The Value of a Volt

posted at 10:50 am on August 1, 2010 by Doctor Zero

How much is a new Chevy Volt electric car worth?

The sticker price is $41,000.  However, with federal subsidies, you could pay as little as $33,500.  Additional subsidies provided by the state of California could knock it down even lower, for residents of the Golden State.  So what’s the price?

$41,000, of course.  The subsidies just mean you don’t pay all of it.  The utterly bankrupt federal government takes money from other taxpayers, and uses it to discount your purchase.  Since California is teetering on the edge of total collapse, and may well require federal bailouts in the near future, taxpayers across the country could end up paying additional sums to support Volt purchases that happen to occur within the state of California.  These transfer payments are mixed into the thickening concrete surrounding the American economy, making it just a few inches deeper.

But wait, there’s more.  Almost four hundred million dollars in federal subsidies were pumped directly into the design and production of the Volt.  The initial production run consists of just ten thousand units, with 45,000 more planned for 2012 if sales are good.  This would add just over $7200 more in taxpayer subsidies to each Volt produced over the next two years.  Since 2012 production will be scaled back if early sales are disappointing, it might be more logical to add the subsidies to the first 10,000 units only, which would leave early adopters outside of California paying $33,500 for a car which actually costs $81,000 per unit, with taxpayers picking up the remainder.  It’s actually even worse than that, because GM expects to lose money on every Volt sale.  Those losses will be spread among other GM products, or perhaps wiped out with further taxpayer subsidies.

The Volt would not exist at all, if the government had not performed an elaborate voodoo ritual which involved burning $50 billion in taxpayer cash and sprinkling the ashes over the United Auto Workers union.  This raised General Motors from its free-market grave, and placed it at the service of those who killed it.   How much of this fifty billion should be divided among the Volt production run to calculate its true, final value?

There was no great consumer demand for the Volt.  Toyota has been doing quite well selling the Prius, and Nissan has its own electric car, the Leaf, on the way.  The purpose of seizing money from taxpayers to finance the Volt was preserving the jobs of union members politically connected to the Democrat Party, a point President Obama underlined in a recent speech in Detroit:

“If some folks had their way, none of this would be happening,” Obama said, as Chrysler workers booed his reference to Republicans who voted against the bailout. “Just want to point that out. Right? This plant and your jobs might not exist. There were leaders of the ‘just say no’ crowd in Washington. They were saying, ‘Oh, standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure.’ One of them called it ‘the worst investment you could possibly make.’”

The folks who would have prevented this glorious moment in State engineering would be you, the taxpayers, who would never have agreed to pay almost fifty grand apiece to underwrite the production and sale of a little fleet of tiny cars with laughable battery cruise ranges… and overall fuel efficiency that would take decades to equal the cost of purchasing and fueling a more attractive, existing vehicle that didn’t require massive government subsidies.

Obama is lying through his teeth when he refers to the GM bailout as an “investment”  Politicians love to throw that word around, because they think it makes them sound like savvy businessmen.  Investments are voluntaryacts, conducted with the expectation of return.  You were compelled to pay for the development of the Volt, and unless you’re one of the tiny percentage of the public who purchase one, you will receive nothing in return for these payments.  You paid to preserve the jobs of rich and powerful labor unions, and provide a handsome discount to the few buyers who find the emotional satisfaction of saluting Green dogma to be worth $33,500.  Virtually no onewould be willing to pay the true price of $81,000 for that satisfaction.

Subsidies and mandates based on ideology hopelessly distort the value of products, confusing the marketplace in the same manner as consumer fraud and theft.  It’s as if car dealers were in the practice of routinely stealing automobiles from other states, and reselling them at steep discounts.  The ability of the consumer to assess value and make rational purchases, expressing their demands and allowing the distributed intelligence of the markets to allocate resources efficiently in response, is destroyed.

Worst of all, consumers never see the opportunity costs of enforcing political mandates on the economy.  They never see what could have been done with all the money taken from them to provide subsidies to the politically connected.  They’ll never know what other auto manufacturers would have done to win over the market share released by the richly-deserved death of General Motors, or how many jobs would have been created by the production of goods the free people of the United States actually want.

The number of Chevy Volts desired by those free people is zero.  By government decree, there will be up to 55,000 of them gathering dust in the far corners of three-car garages by 2012.  The government didn’t subsidize this boondoggle.  The “government” doesn’t subsidize anything.  You do.Imagine what  the taxpayers of America might have done with the billions taken away from them to produce those cars, divide that lost value by 55,000, and you will begin to comprehend the true cost of a Chevy Volt.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

Doctor Zero: Year One now available from Amazon.com!


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New GM Cars Run on Efforts of U.S. Taxpayers

Mervis Winter on August 1, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Even though my blood pressure has now gone up a few more points, excellent article, Doctor Zero.

GrannyDee on August 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM

I am holding on to my money for the new Chevy PayGo. I hear that it will pay for itself in under 2 years and costs my fellow Americans nothing for my ownership.

Electrongod on August 1, 2010 at 10:58 AM

The initial production run consists of just ten thousand units, with 45,000 more planned for 2012 if sales are good.

Sales will suck.

mankai on August 1, 2010 at 11:04 AM

The sticker price is $41,000. However, with federal subsidies, you could pay as little as $33,500.

And they’ll even throw in one of those nice rearview mirror evergreen tree air freshners that you can now get pulled over and ticketed for in most states, because some liberal bureaucratic numbskull thinks they obstruct your view!

pilamaye on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The Volt is 0bama’s Volkswagen. The people’s car.

The main difference being that the Volkswagen was a commercial success.

