Nov 04

2012 Volt drives family off oil and saves $30,000

 

By MrEnergyCzar

Today’s post is a guest submission.

 

September 30, 2011 was a day I’ll never forget. It took longer than the gestation period of my child to finally take ownership of my Volt and drive it away from the dealer.

The excitement that day was punctuated by the torrential downpour that ensued during the ride home. Roads disappeared under streams of water as tree branches rustled in the wind. While driving I recalled the videos of the Volt barreling though knee-deep water on the test track and I instinctively knew which button to push to clear the windows. The Volt pushed confidently through standing water as the windows magically cleared. Upon arriving home I silently pulled into the garage and plugged into the awaiting fast charger. This moment symbolically marked the beginning of a new era: that of 100 mile-per-dollar driving.

Following, I’ll discuss how the Volt fits in my 10-year plan to wean off of oil, my review of the vehicle, people’s reactions, pros and cons, model year differences, as well as future thoughts.

Why the Volt? – Background Information

Realizing how our economic system dangerously relies on the availability and abundance of dwindling cheap liquid transport fuels, mainly oil, I began preparing my family five years ago for the inevitable consequences that this “peaking” of cheap oil will cause to society. For starters, I wasn’t going to be caught with my pants down in a gas-guzzling SUV with $6-per-gallon gasoline. I knew there were a number of efficient vehicles coming on the market, but had not determined which one would meet my needs.

After deciding to ditch the SUV I began to analyze my family’s total energy usage and make numerous modifications at home. Some of the most significant changes involved cutting my electricity use by 75 percent and purchasing a solar-powered electrical system. These changes make my home one of the few net-zero solar homes in the country, with no traditional utility bills. I chronicled these changes in detail on my Youtube channel.

In summary, my average-sized home’s energy footprint, inclusive of the SUV, uses the equivalent of 50,000 kwh annually. It takes just over 3,000 kwh of electricity to power the home; three tons of wood pellets to heat it and 1,000 gallons of gasoline for driving. My solar system was designed to power my entire home and also power a plug-in vehicle at about 6,000 miles per year.

The Volt emerged as the logical solution to help me achieve my goal of using the least amount of oil possible, while eliminating any range anxiety typically associated with electric vehicles. The Volt’s total annual energy use will be about 40 gallons of gas and about 4,700 kwh of electricity. This will reduce my home’s total annual energy footprint, inclusive of the Volt, from 50,000 kwh to 23,000 kwh. I’ll be using about 8,700 less gallons of fuel with the Volt over eight to nine years. The Prius would have required me to use about 2,500 more gallons versus the Volts 320 gallons over the same time period. That was not in line with my goal.

 

2012 Volt review

The Volt springs off the line in near silence. The instantaneous 273 pound-feet of torque was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. It’s hard to resist punching it from a standstill when next to fancy sport sedans or against my favorite friend, the Prius. While 0-30 mph in 3 seconds is no record, doing it in near silence sets it apart. Fortunately, flooring it regularly will not degrade or damage the 400-pound lithium-ion battery according to the experts.

The 3,800-pound Volt’s low center of gravity makes hugging corners sports-car inspiring while the multiple drive modes satisfy both the hands-off driver and the hyper miler enthusiast. Most should expect 25 to 50 miles of EV range in varying weather conditions; the former in extreme heat or cold and the latter in temperatures between 60-80 degrees F.

When the battery is depleted, the gasoline engine generator kicks in to propel the car another few hundred miles with its 9.3-gallon fuel tank. The transition is seamless and difficult to hear while driving above 50 mph. The engine can actually come on while the battery still has range left in eight different unique scenarios, but that’s another discussion.

I have already reached 50 miles of EV range on one charge; the record is around 75 miles. I have driven 1,200 miles on my first gallon just by charging at home. With gas at $3.50/gallon, the average car gets about seven miles per dollar (MPD). The Prius checks in at 14 MPD while the average Volt driver should get an incredible 20 to 30 MPD. On average, Volt drivers will fill up every 30 days. In my case, the solar surplus of 6,000 miles of electricity from home and a courtesy charger being installed at work, makes the Volt a 100 mile-per-dollar no brainer.

I invited several co-workers, friends and acquaintances to get behind the wheel and experience the electric drive feeling first hand. All those who accepted loved the Volt and were surprised by the futuristic interior, quick acceleration and silent operation. Two declined to drive or even get in however. One felt the federal tax credit dollars would be better spent by oil companies drilling for more oil. The other got angry over something to do with the government telling him what car he has to drive.

On a deeper level, I sense that many people dislike the Volt because we were raised to believe we need to consume more to be happy. The Volt goes against this societal norm. The Volt is the next iteration of the motor car on a shrinking planet. Whether it’s the lighter weight chrome-like polished wheels, fuel-efficient tires, low co-efficient drag, reduced air-intake grill, energy efficient premium Bose stereo system, lighter hand-powered seats, no exposed exhaust pipe or the air-pump with built in tire sealant in place of a spare tire, the mark has been hit.

After the $7,500 tax credit, a fully loaded Volt comes in around $37,000 or about $7,000 more than the average new car. You’ll get leather heated seats, navigation, a 30 GB hard drive to store thousands of songs, DVD player, CD, FM, AM, XM (three months) and the unique ability to pause and rewind live radio. Throw in top safety rating in its class, eight airbags, traction control, three years full On-star, keyless exit/entry, 8 years/ 100,000 mile battery and related component warranty, ability to experience pure electric car like driving most of the time but with no range anxiety, mpg numbers people dream about, a Volt app for your I-Phone or Android phone, and dare I say it, it supports American jobs.

 

The Negatives

The additional $7,000 for a Volt (after federal incentives) compared to an average internally combusted automobile is often seen as too much extra to pay up front to save $10,000 – $40,000 on gas over nine years because our culture desires instant payback and savings. This assumes gas prices do not increase.

Other perceived negatives are it only has four seats and is a compact. Also you need an accessible outlet to charge it and it is front wheel drive. It is harder to maintain your weekly chit chat with your local gas station clerk and it takes premium gasoline. On a more serious note, it can take a very long time to obtain one as they’re producing around 700 per week and are on their target to sell only 16,000 this year and 60,000 next year. Lastly, while some have found it a positive conversation starter, I’ve more often found it to draw undue attention.

Model year differences

Unlike the 2011, the 2012 Volt comes with keyless entry with door access buttons on all doors and passive auto locking. You get three years of On-star instead of five and the base price is lower due to de-contenting. There are now seven color choices. The 2012 is now EPA-rated 94 MPGe instead of 93 MPGe. The center display shows kilowatt hours used while the battery discharges and the navigation instructions also appear in the driver display.

There is now easier-to-read lettering and backlighting on the center display buttons and gear shift lettering. You can now turn off traction control manually and the taillights have white reflectors in them.

Future thoughts

Politics, jobs, resource wars, overpopulation and misconceptions aside, I think extended-range electric vehicles like the Volt fill the needs for most until pure EVs have either widespread charging infrastructure or longer battery range. As my teenager moves toward driving age, I feel better knowing that when she gets her first job she won’t have to put half her paycheck in the gas tank to fund far away oil dictators. Her boyfriend just better have an outdoor accessible outlet.

Follow MrEnergyCzar on Youtube and Twitter.
——————————————————————————————————————————————
Web Chat Today

The Volt Team will host another Web chat today at 1 p.m. Eastern time (10 a.m. Pacific). Andrew Farah, vehicle chief engineer, will be joining Kim Reynolds and Frank Markus from Motor Trend. Yesterday was Chevrolet’s 100th birthday, and its newest brightest star, the Volt, is coming up on its one-year anniversary of being named the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 4th, 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: 95


  1. 1
    pjkPA

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjkPA
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (6:20 am)

    Great Post!!

    “misconceptions aside” the Chevy Volt is still the best engineered car on the road.

    I’m trying to wait for the CUV version… but this article is making that decision very hard to stand by.

