By on March 26, 2012

New and old media feigned outrage about the crapload of money the Chevy Volt supposedly saves its drivers if the new testimonial ads are to be believed. Honestly, we don’t give a crap. GM’s agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners probably told the client that in order to cut through the clutter, you need some shock value. When that didn’t work, the admen most likely put up a PowerPoint that showed that a YouTube video with “crapload” will receive 695.5 times the clicks of an ad that uses “a whole lot of money.” That would clinch it with Joe Ewanick, who wants to save a true crapload of money by increasing the efficiency of GM’s ad dollars.

No, being Thetruthaboutcars.com, we think the ad is shit, because the statement simply is not true.

We don’t want to bore you with cost of ownership calculations. They would most likely overtax mathematically challenged GM groupies anyway. The $40,000 Volt does not save you money. Not a crapload. Not even a little bit. Thanks to a generous $7,500 tax credit and gasoline savings,  when all is said and done, the Volt will cost you as much as an average car. Says Tony Posawatz, line director for the Chevy Volt. He told Bloomberg in an interview:

“The Volt’s cost of ownership matches the average car when including the $7,500 U.S. tax incentive and gasoline fuel savings.”

Not a word about a crapload of savings. That revolutionary car ends up costing you as much as an average car.  But only because each car costs the tax payer that crapload of money.

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131 Comments on “The Volt Saves A Crapload Of Money? GM Is Shitting You...”


  • avatar
    Lokki

    Really GM? REALLY?

    This has nothing to do with the Volt per se. It’s more in the vein of the punk rocker market advisor thing. It’s cool to say bad words…. like obviously educated (Hey! At least grade school, OK?) girls do.

    Further, it’s woth noting how well the ad has been thought out otherwise as her demographic is very much that of those who buy $40K cars.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      What “demographic”, exactly, is that you’re talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Let me stereotype the woman in the video for you. It’s OK, I’m going to say nice things about her.

        At a glance, she looks like an educated 2nd-gen Indian-American, likely with a degree in engineering, business, or both. The child of educated Indian (or possibility Pakistani) immigrants. I could be wrong, of course, but this is just how she looks at first glance.

        As an apparently educated and skilled person, she rings all of the bells of being in *my* demographic, even though I’m a white guy whose family background goes back several generations in the USA — because I have a similar education, and because there were a lot of people who looked and sounded like her in my college classes. In other words, they cast the right person for the role, and she played the role perfectly. I am in the demographic of the people who would be buying the Volt, and I could even afford one if I were working in private industry instead of the education sector. So, they did cast her well.

        The TCO claim is a big bogus. It’s what we’d all love to believe, but the writers of the commercial should have specified “operating costs”. Someone with the education that we assume the woman in the video has should have stopped halfway through the recording session and called the writers on their BS, and asked for more specificity.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “It’s what we’d all love to believe, but the writers of the commercial should have specified ‘operating costs’.”

        There’s no need for that. It’s just a form of puffery, which is acceptable in advertising.

        If someone who is promoting a product claims that it’s “awesome” or “amazing” or “better than the rest”, then they are obliged to prove nothing. The FTC assumes that the viewer or reader is smart enough to know that the claims aren’t substantive.

        “Crapload of money” falls under the same umbrella. “Crapload” is a superlative, not meant to be used for budgeting purposes. She may as well have claimed that “it rocks!” (which is not a reference to its stability) or that “it’s cool” (which is not an indication of its operating temperature.)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “It’s just a form of puffery, which is acceptable in advertising.”

        It depends on who you’re advertising to, I think. My guess is that people who use math at work are less likely to accept this kind puffery than the general public.

        Calling the product “awesome” is difficult to quantify. When you’re advertising to an audience that can replicate the analysis on the back of a napkin in a matter of seconds, making a claim quantifiable claim that like “the Volt saves money” is going to spawn a conversation that ends up being quite critical of the ad and the product. In the end, the impression is going to be: “If they’re shitting us in such an obvious way, what else are they shitting us about?”

        All communication, even advertising, needs to take the audience into account. The Volt does seem to be finding a niche as the geek’s Corvette, and geeks are good at math.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @pch101: “It’s just a form of puffery, which is acceptable in advertising.”

        It depends on who you’re advertising to, I think. My guess is that people who use math at work are less likely to accept this kind puffery than the general public.

        Calling the product “awesome” is difficult to quantify. When you’re advertising to an audience that can replicate the analysis on the back of a napkin in a matter of seconds, making a claim quantifiable claim that like “the Volt saves money” is going to spawn a conversation that ends up being quite critical of the ad and the product. In the end, the impression is going to be: “If they’re shitting us in such an obvious way, what else are they shitting us about?”

        All communication, even advertising, needs to take the audience into account. The Volt does seem to be finding a niche as the geek’s Corvette, and geeks are good at math.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “It depends on who you’re advertising to, I think.”

        No, puffery is protected by a reasonable man standard.

        “Crapload of money” doesn’t mean anything. Superlatives that claim that things are “cheap!”, “a bargain”, “a deal”, “affordable”, “the lowest prices in town”, etc. are all usually classified as puffery. There would have to be some additional circumstances in order to claim otherwise.

        These terms are common in advertising, and a reasonable person is expected to recognize that. (If the opposite was true, then Best Buy would have to change its name…)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @pch101:

        I think you’re wrong about a “crapload” being undefined. In engineering slang (and probably everywhere else), it’s a highly context-sensitive indefinite article that refers to a range of numbers just a bit bigger than the ones we normally talk about.

        I propose an experiment. Next time you’re in a meeting with engineers, and one of them says “a crapload” (or uses some other slang term for an indefinite quantity), ask another engineer what number the first engineer meant. You’ll probably get a very specific range, and everyone in the room will mostly agree on what “a crapload” means in this context.

        For instance, when I ran a department-sized IT helpdesk, users typically reported 10-15 problems per day with some variability, usually driven by external factors. If it’s a normal day and my padawan comes running down the hall and says “we have a crapload of trouble tickets!”, I know that the number of issues I’m going to see on my screen is pretty far outside of the normal variability. I could reasonably guess that there are at least 30 user-issues that we need to resolve. In any case number will be pretty far outside of the usual day-to-day variability.

        When you talk to a geeky audience, you’ve got to use language in a precise way. The work we do requires that we use language, numbers, and everything else in very precise ways. Any apparent lack of rigor sets off the BS Detectors. In many kinds of engineering, sloppy thinking gets people killed — so when we detect sloppy thinking, we are obligated to interrogate the speaker until we find the problem. This insistence on rigor is a deliberate cultural tic of the engineering disciplines, and also declaration of how seriously we take our work. An unfortunate side effect of this is an “impedance mismatch” with salesfolk, marketers, politicians, non-technical managers, and people from The Humanities. It’s a tough crowd, but this is the audience.