UltimateBob on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Honestly, I don’t get the hatred towards this car. Sure, it’s being used as a prop by Obama, and I won’t buy one because it’s produced by Government Motors. But the idea and the engineering behind it are sound, and the project predates the bailout money. The Volt was started by Bob Lutz when he was President of GM, and he was also responsible for the 3 Series Bimmers and the Ford Explorer. Obama is just piling on here, trying to grab credit for what others have done.

And this statement is just a strawman and flat out wrong: “The number of Chevy Volts desired by those free people is zero.”

Well, actually, I do.

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Imagine if that $50 billion was in tax reductions with comensurate reductions in regulations and frivolous liabilities to the entire manufacturing sector. I bet if the general public had one iota of input in the design of a car they would not wrap the doors up to the roof so 6 inches of snow fall into the seats when you open the doors. They would not put the fuel filler on the passenger side where you have to drive contrary to the flow of traffic to fill up. And who would take a source of food and convert it into fuel when there is an abundant source of that fuel.

fourdeucer on August 1, 2010 at 11:07 AM

The best way to change government would be a massive tax revolt. I’d like to see them lock up 100+ million people who are tired of the mis-use of their money.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 1, 2010 at 11:08 AM

It’s obvious why Obama likes the Volt – it’s the fanciest golf cart he’s ever driven!

Wander on August 1, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Will they give the buyers of the Volt a subsidy for their increased utility bill from having to charge the car? What happens to their carbon footprint then?

ladyingray on August 1, 2010 at 11:09 AM

“If some folks had their way, none of this would be happening,” Obama said, as Chrysler workers booed his reference to Republicans who voted against the bailout. “Just want to point that out. Right?

Yes, that would be accurate, and I count myself as one of the folks against this POS. I will remember those that voted for this as well.

whbates on August 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM

But if they hadn’t subsidized it, 500 million people would have lost their jobs.

ColumbusConservative on August 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The project may indeed predate the bailout, but, as Doc ably laid out, it would not have come to fruition were it not for the bailout.

And this statement is just a strawman and flat out wrong: “The number of Chevy Volts desired by those free people is zero.”

Well, actually, I do.

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

Well, actually, you don’t.

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM

It is not just the subsidies when one buys the car, but on top of that, the billion$ in taxpayer money that when into the research, development and production of the Volt.

By the way, how much is the electric bill every time one charges this thing up? I know how much the gasoline would be, but what is electricity cost? A $1? 5? Or what?

albill on August 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

My next auto will be a Ford.

It was a real easy decision to make.

Dr Evil on August 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

You didn’t mention the electrical outlet that is required to charge this piece of crap. If you use a normal 110v outlet it will take over 8 hours to recharge the batts. But if you have a dedicated 220v outlet wired into your garage it will recharge in about 4 hours. Calif. is offering up $2400 in rebates for any cost to do this witing job. I would imagine that the electrician would have to be union.

inspectorudy on August 1, 2010 at 11:14 AM

The only thing we should be subsidizing is the progressive caucus into oblivion.

tim c on August 1, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I really like the idea of giving all that taxpayer money to the UAW…so a good chunk of it can go right back to the Democrat party in contributions. I really, really like it.

BigWyo on August 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

The Prius was already invented prior to this 400 million turd, and is waaaaay cheaper to purchase. These are the same people who will now be in charge of our health care. Jeez…

Keemo on August 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

You forgot the sarc feature…

Keemo on August 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Win a Ford Fusion Hybrid - Why Not?

Dr Evil on August 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Well, actually, I do.

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The good news is, you’ve already paid for it, so nobody cares if you actually get one or not.

The bad news is, I paid for yours too, even though I don’t want one myself and I don’t want you to have one that I paid for.

fronclynne on August 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM

The way they’re going to get people in the car is with the $2500 down-$350/month-36-month (or $15,100 total before the $7,500 tax credit) lease, which we the taxpayers will pay half of. Of course, that means Government Motors will have to get $25,900 on the used-car market for those 3-year-old Volts coming off leases.

Who here thinks they’ll get anywhere close to that when the roomier/longer-ranged (and with the same on-gas MPG) Toyota Prius will be selling for about $16,000?

steveegg on August 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

I’m sure all kinds of government agencies will be “compelled” to purchase these boondoggles–sales will be up and those “up sales” will be trumpeted by the Ministry of Truth about how sales are 124% above “expected” sales….

Orwellian, indeed.

ted c on August 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

I’m still feeling good about buying that Ford Fusion hybrid last year.

Sowell Disciple on August 1, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Dr. Zero = Bastiat on the Beach

http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

Lockstein13 on August 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM

If some folks had their way, none of this would be happening,” Obama said, as Chrysler workers booed his reference to Republicans who voted against the bailout. “Just want to point that out. Right? This plant and your jobs might not exist. There were leaders of the ‘just say no’ crowd in Washington. They were saying, ‘Oh, standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure.’ One of them called it ‘the worst investment you could possibly make.’”

This guy is ONE… DIVISIVE… S.O.B!

deptofredundancydept on August 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Honestly, I don’t get the hatred towards this car. Sure, it’s being used as a prop by Obama, and I won’t buy one because it’s produced by Government Motors. But the idea and the engineering behind it are sound, and the project predates the bailout money.

Well, actually, I do.

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Bi-polar schizophrenic post…
Yes, it does pre-date, by about 75 years…and no it is not a “great way”, just another way to combine gasoline and electric, like the Prius.
The only reason it seems reasonable, as your other personality states, is that it is being subsidized by $50,000plus dollars.
For $80,000 bucks, would you buy this or a Prius, which basically has the same technology?
That’s a question to all of your personalities…

right2bright on August 1, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Calif. is offering up $2400 in rebates for any cost to do this witing job. I would imagine that the electrician would have to be union.

inspectorudy on August 1, 2010 at 11:14 AM

You mean the state that doesn’t have enough electricity?

right2bright on August 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Batteries made in Korea, way to save USA jobs on this $41,000 golf cart from Obama Motors.

