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Chevrolet Volt In a Gasoline-Only Scenario

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the sing-the-auto-electric dept.

Transportation 594

s122604 sends in a performance review of the Chevy Volt, paying particular attention to what happens after the initial plug-in capacity has been depleted. This reader adds, "The review indicates that the performance is adequate, and perhaps better than anticipated. If the Volt can deliver technically, especially with the possibility that it could retail for less than expected (WSJ subscription may be required), does GM have a potential hit on its hands?" "How well will General Motors' Chevrolet Volt drive once it gets past its 40 mile all-electric driving range and starts to rely on power generated by its gasoline engine? That's been a question for both critics and fans of the Volt, and with just 11 months to go before this car hits the market, I got the answer."

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594 comments

Panties STINK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30734988)

Panties stink! They really, really stink!
Sometimes they're red, Sometimes they're green.
Sometimes they're white, or black or pink.
Sometimes they're satin, sometimes they're lace,
Sometimes they're cotton and soak up stains!
But at the end of the day, it really makes you think-
Wooooo-whee! Panties stink!

Sometimes they're on the bathroom floor
Your girlfriend! What a whore!
Sometimes they're warm and wet and raw
From beneath the skirt of your mother-in-law!
Brownish stains from daily wear
A gusset full of pubic hair
Just make sure your nose is ready
For the tang of a sweat-soaked wedgie
In your hand a pair of drawers
With a funky feminine discharge
Give your nose a rest, fix your self a drink
'Cause woooo-wheeeee! Panties stink!

Re:Panties STINK! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735142)

White with a streak of yellow reek
A shitty pink
A most unladylike stink
From a fragant lubricated leak.

Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (5, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735000)

...that's still too expensive for Joe Shiftworker. Doesn't it just give you a warm fuzzy to see people driving past you in cars that you can't afford to buy because the Government gouged you so hard in order to give your tax money to the people who can afford to buy them?

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (4, Insightful)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735070)

Or gave the money to the car manufacturer

On Hybrid Vehicles (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735120)

How come all hybrid vehicles comes in the form of Gasoline / Battery ?

How come there is no hybrid vehicle that is in the form of Diesel / Battery ?

Do you know that diesel engines is much more efficient than that of the gasoline engine ?

And if we are really into the "Green" thing, why must we stuck with the gasoline engine ?

Why can't we change to Diesel / Battery instead, for hybrids ?

Can someone who knows much more about this give some comments, please?

Thank you !

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735194)

"The much higher compression ratio means diesel engines have to be heavier and more robust. This means they are more expensive to build, but the higher cost is offset by much longer lifetimes" - http://www.greencar.com/articles/difference-between-diesel-gasoline-engines.php

Thats the short of it. Diesel motors last much longer and our car dealers are on a 3 year cycle. Hence why factory dealership warrantys( up until recently ) are only 3yr/36k miles. Cars last shorter = more cars sold in a given time frame -> more money made.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (5, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735218)

The problem is that a Diesel engine is very heavy and expensive. Most hybrids are made for short trips so it would be a great waste of resources to carry around a heavy engine. Hybrid gasoline engines have a somewhat different cycle (Atkinson cycle) than normal gasoline engines (traditional Otto cycle) and thus are more economical. Add the weight savings compared to the heavier Diesel engines (especially with a particle filter) and you'll see why there are no Diesel hybrid cars - it just isn't worth it. Lorries, trains and ships are made for very long range and there a Diesel hybrid is much more practical, especially in the case of ships and trains where the Diesel engine is often only connected to the generator so it can be in its most efficient revolution speed the whole time and (because of the constant speed) have a very long life.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735424)

The problem is that a Diesel engine is very heavy and expensive. Most hybrids are made for short trips so it would be a great waste of resources to carry around a heavy engine. Hybrid gasoline engines have a somewhat different cycle (Atkinson cycle) than normal gasoline engines (traditional Otto cycle) and thus are more economical. Add the weight savings compared to the heavier Diesel engines (especially with a particle filter) and you'll see why there are no Diesel hybrid cars - it just isn't worth it. Lorries, trains and ships are made for very long range and there a Diesel hybrid is much more practical, especially in the case of ships and trains where the Diesel engine is often only connected to the generator so it can be in its most efficient revolution speed the whole time and (because of the constant speed) have a very long life.

I expect that as diesel engines become smaller and have lower emissions (like the 1.3 litre Fiat engine [wikipedia.org]) and fuel prices increase the equation will change and we will see diesel hybrids.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735430)

The problem is that a Diesel engine is very heavy and expensive.

Heavier and more expensive than a 375 LB battery pack [wikipedia.org] + electric motor + gasoline engine ?
I think not.