        The flip side of all of this is that we’ll usually advocate for anything that survives the Q&A gauntlet. “We didn’t design $FOO to to $BAR” is a perfectly acceptable answer. There’s no reason that any car, bridge, building, or computer should be all things to all people, so tell us what your product is good for what tradeoffs you made, so that we can easily identify the situations where it will be a good fit. And, yes, we already know your competitor’s products, so there’s no sense in pretending they’re worse than they actually are. This leads us to say “oooh ooh ooh, GM has the perfect tool for that situation, but if things were slightly different, I’d recommend the Nissan or Toyota solution.”

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    The still image of the dark haired women before you start the video says it all… she looks so thrilled with her Volt doesn’t she.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      I was going to say, “kill this car with fire”, but then I remembered that is already being done.

      They messed up when they didn’t reissue this car with the horsecollar grille like they did back in 1957.

      What if GM restyles this car slightly and rename it “Monza”? Won’t that keep it in production a couple more years?

      Remember, Obama said he is going to buy one when he is no longer president. Considering how well both will fare this summer, he should be taking delivery of a new one made last month which sat on a lot and unsold until then, right?

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        We get it, you’re super right wing. That’s fine. However, you spray it all over your posts, which got very old a long time ago. And it’s wholly unrelated to this Volt ad. The Volt was in development well before Obama was in office. Lemme guess, you blame him for high gas prices as well?

        PS – Elections take place in the Fall, and your republican candidates look nothing short of brilliant right now.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Read what I wrote, not what you read into it.

        I do not predict the 2012 election.
        I do not mention anything other than the President’s promise.
        Or did he not say that he would buy a Volt after he is no longer president? That is what he said only days before production of this vehicle was suspended.

        Stop looking to be offended. One doesn’t need to be a super anything to enjoy a joke at any president’s expense, regardless of politics.

        Finally, I believe this president intends to drive his new Volt to all 57 states. So perhaps he is planning to create an additional seven somewhere before he leaves office.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        We’re not offended. We’re just bored.

  • avatar
    Oren Weizman

    Let’s face it, a sail boat will get you from Paris to New York more fuel efficiently than an airplane, it might take longer, you might need a crew and you might get scurvy if you don’t eat right on the way there … But it’ll get you to New York for about the money it costs to fuel up a 747

    I shouldn’t have done shrooms this morning …

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I seen some getting 50 miles on battery alone. With my 58 mile one way commute along with free charge at work I could save a boatload on gasoline costs. Almost free while riding in the state of art automobile.

    • 0 avatar
      Volts On Fire

      If only it weren’t for that inconvenient $35K price tag AFTER REBATE for what is essentially a glorified Cruze.

      Keep it up, Bertel. The more Truth that’s out there, the sooner we may finally kill this ridiculous joke of a GM product.

      • 0 avatar

        If you have driven and examined a Cruze and a Volt, you would know that a Volt isn’t just an electrified Cruze. A Mercedes S550 has more in common with a Mercedes C300 than a Volt has in common with a Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Never driven either of them, and I never will.

        BTW, you may want to brush up on the Volt’s roots. Even GM makes it very clear that it’s a derivative of the Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        While I think the Volt is a poor value propostion, why should we be setting a goal of killing it?

        The Corvette, the CTS and quite a few other cars strike me as poor value propositions. Should we also kill them?

      • 0 avatar

        I really don’t understand people like you, Volts On Fire.

        The Volt is one of the few interesting, truly innovative and fresh products to come out of American manufacturers in a long, long time. Yet you irrationally (having not driven one) rail against it. For what? To save a small amount of tax dollars that go when one of these things is purchased?

        America used to be about innovation, quality, new ideas etc (I say this, as a Canadian, having listened the rhetoric for most of my life). Volts are one of few signs you might still have something. Why all the naysayers? Are you still living in the 60s?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Volts on Fire,
        Many cars maybe based on another cars platform, but it doesn’t make it a glorifed (stick in the name of the lesser platform mate).

        ES350->Camry
        RX350->Highlander
        Prius c->Yaris
        Civic->ILX
        Accord->TSX

        etc etc

        Everyone does this. There are parts and components shared with each. The closest match between the Volt and the Cruze is the Prius c and the Yaris, and honestly, it isn’t a comparison I would make with the Volt/Cruze or Prius c/Yaris combo. Both are very different power trains, transmissions, features, etc. The rest of the list (which is short because the list is VERY VERY long from all manufactures) you could have an argument with. But the Volt isn’t a glorified Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Sigh… it’s really pitiful how some can’t see the Truth. All GM did is repackage the technology pioneered over a decade ago by Toyota, in a way that made the resulting vehicle both vastly more expensive, and far less practical for the overwhelming majority of American drivers. Yes, the Volt is different… but it sure isn’t any better, especially for the price.

        This is an achievement in your eyes? Seriously?

        Anyone who believes the Volt represents any true achievement for American ingenuity and technological prowess really needs to be carted away to the local looney bin, and kept from society until they end of their days.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Volt On Fire,
        Keep posting, it is giving me a great laugh.

        You are right… the Volt uses the exact same tech as the Prius… which was the pioneering achievement by Toyota… LOL. Too funny. How about you learn a history of hybrids.

        http://www.hybridcars.com/history/history-of-hybrid-vehicles.html

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Ah, Steven… Seems your link does nothing to disprove my point that Toyota pioneered the practical hybrid vehicle, and was the first to bring such a vehicle to market.

        (Incidentally, your link also validates Bertel’s earlier – and absolutely CORRECT – repudiation of Akerson’s idiotic statements that the Volt sold more cars in its first year on the market than the Prius managed. It’s right there… “nearly 18,000.” Yet you continue to beat your little drum against that further down the thread.)

        I’d laugh at you, too…if people who thought like you weren’t an insult to our collective intelligence.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Nice username, VoF. I’m surprise they allow you to even HAVE that username, given all you’ve made it for seems to be a huge troll.

        Anyway, I think it’s implied by “saving a crapload of money” that you’ll be spending much less day to day on gas.

        Will you make up for it with a MUCH higher monthly payment? Definitely. Does it make any financial sense whatsoever? No. Can you get a Cruze, Focus, Elantra, etc, and have more or less the same car for $15,000 less? Yes.

        In ten or twenty years, this kind of idea will probably be in the $20,000’s, and that’s where it will be much more feasible. I like the idea as a whole if only because you can conceivably do a lot of your day to day without using much if any gas, and THAT is how you cut down on consumption, not by getting an extra 5-10 MPG. A Volt can theoretically, day to day, use four times (or more) less gas than a regular car. If everybody owned one, that would make a huge impact.

        In the meantime, buy what you need. I have a 2012 Focus that routinely gets 30-32 MPG city and 40-43 MPG highway, because it’s just me and my girlfriend. In 5-6 years when we have kids, I’ll be trading in most likely for a new Escape or current gen Equinox, used, and still get much better gas mileage than the guy driving to WalMart in his F-350.

        Oh, and looked at other comments you’ve made, yeah, you’re just a troll and apparently a Toyota fanboy. Good job!

