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GM Criticized Over Chevy Volt's Hybrid Similarities

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the playing-with-words dept.

Transportation 657

Attila Dimedici writes "This article says the Chevy Volt is not what GM claimed it was: an Extended Range Electric Vehicle. The Volt is simply a plug-in hybrid. Instead of a vehicle that is only driven with the electric drive train that uses a gasoline engine to charge the batteries, the Volt actually uses the gasoline engine to drive the front wheels at speeds above 70 miles per hour or when the batteries run down. Additionally, the Volt gets nowhere near the 230 mpg that GM was claiming for it. If this is all true, why did GM misrepresent the car? The facts as stated in the article make the Volt a pretty decent competitor to the Prius and other hybrids already on the market." A post at the Car Connection blog takes the opposing view, saying that accusations of GM "lying" are overhyped, since the capability to power the wheels with gasoline is reserved for situations where electricity isn't a viable option. The author says GM didn't mention this ability before now due to concerns over patents and competition from other companies.

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Attempt to delaying uptake of competing products (5, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863672)

If this is all true, why did GM misrepresent the car?

Because hybrids like the Prius were already on the market, and "eventually, we'll get around to releasing a slightly-better hybrid on much the same model" isn't the kind of sales pitch that gets people to buy a conventional GM car now while deferring purchasing a hybrid for later.

Sending the message "we are going to real soon now come out with an electric car that will make hybrids obsolete" is somewhat better as an effort to slow the success of the existing, already-on-the-market hybrids.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863734)

If anyone was at all surprised by any of this, I have a bridge to sell them.

Amen (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864052)

No need to wait. I guess I'll go ahead and by the Prius.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863958)

If this is all true, why did GM misrepresent the car?

Also because they know that electric cars and hybrids can't yet compete in fuel economy or greenhouse emissions (well to wheel) with small light ICE driven cars. The whole electric car industry is lying in the same way. In New Zealand Toyota was successfully sued under the false advertising laws for their gas mileage claims. The bottom line is that private cars are no longer a viable solution to our transport needs due to energy shortages and the companies that manufacture private cars can not admit this as it means going out of business.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (0)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864064)

Alternatively, you should never be driving the car at more than 70 mph as it is illegal to do so. Therefore it isn't an issue. Or at least that is the case with the identical Vauxhall Ampere sold in the UK. The rest of Europe uses km/h for its speed limits and the speed limit is typically between 110 km/h and 130 km/h. 70 mph is 112km/h.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864122)

Depending on where you're driving in the US - the main market for Chevrolet - the legal speed limit may be 75mph or even 80mph.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864130)

Where does the law state that you cannot exceed 70MPH? It is true that most public roadways do enforce speed restrictions, however, last time I looked at a map, there were many areas of the world, including the USA, not covered by public roadways.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864160)

Where I live, cops can pull you over for driving an unsafe speed in their judgment. On a clear day you can use the posted speed limits as a defense ("but the sign says I can drive 65"), but you certainly can't use the lack of a sign as a defense.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864136)

You clearly don't live in Texas, where it is completely legal to drive at 80 mph where marked.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864148)

Alternatively, you should never be driving the car at more than 70 mph as it is illegal to do so.

Oh yeah? Here in Arizona the interstates are 75mph. In parts of Texas it's 80mph.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864150)

I do believe the no speed limit sections of the autobahn are in Europe.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (3, Interesting)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864158)

Alternatively, you should never be driving the car at more than 70 mph as it is illegal to do so. Therefore it isn't an issue. Or at least that is the case with the identical Vauxhall Ampere sold in the UK. The rest of Europe uses km/h for its speed limits and the speed limit is typically between 110 km/h and 130 km/h. 70 mph is 112km/h.

I routinely drive from Phoenix to LA and back. The speed limit is 75 on I-10 between Phoenix and Blythe. In CA it drops to 70. If you're doing 75 you'd better not be in the passing lane because the average speed on that road is 85 to 90 for cars in my experience. I've driven that route more than 50 times...

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864216)

hmm I thought parts of montana had un restricted areas. Also if I export the car to Europe with as part of a move the autobahn is an option. Also it's not cut and dry the over 70 is illegal even if the speed limit is 70, overtaking a car for example, or other such "emergency" maneuvers. Most people have a race track nearby that they may take the car to.

The issue for me here, is I was informed that the Volt was a serial hybrid, and not a parallel one. I know I was considering the Volt over the Prius for the simplified drive train, and mechanical systems; as well as the increased efficiency that a serial hybrid should provide.

Re:Attempt to delaying uptake of competing product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864232)

These are LIES spread by the largely homosexual electric car community. (Remember the Simpsons.)

1. YOU CAN'T PLUG IN A STOCK PRIUS
2. All Electric Cars aren't practical for many people (DESPITE WHAT ECO-NAZIS SAY)

For people who commute to work but drive around town on weekends, the Volt can be all-electric on weekends.
For people like me who have short commutes to work, but may need to do long drives once or twice a week, the Volt will be all-electric most days, and a gas-powered car several days a month. For people like me with PV on the roof, the Volt is a great idea. I'll have ZERO carbon footprint most days, and NO RANGE ANXIETY.

Don't listen to gay eco-nazis, or jealous Prius owners.

Decent competitor? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33863676)

Not on price. It's fucking forty thousand dollars! It's an ECONOMY car!

Sheesh.

People are pissed because they still owe us (US taxpayers) nearly 50 billion dollars. This was the big 'ace in the hole' the used in part to sell the bailout to us.

This piece of shit is not going to put GM on the road to recovery, and the US taxpayer on the road to becoming whole again.