Modern turbo-diesels are outstanding pieces of work, but the US market is prejudiced against them because of their noisy, smelly, polluting predecessors.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735442)

I am from Germany and don't really care about the US market. And anyway, the question was, why there aren't any Diesel hybrids so the battery pack and electric motor are there in both cases.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735584)

I am from Germany and don't really care about the US market. And anyway, the question was, why there aren't any Diesel hybrids so the battery pack and electric motor are there in both cases.

Because Japan, like the US, doesn't much like diesel passenger cars either. Hopefully the Euro hybrids won't be far away...

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735696)

And anyway, the question was, why there aren't any Diesel hybrids so the battery pack and electric motor are there in both cases.

The issue is entirely one of price.
Even a small diesel is more expensive than an equally sized gasoline motor and the auto execs just can't justify adding that premium ontop of the electric premium.
I imagine that someday, when prices on battery packs come down, (turbo) diesel electric hybrids will be the norm and we can forget about gasoline electrics.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (2, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735750)

I don't. Even European Diesel fuel doesn't burn that clean. I rather hope for HCCI engines (a fuel-gasoline mix compressed and preheated to the point of auto-ignition). Those engines combine the fuel economy of a Diesel engine with the gasoline engine like emissions.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735726)

At least one Mercedes diesel system requires an occasional refill of Urea to treat the emissions. Based on one story I read about what the dealers are charging, Urea is the new ink jet refill.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735484)

Mini Cooper 1.6l gasoline (88 kW / 160 Nm) curb weight 1515 kg.
Mini Cooper 1.6l diesel (80 kW / 240 Nm) curb weight 1540 kg.

Yeah, that 25 kg is insurmountable. In addition to a 30% efficiency increase, the diesel gets you a flexible power band (instead of peaky).

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735570)

Yes, even 25 kg matter. Also you need to add a particle filter. And 30% efficiency isn't true (alone because Diesel fuel has got higher energy content), especially if compared to the Atkinson cycle gasoline engine.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735710)

The problem is that a Diesel engine is very heavy and expensive. Most hybrids are made for short trips so it would be a great waste of resources to carry around a heavy engine. Hybrid gasoline engines have a somewhat different cycle (Atkinson cycle) than normal gasoline engines (traditional Otto cycle) and thus are more economical. Add the weight savings compared to the heavier Diesel engines (especially with a particle filter) and you'll see why there are no Diesel hybrid cars - it just isn't worth it. Lorries, trains and ships are made for very long range and there a Diesel hybrid is much more practical, especially in the case of ships and trains where the Diesel engine is often only connected to the generator so it can be in its most efficient revolution speed the whole time and (because of the constant speed) have a very long life.

Let's also not forget that many smaller diesel engines(new VW Beetle comes to mind) are already VERY efficient, putting up damn near hybrid mileage numbers without the overhead and worry of battery maintenance 100,000 miles later.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (3, Informative)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735324)

Diesel gives you better low end torque (but electric motors have much more of it anyway)
Diesel engines are more expensive, and getting power from them forces you to turbo them (which increases costs too)
On the other hand, gasoline engines are quieter (in both noise and rumbling), and can reach higher power without turbo (typical gasoline engines have higher power than similar displacement turbo diesel engines, and lower cost)
Gasoline engines don't have low end torque, but that doesn't matter at all.

Now, Mercedes is preparing some diesel-hybrid model (the class E with a 2.2 liter diesel).

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735660)

Something else unfamiliar will be the low noise level and, unique for a racing engine, the smooth running of the engine. At high speeds, the engine cannot be heard from the open cockpit and there is hardly any vibration. Indeed, the new R10 can only be recognized as diesel-powered during the warm-up or in the pit lane. Its exhaust will also be invisible since a pair of diesel particulate filters are fitted. And unlike spark-ignition racing engines, there are no flashes of flame from the exhaust created by unburned fuel.

from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FZX/is_6_72/ai_n16521075/ [findarticles.com].

In a radio report about this car, a journalist said that it was so quite, it could be driving through a suburban neighborhood, and nobody would call the police. Describing it as eery to see it go by vs the other, much louder, gasoline cars.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735708)

I'm not disputing what you say about this. However, we're talking about different things here:
-R10 would be a 10-cylinder diesel engine, and with more cylinders the engine is easier to balance.
-high speeds and an open cockpit means a lot of wind noise, tire noise and so on. Having the engine barely audible in those conditions is not the great feat you imply it to be
-the vibrations of a diesel engine are noteworthy ony at low rpm, especially at idle. At higher rpm the current diesels are only a bit more noisy than earlier-decade gasoline engines.

      I'm waiting for the diesels to take over the market, maybe then the gasoline my car uses will be cheaper :)

Volt also runs on Ethanol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735594)

With all the focus on electric, the fact that the Volt is also flex-fuel is often overlooked.

