GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Post from Business Week in response to EVs:
And as for plug-in electric cars, not everyone has a single family home with a garage. Plug-in electric cars are still too impractical for many, many people

Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said
"If the batteries ever go through a major advancement, then the plug-ins will also advance, [but] if you look at the current battery performance, the cars have a very limited range." He also said that to have wide acceptance, the cost of an alternative tech vehicle must be no more than $2000 than that of a conventional one.

Are we, as avid Volt Forum members, blindsided to some very important EV adoption issues?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
You know what, that's fine. People who can't live with the limitations of an EV or plug in hybrid can just continue to buy ICE cars or regular hybrids. We don't have to have everyone buy into EVs or PHEVs, just like we don't expect everyone to buy into CNG.

But if we can move significant portions of the public (and I don't know how significant it would have to be) to some/any of the competing technologies, then we could conceivably end up with sufficient supplies of oil to meet the needs of the nation, perhaps even without importing. That can only be a good thing, right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
People are willing to pay more for reliability. Here's hoping that the Volt lives up to its potential for a low "total cost of ownership" - low fuel costs & less regular maintanence & longer useful life. If I can expect to get twice the (major) maintanence free miles out of the car, I'd be willing to pay a lot more up front. (My first car was a 1960 Mercedes 190 with 650k miles on the same transmission & engine) EVs have a shot at matching this, so let's set the bar higher now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
650k? I don't want to be quite that optimistic. But I'd hope something like 250-300k would be doable without anything too major being needed (with the probable exception of the battery pack).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
Post from Business Week in response to EVs:
And as for plug-in electric cars, not everyone has a single family home with a garage. Plug-in electric cars are still too impractical for many, many people

Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said
"If the batteries ever go through a major advancement, then the plug-ins will also advance, [but] if you look at the current battery performance, the cars have a very limited range." He also said that to have wide acceptance, the cost of an alternative tech vehicle must be no more than $2000 than that of a conventional one.

Are we, as avid Volt Forum members, blindsided to some very important EV adoption issues?

First, if electric cars become the new standard, wouldn't you expect to see more charging infrastructure? There certainly has been a lot of gasoline stations built in my area over the last 15 years. Similarly, I would expect Utilities to build charging facilities at apartment/condo complexes, workplaces, parking garages, and a host of other locations to take advantage of this new market. Although this maybe difficult for some locales, I foresee access for the masses to charging infrastructure in the future.

With regards to the Honda CEO, he has obviously demonstrated his naive thinking in regards to E-REV. With gasoline at $4 per gallon, if an average driver can save 500 gallons per year with the Volt, that equates to $2000 per year. How much would people be willing to pay for that amount of savings? I would dare say it's more than a $2000 up front cost.

On top of that, let's not forget some of the emotional reasons. How much would people be willing to pay to escape the volatility of gasoline prices? How much is it worth to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and what is the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

With this type of mentality, I can see why Honda is not likely to be a major contender in the electrification of the automobile.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
The Honda CEO comment is in no way correct. Honda is an engine maker, who happens to make cars. Their niche is to make really fuel efficient, cheap, gas-engined cars. And that probably will be OK for them. There will be a need in the forseeable future.

The limitations of EV technology will fade away as time passes. The lack of roads, or gas stations didn't stop them from building cars 110 years ago. No different now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
650k? I don't want to be quite that optimistic. But I'd hope something like 250-300k would be doable without anything too major being needed (with the probable exception of the battery pack).
Let me put it a different way. In the year 2020, the success of all of GMs new EVs will be directly proportional to the demonstrated reliability of the EVs built in 2010.

I think that 500k is a reasonable goal.
The drivetrain can handle it.
I think that the A123 batteries have a shot at this.
But what about everything else? Will the body decay at 150k while the rest could have lasted and lasted?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Let me put it a different way. In the year 2020, the success of all of GMs new EVs will be directly proportional to the demonstrated reliability of the EVs built in 2010.

I think that 500k is a reasonable goal.
The drivetrain can handle it.
I think that the A123 batteries have a shot at this.
But what about everything else? Will the body decay at 150k while the rest could have lasted and lasted?
Even with good quality materials, I suspect much of that will do with the local climate, the type of driver, and road conditions. Since you live in Mass (like me), you know as well as I that ripping though construction projects and potholes through Boston in February as the road is white with salt will be really hard on ANY cars suspension, frame, and body. Not many cars make it to 150k up here without some type of corrosion starting to eat away at the car.