Wade on August 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

“If some folks had their way, none of this would be happening,” Obama said, as Chrysler workers booed his reference to Republicans who voted against the bailout. “Just want to point that out. Right? This plant and your jobs might not exist. There were leaders of the ‘just say no’ crowd in Washington. They were saying, ‘Oh, standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure.’ One of them called it ‘the worst investment you could possibly make.’”

Someone with a really BIG MEGAPHONE needs to point out that HARRY REID and NANCY PELOSI were in CHARGE in 2008 when those auto guys went looking for a bailout!

The ONLY Republican that did anything of consequence was GEORGE W BUSH! And if congress had sent him a bill, he would have signed it!

Of course, the American people were against him in this bail out matter as well.

Freddy on August 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

The only way this car sells well, is if the price of gasoline skyrockets. As long as the economy creeps along like a snail, that is not likely to happen. Sooooo, what does that leave. Either natural recovery yields a robust economy (not anytime soon), or the owner of this company will do something to artificially inflate the price of gas. Now, what could that be…….?

humdinger on August 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

The little smart car starts at 12,000.00 sure it’s like riding around in a roller skate but you know it’s the Green thing to do.

Dr Evil on August 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

I assume these cars may sell relatively well in California.
California, as I understand it, is pretty near it’s electrical production capacity.
How will the grid handle the increased electrical demand of all these plug ins? What are the long range plans to increase production nationally if these things ever really take off?

redshirt on August 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

By the way, how much is the electric bill every time one charges this thing up? I know how much the gasoline would be, but what is electricity cost? A $1? 5? Or what?

albill on August 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I did the calculation a while ago, and it is approximately comparable for ten cents per KWH and 30 MPG for $3 a gallon gas. Approximately.

Count to 10 on August 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

This post is very well written, accurate and true. Unfortunately 99% of its readers knew most of the facts except the numbers and already agreed with the conclusions.

burt on August 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

The new Big 3: Ford, Toyota and Honda.

You want the best of electric and gas power plants? It is called a ‘Hybrid’ and those makers above, as well as others, offer them for way less than a Volt. Even after subsidies. And they have a proven track record, also. Amount of taxpayer funds to get those to market? Nil.

Sustaining GM is to sustain GMAC, the cars are a prop, a Potemkin Dealership, to mask what goes on with the real money part of GM. Chrysler was thrown in for window dressing as it had an expected buyer that then walked out on it leaving the US with the booby-prize: boobies thought of it and they got it. If you think the Volt is viable, then get it out there with NO subsidies and NO rebates and see how many it sells. Otherwise it is the new Yugo. A feel good buy for those who think that they are purchasing a car, instead of sustaining a labor union and a corrupt financial organization.

ajacksonian on August 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

I assume these cars may sell relatively well in California.
California, as I understand it, is pretty near it’s electrical production capacity.
How will the grid handle the increased electrical demand of all these plug ins? What are the long range plans to increase production nationally if these things ever really take off?

redshirt on August 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

California has laws that keep electrical power prices below market value — which is why they end up with shortages.
So, not only do wall-charged cars look artificially attractive there, said cars will quickly put even more strain on supply.

Count to 10 on August 1, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I’ll buy an electric car when they make one that will pull my 19 foot Ranger 250 miles at 70 MPH before needing recharged.

Until then,forget it, I’ll stick with my F150. When it gets traded though, it will be a Tundra. Tired of supporting the UAW.

kam582 on August 1, 2010 at 11:40 AM

The little smart car starts at 12,000.00 sure it’s like riding around in a roller skate but you know it’s the Green thing to do.

Dr Evil on August 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

If I can drive this roller skate around on highways, and I can drive a Motorcycle around on highways. Why can’t I drive a quad or one of those Daewoo or cushman cars on the road (not that I would want to)? Government regulations make as much sense as a center-fire rifle without a firing pin.

cobrakai99 on August 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

But if they hadn’t subsidized it, 500 million people would have lost their jobs.

ColumbusConservative on August 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM

What is scary is I think I heard Obama say that same thing./

CWforFreedom on August 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

How long does it take to charge that baby buggy? Will AAA be able to charge it up for you if you exceed the 41 miles per charge and get stuck in the wrong part of town? What are you going to do when driving one and get confronted by an F350′s front bumper? You’ll lose that fight every time.

Kissmygrits on August 1, 2010 at 11:54 AM

I own a Buick now and it is a good car but I bought it before all this bailout and Union takeover nonsense. I will nevah buy another GM vehicle again. Yeah, I know Ford has had it’s help from the govt in the past but the scale of the corruption with teh GM bailout is something else.

Yakko77 on August 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

You’ll lose that fight every time.

Kissmygrits on August 1, 2010 at 11:54 AM

That is your worry. Not Obama’s /

CWforFreedom on August 1, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I’m sure all kinds of government agencies will be “compelled” to purchase these boondoggles–sales will be up and those “up sales” will be trumpeted by the Ministry of Truth about how sales are 124% above “expected” sales….

ted c on August 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

And 18 months after purchase, they will have been abandoned to government surplus lots, never to be driven again. Of course, some company will have a maintenance contract to keep the batteries freshened up.

lacerta on August 1, 2010 at 11:58 AM

By the way, how much is the electric bill every time one charges this thing up? I know how much the gasoline would be, but what is electricity cost? A $1? 5? Or what?

albill on August 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I did the calculation a while ago, and it is approximately comparable for ten cents per KWH and 30 MPG for $3 a gallon gas. Approximately.