Re:On Hybrid Vehicles (1)

xsuchy (963813) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735698)

Because diesel do not like short tracks?

Diesel will make its best when it is heated. And on short tracks like commute to work do not give the engine to heat up.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735086)

I dunno.

When the Model T was introduced, it cost the equivalent of around 20K$, about half what this car is going to go for. But competing cars were more in the $50K to $70K range, so $40K is not too bad, and somewhat less than that (as the article says might happen) would be quite practical for many working people *given that there are operational savings*. It could well be a modest success at a price like $35K.

The cost of the Model T drop from $20,000 in current dollars to $12000 and then to under $10000, making it practical for the workers who assembled it to buy one. That's economies of manufacturing scale. The Volt has potentials for such economies of scale as the purchase expensive new parts like large batteries attracts investment and initial development costs are recouped. A modest hit with new technology is hard to achieve, but it will drive down cost and drive up profits more quickly than throwing a new skin on the same old platform would, where economies of scale have already been accounted for.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735360)

Except Ford actually quadrupled the salaries to make it possible; nowadays we get taxed to hell and back out of our current salaries.

Priorities, priorities... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735666)

In Finland, because of a high sales (luxury) tax on cars, cars cost twice as much as they do in the US. On the other hand, because of high income (envy, solidarity) taxes, short work weeks and ample vacation time, the typical middle-class net salaries are significantly lower than in the US.

Despite this, Finland is full of cars because cars are needed to get to places. That is possible because Finnish families live in two-bedroom apartments instead of five-bedroom McMansions.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (2, Interesting)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735090)

...that's still too expensive for Joe Shiftworker. Doesn't it just give you a warm fuzzy to see people driving past you in cars that you can't afford to buy because the Government gouged you so hard in order to give your tax money to the people who can afford to buy them?

Oh, I would love to hear you detail exactly how the government has been gouging you in particular. You know... new taxes, increases in old taxes, cuts in benefits, and how each one you list affects your bottom line. I'm sure lots of people here would like to hear all of the juicy details. So, let's hear it.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0, Flamebait)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735196)

Oh, I would love to hear you detail exactly how the government has been gouging you in particular.

It's not me I'm personally worried about. It's my kids. You're right, they don't actually raise taxes now to pay for their spending... they borrow money to pay for it [usdebtclock.org]. The boomer generation has had a grand time of it. Millenials+? Not so much.

Hmmm, how'd all that rampant borrowing work out in the housing bubble again?

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735540)

Yes borrowing money is something most governments do. Most of the time, that does not lead to big problems. There is this graph doing the rounds that suggests that most republicans governments spend their way into debt, while the deficit is reduced on a democrat watch.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735232)

Oh, I would love to hear you detail exactly how the government has been gouging you in particular.

      Oh let's see - start with 1) destroying the value of the US dollar, which both increases the cost of imports (trivial stuff like, say, oil), 2) persistently lying about inflation because ok we'll say there's no inflation by taking out transport and energy from the inflation equation then we'll use substitution and hedonics [wikipedia.org] to skew the inflation numbers in our favor and of course the cost of housing tripling or more has NOTHING to do with inflation and when you hear on the news things like "tuition fees have not kept up with household income" that isn't inflation either.

Here's a quote for you:

"There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."

So I guess you belong to the 999,999 other people. I hope enjoy having your savings destroyed by inflation. Continue to believe the government when they say there is no inflation - there's even DEFLATION (hah! Then why do prices keep going up? How much is gold this morning? $1147/troy oz?). Yeah, believe that. Or you can see the real numbers, calculated in the traditional [shadowstats.com] way.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735754)

Continue to believe the government when they say there is no inflation - there's even DEFLATION (hah! Then why do prices keep going up? How much is gold this morning? $1147/troy oz?).

You sound like a conspiracy theorist. Why would gold, an industrial commodity, be in the inflation basket? How much gold did you have for breakfast today?

Yeah, believe that. Or you can see the real numbers, calculated in the traditional [shadowstats.com] way.

The shadowstats people are in the business of selling newsletters, not in the business of truth. Here [bls.gov] is a debunking of their misleading sensationalist claims by BLS economists John Greenlees and Robert McClelland.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735304)

No "juicy details" are needed...

Tax freedom day last year (http://actionamerica.org/taxecon/taxfrdmclk.shtml):

In 2009 Tax Freedom Day falls on April 13. In other words, most Americans will work for more than a quarter of this year, to earn enough money to pay all of their taxes for this year. ... But, that's not the worst of it. The Tax Foundation points out that this date does not take into consideration, a sharply increased budget deficit that will occur this year, due to the bail-outs. It is based only upon projected incomes and taxes for this year. The deficit-included date would be May 29 - by far the latest date ever for the deficit-included number

Keep in mind that this is only direct taxes. Google "indirect taxes".