    Thanks for the very good article. I never get tired of hearing personal experiences of Volt owners.

    This is also a goal of mine… solar panels and a electric drive Voltec vehicle.
    My commute is 10 miles each way… which can easily be powered with 5KW solar array.

    When I was a teenager this article would only have been a futuristic article in Popular Science.


  2. 2
    Gsned57

    +46

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Gsned57
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (7:08 am)

    Great Post, Getting into the politics a bit I’d like to address some of your co-worker concerns. First, I should say I consider myself independent but usually lean right on most issues. It pisses me off to no end to hear pundits and talking heads bitch about the volt and how it is an Obama mandated car funded by government money. Firstly, The volt was conceived while President Obama was still a community activist and shown to the public while a senator. President Bush was in office and I don’t remember Maximum Bob attributing the volt design to either men. The volt was created by engineers, not politicians and that is why it is the most technically advanced vehicle on the road today.

    You can hate the bailout but don’t hate the car. I personally didn’t think we should have bailed out GM. So what now? Do I get pissed at GM and boycott their products? Doesn’t make much sense since my tax dollars are invested in their success so I hurt nobody but myself. What makes more sense is to focus that anger on all of the politicians who dole out my money like it’s air to breathe.

    I personally think it’s a good use of tax dollars to subsidize 7500 towards EV’s but can understand those that don’t and want a free market. If we are going to have a REAL free market I don’t want my tax dollars subsidizing oil or electric vehicles at all. I don’t want to pay for the oil exploration, pipelines, drilling, refining, transportation, or tax benefits to oil companies. That should all get baked into the price of a gallon of oil. If the US soldiers are overseas securing oil fields we should send a bill to the oil companies that benefit from our brave soldiers and that too should be reflected in the price of a gallon of gas. When the price of a gallon of gas is truly reflected at the pump then I’ll be happy to also ask for that $7500 tax rebate to be taken away.

    Lastly, republicans and the right should make EV’s their cause. The best way to stop terrorists and dictators is to shut down their flow of cash. We can do that buy getting energy independent. We’ll need oil long after I’m gone but we should be able to be energy exporters not importers. Oil is too valuable for making things rather than just burning it to drive to the grocery store. If we could keep those billions of dollars we export in America our trade imbalance would look a lot better and jobs would be created making new American power stations.

    I know it’s early on a Friday to get into politics but the next time you ask if your co-workers want a test drive and they make BS excuses get into a debate with them and show them that their goals for the country are supported by the Chevy Volt and not at odds with it.


  3. 3
    MrEnergyCzar

    +16

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (7:56 am)

    I want to thank everyone on this forum for answering all my questions the past two years and helping me understand how the car works…… It has been an enlightening experience.

    MrEnergyCzar


  4. 4
    Kup

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Kup
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:09 am)

    Excellent review. You are definitely farther along the curve of where I would like to eventually be in regards to energy consumption. While the Volt reduces my direct consumption of oil by about 90 percent, I don’t have PV and in my locale, Northern VA, our source of electricity is over 50 percent coal. Unfortunately, getting PV here may not make a lot of sense. I’m in a Condo (which may not even allow it) and my roof is situated on an East-West basis and has terrible southern exposure.

    I’m thinking about putting PV on my house in AZ that I rent out as the deal that SolarCity offers is almost too good to pass up, however, working out a deal with the tenants would seem to be somewhat problematic even though it shouldn’t cost them any extra money.

    Anyway, nice post and while I’m a political junkie let’s not let this thread de-generate into a political fight as the article itself has some good issues to discuss further in the comments.


  5. 5
    joe

    +24

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:33 am)

    Gsned57 Says

    “You can hate the bailout but don’t hate the car. I personally didn’t think we should have bailed out GM.”

    ________________________________

    As for myself, I believe saving GM was a no brainer. Just think about the consequences, if the

    United State had lost the auto industry…the largest industry in the world. And, I have no doubt

    the whole industry would have gone down if the US Government had not stepped in. Then,

    we would have gotten one large step closer to be a third world country with an industry lost

    forever, not to mention all the other bad consequences that would have gone with it.

    Most don’t know or want to know these specifics and all they know is GM stole their money.

    The loan has been paid back and as for now, the Government is a stock holder who stands to

    lose or make money. Either way, it is a win win situation whether one wants to admit or not.

    Oh, by the way, the Volt would not exist for one to enjoy today.


  6. 6
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:35 am)

    “Lastly, while some have found it a positive conversation starter, I’ve more often found it to draw undue attention.”
    —————————
    What part of the country do you live in? (just curious)

    EDIT: Just watched your Youtube video and heard Connecticut. Nice job BTW.


  7. 7
    Bonaire

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:41 am)

    Good Job on the article, ECzar – your setup is what a lot of people don’t think of when they think that EVs will tax the grid. It’s also too complicated for some to fathom them being able to do (partly due to cost).

    >>MrECz: On a deeper level, I sense that many people dislike the Volt because we were raised to believe we need to consume more to be happy. The Volt goes against this societal norm.
    Yes – and I believe this comes not only from society but from religion. We are taught “go forth and multiply”. Watch the shows about the Duggars and you’ll see how that worked out for them. Consume because (insert diety here) said that they created this earth for our consumption. How about this – they created this universe for our consumption and we should use sunlight in the way you are to power our transportation? Use the earth (silicon/glass/copper) to capture the energy (sun) to power our experience. (insert diety here) created the earth which captured biomass and created oil as our “starter fluid”. This fluid allowed us to reach this stage but our brains are evolved enough to take us to the next stage of not using up all of our “starter fluid”. Our job is to continue to find new ways to make renewables more efficient.

    #5
    I was told by a friend who works at GM in HR that 1 in 8 jobs in the USA are related to the US auto industry.

    If GM failed, it would have left Ford and Chrysler and so the whole industry probably wouldn’t have failed but would have done a large amount of damage in towns around the world where certain GM plants exist. Let’s say 1/10 to 1/8 of the auto industry jobs would have gone away if GM failed. That still could have been 1.5-2.5 million jobs. GDP would have taken a good hit too and it would have become a large burden on the government with unemployment checks, foodstamps, uninsured medical, forclosures and a lot of heartache.

    We should care and what was done to adjust the UAW job tiers and the management’s style at GM seems to have worked to a visible degree. I think it was the “adult” thing to do in bailing them out with certain criteria and responsibilities. We spend far more to send our boys over to places that they shouldn’t be. I cannot justify something like an expensive war and not justify bailing out GM.


  8. 8
    MrEnergyCzar

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:47 am)

    kdawg,

    I live in CT Kdawg…


  9. 9
    Shawn Marshall

    -13

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Shawn Marshall
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:48 am)

    (click to show comment)


  10. 10
    tom w

    -12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:56 am)

    (click to show comment)


  11. 11
    Gsned57

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Gsned57
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:06 am)

    Joe, as a matter of principal a lot of people don’t like the idea of government bailing out industry for incompetence (Banks, oil companies, or auto industries). I do see the benefits from the bailout and the auto industry bailout was by far the least offensive one in my mind. My post was more of a generality for those Americans who hate the bailouts and how that anger should be directed. 3 years ago Lyle had a lot of posts on the impending auto disaster and a number of pols too. I had to think long and hard about my support for or against the bailout . I was pretty much on the fence the whole time but leaned towards letting them fail. Personally I’m glad they were reborn, glad the unions now have a reasonable contract that can allow GM to be competative, glad the Chinese didn’t buy the bankrupt GM and take over where America left off. I don’t want to see big American companies fail but I don’t want big American companies to take unwise risk, make bad decisions, or get greedy and then expect the taxpayer to help them when times get tough.

    joe:
    Gsned57 Says

    “You can hate the bailout but don’t hate the car. I personally didn’t think we should have bailed out GM.”

