrounds and charges up there just for the novelty of having the electric vehicle there for the customers to see. He would never pay the amounts listed above for <$2.00 worth of electricity. Nor would I.

    Take Care, TED


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (7:48 am)

    In four hours of charging at 120 volts, one may only receive about 60 cents worth of electricity.

    That’s fifteen cents an hour. If I were talking to people about Volt, maybe some would think to throw the electricity in for free just to get to know about Volt and to make a new friend.

    (Hey Jeff,
    Thanks for letting us know that you can immediately forward concerns to various parties. I would like also to think that this is an excellent capability that you can perform *as we type live during the composition process*, if you know what I mean. (That’s my intent sometimes, (for forwarding to the GM internal audience,) even though a filter of one sort or another sidetracks a post from the general audience here, which is perfectly ok, (Only you could know “just the right ear” to forward concerns to.) Thanks Jeff.)


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    Truman

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    Apr 9th, 2011 (9:28 am)

    nasaman: OT, but a ‘giant leap’ toward eventually FREE (or very cheap) electricity: General Electric has just announced it will build a large solar cell/panel production plant that should make it possible for a home owner like myself (as well as business owners considering EV charging facilities) to install solar panels that can produce MORE electricity than needed.

    As flmark says, thin film PV needs more area to generate the same power as monocrystalline PV. Another consideration is fade time – thin film breaks down in the sun, so after 6 years it might lose 30% or 40% of its rated power generation. In 15 years, you can be below 1/3 of rated power, whereas monocrystalline can keep within 5% of its rating for 25 or 30 years (and have been known to last for 50 years).

    Since the cost of shipping and installing panels is not negligible (maybe 10 to 15% of the final cost of the system), having panels that you can install once and forget about for 30 years is better than panels that have to be replaced every 10 years. Yes, thin film is cheaper to manufacture, but there are other considerations.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (11:22 am)

    Dan Petit,

    That I can do.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (12:54 pm)

    Isn’t fairly obvious and routine that they would have training on the new technology?

    Is anyone surprised?


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (1:30 pm)

    #60

    Sounds like you are describing 2011 Volt buyers, LOL. +1

    flmark: My word of caution is mostly about those sitting on the sidelines waiting for something drastic to take over solar PV as we know it. Tech (like computers, cell phones) will always be better tomorrow than it is today. If you continue to focus on that, you never get the tech at all. I look forward to reduced costs and better performance for buyers that follow in my footsteps.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers: Businesses get my business who are willing to let me plug-in while I am doing business with them.

    #65

    Well said. +1


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (1:39 pm)

    Jeff,

    #76 and counting. We’re trying! Hang in there.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    nasaman,

    What are the efficiency decline rates of amorphous PV panels? I have three that I’m going to mount onto a roof rack of my vehicle, (The 15 watt ones from Sunforce that cost only 99 bucks each.) (They will be mounted four inches above the roof panel in a very sturdy custom aluminum frame, so no excessive heat can build up underneath them that could influence/increase oxidation rates (and cut the wattage significantly).)

    (They will power a pure sine inverter for printing of Genisys diagnostics reports, and, to also run a thermoelectric cooler to keep soft drinks cool.). (Oh, btw, the Genisys platform will give the very best diagnostics graphs of everything the Volt has in it.)


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (2:03 pm)

    Noel Park,

    :) Thanks Noel.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (2:28 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: … I saw comments yesterday, especially from Jackson, that $8.50 for four hours from a 240V, 50A outlet equals the energy of a gallon of gas, and is no bargain.

    Thanks for the shoutout, Jeff Cobb!

    Ted in Fort Myers: I have free plug in at Walmart, Alva Diner, Home Depot, Beef-O-Bradys, and daily plug in at work where they charge me 75 Cents per day flat rate to plug-in.
    Businesses get my business who are willing to let me plug-in while I am doing business with them. These days finding a place to recharge is not much of a problem.

    This is where most charging infrastructure is going to come from; not from government edicts and certainly not from gougers. I predict (I said predict) that charging will come closer to following the parking paradigm than that of the special refueling station.

