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Chevy Volt Not Green Enough For California

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the no-rebate-for-you dept.

Power 384

thecarchik writes "The first two plug-in cars from major manufacturers will go head-to-head on warranties and lease prices: $350 a month for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, $349 for the 2011 Nissan Leaf. Now the choice shifts to other measures, including electric and overall range, as well as the plug-in perks that states like California offer to early adopters to encourage them to opt for electric cars. This is where it gets interesting. While California loves the Nissan Leaf, current regulations deny Chevy Volt buyers two significant perks: a $5,000 rebate, and permission to drive solo in HOV Lanes."

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I'm puzzled (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#33064106)

Apparently California can't afford to pay government employees, but can afford to give money to people who buy electric cars?

Re:I'm puzzled (3, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#33064122)

What's your point? We are also committed to building a high-speed train from Barstow to Lodi, at astonishing cost.

Re:I'm puzzled (5, Insightful)

Ichijo (607641) | about 4 years ago | (#33064236)

We are also committed to building a high-speed train from Barstow to Lodi, at astonishing cost.

Even more astonishing than the cost of the $45 billion HSR line is the cost of the $80-150 billion alternative of expanding highways and airports just to move the same number of people.

Re:I'm puzzled (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | about 4 years ago | (#33064274)

hsr line to move more people than a highway? yea right....

Re:I'm puzzled (2, Insightful)

itzdandy (183397) | about 4 years ago | (#33064632)

If you are ONLY counting people driving on highways vs the train to/from very similar destinations then yes, mass transit wins hands down, always has.

Now, considering that situation would only be a small fraction of the total number of people who use said highways then you are probably looking at something more like $45B vs maybe $6-8B adjusted.

Keep in mind that operating the train will not be drastically cheaper than repairing highways so long term costs are likely to be similar.

Re:I'm puzzled (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33064288)

Unfortunately, that isn't how cost psychology works...

Any expenses necessary to maintain the status quo are simply necessary, or even "emergency". They don't count.

Any expenses incurred deviating from the status quo are radical, fiscally imprudent experiments that we can ill-afford.

Any attempt to actually assign numbers to these two categories, and compare them, makes you a pointy-headed wonk who is too boring for television.

Re:I'm puzzled (3, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#33064354)

Oh bullshit - it's never going to be built, and the money will be pissed away

Re:I'm puzzled (3, Insightful)

Pros_n_Cons (535669) | about 4 years ago | (#33064384)

yeah that lodi to barstow route is high traffic.
The only people going up and down hwy 5 or 99 are traveling/trucking. They got a car full of junk. these people aren't taking trains. Unless you think those IT workers in lodi/fresno/bakersfield need to commute to barstows booming job industry.
I used to think government was stupid. Now I believe they do stupid things on purpose to ruin us.

Re:I'm puzzled (4, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | about 4 years ago | (#33064716)

Maybe you were right about government being stupid or maybe you're right that they do stupid things just to ruin us.

However, the idiots ultimately responsible for the HSR fiasco in California are the voters who passed passed Prop 1A which provides almost $10B (via bonds) to jumpstart the program. Without passage of Prop 1A, HSR probably would have stalled or died.

Fortunately for Californians, it's pretty easy for those who actually pay taxes to leave the state as it flushes itself down the crapper.

Re:I'm puzzled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064942)

The only people going up and down hwy 5 or 99 are traveling/trucking.

And while we're dreaming in technicolor about transit problems...

0) Offload some of that traffic to rail. 1) Build an extra lane on 5 and 99 anyways.
2) Apply electronically-posted variable speed limits as a function of condition. In tule fog, the speed limit in all 5 lanes should be 30 mph or lower. In good weather, when I-5 represents hours of mind-numbing boredom (no scenery to speak of, minimal traffic) at the posted limit of 70, the extra lane would be a candidate for an autobahn-style "no restrictions" experiment.

Tell ya what, hipsters. We car guys give you Prop 19 this fall, you give us something like this a few years down the road. Turn California from a wannabe-nannystate into the last bastion of zaniness and freedom that once represented all that was awesome about America.

and all these people... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064788)

And all these people really need to travel back and forth all the time between those points because of ...why? Really, fuck-ing why? How come no one brings this up there at all, is it an "inconvenient truth"? Why do they need either expensive upgrade at this time, alleged "mass" transit or "private" transit, just to keep burning some form of energy, go to lunch someplace else, "go shopping", or what? How about Californians realize they got so used to making huge money during two really bogus back to back boom and bust cycles (dot com and real estate churning) that they became obscene travel energy hogs, and a lot of this travel is just 'because they can", no different from someone driving his hummer to the end of the driveway to the mailbox..