    ________________________________

    As for myself, I believe saving GM was a no brainer. Just think about the consequences, if the

    United State had lost the auto industry…the largest industry in the world. And, I have no doubt

    the whole industry would have gone down if the US Government had not stepped in. Then,

    we would have gotten one large step closer to be a third world country with an industry lost

    forever, not to mention all the other bad consequences that would have gone with it.

    Most don’t know or want to know these specifics and all they know is GM stole their money.

    The loan has been paid back and as for now, the Government is a stock holder who stands to

    lose or make money. Either way, it is a win win situation whether one wants to admit or not.

    Oh, by the way, the Volt would not exist for one to enjoy today.


  12. 12
    Bonaire

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:08 am)

    I just got a reply marked as spam – what’s up with that? Is there a new spam filter on for editing comments or is there active moderation going on. If active moderation, please send me a PM in the forum section to describe.


  13. 13
    Tim Hart

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tim Hart
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:09 am)

    I agree that bailing out GM was a no brainer. It may be the only success story in the political arena in the last three years. And now the auto industies cooperation and the win-win mentality with the UAW is the model for industry-labor relations. Thank you for a great post and an inspiring vision of energy self sufficiency. We are eagerly looking forward to joining the Volt family in December. Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of being a special guest at our local Chevy dealer’s 100 year anniversary for the Chevy brand. The local radio station interviewed me and I talked to dozens of enthusiastic people curious about this amazing car. I will be the first Volt owner in our town and have gained celebrity status as a result. What fun!


  14. 14
    Ron

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ron
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:17 am)

    Great write up and summary on the VOLT. As for the two people that would not sit or drive the VOLT it is because they are closed minded and if they did drive it their negative unfounded perceptions would be shattered and they would not be able to support their biased comments.

    So great job for allowing others to experience the VOLT and open their mind to the future with a drive. I often do that too and they are impressed with the VOLT.


  15. 15
    Bonaire

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:31 am)

    >> On a deeper level, I sense that many people dislike the Volt because we were raised to believe we need to consume more to be happy. The Volt goes against this societal norm.

    This hits home. I was raised R.C. and they taught “go forth and multiply”. Using our resources that were put here “for us” doesn’t take into account life in the future because we are also taught about other religious aspects which indicate there won’t be a future anyway. So, we are taught by some religious leaders to “consume and enjoy”.

    The Volt allows you to consume and enjoy as well – using Solar PV (consumed from earth’s silicon, glass, copper and other metals) to produce energy, you have consumed some of the 170 million Gigawatts that we have shining down on us during peak daytime hours.


  16. 16
    joe

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:32 am)

    tom w,

    In response to: tom w on line 9

    ____________________

    Ford would have also gone under. First of all, Ford is deeply in debt! Thanks to Mulally he borrowed secured money at a low interest rate before the downturn and that’s what saved Ford.

    I’m not an economists, but many will tell you the auto industry would have gone under if GM had not gotten help from the government. Other foreign countries have help their industries, and Japan is a great one for that, so why can we not do it. I’m sure in Japan when they gave their industries help to monopolize certain key industries, the Japanese people didn’t demonize their companies like we do here in this country.


  17. 17
    BoultVolt

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BoultVolt
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:37 am)

    Nice article, good coverage of the many dimensions. I like the MPD discussion and 100 is fantastic (though maybe ignoring the up front investment in the PV?)


  18. 18
    joe

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:39 am)

    Bonaire,

    I just got the same. My last remark was label as spam.


  19. 19
    tom w

    -3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:48 am)

    joe: Ford would have also gone under. First of all, Ford is deeply in debt! Thanks to Mulally he borrowed secured money at a low interest rate before the downturn and that’s what saved Ford.

    We don’t need to help individual companies. Thats wrong. Thats picking winners and losers. What we need to do is CHANGE OUR TAX structure and Health care payment system so that ALL AMERICAN COMPANIES and ALL AMERICAN WORKERS can compete in a global economy.

    This isn’t even that hard to do, but for our government, it seems impossible.

    There are lots of ways to do it, but the following are the minimum to SPUR growth and hiring of American workers (be it factory workers or, the millions of IT jobs lost over seas or whatever).

    - We need a national sales tax so we can lower other taxes (this way imported products are taxed also). Except it should only be 5% food and housing exempt (about half ot this would pay for health care) .
    - We need to remove the employer match 7.65% so American workers are cheaper.
    - We need to remove employers paying for healthcare directly for workers (Healthcare should be bought individually by americans in the free market seperate from whatever companies force on them. This can be done by creating individual accounts for each american to contain money that can be saved or used to pay for healthcare ,and each month the government would deposit a fixed amount in everyone’s account based on tax receipts from half of the national sales tax).

    And I think we should go further, get rid of IRS, fair tax etc., reduce regulations (Sarbanes Oxley, Dodd/frank etc.)


  20. 20
    Bob (The Other Bob)

    +19

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bob (The Other Bob)
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:59 am)

    Even if one believes that GM should never have been bailed out because of a belief in free markets, the fact is we don’t have a free market. Our market is now international and every government is involved in the promotion of their own country’s businesses. If we don’t do the same, it is like unilateral disarmament. It may be regrettable, but that is life.

    Japan (an other countries) loans money and supports their automakers and has nearly a closed market, but U.S. involvement in our own automakers is somehow wrong? Sorry, even if I were a total free-market fundamentalist, I would not want a great industry to die so I can feel good about my ideology. We need to be more pragmatic than that.

    “GM should have gone through a normal bankruptcy.”

    We quickly forget that at the time, the banks were going under. A normal bankruptcy requires financing. Without any banks to loan, the government did it. Ford lucked out because it financed its restructuring prior to the bank collapse. If it hadn’t, it would have been in the same boat.


  21. 21
    Ted in Fort Myers

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ted in Fort Myers
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:04 am)

    In two years I will be moving to Arizona (Lake Havasu City) and putting up 10KW of solar panels. Some for my Volt and the rest for my home. I should also be a net zero home owner. So far the Volt is first and the next step is finishing up my work and waiting for retirement. Then a new ultra high efficiency AC unit, more insulation and the solar panels on the roof.
    Very exciting for me.

    Take Care, TED 2011Volt#1506

    How about a Volt meetup in Havasu the Saturday after Thanksgiving near the London Bridge or Bradley Chevrolet? 239 410-8826


  22. 22
    Steverino

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steverino
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:04 am)

    Nice article. I’m retrofitting my house with high density spray foam insulation to prevent air leaks as well as energy loss. Geothermal heat/cool will follow. But these are all mucho upfront dollar investments.

    If someone is able to attend today’s GM webinar, please ask them 1) how much greater regen you get in L than D. 2) Does regen occur even when the brake pads are engaged? And in the last session, they said regen was 50% max, while Ford is claiming 60-70%, hopefully GM is working on improving theirs.


  23. 23
    Shock Me

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Shock Me
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:24 am)

    MrEnergyCzar,

    I enjoyed your YouTube channel and I’m headed the same direction you are though at a much slower rate. Most of my current energy costs go toward cooling my apartment in Florida. I live within two miles of my work but frequent rain, poor security, and heavy traffic keep me from biking to work everyday. I spend about $50/month on gasoline and $140/month for gas and electric.

    The only traveling I do beyond 40 miles is crosstown for certain supplies, visits to my family in other cities in Florida, and an annual road trip to Iowa. I’d love to consolidate my vehicles to one Volt when the initial price goes down.

    Can you recommend any solar arrays that can be used indoors? I get significant amounts of sun over the course of the day.

    Excellent contribution to GM-Volt.com thanks!


  24. 24
    kdawg

    +11

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:25 am)

    Shawn Marshall: There is no way in this world that our government should be subsidizing private party purchases of EVs.
    If there was a dedicated tariff on foreign oil directed to subsidize EVs, it might make more sense. But even then, the massive deficits call every expenditure into question.

