Skip to comments.GE Steps Up Support for GM Chevy Volt Folly (Excellent piece)
Posted on 02/20/2012 12:27:26 PM PST by jazusamo
Last week, Greencarreports.com reported that crony corporation, General Electric, will be purchasing only Chevy Volts for employee use. The move will help General Motors proclaim that the Volt is a success (and help ensure that GE sells more charging stations) as thousands of orders for the vehicle hit the books, conveniently timed to coincide with the run up to the 2012 presidential election.
The Volt has not caught on with the majority of consumers as the benefits of traveling 20 to 45 miles on an electric charge before getting about 30 miles per gallon on premium fuel do not outweigh the cost of over $40,000. The wealthy purchasers who have been able to afford the car defend the vehicle and proclaim it to be a technological wonder.
GM has had various unsubstantiated excuses for the low sales of the Volt ranging from lack of supply to a right wing conspiracy that disparaged the vehicle. The GE orders are also being coordinated with a multi-million dollar ad blitz for the Volt. There has not been any reasonable explanation as to why GM is spending so much for a car that loses money for them and sells in such small numbers. Government Motors seems to have dug a deep hole as they over-hyped prospects for the Volt only to see the vehicle rejected by the tax-paying masses that paid to bring the car to market. The GE purchases now will be pointed to as evidence of success for a subsidized vehicle that can not survive without huge taxpayer handouts and support from crony corporations like GE that have a vested interest in the success of the vehicle.
The above mentioned report was written by a Chevy Volt supporter who gives a viewpoint that the GE purchases are based on a desire to save money over time for the company. Nonsense. The author also realizes that GE makes money selling charging stations for the vehicles, one of the primary reasons the company supports the vehicle. GE is probably the biggest beneficiary of green handouts of the Obama Administration with its hand in wind power and EV development, which if successful will result in even more profits from power grid infrastructure contracts in addition to the charging stations. GE has also committed to buying some of the first Volts built in China, as long as they get the contract to build charging stations there; another example of how blatant the crony capitalism is.
One of the most telling statements in the Green Car Reports article quoted a memo sent by GE to employees and stated, "If no electric power is available, driving the Volt using only its gasoline range extender is permitted." This statement gives evidence that GE has no grand benevolent plan to save the planet. In essence they are telling employees, drive the vehicle, even if you don't want to charge them you can run on fuel. GE also tells employees that they can not opt out of the program and will not be reimbursed for vehicles that are not Chevy Volts. So, GE will let you drive a Volt for free and run it on gas but will not reimburse you for driving an all-electric Nissan Leaf, polar bears be damned!
We should see a huge pick up in the percentage of vehicles that are sold to fleets when future sales figures for the Volt are released. Given the deceptiveness of Government Motors regarding the Chevy Volt, it is possible that GE is able to get their employees into Volts and manage to have GM record the sales as going to individual buyers rather than to fleets. GM should be questioned as to how many of the future Volt sales go to crony GE or its employees.
The Obama Administration, which also has a vested interest in the success of the Chevy Volt, has upped the ante as well. They now want wealthy purchasers of Chevy Volts and other EVs to receive $10,000 in federal subsidies in addition to the typical thousands offered by states. The goal of having a million EVs on the road within a few years should be reached if enough taxpayer dollars are spent on the fiasco. Crony corporations like GE will help with their purchases. So, $10 billion in tax credits will be spent to obtain a goal of a million EVs. And while crony GE and the rich buyers of EVs have wealth redistributed to them from working-class taxpayers, the American public gets nothing for the handouts.
I have heard the criticisms from those that think an American auto company should be supported, regardless of how much was taken from taxpayers. To those I would say buy a Ford, a company that didn't get bailed out and pays taxes. Bailed-out GM owes taxpayers billions of dollars and pays no taxes thanks to tax law changes made by the Obama Administration which were designed to help the company while the President campaigns on the "success" at GM. After all, shouldn't we support those that pay their fair share?
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.
This tax credit is for all EVs that qualify and includes the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.