  Why not just, ya know, stop being "green" hypocrites and cut back on excessive travel in the first place, or in other words, be responsible and drop demand? Then you wouldn't need to spend these huge sums on any of those projects, the existing infrastructure would be "enough", with much cheaper normal maintenance. Is a really unnecessary trip in an electric car all that "green"? How about the same really unnecessary trip with "mass transit" some boondoggle high speed train, or worse, flying in some atmospheric kerosene exhaust spewing jet? When is jet travel *ever* "green"? Never, near as I can see, absolutely never.

    And California as "high tech"? Prove it! Why do they still have millions commuting to go sit in offices in the internet age? Shouldn't they be showing the world this isn't necessary now? All those silicon valley high tech computer places, Google, Apple.., all that "we are just so gosh darn special" brags everyone else hears over and over again all the time.. so why aren't they showing the way that physical commuting, using any form of energy burning transportation, isn't really all that necessary anymore for really a lot of people? Why aren't they leading the world in getting good ultra high speed fiber to every residence and business in the state?

    Wouldn't that be cheaper, greener and actually more effective than either the road and airport upgrade, or the whizz bang super high speed train alleged "upgrade"? All I am seeing is them sitting there all smug and "green" all the time, and they are the biggest energy hogs in the nation still. Plus water hogs. Live in a desert, and just demand the rest of the nation provide them with all the water they can evaporate away, "just because" they are California and somehow "special", and always seek to dictate to the rest of the nation how to think and act, "follow our lead"! BS, they are energy hogs, electric cars or high speed trains, regular gas hogs or flying around to go "do lunch" in some other city, it doesn't matter, never sit still or enjoy where you are, always have to "go someplace else". That's almost a freaking disease, and it certainly is some form of harmful obsession that is ingrained in their culture now. So ingrained, no one there can see it. Obsessive compulsive travel junkies.

Re:I'm puzzled (3, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#33064424)

Barstow and Lodi... More cosmopolitan, hip metropolises you'll never find. I'm thinking "Monorail"...

Re:I'm puzzled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064562)

blaine is a pain...

Re:I'm puzzled (1)

superdude72 (322167) | about 4 years ago | (#33064910)

Lodi is a logical place for the train to go through on its way from the big cities of Northern California to the big cities of Southern California. I'm not aware of any commitment to extending the line to Barstow, although doing so might make sense as part of a LA to Las Vegas line. The cost isn't that astonishing for a state richer than many European countries that already have good passenger rail networks. What's astonishing is that it wasn't started 30 years ago.

Re:I'm puzzled (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 4 years ago | (#33065012)

California [reuters.com] and Greece. Sister states.

Re:I'm puzzled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064174)

Exactly!

Re:I'm puzzled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064740)

More puzzling is the question of why California's incentives are so strangely constructed that a car that runs for 40 miles with out gas doesn't get as good of incentives as one that always has to burn gas on the highway. Of course the one that's always been most puzzling to me is how great people feel about what they've done for the world after buying a Prius when they never ask themselves what the company they just bought their car from actually does to people in the world. Human trafficking and kick backs to third world dictators float anybodies green boat? That's the Toyota I know and loathe, see:
http://www.nlcnet.org/reports?id=0007

And that's a source I believe has been quoted on other issues in the NY Times, Washington Post, and on NPR.

Re:I'm puzzled (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 4 years ago | (#33064998)

Is it any wonder? [latimes.com]

Re:I'm puzzled (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 4 years ago | (#33065058)

California can't afford to pay government employees, but can afford to give money to people who buy electric cars?

What is truly puzzling is why investors continue to buy California's bonds when each subsequent budget resorts to ever more inventive accounting tricks to "balance" spending with actual revenue. It may surprise some of you to learn that the credit rating of California bonds is so low that institutional investors in this state, which includes many local governments and government employee pension funds, cannot purchase them for their investment pools. What does that tell you about the credit worthiness of California?

The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33064156)

The leaf is not a hybrid, the volt is. Seems pretty simple here folks.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Informative)

paitre (32242) | about 4 years ago | (#33064178)

Not really - since the Prius DOES get the benefits that the Volt won't be.

So... yeah. It makes very, very little sense.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Informative)

coolgeek (140561) | about 4 years ago | (#33064302)

Actually, nope. HOV passes are not issued to hybrids any longer.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Informative)

fredmosby (545378) | about 4 years ago | (#33064882)

The article says the 2011 Prius, which will be a plug in hybrid, will qualify for HOV passes. The Chevy volt won't even though it is also a plug in hybrid. Ironically this is because it is designed to drive without the engine running most of the time. It's catalytic converter isn't constantly heated, which means that under certain conditions it can give off evaporative emissions.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (2, Informative)

ageedoy (961786) | about 4 years ago | (#33064322)

HOV stickers are no longer available for hybrids in the state of California and even current Prius HOV stickers will expire in a few years. What h4rr4r is saying is correct. http://green.autoblog.com/2010/07/09/california-extends-unrestricted-use-of-carpool-lanes-by-evs-unti/ [autoblog.com]

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 years ago | (#33064324)

I agree it makes no sense, but it doesn't make sense in the Prius vs Volt comparison. The Leaf vs Volt comparison makes perfect sense. The electric vehicle gets benefits the hybrid doesn't. The article is spending so much time trying to convince us that a hybrid that could be driven as an electric should be treated as such.