    EVO: I would like to see more articles on charging installations and interviews with owners of malls, large retailers and chain restaurants as well as muni/county gov’t folk (and DOT for highways) on charging installation commitments and completion. I have a 3 year deadline to meet so that Jackson doesn’t laugh in my face, so please do lots of them quickly.

    I look forward to getting laughed at in 3 years, EVO. Keep up the good work, all!


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Dan Petit: to also run a thermoelectric cooler to keep soft drinks cool.

    #78

    No Lone Star, LOL? +1


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: :) Thanks Noel.

    #79

    De nada. +1


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:13 pm)

    Jackson,

    FYI, I quoted you (not by name, or even screen name, but anonymously with no linkback) –

    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/04/crossing-america-in-an-ev-made-easier-as-rv-park-recharging-stations-on-the-rise.html


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:13 pm)

    Jackson: This is where most charging infrastructure is going to come from; not from government edicts and certainly not from gougers.

    #80

    I agree. I also think that hotels/motels should be a top priority. We tend to spend a lot more time there when we’re traveling.

    I did hit up my favorite local restaurant owner last night. He looked at me kind of funny and said “Would you be willing to pay for it?” I said “Damned right. Just figure out the cost and add a reasonable markup. It’s coming, so get ready” He said, “Well maybe we could do it for a stall or two.” I have no illusions that it will happen without some aggressive nagging, but it’s a start.

    Great job Ted BTW. +1

    Jackson: I look forward to getting laughed at in 3 years, EVO. Keep up the good work, all!

    NICE +1


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    Here’s a 22kW charger Siemens is rolling out first in Germany (thanks to Euro government initiative reported earlier – the Green eMotion project)

    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/04/siemens-22kw-charger-can-replenish-electric-vehicle-batteries-in-under-one-hour.html

    Should be able to recharge your car right quick.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    flmark,

    Screw CFLs…..what a total crock. They do NOT last like they claim. There expensive, ALL made in china and dont you dare break one, now you have to call hazmat!!! You want to make a real shift buy LEDs. And buy the American ones!


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:24 pm)

    Dan,

    In interviewing a researcher in Canada the other day (by phone) I was told a Taiwanese company makes a super efficient, clean LED bulb but the UL won’t approve it. She said they are pricey, but last forever, and are better than any she has found and managed to order some direct. Unfortunately, she did not have the name off hand. This does not help if you want to buy American, but it’s interesting American regs won’t pass this supposedly superior design.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:28 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers,

    I don’t know ted what does it REALLY cost you to drive the 100 miles? What did you pay for the car and calculate the per mile costs. “fuel” whatever it is, is just one small part of driving costs. You got insurance, fuel, cost of car, any mark-ups, tires, what about oil? you have an ice in there and even if you use synthetic you have to change it every 6 months. Oil breaks down even if your not using it. So what is your “real” cost? My geo metro is getting 55 mpg. My oil changes only require 4 quarts my tires are only 35 bucks and the car was paid for a decade ago. Want to bet my costs per mile are considerably less than yours since my car can devalue no more and my maintenance is way cheaper.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:31 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    I do believe in free choice. My choice happens to be American. You have to wonder why they wont approve the bulb. Better is better but is there some other forces at work. Like someone doesn’t want to step on chinas toes since we owe them so much money?


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (3:43 pm)

    Dan,

    I believe in free choice too, and it’s a shame America’s competitiveness has been eroded. It need not be this way. As for the LED, it’s all conjecture until I learn why UL would not approve it. But if the design is better, it could be something Americans could innovate on and develop here as well. The researcher’s allegation was that something was unnecessarily strict with the UL’s regs, so it was shooting America in the foot with regards to this LED which uses less energy, and has remarkable qualities with no downside she can detect. That is all I know at this point though. I’ll e-mail her and ask the name of the LED to try and learn why it was rejected here.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (4:21 pm)

    Dan: flmark, Screw CFLs…..what a total crock. They do NOT last like they claim. There expensive, ALL made in china and dont you dare break one, now you have to call hazmat!!! You want to make a real shift buy LEDs. And buy the American ones!

    As mentioned many times, I like LED light bulbs. I would venture to say I have outdone everyone here in that regard, having equipped 2 homes and a business. I have easily spent over a thousand bucks on JUST LED light bulbs! They are especially good for track lighting and their instant-on aspects (compared with CFL) make them nice for outdoor spot lights. In that regard, I used to get fed up- the dog would be nearly finished with his business before the CFLs were at full strength.

