Volt Birth Watch 166: Diminished (Battery) Expectations

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

Ever since Bob Lutz walked down from Mt. Lithium with the Volt’s Ten Specifications, the most potentially expensive and critical one was that the battery pack would have a ten year/100k mile warranty. No longer. Gm-volt.com reports that in a survey of potential Volt buyers, a number of Volt parameters were spelled out, in order to gauge how charged up they (still) are. The battery is described as having an eight year/100,000 mile warranty. That’s really going to help the economics, especially in light of a related announcement where the Father of the Volt preaches: “The Volt technology is very exciting, but costs will have to come down before it can become generalized . . . and US fuel prices will have to rise to world levels, meaning $5 or $6 per gallon.” Exciting indeed, despite being unprofitable for its maker, and un-economical for its buyers. One last detail: the survey also calls out the Volt’s price at “$32,000 to $38,000, after a $7,500 tax credit ($39,500–$45,500 MSRP).

Paul Niedermeyer
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  • D002 D002 on Sep 23, 2009

    The price is irrelevant because most will be leased out to government, council and big business fleets with a buy back price. As soon as the world economy stops crashing, oil prices will be back to the over $100 bbl price it was before. With the government effectively paying for this program, Gm would be stupid not to do this program.

  • WildBill WildBill on Sep 23, 2009

    reclusive_in_nature, good response. The reason there will be trouble is because the clowns in DC have allowed the greenies to dictate that there will be no drilling for readily available petro resources (ANWR, coastal, etc.) and no new refineries will be built to handle such new output. Yes, it could be a limited help but the average Joe isn't going to see it that way... some politicians are gonna fry for it. Drill here, drill now!

  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Sep 24, 2009

    reclusive_in_nature wrote: Not quite our birthright as much as it’s our choice. Maybe one day we’ll live in a “utopia” where our esteemed leaders can tell us how much we can have and how much we pay for it all the while forcing us into underpowered penalty boxes we don’t really want. Until then we’d like our gas cheap thank-you-very-much. I knew I should have ix-nayed the word birthright, so as not to provoke partisan responses. In my utopia really critical issues transcend ideology. But to use your word--"choice"-- I don't think cheap gas is a good one. How I see it is that the world will continue to need petroleum indefinitely, even if its use in cars and trucks could be 100% supplanted tomorrow. There are many applications for which there are no conceivable replacements whatsoever (air travel, for one) So if we can replace the use of oil in vehicle transport, I think we should. After all, drill all you want and wherever you want, but some day the oil's going to run out. There were only so many dinosaurs ;-) And whatever your take on the environmental or climate impact of fossil fuels, reducing their combustion isn't going to make things worse. However, none of the potential replacements that are on the table today are particularly attractive. Present technologies would require painful adjustments, so our weaning off of gasoline could take a long time. During that period, the only practical way to accelerate the development of alternatives is to increase the price of fuel via taxation. As Greg Locock said, in prosperous countries we can easily withstand $6.00 gas with a barely perceptible hit to our standard of living. In my view, that makes it good public policy to tax oil. Even if government doesn't use the added revenue to fund research, at least it incentivizes private efforts. I'm far from being a "Greenie", or a Chicken Little alarmist, or even in general an advocate of government intervention ... but as the meme goes, since I'm a Canadian who sees the logic of a single-payer healthcare system, I'm a Socialist. Ironically, I think my views are genuinely conservative. To wit: when I consider the obscene mountain of debt that we're leaving our children--a true failure of political leadership on our watch-- I just don't think we ought to dump this problem on them too. We can at least get started.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 24, 2009

    ZekeToronto - EXACTLY on ALL points.