    *sarcasm on*
    Yeah. Why am I paying for other people’s houses? They either need to pay 100% cash upfront for it, or live in an apartment. And why am I paying for their kids? They decided to have them, they should pay for them. Why do churches get away w/out paying taxes, but I still have to? I”m tired of paying for them too.
    *sarcasm off*

    I’ve paid a lot more in taxes for things I don’t believe in (wars). So if i get to keep $7500 of my tax $ to pay for something I do believe in (EVs), then so what? It’s not coming out of your pocket.


  25. 25
    Matt

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Matt
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:26 am)

    I’m curious what you meant by undue attention.


  26. 26
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:30 am)

    I think I’ll miss the web chat :(

    Someone please ask when we will see the Powermat technology show up in the Volt. (for charging devices not the car. This is probably further off)


  27. 27
    Bonaire

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:38 am)

    Matt:
    I’m curious what you meant by undue attention.

    Me too. Is it GM-haters and those folks who reply negatively to Volt online stories? Honestly, and I hate to say it, I expect a Volt or two to get keyed in parking lots as they roll out. The myopia and xenophobia spread by Fox News and other GM-hatred is out there.


  28. 28
    jeffhre

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:41 am)

    tom w: You never know how things would have played out, but perhaps had GM/Chrysler gone under, Ford would just have bought out GM’s EV/EREV programs and accellerated them and been on their way to dominating the world wide auto market.

    They would not have had to “buy” them because they would have no value. And of course they would not get them. I think the layers would have held them up in court trying to get something for nothing. And the banks would have held them up in the midst of a credit crisis, refusing to lend to anyone. There was no market for cars due to the huge drop in buying by the public. Ford’s suppliers would have disappeared any way under the weight of GM and Chrysler going under, so they would have no hope of utilizing their existing resources, let alone finding a market for more capacity in an economy heading toward soup kitchens and breadlines from the millions suddenly unemployed from GM, Chrysler, their suppliers and the people once employed to support all of the above nationwide.

    Just a brief sketch, there’s much more, from salvage values of unused auto industry resources (zero minus shipping costs) to hedge fund values dropping to zero. President Bush didn’t start these events or a lark or a whim, but to avoid a catastrophe.


  29. 29
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:41 am)

    Shawn Marshall: GM should have gone through a normal bankruptcy.

    You’re completely wrong on the facts. GM did go through a normal bankruptcy, assuming there is such a thing since every bankruptcy is a bit different. In addition to the big distinction between Chapter 7 liquidations and Chapter 11 reorganizations, that there are QuickRinse bankruptcies and Pre-Packaged bankruptcies and many other kinds of bankruptcies. The GM bankruptcy simply used the existing laws in ways that had been used before.

    My guess is that you don’t object so much to the bankruptcy as you do to the fact that you hate unions and you’re upset that the bankruptcy didn’t destroy the UAW, whom you no doubt believe is the root of all evil and the cause of the bankruptcy in the first place. In reality GM needed the union’s support in order to come out of the bankruptcy quickly and it needed the union when it did come out. It was just a question of leverage. GM needed the union and its customers when it emerged so those two groups did better than the groups it didn’t need.

    My objection to the bankruptcy is (1) it should have wiped out the bondholders rather than just giving them a haircut; and (2) it should have jettisoned GMC. From a business perspective everything else made sense and seems about right.


  30. 30
    ccombs

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ccombs
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:45 am)

    Gsned57,

    Hear hear! I’ve fairly similar ideological leanings to yourself and I can’t stand how the Volt has become a whipping boy for some conservative pundits (they’re really more “populists” than true conservatives these days). It’s always the idiots that say they’re on your side that are the most annoying…
    As for the tax credit- while I disagree with heavy-handed market manipulation in theory, the oil market is so subsidized that the Volt tax credit hardly even begins to bring things into balance. The oil industry is anything but a “free market”. It is a cartel and we should be doing everything possible to free ourselves from it. The auto industry itself is not a free market internationally, with huge subsidies and trade barriers- most egregious in Japan- hurting American automakers. So even though I disliked the bailout of GM, it was hardly a drop in the bucket to rectify the years of unfair advantages foreign automakers have enjoyed. People screaming for “free market” and “free trade” policies need to understand that they don’t work if everyone else is gaming the system and no counterbalance is provided by US policies. Wish it wasn’t that way, but one has to be pragmatic.


  31. 31
    ccombs

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ccombs
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:47 am)

    Bob (The Other Bob),

    you beat me to it. Good points.


  32. 32
    Jeff Cobb

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:49 am)

    Bonaire:
    I just got a reply marked as spam – what’s up with that?Is there a new spam filter on for editing comments or is there active moderation going on.If active moderation, please send me a PM in the forum section to describe.

    No new spam filters. Don’t know why it was removed. I found and released it.


  33. 33
    tom w

    -5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:51 am)

    jeffhre;

    I was certainly not saying I wish GM had gone under, I was simply pointing out had they gone under, then other consequnces ‘could’ have been possible, such as maybe Ford would have purchased the GM EV tech before GM went under, instead of having to partner w/magna etc.

    In subsequent post I expounded on how we should be helping ALL companies (and workers) succeed, not just picking the ones that we need to save.


  34. 34
    MrEnergyCzar

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:03 am)

    Matt: I’m curious what you meant by undue attention.

    Someone sticking a camara phone out the car window on the highway in the rain would qualify as undue attention…

    MrEnergyCzar


  35. 35
    Jeff Cobb

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:09 am)

    joe:
    Bonaire,

    I just got the same. My last remark was label as spam.

    Found and released it.


  36. 36
    Dave K.

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:11 am)

    Interesting comments from demo drive co workers. State and Federal governments continue to spend more than they take in. And often come up with new ways to increase spending. Seems new spending laws and programs are installed before the public has a chance to vote on them.

    In California a year ago we had a $50 credit offered toward buying a new kitchen refrigerator. My response was, “What?”. What does our tax eating government have to do with refrigerator makers? And refrigerator maker profit?

    On the question whether to offer a $7500 credit on electric vehicles. Or use this money to drill for oil. When I see the pump price for oil spike because one pirate ship somewhere off Africa had threatened one ship. Or when the price of per barrel oil drops due to reserves. As the pump price stubbornly remains UP waiting for the next roller of news to surf higher. I can balance the meaning of the $7500 tax credit to buyers (tax payers).

    Take at $24,000 Malibu. Add a 385 lithium pound battery. Add high tech computer management systems. The engineering involved to produce a drive system which works with both oil and battery power. We’re easily looking at a $40,000 car. A car which is comparable, if not better than, many small luxury sedans. GM isn’t gouging on the sticker price.

    With this said. 2012 really is the year for change. My vote is behind a leader with the priority of reduced government spending. Why not simply create a reduced spending step program? 1% across the board year one. 2% across the board year two. 3% across the board year three.

    Is 3% really that much? A person taking an $830 monthly government check will need to survive on $805 per month. A Congressman making 104k per year will need to rough it on just 101k. One less new jet in the Navy? Demonstrate this first, and higher income earners won’t be bent out of shape with contributing a little more. Neglect this, and no one will have the trust in government.

    No Plug, No Sale!


  37. 37
    Bonaire

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:14 am)

    MrEnergyCzar: Someone sticking a camara phone out the car window on the highway in the rain would qualify as undue attention…

    MrEnergyCzar

    That’s “due attention” :-) With Volts coming out on the road, you will get some of that. Maybe they thought you were a tv-star in a sensible car?

    Dave K – I like the idea of slight reductions but also start with accountability with teeth. We have the office of OMB which does nothing to combate government waste and irresponsible contracts. Use our FBI and CIA to figure out if there is waste in government programs themselves.

    I’d also like a moderate give/take between government and consumption of citizens. I would love to see us vote on a 5% decrease in all pro-sports events. That would be two less Nascar races per year, 5 less NHL, NBA, MLB and similar games. This saves consumers money, cuts fuel usage and imposes a bit of savings. Now, I’m sure owners would raise ticket prices a bit to make up for it but in return, we get a pretty visible cut in resource usage. Yes, we are a land of freedom and opportunity and resource consumption – but I think 78 versus 82 or 155 versus 162 games per year would mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.


