General Motor's Next Best Hope

GM seems to be tryin’.  I really think that they’re working at getting better.  I just don’t think they can.

Their latest offering to the market is the Volt.  This is the latest in a string of alternative energy cars coming from the major players.  But, the Volt is getting big play.  In part because it’s a car that actually looks like aa car.  However, I think a bigger part is that it’s a government car.

Check out this review from marketwatch:

The Volt comes across as a bit more evolutionary rather than revolutionary, even though it’s the first gasoline-electric car made for a mainstream market in GM’s 100-year history.

GM toned down the car’s appearance since an edgier concept design of the Volt made the car-show rounds a couple of years back. The car’s lines resemble a sleeker version of the Chevy Malibu sedan, one of General Motors’ recent hits.

See?  The car looks like a car.

But how about functionality?  How far can you go?  How do you charge this thing up?  What infrastructure is going to be required to allow you to charge this thing up?

  1. …the 400-pound battery pack … drains out after about 40 miles.
  2. the Volt carries a 1.4-liter gasoline engine, which charges the 400-pound battery pack
  3. The gasoline-battery combination will help the Volt set itself aside from pure electric cars, since its total range will top 300 miles
  4. The Volt also charges through standard household 120-volt and 220-volt plugs.

So, there ya have it.  The battery pack will drain in 40 miles.  40.  As in 4 then 0.  That’s not much, in fact, that’s a little.  But, you can charge the battery as you drive by burning gasoline; a nifty plan.  And by doing this you get an extended range of 300 miles.  Now THAT is substantial.  And it can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet!  Nifty.  Or a 220-volt outlet; cooler yet.

But are there catches?  You betcha:

Plenty of battery-life variables remain up to the driver, however. If you drive with the air conditioning on, the car may not make the whole 40 miles before the engine kicks in, for example.

Ooops!  Yeah, that’s not gonna work for me here in Carolina.

The latter (the 220-volt outlet) can recharge the batteries in about three hours.

Umm, yeah…I have a hard time charging my cell phone.

While GM isn’t discussing price on the Volt, it’s widely expected to come in at around the $40,000 mark.

Yowza!  THAT is a price to pay.  For a long time I have tried to come up with a formula that would allow American workers to calculate the impact on the environment for every dollar they earn.  For example, if you have to drive 13 miles to work and 13 back again, how much is that per dollar of salary.  Then, add in the cost of the desk, the PC, the lights etc etc etc, how much impact do we have on the environment from the Global Warming perspective?

My thoughts?  This is a product that is going to wildly underwhelm owners.  They are going to be wealthier American’s doing this for the sake of “going green”.  And we haven’t even calculated the impact of the battery on the environment.  Don’t forget the story of how a Prius is harder on the environment than a Hummer.

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