Re:Decent competitor? (4, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863690)

Look, the government actually owns GM - Government Motors. The same guys that buy $400 hammers. The fact that the government can produce ANY motor vehicle for under $100,000 is a fucking miracle.

Re:Decent competitor? (-1)

Quartinus (1678656) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863740)

Look, the government actually owns GM - Government Motors. .

Uhhh...what? I think you mean General Motors. And no, they are not owned by the US government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors

-Quartinae

Re:Decent competitor? (5, Informative)

DaHat (247651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863786)

Uhhh...what? I think you mean General Motors. And no, they are not owned by the US government

Um... did you miss the side bar?

Owner(s):
-United States Department of the Treasury (61%)
-United Auto Workers Union Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (17.5%)
-Canada Development Investment Corporation (7.9%)
-Government of Ontario (3.8%)
-Bond holders of Motors Liquidation Company (9.8%)

If a 61% stake isn't ownership... I don't know what is!

Re:Decent competitor? (-1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863866)

If a 61% stake isn't ownership... I don't know what is!

A 100% stake. A 61% stake means that the US government has control over the company, yes, but not that the government owns it (you might say that the government "owns part of the company," but that is the best you can do).

Re:Decent competitor? (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863948)

"Owns a controlling stake" is synonymous with "owns" in the context of publicly traded companies, just as "buying 51% or more of the voting stock of the company" is synonymous with "buying the company".

Re:Decent competitor? (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864116)

Correct. And more importantly, it was accurate enough in the context of a joke. Reading the replies in the thread, including everyone taking "$400 hammers" as a serious claim, demonstrates that people on /. are losing their sense of humor. And their common sense to boot. This place used to be fun, back when the internet was hard to use.

Re:Decent competitor? (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864182)

Back in 1997 they would mail the internet straight to your house. Doesn't get much easier than that.

Re:Decent competitor? (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864068)

If a 61% stake isn't ownership... I don't know what is!

That depends on the class of stock being traded. For example, you could own 100% of GOOG - but you still won't own Google, because ownership rights are vested in a class of stock that is closely held and isn't publicly traded.

Re:Decent competitor? (2, Informative)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863840)

Look, the government actually owns GM - Government Motors. .

Uhhh...what? I think you mean General Motors. And no, they are not owned by the US government.

As of Aug 18, 2010, the U.S. Treasury held 61% of GM's stock. So saying it's "owned by the US government" is not entirely incorrect. Though I would *hope* that the term "Government Motors" was sarcasm...

Re:Decent competitor? (2, Interesting)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863790)

You actually believe that $400 hammer bullshit?

Hint: When you see a $400 hammer in a government catalog, it's not a hammer. It's a classified device, but they are still required to put it in the catalog. Therefore, they list it as something ridiculous like the infamous NASA "toilet seat".

The $400 hammer joke died 10 years ago.

Re:Decent competitor? (3, Interesting)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863896)

My understanding was that the wasteful $400 hammers/toilet seats, were actually funding for the 'undisclosed' portions of the budget. But the 'wasteful' tag nicely got people in an uproar over something completely unrelated, thus clouding the issue beyond any rational discussion.

Re:Decent competitor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864132)

The $400 hammer story is 26 years old, and was used to discredit Reagan during the 1984 election.

They weren't part of any black budget. They were just part of a support bundle where the itemized prices were an accounting fiction, since no individual piece were ever to be sold separately. There was never a catalog with a $400 hammer. There was just a $30,000 flat rate support contract, and a bunch of misleading purchase orders and invoices describing the individual items that comprise that support contract.

Imagine if every part of a car was itemized separately on the bill; each bolt and light bulb and wire would cost a few dollars each, and the total invoice price of a Hyundai would be a quarter million dollars. But if you buy it all together, you get a 98% discount and the total comes to about $15,000. That's how the government ended up with a $400 hammer, and that's how you ended up with a $200,000 car.

A hammer has three parts (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864204)

Imagine if every part of a car was itemized separately on the bill; each bolt and light bulb and wire would cost a few dollars each, and the total invoice price of a Hyundai would be a quarter million dollars.

AFAIK, a hammer has three parts: a head, a handle, and a wedge that holds head and handle together.

There's no reasonable way those three parts could end having a total price of $400.

Re:Decent competitor? (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864190)

No, the $400 hammer was part of a special silent repair kit made for operating outside of the sonically shielded portion of a $Billions submarine. The kit was put together to a very exacting spec and then only a handful were ordered to go on the small fleet of American submarines. The rather high development cost was spread over a small number of kits. The $600 toilet seat was similar, a long out of production aircraft, the P3-C Orion subhunter (still used by NOAA for hurricane insertions) needed to have the existing toilet seats replaced due to age (25 years old at the start of production) and so a new mold needed to be made to fit the particular size and physical requirements for the aircraft. Anyone who works with plastics or fiberglass knows that the majority of the cost is in setting up the mold, so when you order 63 parts your per-part cost is going to be crazy high. Btw, this happens in industry all the time. When I worked at Cisco we spent several million on the tapeout for a new chip that ended up having a critical flaw that required a design spin and hence new tapeout. The handful of chips that were made with the flawed mask could have been said to be x hundred thousand dollar chips, but it would be just as inaccurate as the people yelling about the hammers and toilets. There's plenty of waste in the US government, finding stupid examples like those just makes you look like a fool.

Re:Decent competitor? (0, Troll)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863908)

The $400 hammer joke died 10 years ago.

Not if you're retarded.

