By on July 16, 2009

America and Canada have spent tens of billions in taxpayer money “saving” Chrysler and GM. During this Year of Living Parasitically, Toyota hasn’t said boo to a proverbial goose. This despite the fact that a non-governmental ChryCo Old GM Chapter 11/7 would have eliminated most of the North American market’s production over-capacity, setting the stage for a more rapid recovery. Politics, doncha know. Anyway, yesterday, sitting in a Volt prototype at a Toronto GM Chevrolet dealership, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made an announcement. After July 10, 2010, customers plunking for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles would be eligible for a $10,000 rebate. The car most likely to be so blessed: the Chevy Volt. But that’s not what really got Toyota’s goat. As the Leader-Post reports, “Mr. McGuinty said he wants one out of every 20 vehicles in Ontario to be electrically powered by 2020.”

Ontario had to help stabilize the auto industry by providing aid to GM and Chrysler Group LLC, said Stephen Beatty, managing director of Toyota Canada Inc. But he said that was meant to be a one-time action — step in and get out.

“How long does this continue?” Mr. Beatty said. “We can’t set up a situation where the future of the industry depends on constant subsidies…. This suggests that [the government] is prepared to be interventionist beyond their aim to help the industry recover.”

Toyota, known for its hybrid technology, was not informed of the government’s intention to offer the rebates and was taken off guard that the announcement venue was a Chevrolet dealership, Mr. Beatty said. “The question is: Is this a well-thought-out industry strategy? Or is it sort of the next stage in advancing a particular product and helping a particular company?”

Don’t you just love rhetorical questions? No, then what about perks?

Drivers of electric cars would get green vehicle licence plates, allowing them to use less-congested carpool lanes, even if there is only one person in the vehicle, Mr. McGuinty said. Drivers of the cars would also have access to parking at Ontario government and GO Transit lots.

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53 Comments on “Toyota Angry At Ontario’s “Disguised” Chevy Volt Subsidy...”


  • avatar
    Stingray

    Ummm why they complain?… what was the name of the company which the Japanese government subsidized their hybrid development? a ver a ver… ah, yes, it was Toyota.

    Lo que es igual no es trampa.

  • avatar
    WhatTheHel

    Well then let Michigan dole out the welfare and not Ontario.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Toyota should have the wisdom to realize that Dalton McGuinty is one of the most inept politicians to come down the pike in a good long while. You should have heard him and his colleagues pumping ethanol until various people thought through the matter and realized that displacing food crops and using vast quantities of water and fertilizer weren’t great alternatives to oil. So, they jumped on the cellulosic ethanol bandwagon…we know how that turned out. Dalton is neither knowledgable or competent, so the surprise announcement of an ill thought-out subsidy should come as no surprise to anyone.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Mr. Beatty’s question is very valid and one that must be on the minds of execs in all the non subsidised automakers. McGuinty would be well advised to answer it.

  • avatar
    menno

    Stingray, that assertion has been proven to be false time and again. In fact, Toyota had enough money to buy up and close down probably 1/3 of the automakers in the world, just from pocket change. They did not need assistance from their government to do anything with electric hybrid car technology, because they are actually – gasp ! – PROFITABLE. Or at least they were until the Greater Depression tsunamied the global economy.

  • avatar

    Just to make it clear, this isn’t Canada’s subsidy; this is Ontario’s subsidy. Roughly 24 million of Canada’s 32 million souls live outside Ontario.

  • avatar
    menno

    GM has been pulling jobs out of Canada (and the US) for decades.

    Toyota has been putting jobs INTO Canada, specifically ONTARIO, for decades.

    So this is the thanks Toyota get….

    You Ontario folks have just as much of a “knack” for electing imbecils as we Americans do.

  • avatar

    Story on hybrid subsidies for Toyota – or not

  • avatar
    paulie

    My electric is very expensive.
    So….what exactly is the cost savings?
    So you don’t use oil.
    You use power supplied by power plants.
    What I mean is, how much energy is required to charge auto batteries?
    Is an electric car cheeper energy wise than a gas car?