Let's round that May 29th date down and say that its only 1/3 of the year. That means that the typical American only keeps 2/3 of his paycheck. That means that every 2 Americans in this country are supporting a third person with their paycheck. 1/3 of all Americans are being supported on the backs of the rest.

Is it any wonder that Chinese labor is cheaper?

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

Welsh Dwarf (743630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735512)

No, this means that 1/3 of your pay check goes to pay for roads, Iraq, Afganistan, Isreal, corp of engineers, water company, electric grid etc

Benefits only make up a tiny part of the whole

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735620)

Folks might want to check out the actual proportions. Military spending significantly outweighs social spending--health, education, and welfare. I read a piece last week that said that one year of the Iraq war costs more than the tuition of every college student in the US for the last several years. My memory may be faulty there, and lies, damn lies.... But there's always the old "death and taxes" graphic: http://mibi.deviantart.com/art/Death-and-Taxes-9410862 [deviantart.com]. All that said, Joe Sixpack, um, Shiftworker isn't paying much taxes. I know. I'm an English teacher, but I make $32,000 a year. Altogether, including a really high local sales tax, about 17% of my income goes to taxes and social security. That's not much money. I mean, it's a lot to me, but a drop in the bucket. You can blow my year's taxes out the barrel of a machine gun in one firefight.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (5, Informative)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735104)

New technologies almost always target the high-end first, and later move down to the middle and low-end products. That's because initially there are no economies of scale from high-volume manufacturing. As the high-end ramps to reasonable volume, technolologies, like the batteries, will drop in price, allowing cost effective medium-end offerings. Take a look at the Tesla cars. Their first (the Roadster), is > $100K. Their second is expected to be around $57K. They plan a third in the $35K range, but first, their Model S has to succeed.

Anyway, the government is trying to help you get into a Chevey Volt, to the tune of about $7,000. Your price wont be $40K, you'll pay $33K. Given the performance and specs, it's not unreasonable, though if they could drop a few K, it'd sell a lot better. They'll also have a Cadillac version, but they plan cheaper versions in the future.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735276)

but first, their Model S has to succeed.

it WILL. check out what BMW 5-series you can have for that price, and then compare the specs(0-60, interior space, practicality ...). the BMW can only compete on the range. And I think they already have thousands of reservations.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (4, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735508)

Do you honestly think people are going to pay US$30-40k for a compact car that (feature-wise) compares to a US$16k Toyota Corolla?

Other than the deep pocketed early adopters and people who want to flaunt their "greenness", I think the sales of the Volt are going to be bleak.

And even if they sold every one of their stated 8000 unit capacity (in the first year), they're losing money on each one AND reliant on a government subsidy to close the sale.

This has epic failure written all over it even though it seems to a casual observer to be a "nice product."

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735656)

I'll type this really slowly to make it easy for you to understand:

The government is not trying to help me get into a Volt. They're taking money from me in order to help someone else get into a Volt.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735152)

But Nancy Pelosi says that we have to subsidize ineffecient American car manufacturers because after all neither Honda nor Toyota nor Nissan are American car manufacturers oh wait how many plants do they have in the US again? (14, 4 and 3 respectively) because God forbid America not be able to produce cars!!! Remember that speech? Long live social^H^H^H^H^H er capitalism!

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735254)

Right because having any number of plants here that are merely the final assembly of Japanese designs and Japanese parts where the profits go home to Japan means they're close to being American car manufacturers. And Nancy Pelosi is a capitalist pig anti-socialist like the rest of her kind from that known bastion of right-wingedness San Francisco. Pass me what you're smoking.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735296)

and Japanese parts where the profits go home to Japan

And then they turn around and buy US debt [treas.gov] with those profits. You really have no clue about how a global economy works, do you? If it wasn't for China and Japan, the US would be bankrupt and you would not be enjoying your current standard of living.

If anyone is smoking anything, it's you.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735436)

And then they turn around and buy US debt [treas.gov] with those profits

The reason they do that, is that they resist spending the money, and they do that to try and keep an artificial scarcity in dollars. Our strategy of issuing debt and now even printing is a tacit recognition that we know they will buy, with goods, every dollar we print, and thus they have hoards of dollars sitting in their banks and treasuries and really doing nothing.

This isn't global capitalism, it is utterly disfunctional mercantilism. IF this were genuine free trade, the asian countries wouldn't have dollars in the banks, they would have -american products- for their consumers.

If it wasn't for China and Japan, the US would be bankrupt and you would not be enjoying your current standard of living

Oh, that, we owe $200,000 a piece in Federal and Public debt standard of living, and we haven't even started paying for aging baby boomers yet? My, that sounds like a hell of a plan you got there.

The US dollar is the world reserve currency (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735598)

And then they turn around and buy US debt with those profits.