Re:Decent competitor? (2, Informative)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864162)

Actually, the NASA toilet seats are legit. You don't actually think an off the shelf seat from home depot would work in zero-G do you. The NRE costs of things with small production runs make the unit costs very high.

Re:Decent competitor? (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863792)

Don't worry, the executives will pad their bank accounts with what is left of the company coffers before finally driving it into the ground. Happy ending!

Re:Decent competitor? (3, Informative)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864004)

GM had this car in development well before the government bailed them out. And no, it's not an economy car just like the Prius isn't an economy car. An economy car is something like an Aveo or a Yaris. Yes, a Prius starts out at a relatively cheap range, about $23k, but add some options and you're easily pushing $30k, way outside what anyone would consider economy.

If anyone were serious about economy they'd be buying cars with small displacements and ideally running on diesel. The catch is that such small engines don't even exist in the US. 1-liter to 1.4 liter engines are common in Europe and virtually non-existent in the US.

It's disappointing to learn that the car isn't what it was initially billed to be, but after the initial uproar in the media it seems that the car does do what was promised but the gasoline engine can also motivate the car when necessary. That's still neat and is a decent leap in technology over the Prius. Of course, it also sounds quite complex and it does raise concerns about reliability. One of the big reasons why Japanese can make such reliable cars, well Honda and Toyota specifically, is because they tend to keep things simple.

In light of the technology the price isn't unreasonable. Even after tax rebates the Nissan Leaf will probably still be less expensive, but you're also compromising. Range is significantly limited over a regular car and it's still 8 hours to recharge the batteries on 220v. You can install a rapid recharge unit, which reduces that time down to 30 minutes, but then you're looking at $15k or so for the unit and who knows what installation will cost.

We'll see how this car turns out. But unfortunately it looks like the media might end up killing this car with all the negative press. If nothing else, GM had better hope the car is reliable because if it's not there's no way in hell they'll be able to recover from the mess.

Re:Decent competitor? (1)

melted (227442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864164)

>> People are pissed because they still owe us

Well, if it sells, the high sticker price will help them pay back the debt. Or would you rather see them giving it away for free and going bankrupt again. Volt is one of the cars that I'll consider as an upgrade to my aging Camry, once they work out the initial kinks. 30 miles from the battery more than covers my daily commute needs.

Re:Decent competitor? (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864208)

Not on price. It's fucking forty thousand dollars! It's an ECONOMY car!

It is a SIGNALLING car. It signals your commitment to the environment, and that you are a caring person.

Neither has to actually be true though, you just need some bucks. You can drive it from the hills to Van Nuys Airport on all-electric, and then grossly emit CO2 taking your private jet to NYC...

U have to be a fool to buy a volt (1, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863694)

Seriously, A TRUE serial hybrid using multiple engine/generators DOES make sense for something like the hummer or even a semi. BUT, for small cars? Nope. Far better that these are pure electrics, and if you need a 'range extended', then simply buy a gas car. Here in the states, most families own 2 cars. It makes sense for most homes to buy an electric. But the idea of a car carrying both gas/electric makes zero sense. BTW, for those that think that trucks/hummer/semis do not make sense, well, let me point out that many trucks are used for job sites. As such, the engine/generator/battery is GREAT for providing electricity. Likewise, for a semi, the bulk of the time, the semi is cruising. As such, a simple engine/generator/motor can provide the power to move it. What is interesting is that an electric motor has far more torque than does an engine. This avoids the expensive and complex transmissions that semi's have. As such, it is perfect for getting heavy loads moving.

They have bad ideas (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33863844)

I want an electric car with a small generator that runs off gas or diesel. Just a normal electrical car with a small generator and a fuel-tank. It will increase somewhat in size, but there is no reason to make anything complicated out of it.

Re:They have bad ideas (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863902)

First, you missed the batteries. Those add weight, and complexity. Now, you say that you want to add a small motor/generator. Well, as I pointed out, the RIGHT place for such an arrangement is larger trucks. The fact is, that if you need a range extension, then do one of serveral things:
  1. Buy a gas/diesel car. If you are going on long trips regularly, then you are better off doing this.
  2. Buy/rent a trailer with the generator. Seriously, if you need a range extender say once a year, then simply rent a trailer that has the ability to provide the electricity. Of course, the car has to be rigged for that.
  3. Buy a car that has fast charge.

But it makes ZERO sense to have a 'range extended' car esp. in what is now a parallel system. Basically, GM is shipping a car based on profits to themselves, not based on what is good for customers.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (2, Interesting)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863848)

Well, one that had interchangeable power plant modules would make sense... going on a road trip? Take out the extended battery module, put in the ICE engine module.

I'm still hoping they'll see the light on in-wheel motors so I'm not holding my breath for that.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863898)

Well, one that had interchangeable power plant modules would make sense... going on a road trip? Take out the extended battery module, put in the ICE engine module.

I think you need to do the numbers on that one. ICE -> wheels is more efficient than ICE -> generator -> electric motor -> wheels, so you would need a bigger generator than the original ICE engine.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (2, Informative)

MadShark (50912) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864030)

Not necessarily. You can run the ICE->Generator at the most efficient point of the power band constantly. Depending on the efficiencies of the generator and electric motors, you may come out more efficient.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864060)

i think you left out a few of the inefficiencies, you don't hook up ICE -> wheels, there's transmissions, torque converters and drive trains in there as well. While still probably not better, going from ICE -> Generator -> Motor -> hub -> wheels may be close to as good as ICE -> Torque converter -> transmission -> drive line -> Diff -> more drive line -> hub -> wheel

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864194)

Clearly you are not familiar with transmissions. It is never ICE-> Wheels, it runs through this nasty lossy thing called the transmission, which in this nations is often sadly a slushbox.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864214)

In-wheel motor's don't work due to unsprung weight issues, basically you would end up with the suspension of a tank if you put all that weight into the wheels.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (3, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864028)

"Seriously, A TRUE serial hybrid using multiple engine/generators DOES make sense for something like the hummer or even a semi. BUT, for small cars? Nope. Far better that these are pure electrics, and if you need a 'range extended', then simply buy a gas car."