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    @ paulie:

    Not even close!

    *caveat: Of course if you had a solar powered electric car…then yes when the sun is shining. Not if you plug it in and get electric power to charge your batteries from commercial electric companies.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Honda complained similarly about the “Yaris subsidy” when Toyota’s two fuel-sippers fell under ecoAuto and Honda’s did not. C’est la vie.

    I am surprised the Volt qualifies for this as it’s not fully electric. If I were Toyota, that would be where my beef would be. Otherwise, incentivizing electric vehicles is a good thing, especially when your province is host to the city with the second-worst ground-level air pollution problems in North America.

  • avatar
    86er

    Robert, you read my local paper?

    I’m touched.

    Now on topic, without any real thought process of his own, McGuinty tries and tries and fails and fails. Ontario is really on the path towards becoming permanently on the federal dole like Quebec.

  • avatar
    JG

    McGuinty is a crackpot.

    Did I read that right, $10,000.00?!! Holy hell.

  • avatar

    My local paper, too. :)
    (Regina, Saskatchewan.)

  • avatar

    I don’t get it:

    “Several car companies including GM and Toyota already have gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. But the government rebates would be for the next generation of electrified vehicles, which are powered almost entirely by batteries and can be recharged by plugging them in.”

    “Toyota is bringing a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid car to North America later this year. But that will be on a test basis only and in limited numbers, Mr. Beatty said. “We’re not entirely convinced that the technology is a winning proposition for consumers today,” he said.”

    Doesn’t the Volt have that “range extender” engine in it? If the above is true, the Volt won’t qualify either.

  • avatar
    paulie

    Kurt

    But isn’t the Volt a plug in?
    So, in fact as such is really costly?
    I was/am hoping one of the B&B explain.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Welcome to Liberal tax and spend Ontario!

    Hard to imagine an electric car being good for the environment when the juice is produced from coal. And, what to you do with a $7,500, 800 pound dead battery?

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    @Gardiner Westbound: Yes, the special plates for electric cars in Ontario ought to be black, not green, for we still burn dirt (coal) to make electricity here. But before you get too smug and supercilious about “Liberal tax and spend Ontario”, have a thought for Conservative Mike Harris’ disastrous “Common Sense Revolution”. It stripped the province of much of what made life good and pleasant and easier, to provide the temporary illusion of fiscal restraint.

  • avatar
    srh

    That’s about as ridiculous of a policy as the subsidies Toyota enjoyed receiving from the US government for its hybrid vehicles.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Menno You Ontario folks have just as much of a “knack” for electing imbecils as we Americans do. Absolutely we do, and I would never claim otherwise.

    Gardiner Westbound And, what to you do with a $7,500, 800 pound dead battery?

    Bury it deep in the same hole you would other useless objects such as Dalton McGuinty and pretty much all of his cabinet.

  • avatar
    SkiD666

    First off, Toyota should stop whinning and just put a bigger battery in the Prius and see if it sells (I assume the rebate will be tied to battery size).

    Secondly, does anyone really think that Ontario would subsidize that many electric cars? Electric cars will still be a low volume endeavour for the foreseeable future and this ‘perk’ can be recinded in the next provincial election if the public don’t agree.

    Thirdly, I still don’t get how the Prius can be ‘profitable’. Sure most of the initial money spent on R&D has been recovered through the million+ sales, but a Prius still has an electric engine, batteries and control systems that the Corolla doesn’t have. So if the Prius generates a profit the Corolla must generate a lot more.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I’ve got a question about electric cars.

    How do you heat them in the winter? We know that cold weather reduces a battery’s capacity to release energy.

    So if you’re releasing energy to “go,” how do you keep “warm?” Can you do both? How much heat can an electric motor create? How do they move that heat into the passenger cabin on a cold day? Do electric cars have heater cores?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    And, what to you do with a $7,500, 800 pound dead battery?