  38. 38
    Steve

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steve
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:16 am)

    How much money did the author have to invest to get his energy cost to the current level? Photovoltaics aren’t cheap.


  39. 39
    DonC

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:26 am)

    Gsned57: I don’t want to see big American companies fail but I don’t want big American companies to take unwise risk, make bad decisions, or get greedy and then expect the taxpayer to help them when times get tough.

    The idea of undue risk is really one related to the financial sector. We should remember that the auto industry bailout was just a mop up operation which was subsidiary to the larger bailout of the financial sector. If the financial sector had not been in crisis it would have fulfilled its customary role as the provider of debtor financing for the auto companies and the government would not have needed to become involved.

    Unfortunately the financial industry is still fighting the imposition of rules needed to prevent it from taking undue risks. John Corzine’s MF Global is a good example. When regulators sought to prohibit brokerage firms “borrowing” (aka taking) their customers money for their own account, the financial sector resisted, arguing that this would reduce its profitability and investment opportunities and that there was no reason to “fix something which is not broken”. As we sit here with some $600M in customer funds unaccounted for, we can see exactly “how not broken” the system was.


  40. 40
    Mark Z

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Great report and comparison with the 2011 model. Most Volt drivers are ambasadoors to a new age of driving fuel free for the major part of the day. GM has provided us with a spectacular vehicle that is so wonderfully different, yet feels similar to high quality cars you remember from the past. The only problem is that the other vehicles in the garage are seldom used anymore!


  41. 41
    tom w

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Bonaire;

    Wow, you think government should pass laws to minimize economic activity (legislating fewer NBA, NASCAR, MLB games as examples) to save money and energy?

    Wow

    All we need to do is get government OUT OF THE WAY of American companies and workers so they can compete globally, its not that complicated as I give examples of how just tax code changes (post #19) would release american companies and workers to successfully compete globally.

    We do need government to have a plan to make us energy independent as well, which also could be easily done as I posted yesterday (allowing drilling of oil in arctic and golf now, while using tax credits to expand wind/nuclear/EVs).

    Government is the problem, as they make things worse instead of solving what are really simple problems.


  42. 42
    jeffhre

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:46 am)

    Dave K.: In California a year ago we had a $50 credit offered toward buying a new kitchen refrigerator. My response was, “What?”. What does our tax eating government have to do with refrigerator makers? And refrigerator maker profit?

    We still have a $50 credit in the SCE area of Southern Cal. SCE said it’s approved by the PUC. I had assumed it was from the ratepayers to encourage making energy saving appliance purchases in lieu of hitting up the bond markets to build new generating capacity.


  43. 43
    kdawg

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    DonC: and (2) it should have jettisoned GMC

    I wish they would have kept Pontiac.


  44. 44
    DonC

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:52 am)

    Dave K.: With this said. 2012 really is the year for change. My vote is behind a leader with the priority of reduced government spending. Why not simply create a reduced spending step program? 1% across the board year one. 2% across the board year two. 3% across the board year three.

    So who would this magical person be? Not any of the Republicans running. They all would increase government spending. We’ve seen this movie before. Ronald Reagan increased spending faster than any other president before him when the country was not at war. Then we have George Bush. He increased spending faster than anyone, with the help of a Republican Congress which not only embarked on TWO unfunded wars but passed an enormously expensive prescription drug benefit as a payback to its drug company donors.

    As far as your 1% cut each year, while I like and respect you this idea is just plain dumb. Not happening, and here’s why. The main part of the federal budget is medicare and medicaid, social security, and defense. Nothing else matters. So how would cutting medicare expenditures 1% a year work in practice? Well health costs are going up 8% a year. As the baby boomers hit 65 you have 10% more people in the system every year. So if you simply keep expenditures flat, you’d be cutting the medicare benefit for every participant in the program by 18%/year. You can add 1% or 2% just to round it up to 20%. Now if you think that anyone voting for this would be re-elected you need to put the crack pipe down.

    The reality is that voters like benefits but don’t like taxes. As a consequence, there are plenty of politicians willing to sell the kool-aid that you can get great benefits and not pay taxes so long as “wasteful” government programs are eliminated. In reality people want roughly 23% of GDP paid to them in benefits and, at the moment, we pay 19% of GDP in taxes.

    Since you bring this up, we actually have a president who has pointed out the reality of what I’ve just laid out. His idea was to close the gap, 70% in spending cuts and 30% through increased taxes. When he did this he was attacked from the left for selling out social programs and from the right for wanting to raise taxes. You obviously don’t like him, but the reality is that he’s the ONLY player who has come out with a reasonable and workable plan. Everyone else is just babbling and repeating stupid talking points.


  45. 45
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:56 am)

    Bonaire: Use our FBI and CIA to figure out if there is waste in government programs themselves.

    Funny video on Gov. waste. “Muffingate”

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/401381/november-02-2011/muffingate

    “The Department of Justice releases a full-color, 151-page cost report proving no government money was wasted on muffins. “


  46. 46
    statik

    +10

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    statik
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    Your a man after my own heart. I love your green ambitions and goals over time (very sensible/doable), love the whole carbon footprint/off oil mantra, the solar panels, etc. I think the ‘math’ section of the article is a little well…y’know, rose-colored glasses/left field, but I understand the premise of your angle.

    Good read, and a well written article. You put a lot of effort and time into it. I can really appreciate that.


  47. 47
    MrEnergyCzar

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    Shock Me: Can you recommend any solar arrays that can be used indoors? I get significant amounts of sun over the course of the day.

    I’ve never heard of indoor solar panels…yet, anyway.

    MrEnergyCzar


  48. 48
    DonC

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    tom w: All we need to do is get government OUT OF THE WAY of American companies and workers so they can compete globally, its not that complicated as I give examples of how just tax code changes (post #19) would release american companies and workers to successfully compete globally.

    In the real world governments pave the way for business. There is a balance, and both private enterprise and governments have a role, but the idea that everything would be hunky-dory if government “just got out of the way” is naive and overly simplistic. The reality is that without government you have Somalia, and private enterprise can’t function is Somalia.

    One of many counter examples to your notion would be Germany, where business is far more regulated but all these extra regulations don’t stop them from being more than competitive globally.


  49. 49
    tom w

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (12:58 pm)

    DonC: In the real world governments pave the way for business. There is a balance, and both private enterprise and governments have a role, but the idea that everything would be hunky-dory if government “just got out of the way” is naive and overly simplistic. The reality is that without government you have Somalia, and private enterprise can’t function is Somalia.

    You took one phrase out of what I wrote and criticized it without considering the rest of what I wrote. I have given many substantive examples (i.e. #19, #41) of what government needs to do to help business, i wasn’t proposing anarchy. I obviously meant by ‘get out of the way’ to stop doing things that STOP GROWTH and start doing things that PROMOTE GROWTH.


  50. 50
    Loboc

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (1:38 pm)

    DonC:

    tom w: All we need to do is get government OUT OF THE WAY of American companies and workers so they can compete globally, its not that complicated as I give examples of how just tax code changes (post #19) would release american companies and workers to successfully compete globally.

    DonC: In the real world governments pave the way for business. There is a balance, and both private enterprise and governments have a role, but the idea that everything would be hunky-dory if government “just got out of the way” is naive and overly simplistic. The reality is that without government you have Somalia, and private enterprise can’t function is Somalia.

    One of many counter examples to your notion would be Germany, where business is far more regulated but all these extra regulations don’t stop them from being more than competitive globally.

    I have to lean toward DonC on this one. SOx and other controls were put in place to address crooks like Enron. The problem is that they also cut enforcement so that people like Made-Off-With-Your-Money can still do Ponzi schemes.

    I’m not in favor of having a highly visible police state, but, we need protection (physical defense) in place as well as strong financial scrutiny.

    The SEC fell down on these issues. And FBI (Homeland) is failing in Mexico-adjacent states. You can’t fix these by cutting budgets.