Count to 10 on August 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

But didn’t Obumbles already say that electricity prices would of course skyrocket under his plans? Do we have to subsidize this as well for any morons silly enough to buy this ridiculous lemon?

Ogabe on August 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

The subsidy will have to be much more than $7500, and it will come via financing. Look for 0% and eight-year terms. Look for ridiculously cheap leases. Look for subsidized big buys by rent-a-car companies.

Now that GM is using our money to rebuild their financing arm, the Bamster has an additional outlet to redistribute income. Watch for another subprime crisis, -no document loans to buy cars. When buyers of this POS find themselves underwater in a few years, or after the price of electricity ‘necessarily skyrockets”, they will mail the GM the keys.

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Doesn’t any one out there in the Fed auto empire have even a distant acquaintance with reality. If even half the drivers in this country can afford that car I’d be very surprised. I wouldn’t even bother to wander into a show room where the cars cost that much. Just who does DC and GM think we are? Don’t they read their own statistics?

jeanie on August 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

But if they hadn’t subsidized it, 500 million people would have lost their jobs.

ColumbusConservative on August 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM

What is scary is I think I heard Obama say that same thing./

CWforFreedom on August 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

It was Nancy Pelosi, Genius at large.

tim c on August 1, 2010 at 12:03 PM

What are the long range plans to increase production nationally if these things ever really take off?

redshirt on August 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

The plans on the table are to bankrupt the coal fired plants and without a national repository Nukes are off the table too. So you will have to choose between charging your car or running your refrigerator. There won’t be enough electricity to do both.

chemman on August 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM

If I buy a Volt & my electricity comes from a coal-burning plant, how exactly am I “saving the Earth”?

itsnotaboutme on August 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM

You didn’t mention the electrical outlet that is required to charge this piece of crap. If you use a normal 110v outlet it will take over 8 hours to recharge the batts. But if you have a dedicated 220v outlet wired into your garage it will recharge in about 4 hours. Calif. is offering up $2400 in rebates for any cost to do this witing job. I would imagine that the electrician would have to be union.

inspectorudy on August 1, 2010 at 11:14 AM

I haven’t been able to find out much about charging. It obviously doesn’t charge directly from 120 or 240VAC, there appears to be some kind of black box needed. I assume 240 is only optimal for the double current capability. What does that box do? Rectification I assume, but what voltage actually plugs into the car?

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Don’t worry about excess electricity demand, the libs will find a way to outlaw air conditioning and refrigeration so there will be plenty of voltage for everyone.

Bishop on August 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM

great post, doc zero.

What a stupendous crime. But just another day in the life of the ruling class.

notagool on August 1, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Excellent points Doc. I might add that if GM is such an excellent investment, why didn’t the free market make that investment by buying stock and bonds in GM? Hmmm, the free market disagreed apparently.

Next up, a little reminder that last year the administration gave away $300 million subsidizing golf cart purchases.

Finally, it is slightly cheaper to run things with 220 vs. 110 volt, due to less resistance loss (heat). But it would take for never to recover that savings if it cost you $2400 to put in the outlet. The halving of the recharge time might make it worth it to some.

GnuBreed on August 1, 2010 at 12:18 PM

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

What ever the DC voltage of the battery system is. The charging system will float a few volts above the current voltage of the batteries until it is charged. The black box will be a mixture of an inverter and charge controller. The inverter to convert the AC to DC and a charge controller so you don’t overcharge the battery and burn it out.

Those who think this is a good idea need to look into who is responsible for the fried battery when not if the electronics in the black box fails.

chemman on August 1, 2010 at 12:21 PM

My next auto will be a Ford.

It was a real easy decision to make.

Dr Evil on August 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

With the way Obama is running things, my next auto will be a HORSE!

And if I can swing it, I may even throw in the buggy!

pilamaye on August 1, 2010 at 12:22 PM

The Volt is 0bama’s Volkswagen. The people’s car.

The main difference being that the Volkswagen was a commercial success.

UltimateBob on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

I find it highly amusing that even at the extremes, the right can boast a more successful record than the left. Obama and his Marxist forefathers haven’t even a shadow of Hitler’s scientific or economic progress. Germany went from whipped puppy to world power in the blink of an eye (historically speaking)…Russia couldn’t even fight the Cold War successfully because their system of government was hopeless.
/OT

Another great read Doc. Ultimately We the People are the subsidizers – and we ought to be able to choose what our money goes to.

Dark-Star on August 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Fight the machine, buy a Ford, Toyota or Nissan.

southsideironworks on August 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Yep- Obama promised skyrocketing costs for energy needs and harder to get permits (renewals or new) for coal plants.

Not sure how they are going to keep up with electricity demands if it takes longer from start of permit process to an actual running coal run electricity plant.

And if the page I looked at for nuke plants is current, Illinois nuke plant permits start needing renewal in 2023 which isn’t that far away.

journeyintothewhirlwind on August 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Worst of all, consumers never see the opportunity costs of enforcing political mandates on the economy. They never see what could have been done with all the money taken from them to provide subsidies to the politically connected. They’ll never know what other auto manufacturers would have done to win over the market share released by the richly-deserved death of General Motors, or how many jobs would have been created by the production of goods the free people of the United States actually want.

Worth repeating. Sadly I think many Americans don’t think beyond the talking points.

CWforFreedom on August 1, 2010 at 12:29 PM

You mean the state that doesn’t have enough electricity?

right2bright on August 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM

That would be the state. California is utterly around the bend. It has been proven over and over that the power generation capacity in CA can’t handle the load it would have to, if even a quarter of the state’s drivers had to rehcarge their cars every day.

We’ve had a weirdly cool, cloudy year so far in much of the state, which means power usage is way down. This will only encourage the idiots in the I-80 Mafia to conclude that no more generation capacity is really needed after all.