The interest of which you service through your income taxes. What happens to slaves when they don't pay their income taxes?

If it wasn't for China and Japan, the US would be bankrupt

How so. Where do dollars come from? What is money? Who defines what money is? It's ridiculous to think of a nation as bankrupt. Money is simply bits of paper representing a claim on real goods. A nation can define it's own currency representing all the wealth that the nation can produce. In America it happens to be defined (for some reason, and to the benefit of some) as debt. Without China and japan exporting to America, products would simply be produced locally instead.

I just posted about this 10 minutes ago:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1506464&cid=30735248 [slashdot.org]

If the US dollar wasn't the reserve currency, China and Japan wouldn't be exporting to the USA. It's great for those on the upper end of the US economy, kind of shitty for those at the bottom.
 

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735664)

If it wasn't for China and Japan, the US would be bankrupt

Um. That's literally impossible. Do you mean insolvent? Or simply broke? Or what?

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735188)

Too true -- like the Clash for Clunkers program, this is a redistribution of wealth, only this time it's from the poor (who couldn't afford to buy a new car during a recession, and can't afford a $40K car) to the well-off (who could, and can).

Redistribution of wealth is a false argument (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735458)

Too true -- like the Clash for Clunkers program, this is a redistribution of wealth,

You can't argue the government has no right to redistribute wealth, when, by virtue of grants of monopoly versus patents, copyrights, and the creation of armed forces to protect the property of the wealthy, that they are actually getting the right to redistribute and retain wealth themselves.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (2, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735372)

And who works for the car manufaturer? And how many for the car manufacturer? And how much tax money is made from those workers in the long run? And how much would be spent in welfare payments if they were out of work?

I don't think any government gives out money to spite the poor..

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (3, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735460)

no, the government gives out money to buy the poor's vote...

"When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic" - Ben Frankin

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735382)

Doesn't the top 1 percent control 42 percent of the wealth in USA? So that probably means that most of the bailout money actually did come from those those few percent that "can afford to buy them", since they payed most of the tax.

Better than Lexuses and BMWs (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735418)

because the Government gouged you so hard

The problem is, because of currency manipulations, that foreign governments are essentially subsidizing their car companies so that they can export to the USA. Guys in Japan are living literally in shoebox sized cubbyholes with -nothing-, so they can send us made in Japan stuff. Guys in China and South Korea have missed the whole Ford experiment and benefit of unionization, and will never be to afford what they make, and meanwhile, sitting in the banks of China, Japan, and South Korea is hoards of US dollars, accumulated as fast as we can print them, that literally does everyone about as much good as tons of gold sitting in British banks did before Adam Smith said "hey,mercantilism is really stupid."

So basically, the only thing that we can do, because Asia can't let go of its mercantilism, is to cut them off, and force them to create a legitimate economy.

Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0, Offtopic)

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Re:Oh great, another subdized vehicle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735634)

Believe me when I say that that is absolutely never the case.

Duh (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735012)

Of course the driving performance is the exact same. There is only one driving engine, the electric one, and creating power-enough for it is not hard. Now the real question is: What is its fuel-performance when batteries are depleted?

Re:Duh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735102)

The gasoline engine is pretty small, smaller than needed to fully power the electric engine. You can read in the article that under acceleration it will also use some of the reserve battery power, which it will then recharge when not accelerating. Fuel-performance is a good question: with a pretty small engine it should be pretty efficient but since it is using the battery to improve driving performance it is likely to be driven more aggressively than a normal car with such an engine.

Re:Duh (1)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735114)

Well in that case it's working like a Diesel-Electric locomotive so it would be running at fairly constant revs when cruising and increased revs when pulling off or accelerating hard. It is hard to say what kind of power requirements would be needed without the spec of the engine and electric motors but I can't see it being any less fuel efficient than a standard car but I could be wrong. To be honest if you've gotten this far through my stream of consciousness ramblings then I applaud you. I'm gonna go get a breath of fresh air I think.

Re:Duh (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735204)

Well in that case it's working like a Diesel-Electric locomotive so it would be running at fairly constant revs when cruising and increased revs when pulling off or accelerating hard. It is hard to say what kind of power requirements would be needed without the spec of the engine and electric motors but I can't see it being any less fuel efficient than a standard car but I could be wrong.

It should be interesting to see the numbers. They could run the gas engine at max efficiency most of the time it is needed; and with proper power management use the battery for high load demands (acceleration) situations. Regenerative braking would also help economy; it would also extend brake life as well. They've gotten rid of much of the power train losses as well.

One side note - I wonder if it will make car sounds? Years ago I worked at a place doing electric car research; we had a fleet on our campus and the really weird thing was you never heard them; so you were surprised when all of a sudden you see a full size van next to you as you start to cross the street. I think we subconsciously "listen" for sounds that say "be sure to look, there is a car coming;" electric vehicles lack that feedback.

