It would be useful to get a meter on the charging demands, so that you could find out just how much energy you are putting into the car to do your charging. After all, you pay for the electricity, and Chevy's estimate of "equivalent of $1.50 gasoline" sounds a bit low, but maybe not... I'd like to know what's going into both ports, the gasoline and the electrical ports.
Certainly, it's fair to ask what the cost to operate the vehicle is. These discussions often generate more heat than light, but if you play engineer, and draw a circle around your "system", you can ask sensible questions. My first circle would cut through the gas filler, and the electrical connection. Forget for a moment all the hoo-rah about generating the power, or getting the petroleum refined... those arguments become less and less easy to verify. However: you can easily know the cost and amount of gasoline going in the tank, and the cost and amount of electricity going into the battery. The result is a cost per mile for a particular Volt in a particular service. Not much to argue about there. For those of us for whom a Volt won't work (I drive an FJ Cruiser, and for a reason) we can at least enjoy the benefit of the noble, environmentally sound sacrifices made by Volt drivers (small car, limited capacity, no towing) so that we can drive our big, heavy SUVs. ;-)
The capacity of the Volt's battery is 16 kWh, but to increase the number of charge cycles, Chevy has limted the useable capacity to 10.4 kWh. Due to charger losses, requires about 12.5 kWh to fully charge. At 12 cents per kWh (national average is slightly lower than this) the cost to charge is $1.50.
I own Chevy Volt. I took delivery of this vehicle on May 19th, 2011. Also I got installed 220 Volts charges under DOE program. To charge fully deplated battery it takes about 12 to 13 KW. Now you can compute how much it costs to drive about 35 to 40 miles per charge.
Chevy is one of the technologically advanced automoble in recent history of US Auto. It will take time to make this kind to maix perfection.
Many people commented about the price. It is expensive, no doubt about it. If one can offered it and need it should buy.
Everyone remembers that when Personal computer was introduced by IBM the cost was several thousands per PC. Now it is hardly couple of hundreds. When many cars of this kind produced and there is competetion to sell the price will come down. Send me your commets to my email firstname.lastname@example.org
One way or another the next few decades will see the end of private low-efficiency IC engines running on fossil carbon ... as the transportation of the masses. That will be unaffordable, which is how most people will increasingly experience it, rather than "unsustainable," which of course will be driving the unaffordability.
At the moment these electric vehicles and hybrids aren't economic, because they are "bleeding edge" new technology, and because the fossil fuels and pollution they produce are underpriced.
Large technology shifts are always painful, and often it is not clear what the winning technology will be. In this case it may not be batteries, there's a possibility it may not even be "automobiles" in the sense that they remain affordable to everyman. GM and the automakers investing in these battery cars are making a bet that they can improve the technology and costs enough to permit the automobile as an "everyone has one" product to continue into the future.
My fear is that the "one way or another" in which we may see the reduction or demise of "low-efficiency" IC engines is that the Environmental Persecution Agency continues to levy unrealistic demands on the oil industry, and increasingly screwball requirements for fleet efficiency. (50 mpg? 75 mpg? 250 mpg?). And as far as the efficiency of an IC engine goes, what is it inefficient in comparison with? If we want to compare efficiency, let's do it from well known start and end points. My suspicion is that when electrical supply chain efficiencies are taken into account that gasoline won't look so bad. At the rate people demand "sustainable" this, that, and the other thing, we won't have any freighters on the ocean that are not powered by sail...
You are correct. I won this car Chevy Volt. I bought this car in May 2011. In one word it technically advanced auto.Thanks to GM to bring this car to market. This is not a cheap car. One can by Benz for this price. Now they bring the price down to affordable level by improving the battery range to minimum of 100 miles from 40 miles. Hope to see great future of this kind of technology and no one will venture to kill it. Unitl unless the cured oil come down to $10 per barrel level.
There is a device for determining how much household electricity is used to charge the battery in an EV. It's called "Kill A Watt", from P3 International (www.p3international.com). It is not overly expensive (I paid US$25 several years ago) and plug into a household 120V/60Hz oulet (NEMA 5-15). Several versions of the Kill A Watt are now available on-line and at the major hardware and big box renovation stores. I use mine for measuring the consumption of new appliances to get a baseline. It has a set of buttons to select the display parameter (Volts, Amps, Volt-Amps, Watts, Power Factor, Frequency of the incoming AC power and Kilowatt Hours).