Really, the answer is to drop all the regulations and incentives and bump the tax on gasoline and diesel by $5 per gallon. Why tax someone and refund the tax on hybrids that get worse mileage than some smaller cars? Why create all the tax and refund process in the first place? Just tax on usage, and let the rest go. The Free Market will figure it out. People will use less and pay more attention to economy of what they buy. And that will close the budget gap for CA as well (unless done at the national level, in which case it will go a long way towards closing the budget deficit).

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (2, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 4 years ago | (#33064906)

Bumping the tax on something by 100% of the product price is not free market enterprise. If you do that for gas, nobody will be able to afford anything. If that happened in my state, I'd immediately ask for a massive raise and start looking for a house and job in the next state over. I would go broke from the gas prices before I could buy a more economical car. I imagine it would literally kill the economy rather than encourage people to be more economical.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (5, Interesting)

BBF_BBF (812493) | about 4 years ago | (#33064374)

Not really - since the Prius DOES get the benefits that the Volt won't be.

So... yeah. It makes very, very little sense.

Yep, it makes "very, very little sense" because it's incorrect.

If you bought a Prius TODAY, it would not qualify for the HOV lane exemption because you couldn't get a new exemption sticker for it because they've all been allocated. Anyways, by 2011, no hybrids will be allowed in the HOV lane with just one person... how is this different for the Prius than for the Volt since both won't be able to qualify for the HOV lane exemption by the time the Volt is sold in CA? http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1041787_hybrid-owners-howl-as-california-hov-lane-access-ends-in-december [greencarreports.com]

Also, if you bothered to read the original article, the reason why the Volt doesn't qualify for any CA credits is because it didn't meet CA AT-PZEV requirements that the current Prius meets. Who's to fault when their vehicle doesn't meet a published standard? Blame GM, not CA.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (2, Interesting)

skids (119237) | about 4 years ago | (#33064694)

My understanding is that these AT-PZEV requirements need some work -- part of the standard requires an immediate warm-up of the engine even if you have a PHEV, and that part is a holdover from pre-hybrid days where there was no such thing as a car (other than pure EV) that might make short trips on battery alone. IIRC some of the post-factory PHEV mods had to alter their software and make their designs less efficient in order to comply. Good intentions, but obsolete policy now.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 years ago | (#33064378)

The Prius does not quality for the same rebate as the Leaf because it's not a zero-emissions vehicle. It qualifies for a lesser rebate because it is partial zero-emissions. The Volt qualifies as neither because the requirements are pass-or-fail, and the Volt fails [plugincars.com] .

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (-1, Redundant)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33064482)

But, the Leaf isn't a zero emissions vehicle either, in any reasonable fashion. Sure nothing comes out the tailpipe, but it's only as green as the electricity used to power it. And right now with CA in the state it's in, I wonder how much longer before they have to give up on clean energy and just go with cheap.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

quax (19371) | about 4 years ago | (#33064720)

Generally you are right but producing the exhaust elsewhere will still be beneficial for smog plagued places like LA. The exhaust from a coal fired plant can potentially be "cleaner" than car exhaust - even if the CO2 budget doesn't work out.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about 4 years ago | (#33064618)

Isn't part of zero still zero?

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 4 years ago | (#33064406)

no it doesn't. The rebate is for Zero emission vehicles only now, hence hybrids are excluded.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (2, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 4 years ago | (#33064180)

Hybrids were elegible for rebates and the go-fast sticker, and the Volt has a far longer battery-only range than any previous hybrid. But I can't see California giving perks to buyers of American cars under any circumstance, just too against the culture here.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (3, Funny)

Miseph (979059) | about 4 years ago | (#33064208)

The Volt is not an import, the Leaf is. We're talking about greenies from California here folks.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (-1, Flamebait)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#33064330)

Ah, the joys of living in CA. Glad I live in TN.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 4 years ago | (#33064262)

So I'll just hook the Leaf up to the nearest smoke belching power plant and cause it to belch out just a bit. That, or I'll just drag out my generator and charge it from that.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | about 4 years ago | (#33064296)

Good for you.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1, Interesting)

horza (87255) | about 4 years ago | (#33064596)

Indeed. The Volt is just a petrol car with Green cred tacked on (though not as bad as the stupid Prius, which you can't even plug in without invalidating your warranty). These hacks will die out soon enough.