Will GE reimburse employees for cab fare when their Volts leave them stranded by the roadside? I could imagine driving a Chevy Volt in weather like I am experiencing today...34 degrees with wet snow requiring the use of wipers, headlights, defroster and heater. The battery at this temperature would be probably limit the range to far less than 24 miles and the combined use of the wipers, lights defroster and heater would strain that battery even further. I would expect under these conditions a Chevy Volt would be running constantly on its gasoline engine generator and an all electric Nissan Leaf would barely make 10 miles.
Earlier this week I read a review of a Chevy Volt by an automobile writer who had been loaned one for a week’s test drive. He said he averaged 26 miles per charge. He said that at 26 miles per charge (think gallon of gas) and that the “tank” i.e. battery holds only 1 charge: How many people would buy a car that only held 1 gallon of gas and got 26 mpg? His answer was “Probably none.” thus he decided that the Volt is a car for the elite who want to make a political statement, and not a car for those who actually need to drive anywhere.
My to work and back drive, without detours, running errands, etd, is about 24 mililes a day. Thus I could go to work and return on one charge. But, what about that trip to the Dr. in the middle of the day? My 26 mpC (miles per charge) will get me to work, to the Dr. but neither back to work nor home that night. Thus, this car is useless to me, even if given to me “free of cost” because “free of charge” is too easy of a pun. And of course I have to pay for the electical charging every night.
Only GM and GE employees will be driving these Volts For Dolts and within a year we’ll know for sure just how great they are.
You’re correct and the gas engine will even run in that weather at times with a nearly full charge because the battery requires internal cooling when a heavy load is draining it more rapidly than normal. This is something Government Motors doesn’t freely advertise.
I’m no fan of the Volt, but you do realize it’s a hybrid, right?
When you run out of charge there’s a (relatively efficient) gasoline engine that powers the car about as far as any modern gasoline powered vehicle.
I don’t know the range on gas, but it’s probably at least a few hundred miles.
If you don’t want to charge it at all, and just want to run it on gasoline, you can.
what do the stock holders say about this?
GE is not owned by the government...yet.
I am surprised no one has photoshopped the video of any volt commercial to show the car on fire as it is driving along.
ESPECIALLY this joke of a factory commercial.
Yeah....I’m gonna rush out and buy one. One that will eventually burn down my house because of the batteries that won’t give you the distance they claim, that won’t last as long as they claim, that will eventually leave you stranded....yeah.....sure thing.
Likely a Section 8 tenant that didn’t own the place to start with.. probably is suing the owner for faulty recharging station, inadequate electric service or just plain assed distress caused by the owner because he’s not an Obama voter.
Government Motors opened themselves up for all the criticisms they’re taking on the Volt from the very beginning. They’ve misrepresented, told half truths and downright lied about many things re the Volt and now they’re trying to say conservatives are destroying the Volt for political reasons. Another lie by GM.
Let’s say you have a teenager who’s having trouble with his relationship with his girl friend, he takes her out for what turns out to be be a real bummer of a date, and he borrows your Volt, that you need to get to work the next day, for that date. Any bets on how likely he will be to plug it in for it’s mandatory charge when he gets home?
The 500+ pound batteries in the damn thing get you only 30 miles or less if you’re lucky. Equivalent of one freaking gallon of gas for charging 8 hours on coal-generated electricity. And warming your neighborhood transformers all night so they never get a chance to cool down, so they overheat in the daytime, and soon fry themselves.
... and I'm still not buying a Volt until you lower the price to around $28k.
Hold on... there are possibilities here.
When Mrs p6 and I were dating I drove a european car with 2 gas tanks. (She didn’t kmow that)
It was amazing how many times we ran out of gas on deserted country club road and ended up watching the ghost of country club hill.
More interesting was how gas condensed enough after a time and we could get home!
We’ve been married 35 years or more.
There may be similar possibilities with a volt...nah...not as much room as what I was driving. (71 XJ6 - piece of poo car BTW!)
That looks like an improvement.
Now that’s funny and I’d bet she didn’t have a clue. :-) Good on you both for a successful marriage.
My sister married a Doc in the late seventies that had an XJ6 and he couldn’t wait to trade it in, he couldn’t keep it out of the dealers repair shop.