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        tuffjuff, I find it pretty funny that you call me a troll, then essentially validate my point. You yourself correctly realized there are many vehicles out there that make much more sense than GM’s foolish ploy for buyers in the same market, the Focus being one of them.

        We’re not talking about the feasibility of this technology in 10 or 20 years. We’re talking about the here and now, where GM is trying to market a $40K-$45K hybrid vehicle to a very small niche of buyers, using taxpayer money and the “power” of Obama’s bully pulpit to artifically pump up the importance and sales numbers of a vehicle and technology that doesn’t make a lot of sense right now.

        (Someone above noted if we’re going to damn vehicles that don’t make sense, we should also damn the ‘Vette and CTS. Except those vehicles manage to survive without a $7500 taxpayer-funded tax credit.)

        I’m not a Toyota “fanboy” but I certainly believe in giving credit where it’s due. What GM is trying — and, let’s not forget, failing — to do with the Volt, has already been done less expensively, more reliably, and more practically with the Prius. That is beyond dispute.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Bertel says that the Prius sold 18k units in Japan in its first year, and I don’t think anyone disagrees with that fact. However, Bertel’s EXACT interpretation of an indirect quote by someone is what I am commenting about. Go back, find the article that he is taking the quote from. You will see, it isn’t a direct quote. We don’t know if Akerson was talking about calendar year, market share, or the country for that fact. But don’t let details, like being an exact quote or not fool you. So please, continue taking what Bertel says as gold.

        Now, the Prius was not a pioneer into hybrids. Other people have been doing them for a LONG time. GM’s tech is not the same as Toyota’s, in fact, it isn’t very similar once you get into the details. Unless you consider all hybrids after the Prius the exact same. But hey, who cares about ACTUAL facts.

      • 0 avatar
        TheHammer

        Clueless

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Volts On Fire- Isn’t a troll someone who spouts negative BS based on ignorance?
        In that case, you certainly are a troll. Volt will drive circles around Prius, while incurring half the operating cost. Toyota is playing catchup with the plug-in which is two seconds slower to 60 than Volt! That is not just a little bit. Volt is the most innovative vehicle on the planet.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Well doc, you have proven here time and again to be nothing but a shameless GM apologist; one faceless member of the inept horde of “engineers” that helped ruin GM the first time around. You can imagine how little your opinion matters to me.

        (But hey, let’s go ahead and entertain it anyway, because as we all know a two-second difference in 0-60 times matters soooo much to the greenie crowd.)

        Face it – despite all that “innovation” you seem to really believe (HA!) the Volt is dying fast, and my side is winning. It’s just a matter of time.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Robert Farago… If your out there, please come back.

        P.S. Don’t forget your “ban” button.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @VOF- It is certainly no surprise that one so disinterested in facts is not concerned about the opinions of one who actually has a factual and experiential basis for opinion. The Voltec concept is here to stay, and you flatter yourself that anything said here makes one wit of difference to any car maker. Talk about delusions of grandeur!

      • 0 avatar

        “Sigh… it’s really pitiful how some can’t see the Truth. All GM did is repackage the technology pioneered over a decade ago by Toyota, in a way that made the resulting vehicle both vastly more expensive”

        If that’s the case, why hasn’t Toyota sued GM for violating their patents, like they sued Ford? Actually Ford and Toyota developed similar systems independently and Ford ended up paying a licensing fee to Toyota in order to avoid costly litigation. Their agreement makes it clear that Ford did not infringe. Both of those companies, btw, have been sued by PAICE over the hybrid control systems. To my knowledge PAICE has not claimed that the Volt infringes.

        Yes, the Prius, Fusion Hybrid, and Volt all have an ICE, one or more electric motors and a planetary gear set. GM’s system, however, is the only one of the three that can operated as a serial hybrid.

        Oh, and your screenname is inaccurately plural. Only a single crash tested Chevy Volt has caught fire.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        And let’s not forget that in the 2 instances where Volts caught fire, one was weeks after an accident and one was while in a garage where another gadget might have been the culprit.

        Heck, more Ferraris have combusted recently than Volts.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Ronnie Schreiber: WRT the Ford and Toyota hybrid issue: Once they both realized they were working on a similar technology, Ford and Toyota reached a cross licensing arrangement over the design of the hybrid system. Additionally, Ford shared some diesel engine technology as part of the agreement.

        I’m not much of a Ford fan anymore, but credit where credit is due.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      “along with free charge at work”
      Companies don’t like workers using the phone, internet or copiers for personal business. Plugging in a 240 volt 15 amp car will not go over well for long.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Besides, he’s sharing the expense of his ignorant self-righteousness with his coworkers, customers and stockholders.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        GS – I agree some companies don`t like personal use. Some do. I also agree that if more people start charging up at work then the cost becomes much bigger to bare. Your comments equally apply to the Leaf and Prius plug-in. I await you complaining when those cars are reviewed or have articles about them.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Some companies provide chargers as a benefit to get people to work there. Google’s campus has electric chargers everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        @mike978

        Did Nissan or Toyota take bailout money from the taxpayer? GM took a ‘crapload’ of US taxpayer money that will likely never get repaid. Corporate welfare is alive and well all in the name of jobs. You just have to be too big to fail.

    • 0 avatar

      Assuming that gas is $3.75/gal, a Cruze Eco would cost you $12/day in gas, pessimistically assuming you get the combined mileage, not the highway mileage.

      A Volt would cost you a bit less than $2/day, depending on local power rates, and taking your free work-charge and no-gas commute as givens.

      20 work-days a month, more or less, is $200 difference per month. The problem is the lease rate on a Volt is more than $200/month more than that on a comparably equipped Cruze.

      So with reasonable assumptions, the break-even point for a Volt seems to be about 100 gas-free miles/day (every day, not just workdays), when compared to a Cruze.

      Unsurprisingly, the balance tilts substantially outside of the US: in my part of Canada, gas is $5.20/gal (US). In Europe? More.

      The Volt still enjoys only a narrow window of advantage: you have to be a high-mileage driver, but your usage needs to fit within the electric range of the Volt between charges. That will be some people, and some people is enough to sell some cars.

      (In Canada, the best ad for the viability of the Prius was their near-universal adoption by local cab drivers; I’ve seen lots of Prius V taxis, too. I don’t know what typical mileage/day is for local cabs, but obviously the Volt wouldn’t fit that use case. Out of curiosity, I did the obvious pricing test: a Prius V costs less than a diesel Jetta).

      • 0 avatar
        86Fiero

        Assuming his 58 mile one way commute also involves a 58 mile commute home after charging for free at work, he has now covered 116 miles for $2per day vs $24 for the Cruze eco.

        Assuming he also has a need to drive on weekends he would be very near the break even point you described, justifying his original post. Assuming he lived in Canada with higher gas prices he may actually save money.

        Although this is an idealized case which doesn’t represent the majority of car buyers it would make financial sense for him. Add in the value of actually liking the Volt more than a Cruze and it seems like a reasonable decision.

