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Will the Volt meet your transportation needs like an ICE SUV/sedan, or is it just a stop gap answer to the oil crisis? Are our expectations exceeding the reality of existing EV’s transportation capabilities?

If there is a local catastrophe (brown out, ice storm, hurricane, flood) that temporarily takes down the power grid, will its 6 gallon gas tank take you to safety if every other gas station is out of gas? We don’t know if unassisted steering, marginal A/C or heating, cramped back seating, lack of adequate luggage/weekly grocery shopping storage space will cause it to lose favor.

At this point in time it has unproven reliability. Lab testing cannot find all the “gotchas” lurking in the field. We don’t know if its batteries will quit or boil over in the dessert under heavy loads. We don’t know if certain combinations of extended thermal, mechanical, or vibration stress will damage the batteries. We don’t know if reliability/quality/supplier issues will cause shorts in the battery and prevent the ICE from starting up. All of the above could cause public relations disasters.

My suspicion is that another leap in battery/storage technology will be required to get EVs to the place where they truly meet our transportation needs. I also suspect that our expectations are overly optimistic for the rate of battery advances and price reductions.
There is a tendency to have expectations of magical qualities to new technologies.

(We have been conditioned by the rapid advances in computer, electronics, and memory storage to expect the same rate of advance in other technologies. This is an erroneous expectation. The former advances are driven by the 40 years of line width reductions tied to advances in photolithography and increases in wafer size, i.e. Moore’s Law. This is unique and applies to the semiconductor/memory industries only. What is the rate of advance we see on toasters and vacuum cleaners? I expect advances in batteries to be midway between these extremes. )
 

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The one and only...

I wouldn't be too concerned about making the Volt our one and only car. The issues that were mentioned are largely what I would call "fears of the unknown". The more we learn, the less we fear and the more acceptable the Volt concept becomes.

Let me take a shot at reducing some of these fears. If we lose local power grid, the Volt will still run on gasoline, and 6 gallons should get us about 300 miles. Finding 6 gallons in a catastrophe would probably be no more difficult than finding 12 gallons for our current vehicle.

I'm also not very worried about the thermal, mechanical, or vibration concerns because, for me, much of the testing on lithium ion batteries has already been completed. You see, my wife owns a cell phone with a lithium ion battery. She has smashed it, dropped it, dunked it, baked it, and the like so many times that I've lost count. The thing is scratched, cracked, bent, skewed, and warped so much you might not recognize it as a phone. But it still works just fine. It takes a quick charge, lasts all day long, and communicates reliably every time.

Is this to say that there won't be problems, disappointments, and limitations with this new vehicle? No, of course not. The Conestoga wagon wasn't completely trouble free either. It had problems, disappointments and limitations that go way beyond any modern vehicle. But we did see it take the pioneers all the way across our young nation. The same will be true for the Volt. It will be driven by modern day pioneers, who will face the odds, and take some chances while exploring this new frontier in automotive technology.
 

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I guess you'd call it a second or third car though it will become my primary car. I'll keep the Colorado Pickup because I just need a pickup sometimes, that the nature of living on 2/3 acre. I'll keep the Corvette because I've had it since 1973 and I intend to keep it the rest of my life. But the Volt will take over all day-to-day driving duties. I have no hesitation in saying that. And as far as a 6 gallon tank goes. If I need more gas, I aways have a couple of 5 gallon gas cans full around the place for tractors and mowers. I know how to pour it in the tank.
 

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I've pretty much never had just one car, so no, it won't be the only one. It will be the one I drive the most though.:cool:
 

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Lets look at my equally accurate and equally irrelevant thoughts on gasoline vehicles.

Do you really think a gasoline powered car could be your MAIN automobile. They cars rely on having a tank full of gasoline which contains enough energy to launch you into orbit if it were to explode. Also in events such as hurricanes where the power is out you can't pump gas for you car so the local service stations are useless. When everyone is trying to leave a city all at once such as a hurricane approaching the traffic will be crawling and it often takes 6 hours to go a hundred miles. During the times you gasoline powered car will be using gas the entire time and many motorist are left stranded because the burn up all there gas in bumper to bumper traffic. Hurricane Rita didn't even hit Houston and there were a number of people that died trying to escape because their GASOLINE powered van left them stranded in high heat on side of the interstate. Gasoline engines also have a quatrillion moving parts and aren't the nearly as reliable as electric motors. Do you want you life depending on such an engine???