Wrong. Volt-like cars are much better because you'll need much larger battery for pure electric cars. 40 miles is OK for Volt because it can fall back to gasoline at any time. Pure EV should have about 150-200 miles of range to be acceptable. Nissan Leaf with its 100 miles of range is barely acceptable for a fairly small niche.

Also, your SECOND car will run on gasoline ALL the time, while with 2 GM Volts you can ride almost all the time without using any gasoline at all.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (2, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864038)

It makes sense for most homes to buy an electric

Hmm.. I would think that statement needs some serious backing up?

How many millions of people live in cities where they don't have driveways/houses? In other words, how many millions of people park on the street or some parking structure that is not remotely set up for plug-in cars? Currently i would think that an awful lot of city-dwellers, people who live in apartments, people who live in condos or even townhouses, are excluded. Heck, a lot of SFH-owners are probably excluded too!

(I'm assuming that a plugin car is what you're talking about ?)

But the idea of a car carrying both gas/electric makes zero sense

Why? Isn't gas in essence a very efficient and very portable battery?

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (0)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864226)

That is a decent point, but then, the majority of people buying $40,000 cars are likely home owners instead of apartment dwellers, and half if not most of them would have the room to setup the power. I think he was saying that ONE car of two could be electric, and typically one of two married people will have a job close by. (ie: I drive 100 miles a day, the wife drives 24)

Still, it would make more sense to make a purely electric car and put an extra battery where you would have the engine. People who drive long distances are not going to benefit from hybrids anyway, as they offer lower mileage on the highway than they do in town. I think they are trying to hard to make them "one size fits all", instead of targeting their marketing effort by providing 100% clean and easy to maintain but shorter range, say 100 miles. That would have to make the car lighter, simpler, roomier and cheaper. Of course, A/C and heat are always the issue with an all electric.

Re:U have to be a fool to buy a volt (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864222)

"BTW, for those that think that trucks/hummer/semis do not make sense, well, let me point out that many trucks are used for job sites."

I know a dozen people with trucks and SUVs, none of them work on a "job site". Every one of them have a desk job.

I would like to know where you get your "many trucks are used for job sites" information. I would say the opposite is more likely, that most trucks are never used on a job site.

A car with a trailer hitch makes more sense than buying a truck 99% of the time. Drive your car, get good gas mileage 364 days a year. Moving a fridge and couch once a year? Pay $20 rent a trailer from U-Haul for the day. Need the trailer for several days? Just buy an 8 foot trailer for $300 [harborfreight.com]

Po-TAY-to vs. Po-TAH-to (4, Insightful)

fructose (948996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863710)

Its a car that primarily electric driven and uses the gas engine when the batteries/motor can't cut it. Is it really that important what it's called? It's a car designed to be 'green' and that's what it's being sold as. The only thing that GM should be criticized for is the over estimation of the range you can expect. What we call is it pretty moot.

Re:Po-TAY-to vs. Po-TAH-to (4, Interesting)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863850)

Is it really that important what it's called?

It is important. If it is simply a version of the existing hybrid cars, with both gas and electric propulsion systems, then it needs the maintenance that gas and hybrid cars need; oil changes, traditional transmission, etc.

By being a fully electric vehicle it no longer needs those parts since there is only electric propulsion. Where that electricity comes from is where GM said the Volt differed. By adding a gas generator (range extender) module you lessen the chance of being stranded with a dead battery. It gives it a 'usable' range for family trips and such. More importantly, the range module can be swapped out for something else, an extra battery, a fuel cell..anything that produces electricity.

If it turns out that the gas generator is actually driving the wheels, it can no longer be swapped out...

The price is marginally (very marginally) acceptable given the new technology and abilities and projected savings that have been touted by GM. But if it's 'just' a hybrid with slightly better numbers, then the $40K price tag is simply ridiculous...

Re:Po-TAY-to vs. Po-TAH-to (-1, Flamebait)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864128)

Is it really that important what it's called?

It is important. If it is simply a version of the existing hybrid cars, with both gas and electric propulsion systems, then it needs the maintenance that gas and hybrid cars need; oil changes, traditional transmission, etc.

So you're saying people are so stupid they won't perform engine maintenance unless it's labeled a hybrid?
 

The price is marginally (very marginally) acceptable given the new technology and abilities and projected savings that have been touted by GM. But if it's 'just' a hybrid with slightly better numbers, then the $40K price tag is simply ridiculous...

So whether it's price is acceptable or not varies not with performance and costs - but with what the car is called?
 
To put it simply, I find the claims you make in support of the notion that the label is important ludicrous at best.

"Similarities"? IT IS A HYBRID! (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863754)

This is the direct result of wishful thinking (and huge government bailouts) meeting headlong with technology that isn't up to the task, and political considerations taking precedence. From the Nelson Ireson piece:

For a person that likes cars, appreciates efficiency, and couldn't care less about the definitional semantics the rest of the press is engaged in, that's fantastic.

"Definitional semantics" = "using words everyone else in the industry understands". Maybe in unicorn-land where he lives, the Volt isn't a hybrid, and GM didn't lie to everyone else about the nature of the vehicle, but that's where we are now.