    Recycle it. I just sold more than four times the amount of batteries (by mass) when I upgraded our UPS room a few years back and I got a tidy sum for them.

    Hell, Home Depot takes batteries to recycle. If they can make it worthwhile, I’m sure that huge, solid blocks of lithium or nickel are worth a pretty penny.

  • avatar
    JG

    Rod: the old buggies had a wood stove.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Ontario is really on the path towards becoming permanently on the federal dole like Quebec.

    Schwaaa?

    Ontario, despite hurting very badly in the recession, was still stuck giving more money back to the Federal government than it gets back, all the while being screwed for employment insurance. Unlike, say, Newfoundland, which is making money but still on intergovernmental pogey, or Alberta, which has made hay on not having to pay from it’s oil revenues.

    Not at all like Quebec. Not even close.

    I’m reminded of the Kink’s Catch me now, I’m Falling when people dog-pile Ontario (or California):
    I remember, when you were down
    And you needed a helping hand
    I came to feed you
    But now that I need you
    You wont give me a second glance
    Now I’m calling all citizens from all over the world
    This is Captain America calling
    I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
    So will you catch me now I’m falling

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    How do you heat them in the winter? We know that cold weather reduces a battery’s capacity to release energy.

    The prevailing solution is to use heating elements when you plug them in to the wall to supplement the natural heat from the charging process. Hybrids will capture engine coolant heat as well.

    It’s a good question, though, and not one that’s oft considered by Boy Wonder engineers from Silicon Valley. I don’t know how many EVs actually do this.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Toyota has a legitimate gripe, but I don’t think they need to worry until the subsidy approaches $15,000.

    Besides, people will hate the Volt and its reputation will precede it. Don’t fear, Toyota!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It stripped the province of much of what made life good and pleasant and easier,

    To be fair, what the Harris government did was, basically, cut what was ideaologically palatable to cut, dump the rest on the municipalities and hide the fact that they weren’t going to increase transfer payments through amalagamation of local governments.

    The Common Sense Revolution is better known, in practice, as the “Screw Ontario’s Cities” plan. It would have balanced the provincial budget, too, if they hadn’t realized that at some point the bill for all this nonsense was going to come due.

  • avatar
    86er

    psarhjinian:

    Ontario, despite hurting very badly in the recession, was still stuck giving more money back to the Federal government than it gets back, all the while being screwed for employment insurance. Unlike, say, Newfoundland, which is making money but still on intergovernmental pogey, or Alberta, which has made hay on not having to pay from it’s oil revenues.

    You’re saying that Alberta gets back more from the federal government than it gives out? Despite the fact that Albertans give more per capita than anyone else in Canada, and still you’re asking for more?

    Despite the inference I’m supposed to take from the song lyrics, the RoC (rest of Canada) owes Ontario nothing. The power centre is moving west, and it’s about time. Ontario got rich on everyone else’s raw resources through its manufacturing capacity. Turnabout is fair play, I always say.

    (note to my non-Canadian friends. As much as this sounds like a never-ending meta discussion, it really strikes at the heart of the matter. Robert, I will try to end this discussion civilly.)

  • avatar
    ChristyGarwood

    Regarding the question about how much does it cost to run the Volt on electricty, at 10 cents US per kWh, and fully charging the battery to 8kW, it would cost 80 cents US to run 40 miles.

    Regarding the ICE range extender, yes it has one and it is used to charge the battery. The Volt’s wheels are always driven by the electric battery.