Phillip.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

skids (119237) | about 4 years ago | (#33064774)

A) I'm always very skeptical of big corporations trying to greenwash. I have lots of technical quibbles with the design of the Volt. However even I admit it's an honest effort.

B) Toyota has partnered with PHEV post-factory mod manufacturers to honor their warranty. In fact some dealerships are licensed installers [a123systems.com] .

Healthy and proper skepticism will get you far in life. Cynicism won't.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

teknopurge (199509) | about 4 years ago | (#33064662)

The leaf is not a hybrid, the volt is. Seems pretty simple here folks.

The volt is not a hybrid - it's fully electric.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (4, Informative)

athakur999 (44340) | about 4 years ago | (#33064926)

I can't believe how many people here seem to misunderstand this... As you say, the Volt is an EV. It can run without a drop of gasoline if you want it to, something a hybrid can't do. The drivetrain of the Volt is purely electric. The gasoline part of the Volt is just a generator to keep providing juice to the electric motor if the battery pack runs out. If you stay within the range of the battery pack, the generator will never need to turn on.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (2, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 4 years ago | (#33064930)

The drivetrain is all electric but the power source is not. That's the "hybrid" part.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1)

teknopurge (199509) | about 4 years ago | (#33065060)

the power source is all electric. The car does not require any gasoline to drive.

Re:The leaf is not a hybrid (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064968)

Nope, it's got a gasoline engine. It's a different kind of hybrid [wikipedia.org] .

Chevy Volt Not Japanese Enough For California (-1, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33064218)

Ftfy.

HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (5, Interesting)

kriston (7886) | about 4 years ago | (#33064232)

HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT. This is why for many years you could not build an extra lane on an interstate highway without building at least one of them as HOV. Of course, this so-called regulation was promptly disregarded in the New York City metropolitan area along whose left lanes on I-287 you can see the abandoned HOV signs and faded diamonds on their new left lanes.

But, seriously folks, HOV was always intended for congestion relief, not "clean/special fuel." This is why Virginia fights the hybrid-on-HOV law every time it expires. HOV was not originally intended to have anything to do with the environment, just congestion.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 4 years ago | (#33064240)

Change is bad, Mmmm-kay.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064254)

Awwww... someone's upset that they're going to have to adapt to the fact that some people might actually do good and get rewarded for it, and crowd his itty-bitty single lane, therefore causing him to run 2 minutes behind schedule.

I keep with the other: Change is bad, mmm-kay?

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33064506)

But, the HOV lane already rewards those that do good, rewarding those that do less good strikes me as regressive. The HOV lanes came into being as a way of encouraging carpooling. Admittedly that was more a matter of congestion than being green, but getting a second person in the car, or ideally more, gives you more fuel efficiency than you're going to get out of an electric car, and it takes a vehicle off the road.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (3, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | about 4 years ago | (#33064804)

But, the HOV lanes are underutilized by "real" carpools - another outcome of failed social engineering. We might as well use that concrete for something.

If that results in too much congestion, just change the HOV rules to require that a "carpool" automobile be a non-commercial vehicle not currently in commercial use containing at least 2 (or 3) LICENSED drivers who are not directly related (spouses, parent/child). That would get rid of many of the cars that currently use the lanes and free up even more space to use the HOV lanes for other social engineering purposes like promoting environmental causes. A mother driving her kids to school is going to "carpool" anyway. Most spouses driving together will do it without the HOV lane incentive.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064528)

some people might actually do good and get rewarded for it

How is buying a new, industrially-produced car is good?

Other than for the shareholders and directors of the car companies, that is.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064748)

How is buying a new, industrially-produced car is good?

Sooner or later, your current vehicle will cease to function. Then you'll have to replace it somehow, and now you'll have an incentive to get a Nissan Leaf.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (2)

AxeMurder (1795476) | about 4 years ago | (#33064338)

Umm... HOV lanes increase congestion by reducing the number of available lanes for most drivers while rewarding the environmentally conscious ones with a special no/limited congestion lane. If you go to http://www.epa.gov/oms/ld-hwy.htm [epa.gov] and scroll down to High Occupancy Vehicle Exemption Proposed Rule you may notice that it's the EPAs website and that it talks about pollution not congestion. I am curious to know where your idea that it was about congestion came from though.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (2, Informative)

kriston (7886) | about 4 years ago | (#33064464)

Again, you are looking at the EPA's web site, and the environment is not the original intent of HOV legislation. It was added-on many years later, most notably in Virginia who fight it ever time it comes up for renewal. Politically, it was a nice extra justification for having HOV lanes and in a very small number of states the clean/special fuel provision was added to the protest of highway planners.