Unless, of course, they go with a polymer body of some sort. Still, the suspension will be needing major overhaul at that mileage. This is the point in which cars start "nickel and diming" people, at least the ones who don't realize that once one part breaks, that's a good indication that the rest of them are on their last legs and one might as well replace them all now and save the headaches.

GM's (and all the big 3's) quality has gotten a lot better as of late, so I suspect that there wouldn't be any major problems with the part of the car that has been around for decades now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
detachable battery would help

As someone who is excited about the impending EV revolution, and as someone who does not have reasonable access to a "safe" plug-in for an EV, I can certainly understand the practicality concern of the business weekly quote.

Now, that being said, given 16 kWh at 0.2 kWh/kg you have 80 kg of battery. I can, with fair ease, carry 20 kg. I would not mind lugging my batteries in and out at night. I'm sure there are engineering issues associated with this, and I know that lifting 44 lbs out of a car is not a standard ability (but not too hard).

Also, this design, makes it possible to have cars with 10, 20, 30 and 40 mile AERs, depending on affordability. Please, remember that many people are still trying to pay off their McMansion, and Stupid Useless Vehicle. I doubt you'll see much credit made available to the average Joe, even if we pull ourselves out of the economic "downturn" we are in. This gives room for a number of price ranges.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
968 Posts
The Honda CEO comment is in no way correct. Honda is an engine maker, who happens to make cars. Their niche is to make really fuel efficient, cheap, gas-engined cars.
Why so quick to diss Honda's CEO and Honda in general?

Last month, the Accord beat the Malibu. And the G6. And the Aura. Combined. By almost 10,000 units.

For an "engine maker who happens to make cars," they're doing a remarkably good job in their sideline. GM should study their playbook.

Several friends have Accords and they are extremely nice cars; nothing about them strikes one as "cheap." And at the price, they're a very good value. With very good fuel economy.

It's all well and good to prefer a GM car for whatever reason you like but a realistic appraisal of the competition shows why GM is having a tough time, financially.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I agree with you Dagwood, 100%, Honda is a good car, but I agree with the other poster in disagreeing with Honda's position.

The reason I disagree is that over 80% of normal, non-delivery driving is the daily commute to work, and 86% of U.S. drivers have a commute that would be covered by a 40 mile PHEV, like the Volt.

A lot of people will double or triple the best gas mileage Honda has out there without any loss of convenience.

I'm not a perfect example, but even for me the savings I get every year would be a couple thousand dollars. If the car cost me $35k, after rebates in five years it would be like a $25k car.

I would only have to go to the gas station once a month, so the car would be better than what I drive now for convenience.

For me the environment and foreign oil issue is important, but even if it wasn't This isn't an awful deal. So I think Honda is wrong.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
968 Posts
greg woulf,

As it happens, Honda's CEO may be wrong. But we don't know. For one thing, Tom's original post didn't offer a context or even a date for Fukui's remarks. If Fukui was referring to the premium supportable at $2.80/gallon (which is not too terribly long ago) when prices looked tolerably stable, then $2K may be quite right... at that time.

My concern is that Honda is pretty good at giving 44K people/month something they want and Honda thinks (or publicly asserts) that $2K is all they'll pay in premium for a battery-powered vehicle. Their point of view needs some consideration, and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

The other day Tom (I think it was Tom) posted something else about alternative powertrain premium pricing (titled something like "Maximum Competitve Price for the Volt") and I don't know where he got his numbers but he made a case that $6.8K or so was about the maximum GM could charge for a Volt over a conventional vehicle of similar capability. I offered one reason why I thought Tom's analysis was erred on the high side.

With just 10K Volts on the horizon, pricing isn't really important... that's a very small number and there are enough people interested specifically in GM's effort to make it very likely that GM can sell 10K Volts.

However, when GM wants to crank up to volume shipments, traditional concerns over vehicle pricing become much more important. GM is no longer skimming the cream of the oil avoider market off... they've already been through that... they have to compete on capabilities and cost.

When we hit that point, the $3.6K or so maximum premium Tom mentioned for fuel savings starts to look much more realistic. The $2K (or whatever) for performance is important. People have a liquidity preference and can not help but compare the Volt price to other conventional vehicles (Why am I spending an extra $20K over a Camry?). $6-7K may well be the supportable max over something like a Camry. It might even be less.

Uncertainty will cut both ways... Yes, gas prices might reach $6 or $7 and a fuel-efficient car will be important to me but what if I lose my job? This would be a very large payment for an unemployed person. What if fuel comes down?

The alternatives are numerous. What else could I buy? I could get a Yaris and keep $28K in change. I could carpool. I could take the bus. There's terms in economics for this (it has been a long time) but the availability of alternative buying and coping strategies makes a purchase decision more interesting and less certain for GM.