    More info here http://www.chevroletvoltage.com/

    Also, some math I did last year and posted on the GMfastlane blog on September 22nd, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    “Hello Nate, first I must let you know that I am a GM employe. I would like to invite you to check my math instead of relying on the GM propaganda that you don’t buy into. One source of info is from the LA Times blog article titled “What is This Volt Thingy, Anyhow?” . http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/uptospeed/
    It has some facts regarding the fuel usage of the Volt. The Volt will use 8 kilowatt/hours per charge and one charge will allow a 40 mile trip before the gas engine turns on.
    From US Gov’t web sites, one kWh of electricity generated from coal has a CO2 emission rate of 2.1 lbs. And one gallon of gas has a CO2 emission rate of 19.4 lbs. (Note that wind generated electricity would not have any CO2 emissions.)”

    Today – the cost to charge the battery fully depends on how much you pay for electricty in your home because you can plug the volt into any 110 outlet.

    “Let’s say you drive an internal combustion engine vehicle that gets 40 mpg in city driving, (this is usually a Highway mileage rating) then 19.4 lbs. of CO2 are emitted. If you believe GM’s Lutz and the LA Times, then the Volt will use 8kWh per 40 miles and 16.8 lbs of CO2 will have been emitted when the coal was fired to generate the electricity that charged the Volt battery. And the coal in the power plant was probably mined in the USA. That is 19.4 minus 16.8 or 2.6 lbs less of CO2 emitted per 40 miles driven. (Most people drive 40 miles or less in one day.)
    In summary, reliance on foreign oil for gas was decreased, CO2 emissions were decreased, and depending on how much is paid for the kWh from the power grid, the cost to the consumer to fuel the trip was decreased. Using facts, GM’s Volt design is directionally correct considering US foreign oil reliance at the moment, the current financial crisis, and the case of global warming.
    Best regards”

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    Electric motors are only about 80% efficient, so I assume there is at least some waste heat that can be harvested to warm the cabin.

    My big question is, where in the heck are we in Ontario going to find the electricity to juice up 1/20 cars off the grid? I haven’t done the math yet, but I assume that will require quite a bit of power, in a province that already has had to reneg on its promise to shut down the coal-fired plants. (BTW, unlike the US, we don’t get anything like the majority of our electricity from coal – the lion’s share in Ontario comes from nukes and hydro). Oh, and to correct an error above, the population of Ontario is about 12 million, so that’s about 1/3 of Canada, not 2/3.

    Also, to correct another error, fueling with electricity is WAYYYY cheaper than gas, at least here in Ontario. A litre of gas (32.3 MJ) currently sells for about 90 cents, so that is 2.8 cents per MJ. A kWh of electricity (= 3.6 MJ) goes for about 6 cents, so that is 1.7 cents per MJ. Add in the fact that miles per MJ are about twice as high for electric motors, and you are looking at 25% of the fuel costs for an EV. Roughly speaking.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    You’re saying that Alberta gets back more from the federal government than it gives out? Despite the fact that Albertans give more per capita than anyone else in Canada, and still you’re asking for more?

    Off-topic, but what the hell…

    No, what I’m saying is that the formula was not even looked at until 2008, when Ontario was screaming blue bloody murder, despite Alberta raking in vast sums of money from the oil boom.

    Alberta does give quite a lot, but their per-capita GDP is also much higher than any other province, Ontario included. Notice Alberta does not have a sales tax.

    Equalization is supposed mean equalization, it’s not supposed to mean “Screw Ontario to the benefit of the rest of country, especially Quebec and the Maritimes”. You can see why the average Ontarian can get twitchy about this sort of thing, especially when we’re the one province that hasn’t been bitching about sovereignty

    What McGuinty et al are trying to do is stimulate the creation of EV manufacturing jobs in the province by artificial demand. This isn’t really a bad thing, but it’s also hard to do effectively when the province has no real money. The program isn’t so much pro-Volt and I’m honestly surprised the Volt would qualify, what with GM not building any in Ontario.

    For clarification, I’m generally a New Democrat or Green voter. I don’t particularly like the Liberals.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Bright lad that McGinty! This is the same guy whose government just put a hold on 2 new reactors at Darlington. Just keep loading up the grid AND cut down on supply at the same time. Where are we going to get the juice from? Windmills? Maybe we can install a really big one outside McGuinty’s office at Queen’s Park to catch the hot air!