      • 0 avatar
        motorrad

        I work for a large aerospace company and they recently installed charging stations at several of their US facilities. However, they aren’t free. I believe the price is $3/hour to charge. I’m not sure how long it takes to charge a Volt but in my 96 mile round trip commute in my Honda Fit, I burn a little over 2 gallons a day. If it takes more than 2 hours to recharge your Volt then you are close to what I spend a day in gas. Just saying…..

  • avatar
    gslippy

    TTAC is that the Volt will save you a lot of money in operating costs.

    But you’ll spend a lot up front to save this money.

    By the way, to the Volt lovers out there – it looks like GM is still selling the Volt as an economy car. So, as such, price comparisons to other economy cars are very appropriate. People who defend the high price usually want to compare it to a 5-series or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Which is teh exact same issue with the Prius before it. Of course 5 to 10 years ago people were up in arms defending their Prius purchase and one of their arguments was that it should be compared to a midsize car not a compact in determining the savings acheived from its improved fuel efficiency and the price penalty in buying it. Both the attackers and the defenders have now moved onto the Volt, a new hybrid technology that promises bigger savings (operating costs and environmental) than the Prius. While I don’t defend the Volt and the government price supports it receives, I find it interesting that the haters and the defenders have moved on to the newest big thing, and the haters even sometimes use the Prius as a comparable car that makes more sense while the defenders are simply retooling the old arguments made in defense of the Prius.

  • avatar
    analoca

    Where I live in southern Europe, it certainly saves a lot of money compared to a ICE car of similar price. Driving 100 km with a Volt/Ampera cost 1.00 – 1.20 Euro while driving the same distance with a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle would cost some 10,00 – 11.00 Euro in terms of fuel. Cost of maintenance should also be lower I pressume….

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Your first sentence is part of the problem…the car is being advertised as an economy proposition. Most folks (at least here in America) aren’t looking at a $40k car as an “economy” car. Sure, if compared to a car within the same price range, then there might be a valid arguement that you will save money in fuel costs. But if the Volt is seen as an economy car, then the comparisons here start with other cars (like the Prius, or even GM’s very own Cruze ECO) which cost much, much less…thereby making the “savings” statements somewhat disingenuous. Never mind that the American public is “footing” a part of the purchase price to begin with in the form of $7500 tax credits/breaks.

      • 0 avatar
        mcarr

        This is the point, you’re suppose to compare it to other $35-40k cars, not a Sonic or Cruze, even though the jist is that you’re saving money.

        Also, it seems to me that this type of ad was suggested by the B&B at the last TTAC Volt ad roast. Having real customers extol the virtues of Volt ownership. Someone was paying attention at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, although, at this point it just seems like a Ford ad ripoff.

      • 0 avatar
        toxicroach

        They shouldn’t be selling it as an economy car. They should be selling it as a hot, eco-conscious status symbol for people who are better than those poor Prius drivers.

        Look, it’s a first gen tech. Which means its both overpriced and not terribly useful. If GM actually thought they were going to sell a million of this gen volt, they are crazy. It was always going to exactly what it is; a toy for early adopters who will provide the cash to refine and develop the tech until it actually becomes sensible.

        Cf. Prius C.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Your first sentence is part of the problem…the car is being advertised as an economy proposition.”

        The ad makes it clear that it is being advertised as a **hipster** proposition.

        It’s about time, frankly. This car should have been marketed to nerdy people from the start. As far as ads go, it isn’t perfect, but at least GM is finally figuring it out that targeting mainstream late adopters and tech laggards is not a terrific way to flog a high cost, low volume alternative product.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        @Pch101 – Real hipsters drive vintage full sized RWD Detroit Iron, not new stuff like this…

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @PenguinBoy

        Real hipsters, or at least all the hipsters I know, walk and/or ride a decrepit bicycle.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Real hipsters drive vintage full sized RWD Detroit Iron, not new stuff like this…”

        Wrong era.

        For today, Psar’s description is a bit more accurate. But of course, GM isn’t in the business of selling old fixed-gear bicycles, so it needs to have a bit of a different angle…

  • avatar

    Where is the math here? I don’t know of any other $40,000 car that consumes as little gasoline, or as little energy in general and can still go anywhere, as does the Volt. Compare, for example, the new BMW 328i with the Volt: The Volt will cost the typical 12,000 mile a year driver a lot less.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      That’s some fine logic you got there PaloAltoWorldView.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      A $40,000 used Ferrari will cost even more and the maintenance costs are a bitch.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @PaloAltoWorldView:

      Would it be OK for it to cost $60k, or maybe $80k? Because, you know, it’s really cheap to operate.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      Oh man….
      “as little energy” as the volt?
      Are you serious? You are not an engineer are you? The Volt uses the same amount of energy as an any other car its same mass. But, big BUT here, the Volt has an extra bit of inefficiency here: it converts chemical energy into electrical energy into mechanical energy.
      There is a bit of extra inefficiency in there.
      Oh never mind. It is useless to explain. I will just read with a chuckle the responses of the GM apologists.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        jhott – I agree with your comment about “energy”. Your point about the added inefficiency also applies to the Prius plug-in.

      • 0 avatar
        toplessFC3Sman

        It does use less energy… because it recaptures up to roughly 70% of the energy that would otherwise be wasted in a conventional car when you hit the brakes, and stores it in the battery to be used later. This is the biggest reason for hybrid vehicles in the first place, and why their city fuel economy numbers are much better than conventional cars, while highway numbers may not be (less braking to recapture, but they’re usually more aerodynamic/have lower rolling resistance etc).

        Sure, this is true of the prius, leaf, volt, or most any other hybrid, but they all DO use less energy, even after factoring in conversion efficiency losses. Would it be fair to assert that you aren’t an engineer either?

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        ToplessFC3Sman:
        I am an engineer and know more about the Vilt than you might think…
        You are simply wrong to state these “hybrid” vehicles use less energy.
        It is quite simply not a statement of fact. But, facts have never been stated when it comes to these hybrid vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Hybrids share the capability to recapture kinectic energy instead of dissipating it as heat. That is why they use less energy. Prius really does get 50MPG. In the case of increasing battery size, as with Volt and Leaf, mass is a variable that deteriorates all sorts of performance attributes. It still takes 50 pounds of battery to store the energy of 1 pound of gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        Sorry, guys, but the Volt would be MORE efficient than a typical ICE car. An ICE has a thermal efficiency of maybe 30%, at best. That is when it’s running under ideal conditions, which it usually isn’t. If you combine all the inefficiencies of electric motor, chemical conversion, power plant efficiency, etc., the battery powered car would be more efficient, if your power comes from a modern, and relatively efficient generating plant.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The thermal efficiency of a gas engine is about 25%.

        The thermal efficiency of a diesel engine is about 30%.

        If I’m not mistaken, the thermal efficiency of an electric motor is about 90%.