  51. 51
    tom w

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (1:47 pm)

    Loboc: I have to lean toward DonC on this one. SOx

    Don’t know about your experience with Sarbanes Oxley. But I can tell you unequivocally that where I work, SOX has turned the company into one where the job of half of the workers is to prevent the other half from getting anything done (excess security, audits that are just ridicuous etc.).


  52. 52
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    kdawg — I asked the question about wireless charging for you. The answer was nothing to announce. Sorry.


  53. 53
    DonC

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (1:58 pm)

    tom w: Don’t know about your experience with Sarbanes Oxley.

    I wasn’t talking about Sarbanes Oxley. I was talking more about financial regulation. However, as someone who has had to sign on the line for Sarbanes Oxley, I have to say that if it’s this much of an issue at this point your company definitely needs a new CFO. It’s just not a big deal at this point. (I’m not sure if it’s effective or that useful BTW but that’s a different issue).


  54. 54
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (2:39 pm)

    Gsned57:
    .First, I should say I consider myself independent but usually lean right on most issues.It pisses me off to no end to hear pundits and talking heads bitch about the volt and how it is an Obama mandated car funded by government money.Firstly, The volt was conceived while President Obama was still a community activist and shown to the public while a senator.President Bush was in office and I don’t remember Maximum Bob attributing the volt design to either men.The volt was created by engineers, not politicians and that is why it is the most technically advanced vehicle on the road today.

    Totally agree.
    Great article energy Czar.


  55. 55
    Bonaire

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (2:50 pm)

    tom w: Don’t know about your experience with Sarbanes Oxley.But I can tell you unequivocally that where I work, SOX has turned the company into one where the job of half of the workers is to prevent the other half from getting anything done (excess security, audits that are just ridicuous etc.).

    SOX regulations are crushing productivity at two of my customers. One is a health insurance company and one is a mutual funds company. Both move slower than dinosaurs – but faster than federal government. Can these turn on a dime to adjust to market trends? No, not really. About 1/2 of my job now is to do things behind “the wall” because others cannot do the work directly. Some people are leaving the one company due to SOX regulations making their job simply a miserable paper-pushing event.

    My 5% sports thing was not meant as a legislation for that – it was meant as a “what if scenario” if energy prices skyrocket. How can we reduce oil (and perhaps electrical) consumption? By cutting our excesses. If we ended up in an oil embargo where oil hits $200/bbl. Gasoline is $7.50/gallon. What are we doing going to 132 MLB baseball games rather than pouring those entertainment funds into renewables and other means to get us out of that situation. My 5% optional cut would do nothing to the excitement of the games nor the outcomes of the seasons. It simply would be a way to offer a tradeoff of cutting back on week after week of the “repetitive thing”. Schools are doing it with 4-day per week classes (more hours per day). Work forces can also do 4×10+ shifts rather than 5×8+. USPS cutting Saturday delivery. It’s beginning and who knows where or when it will end.


  56. 56
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:16 pm)

    DonC: kdawg — I asked the question about wireless charging for you. The answer was nothing to announce. Sorry.

    Thanks. I was hoping it would show up before I place an order. Last info I have on the topic was “in about 18 moths”, and that was about 10 months ago.


  57. 57
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:22 pm)

    Bonaire: If we ended up in an oil embargo where oil hits $200/bbl. Gasoline is $7.50/gallon. What are we doing going to 132 MLB baseball games rather than pouring those entertainment funds into renewables and other means to get us out of that situation. My 5% optional cut would do nothing to the excitement of the games nor the outcomes of the seasons. It simply would be a way to offer a tradeoff of cutting back on week after week of the “repetitive thing”.

    I’m not sure I follow the sports idea. If we cancelled the NBA (sort of like is happening now), aren’t people just going to spend their $ on other forms of entertainment? Also, if gas is $7.50 gallon, most people’s entertainment budgets will take a hit, and they probably will be going to less games anyway.


  58. 58
    Ewiggins

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ewiggins
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:34 pm)

    I am in the same boat kdawg. I am single and have no kids, but I sure as heck have paid taxes to support schools and I did not get a deduction for kids either.

    I fully believe in supporting schools and helping new industries get started. Other countries help out their people/businesses, why shouldn’t the US. I bet the government has spent many tax dollars helping other industries (banks and oil).

    As far as regulations go, if all business would be honest and mindfull of the messes they created, there would be little need for regulations, but because there are dishonest money grabbing a$$holes out there, we need regulations. Wouldn’t you want to know that the house you built follows code or would you rather trust the contractor? Think of the FDA, the cantaloupes and what would have happened if the FDA did not issue a recall or had the ability to trace down where the cantaloupes came from? I am sure regulations have saved many of lives and companies from theirselves.


  59. 59
    Tall Pete

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tall Pete
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:44 pm)

    Ted in Fort Myers: In two years (…) I should also be a net zero home owner.

    Ted, did I ever mention that you’re the Man.


  60. 60
    MrEnergyCzar

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    statik:
    Your a man after my own heart. I love your green ambitions and goals over time (very sensible/doable), love the whole carbon footprint/off oil mantra, the solar panels, etc.I think the ‘math’ section of the article is a little well…y’know, rose-colored glasses/left field, but I understand the premise of your angle.

    Good read, and a well written article.You put a lot of effort and time into it.I can really appreciate that.

    Thanks for the positive comments. Jeff Cobb really helped a lot with the editing to make it what it is….

    MrEnergyCzar


  61. 61
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:52 pm)

    I just read through the webchat.

    I think AF was confused on the wireless charging question, thinking it was for the car, not cell phones. Oh well.

    I have another question I wanted to ask. Is GM planning to allow drivers to dip into the 30% reserve in an emergency? For example, if you run out of gas, it would be like flipping to a reserve tank. The software could limit the speed to 45mph, and the range to say 15 miles, but that would hopefully be enough to get you to a gas station or plug.

    (there will probably be a hack for this)


  62. 62
    tom w

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    tom w
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:54 pm)

    Bonaire: If we ended up in an oil embargo where oil hits $200/bbl. Gasoline is $7.50/gallon.

    We could eliminate oil imports in 5 years. It wouldn’t be so hard to do if government was there to serve us instead of serving the people that paid to elect them.

    The five year plan is really a six year plan but the sixth year is actually draining down the national oil strategic reserves (to 100 million from 727 million barrels) at 50 million barrels a month while waiting for additional 200 million barrels per month from the gulf and arctic to come online. Meanwhile of course we would spend the next 5 years getting to the point where 90% of NEW passenger cars have at least 10 miles AER. Also begin a 30 year plan to reach 50% of electric generation from renewables (wind, solar, water, geothermal) and 40% nuclear.

    Government could sell the 600 million barrels for about 60 billion to put towards EV credits and credits to convert homes w/fuel oil.

    If we made sure we produced all our own energy we wouldn’t need a strategic reserve more than than 127 million barrels.


  63. 63
    George S. Bower

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (3:58 pm)

    DonC: So who would this magical person be? Not any of the Republicans running. They all would increase government spending. We’ve seen this movie before. Ronald Reagan increased spending faster than any other president before him when the country was not at war. Then we have George Bush. He increased spending faster than anyone, with the help of a Republican Congress which not only embarked on TWO unfunded wars but passed an enormously expensive prescription drug benefit as a payback to its drug company donors.

    Right on the money as usual DonC.
    Thankyou

    PS
    I’m pretty sure the red Volts w/ polished wheels are faster than the others.
    I drove them both.
    I think WOT will verify this.
    GM puts something in the software of the red ones to make them faster.


  64. 64
    Dave K.

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    The current bind in budget cutting is wherever you attempt to start. Someone yells, ” Unfair!”. Across the board is the way to go.

    No Plug, No Sale!


  65. 65
    Bonaire

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (4:09 pm)

    Well it was Friday and my 5% entertainment plan really didn’t make sense. Sorry about that. High energy prices would indeed cut peoples’ spending on that entertainment all by itself anyway.