  • avatar
    86er

    psarhjinian:

    No, what I’m saying is that the formula was not even looked at until 2008

    I’m pretty sure the Martin government made some adjustments back in 2004 or 2005, but I’m just going by memory.

    Bottom line, you won’t get any disagreement from me that equalization is screwy. In fact, if you really pushed me, I wouldn’t be adverse to saying can the entire program. It might do Quebec and the Maritimes some good.

    As an Ontarian you say you get twitchy about this, which is fine. But think about how a Western Canadian would feel about it, when their moment in the sun has arrived but they feel something pulling at their pocket. You could just as easily make the argument that BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan are getting screwed now, too, but we could go in circles on this all day.

    Back to the original point of contention. If Ontario continues down this road, if they get too reliant on the feds bailing them out with equalization, nuclear power plants, and the like, then they will start to resemble Quebec in their attitude.

    Comparing Ontario (eventually) to Quebec shouldn’t be thought of as a throwaway provocation, but a call to arms for the province to diversify beyond its manufacturing base if it is to emerge from the underside of equalization someday.

    Period.

    Edit: Psar touched on my last point a little bit as I was typing up this response.

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    bluecon:

    That was 8 kWh (kiloWatt hours) of *energy*, not 8 kW of *power*.

    BTW, 8 kWh costs between 50 cents and 1 dollar. Not bad for enough fuel to go 40 miles!

  • avatar
    wmba

    Equalization is supposed mean equalization, it’s not supposed to mean “Screw Ontario to the benefit of the rest of country, especially Quebec and the Maritimes”. You can see why the average Ontarian can get twitchy about this sort of thing, especially when we’re the one province that hasn’t been bitching about sovereignty

    Well sir, down here in the Maritimes, we’d like to give a tip of the hat to you generous Ontarians, and kneel down and kiss your feet.

    Boy, we’re living high on the hog with all the money you give us.

    What a load of rubbish, sir, as one Canadian to another. Especially as Ontario is about to receive equalization payments this year.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What a load of rubbish, sir, as one Canadian to another. Especially as Ontario is about to receive equalization payments this year.

    :)

    I have several in-laws from Newfoundland (and currently living in Ontario) who’ll back me up on this.

    Again, the point isn’t so much that the other provinces should at all feel grateful anymore than, say, Alabama or Alaska should feel to California and New York. It’s the “hur, hur, Ontario can’t balance it’s chequebook” jabs, often from other Ontarians and the occasional westerner, completely ignoring that Ontario has, for decades, been underwriting quite a lot of the rest of the country to the tune of billions dollars in shortfall.

    Those get to me, much as the “hur, hur, California/Michigan/New York…” pokes must piss off residents of those states.

    I don’t think I heard much at all in the way of complaints and grousing from Ontario until things got truly bad this past year. Again, there wasn’t so much of a “the rest of you should be thankful” as much as there was a “how about taking the boot off our neck and let us get back on our feet?”.

    When Ontario is seeing significant unemployment and loss of tax revenue, it ought not to have to arm-twist the Federal government into relaxing the EI rules in such a way that we can actually float unemployed people until the economy picks up. As it stands (stood?) it is pathetically easy to get EI in the Maritimes or Manitoba by comparison, and crushingly hard in Ontario and Alberta. We lost a huge number of jobs in auto and manufacturing, and the only way to get that back (and avoid what happened to Michigan) is keep the rest of the economy going in the interim.

    Again, to draw a parallel to California: laugh at the state as you will, but if it fails it is a much, much more serious issue than the failure of one of the flyover states because it has been, for some time, the money, wealth and R&D centre for the country as a whole. If California and it’s west-coast brethren/interdependents fail, where does it’s industry go? Who picks up the economic slack? How long and how bad will the hurt be?