        Without a start-stop system, an internal combustion engine is doing work even when a vehicle isn’t moving. An electric motor doesn’t have to do any work when sitting in traffic or at a stoplight.

        Electric cars are quite efficient. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are particularly useful for most people. Internal combustion offers several advantages in real world usage, but efficiency is not one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        The EPA rates the energy efficiency of the Volt in a gasoline-miles equivalent.. Its called MPGe and I believe about 93MPGe for the Volt. It is based on the energy content of gasoline, around 32kwh per gallon and is measured from the wall socket to the wheels.

        In its electric mode, the Volt is nearly twice as energy efficient as a Prius.. and you know how efficient a Prius is.

      • 0 avatar
        Duncan

        Jhott – PaloAlto didn’t even say “use energy” he said “consume” which could easily be interpretted to factor in overall efficiency.

        PaloAlto’s argument may not be compelling to you, but it is hardly deserving the scorn of an engineer.

        PaloAlto – if you’re in the market for a $40k car and the Volt and 328i serve you equally well – I think it’s a reasonable bet that the Volt will have lower operating costs than the 328i.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      I’ll try to take a reasonable approach in responding to your post. Simply, why would I compare it to another $40,000 car? I have not driven one. Is the Volt’s performance, interior fit and finish, “feel” on a par with a $40,000 car? Which one(s)? What it should be compared to is a car that offers similar acceleration and carrying capacity with similar features. What are we talking now, a $20,000 car? Or, maybe we should compare the Volt to it’s primary “green” competitor, the Prius (the Leaf is all electric and you get into severe limitations on range that may be hard to quantify in monetary terms).

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        You ask a good question.

        The closest I’ve gotten to a Volt is to sit inside one at the auto show. I found its interior quality on par with a small $15-20k car, but I did not like it even though I like the exterior looks of the car.

        We already know that its road performance is good, but not what you’d find in a $40k car today.

        I’ve decided that comparisons of the Volt to the Leaf are misplaced; they each serve different practical needs, unless we lump all ‘greenies’ together. The Leaf is obviously not a distance car.

        I would be much more interested in owning a Leaf, since I prefer to only worry about 1 fuel instead of 2, and since I would only need it for commuting about town.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        I’ve driven a Volt a little, and it is just “different” from other cars. The thing that I like is the eery silence and smoothness of the power train. The handling felt better than my Prius, but that may be partly due to the tires. All Volts have lower profile, 17 inchers, while my Prius has the standard 15 inch wheels.

        The thing that impressed me the most, was the unobtrusiveness of the ICE when it cranked up. I was going ~60 mph when the battery got low enough to start the ICE, and it would get your attention more if it started at low speed, but still, for a first generation of something different, they did a good job in the NVH department.

        …and yes, I consider the Volt to be “something different.” It is the only plug-in hybrid with a meaningful range on battery power. Also, unlike the upcoming plug-in Prius, the Volt has full performance on electric power, while the plug-in Prius has only ~50 hp of motor power, and will crank up the ICE at any time, if you accelerate very quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        Which is why I was excluding the Leaf from potential comparison; how do you quantify it’s limited range monetarily? It seems to me based only on what i have read that the Volt’s clearest and closest competitor is a plug-in Prius. The fact that the Volt is more focused on the electric motor than the Prius is easily quantified in terms of typical usage and the different costs of electricity and gasoline. I’m also glad to hear what I already expected, the Volt has the fit, finish, and feel of a well equipped economy car, something in the $15k to $20k range; so another possible comparison would be to a fully loaded Focus, Sentra, Corolla, Mazda3, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Darkhorse

      I think the Volt is an interesting bit of engineering and I would like to have one except it’s TOO DAMNED EXPENSIVE! Why doesn’t Chevy put a similar technology drivetrain in a Cruze or a Sonic so we peasants can have one?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        For the Cruze-sized vehicle, that’s what the Volt is.

        As for the Sonic, it’s too small to have 2 engines and 2 fuel tanks (gas + batteries), still carry 4 people, and give the same performance. Even if something Voltec could be packaged in the Sonic, you might only get 15 miles EV range and have an MSRP of $35k – not fit for the peasants.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        It’s the power train and the batteries, not the body, that make the Volt expensive.

        What I’d like to see is the Volt’s hatchback body with the Cruze Eco power train, for about $20K reasonably equipped. That would be doable. Even better, put that upcoming Cruze diesel in the Volt body.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I’m not seeing the anticipated maintenance cost savings here. No one knows what the true costs of Volt ownership will be yet, surely if we discover problems with the battery, the ICE, or other systems that can eat up all the fuel costs savings in a hurry.
    This is a new GM product and their track record isn’t the best.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    There’s one other important aspect of electric car ownership that folks forget about. It’s the cost of installing a 220 volt service so you can charge the car in eight hours instead of 16. There’s a guy in my town who got all excited about the MINI-e and won the ‘raffle” so he could be a guinea pig for a year-long lease. Then he went to find out about installing 220 volt service in his detached garage. The bill from the electric company to run an extra line to his detached garage was about $1800. That was only to get 220 volt service to his garage, and not from the pole to the wall socket. That was yet another $1400 bill from the electrician.

    So there’s another $3200 of hidden costs. You can buy a lot of gas with that money, and it’s not going to do much for the resale of a house, or a car.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      In my area, upgrading a 120-amp service to a 400-amp service, which is what most new homes are required to have under the code these days, costs between $6k -$7K, all in.

      A 120-amp service will indeed support 220V, as in Electric Dryer and Electric Range, but is limited to 60-amps of power on each leg.

      Charging a Volt on the Dryer circuit may work until you need to run a Dryer, or the Stove, at which point the Main Breakers would overload and pop as they surpass 60-amps on each leg.

      So, unless you have a 400-amp circuit already in place and have at least a spare 60-amp available in both legs of the 220-volt circuitry after Central Air is subtracted, it may be a more prudent choice to have the Elec Co furnish a 440volt transformer on your premises to feed the Volt charger, OR upgrade the meter to support TWO 400-amp circuit boxes, one being for the Volt.

      Neither of these options is cheap. And your power company may have their own ideas on how to solve this dilemma.

      With the money you would spend on all the upgrades and the Volt you’d do better to buy a Cruze and use the money to buy gas. Hey, maybe that’s what many people are doing already.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        You sir have just described another dirty little secret of “electric car” ownership…
        Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        240SX_KAT

        That’s not right. I have never seen a 400A feed for a residential service. The largest commonly available panel is 200A. Perhaps it is due to the misunderstanding you have about the current available?
        A 120A, 240V service supplies 120A at 240v, or 120A on each leg of 120V. The 30A dryer, 40A stove and 30A AC unit only leaves you with 20A at 240V, enough to charge a Volt but certainly not enough to run the rest of your house. A 200A feed is plenty for everything, and you would be hard pressed to actually use all the juice that a 200A feed can supply.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        There is also an assumption that charging times for the Volt or other plug in-vehicle is from completely empty.