Government Motors (0, Flamebait)

Muckluck (759718) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863760)

You expect the US government to advertise without streatching the truth a little? Come on. Polititians?

don't see an issue. (4, Interesting)

pbjones (315127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863766)

for most daya to day urban running it'll be electric. For long trips it'll be hybrid, so watt is all of the fuss about? The USA has such low oil prices it's lucky to see hybrids at all. I have an old Prius for gadget value, using EV mode to stealth around car parks etc. Still get worried when the motor stops at traffic lights etc. I would like to add the engine stop feature to my 'normal' car.

I DO (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863800)

That transmission is expensive to have in there, and expensive to run. The more layers that you have, the worse your performance. In addition, the higher your maintenance costs are.

My guess is that they did not add this for the end consumer. I am guessing that they added this to increase their bottom line.

As I have said all along, you would have to be a fool to buy a volt.

Gasp! Not additional features! (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863780)

So, if the batteries are dead, the car runs like a regular gasoline-powered vehicle. And people are upset by this? Isn't that a great feature? I'd be kind of pissed if I drove a Volt, were stranded in the desert because the batteries died, and when I complained, "jeez, why can't you just make it so if the batteries are dead, the gas engine runs the car?" "Naw, then it wouldn't be an 'electric vehicle!'"

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863802)

That's exactly how a Tesla works.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863854)

Imagine how bad the Tesla would be if it had to lug around a petrol engine for situations where the batteries were empty. I am sure that would cut the electric range in half, at best.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (1, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863852)

Personally, I would take the simple maintenance on an electric car over a hybrid, at least for the sort of commute I have (which I can just do on my bicycle, so maybe add a few extra miles). Electric vehicles are meant for local commuting, with distances that resemble an urban or surburban commute to work, not an extended trip through a remote region. Electric vehicles win for local commutes, especially in major urban areas where traffic jams are common and gas powered cars waste a lot of energy idling their engines.

GM did this for the simple reason that they make so much money selling spare parts. Electric vehicles have fewer parts, so that hurts GM's bottom line.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863952)

For a small commute it makes a whole lot more sense to buy a simi-reliable cheap, used car. You can find decent ones for $1,000-$3,000 if you know what you are looking for. Lets assume that an all-electric Volt would cost $25,000 new. Now, you wouldn't have to pay for fuel with a Volt and lets say you won't have maintenance for 3 years. And lets say you find a 1988 Ford Taurus for $2,000. Now, lets say you've got a 9 mile commute, thats 18 miles round trip, at the car's 18 MPG city you are looking at, say $2.50 per day, that is $2737.50 in fuel costs for 3 years. Now, even assuming that you've got to pay $1,000 in maintenance costs, that is still a total cost of ownership of only $5737.50 for 3 years. Plus, assuming that it isn't in too bad of shape you can recoup about $1,000 or more of the costs if you sell the car after 3 years. If you'd do that with the Volt you'd end up losing far more than $5,737.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864036)

But you look like a dork showing up to work (or anywhere else) in a 1988 Ford Taurus.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (2, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864124)

I agree 100% with you, I think you will find however that Hybrid and EV owners not real good at math. I also think the volt price tag is closer to 40,000 which really pushes it into the stupidity category.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33863864)

So, if gas tank is empty on my gas powered car while I was stranded in the desert, I'd be pissed. What difference does it make if the drive doesent bring enough energy along for the trip at hand - be it electricity in the battery, or fuel in the tank.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863926)

If they made it so that the gas engine could completely run the car, rather than simply maintaining highway speeds when the battery is empty as TFAs state, then that's a further reduction in the Volt's advantages. It means the Volt would require a full-blown ICE drive train and transmission and the ICE would be required to run across a wide range of sub-optimal RPMs. At that point, I'd rather have a vehicle that just optimally shares power at all times between the electric and gas engines, like traditional hybrids only with bigger batteries.

If instead this feature is designed solely to maintain highways speeds when the battery is empty, then while still not the imagined ideal, it would mean that the transmission and ICE could still be optimized for a narrow RPM range and thus be lighter and more efficient. However it would also mean that the feature you describe would not exist, as it would not be able to provide enough torque to move the car at low speeds.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (3, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863966)

The problem is powering the wheels directly from the engine significantly complicates the drivetrain. Before, you just had an electric motor driving the wheels, which means there was no need for a mechanical transmission. Moreover, the ICE was able to run at optimal RPMs because it only needs to power a generator, not supply power to the wheels at a wide range of speeds. This change mandates an automatic transmission (electric mode & multiple gears for ICE) plus variable-RPM support in the ICE.

In short, they just removed the one feature which IMHO was actually interesting about the Volt, which was the modularity and simplicity of the drivetrain. I was interested before, but now that it's going to be at least as complex (read: failure-prone, high-maintenance) as every other parallel-hybrid on the market I don't see any reason to bother with it.

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864082)

You commute to the desert? Wouldn't a Jeep make more sense?

Re:Gasp! Not additional features! (2, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864170)

Umm...

It's simpler than that.

First, let's start at the beginning. The Volt was promised to be a series hybrid. That is: a gasoline-fired generator, which in turn would power an electric motor and/or charge the batteries. There was to be no mechanical connection between the gasoline engine and the driven wheels.

There is nothing wrong with the original concept which would have prevented the car from moving in the event of having completely dead-flat batteries in the middle of the desert. Systems just like this have been in use for a Really Long Time on diesel-electric locomotives and work just fine without any batteries at all.