    Ontario is similar; it’s failure would result in a huge gap, one that Alberta and BC aren’t really able to fill.

  • avatar
    geeber

    psharjinian: If California and it’s west-coast brethren/interdependents fail, where does it’s industry go?

    California the state and the industries located within its borders are different entities. The failure of one does not mean that the other is guaranteed to fail, too.

  • avatar
    T2

    In answer to whether batteries are insulated and electrically heated to preserve battery capacity while charging in extremely low ambient temperatures a commenter wondered…..
    I don’t know how many EVs actually do this.

    I can answer this – professionally designed units have temperature controlled fan systems to prevent overheating while charging. They have no provision to counter the problem of low temperature AFAIK.

    Reliance is probably placed on the fact that the 110lb battery is usually sited in a sheltered location inside the vehicle and is also going to present quite a large thermal capacity. The battery mass alone will ensure the battery will not freeze on the first day of exposure.

    As far as amateur electric vehicle car clubs are concerned here in Canada, word has gotten around and battery insulation and built-in warmers are a requisite.

  • avatar
    paulie

    ChristyGarwood

    Somethings seems amiss here.
    Now, I do not know much about this Volt, how the testing was done or what speed and type of driving is being used for the results as stated.

    But I DO know what my electricity cost.
    To run the filter on the pool pump alone cost me 300 MORE a month.

    That’s just a small electric motor just moving water, let alone my fat ass and any of my like friends.

    I truly wish somebody had some real facts here…NOT just GM bull.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    @psar:

    I’m reminded of the Kink’s Catch me now, I’m Falling when people dog-pile Ontario (or California):

    While I can’t speak for Ontario, people dog-pile on CA due to it’s incredibly boneheaded decisions and the massive amount of debt it has accumulated and completely mismanaged.

    Then there are the moronic voters most of whom have never balanced their own checkbooks, let alone done the arithmetic to know that you probably shouldn’t keep spending more than you take in (especially for things you don’t need, like high speed rail projects to Vegas or SF, when flights are cheap and available).

    We can’t forget the wonderful social programs that keep generation after generation of illegal immigrant cozy, illiterate and poor, while continuing to import even more poor people to make sure we have a steady supply of 3rd world wage earners to pick lettuce and pay them just enough so it takes 20 of them to live in a house to afford the rent.

    Yeah, I wonder why people dog-pile on this place.

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    @bluecon,

    No, sorry. A kWh tells you how much energy is available. It is an energy unit. It doesn’t tell you how much time you use it in. Seriously, trust me on this. you can use a kWh of energy in an hour, or in a minute, or in a second. Your electric bill tells you how may kWh you used – but that is your energy consumption, not your power.

    Or, another way to think about it…a kWh equates to a certain amount of gasoline, not a certain amount of hp.

  • avatar
    ChristyGarwood

    Hi paulie,

    I am not a motor/ engine/ tranmission guru. I work in the sheet metal group at GM, so I can only tell you about the Volt based on GM public data and my interpretation of it. That is why I sent the link to the new GM web site, chevroletvoltage.com. I watched one of the videos and it seeemed informative. As to the veracity of the info, I’ll quote Ripley, “Believe it or not!”.

    If you don’t believe GM, Lyle Dennis created his own site http://gm-volt.com/about/ and he is not a GM employee. Some of your questions can be answered there.

    As for your pool pump motor, maybe it’s time to invest in a new one! I run mine 10 hours a day here in MI and it doesn’t cost any where near as much as yours. This cool summer has been costing an arm and leg to heat it with natural gas though!

  • avatar
    YellowDuck

    bluecon:

    Oh, sorry, I see your point now. I missed it because you implied (actually, stated) that the thing would have a poor 0 – 60 time. Obviously, that doesn’t follow at all. So not sure what you were on about there.