In the I-80 Mafia’s view, when it gets hot, people who think they need a/c when it’s over 100 every day for 8 weeks and it doesn’t get below 78 at night should just… move to Arizona.

J.E. Dyer on August 1, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Picture of Dear Leader sitting in the car made for the masses.

Oops sorry. Wrong photo.

kurtzz3 on August 1, 2010 at 12:48 PM

J.E. Dyer on August 1, 2010 at 12:39 PM

CA is losing population though. That should reduce electricity demand, all other things being equal.

GnuBreed on August 1, 2010 at 12:51 PM

But the idea and the engineering behind it are sound,

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

You have to be seriously delusional to think that the idea behind a $41000 car which can only go 40 miles before it needs a 3-6 hr recharge is “sound.”

This kind of design has been laughed out of the marketplace for 100 years!! On Friday, Rush read a 1910 article about the electric car which could have been written yesterday under a “The Volt” headline.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again…and expecting a different result.”

landlines on August 1, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Doctor Zero, I am a fan!

As always this is a great article, but you should have entitled it “The True Cost of the Volt”.

As for the “value” of the Volt, that remains to be seen. To the average taxpayer the value of the Volt will be a negative number equal to the cost per tax payer of all of the government subsidies that go to the development and sale of the vehicles.

To the nation, the value of the Volt could be priceless if the American people learn from this and find an effective way to say, “Stop!” and “Never again!”

For the moment America is screaming “Stop!” at the top of its lungs and Obama and the Democrats just continue to smile and do as they please.

Ordinary American on August 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Did Juan McCain suspend his stupid campaign to sign onto this taxpayer rippoff?
Should Juan McCain be rewarded with another 4 years to rippoff the American taxpayer and worse join his “Friends” on Amnasty.
HELL NO AZ SEND JUAN MCCAIN PACKING!

And anyone else who voted for TARP!

dhunter on August 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Answering my own question, this website has some pdf’s: ChevroletVoltAge.com

200 Li-ion cells, (which have a nominal 3.6V each) so it appears two banks of 100 each, nominal package voltage given as 365V.

Haven’t seen a description of the charger box, but the low voltage charger looks probably more complex than the higher voltage due to the 365V requirement.

An interesting point, if GM feels the need to commit to sell the battery at a loss to push sales, some enterprising folks might buy them for other uses.

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Here is a picture of Ear Leader in his own car.
http://onscreencars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/urkel_laura.jpg

Pelosi delende est on August 1, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Where does the electricity come from to power this car?

Just wondering…………………..

Really Right on August 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM

And this statement is just a strawman and flat out wrong: “The number of Chevy Volts desired by those free people is zero.”

Well, actually, I do.

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

If this was the best way to combine gasoline and electric powerplants, GM would have developed a hybrid like the Toyota Prius, which was developed WITHOUT Government subsidies. The Prius uses energy from high-speed driving and otherwise-wasted energy from braking to charge the batteries, which can propel the car during low-speed, stop-and-go driving in town. It does NOT have to be plugged into an electrical outlet to be charged up, using electricity that could have been generated at 25% efficiency from a coal-fired power plant. Yes, the Prius is expensive, but an owner who does a lot of city driving might save enough money getting 45-50 miles per gallon to justify the investment over 10 years or so. Those who own Priuses paid for them, and taxpayers who DON’T own Priuses didn’t pay for them.

General Motors, now Government Motors, has more than its share of cojones asking taxpayers to bail it out. During the 90′s and early 2000′s when gasoline was cheaper, GM made money hand over fist selling huge SUV’s, maybe designed to drive up Pike’s Peak, but most of which were getting 10 miles per gallon on flat Florida freeways. During that time, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Ford (which has a European market, which prefers small cars) were building small cars IN THE UNITED STATES using non-union workers, mostly in Southern states, and some Americans were buying them. So when the price of gasoline went sky-high in 2007 and 2008, people bought small cars from companies who knew how to make them at a profit, and left GM’s dinosaurs and mastodonts gathering dust in showrooms.

Nothing against SUV’s. A contractor who owns a business and needs to haul equipment to and from customers, or who lives in a cold climate and wants to make extra money plowing driveways could use an SUV, and the extra gas it burns is a cost of doing business. Large families might need an SUV to pack all the kids and their stuff in to get to school or vacation.

But how many families have one SUV for hauling and working, and a smaller car for puttering around town to the shopping mall on less gas? GM never thought of that…

So why do we the taxpayers have to pay for GM’s lack of foresight? Why do we have to subsidize the Volt when the Prius is a better car? And all those DiTech commercials for low-interest loans? That’s part of GMAC Financing, run by the Government now, the same people who forced Fannie and Freddie to make loans to insolvent borrowers, and stuck us with the bill when the bottom fell out of the market. Is the Government making the taxpayers fund all those Ditech ads?

If GM wants to run a bank as a private company, that’s their business–it will compete with other banks. But why should the Government be subsidizing its bank, giving credits to people for cars no one really wants?

If the price of gasoline goes high enough, people will want more efficient cars–maybe smaller gasoline-powered cars, maybe hybrid cars, maybe diesel-powered cars, and (who knows?) maybe cars that burn natural gas or hydrogen. Some enterprising car company with foresight and a group of top-flight engineers will design and build whatever the market needs, and make lots of money from satisfied customers who are SAVING money. THAT’S American ingenuity, not the Government telling taxpayers to fund a lemon and a loser.

Steve Z on August 1, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Where does the electricity come from to power this car?
Just wondering…………………..
Really Right on August 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM

You didn’t think that Soylent wafers were the only by-product of “excess” population, did you?

Bishop on August 1, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Where does the electricity come from to power this car?

Just wondering…………………..