    With that said, CFLs are still my choice behind lampshades that you expect to actually read by. Other than that, GO LED!


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (6:10 pm)

    Dan: Screw CFLs…..what a total crock. They do NOT last like they claim. There expensive

    Let’s talk about expensive…

    LED_Bulb.jpg


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (6:30 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: Let’s talk about expensive…

    You’re right! As of right now, LED bulbs are unreasonably expensive —even at Walmart! But CFL’s are now very inexpensive —less than 10% of the retail price for LEDs — and the most recent generation of CFL’s illuminate fully in less than 1/2 sec AND last thousands of hours! So for now, CFL’s are the way to go!!! I’ve researched this thoroughly and in fact I now own the first ceiling- mount HD video projector using LEDs, which tests show will outlast projector “bulbs” by 10:1!


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (6:42 pm)

    nasaman,

    In the last year I bought 6 CFLs, and my utility gave me 12 more. I have replaced all the most used lighting in my house with CFLs, and so far am very happy. Just in my kitchen and breakfast area I replaced 750 watts with 130.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (6:56 pm)

    flmark: …PV is already cheaper than my install from three years ago when I decided to purchase (and most states have reduced their solar rebates accordingly!!!), but I do not regret the purchase. I hope others will take the plunge as soon as they can (and now microinverters allow you to buy one panel at a time if you want). Go Solar!!

    Truman: …Since the cost of shipping and installing panels is not negligible (maybe 10 to 15% of the final cost of the system), having panels that you can install once and forget about for 30 years is better than panels that have to be replaced every 10 years. Yes, thin film is cheaper to manufacture, but there are other considerations.

    Based on my 15 yr+ background in solar array design, I understand what you’re both saying. But what you may not realize is that GE doesn’t invest multiple 100′s of $millions in advancing a technology such as thin-film solar, then building a huge separate manufacturing facility to produce it, unless there’s truly a significant competitive advantage in the new technology. Yes, the disadvantages of thin-film are well known. But GE isn’t about to disclose the means by which they’ve solved those problems. You can be confident that GE wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t virtually assured of being successful in competition with conventional silicon PV cell/panel manufacturers!

    And you can be sure we’ll all eventually be benefactors of GE’s announced plans!


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (10:16 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    Dan Petit,

    Good information. This RV park phenomenon is new, and the RV campground association that sent a press release is saying “look, this is happening, do you know if this is happening at other campgrounds than these few we know of … ” (paraphrase). It looked good to them, but that is all they know.

    Maybe RV parks ought to shelter these better from weather, if that’s possible. From an environmental standpoint, towing an EV behind a gas-or diesel-guzzling RV would improve the average fuel usage somewhat. You’d have around 5-16 MPG (bulk of miles) or so from the RV, and zero fuel consumption possible from the limited-use electric car. It would be better than an ICE anyway.

    It could assuage the RVers conscience a little, if they have the budget for a new EV, which many of them no doubt do.

    Thanks. I’d love to hear more as this unfolds. While public charging is a convenience and not a necessity for me, it is the conveniences and their execution and service that takes plug in electric to its next broader level of adoption.

    So far the two RV parks where I have several times charged my EV have directed me to covered, protected, very nice and convenient areas on circuits separate from the RV hoi-polloi. They’ve said that they want me to use their “good stuff” in a nice high visibility area to charge my EV since it looks so nice. Then they stare with lust at it, hoping I’ll offer a test ride. I usually respond with a drawn out gutteral “my precioussssss…. gollum…gollum” as I clutch the bodywork (think Saturn) of my ride. So far, my RV park charging has been on the house with excellent, pleasant, helpful staff and management. It kind of reminds me of Harley riders, who on average have been the nicest about and around and the most accepting of my electric motorcycles. I think maybe it’s in part because the machines and marketing are so obviously going for different segments of the market that they don’t feel threatened at all. Or because they are both American made.

    I encourage Volt owners to charge and ask about charging in public every opportunity they get. It’ll make my doing the same seem just that much more mainstream.