As for quoting my sources, here is one that mentions the optional exceptions that states may allow, and it is a very new provision. HOV lanes in Virginia, for example, are over forty years old. You'll note the DOT's web site says "may" allow clean/special fuel, not "must," for states "choosing to allow exceptions."

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/safetealu/factsheets/hov.htm [dot.gov]

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064982)

You're a moron. The percentage of vehicles qualifying for HOV lanes while at single occupancy won't be significant enough to clog HOV lanes, and will provide a nice incentive for people on the fence. If it doesn't put out HOV users, and can serve a dual purpose of both reducing congestion and pollution, then you'd have to be a moron to be angered by this. Hence my opening statement.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 years ago | (#33064988)

Cutting congestion is the single best thing you can do to cut pollution, though, at the moment. And will continue to be for however long "green" cars cost over forty-f*king thousand dollars.

Even without the "high occupancy" bit increasing the passenger miles per gallon, simply eliminating stopping (and its consequent acceleration for those who need to finish their commute at a specific destination) improves fleet mpg dramatically.

It is a mistake to allow low-passenger vehicles into HOV lanes as a reward for being rich enough to buy the secret pass (a forty-thousand dollar steel ticket...). You'll lose all the benefit of those expensive "green" cars in the extra congestion caused by lowering the fleet passenger per vehicle density.

Re:HOV is for CONGESTION not for ENVIRONMENT (1)

Pennidren (1211474) | about 4 years ago | (#33064970)

Reduced congestion equals reduced emissions (cars idling in traffic). I think you are being a bit pedantic. Who cares what the initial intentions behind it were?

GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (3, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | about 4 years ago | (#33064244)

This takes away any sort of "green" cred the vehicle had. Whether it's actually true what Calif. believes or not isn't the point. People will PERCEIVE that the Volt isn't "green" regardless of where it's sold in the US.

Sucks to be them.

Re:GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | about 4 years ago | (#33064372)

That's to bad, because it's more "green" to drive a plug-in in CA than much of the rest of the country, seeing as they aren't coal powered at that point.

Re:GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | about 4 years ago | (#33064568)

California is still largely powered by coal and/or natural gas.

Re:GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (0, Offtopic)

MoeDumb (1108389) | about 4 years ago | (#33064500)

I don't think the rest of the country takes anything coming out of California seriously at this point.

Re:GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33065026)

Are you out of California?

Re:GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (5, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 4 years ago | (#33064602)

California and green have little to do with each other. I just moved out here to take a job, and I was thinking I'd like to buy a diesel as my next vehicle, since to my way of thinking a diesel is far greener than a moderate hybrid like the Prius (the Volt is a different animal). Plus the low-end torque is great, as is the possibility of converting it to alternative fuels. Much to my surprise, I learned that you can't even buy a diesel car out here.

From what I can tell, California is about regulations that make people who don't know much feel good.

Re:GM Must Be Freaking Right Now (1, Troll)

gumbi west (610122) | about 4 years ago | (#33065028)

What makes you think diesel is green? There is 20% more carbon in a galon, so your emissions are not as low as you might think comparing MPG to MPG. Once you take that into account, few diesels are even as good as a corolla (which is almost as good as a Prius).

The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (1)

Halborr (1373599) | about 4 years ago | (#33064250)

I didn't think there were any series-hybrids on the market right now! Want!

Re:The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33064270)

If it was diesel I would be way more interested. Why bother with a gasoline engine?

Re:The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064388)

Because a diesel excels at low end torque, which is not what the electric generator of the Volt needs. Diesel != better for all applications.

Re:The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (3, Insightful)

MachDelta (704883) | about 4 years ago | (#33064546)

I'm sure the manufacturers of diesel-electric locomotives, boats, submarines, and heavy trucks would all disagree with you.

Re:The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064854)

...because diesel is better for heavy industrial engines... therefor, it must be better for small lightweight generator use?

I think you're missing a step or two in that logic.

Re:The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | about 4 years ago | (#33064990)

I think it's more than a step or two that's missing. There's some pretty nifty leaps bordering on flights of fancy.

Re:The Chevy Volt is a series-hybrid? (1)

stoanhart (876182) | about 4 years ago | (#33064870)

Yes, it is a series hybrid. Have you been under a rock for the last two years?

WAKE UP CALL HERE PEOPLE, GM DID THIS TO THEMSELF (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064264)

In the 90's the GM and the oil companies colluded to trick the California Air Resources Board to scrap the EV1 pilot project. Now they make this piece of crap hybrid, which is supposed to be it's successor. Now California has learned their lesson, and rejected the Volt. Good for them. Fuck GM.

