LOW VOLT-AGE

Here’s something that most Chevrolet Volt owners know (which means virtually no one does), excerpted from Mark Modica’s article at the National Legal and Policy Center’s web site (nlpc.org):

A recent study by fleetcarma.com unveils yet another drawback of General Motors’ much-hyped Chevy Volt. It appears that the environmentally-conscientious, affluent owners of the vehicles who drive in cold weather will get about half of the electric range, on average, of those who drive in warmer climates.

Fleetcarma charted real-world data displaying an average electric range of approximately 20 miles for Volts driven during temperatures of about 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Volt’s range improved to an average of 40 to 45 miles at temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees. Even under these ideal conditions, the benefits of tax subsidies for electric vehicles like the Volt are questionable at best. Consider that a recent government report predicts that EV sales will remain in the 1% range for years to come. Assuming average annual sales of EVs of 150,000 for the next several years and a federal tax credit of $7,500 per vehicle we can expect a five year cost to taxpayers of over a billion dollars for a negligible reduction of US gas consumption.

Sort of makes you wonder when Chevy is going to give up the ghost, doesn’t it?  And, for the US taxpayer, that day cannot come too soon.

Please understand that I say this as someone who is deeply committed to energy conservation and the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources.   Illustratively, my wife and I have had solar energy in our home for over 35 years – first for hot water and now for electricity.  With one exception (they beat us by a week) we are the first people we know who did so.

But being in favor of renewable energy does not mean reflexively buying into every attempt at it that comes down the pike.  And the Chevrolet Volt, though presumably created with the best of intentions, is a mega-loser of the first order.

Mom used to admonish us that “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Well, if you don’t have an electric car that accomplishes anything…….you can finish that one yourself.

Zeke . . . . . . . Batteries of all types have MUCH less power (amp-hours) is cold weather. . . . . Car heaters are a big battery drain (IIRC, the Volt has ONLY seat warmers). Summer A/C is another heavy electricity user. . . . . . . GM has been offering all sorts of incentives — $5,000 discount, some states offer $1,500 … and of course, Obama’s $7,500. . . . . . California’s congested highways are MUCH easier with an electric car — you can cruise the HOV lanes, even traveling solo. . . . Commuting in the HOV lane is a HUGE incentive. . . . . . (01/03/14)

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