    BTW, I just got back from 200 miles of electric cruising today. Yes, it helped that I had a golf game and a half day seminar in the mix.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (10:27 pm)

    nasaman: …eventually…

    You simply validate what I stated. ‘Eventually’ could mean twenty years. My discussion was about sitting on the sidelines waiting….and waiting…

    I had a job interview with a division of GE in 1984 which was working on technologies that may STILL be under development. I saw that one of these technologies was allegedly now being used …on the Prometheus…on Stargate SG-1.

    The a) investment of significant funds by b) a company like GE does not in any way justify that waiting on this thin film to come to fruition is a good idea. I did indeed wait on GE’s Hybrid Geospring water heater, but it was based on a product announcement. Research advancements and buyable products can, and often are, well displaced from each other.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (10:53 pm)

    flmark: The a) investment of significant funds by b) a company like GE does not in any way justify that waiting on this thin film to come to fruition is a good idea. I did indeed wait on GE’s Hybrid Geospring water heater, but it was based on a product announcement. Research advancements and buyable products can, and often are, well displaced from each other.

    You’re right, Mark —the predecessor of GE (Edison Electric) was bullish about the EV because of their breakthrough in rechargeable alkaline battery technology over 100 yrs ago. But they were wrong. And they (and I) may be wrong about their thin-film solar cell/array plan, but my 15-year technical background in state-of-the-art solar cell/array design, including the International Space Station’s arrays, lead me to believe I have at least a 50-50 chance of being right! But yes, I may very well be wrong. For anyone (like me) who thinks there’s a chance GE’s announcement of plans to build the largest solar panel factory in the US might succeed, check out:

    http://www.ge.com/audio_video/ge/innovation/ges_solar_breakthrough.html


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (8:09 am)

    Something else I heard talk about years ago was DC appliances that could work directly off a solar panel’s DC voltage. We use a lot of DC capable things these days. It would be nice to get rid of the wall warts.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (9:15 am)

    Hi nasaman,
    Did you see my question at number 78?

    On another idea, it might be a good idea for the charger supply voltage be displayable on the console when the driver door opens. Borrowing from how the tracking graphs from a Genisys work, the graph could show that acceptable voltages within a certain band were available to the Volt. Since the Genisys has a sample rate of four million samples per second, it might be beneficial for the Volt owner to see a spike during a compressed graph of the charge cycle.

    I can not even begin to tell you how critically-helpful this information would be to you, (as it is every single day for techs on old vehicle power systems (greater than 70,000 mi.)), but you would instantly and intuitively recognize its value instantly once you saw it. (A single or multiple needles along a flat line, it’s that easy!)

    A graphs “save” button could prove we need to have something done about the power issue. And, prove the repair efforts were effective.

    Take for example when a thunderstorm comes through the area, a compressed graph showing that spikes and surges were filtered would be very helpful. Also, during the many years that the Volt is expected to be plugged in, the residence electrical system may degrade slightly or even significantly. So, a compressed graph for input supply voltages would really be an awesome feature. The understanding ahead of time would be that there might be a post-filtered “flat line” of a steady state whereby the systems are conditioning the power.
    Most people would recognize that they need to do something about the raw power coming in.
    How about if the ground and neutral are reversed in even a new residence. It can and does happen when the technician who installs outlets is tired at the end of a day, wiring up an outlet to a refrigerator that is happening to be next to (or directly opposite from) the Volt breaker in the service panel.
    (If there were no other loads on, and the refrigerator cycles on and off all night, then the opposite sine wave may conceivably have an effect on the Volt power integrity.)
    That would just be an incredible way for the Volt owner to begin to understand the demand of things that turn on and off in the residence.

    Does this post merit a green vote score?


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (9:41 am)

    Don’t remember seeing this posted before. Does this mean there might be VoltWagens in the future?

    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110407/ANE/110409914/1193


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (10:32 am)

    Noel Park: #34

    Well someone said that it takes 13.4 kwh to charge a Volt from “consumer depletion”, or whatever it’s called.They may be charging “on peak level 3″ or whatever, but I can’t imagine it being over $0.25/kwh.So that’s $3.35.So that’s a pretty stout markup IMHO.