        If I bought an EV, the base 120V option would be sufficient to refuel the car for my driving habits. I wouldn’t need to install an upgraded charging station.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Really?.. Volt draws 3700watts, about what two hair driers require.. and that will force you to upgrade your service to 400A?.. please. You can use 120V, it will take 8 hours to recharge.

        BTW, most people do drain the Volt battery driving around 40 miles a day, and it does require a full recharge. People driving a Leaf also drive about 40 miles but only have to recharge half the battery. Takes the same amount of time to recharge.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        240SX_KAT and Herm, the fast charger for the Volt is a 220V unit.

        Electrical code depends on where you live and the size of the house. I have ONE digital meter with TWO 200A panels at my house for TWO AC units, and FOUR swamp coolers, along with the rest of the house circuitry. My Dryer uses a 220v-6600w heating element and a half-horse 110v 1Ph motor.

        Modern code mandates a 200A panel for even a modest home, depending on where you live. But in homes with an area of 2800sqft or more a 200A panel is pushing it.

        KAT, wall outlets are 20A each these days. Dryer circuit is 60A. Stove is 50A. One central-AC unit is 60A. Multiple floor homes with multiple central-AC units require 60A each per unit. Electric water heaters require 60A circuits. Electrically heated floors in bathrooms, etc, require a 50A GFCI circuit EACH.

        One of my brothers recently bought a USED 4800sqft home in California and it has a 400A box, supporting three AC heating units for multiple levels, each with a 60A outlet. He has electrically heated bathroom floors.

        Even so, when he turns on his air compressor in the garage, it briefly dims the lights in the house. Lotta humming coming from that box, under load.

        Charging the Volt on a 110v circuit may serve the purpose of SOME people, but a 220v circuit is much better with a FAST charger. Charging safely with any circuitry is the goal, and the more amperage you have to spare, the better.

  • avatar
    probert

    I recently saw an intelligent conversation regarding the UAW here at TTAC and thought ,”Them boys are getting soft. Must be the fluoride in the water supply or sumpin.”

    But you’re back , by golly, bring on the crazy just like the good ol’ days!!!

  • avatar

    The European Volt, the Opel Ampera, is even more expensive. It starts at 44,000 Euros up to some 49,000 Euros, offering a top speed of 160 km/h (99.5 mph). Similar pricing in the UK. There are no 7,500 incentives, btw.

    This is a price range outside of scope for many, even if they would want to stop feeding greedy oil companies and governments. To save money, there are better options.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Bertel,
    I see that you are still referencing your direct interpretation of an indirect quote. Nicely done.

    Now, I think the quote above depends on perspective. Say someone was driving a large SUV or Truck, switching to a Chevy Volt would be saving a “crap load” of money.

    I know a guy who traded his V8 Tiguan in for a Prius and was talking about how much money he was saving, when he would have also been saving money with a Corolla, Civic, Focus (this was when the last gas price spike was happening).

    I have also seen people say they bought another car for the gas savings only to be turning in a paid off car and not including monthly payments.

    Also, a $350/month lease isn’t a bad deal on the car. Current cost of ownership between that and a Leaf has to be quite similar. At auto shows, I have seen Nissan advertising it as saving you quite a bit of money as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      A V8 Tiguan would be interesting. Where can I get one? I’d save a dump’s worth of money over my Hello Kitty! themed Cayenne Turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      Steven02 – did you watch the video? In the ad, the girl actually says “crapload of money”.

      That was the context of the original article before the culture wars broke out.

      Do you think that GM’s intent in having her say that was to suggest that she was a typical large SUV owner switching to a Volt?

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        Why, doesn’t she look like a large SUV owner?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Yes, I watched the video. In fact, look at my earlier comment when I quote crap load.

        My point is, that given the right circumstances (which isn’t uncommon in the US), the Volt could save people a crap load of money. Drivers of nearly all (not paid off) crossovers, larges cars, and most premium cars would save a crap load of money by leasing a Volt. Especially with decent sized commutes.

        For the article say it doesn’t is incorrect when there are certainly circumstances where it does.

  • avatar
    lw

    Occam’s razor time….

    This is Government Motors, hence they use the same accounting firm as the US government to cut costs.

    Using US Government accounting rules, the Chevy Volt saves the average owner $4.67 Billion dollars per hour of use and $6.8 Billion per hour when it’s sitting in your garage.

    If it burns your house down, then you can count all of the expenses to replace your crap as net new GDP.

    That my friends is a load of crap!

  • avatar
    lw

    One other consideration… If you can sue and win for MPG that didn’t meet the published numbers, I bet anyone who buys a volt after that commercial aired and doesn’t save what they consider to be a “crap load” of money can sue the crap out of GM for a load of cash!

    I have this vision of a bunch of GM lawyers sitting around for $500 a hour each trying to define “crap load”.

    LMAO

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Exactly which car are you using to make the claim that the Volt doesn’t save you money? What type of depreciation curve are we assuming here? Let’s see the numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Here’s one example:
      Volt v. Prius 3

      Volt:
      $40k purchase price with $7.5k rebate
      ignore sales tax (best scenario for Volt)
      assume 100% electric operation (cheapest scenario)
      2.78 mi/kWh (from window sticker)
      assume $0.09/kWh electricity price (cheaper than my electricity rate)
      = $0.0324/mi for fuel

      Prius 3:
      $25.5k purchase price ($7000 less than Volt)
      51/48 EPA = 49.6 mpg combined
      $4.00/gal gas price
      = $0.0806/mi for fuel

      It would take 145k mi to recoup the difference in purchase price under the *cheapest* scenario for the Volt. If you ever put gas in it, the miles to break-even go up. In fact, if less than 36% of the miles driven on the Volt are from electric, the Volt costs *more* per mile than the Prius, meaning there is no break-even point.

      The issue of depreciation is a fool’s trap. As long as you own the car, its residual value is irrelevant. You can only access its value by selling it, but then you don’t have the car anymore. But to entertain that notion, we can assume depreciation is proportional to purchase price and that the total lifespan of each car is the same. If that’s the case, then the Volt will always lose value faster than the Prius, so selling it will always net a loss compared to the Prius.

      • 0 avatar

        The “issue of depreciation” is NOT a “fool’s trap. It will remind you that sooner or later you will want/need a new car.

        It is simply the cost involved in using a car, or any kind of machinery over a time, that is doomed to become obsolete or unusable and needs to be replaced.

        The more you have paid to buy it, the more you will loose. Not to consider this factor sounds pretty strange.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        Prius has one of the lowest TCO of any car on the market.. why not compare the Volt to something in its class (near luxury) with the same level of sportiness, lets say a loaded $28k Verano or Cruze?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        herb, that’s called “purchase price.” The more it costs, the more it costs. That’s the very first line of the analysis. I’m basically saying assume it has completely depreciated the moment you buy it.