Re:Duh (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735576)

electric vehicles lack that feedback.

Not all! Some make artificial noise!

Until they're able to drive themselves, I think that should be a law.

Re:Duh (2)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735602)

No lie, that. It becomes obvious if you cycle a lot: pedestrians don't look for you because you don't make the sound of an internal combustion engine. I occasionally wish for a device that would make my 1995 Raleigh sound like a Harley-Davidson.

Re:Duh (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735668)

Thats not really a safe assumption to make, although it may be true in the case of the Volt.

Electric motors can draw enormous amounts of power. Even a fairly low end car these days can peak out at around 100hp, although likely not except when you mash on the gas trying to merge or something.

100hp is 75 kilowatts. With electical losses and so forth, you're going to need to pump maybe 90 kilowatts to the motor to get that equivalent amount of "oomph" when you mash on the pedal.

With the right battery pack, you can easily draw power like that for some short period of time, however if you are running purely off the generator in the car, you *can't* draw that much power unless the generator is turning out 90 kilowatts, too... or 120hp.

You won't put a 120hp generator into a car like the Volt, because of both weight and fuel efficiency issues. You want something that runs quietly, you want it to be light, and able to start up and get to its efficiency peak quickly.

So, you can design a car where the performance is same on battery or generator, however if you do so you're either lowering the power on battery to match the generator, or wasting energy during the periods you are running on battery lugging around a generator that is oversized for your application.

Just 11 months to go? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735126)

... and with just 11 months to go before this car hits the market, I got the answer.

Since when is 11 months a short time until the release of a product? It shouldn't even be being discussed this far out. If it was maybe a month or two until the release, some anticipatory articles would be fine. But this just smells of more bullshit hype or "viral marketing" for the Volt, which has already had previous premature media campaigns.

If you're going to release a product, just release it! Don't crap on about what you plan to release one day.

Re:Just 11 months to go? (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735214)

Since when is 11 months a short time until the release of a product? It shouldn't even be being discussed this far out. If it was maybe a month or two until the release, some anticipatory articles would be fine. But this just smells of more bullshit hype or "viral marketing" for the Volt, which has already had previous premature media campaigns.

If you're going to release a product, just release it! Don't crap on about what you plan to release one day.

Hype - it's important and sometimes required to get your product off the drawing table. Case and point: Duke Nukem Forever!

Re:Just 11 months to go? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735318)

I hate the trend of movies doing this. You see an awesome trailer which ends with the teaser date of Spring 2011.

I guess it must work for some people. For me, it just burns out my desire for the movie long before it airs.

Qualitative journalism (4, Insightful)

alexwcovington (855979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735166)

The classic problem with selling new cars is that the people who can afford to buy them don't care about efficiency. They want a car that will dust whoever's next to them when they take off from a stoplight, and looks/drives sporty and/or like a Cadillac.

Car reporters take this a step farther and don't even care how much the car costs to buy or operate, just how it feels to be behind the wheel. So in the end, cheap cars never get positive press, and efficient cars only get it if they play to the luxury-class tastes of Car and Driver.

Re:Qualitative journalism (3, Insightful)

aclarke (307017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735438)

Yes and no. Most people place pure performance as a value, weighted along with many other criteria. Otherwise everybody would be driving the fastest car they could afford, which isn't the case. Witness the trend a few years ago of Hollywood stars buying Toyota Priuses (Prii?).

I do agree with the average automotive journalist's disconnect on what is "adequate" power. For example, I bought a 2005 Volvo XC90 with the 2.5t 5-cylinder engine. This engine/vehicle combination was almost unanimously dismissed in the press for having inadequate power, to the point where Volvo replaced it in 2007 with a 3.2 litre V6 that gets slightly worse fuel economy. In my time owning this vehicle, I have never wished it had more power. It has always done what I've asked it to do. So what's up with those journalists? I guess they don't have to live with the car and put premium fuel into it like us actual owners do.

The Volt is THE car for the times... (3, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735182)

The virtually inevitable future of ground transportation isn't petroleum, since we will indeed eventually run out. However the obstacles are too many for a pure EV to be used as anything but a commuter car. (Namely, EV's are entirely useless for long-haul driving, with the even the longest range vehicles only providing less than 1/4 of that needed for a long haul trip. And no, you can't quick charge without MAJOR upgrades to the infrastructure.)

Doing the lion's share of your driving on batt., charging slowly at home, and still having the gas capacity for a long-range trip is a good compromise, and one that I think will carry us through the next couple of decades of auto development.

SirWired

P.S. I'm surprised at the number of articles that are so impressed that the engine isn't connected to the drive wheels. This is how locomotives have worked for decades, albeit for different reasons.