    I’m not so sure that $8.50 is that unreasonable for an occasional charge. A couple things to note.

    1) If a Tesla shows up, he’s gonna set his charger to take 35-40 amps, not a measly 13.5 amps the Volt uses. 40 amps x 220 v x 4 hours = 35 kWh, and at 12 cents a kwh, that cost is $4.22.
    So $8.50 is keystone pricing on a Tesla… not so bad. But for a Volt or Leaf, the operating margin is better.

    2) The $8.50 also has to cover depreciation of the installation. Even if the campground owner does his own wiring, it still has to cost a thousand dollars or so to install a J-plug charge point. So if he recovers, say $5.00 per use, it takes 200 uses to recover his installation costs. So, assume that 40 people a year use a charge point (I have no idea what to assume here, but 40 seems reasonable), then it takes 5 years pay back the investment. Five year payback seems pretty risky for a small business owner in this business climate.

    All and all I won’t begrudge someone $8.50 for using their property 4 hours. Especially when they make their living providing a service.

    WVhybrid
    VIN = 1715


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (11:00 am)

    nasaman: GE’s announcement

    Interesting, but if you keep researching, Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium_telluride_photovoltaics) points out
    “Early leaders in CdS/CdTe cell efficiencies were GE in the 1960s…”
    I hope that the technology FINALLY becomes useful soon, but shall I point out that the research has been going on for over FIVE DECADES!! What is the saying?…”While we’re young…”

    One of the key indicators that this is still a ways from marketing is that, indeed, marketing people are not discussing this, but LAB people. Nobody wants solar to rapidly advance more than me (I have grand visions for solar powering the boat), but further research is simply not revealing that waiting is an option. Look further at that Wikipedia article and you see an interesting graph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PVeff(rev100921).jpg Again, the technology that was mentioned in your reference is Cadmium Telluride and its performance seems lackluster. If RECENT advances mean something, they are still at the LABORATORY stage. Also, that same article discusses that resource issues could be a barrier if mass distribution is to be achieved.

    Further reading on the RECENT GE announcement ( http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/energy/26627/ ), states specifically “Such solar panels less efficient than conventional crystalline silicon ones, even with the record 12.8% efficiency GE just announced (in contrast, conventional silicon solar panels are about 14 to 15 percent efficient). But they are cheaper to make.” As I stated originally, AREA is a huge issue if you want to utilize solar on your roof and this technology is not going to cut it from that standpoint.

    I still say that sitting on the sidelines, especially if this is what you are waiting for, is not a good plan.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (11:17 am)

    Jeff Cobb: FYI, I quoted you (not by name, or even screen name, but anonymously with no linkback)

    … as a “Volt owner.” Alas, I am only a “Wannabe.” Currently, I am a victim of the economy …


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (11:50 am)

    Jackson: … as a “Volt owner.”Alas, I am only a “Wannabe.”Currently, I am a victim of the economy …

    Looking at the photo in the “AutoGuide” article that Jeff wrote, it seems a Volt would either have to charge at 110v or carry a 240v portable J-plug charge station. Does anyone know of any 240v portable charge stations available yet? Has anyone bought one?

    A Tesla with a trunk full of plug adapters probably wouldn’t have a problem, though.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    nasaman (and anybody else waiting around for thin film PV improvements before jumping in),

    Here is an interesting read http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/first-solar-quest-for-the-1-watt/1 Note that it is nearly 3 years old, but reading PAST predictions is often useful for evaluating CURRENT progress.

    As best as I can tell, there is NO DOWN SIDE from investing in the current winner for standard PV panels. As pointed out in several references, these new advancements are cheaper but still require more area to produce the same output. And as Truman mentioned (#72), and the reading implies, these technologies seem to have a shelf life. It is discussed that you would RECYCLE your old panels after 25 years. This means two things 1) Over time, you will NOT be producing enough electricity to meet your needs (as if it wasn’t bad enough to have them already be less efficient at installation) and 2) The resale value to the next homebuyer is LESS with these technologies.

    If you spend your money NOW on something that CONTINUES to meet the home’s electrical needs for the rest of the time you own the home and you can tell the new owner that this same investment will CONTINUE to meet his electrical needs as well, you are much better off. My reading seems to tell me that this thin film has the analogy of disposable dining items. I save money for today’s meal, but I have nothing left for a meal later on. Fine china and silver flatware may cost a lott more, but have retained value- even beyond my lifetime.