Right now, I don't carpool or vanpool. It's a short commute and would be more nuisance than it's worth. I bicycle to work fairly often. But through the winter, if gas doesn't come back down, I am likely to consider carpooling. So will others, if gas increases. You cut your commute expense about in half with carpooling... with no additional investment. That's waaaayyy cheaper than getting a Volt.

In other words, there's quite a field of choices and alternatives and these affect GM's ability to sell the Volt at a super-premium price. Honda is looking at this to determine how to price their upcoming offering, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Bean counters will be bean counters, and I suppose that there are lots of car buyers who look at the cost of ownership figures when they plan a car purchase. For me its not the cost of fuel, or the savings per day or resale value or any of that. I want a Volt because I'm sick and tired of being raped by the oil companies every time I stop to fill up. I want the option to drive by my local Shell station and thumb my nose at them. I can afford their product. I can ajust my budget to compensate, that's not the point. I don't really care if the total cost of ownership for a Volt doesn't pencil out on paper. It's an emotional thing with me. I want to feel like I'm in control again. Right now I feel that the oil companies are controlling me and I hate it! I'd pay almost any price that my budget could bare to gain that feeling of control back again.

So I guess you'd have to call me an emotonal car buyer and not a logical car buyer. Be that as it may, I'll be a Volt car buyer unless GM manages to make it SO ugly that I can't stomach the thought of being seen in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,314 Posts
Marketing can do wonders. There are cars that sell very well in the market and for me they are the ugliest ever. Have you looked around at all those exactly flat boxed-shape cars? I thought no one in their right mind would buy them. But the magic of marketing, they can sell the ulgiest of my nightmare cars. Just a little brain-washing of the gullible public that it is a different car, then they have a following.

So no matter how ugly the Volt would be, I am sure there will always be a buyer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Ugly, Who cares? 0-60 in 15 sec Who cares?

Marketing can do wonders. There are cars that sell very well in the market and for me they are the ugliest ever. Have you looked around at all those exactly flat boxed-shape cars? I thought no one in their right mind would buy them. But the magic of marketing, they can sell the ulgiest of my nightmare cars. Just a little brain-washing of the gullible public that it is a different car, then they have a following.

So no matter how ugly the Volt would be, I am sure there will always be a buyer.

This is the attitude of a typical car magazine writer. That is why I stopped reading them years ago. If it is not as fast as a 323 or look sexy then it is insulted. I want safety and economy. My co-workers and I talk quite a bit about cars and we have come to the conclusion that looks is unimportant. It is function that makes our decision on a car purchase. If I can buy a volt for 30-40 grand and almost never have to buy gas again (32 mile commute and plug in at work) then it is childish to avoid the purchase because I don't like the headlights, or the efficient design.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,314 Posts
This is the attitude of a typical car magazine writer. That is why I stopped reading them years ago. If it is not as fast as a 323 or look sexy then it is insulted. I want safety and economy. My co-workers and I talk quite a bit about cars and we have come to the conclusion that looks is unimportant. It is function that makes our decision on a car purchase. If I can buy a volt for 30-40 grand and almost never have to buy gas again (32 mile commute and plug in at work) then it is childish to avoid the purchase because I don't like the headlights, or the efficient design.
Thanks for the compliments, but I am not a car magazine writer. My post did not insult the Volt, rather it was a metaphor of general expression that if you know your marketing well, you can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. So the looks don't matter if the marketing machinery will do their thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
I can't drive an electric vehicle, I have no place to plug it in.

From the header of the initial post:
"Plug-in electric cars are still too impractical for many, many people"
I'd like to know how practical $4.15/gallon gasoline is for many, many people?
_-_
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
188 Posts
As more and more electric cars hit the market, I think you will find more places to plug in a 120V vehicle. Apartment owners will put in water proof connections for special parking. Just wait until people will not rent from a complex and see how long it takes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
In Canada...

Hey guys! (& gals :))

I'm just a newbie that got caught up with all this VOLT
excitement last week. I just wanted to say that once GM figures
out how to adapt the Li-ion battery to the cold climate, it should
be NO PROBLEM what-so-ever for us in Canada to plug the VOLT in, whether we live
in apartments or not. ALL of our residential structures, (homes, condos, high-rise apartments) have plug-in outlets available, since
we have to plug-in our 'block heater' in winter time, to prevent our engine from freezing. May be the heat of the battery charging will
act as block heater as well for us in Canada. :D
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top