Yesterday on March 2, 2012, along with other media sources, The Washington Examiner reported: “General Motors Co. announced the temporary suspension of Chevrolet Volt production and the layoffs of 1300 employees, as the company is cutting Volt manufacturing to meet lower-than-expected demand for the electric cars.”
According to GM, they place the blame for low sales on the media. The company will lay off the workers from the Volt line with intentions of re-hiring them at the end of April when they start up again.
There is an old saying that people vote with their dollars and the best product offered will do well. Anything less than the best product will not do well. Evidently, people are doing their homework regarding the Volt.
From Chevrolet’s website and information on the Volt, the electric EPA MPG is 95 in the city and 93 on the highway. On the surface, this sounds wonderful. Looking a little further down their spec sheet, you will find the cruising range is only 36 miles for the car under battery power.
Unfortunately, 36 miles for most of America is not going to work.
Drivers who live in a metropolitan area, such as New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Dallas—and who do not have to drive more than 30 miles a day—might make out with a Volt.
Those of us, the majority of the nation who live in areas that are more rural and require more out of their cars, will never embrace the Volt—because it just does not work.
Why does it not work?
First, there is the price of the vehicle. After paying for taxes, tags, and title, anyone purchasing a Volt is going to pay about $46,000 out the door. And, according to several sources, the government subsidy for each Volt sold is more than $200,000. In other words, the buyer pays $46k and the taxpayers paid another $200k plus, for that Volt purchase. Basically, this means each of these cars retails for a quarter million dollars.
After the sale, a new Volt owner can look forward to gas savings of . . . ? Well, not so fast. According to the Chevrolet website, the “estimated fuel economy highway” is only 40 mpg. In the city, 35 mpg. This is fuel economy comparable to several economy cars already on the market—cars, which motorists can buy for considerably less than the $46k price tag of the Volt.
Financing the car with $2500 down over seven years at three percent yields a monthly payment of $583. Working the math out over a 10-year period of ownership, cost per mile comes out to $0.53. A comparable gas-driven car purchased at $22000 with the same financing figures gives a monthly payment of $277 and mileage costs of $0.39 per mile.
Ummmhhh . . .
It is time we do something about our oil dependency. Electric cars are a noble start, but this car simply does not work. We need alternative forms of energy and more than anything else, we need to be using our own energy reserves rather than importing from the Middle East and other parts of the world.
If Detroit and car makers around the world want us to drive electric cars, they are going to have to develop practical e-cars. Until they figure out a way for electric cars to travel 70 mph and go more than 500 miles on a charge at that speed, the public is just not going to buy ’em.
Oh, yeah, they also have to price them reasonably.
©2012 J. Clark
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