And it's improper to think of "charging the batteries" as being somehow different from "powering the motors." Volts is volts, and with 55kW of electrical generation capacity, it can do both at the same time.

I, for one, am willing to assume that the statements about the original concept were true at that time, and that later design revisions changed things up a bit. The question is then: Why was it changed?

And here are some probable answers:

1. It's now stated that the gasoline engine is directly driving the wheels when speeds exceed 70MPH. This may simply be due to the electronics and batteries being unable to keep themselves cool during sustained driving at above 70MPH.

And why 70MPH instead of 50MPH or 90MPH? Probably, and I'm guessing here because nobody who's driven one of these cars seems to actually write about it: Unlike the Prius, I doubt the Volt has a transmission at all -- at most, it's just a mechanical clutch feeding the differential. Which is good, because it's fewer parts to wear out, and one less mechanical system to waste energy with.

In a transmissionless drivetrain, it's completely likely that below 70MPH the engine would be running at an inefficient speed, whereas at 70MPH and up the engine can begin to run within its peak torque (read: most efficient) powerband.

2. It's also now stated that the engine directly drives the wheels at all speeds when the batteries are flat. If this is actually the case, then my above theory about having no transmission is false. However, I'm going to stick to my guns on this one, and assume the reports are simply wrong about this function. After all, the media test-drives occurred only yesterday, and so far we're still in the smoke-and-mirrors level of blogospheric bullshit regarding the whole thing.

And since the car can be so broadly manipulated and fine-tuned by GM in software, it's even possible for them to give the car a last-minute firmware update on launch day.

Therefore, I reckon that my own postulation is as good as anyone else's, and would like to submit that we really won't know much about how the Volt actually operates until they're at the dealerships for sale.

Distinction without a difference? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863810)

From the car connection blog:

The problem the buff books (and a few online outlets parroting their stance) have with the newly-announced ability of the Volt to supplement power with mechanical energy directly from the on-board 1.4-liter four-cylinder, is that it's no longer purely electric power driving the wheels.

This is a distinction without a difference. You can burn gasoline to spin a generator to charge the batteries to power the electric motors, or you can partially skip the middle man and send some of that gas-generated power straight to the wheels. Either way, gas is burned to turn the wheels.

Okay, I think that's a fair point, but in my view it does make a difference. It means the Volt has to have a transmission, which means extra weight and maintenance issues, and all the complexity of an ICE-based drivetrain. It means the Volt's ICE may have to run over a range of RPMs rather than solely running at an optimal RPM.

So while I'm in tentative agreement that this isn't necessarily a lie, and that the Volt can still look appealing versus other hybrid options, it still makes a difference and reduces some of the advantages the Volt had.

Re:Distinction without a difference? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33863930)

It's a one-gear "transmission", where the engine can provide extra power to the wheels. GM actually should be praised for having a simpler, more efficient system than Toyota, but all people can do is scream "You Lie!" and "Government Motors!", because they think they're being clever.

Other than being "pure EV", there is NO ADVANTAGE-- The loss of 10-15% energy converting from mechanical to electric to mechanical is significantly mitigated, the car is more efficient, performance doesn't suffer under the "highway speeds in charge sustaining mode", and it's a pretty simple modification to the gearset for the primary motor. It also finally answers the question of why they weren't using in-wheel motors. For the first 35-40 miles? All EV. Charge sustaining mode around town? EV with juice being supplied by gasoline engine. Over 70 mph with battery mostly depleted? Now the engine is engaged in the drive-train and you're getting extra oomph from the engine.

Now, the people who are actually *driving the Volt seem to think it has better acceleration, braking and handling than a Prius, with all of the benefits, and none of the drawbacks... But by all means, let's continue to rant against GM for a difference that 90% of the American car buying public wouldn't even understand, or care about.

Re:Distinction without a difference? (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863986)

but all people can do is scream "You Lie!" and "Government Motors!", because they think they're being clever.

If that's all you see, when replying to a post that is doing neither, then you have issues.

I saw this car at the LA auto show. (0)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863824)

They told us "real" numbers even though it was years from completion. They top speed they said that it would have was impressive. The range they claimed it would have was unbelievable. They also claimed that it would be 100% electric. I thought to myself: "yea f-ing right."

The Volt uses a planetary gearset (5, Interesting)

rabtech (223758) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863876)

The Volt uses a planetary gearset where the main gear is driven by the primary electric motor. The planet and ring gears can also optionally by driven by the engine and a second assist electric motor when needed. This allows the computer to continuously vary the power source that is driving the wheels. The only part of this equation that was not previously known was that the engine can directly give torque to the wheels under certain circumstances (without going through a generator).

Typical operation for a daily commuter is stop and go traffic of 20 miles or less each way, which means the typical commuter in a Volt will use only the electric motor. The gasoline engine will never even start up. The Volt also comes with plug-in support from the factory. These two things are what make it different than existing hybrid cars. If you can sell these cars and start moving them in large numbers then you can start moving the battery prices down and scaling the electric-only range up. You can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good otherwise you'll never ship anything. We know that in software, in hardware (think 1st gen iPod), and it is just as true in cars. The Volt is a necessary evolutionary step and I hope it sells really well because battery prices will drop and we can take the next step even sooner.

I also find it disingenuous to run the Volt around with drained batteries so you can see its "true" MPG (whatever your definition of "true" is with this sort of test). That's like saying a hard-top convertible sucks because I wanted to see how it performed in the rain but purposely left the hard top in the garage. The whole point of the Volt is using 100% electric power for most people's daily commutes. If my commute is 37 miles round-trip, then the Volt gives me infinite MPG, which makes no sense because the electricity does have a cost to it. This just highlights how inadequate MPG is as an efficiency measurement.

