It’s not every day that you hear of the Tesla Model S taking back seat to a Chevy Volt in a head-to-head comparison – except regarding price, and potential range anxiety – but in Europe this was the case for the Volt’s Opel-branded cousin.
The extended-range electric Opel Ampera was awarded the “Green Mobility Trophy 2013” by the readers of the trade magazine Auto Zeitung, and it beat 17 other electrified vehicles in the process.
The overall selection of vehicles in consideration for the magazine’s awards was large, with 134 models and engines from 34 brands as candidates in seven categories.
To take the top honors in the electric vehicle category, the Opel manufactured in Detroit-Hamtramck beat 18 competitors, including the closest two competitors, the Model S and BMW i3, which reportedly placed “well behind the Ampera.”
This acknowledgement was the result of 18,000 readers participating in the vote for the the award intended to honor models and propulsion concepts that are trendsetting in their class in terms of particularly eco-friendly use of resources.
“What customers expect from electric cars is clear: they want technology that is more environmentally friendly while offering all the benefits of conventional propulsion systems,” said Andreas Marx, director of marketing for Opel Germany. “The ‘Green Mobility Trophy’ is latest proof that we more than meet these expectations with the Ampera.”
Just like the Volt, the Ampera has accrued a fair number of awards besides this latest one, some of which include “Car of the Year 2012,” “World Green Car of the Year,” and readers’ choice awards from Auto Bild and Autoscout24.de.
Tesla Beats Volt?
Regardless what Opel says about the Ampera, Elon Musk this week took more pointed jabs at several aspects of the Volt.
Presently the top-three best selling electrified vehicles in the U.S. are the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt, and of these, the CEO of Tesla offered Bloomberg his perspective on why his company’s product beats the other two.
The Volt, says Musk, is “a bit of an amphibian” and is “OK but not great” as it provides all-electric operation with only 38 miles EPA rated battery range or gas operation modest rated at 37 mpg.
The Leaf, he says, is poor in electric range, being rated at “75 miles” with a 90-percent battery charge, or 84 miles with 100-percent battery charge.
“It’s just too short of a range to be useful,” Musk said.
Further, he said, neither the Chevrolet nor Nissan handle the road very well or look very good, nor are they nearly as quick as the Model S, and they lack in fit and finish and in their electronics.
So there you have it. Hands down, there is no competition as to which is best, says Musk.
One thing he did not mention in the clip is that the Model S costs easily double what the Volt or Leaf do, starting at just over $71,000 and capable of optioning out to over $133,000.
The average new car price is just shy of $31,000, and the Volt which as of 2014 starts at $34,995 and the 2013 Leaf which starts at $29,650 are within this threshold when factoring full $7,500 federal tax credit and potential state subsidies.
This said, Musk makes points, some of which may have merit to one degree or another – speaking in qualified and subjective terms, we would add.
More details to round the story would include that the Leaf and Volt are well-regarded by most reviewers, have each won numerous design and engineering awards, and do offer quality and value perceived to many.
In short, the Leaf and Volt attract different kinds of customers, and offer a different set of advantages.
The Volt’s electric range is considered acceptable for the average daily driving distance of under 40 miles that studies say is required by upwards of 75 percent of drivers. It also offers convenience in that it runs on gas so there is no anxiety over whether one will run out of charge and be stranded in a land where (comparatively slow) charging stations are vastly outnumbered by gas pumps.
Is this a negative or a positive for the Volt? Musk says one thing, other people say something quite to the contrary.
As for the Leaf, it does accept DC quick charging which makes doubling its daily range possible for those who can take advantage of it. And it can be charged intra-day merely by plugging in to more a conventional level 1 or 2 charger at a destination, where possible, such as while parked at work.
The Leaf’s electric efficiency also happens to be 115 MPGe – higher than the 89 MPGe for the 85-kwh Model S or 95 MPGe for the 60-kwh version.
Really though, one can spin the pros and cons for these three cars any number of ways, and we will not touch the ultimate question of what is “best” with a 10-foot pole – actually, since these cars are in separate sub-categories, we don’t think this question can be unequivocally answered for all.
As they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and Elon Musk has not surprisingly shown his preference in cars.
He’s entitled to his opinions but despite any perceived need for solidarity among EV proponents at this juncture, apparently Musk’s view is not the cry of the Three Musketeers: “All for one, and one for all.”
Perhaps at other times he’s spoken more charitably?
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 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.