Re:The Volt is THE car for the times... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735326)

even the longest range vehicles

tesla model S : range 300 miles.

And no, you can't quick charge

how about swapping batteries at what now are petrol-stations ?

Re:The Volt is THE car for the times... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735348)

We will never run out of petroleum. As long as we have a free market.

I'd rather have more batteries (2, Insightful)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735200)

One of the benefits of electric cars will be maintenance. There's basically one big moving part - the electric motor. The volt punts that advantage away by including an internal combustion engine. This is the type of compromise that should have saved a lot of money (using a cheap ICE to extend range instead of adding even more expensive batteries), yet the Volt is expected to cost a lot more than the all-electric Nissan Leaf. Plus I'd still have to deal with oil changes & the occasional trip to the gas station (you'll have to run that motor now & then just to keep seals from drying out and the gasoline from gelling in the tank).

It'll be interesting to see if this compromise pays off for Chevy. I'm betting that the Leaf will end up being more successful.

Re:I'd rather have more batteries (5, Interesting)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735316)

The article explains this. Apparently their research shows that the 40 mile all-electric range hits the sweet-spot for most American commuters.

Make the batteries bigger and you still have to have the gas engine for when you visit your cousin 300 miles away. Make the batteries smaller and you need to run the gas engine even for your daily commute.

Sounds like the perfect compromise to me.

The shopping use case. (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735468)

Make the batteries bigger and you still have to have the gas engine for when you visit your cousin 300 miles away.

It's not for longer trips that pure EV's get killed. It's the every Saturday when you have to run to the grocery store, bank, stop by your mother in laws, pick up some stuff at Best Buy, and you drive 150 miles running errands use case. Our leaders never mention this case though, because they actually don't drive for themselves.

Re:The shopping use case. (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735614)

and you drive 150 miles running errands use case

Do people really do that? In a civilized area, like the semi-rural midwest, we can and do go 75 on the highways, so thats TWO FREAKING HOURS of your valuable weekend time spent behind the wheel. In less civilized coastie areas, I hear coasties and big city types proudly "brag" about how their highways are so congested they never get much above 15, implying TEN FREAKING HOURS behind the wheel. I mean, come on, Saturday is only 24 hours long, not counting eating, sleeping, getting called from work, etc. Learn to use amazon.com and spend some of that TEN FREAKING HOURS having fun instead of going "vroom vroom".

The other part I never figured out, is all the retail activity tends to be concentrated on certain areas/roads. I do everything on that list, except visit granny, in one little two mile long, six lane wide road thats packed with retail, thats about four miles from my house. Even if I intentionally drove back and forth for each trip, I still couldn't drive more than 30 miles or so.

Re:The shopping use case. (2, Insightful)

astrowill (1593647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735626)

Make the batteries bigger and you still have to have the gas engine for when you visit your cousin 300 miles away.

It's not for longer trips that pure EV's get killed. It's the every Saturday when you have to run to the grocery store, bank, stop by your mother in laws, pick up some stuff at Best Buy, and you drive 150 miles running errands use case. Our leaders never mention this case though, because they actually don't drive for themselves.

150 miles? If you're averaging 30 mph (whilst driving), that's 5 hours of driving. Just how far away is your Best Buy, grocery store and bank?

Ok, but what about costs? (1)

Pascal Sartoretti (454385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735234)

What is still not clear to me is what is cheaper : "filling" your battery through the gasoline engine or plugging to an electricity socket ? GM doesn't provide clear information about this. Of course it depends on oil and electricity prices, but does anybody have a rough idea ?

If it is cheaper to refill the battery with the gasoline engine, then I suspect that only hard core environmentalists will plug their Volt every night. But if the gasoline engine is more expensive, the Volt could become a hit for all those who normally drive less than 40 miles a day (and who would occasionally use the gasoline engine).

Re:Ok, but what about costs? (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735388)

I know that in the UK, hybrids/battery vehicles have always been massively cheaper to run off mains electricity than on petrol(gasoline) or diesel. But that's with current electricity prices of £0.05($0.08?)/kWh (night-time rate, usually around £0.17($0.27)/kWh daytime) and gas/diesel at £1.079/litre ($6.53/US Gal).

YMMV in other countries (literally)

Re:Ok, but what about costs? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735440)

Generally, the economics of scale (large scale fossil burning at a power plant) make even hydrocarbon electricity cheaper than gasoline. That's even taking into account transmission losses.

Re:Ok, but what about costs? (1)

aclarke (307017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735462)

Driving the Volt is cheaper if you can scam a recharge while you're at work...

Battery should be cheaper (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735476)

The battery should be cheaper, by far, because its a lot easier to dig coal out of the ground, have one big engine convert it to electricity and ship it over a wire, than it is to build container ships and oil drilling and refining apparatus send you energy that you can convert.