Re:WAKE UP CALL HERE PEOPLE, GM DID THIS TO THEMSE (2, Insightful)

initdeep (1073290) | about 4 years ago | (#33064286)

you need to stop believing those "documentaries" you've been watching.........

It seems unecessarily complex... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33064280)

Assuming that introducing market distortions is, in fact, desirable(and, let's be frank, those already exist in vast numbers and a variety of forms for fossil fuels, roads, etc. so anybody whining about it being a liberal envirohippy conspiracy can spare me...) it seems like attempts to classify by "type" are far inferior to attempts to classify by efficiency.

All you have to do is calculate an adequately accurate conversion factor between a few fuel sources, based on what variables you care about(ie. co2 emmissions, foreignness, renewability, presumably a weighted average of some kind.) Then you could simply slap an "efficiency under expected conditions" number on each vehicle, without regard for how it achieves it, and go from there. Who cares if it is gasoline, hybrid, electric, diesel, alien tech, when we could know how efficient it is at moving from point A to point B at the lowest cost across the variables that concern us?

(If one were feeling really radical, one could simply apply a system of Pigovian taxes and/or credits to the fuel sources, and let car buyers follow their economic incentives from there; but I'm guessing that that'll be a non-starter.)

Re:It seems unecessarily complex... (2, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 4 years ago | (#33064382)

I completely agree in principal, but in practice it is difficult to implement. The problem is how to compare electric and fossil fuel vehicles. The fossil fuel consumption, toxic emissions and CO2 emissions from electric generation vary dramatically depending on location and time of day. At low use hours most of the inefficient power plants are turned off, most of the low emissions plants (nuclear, wind, hydro) are running. Charging your car at 2am probably contributes fairly little to emissions. On the other hand at peak use hours the power to charge you car may come almost entirely from high emissions plants - even just the very inefficient "peaking" plants. So charging your car during the day at work may be very bad for the environment.

If a large number of people purchase electric cars this will distort the picture even more. A small number of cars won't significantly add to the load and can be considered to have emissions produced by the average energy production at that time and place. If you add a large number of cars to the grid then the utility will be forced to turn on more less-efficient plants and the per-car emissions will go up.

My belief is that you do better taxing this at the source. If you tax fossil fuels for their CO2 output (and other externalities), then the market will do the right thing. Clean electric power will gain a competitive advantage and areas will clean power will be able to provide it more cheaply - making charging your car economically reasonable.

Re:It seems unecessarily complex... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33064550)

It's not that tough, you just tax the fuel and let things sort themselves out. Rather than doing a electricity versus gas, what you do is a coal versus hydro versus nuclear versus solar versus wind etc., and tax them based upon impact. Eventually that will come to a natural balance in the most efficient way. Providing that you're providing adequate oversight and regulation to the process. One of the reasons why here in Seattle we have such phenomenal fleet fuel efficiency is that we pay more than pretty much anybody else in the country for our fuel. It's not because our city was designed to be efficient, we have more hills than most and our traffic is pretty much always top ten for congestion.

Re:It seems unecessarily complex... (1)

lapsed (1610061) | about 4 years ago | (#33064402)

The Volt uses an internal combustion engine to recharge its batteries and the Leaf is strictly electric -- it's a straightforward difference. What's 'foreignness'?

Re:It seems unecessarily complex... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 4 years ago | (#33064518)

What's 'foreignness'?

I think the GP meant a non-American brand vehicle (not GM, Ford, or Chrysler).

Re:It seems unecessarily complex... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33064608)

I was talking about fuel sources. "Foreignness" of a fuel source is often seen as a drawback; because it commonly implies a degree of vulnerability to geopolitical price shocks and/or serious externalities that hide out in the DoD budget...

Because that is a common concern, it made my list of examples of factors by which one might judge various fuels, in coming up with an "efficiency" number. Coming up with those factors, and putting precise weights on them, won't be trivial; but it would serve the exceptionally valuable purpose of forcing people to think about what they actually want.

It is easy to pass a credit based on an essentially emotional "hybrids good" feeling; but that leads to sub-optimal lawmaking.

If you are going to poke a system, you should know what you want, as precisely as possible, and focus on getting it. In many(though not necessarily every) cases, the best way to do this is simply define what you want, assign Pigovian taxes/credits appropriately, and let the market work it out. The case of lightbulbs is a good example: if the price of electricity accurately captures its externalities, you don't need to do any dictating of lightbulb efficiency, people's pocketbooks will do it for them(as long as you require that efficiency information be easily available at point of sale). Don't bother with some "CFLs only" campaign.

If electricity prices cannot be made to capture their externalities, and you still need to do something, again, do it as directly as possible: don't say "only X or Y technology". Just say "X lumens/watt, or better. in 2015, Y lumens/watt or better. Figure it out."

