"Buy a hybrid and smile... gas costs half as much per mile." I think that GM's mistake is in creating the impression that they sell an electric car (range anxiety) rather than a hybrid. Friday's "USA Today" had a page B1 article "Consumers want action on gas costs". I find when gas prices climb, American consumers demand political action to stop the increasing costs (even though Europeans have paid twice as much for decades). Then when prices fall, people buy new SUVs. My 7 year old Honda Civic Hybrid has averaged 49 mpg for 97,000 miles (I got my additional investment back in less than 2 years) while my current "economy" car rental on a business trip is getting 23 mpg.
The companies should advertise for the actual usage, figures and benefits instead of standard test conditions, in this kind of vehicles if is very tough for an average consumer to figure out the pros and cons, only the techies will be able rate the machine. Rest goes on the word of mouth.
@Kevin: some good technical thoughts in your message above. What you describe seem to be based on rational, practical approaches to improve the vehicle design; how ever, I wonder the marketing folks at GM may have different take on that (after all they claim to see the 'future' better than us engineering folks!).
On the battery expansion features, I would also argue for modularity that are field replaceable or even charge-station swappable (like in BetterPlace model).
@sharps- Computing the true total cost of energy used or saved in any application is very difficult at best (e.g., plastic recycling). Please don't drop rocks into already dirty water by trying to make questionably efficient electric cars part of the nations smart grid in order to justify their existence.
@Bert22306: If Nissan Leaf's can be called 'odd', then there are many oddities(!) on the road now a days in comparison to the Volt's here in Silicon Valley.
I sincerely hope these contemporary 'oddities' are 'evened-out' by progress in technology that delivers a dependable and renewable energy source for consumer transportation.
"fossil fuel was burned at the power plant" Re: MPGe - Can't you include the same to MPG in regards to gasoline generation?
6 kWh to produce one gallon of gas, then it must use gas to be shipped, then an electric pump is used to get it into a vehicle where it is finally burned and MPG only accounts for the burning phase.
Please re-read my comments. I'm not promoting any one solar-fuel scenario. I've kept the door open for many possibilities of how to create the new fuel, possibly even nuclear. There's lots of progress in Biofuels (which we know are technically viable but not yet economic), Sandia Labs has functionally prototyped direct solar-synthesized fuels, etc.
I'm not a nuclear fission proponent due to the big negatives associated with it...but am even open to that - as it may be the only non-fossil fuel energy technology ready today to acheive the scale needed.
A fusion power breakthrough would be nice...but given the history, I don't think we can count on that.
My main points were that A) we need to get off of fossil fuels - first oil then all of them. B) I think that EV's are a big distraction and do not really help us get off of fossil fuels. and C) Creating an alternate non-oil based synfuel is the most direct way to get us off of oil and maximizes the use of existing infastructure (power grid, gas stations, cars) and COULD be done in phases where the first step is COAL based, then second (final) step is RENEWABLE based.
I've read Mackay's book. In general it is excellent and dispels some incorrect thinking about energy topics.
However, sadly Mackay also promotes one huge lie because he is an "EV Zealot". Although he certainly is informed enough to know better, in order to promote EV's he thinks it is OK to use the same fraudulent MPGe calculations that the EPA uses - equating electric power to gasoline's chemical energy without regard for any real-world fuel usage for generation.
I've exchanged emails with him directly on this subject.
By the way, he's no longer a "professor", he has been promoted to a political position in the UK government, where distortion and lies to acheive an ulteriour goal will probably be standard operating procedure.
But the plan is based on the hope of a viable solar powered renewable fuel. I'm not sure that we should be planning based on hope.
Why hope for solar-powered synthesis? Surely the synthesis could be powered by a nuclear generator that we already know is feasible. Speaking of which, if we are to use the coal for th eproduction of syn fuel, wouldn't the plan also require replacing coal-fired power stations with nuclear? I suppose we could hope for that level of solar capacity, but as it stands, the only thing we know we can replace coal plants with is nuclear.
Without some comment from GM insiders this thread is just the same old same old...
Until then, read Prof David Mackay's 'Renewable Energy without the Hot Air' for some physics to help us mere engineers explain it all to mere mortals at the dinner table.
I am intrigued by the proposals to use EV car batteries as a balancing store for intermittent solar and wind power, and the use of remote desert for solar (lucky ol' USA!).