Re:Ok, but what about costs? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735510)

It should be a couple cents to recharge fully, nomatter where you live.

But that full charge only gives 40 miles, so... hmm..

If you're worried that it'll break the bank, shut a lightbulb off somewhere.

WSJ subscription IS required (1)

chdig (1050302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735240)

Usually on /. it helps to be able to read articles in order to add some useful commentary. One of the two articles is barely anything more than an advertisement for the Wall Street Journal, embedded into a slashdot story. With all the focus here on things like open-source, accessibility, and a general love-in for ad-Block, I don't understand why we're being spammed with links to pay money and subscribe to an online newspaper.

Suffice it to say, my interest in the actual story has waned since it doesn't seem to be aimed at non-WSJ subscribers like myself.

Re:WSJ subscription IS required (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735362)

Use firefox with the RefControl plugin and add a rule for site "online.wsj.com" which sets the referer to the custom option "http://news.google.com/". Voila, you can read the article.

m2od dowN (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735262)

by the politickers minutes now while disgu5t, or been told reporters, ago, many of you fastest-growing GAY

Re:m2od dowN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735506)

Learn to speak english, dumbass!

Performance isn't the question most want to know (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735352)

What we want to know is, what is the mileage when operating on the range extender?

So if you hop in your Volt and head to Grandma's house a few states over, what is the mileage per gallon?

While I like the concept of the Volt, paying $40k for a vehicle the size of a Cobalt/Focus doesn't appeal to me unless its off the grid mileage is better than average as well. I do not want a car just for commuting.

Re:Performance isn't the question most want to kno (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735716)

I agree. Mileage is exactly what I thought the article was about when I read the title. Acceleration? I never thought for a SECOND that there was ANY question about that, as the gas engine is totally decoupled from the drivetrain. What an utterly worthless article.

Mileage? (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735428)

Maybe I'm just an obnoxious Prius driver, but when the article promised a review of the performance of the Volt in gas-only mode, I was expecting to hear what the equivalent mileage is. As another poster responded, "duh" about the electric motor performance being identical. I'd rather hear about the overall system efficiency in gas mode.

Re:Mileage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30735504)

Agreed. Mileage once the battery is depleted, please?

Rumor has it that since the engine is working at pretty optimal conditions - an otto engine usually has its best efficiency working full throttle at the lower end of its best torque revs - the mileage is far better than a conventional otto engine car since those usually run at part throttle with an efficiency around 10-15% during those conditions. Despite transformation losses in the alternator.

For people like me who don't have any implements to recharge the car overnight, this would be nice. If i get a serial hybrid like the Volt it would mostly have to use the on-board engine to recharge the battery most all the time.

Read article without subscribing (4, Informative)

amaiman (103647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735518)

You can read the full WSJ article without subscribing by using the "Email" link at the bottom of the preview. The link you'll get in your mailbox will lead to the full article (this works for all WSJ "subscriber only" articles.)

Diesel/petrol electric isn't very efficient (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735534)

Its mechanically very simple and robust (which is why its used in railway and shipping applications) but its very inefficient compared to attaching the engine direct to the wheels. I wonder why GM have chosen to do it this way? Cost? To me it rather defeats some of the enviromental benefits of this vehicle as it will probablt use more fuel when in this mode than a normal car.

Re:Diesel/petrol electric isn't very efficient (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735712)

The engine can run at constant RPM, at which it is by far most efficient; in typical cars not only this isn't the case, but the severity of losses greatly depends on the driver.

Plus you can use regenerative breaking.

The problem is the price vs the prius. (1)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735544)

The problem is its price. Its more then the prius . Yes that will matter. Why get a volt when i can get a prius and an insight for the same price? BY when the volt comes out toyota might have the iq hybrid out also . The volts price will be the real problem. Also the fact that you wont break even when it comes to gas milage and money saving since the car is so expensive.

To create the perfect image, shape fashion. (-1, Troll)

COBB1986 (1719232) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735618)

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More Like An Ad (2, Informative)

RABarnes (1610305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735624)

The CNN story is more like an ad than a fact-based article. A few more facts would be helpful - as presented the car is not that impressive.

The Volt weighs 3500 pounds (1)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30735718)

The Volt is a heavy car for its size. This is good and bad. Good because it probably increases the survivability of the driver during a collision with another car (conservation of momentum, p=mv). Bad because it probably makes the car more difficult to drive in slippery conditions, especially while making turns. An electric car like this also begs the question, how much electrical energy is wasted to heat the interior of the car in the dead of winter while the gasoline engine is turned off? Also, until more of our electricity comes from greener energy sources (wind, nuclear, solar, etc) is this car really better for the environment? The good thing about this car is it means less money going to fund terrorists in foreign lands.
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