        The folly is the thinking that if a car depreciates less, it somehow doesn’t cost as much. To access un-depreciated value, you have to sell the car, and assuming a car is a need (and not a toy), you then have to buy another one, thus spending whatever cash you just extracted. It is the same folly as thinking of your home as an investment or nest egg.

        Herm, feel free to plug in those numbers, but I picked a reasonably equipped Prius because I suspect those who buy the Volt are doing so primarily to reduce gas consumption, not to get luxury & sportiness.

  • avatar
    devilsadvocate

    So I can spend 40K for the privilege of then paying the electric company to power my car instead of (or in this case, in addition to) paying the gas station?? And for the supposed tree-huggers out there, where do you think this magic electricity is coming from…the energy fairy? It comes largely from coal. So either way, you’re burning dinosaur bones. In case you haven’t guessed, I can’t see any logic behind this car, or any electric car as they exist now.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      Devil,
      Electricity comes from a variety of sources, increasingly including wind and solar. Even if your power comes from coal, it is a lot easier to clean up the emissions and sequester the carbon from one plant, rather than a million cars.

      If you don’t see the logic of any electric car, that is your choice.

      • 0 avatar
        jkumpire

        @Sean,

        If what you said was true, it would be great! The problem is it isn’t true and when the subsidies dry up, so will wind and solar energy.

        BTW, what is happening now is that coal is being replaced by nothing, as the EPA is closing plants left and right by regulatory fiat since what we breathe out of our lungs is destroying the environment.

        As spoken above, one day an electric car might be viable as the tech improves, but your sales job doesn’t add up to anything but bad data.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      FWIW the “magic electricity” flowing into my house comes from 100% wind power. (via Viridian) It costs me on average an extra $2-3.50 a month versus coal power. I justify it by thinking I’m just buying a beer for someone.

      Unfortunately I don’t have an electric car to fuel with this magic juice from the “energy fairy”, simply because the electric cars on the market don’t meet my needs. Yet.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Volt can travel 35 miles on $1.50 worth of electricity, about 4.3 cents/ mile. That is equivalent to a 100MPG car with gas at $4.30/gallon or roughly half the cost of a Prius to operate.

    It is just 1/4 the cost of a vehicle that averages 25MPG, say the average mid-size sedan. Volt can save about $135/month, making the $349 lease cost competitive with a 25mpg sedan leasing for $214/month, when operating costs are considered.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      But the Volt’s natural competition is the $24K Prius or the $19K Prius C.

      The $350 leases seem to be set up for 12K miles per year. The maximum fuel cost savings you can get with a Volt, compared to a Prius is going to be about ((12Kmiles/year)/50mpg)*$4/gallon = $960/year before you take into account the $200-300 you pay for electricity. If you buy the Volt outright or get a more expensive higher-mileage lease, that changes but your fixed cost on the car increases pretty dramatically.

      Saving money with the Volt isn’t likely unless we see really expensive gas… and then no one’s going to have the money to buy a Volt, anyway. And really expensive gas will spur other gas-frugal transportation alternatives.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        Saving money by buying a new can be shown not to work on so many levels when comparing to buying used. So, why not in that case say that a Prius won’t save you money compared to any used Corolla, Civic, Cobalt, Focus etc. We see this argument all the time.

        Will you save money on by buying a Volt or Prius? Really, it depends upon the economic situation you are currently in with respect to cars that you own and what your driving habits are. So, can you save money with a Volt. Absolutely. Can you also save money with a Prius. Sure thing. Could you probably save most by buying something used? More than likely.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Ding! Ding! Ding!

    What?

    You can’t hear the Pavlovian bell?

    I’m sorry I even bothered to click on this post…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Which proves no more than what we already knew: the amount of “fuel cost” savings afforded by the Volt depends widely on the use the customer makes of the car. If I owned a Volt, I would probably avoid just about all of my $45 every-three-weeks gasoline bill . . . because my commute is short and I don’t drive much. Even without a 220V charger, I could use the Volt to go back and forth to work every day and do weekend errands without ever firing up the ICE. So that means . . . what, I save $760/year (not account for the cost of electricity). Actually, it would be less than that, because at lest some of the time the ICE would fire up.

    Forgetting for the moment, the government subsidy’s cost to the taxpayers, depreciation and maintenance and repair costs, the question then becomes how the Volt compares in comfort, appointments, etc. to some other smallish 4-place car which costs $33,000. For me, it probably wouldn’t be a bad deal (if you ignore the fact that I would never spend $33,000 for a car that does what I need a car to do).

    But, I suspect I’m relatively unusual. Most folks are going to have longer commutes than I, so they will end up using the ICE more; and most people do not have access to chargers at their place of work. And heavier users are probably going to need a 220V charger, a not inconsiderable expense (assuming you live in a house with a garage). In a longer commute kind of service, the Volt’s fuel economy is approaching that of, say, the Ford Focus Titanium . . . and ICE-powered car of similar capacities and interior appointments (which happens to be a bit cheaper, too.) And Ford’s Fusion hybrid beats the stink out of it (and we won’t even talk about the Prius, which is sort of a penalty box).

    So, I still think the case for this car is pretty weak, for most people. The Ampera, even though more expensive, might actually be a more attractive proposition . . . because it offers an unusual appearance rather than a rather pedestrian design from a very meat-and-potatoes non-luxury brand. To my eyes, the Ampera looks cool. The Volt looks like its downmarket cousin, the Chevy Cruze. Just as part of the Prius attraction is its distinctive appearance (love it or hate it, it’s distinctive), the Ampera just might do a better job of attracting buyers.

    Value ultimately is about perception. And the Volt just doesn’t look like anything special . . . and certainly isn’t when you start doing the numbers. And, the truth is, given the current state of battery technology, the whole concept of a “plug-in hybrid” may be a sub-optimum solution. I think the Toyota people figured that out some time ago, which is why the Prius is only now being released as a plug-in hybrid — mostly because some subset of users think it’s cool to be able to run around in electric-only mode.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      there’s two schools of thought there… some people will want the car to look “like a hybrid”

      some people will just want a car to be car

      both are valid, however going by the Prius C, whatever people really want is a cheap hybrid that gets 50mpg+ and is JUST A CAR!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> both are valid, however going by the Prius C, whatever people really want is a cheap hybrid that gets 50mpg+ and is JUST A CAR!

        You’re so right. One of the big traps in engineering is that you can get totally lost chasing the latest technology and trying to have the best specs. The result is that you overlook what the customers really want and you end up scratching your head wondering why no one is buying your glorious product. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times outside of the auto industry.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      DC Bruce says: “(and we won’t even talk about the Prius, which is sort of a penalty box).”

      Huh? The Prius is the obvious competitor to the Volt. It is less of a “penalty box” than a Volt, in that it is roomier. If you want leather, etc., you have to get one of the higher trim levels, but even the base model 2 is very well equipped.

      As far as operating cost, ignoring purchase price, the Volt is cheaper to drive if nearly all of your driving is within its electric-only range. If you go beyond that range, the Prius quickly becomes cheaper to operate, because it gets much better mpg on gas.