"Virtually sold out" because they've built 5% of the 100,000 planned, due to low demand since February's Chevrolet Volt 400 disaster ... http://placeitonluckydan.com/2011/05/nascar-pulls-plug-on-chevrolet-volt-400/
The miles per gallon rating achieved in the electric mode should also be modified (improved) to reflect that the short distance commuting miles covered in electric mode are the very miles for which the gasoline engine would have achieved the worst mpg. Doing errands around town typically achieves very poor mpg and these are the very uses for which a PHEV vehicle has the potential to work entirely with the battery.
Dr. Quine, I'm not sure what you mean by "modified" when you mention the mpg in electric mode. Obviously, if you are running only electric, there is a direct cost to you to recharge the battery. Similarly, there is a cost of fuel if you are running a longer distance. Both of these can be observed. What's to be modified? Comparing these numbers to any of various alternatives is useful, but modifying the numbers to reflect the inefficiency of IC engines in short trips (which is certainly true) would merely complicate the comparisons, no?
So how is this better than the Mini Cooper SD which achieves around 60mpg using just fuel without any battery charging?
People often forget a huge hidden cost in EVs: the amortised cost of replacing the battery. Depending on various factors, you might be looking at $5-$10k per 100k miles - about the same cost as diesel.
EVs might be fine as novelty vehicles, but the reality is that in most countries the grid is already maxed out. Even a 20% market penetration by EVs can't be achieved without a huge build-out of generation and distribution. When that rolling blackout comes, you won't get a charge.
cdhmanning, it may not be any better at all. In fact, having a single motive source in a vehicle strikes me as almost always a better idea, overall, than having both an electric and an IC motor with the attendant complexity and maintenance. At 60 mpg, the Mini Cooper SD sounds like it could give any hybrid of similar size a run for its money. And you are correct: a cost often overlooked is the cost over time of the battery. But here's a difficulty: when you leave a relatively simple analysis of "what goes in the car, and what does it cost per mile" and begin to ask a more sophisticated "what is the overall cost of ownership?" then the analysis must be done with great care, so that apples are compared to apples, and skunks are compared to skunks... ;-) As to electric power distribution, your point is taken, but since we don't have the problem yet, and it's not really on the horizon yet, it's hard to worry about. Stations that change out batteries; stations that remove spent electrolyte and replace it with new electrolyte: all of these possible future infrastructures will come at a cost borne by the consumer. Here's something that's certain: if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. We aren't seeing any paths being beaten for hybrids or EVs because they are not sufficiently better than Corollas, Mini Coopers, etc. for enough people in diverse needs.
I am curious to know taht do you own any EV? If so whcih one you own or driven any?
In USA either EV or some other vehicle is required for personal transportation. The present Chevy Volt should/will cahnge how we use the car. Now it is expensive. The technology of all kind of batteries are not optimized. Need to do alot of researh. Do you agree? If there is not demand there is not necessity to make and invent.
One can not compare to MINI Cooper or any other autos to Chevay Volt. This is entirely different kind of car, no car exists as of now to compare.
Battery is guranteed for 100K or eight years which ever comes first. But GM did not recomends or suggests to replace the battery. If I am wrong please correct me.
It is said that USA have enough capacity to support even if all autos are converted to EV. Or New industry will be creasted. And the OIL will be used for other purpose rather than just use it in IC autos.
I am curious about the performance after the battery has been depleted & the small gas engine
now has to power both the car & recharge the battery -- it must be very underpowered & sluggish under those conditions.
once the MiniSD is reported on Fueleconomy.gov, you can make a reasonable comparison. European papers also reported the Volkswagon TDI's getting in the high 50's but when it showed up, an apples to apples comparison resulted in showed 31/43 city and highway. This is nearly the same as the 35/40 reported for the VOLT in GAS only mode. The value is 95/93 in electric mode.
Chevy Volt is completely different vehicle, can not be compared with any others. It is functional. Nissan Leaf may be advanced and pure electric. But after the battery is depleted in highway what do you do?