    I have advocated a purchase of solar PV because it is a capital improvement that adds to the home’s resale value. This argument seems to be more relevant for standard panels, even though they may cost more than thin films which are becoming available. I want to KEEP the watts I paid for and SELL them to the next buyer. Waiting around for cheap thin films seems like an even worse idea when you factor in the disposable aspect.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    The charge rate at level one, 120 volts, is all you are going to see at an RV park. The risk to run 240 volt level 2 is far too great safety wise for owner to do it himself. These facts I posted in number 63 above were relating to just that,

    Do it yourselfer owners and even long term residential camper owners attempting to wire in these 120 volt power lines themselves, (buried underground in water type pcv pipe) were not doing the work to code.

    It got so bad there, that one Fourth of July there, the power pole transformer blew up.
    I do not know if that particular one actually lost its cooling oil. And, I do not know if it contained PCP carcinogenic oil. If there was a PCP carcinogenic oil spill, the long term residents (all down hill from that previously exploded power pole transformer) might be interested in looking into the possibility of soil contamination.

    I usually compose for the GM internal technical audience, and so, lots of what I write seems to appear abstract to many if not most readers. So, forgive my bluntness with regard to plugging your Volt into a private RV park (not Federal or State or County or City run RV park).

    ***************
    *Don’t do it !!! *
    ***************


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    Noel Park,

    No, no Lone Star. lol.

    If anything at all, it’s a dry red wine cooler at the end of the day.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (2:14 pm)

    As far as the story topic, I recommend the SPX/OTC Genisys EVO for the shop techs. The test flexibilities it offers techs right there (when working all the controls) just can not be matched by remote telemetry of any kind whatsoever. I have taught over 900 techs. Including dealership techs who were**repeatedly and completely astonished** at what (I can show them that) it can do for all, and I do mean all, OEM’s.

    Most higher end equipment is only used for remote code reading and attempted code clearing.

    The reason for this is that it takes “in person” credibility and accountability. It takes step by step confirmed results to teach and convince hi tech content regarding new diagnostics operational processes with concrete and true test results nowadays. (And it sure is rewarding to have *all* dedicated techs (from *all* OEM background experiences) become excited and respectful about what you engineers at GM have designed down through the decades no matter how old the GM product is).

    If you want to totally engage your techs into ***ALL*** of today’s technologies you (and everyone else) produce and have produced, there is just no better way than this exact masterpiece of design by OTC.

    (Excuse what seems like an ad, but this is just a completely compelling fact by far, so I needed to post it.)


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Jackson,

    Oh, sorry about that. And here I thought for some reason you owned one. Well, for purposes of accuracy, you’re easily qualified to comment regardless, so I guess the article will be alright.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: Does this mean there might be VoltWagens in the future?

    http://e.ccialerts.com/a/hBNndvEAG-rD9BMziVYMaeRWaJf/and1

    …other link required a subscription.


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    Apr 10th, 2011 (9:59 pm)

    3 rock solid VOLT presentations today. Followed by 3 New VOLT orders. :)
    That was fun!


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    Apr 11th, 2011 (3:42 am)

    My partner and i have really been researching into photo voltaic energy for nearly a yr and we eventually made the commitment based upon on the pairing of the governtment incentive programs in addition to very economical loans. We have actually really been looking into solar for just about a year and my partner and i last but not least made the decision mainly based on the combination of governtment incentive opportunities along with extremely cost efficient credit. I basically wasn’t able to believe just how affordable the program ended up being and thus my spouse and i have ended up being a photo voltaic family for around one calendar month and furthermore everything seem to be as if it is working out very good. We can honestly relax and watch just how very much electrical power our organization aer reducing each single day of the week along with it is really very amazing. I alway assumed that solar must have been backed with a lot of media hype however My spouse and i can certainly inform everyone that the product is the real deal. My spouse and i wish we had done it years ago.


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    Apr 11th, 2011 (7:18 pm)

    T 1: Yeah, they get the message first.

    Yes, all the messages, even the fatal ones.