I have no idea where you got the idea from in your reply to my post, Or where there is a connection to what I wrote and your irate son after a bad date. You need to find a pro-Volt liberal to flog.
I’ve never had a company car but the one company I worked for where I was close to many of the people who got cars (field sales and field service), there was one year when the field force rebelled against the make/model chosen. After all, those people depend upon a reliable car, otherwise their income plummets and customers get really unhappy.
Is that right? Ya gotta use PREMIUM gas in the Volt?
That’s correct, it requires premium fuel even though it’s a small engine, 1.4 L 4-cylinder.
You’re bring up facts.
The Volt on FR is similar to Bush Derangement Syndrome among liberals.
LOL! The Volt lovers are going to hate that graphic.
So is this in a neighborhood where nobody has whole house AC?
If there were no government subsidies involved, that would be nothing but sound business. But there are, so, it ain't.
I like the article that's been posted here the past couple days asking if anyone would buy an internal-combustion powered car with a one gallon gas tank. Best analogy to electrics I've read yet.
This alliance between GM and SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) is a real ripoff for the American taxpayer. GM says they wont turn over the Volt technology but in my view thats a flat out lie. The Chinese wouldnt go for this deal if they werent going to get the technology.
Please know this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but this is technology the Chi-Coms are welcome to. May they rot in "sustainable" hell.
I hear you.
REAGAN said yesterday at a campaign stop, Liberals love the Volt because you cant put a gun rack on it!!
Oops, I meant Gingrich.
because volt cars cause fires, they should not be allowed to be parked in company parking lots.
If an employer/shopping mall/office/business allows a volt on their property and it catches fire then THEY have a liability issue for all the damage and injury it causes.
A/c doesn’t usually have to work nearly as hard at night. Plus they cycle. Chargers are constantly on.
Also consider these are additions to the current load on the transformers.
Power companies typically under size neighborhood transformers on the expectation they will have less load at night and can cool down for awhile. I did work for a major power company for about five years.
I’m guessing they’ll have to sell a whole lotta more e-cars before anybody has to start worrying about the power grid.
And given the Baraqqi Depression, electrical consumption is trending downward anyway as our standard of living declines and manufacturing closes down.
Well they aren’t the only ones selling plugins. And if you get the 240 volt chargers, although they take less time to charge, it’s going to heat up the transformer more.
Thanks for the crony capitalism ping. It reminds me of the Soviet Union.
Theres plenty of Liberals. Surely they would buy the car
Then whats the point? Most of the time you will be running on gas. So you pay a 100% premium in order to drive electric 10% of the time. Smart people will just by the chevy cruze at half the price.
Again, for that bit of moral exhibitionism you are looking at a 100% markup on a vehicle that will last half as long. You can't just wish the price out of the picture -- it is a real world measure of the resources it takes to produce the volt. Resources the Volt is intended to conserve. And factoring the price and life of the volt into the operating costs it is far more expensive to operate.
It utterly fails in every conceivable way except letting people spend money to soothe their conscience of guilt they shouldn't have in the first place. It is a luxury item the same as any other vehicle that seeks to provide more than the basic utility at an inflated price. Like my corvette that gets 30mpg.
Since TANSTAAFL, adding a motor, generator, sufficient battery capacity, and braking mechanism to recover energy will incur a heck of a lot more than a 10% premium on cost. A lot more than 2X, in fact.
Plus if your goal is to be green and reduce your carbon footprint you have to weight the energy cost of producing those additional components against any gasoline you won't have to burn driving the car.
Guess what -- people have already done that. Your average hybrid has a bigger carbon footprint than a hummer. Can you say "epic fail."
There is nothing wrong with wanting or driving an electric car just because you want to. But all the handwaving about saving the environment and efficiency is entirely bogus.
Personally, I’m a fan of EVs/Hybrids for the performance potential.
EV’s have already demonstrated the incredible possibilities when you have 100% torque available at 0 RPM. But that fun came at the price of almost no range or a huge unweildy battery pack.
Once the current crop of hybrids have bene around for 5 years or so, and the hot rodders/tinkerers get ahold of the powertrains, things are going to get very interesting.
GM + GE = match made in hell, the matchmaker being the antichrist himself.