That is what I most dislike about many of these behavior modification schemes(above and beyond any theoretical/ethical questions about behavior modification schemes in general). They are absurdly specific, mistaking the best known "solution" to whatever problem they are attacking for their actual objective, and then subsidizing the former by name, instead of stacking the deck toward the latter.

Not too happy about this. (-1, Troll)

coolgeek (140561) | about 4 years ago | (#33064306)

It was fine enough for me when they stopped giving HOV passes to the hybrids. Now they are going to allow even slower pieces of shit in there to clog up the lanes? Bullshit.

GM didn't appy. (5, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | about 4 years ago | (#33064346)

http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1896 [evworld.com]

According to GM spokespersons Robert Peterson in Michigan and Shad Balch in California, GM decided in 2007 when it committed to series production of the Volt, to not seek California Air Resources Board AT-PZEV certification. Instead, the decision was made to certify the car in all 50 United States. ARB certification would have required, both GM executives explained, additional testing and since California's air quality regulators had yet to figure out how to classify the Volt, GM felt it was more important to continue the accelerated development program and get the car out by the Fall of 2010 then wait for ARB to come up with a way to categorize what will be for many drivers essentially an all-electric car, while for other who driver further distances each day, a hybrid.

lawsuits (1)

sqkybeaver (1415539) | about 4 years ago | (#33064366)

Toyota is where Chevy is not, i see some larger problems here. this seems like prejudice against Chevy on the states part, CA is also using its incentives to steer the EV market. what part of the benefits made in USA do they not understand? this is a time where we need to reduce our amount of imports. whats next scare you into thinking you will get cancer, cause California knows something... I think they have been out in the sun too long!

"The first two plug-in cars" ? O RLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064394)

Are we going to pretend that the General Motors EV1 never existed, now?

Re:"The first two plug-in cars" ? O RLY? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33064570)

That would presumably be mass produced. Electric cars have been around for over a century, plug in models that were practical and mass produced are much, much more recent.

This is why we need a carbon tax (2, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | about 4 years ago | (#33064414)

As Frances Cairncross and others have argued, the best way to figure out this whole issue is a carbon tax. Tax fuels based on their carbon content. Refund it back through payroll tax credits (or other means) for lower income people who will feel more of an impact. Direct proceeds to mass transit or basic R&D for fuel efficiency/alternative fuels/etc. Then get the hell out of the way and let the free market work its magic. People saying, "Man, $5/gallon is expensive, maybe I should buy a more fuel efficient car or take the bus" is a hell of a lot more effective than arguing over whether this car or that car should qualify for this tax credit or that HOV lane permission.

I don't know why people don't like this. Conservatives can feel all warm and fuzzy about the free market and liberals can feel all warm and fuzzy about encouraging people to make the most environmentally friendly choices. Warm fuzzies all around.

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (1)

BoberFett (127537) | about 4 years ago | (#33064708)

This will never happen because politics in the US is not about finding practical solutions that everyone can live with. It's about mercilessly beating one another into submission and then declaring your ideology victorious and proceeding to make all the same mistakes that your opponent would have made had he won instead.

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33064712)

the last thing we need is another market distortion that compounds the ones we already have into the 6th dimension.

oh and the reason is that most people cannot afford to rush out and buy one of those new shitsquirt electric cars for a cool $350/mo because the fuel for their old cars just artificially doubled in price...again. the last thing we need are more fuckin taxes on things. when govt gets more efficient with the money they have, then we'll talk.

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (0)

cbeaudry (706335) | about 4 years ago | (#33064778)

You seem to be confused.

You cannot use Free Market and Carbon Tax in the same sentence.

How can you believe the drivel you are preaching?

THERE AREN'T ANY GOOD OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

Taxing the crap out of middle class america is definitely not the solution.

How about the governments stop funding BS AGW studies to the tune of billions of dollars worldwide and put that money towards research for alternative fuels, energy and better engines - Electrical vehicles.

This whole cap and trade and carbon (not a pollutant) tax is NOT about the environment.

They could have started funding research 20 years ago. But they dont want to save the environment, they want to line their pockets.

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (2, Informative)

nelsonal (549144) | about 4 years ago | (#33064972)

If you can prove that carbon creates externalities, and you can find a very good estimate for the value of those externalities, then you can impliment a Pigovian tax which would be economically efficient (which is what free marketers usually get excited about).

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (0)

siddesu (698447) | about 4 years ago | (#33064856)

Carbon tax has nothing to do with fuel efficiency.

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (1)

minorproblem (891991) | about 4 years ago | (#33065020)

It is when it makes people change there purchasing behaviour to buy more fuel efficient vehicles

Re:This is why we need a carbon tax (1)

radaghast (1672864) | about 4 years ago | (#33065062)

Most people won't be happy with this because all they'll see is that you've driven fuel prices up to $5/gallon. Even if the tax proceeds turn around and miraculously end up providing a net increase in pocket dollars and free time through mass transit and R&D on fuel efficiency, no one will ever put the two together and it would be labeled as a failed policy.