    Red is faster. It warps time, from what I remember. Einstein would drive a Red Volt.


  66. 66
    Loboc

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (4:16 pm)

    tom w: Don’t know about your experience with Sarbanes Oxley.But I can tell you unequivocally that where I work, SOX has turned the company into one where the job of half of the workers is to prevent the other half from getting anything done (excess security, audits that are just ridicuous etc.).

    Export and HazMat controls are more paper-intensive than SOx for us.

    Due to SOx, we were forced to put (needed) controls in place to prevent abuse/misuse of people’s access. This included division of personnel (Separation of Duties) so that they didn’t have both hands in the pie.

    It resulted in hiring more people, which is a good thing. Yeah, it’s more expensive in some sense, but, it didn’t really slow us down at all. SOx forced us to severely limit access to production systems which resulted in less down time from unauthorized changes.

    Overall, the SOx controls did more good than harm imho. But, since we are aerospace and not financial, it’s probably way different than a pure paper-pushing business.


  67. 67
    joe

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    joe
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (4:25 pm)

    Gsned57 Says: From line 11

    “Joe, as a matter of principal a lot of people don’t like the idea of government bailing out industry for incompetence”

    ____________________________________

    Many people don’t know what really caused the decline of GM during the past 30 years, judging from what I’ve read off the Internet. My being retired from GM and having worked from the inside, I can tell you what GM had to deal with, and why they almost went out of business. I will tell you a few major reasons in a paragraphs.

    For decades the playing field was in favor to the competition and only until recently has GM and Ford been given a more favorable playing field with the competition. Decades ago, the Japanese came to our shores, built factories and ended up with huge advantages. They did not have to pay a single retiree…for they had none. Counting only GM back then, GM had over a million retirees to pay for. Another big advantage was with CAFE which fell right in the Japanese hands, and because they built only small cars, they ended up with another huge advantage. The domestic built trucks and had to average the miles with those gas guzzling tucks whereas the Japanese built none. The Japanese just got lucky and took full advantage of that and then started dumping cars in the US. With those condition in play came the mediocre American cars. It was now impossible for GM and Ford to compete. Basically what I’m saying is our Government allowed very favorable advantages to the Japanese and that would in the end kill the domestic car builders. Although GM was slowly working in the right direction to undo some of those unfavorable conditions, they did not have any cash when the economy crashed, thus came the bankruptcy.

    Today with the new CAFE, just proposed recently, trucks will not be average like a car. Trucks will have their own CAFE ratings. GM and Ford are okay with this, but some of the competitions are lobbying against it. They really want to keep their unfair advantage, because today they know GM and Ford can now compete on a better level playing field.

    My career was spent as a GM employee and I got around. Believe me, GM has a vast amount of resources. Combined that with the best engineers and with the new changes from our government and new contract, GM and Ford will be astronomical competitors, not only between themselves, but also with foreign countries.


  68. 68
    BLIND GUY

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BLIND GUY
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (5:46 pm)

    I enjoyed the article; it was inspiring and demonstrates how everyone can make changes to lessen our carbon footprint. As a nation, we still waste too much. However; more & more people seem to be more mindful of our world, so many small and large changes can really make a big difference. I really like the efficient housing being built in Germany. As individuals; we make choices that can make huge differences when we are all contributing in many different ways JMO.


  69. 69
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (6:51 pm)

    BLIND GUY:
    I enjoyed the article; it was inspiring and demonstrates how everyone can make changes to lessen our carbon footprint.As a nation, we still waste too much.However; more & more people seem to be more mindful of our world, so many small and large changes can really make a big difference. JMO.

    JMO also Blind Guy.

    However I think Germany is making a huge mistake shutting down their Nukes……..so they can buy gas from Russia.

    It’s totally UN German.

    They are very intelligent and good engineers.


  70. 70
    George S. Bower

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (6:58 pm)

    Just as a bottom line on the big Obama bailout of GM I only have one thing to say and there is NO ONE that will convince me otherwise:

    McCain would have done the same thing.
    I know him. He lives in my state.


  71. 71
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (7:35 pm)

    Really an excellent video!!


  72. 72
    pjkPA

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjkPA
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (7:35 pm)

    joe:
    Gsned57 Says

    “You can hate the bailout but don’t hate the car. I personally didn’t think we should have bailed out GM.”

    ________________________________

    As for myself, I believe saving GM was a no brainer. Just think about the consequences, if the

    United State had lost the auto industry…the largest industry in the world. And, I have no doubt

    the whole industry would have gone down if the US Government had not stepped in. Then,

    we would have gotten one large step closer to be a third world country with an industry lost

    forever, not to mention all the other bad consequences that would have gone with it.

    Most don’t know or want to know these specifics and all they know is GM stole their money.

    The loan has been paid back and as for now, the Government is a stock holder who stands to

    lose or make money. Either way, it is a win win situation whether one wants to admit or not.

    Oh, by the way, the Volt would not exist for one to enjoy today.

    I agree with you Joe…. HELPING OUR AUTO INDUSTRY WAS A NO BRAINER.
    If it wasn’t for unfair trade and our government not protecting our American industries GM would not have been in trouble in the first place. Our government only corrected just one of the huge mistakes it has been making in the last 30 years by helping the Auto industry.

    And .. it is not over…. Unfair Trade is still the major problem. Nothing has changed.. we are still giving Japanese companies ..our competitors… $7500 per electric car while they put a $20,000 tariff on all American cars we try to sell in Japan. We are still letting the Japanese Germans Koreans build auto plants in the US and get away with NOT PAYING US TAXES giving them a huge tax advantage over our own GM and FORD…. if Obama wants to raise taxes .. HE SHOULD MAKE ALL THE TRANSPLANT FACTORIES PAY THE SAME TAXES AS GM AND FORD!!!


  73. 73
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (7:54 pm)

    “The Prius would have required me to use about 2,500 more gallons versus the Volts 320 gallons over the same time period.”

    Great Prius (Synergy) vs Volt (Voltec) comparison. Soon these will be the Ford vs Chevy comparisons. Unless Ford has a change of thinking and forgets about Synergy. First time in history that Ford vs Chevy won’t be tit for tat. Unless you count Corvette vs Thunderbird. 8-)


  74. 74
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:15 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:
    “The Prius would have required me to use about 2,500 more gallons versus the Volts 320 gallons over the same time period.”

    Great Prius (Synergy) vs Volt (Voltec) comparison. Soon these will be the Ford vs Chevy comparisons. Unless Ford has a change of thinking and forgets about Synergy. First time in history that Ford vs Chevy won’t be tit for tat. Unless you count Corvette vs Thunderbird.

    Good one ECO:

    I loved ‘em both but the Corvette wins of course!!


  75. 75
    pjkPA

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjkPA
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (8:45 pm)

    Just took another look at the first picture….
    The sun is out…. but the solar array is in the shade?
    Just wondering….


  76. 76
    BLIND GUY

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BLIND GUY
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:26 pm)

    #69 GeorgeSBower However I think Germany is making a huge mistake shutting down their Nukes……..so they can buy gas from Russia.
    It’s totally UN German.
    They are very intelligent and good engineers.

    I really don’t know any reasons/details about that. I do think Germany should be commended for pushing solar and very efficient housing as much as they have. They seem to be very concerned about China selling solar PV at what most people consider under cost. It may be a great time to buy panels from China but do we really want to put everyone else out of business by buying Chinas cheaper panels? BTW, where did you buy your Red Volt w/polished wheels and what other options did you decide on? Just curious; being your AZ neighbor.


  77. 77
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (9:38 pm)

    BLIND GUY:
    #69GeorgeSBower However I think Germany is making a huge mistake shutting down their

    BTW, where did you buy your Red Volt w/polished wheels and what other options did you decide on? Just curious; being your AZ neighbor.