    So, how much hp do you figure it typically takes to keep a car the size of the Volt traveling at 35 mph or 55 mph? I am guessing that on a typical drive 10 hp on average is plenty – you need more when you accelerate, but that is a small fraction of the total trip. It’s not like a very significant fraction of any typical drive is spent with the throttle to the floor.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Will Ford Transit Connect (battery powered version of it) and Nissan Box Cube (also battery powered) will be eligible for $10,000 check when they become available?

  • avatar
    paulie

    ChristyGarwood

    Thanks for the info.
    Actually, between the air AND the pool, the whole bill is around 450 a month.
    And the pump really is 8 years old and turning burnt brown!

    YellowDuck
    This car is really marketed to city drivers, right?
    That’s a whole lot of stop n go.

    I guess we will only see the truth if it gets out on the road….that is IF.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    bluecon, the Volt will do 0-60 in under 9 seconds.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Don’t forget the regen braking recharging the battery – stop-and-go and hilly terrain take advantage of that.

  • avatar
    IceWendigo

    Its great news tha Ontario goes ahead and provide incentives for a new technology. Its unfortunate that there’s an apparent bias for GM, but Im sure Toyota can come up with a better plug-in Hybrid model than GM’s Volt in little time, and the Mistubishi MiEV will need the 10,000 rebate badly in its fist years. Allowing zero emission cars or whatever they defined it as, to access special lanes for five years is a great incentive that doesnt cost much (and since there wont be that much cars it wont clog up those lanes either). GM should never have killed the EV1 or sold the NiMH patent to Chevron, and something that would be useful would be for governments to break the NiMH patent thats not even being used and make it public domain so all companies can manufacture cheaper and proven NiMH batteries for their electric cars.

    “where in the heck are we in Ontario going to find the electricity”
    Cars can be charged off peak periods and there are a number of options to produce electricity including solar panels. Several individuals in the states have electic vehicles that can be charge from solar panels on their house, this allows the individual to be virtually energy independant, except the cost is rather high up front, but on the other hand so is the initial costs of a nuclear power plant. Instead of investing millions into a centralized power plant, the gov could build a solar panel plant, produce solar panels and offer a small rebate and 0% interest loans to consumers and small businesses for solar panels and geothermal units.

  • avatar
    charly

    Bluecon, kwh is energy not power. A litre of gasoline has the energy of about 9.7 kwh so if i get what you want to claim than a ferrari with only 1 litre of fuel is a very slow car.

    the Volt has a 161 horsepower engine according to the numbers you got from the volt website. I believe that that is not a small engine. The Civic has only 150 hp. Also a electric engine horsepower is constant over its range than an ICE. If the Volt had the same weight as the Civic than it would really smoke a Civic but i expect that not to be true.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Christy Garwood: “If you don’t believe GM, Lyle Dennis created his own site http://gm-volt.com/about/ and he is not a GM employee. Some of your questions can be answered there.”

    Ordinarily, I believe it’s impolite to speak disparagingly of other web sites but I’m going to make an exception here because that one is about 99% Bozos. It is a great place for misinformation, speculation and uber-hype.

    Christy Garwood writes … facts and figures on CO2 emissions…

    Not quite. The Volt will go “up to” 40 miles on 8kwh of electricity. We have yet to see Volt #1 and don’t know what it will really do in typical user driving.

    By way of contrast, the Prius is already on the market and we have real-world figures for it… 53mpg is what has been reported on the EPA web site for 17 real-world vehicles.

    So, a Prius is going to go 40 miles while producing just about 15.5lbs of CO2, while a Volt may or may not produce 16.8 lbs of CO2 over the same distance… possibly more.

    The situation is murkier when we look at the performance of those two vehicles after the first 40 miles. We don’t know the fuel economy of the Volt in “charge sustaining mode” (when it’s basically a serial hybrid powered by gasoline). GM has given a number of evasive answers to this question, the clearest response being “much more than 30mpg,” which I will take to be 33mpg (that’s a full 10% more, if GM thinks this is unfair, they are welcome to give us a better figure to work with). So, the Volt could be coughing up something like 20 lbs CO2 every 40 miles after the battery runs down, while the Prius will still be chugging along producing just 15lbs every 40 miles.