Why should ANY of them get an HOV lane pass? (2, Insightful)

Sean Hermany (4507) | about 4 years ago | (#33064472)

After over three years of living in California, the HOV lane policy continues to drive me nuts.

Firstly, why should driving a more fuel efficient car give one the ability to drive in the "high occupancy" vehicle lane? If the intention of this lane is to give incentive for people to carpool, then this makes no sense. Further, the state stopped giving out these passes. It essentially created an elitist class of early adopter Prius/Honda Insight purchasers that get to use this lane. So, if the legislature decided it wanted to change the intended purpose of the HOV lane to also incentivise the purchasing of more fuel efficient cars, it has failed there as well. It seems beyond unfair to me to take publicly funded roads and give such a small percentage of drivers, who bought the right car at the right time, special lane privileges for eight hours a day.

Second of all, I remain unconvinced that HOV lanes actually increase carpooling. People I know who live reasonably close together, and work at the same business, usually do carpool. But the fact is that many people are not geographically close enough, or on similar schedules to co-workers to make carpooling make sense. I suspect that most of the people I see in the HOV lane on the 101 just happened to be making a trip somewhere together, which is much different than carpooling on a daily basis. A related point is that signs currently list a car with "2 or more occupants" as HOV lane acceptable. The rule SHOULD be 2 (or I'd argue 3) or more LICENSED DRIVERS. The many moms I see driving their kids around in the HOV lane are hardly taking a car off the road, now are they? That is unless the driving age has been lowered to 10 without me noticing.

Finally, the real reason this all bugs me, is the endgame: helping the environment. I see two arguments. Referring specifically to giving Priuses, or Leafs, or Volts access to the lane - The owners of all of them still own a car, and are still driving somewhere, just like the rest of us. In many cases, it is better for the environment to keep the car we have rather than purchase a new one. Last I read, a large portion of the environmental impact of a car lies just in its manufacture. My second argument is from obervation. I've seen many instances on a four lane highway, with the fourth lane being the HOV lane, where it was mostly not occupied, meanwhile the other three lanes were moving at a crawl. Wouldn't it be better to open the lane up to all and give the cars a chance to operate in their more efficient highest gear rather than polluting at a bumper to bumper snail's pace?

I really believe that HOV lanes in general are a flawed concept, that unfortunately are around forever, because who wants to be the politician trying to get elected lobbying against them? Talk about fodder for your candidate. You might as well argue we end the war on drugs.

Re:Why should ANY of them get an HOV lane pass? (3, Informative)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | about 4 years ago | (#33064660)

Here in DC, we have Slug Lanes [slug-lines.com] . It is informal, not run by any government which is why it actually works. Essentially, commuters wishing to use an HOV lane pick 2 people waiting at bus stops or parking lots so they can. So as a result, you do actually get cars off the roads. Of course, if the government managed it, it wouldn't work.

Re:Why should ANY of them get an HOV lane pass? (1)

nelsonal (549144) | about 4 years ago | (#33064984)

I love how slug lines show the lengths that middle class Americans will go not to ride a bus.

Of course, my DC area commute is by metro and not by bus either.

Re:I'm puzzled (1)

clint999 (1277046) | about 4 years ago | (#33064892)

A) I'm always very skeptical of big corporations trying to greenwash. I have lots of technical quibbles with the design of the Volt. However even I admit it's an honest effort.B) Toyota has partnered with PHEV post-factory mod manufacturers to honor their warranty. In fact some dealerships are licensed installers .Healthy and proper skepticism will get you far in life. Cynicism won't.

oh man, bad news for chevy (2, Informative)

LukeCrawford (918758) | about 4 years ago | (#33064900)

I've you've ever been to the sf bay area during rush hour, most commuters would give their left nut for the ability to drive in HOV lanes. This will be /huge/ - the volt, with it's integrated range extending gas engine seems like a better idea than the all-electric leaf, but the market value of a HOV sticker, even without the rebates has got to be five or ten grand.

Both Wrong! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33065010)

Volt and Leaf are wrong!

1.. Too expensive!

These are NOT the Volkswagan of the Electric Car Era.

Rather, We are in the Obama as Jimmy Carter Era!

Ergo, Obama will be doomed to a One-Term-President as was Jimmy. So, Ifsofacto, why bother with the mighty Volt and Superhuman Leaf!

Barak is just a stupid half nigger .. but that's better than being a full-nelson nigger .. or a Georgia Peanut Farmer Nigger desperately in search of a causaian name.

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