Re:The Volt uses a planetary gearset (1)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863956)

Yeah that is the problem. The rating is miles per gallon of gasoline, not miles per unit joule of energy. That's why the MPG estimates are a lie *without* draining the batteries.

I agree completely that we need new eff ratings however that can incorporate the charge discharge cycles of non originated electricity (efficiency of storage from the grid, efficiency of motivation from discharge of the battery, efficiency of storage of charge from gasoline, etc.)

Re:The Volt uses a planetary gearset (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864168)

I also find it disingenuous to run the Volt around with drained batteries so you can see its "true" MPG (whatever your definition of "true" is with this sort of test). That's like saying a hard-top convertible sucks because I wanted to see how it performed in the rain but purposely left the hard top in the garage. The whole point of the Volt is using 100% electric power for most people's daily commutes.

Completely agreed.

If my commute is 37 miles round-trip, then the Volt gives me infinite MPG, which makes no sense because the electricity does have a cost to it. This just highlights how inadequate MPG is as an efficiency measurement.

Well the EPA uses an MPG-equivalent for pure electric vehicles that does account for the fact that electricity has a cost. So while you'd actually be getting infinite MPG (or zero GPM as I think makes more sense), you wouldn't actually get an infinite MPG rating. It is hardly perfect, but it does at least give a number that does account for real energy usage while also being in the same terms people are used to and thus easier to compare. The sticker is also going to give Miles-perf-kilowatt-hour when in pure EV mode.

Re:The Volt uses a planetary gearset (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864192)

You look at how many gallons of oil your local power station burns to produce that electric power. Of course, your local power station might burn coal or gas (as in methane rather than something liquid) which will make things a little difficult.

Huh. (2)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863904)

A poorly run company made a poor decision? Who could've seen that coming?

Not that I'm bitter about what they did to Saturn...

My concern is what stimulus/tax incentives/program (4, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863910)

...did they benefit from because of this misrepresentation.

There can be absolutely zero doubt that they knew they were being deceitful, although the purpose may have been relatively innocuous; however, when you add this to the other deceitful tactics they've already employed and have been debunked (230mpg anyone?) a pattern of behavior seems to emerge that would require seriously mitigating circumstances which aren't readily apparent.

Re:My concern is what stimulus/tax incentives/prog (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864050)

Whatever program they benefited from, it's probably small potatoes compared to the nearly $50billion they got from US taxpayers, for doing nothing other than asking. If I remember, politicians were bending over backwards to finance the volt, for no other reason than it's an American car.

Re:My concern is what stimulus/tax incentives/prog (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864224)

I'm interested to see how politicians, who backed the GM bailout for reasons advertised as being related to the Volt, respond to this. GM could be in a spot of bother if congress thinks they've been hoodwinked some... ;)

Re:My concern is what stimulus/tax incentives/prog (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864144)

You people need to read the articles and use your brains.

The articles clearly state that the "new" mpg stats are if you never plug the thing in. If it runs 100% on its gasoline engine to charge batteries in real time, then it gets 25-40mpg depending on circumstances.

The 230MPG is some kind of "pollution" conversion that they do, the EPA hasn't established a standard for this, but basically it is "If you drive the car 40 miles each day, and charge it every night, so you never burn a drop of gas, then the pollution created generating the electricity to power the car is equal to the pollution you would create if the car got 230MPG" That has been understood since the beginning. GM never claimed it would get 230MPG running on gasoline. To try to say that was their claim now is completely unfair and completely idiotic.

Re:My concern is what stimulus/tax incentives/prog (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864154)

Who cares? the US Government owns most of GM, so the money just goes back to where it was before...

Pure electric (1)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863912)

For all the press and attention that the Volt is getting (and one can't forget to mention the capital cost, R&D, and engineering that went into it), the Electric Focus is actually a better example of electric car technology. It's _not_ a hybrid, but a pure electric vehicle with a 100/160 mile/km range. I suppose you could tow a generator behind it if you don't have a second car for a road trip.

Particulate emissions my friend.. (1)

JDmetro (1745882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864020)

Generators typically use Honda (or similar) 5 to 10 HP motors that have very little emission controls. Never mind the reduced MPG from towing a trailer. The following compares lawn mower (i know they are not the same as a generator but they have similar motors) to a car. http://www.peoplepoweredmachines.com/faq-environment.htm [peoplepowe...chines.com]

Late at night... (1)

ears_d (1400833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863934)

...when you had to work extra, and the batteries are not fully charged to begin with and now it's cold. Would hearing the sound of the engine starting make you smile, or frown?

What has me stumped. At 70MPH why even bother? (2, Insightful)

guidryp (702488) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863940)

There still must be some detail missing from this picture.

They added the extra complexity of a power combining mechanism for extra efficiency and then only use at 70MPH and beyond.

That is outside EPA testing parameters, which means this extra complexity won't add anything to the all important for marketing EPA numbers.

So just how bad would the efficiency have to be through the ICE/Generator/Motor to add extra complexity to be used over 70MPH.

Something really doesn't add up.

Attention spans today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864056)

Try reading to the end of the sentence before replying:

"... or when the batteries run down"

Now does it make more sense?

Re:What has me stumped. At 70MPH why even bother? (1)

werepants (1912634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864212)

There still must be some detail missing from this picture.

They added the extra complexity of a power combining mechanism for extra efficiency and then only use at 70MPH and beyond.

That is outside EPA testing parameters, which means this extra complexity won't add anything to the all important for marketing EPA numbers.