  • avatar
    TheHammer

    Are you seriously dissecting this commercial? Put your ill will aside for just a moment. Getting a little old this consistent sniping at the Volt. BS alert!

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Why are we STILL talking about the Volt? I mean, is it that slow of a news day? Maybe you guys should change your website to thetruthaboutvolt since that is basically ALL you talk about now/GM is evil/auto bailout sux/blah blah blah. This site is going down hill imo.

  • avatar
    ajla

    What Priya isn’t telling us is that her last vehicle was a Chevy Avalanche 2500 4×4 with the 8.1L V8 and a 4.10 rear end.

  • avatar

    No need to flog this horse, it will die soon anyway. But
    I hope you do, because then you can say they you told us so.

    If you give up on this subject, we will have more nonsense courtesy
    of our government. The nerve, robbing our money, then making uppermiddle class crap with it,then selling it back to us as saving the earth AND OUR WALLETS.

    The Volt is the new Vega, only more politically corrupt.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I actually think it’s a better deal and could save you money if you get the lease since it’s $350 a month, especially for people who have chargers at work since then your fuel bill goes to $0. Of course this only applies to an exceedingly small segment of the population, but my friend went ahead and bought one as a commuter car just because his company has free chargers there and at the lease rate of $350 the gas savings easily makes it one of the cheapest cars he could own. Most of us however, don’t have easy access to fast charging stations.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The only way a Volt saves you money is:
      a)to compare its cost of OPERATION to another economy car.
      b)to compare its cost of OWNERSHIP to another $40k car. This is where leasing could enter the discussion, but the Volt will never be ‘one of the cheapest cars he could own’. The $350 lease you cite is a calculated figure which includes the $7500 tax credit figured in; your monthy payment would be much higher.

      http://auto.ally.com/payment-calculator/en/GM/chevrolet/calculator.do#

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        The calculator you have there doesn’t have a lease option for the Volt.

        But, I also disagree with you on this as well. People will see how much a vehicle costs monthly to own/lease and to operate. Depending upon the vehicle driven previously, this could EASILY save you money.

  • avatar
    lw

    My plan is to glue a GFCI on the side of my Saturn and claim the tax rebate. Seriously though, steam power is where it’s at guys.. Steam! Get in on the ground floor while you still can!

  • avatar
    flintisover

    Thank you, Mr. B Schmitt. Your piece was so illuminating that you have shoved me from my status as a fence sitter: I am now 100% done with TTAC.

    It’s not me, it’s you. And it is not just about the Volt or the Wert ambushes.

    To be clear, the blog posts that are actually about cars and not the journalism industry, politics, personal vendettas or random pontificating, are damn good. I’ve tried to hang in there for these unique contributions to the discourse but these morsels of automotive entertainment have become the exception, the needle in the haystack.

    There is a poisonous cloud of cynicism and incredulity that hangs above every post that is not 100% focused on the machines. As the Editor-in-Chief and head sophist, you set the tone. Unfortunately, that tone is unbearably negative, petulant and pedantic.

    You keep your jaundiced eye on the prize of high-fives from your best-and-brightest sycophants and I’ll take my time (and page views) elsewhere.

    I’ll take my de rigueur TTAC haranguing off-air.

    Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I still find the excess of Volt articles, designed to get the “B&B” amped-up and the sparks flying, entertainment, while I wait for the next review of a car that interests me.
      Kinda like pistachios, there’s a nasty, inedible shell, but if you get past that, the small treat inside is worth it. Like life in general for the unwashed masses.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        @shaker: Well said.

        I too take the good with the bad, and try to stay above the fray whenever possible. When I can’t, agreeing to disagree and moving on is enough for me.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You don’t have to read every article, do you? It’s a big internet out there.. I skip over alot of the stuff here, and so what? Anything Saab related especially. Thing is, GM decided to put themselves out there, throw their hat in the ring, and for all we know, are loving every bit of fame that comes with it. The good, the bad, the ugly. I’m not saying you won’t be missed though.. OK, I am.

    • 0 avatar
      TheHammer

      +1. What if the Volt was a VW product? Mmm…

  • avatar
    kokomokid

    Yes, the cost of ownership of a Volt would be higher than that of a Prius for most people, just as the cost of ownership of an M3 would be higher than that of a 328i. No one ever said that every car purchase is rational.

    That said, the operating cost of a Volt is very low for a certain group of people, those who do nearly all of their driving within the electric-only range, and rarely go beyond that range. If the manufacturing cost can be brought down over time, as it has been with Prius and other conventional hybrids, the Volt and other plug-in hybrids can be an actual money saver for some people.

  • avatar
    rem83

    Is the Volt’s real world transaction price actually considerably higher than either the Lexus CT200h or HS250h? Neither of those two ‘luxury hybrids’ seem to be any more luxurious than the Volt, and their fuel efficiency is about equally underwhelming as the Volt’s ICE mode efficiency. Plus, the Volt drives better. Perhaps if the Volt had been badged a Buick it would have avoided a bit of the stripped out economy car comparisons. Hell, a Focus can be priced up to 27k these days…

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      It’s a Chevy, not a Lexus, and in this country we demand that expensive cars have expensive badges on the front. After all, that’s the entire cynical reason for Lexus’s existence in the first place. Sure, GM could have badged the Volt a Buick or a Cadillac without much trouble, but then the image that the Volt presents wouldn’t have had any effect on their mainstream Chevrolet brand.

      (Frankly, I think Ford has the right idea with brand consolidation right now and I predict that they’ll axe Lincoln within a couple of years.)

  • avatar
    Junebug

    flintisover – don’t let the screen door hit ya on the way out.

  • avatar
    alluster

    The commercial is completely fake though for a reason no one has yet pointed out. The woman is Indian and according to my self conducted research, 48% of them buy Toyotas, 41% of them buy Hondas and 11% buy Nissans. 0% buy Chvrolets. Go figure.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Did anyone notice that her name is Priya, and she chose the Volt over the Prius?

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    The reason the Volt is so maligned is not just that it’s a poorly engineered and expensive answer to a question no one is asking that moves less units in a year than GM’s pickup divisions do in a week. It’s that it’s the opening salvo of the government telling us that somehow a 40,000 dollar poorly engineered expensive car is the car we ALL should be driving and if we aren’t, it’s because we’re stupid right wingers.

    Buried in all of this is the echoing voice of the Obama agenda that we ALL would love expensive alternative fuels, electric cars, sky high gas taxes and prices only if we weren’t so stupid and Fox news wasn’t indoctrinating us to think that a 40,000 car can’t save us a “crapload” of money.

    If we only all drank the Kool-Aid and ran out and bought the Volt the technology within would miraculously advance and the car would somehow achieve its purported 200 plus mile range, its price would drop, and suddenly electric chargers would pop up in parking lots everywhere and not just at the cost of taxpayers.


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