    Chapman Chevy in Tempe. It might still be there. It did not happen because my wife refused to get rid of the Prius.
    Call Lynda Seamans in Fleet sales she is really great. MSRP. Beautiful car polished wheels, Tan leather w/ dark accents but no Nav. I could die for this car. At least as good as my red 944.

    I have them trained to know about the GM Volt Forum so mention that.

    At least go look at it if it is still there!


  78. 78
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:20 pm)

    George S. Bower: Right on the money as usual DonC.
    Thankyou
    PS
    I’m pretty sure the red Volts w/ polished wheels are faster than the others.
    I drove them both.
    I think WOT will verify this.
    GM puts something in the software of the red ones to make them faster.

    Everyone knows BLUE is the fastest color!

    (oops hope I didn’t ruin Monday’s story) (Jeff.. I kid.. I kid) :)


  79. 79
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:26 pm)

    I don’t think DonC has a Red or a Blue one so we could easily blow him in the weeds.
    (He likes to race)


  80. 80
    Jeff Cobb

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:34 pm)

    kdawg: Everyone knows BLUE is the fastest color!

    (oops hope I didn’t ruin Monday’s story) (Jeff.. I kid.. I kid) :)

    Nah, GSB is right. Red w/polished wheels is the fastest color. Read all about it Monday! :) (kidding too). …

    Have a nice weekend.


  81. 81
    HaroldC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    HaroldC
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:53 pm)

    just one question…how do you charge your volt with solar power at night ?


  82. 82
    BLIND GUY

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BLIND GUY
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (10:53 pm)

    Your killing me George; we were at the airport Sheraton in Phoenix today; very close and I don’t want to pay that much for Nav. Anyway. My wife would also have to give-up her beloved Prius as well. I don’t think I can talk her into about $250 mo. Higher payment then we have now + would have to buy a dog for her in the negotiation.


  83. 83
    MrEnergyCzar

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:04 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    Really an excellent video!!

    Thanks George. You helped answer my elementary Volt questions a year or so ago… remember the mountain limp mode questions? lol

    MrEnergyCzar


  84. 84
    MrEnergyCzar

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:07 pm)

    pjkPA:
    Just took another look at the first picture…. The sun is out…. but the solar array is in the shade?
    Just wondering….

    Good eye. I don’t have a clean site to the south, especially in the fall late in the day…

    MrEnergyCzar


  85. 85
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:07 pm)

    HaroldC:
    just one question…how do you charge your volt with solar power at night ?

    Harold,
    Not sure about Conn where EnergyCzar lives but,
    We have net metering here in AZ. It’s pretty cool.
    You can store kwh for kwh by backfeeding into the grid when you have excess energy production. I was gone all summer and I have enough kwh saved in my APS piggy bank to drive 6000 miles or so in the Volt.

    Of course Ca has much more complicated rules (and 20 cents/ kwh rates compared to AZ’s approx 10 cents/kwh).


  86. 86
    MrEnergyCzar

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:10 pm)

    HaroldC:
    just one question…how do you charge your volt with solar power at night ?

    It’s grid tied so you build credits with the utility and then use them at night or in the winter time when you produce less etc….

    MrEnergyCzar


  87. 87
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Nov 4th, 2011 (11:12 pm)

    MrEnergyCzar: Thanks George.You helped answer my elementary Volt questions a year or so ago…remember the mountain limp mode questions?lol

    MrEnergyCzar

    Yes.


  88. 88
    jeffhre

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    Nov 5th, 2011 (2:44 am)

    Eco_Turbo: Great Prius (Synergy) vs Volt (Voltec) comparison. Soon these will be the Ford vs Chevy comparisons. Unless Ford has a change of thinking and forgets about Synergy. First time in history that Ford vs Chevy won’t be tit for tat. Unless you count Corvette vs Thunderbird.

    Is there going to be a Focus EV v. Volt comparison in there also?


  89. 89
    jeffhre

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    jeffhre
     Says

     

    Nov 5th, 2011 (2:52 am)

    Jeff Cobb: Nah, GSB is right. Red w/polished wheels is the fastest color. Read all about it Monday! (kidding too). …

    LOL, yep just, LOL…


  90. 90
    HaroldC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    HaroldC
     Says

     

    Nov 5th, 2011 (9:07 am)

    George S. Bower,

    thank you for enlightning me George also MrEnergyCzar
    l would like to add that l enjoy reading you guys on the site
    you are very knowledgeable and l and a lot of of others here do appreciate your input….
    have a nice day..haroldC


  91. 91
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Nov 5th, 2011 (5:57 pm)

    jeffhre: Is there going to be a Focus EV v. Volt comparison in there also?

    If Ford builds something comparable to Voltec, I certainly hope so. Right now it seems they’re going with a Synergy drive for what ever they build, which means a good bit more gas, unless you’re going on a long trip, or in their case a very short slow unexciting one.


  92. 92
    Eco_Turbo

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Nov 5th, 2011 (8:46 pm)

    OT: Remember that Satellite that NASA said they weren’t sure where it landed?

    http://wimp.com/nasasatellite/


  93. 93
    Shock Me

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Shock Me
     Says

     

    Nov 7th, 2011 (7:58 am)

    DonC,

    Sadly Don,

    None of the candidates we will be choosing from has a reasonable plan. The only reason our current President wishes to raise revenue is to increase spending. Whether they re-jigger the tax lower to raise revenue through economic expansion, or they raise tax rates on a contracting economy, the end result in either case is to spend more than they did the year before.

    This leads to entitlements increasing along with the demographic pressures of the baby boom and increased interest payments as they borrow to cover even more spending displaced by interest, defense, and entitlements.

    One year very soon, all discretionary spending INCLUDING defense will be borrowed. Then the challenge will be even if we decreased spending by radical amounts, we have these huge debilitating interest payments to the few with the wherewithal to purchase our debt.

    But by all means let’s focus on the muffins.


  94. 94
    Andy

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Andy
     Says

     

    Nov 7th, 2011 (10:43 am)

    While I think your intentions are laudable, I feel your efforts are laughable. The tons of rock which need to be strip mined, crushed and processed to gather the lithium needed to make the batteries is not figured in your calculations of green. As long as it’s not in your back yard, it doesn’t exist?

    What about electric generation and its effects on the environment, uranium, smoke, heat in waterways killing fish, etc. Just dismiss it as an uncontrollable variable and drive on with a clear conscience?

    If you are really concerned about green, car pool, ride a motorcycle, scooter, or pedal a bicycle. I do and live in CT, too. Why live so far from work that you need a car? Why buy a car with leather seats, all kinds of electric gizmos, cool features, etc.? You may well be saving oil, but you are still a polluter and a typical American consumer. You crave comfort, luxury, entertainment, and aren’t really willing to sacrifice anything.

    BTW, why is it when I visit your Twitter, I get Chinese characters?


  95. 95
    MrEnergyCzar

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MrEnergyCzar
     Says

     

    Nov 7th, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Andy: While I think your intentions are laudable, I feel your efforts are laughable. The tons of rock which need to be strip mined, crushed and processed to gather the lithium needed to make the batteries is not figured in your calculations of green. As long as it’s not in your back yard, it doesn’t exist?What about electric generation and its effects on the environment, uranium, smoke, heat in waterways killing fish, etc. Just dismiss it as an uncontrollable variable and drive on with a clear conscience? If you are really concerned about green, car pool, ride a motorcycle, scooter, or pedal a bicycle. I do and live in CT, too. Why live so far from work that you need a car? Why buy a car with leather seats, all kinds of electric gizmos, cool features, etc.? You may well be saving oil, but you are still a polluter and a typical American consumer. You crave comfort, luxury, entertainment, and aren’t really willing to sacrifice anything.BTW, why is it when I visit your Twitter, I get Chinese characters?

    My goal is to use less oil as an end user, not be an environmentalist. The challenge is to stay living in the same place but slash your total energy use. You probaly don’t realize I live without AC, hang laundry, have no cable, cut my own hair etc.. Ironically, I live better now than I did before the change.

    MrEnergyCzar