Really Right on August 1, 2010 at 1:11 PM

From a heavy gauge bare wire drooping over a poorly lighted street in your town, the Volt with a long metal whip antenna on the back, a wind up clock on the dash and a bad lightning storm overhead.

Electrongod on August 1, 2010 at 1:20 PM

The sticker price is $41,000. However, with federal subsidies, you could pay as little as $33,500. Additional subsidies provided by the state of California could knock it down even lower, for residents of the Golden State.

Geez, when the Prius was first offered, you had to put your name on a list at the dealership and take a number. And no one was paying list price, either. One dealership we visited was adding a $10,000 premium and you had to pay to get your name on the list. In the end, we opted not to buy one because we knew the frenzy would inevitably die down and we would regret paying all those extra dollars.

If there is truly a market for a product, you don’t need subsidies. I guess they didn’t offer Econ 101 at Harvard when Obama and the rest of his wunderkind were there.

inmypajamas on August 1, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Here is a picture of Ear Leader in his own car.
http://onscreencars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/urkel_laura.jpg

Pelosi delende est on August 1, 2010 at 1:06 PM

A tiny clown car for a tiny clown. Appropriate.

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2010 at 1:36 PM

How about adding to that $80,000+ price tag the amount of income lost by the hundreds of GM dealerships closed unnecessarily by Obama’s henchmen, the $37 billion spent buying 65% of GMAC and keeping it alive, etc? I’m guessing the true per-unit cost of a Volt would be well north of $100,000.

Liberal economics at its finest.

rockmom on August 1, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Deja vu Edsal, the car that almost sent Ford belly-up. Except that the Volt will bankrupt not just GM, but us taxpayers too.

petefrt on August 1, 2010 at 1:44 PM

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

You need to re read the article…

This makes me so mad…my husband has always ben a “Chevy man” and he won’t buy another GM car again because of the Obama taint..totally corrupt…

CCRWM on August 1, 2010 at 1:49 PM

By the way, I’ve seen supporters of the Volt quote $.10/Kw-Hr. This website: ChevroletVoltAge has a map showing rates by state. NY: $.1879; CT: $.1936/Kw-Hr. (VoltageU > Charging)

Tends to be higher in liberal states, imagine that, the very market that is targeted.

slickwillie2001 on August 1, 2010 at 1:51 PM

This is what drives me crazy about all the hype for the Volt: government subsidizes the production of it and they subsidize the purchase of it.

So, even if I never buy a Volt I have paid to build it and for someone else to buy it. What a crock. If the thing can’t stand on it’s own two feet, then get it the hell out of the market.

JohnInCA on August 1, 2010 at 1:59 PM

The government takes over companies; then it funnels tax dollars into their “profits.”

The additional taxes cause more companies to fail; so the Soicialists say: “Look, we’re the only ones who know how to run a successful business, so let us take over everything else!”

And the wheel turns. There may have been a more moronic scam than this one at some point in history. But there has never been a bigger one.

logis on August 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM

I’m sure all kinds of government agencies will be “compelled” to purchase these boondoggles–sales will be up and those “up sales” will be trumpeted by the Ministry of Truth about how sales are 124% above “expected” sales….

Orwellian, indeed.

ted c on August 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Yeah, I expect to see alot of them around with U.S.Government plates….in the breakdown lane..and you know they’ll get loads of people stopping to help them out.

*snicker*

BigWyo on August 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM

What happened to hydrogen as a motor fuel? Oh, I remember, the brilliant engineers and scientists in DC decided to put all the eggs in the electric basket, and dropped all subsidies for hydrogen development.

Wow, that was a close call. I can imagine wasting resources on such a boondoggle.

bbhack on August 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Sustaining GM is to sustain GMAC, the cars are a prop, a Potemkin Dealership, to mask what goes on with the real money part of GM. Chrysler was thrown in for window dressing as it had an expected buyer that then walked out on it leaving the US with the booby-prize: boobies thought of it and they got it. If you think the Volt is viable, then get it out there with NO subsidies and NO rebates and see how many it sells. Otherwise it is the new Yugo. A feel good buy for those who think that they are purchasing a car, instead of sustaining a labor union and a corrupt financial organization.

ajacksonian on August 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was forced by Tony Villar, the idiot mayor of L. A., to replace it’s whole fleet of sedans with Chrysler Avengers so he could do a favor for the One (along with all the renewable energy he’s trying to get L.A. into) and maybe have somewhere to land in 3 years… Whoever commented that local governments in Democratic strongholds would be buying these was right… I’m sure the L.A. power company will end up with a lot of these Volts too as well as the rest of the City agencies…we in L.A. are gonna get hit for paying for these Volts at least 2xs…

CCRWM on August 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

we in L.A. are gonna get hit for paying for these Volts at least 2xs…

CCRWM on August 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Taxpayer funded…and purchased with taxpayer money..

Brilliant.

Jesus H. Christ.

BigWyo on August 1, 2010 at 2:09 PM

ExUrbanKevin: The Prius is a better deal, by quite a long shot. I happen to think the whole idea is a waste of time and energy, but it looks like the Volt is the worst one at the moment.

And the hostility – because we were all ripped off to pay for this “deal,” and it’s a bad deal.

DarkStar: I hate to tell you this, but pre-WWII Germany wasn’t “right.” Nationalist Socialism was left-wing, they just opposed themselves to International Socialism (Russia), which was also left-wing. It was like an extreme dust-up between Code Pink and SDS.

PS semi-OT: I object to regenerative braking because I want my brakes stopping the car, and not “worrying” about anything else. They’re a safety system, and I don’t want them compromised. I even get mad that manufacturers skimp on brake pads – if I can make a car stop 20% faster – and I have – by replacing the brake pads with superior material available at the time of manufacture – then the automaker screwed up. They don’t even cost that much.