    If you’re concerned about CO2 emissions, which car would you drive? If you’re concerned about CO2 emissions and your bank account, which car would you buy?

  • avatar
    ChristyGarwood

    @KixStart

    Friendly reminder, I was comparing the Volt to what I drive today – a 4 cyl 5 speed AT turbo-charged ‘vert.

    Absolutely I agree that the Priuses are on the road now and Volts are not – the only info I have is the GM public info stating 40 miles per charge.

    I see the 16.8 lbs. of CO2 over 40 miles as worst case IF I get electricity from a coal fired plant, most in the USA do – I probably get mine from a nuclear powered plant down river. So the first 40 miles of my commute could have zero CO2 emissions. And if GM follows through on their plans, I would have an electric charging station at work, too, so only CO2 emissions from the electric power station on the way home.

    As for the 17 Prius vehicles reporting 53 mpg – under what conditions? A true combo like I drive MTF – 50% rush hour freeway at speeds of 70-80 mph until a wreck slows everything down to a 5 mph crawl and 50% stop/go every mile unless I happen to hit the camera controlled lights at green? And 3 hour commutes creeping in inch per hour snowfalls?

    As for what happens after the first 40 miles without a battery recharge in the Volt, I agree, GM’s public info is murky – again we have to wait and see if GM executes the plan to achieve 50 MPG (as stated on the site you do not believe in) during extended range travel.

    RE: CO2 – incrementally I get the big reduction in CO2 emissions by driving a Volt compared to what I drive today and the Prius emissions are just a smidgeon better than a Volt. (Doesn’t the Prius gas engine run almost continually?) Serious CO2 emissions reduction could be obtained with CFL bulbs (doing it), turning off my gas swimming pool heater (AGTH), mowing my lawn with an old-fashioned push-reel mower (When I Retire), getting a residential windmill for my home (if the site condo politboro approves it – WPF).

    As to what’s easiest on my pocketbook? I work for GM so I will do the loyal thing and buy GM. Using electricty to power 50% of my commute will be easier on my personal finances than having to buy gas for a Prius 100%. And GM’s plan to have charging stations for me at work, almost negate my need to ever buy gas, except to drive to see family 300 miles away.

    Finally, the little bit of CO2 extra that the Volt MIGHT emit compared to a Prius is offset for me by the fact that I also reduce reliance on liquid gas from Alberta’s oil sands or Saudi oil fields.

    Thanks for helping me think a little longer on this topic, it’s been fun.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    ChristyGarwood: “As for the 17 Prius vehicles reporting 53 mpg – under what conditions?”

    That’s the figure for 2010 Prius user-supplied fuel economy figures on FuelEconomy.gov. It’s probably a variety of driving habits.

    In any event, the Volt isn’t going to be some kind of green superhero and the $40K price makes its value in chasing green improvements questionable. If I buy a 50mpg Prius instead of a $40K Volt, I have $18K left over for other green projects (solar pool heater, that windmill, SPV or solar hot water panels on the roof). I’m thinking I can do more to improve CO2 footprint with any number of other choices.

    The oil importation question is another matter. Certainly, an electric vehicle can have a more significan effect than a 50mpg vehicle. I see our dependence on foreign oil as a significant Achille’s Heel. However, a robust gas tax would go a long way towards reducing that, where supporting 10K Volts in 2011 has negligible effect. A gas tax has an effect across the board. We know that $4/gallon gas reduces fuel consumption and it does it through a mix of transportation choices and behavioral changes. And it’s quick, the benefits start when the tax goes on.

    ChristyGarwood: “As to what’s easiest on my pocketbook? I work for GM so I will do the loyal thing and buy GM.”
    If you bought a Prius to commute to work at GM, I’d like to know where you’d intend to park it. :-)

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