See it is easy to make a new technology sound bad by pointing out its flaws and these flaws although real might not truly be of much concern.
 

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The Volt would be my daily commuter. We'll keep a regular ICE car, at least in the near term, for my wife to drive around town (she doesn't take well to new technology) and we'll keep my collector/hobby cars.

As an aside, my round trip commute is 60 miles per day. I know the projection is for only 40 miles on battery power, but it sure would be nice to get through the day without gasoline or needing to recharge the battery pack at work.
 

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A plug-in best suited to or wants and needs will be our next car and I foresee it being our most driven car. Our second car will be replaced with a plug-in soon afterward.
 

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Daily Driver

The Volt will be one of three or four cars in the driveway / garage (four driver family) probably replacing my GMAC leased 2007 Cobalt SS 2.4L (22-24 City, 30-34 Highway). Given my local driving habits, I could drive a Volt for three years and NOT buy any gasoline / diesel for it.

Jump start the economy with early production of the Volt with government contracts for the Volt and tax credits to those buying or leasing a Volt.

Also how about a "electric heat rate" style lower electric rate for residential 220 VAC charging of Volt batteries?
 

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Lets look at my equally accurate and equally irrelevant thoughts on gasoline vehicles.

Do you really think a gasoline powered car could be your MAIN automobile. They cars rely on having a tank full of gasoline which contains enough energy to launch you into orbit if it were to explode. Also in events such as hurricanes where the power is out you can't pump gas for you car so the local service stations are useless. When everyone is trying to leave a city all at once such as a hurricane approaching the traffic will be crawling and it often takes 6 hours to go a hundred miles. During the times you gasoline powered car will be using gas the entire time and many motorist are left stranded because the burn up all there gas in bumper to bumper traffic. Hurricane Rita didn't even hit Houston and there were a number of people that died trying to escape because their GASOLINE powered van left them stranded in high heat on side of the interstate. Gasoline engines also have a quatrillion moving parts and aren't the nearly as reliable as electric motors. Do you want you life depending on such an engine???


See it is easy to make a new technology sound bad by pointing out its flaws and these flaws although real might not truly be of much concern.
That's just freakin' hillarious, nice post Omegman.

As a matter of fact, electric vehicles have been around as long as oil.

But to allay the fears. I think it's far easier for people to make home grown electricity than home grown gasoline in dire circumstances such as an extended black out. I think a lot of people will go to solar once their cars go electric. That's what I plan on doing. With my house and cars paid off. I already have a ton of food storage, a garden and most recently a green house in my backyard. It will be nice knowing that I will energy independent too.
 

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Ideal

an Electric motor is ideal in stop and go traffic which is what is seen in a hurricane evacuation. This is why I love the idea of the volt. If your past your depletion point and the ICE is running, your not wasting fuel sitting at a red light or stuck in traffic. That idling is used to charge the battery :D

Thank you for the Volt GM. Hopefully they can get the loans to make it now. I will most definately be buying one when they become available. Now I just need a house to plug it in at.... Hope the housing market returns to sanity soon.
 

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It will be strictly for commuting ~10 mi to work. We will keep the minivan for hauling our family around and I will keep my 'classic' car.
 

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A Volt would become my primary vehicle. I average about 100 miles a week and they are most short trips (less than 20 miles a piece.) I will be keeping my current vehicle (HHR) along side the Volt for when I need it (hauling something larger from a store or when going on a trip where I require more space than the Volt will provide.
 

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It will be my primary car to commute while my wife drives an ICE minivan to haul the kids around. I have a 56 mile round trip commute and WILL be able to recharge at work. The company I work for is owned by one of the largest solar energy companies in the world and as green as they get. I would be shocked (no pun intended) if they wouldn't let me charge at work.

It will be replacing a Civic which I use to commute now. When someone develops a REEV minivan, that will become my wife's car but I'm not betting the farm that Chrysler can really pull that off in the near future unless the merger heats back up and they can leverage GM tech.

I have no range worries with an ICE range extender. All the arguments against an EV go out the window with that. IMHO. If the battery is warrantied for 150,000 miles, that's good enough for me. The tranny in my wife's Odyssey only lasted 48,000 miles so its not like ICE cars last forever either.
 
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