Merovign on August 1, 2010 at 2:14 PM

What happened to hydrogen as a motor fuel? Oh, I remember, the brilliant engineers and scientists in DC decided to put all the eggs in the electric basket, and dropped all subsidies for hydrogen development.

bbhack on August 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Apart from massive storage and transport problems, liquid hydrogen has about the worst energy density of any fuel, and among the highest relative energy costs of manufacturing.

In other words, it was a spectacularly bad deal. Unfortunately, they haven’t dropped it completely, some people are still pushing for it.

Merovign on August 1, 2010 at 2:19 PM

So, even if I never buy a Volt I have paid to build it and for someone else to buy it. What a crock. If the thing can’t stand on it’s own two feet, then get it the hell out of the market.

JohnInCA on August 1, 2010 at 1:59 PM

This on top of paying for Cash for Clunkers and the $8000.00 tax credit for homebuyers, biling out Wall Street etc… This is why the push to take away our guns too… if this doesn’t stop in Novemeber we are going to have another c i v i l w a r soon!

CCRWM on August 1, 2010 at 2:25 PM

I don’t want one at $81,000, but I like the idea and think it’s a great way to combine the best of what gasoline and electric powerplants.

ExUrbanKevin on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

2 things: One, I hope you’re married, cause this bad boy ain’t no chick magnet, unless you like granola liberal chicks. Two, if married, I hope your wife doesn’t mind the fact that early reviews all use the words-cheaply made, flimsy, not sturdy. Heck, those are great things to have when in a wreck with a semi.

I can’t wait to see all these nuts who didn’t fill their tank, assuming their battery would hold in 5pm ATL traffic, on the side of the road. You see the occasional other electric cars, this will just be sweeter. And no, I won’t stop and help you. But I will laugh.

di butler on August 1, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Totally agree that this never should have happened and it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars, but are development costs included into the $81k figure?

If not, I imagine the costs per unit will go down considerably over time.

Still, this never should have happened.

DJ Tablesauce on August 1, 2010 at 2:48 PM

So what’s the value of this Volt once you drive it off the lot?

betsyz on August 1, 2010 at 2:48 PM

Picture of Dear Leader sitting in the car made for the masses.

Oops sorry. Wrong photo.

kurtzz3 on August 1, 2010 at 12:48 PM

-
3 Bumper Sticker set for your Ford…
-
(Hitler+Volkswagen) = (Obama+Voltswagen) = (Obama~Hitler)
-

RalphyBoy on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Let’s not mention that Toyota and the other Japanese OEMs are heavily subsidized and protected by their government. Too inconvenient to this current narrative.
Let’s not mention that Prius was heavily subsidized by Nippon, Inc, and the whole impetus to the Volt was Bob Lutz and engineer Jon Lauckner responding to the success of Prius. Too inconvenient. Let’s all buy a free market Prius!
Let’s not mention that the financial crisis was caused, at it’s core, the irresponsible and immoral manipulations by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Congress, thus, ultimately, all of us. Too inconvenient to the current narrative.
Think Ford could have survived if GM and Chrysler went down? Since they share suppliers who would have gone down: doubtful, a crap shoot. Sure someone might have been able to collect the flotsam and jetsam and make new companies out of it all, but that would have taken time. Time Europe, Inc. And Nippon, Inc. Would have used to take all our market share all over the world. Again too inconvenient.
Boeing is supported by much government business but it’s a hell of a lot more free market than Airbus! You could call so much government and defense monies into its coffers ” subsidies. ”
Again: it’s obscene and naive to call Toyota free market, and then hate on GM for a subsidy to encourage a game changing, innovative product.

On this subject, I cheerfully say, “go to hell, everybody!”

silverfox on August 1, 2010 at 3:00 PM

The number of Chevy Volts desired by those free people is zero.

Considering that the car only went on sale a couple of days ago, you have no way of knowing what consumer demand actually will be. It’s impossible to accurately gauge demand for a product until it’s actually in production and for sale.

I hate to use the argument from authority, but I get paid to write about cars (I contribute to The Truth About Cars, whose editor, Ed Niedermeyer, penned the NYT Op-Ed that Doc Zero is citing) and the amount of misinformation in this thread is considerable.

Yes, it does pre-date, by about 75 years…and no it is not a “great way”, just another way to combine gasoline and electric, like the Prius.
The only reason it seems reasonable, as your other personality states, is that it is being subsidized by $50,000plus dollars.
For $80,000 bucks, would you buy this or a Prius, which basically has the same technology?
That’s a question to all of your personalities…

right2bright on August 1, 2010 at 11:27 AM

“The same technology”?

With all due respect, you know nothing about hybrids.

Other than the fact that both the Prius and the Volt have batteries and internal combustion engines, they use completely different technologies. Toyota uses a parallel hybrid where both the combustion engine and electric motor drive the rear wheels, alone or in combination according to torque demands and how the electronic controls respond to those demands. The Volt is a serial hybrid where the wheels are only driven by the electric motor, which is powered by batteries for the first 40 miles and by an engine powered generator for the rest of the range.

Ford, Toyota and Paece (Severinsky) all developed, independently of each other, parallel hybrid drivetrains. Earlier, to avoid litigation, Ford came to a licensing agreement with Toyota. Though the Ford and Toyota hybrid systems are not identical, they are conceptually similar. Subsequently both Ford and Toyota have reached settlements with Severinsky’s company, acknowledging Severinsky’s patent rights.

There’s never been any question about GM’s Volt system infringing on Prius related technology.

The serial hybrid system in the Volt owes more to diesel-electric locomotives than it does to the Toyota Prius.

Batteries made in Korea, way to save USA jobs on this $41,000 golf cart from Obama Motors.