So just how bad would the efficiency have to be through the ICE/Generator/Motor to add extra complexity to be used over 70MPH.

Something really doesn't add up.

Indeed. It almost looks as if, maybe, the car manufacturer is worrying about actual performance in the real world rather than just specs for a marketing handout. That can't be right...

Doesn't matter to me (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863942)

I have a 15 mile commute (each way), and rarely am able to reach speeds of 70mph on my way to work -- 35 - 45 is more typical.

The Volt would give me an all-electric commute, yet I can still drive it 200 miles to Tahoe on the weekends.

The all-electric Leaf will give me around 70 miles of range, so no long weekend trips.

The plug-in Prius (official version, not aftermarket conversions) would give me around 15 miles of all electric range.

I fail to see the controversy - most people can have an all-electric commute with the Volt. It was already known that the ICE engine would kick in to supplement the battery, the fact that it supplements via mechanical connection in addition to charging seems immaterial.

Obvious question... (2, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863950)

Why dont they have the ICE drive the generator which then drives the electric motor which drives the wheels? And do that at all speeds in all cases where the battery is out of juice?
If the electric motor can handle highway speeds when the battery is full, there is no reason it cant handle highway speeds being driven by the generator set.

If there are no mechanical linkages between the ICE and wheels, it becomes possible to swap the ICE (or ICE and generator) for something different. Such as a fuel cell. Or a different and better ICE.

Also, the ICE would be able to be run without a transmission and be tuned to always run (when its running) at exactly the right speed to most efficiently run the generator.

Re:Obvious question... (2, Interesting)

pavera (320634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864062)

My guess would be charge times. If you are driving on the freeway at 70mph, and the battery becomes depleted, you'd need to supply some number of watts, through the generator, to the batteries to maintain speed... if the generator can only realtime charge and provide enough power to travel at 50mph, then, your car is going to slow to 50mph. However, if the motor has extra power, but the generator is not large enough to use that extra power, it makes sense to rev up the engine a bit more, send that power to the wheels directly, maintain 70mph speeds, and charge the battery simultaneously.

Maybe putting in a larger generator that could handle real time charging at 70mph would increase costs... maybe the motor would need to be more powerful, I'm pretty sure these types of things are exponential in nature, IE, realtime charging for enough power at 50mph takes 100HP, at 70mph it takes 180HP or something, at 75mph it takes 220HP IE its not linear. And at some point it becomes inefficient to attempt, its better to just send the power straight to the wheels.

Re:Obvious question... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864084)

Why dont they have the ICE drive the generator which then drives the electric motor which drives the wheels?

Its okay for trains which don't have to overtake on the highway. I suspect that design would be too inefficient to deliver the necessary bursts of power.

40,000 price tag plus interest, fuel, electricity (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33863974)

40,000 price tag plus interest, fuel, electricity, tires etc? The govt better help out GM by adding a 6 dollar a gallon federal gas tax to make it at least a break even proposition buying one.

maybe I'm missing something (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864014)

...but, having read TFA, the main issue seems to be that the gas engine will keep the car moving when the batteries go flat, as opposed (I guess...) to waiting on the side of the road until the engine charges the batteries back up.

In any sane world, this would be considered a FEATURE.

The issue seems to be a matter of terminology -- people expect an "electric vehicle" to only be powered by electricity, dammit, and if I'm out of volts my Volt should be out of miles, period. Personally, I don't think I'd ever want to be stuck on the side of the road for the sake of terminology. I must not be the right market for electric cars.

Now, getting 30 MPG when the manufacturer claims 230, that's a different issue. That's like buying a Mustang GT rated at 18 MPG and getting, like, 2. My first thought is "Your honor, we would like to provide a new Chevy Volt equipped with one gallon of gas to the defendant Mr. Akerson and have him demonstrate a travel distance of 230 miles." "Court will recess for one month while the defendant pushes his car to the next state."

Re:maybe I'm missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864080)

the issue is, buying and maintenance cost just went up.

Re:maybe I'm missing something (3, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864094)

well, the 30MPG vs 230 is just poor reporting. The articles clearly state that is IF YOU DON'T CHARGE THE CAR AT ALL. IE, if you drive it off the lot, and you never plug it in again, you will get 25-40MPG depending on driving circumstances. the 230 that GM claims is one of those crazy "pollution" conversion things, where if you drive it 40 miles each day, and charge it each day, so you are always using just electricity, then the pollution created generating the electricity to power the car is somehow equivalent to getting 230MPG burning gasoline.

They were true ... until the radio, AC, heater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33864070)

Simple, all those claims were true before they added the radio, AC, heater.

230MPG!? (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864086)

To anyone who truely believed that the Volt would extend range to 230MPG: I have a bridge I want to sell you that is only slightly used. The entire purpose for Electric Vehicle research and exploration is to be carbon-free. Basically, the Volt is a hybrid and hybrids are largely the half-assed attempt towards being carbon-free. Really we should go all the way or not do it at all. It would seem to me that instead of hybridization, we should be promoting hydrogen fueling station and converting out internal combustion engines to hydrogen fuel not dicking around with hybrid drive systems. While continuing to use our internal combustion engines on hydrogen, we perfect fully electric vehicles. This will never happen because of King Oil, and to some extent, the inertia of the Big 3. I am looking to Tesla Motors for the next big thing.

Re:230MPG!? (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864152)

Where do you think we are going to shit enough cheap hydrogen to use as fuel?

Bad idea anyway (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33864166)

I'm not buying a new car until I can have one that doesn't burn anything at all, for any reason.

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