Wade on August 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM

The batteries are being made in Michigan, in a plant owned by the Korean company, LG. No American battery manufacturer currently could supply GM. I suspect that with the second gen Volt that’s being designed now (with substantial changes rumored), GM will have a larger choice of battery vendors, including American owned companies.

GM does have a technical agreement with Ann Arbor based battery startup Sakti3.

The Volt is 0bama’s Volkswagen. The people’s car.

The main difference being that the Volkswagen was a commercial success.

UltimateBob on August 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

I find it highly amusing that even at the extremes, the right can boast a more successful record than the left. Obama and his Marxist forefathers haven’t even a shadow of Hitler’s scientific or economic progress. Germany went from whipped puppy to world power in the blink of an eye (historically speaking)…Russia couldn’t even fight the Cold War successfully because their system of government was hopeless.

The prewar KdF Wagen, was hardly a success. In fact it was a scam where German workers had car payments deducted from their paychecks for cars that they were never delivered. A relative handful of Beetles were built in the 1930s before Porsche converted the factory to produce the Kubelwagen for the Wehrmacht. The postwar Volkswagen company used the same plant and some of the same personnel but it was a creation of the British occupying forces.

Oh, and Mussolini’s trains didn’t run on time either.

The Prius uses energy from high-speed driving and otherwise-wasted energy from braking to charge the batteries, which can propel the car during low-speed, stop-and-go driving in town.

Steve Z on August 1, 2010 at 1:14 PM

Have you ever heard of a perpetual motion machine? No, the Prius doesn’t use energy from high-speed driving to charge the batteries – or at least not the way you implied. Putting a generator that runs off the wheels at high speed or a wind-turbine mounted on your roof only creates more load for the drivetrain. Hybrids and electric cars recover energy normally dissipated as heat by the brakes. The idea is that you are recovering energy that you’ve already expended. The same would be true of the regenerative shock absorbers being developed. Current shock absorbers turn the energy of the wheels going up and down (ultimately a load on the drivetrain too) into waste heat.

If it isn’t wasted energy that you’re recovering, you’re pursuing perpetual motion.

Deja vu Edsal, the car that almost sent Ford belly-up. Except that the Volt will bankrupt not just GM, but us taxpayers too.

petefrt on August 1, 2010 at 1:44 PM

That’s Edsel, with two Es, as in Edsel Ford, Henry’s only son. While the Edsel debacle cost Ford about $200 million (back in the late 50s when that was serious money), it came nowhere near causing the company to fold. FoMoCo was in a much more precarious position in the mid to late 1920s when Henry refused to update and replace the Model T, later in the 1930s when he let GM take the technological lead (Chevys had hydraulic brakes while Fords were still using cables), and then again after Edsel died and Henry took over operation of the company during WWII.

What happened to hydrogen as a motor fuel? Oh, I remember, the brilliant engineers and scientists in DC decided to put all the eggs in the electric basket, and dropped all subsidies for hydrogen development.

Wow, that was a close call. I can imagine wasting resources on such a boondoggle.

bbhack on August 1, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Hydrogen has two drawbacks as a transportation fuel. Though the most abundant element in nature, right now isolating H requires energy intensive processes like electrolysis. The second drawback is energy density. Gasoline is a great fuel, it has a huge amount of btu’s per volume. Hydrogen is the opposite of dense, so compressing and storing a usable amount for cars and light trucks becomes a technological barrier.

A good friend of mine is a hydrogen researcher, owns basic patents on hydrogen generation and purification and will be fabulously wealthy if we go to a hydrogen economy. He says that methanol is the most practical alternate fuel to gasoline and kerosene.

rokemronnie on August 1, 2010 at 3:00 PM

A few things no one has mentioned:

1) The cost to insure this car. Everyone will have to have both collision and liability insurance when they first buy this car. Chances are, the cost of insurance is going to go up as more and more of these cars end up in wrecks – many of them fatal.

2) The cost to repair this car. Since the components are unique to this vehicle, the parts won’t be cheap. The expertise to fix one of these cars is going to be different from other, more conventional cars. And since there aren’t that many of them on the market, there will be a limited number of places – all of them dealerships, no doubt – to have them worked on.

3) The cost to replace the batteries. Estimates that I have seen say that the batteries in these cars only last 2-3 years. A new battery will cost between $5000-$10,000. Who in their right mind would pay that much for a replacement battery when they haven’t even paid off the car?

4) If Obama is planning on eliminating coal-fired plants, and the price of electricity will “necessarily skyrocket”, combined with his brilliant plan to move all oil drilling out of US waters, how much is it going to end up costing to fill up/charge up one of these cars?

PLEASE let one of our next presidents have a working knowledge of math, science, economics, and engineering…..

TeresainFortWorth on August 1, 2010 at 3:01 PM

So what’s the value of this Volt once you drive it off the lot?

betsyz on August 1, 2010 at 2:48 PM

-
Not sure about the day after purchase, but 8 years later when the batteries need to be replaced, about minus $5,000…

RalphyBoy on August 1, 2010 at 3:01 PM

PS semi-OT: I object to regenerative braking because I want my brakes stopping the car, and not “worrying” about anything else. They’re a safety system, and I don’t want them compromised.

Merovign on August 1, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Brakes work by turning kinetic energy into heat. Since regenerative brakes recover energy that would normally become heat, the friction brakes in a hybrid or EV are more likely to stay cooler and have more effective mechanical braking.

Does it really matter to you if what slows your car down is mechanical friction or generating electricity?

The fact is that in regenerative systems they usually end up with systems that recover less than maximum achievable energy recovery because when set to maximum regeneration the brakes tend to grab faster than what people usually expect.

rokemronnie on August 1, 2010 at 3:07 PM

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