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Official: GM Chevy Volt
September 21, 2008 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Official: GM reveals the production Chevy Volt 2011.
posted by stbalbach (131 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can I get it in blue?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:22 PM on September 21, 2008 [8 favorites]


Alright! GM is finally taking the electric car seriously, and only 30-odd years after the fact.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:26 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm really not sure that the technology is there for commercial sale of electric cars, yet, which makes this car a gimmick destined to fail, and possibly damage the perception of the viability of electric cars. More to the point, I don't think the market is there - people need to be much, much more eager to have electric transportation to be able to ratify the necessary compromises, as the idea of pushing the heavy, luxury laden cars that are around at present with just swapping petrol/diesel engines for electric motors is unrealistic. The idea that people will suddenly accept tiny performance and small range between charges/refills is even more unrealistic. The technology of electric motors and batteries at this stage only really suits lighter, slimmed down vehicles (40 mile range? That's rubbish!) and the market is simply not there for enough people to tolerate the drop in comfort to create the economies of scale that will be needed for viable production and greater development.

If only we could convince the car industry to stop trying to jump on the latest fancy enviro-word and do some proper, longer term and in-depth research, we may actually get some sort of viable alternative. These sort of cars (and the hideously under-performing Prius et al) are just a sticking plaster meant to make the industry look like they are responding.

After all, the internal combustion engine still has some place in all of this - the current (especially VW PD) diesel engines can easily out-perform (in every respect, including fuel economy) all these supposedly super efficient hybrids, yet we still haven't seen one of these engines linked to regenerating electric motors - in fact the fuel quality in the States and Canada has only just meant this 10 year old design is able to be sold here! There is definitely more savings and economy to be had with just using IC engines for teh time being and, in my view, all these half-arsed attempts at electric cars are just diluting the development process and slowly eroding any serious attempt at doing it properly. Trying to stop the flow of development cycles to more luxury, more electric toys and fancy bells and whistles and purely concentrating on efficiency will need to permeate the buying public first. Only once the demands of the consumer can be realistically met by the technology (while still producing the expected economy and performance) will the electric (or whatever) car take off as a concept.

However, this car looks hideously over-weight to me, and will doubtless be a failure at setting the electric car trend going. Please, Automotive Manufacturers, please don't piss in the pool before it has had a chance to get some water in it?
posted by Brockles at 12:36 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


40 mile range? That's rubbish!
It's 40 miles without using any gas. The full range is said to be 360 miles, which strikes me as much more reasonable. A typical driver won't have to use any gas in a typical day (to work and back and maybe stopping at the supermarket or whatever), but still won't need to be worried that they're going to get stranded if they run a few extra errands or meet some friends for dinner or whatever.
posted by Flunkie at 12:45 PM on September 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm cautiously optimistic. Maybe when I can buy one from somebody other than GM...
posted by ruddhist at 12:46 PM on September 21, 2008


Even if it is a Chevy, I'll likely buy one unless someone better makes one I like more in the meantime.
posted by mmahaffie at 12:48 PM on September 21, 2008


this car looks hideously over-weight to me, and will doubtless be a failure at setting the electric car trend going

I actually bought my Miata in 2000 with the idea in the back of my mind that it would make a great platform for an EV conversion once the IC powertrain becomes unreliable and/or the gasoline / battery cost shifts decisively toward the latter's favor.

One flaw in my evil plan, though, is I didn't account for the market-setting power of gasoline in our economy; all alternative energy delivery mediums (that are consumer substitutes for gasoline) will naturally gravitate toward gasoline's consumer cost, even if the cost of production of the alternative is much lower.
posted by troy at 12:49 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


They want twice the price of a Prius. I like the idea, but why are they saying $48k is the likely price? Are they just accounting for inflation by 2010?
posted by polyhedron at 12:56 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hope they make a version/upgrade without an internal combustion engine and use the extra space for more batteries. They need to go all in on electric, none of this half-ass borderline hybrid shit. If they do that, it'd be the first time I would consider buying an American car.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:57 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brockles: GM has been investing millions into this thing. Their CEO, Bob Lutz, has called the Volt their "apollo project". I don't think they'll settle for something that won't sell. The 40 mile range is the electric-only range (which is enough for most commutes). A second, gas engine, extends the range to 350 miles. Yes the vehicle is heavy (two full size engines yo), but the tradeoffs still leave a very efficient powertrain for most driving patterns.

Don't start with the "But Diesels Outperform Hybrids" canard. The last Volkswagen TDI sold in the US got 42 MPG on the Highway yes, but also recieved the EPA's LOWEST AIR POLLUTION SCORE. Diesels emit huge amounts of sulfur dioxide, NOx, carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulates. We should NOT consider them green alternatives.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:57 PM on September 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


Is this the same car that the bigwig from Ford was describing on the Colbert Report recently, where he said this isn't the car you'd get the hot girl with, but probably the girl with hairy legs and no make-up?
posted by brain cloud at 12:58 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this batch will be senselessly crushed into cubes like last time.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:00 PM on September 21, 2008


The idea that people will suddenly accept tiny performance and small range between charges/refills is even more unrealistic. The technology of electric motors and batteries at this stage only really suits lighter, slimmed down vehicles (40 mile range? That's rubbish!) and the market is simply not there for enough people to tolerate the drop in comfort to create the economies of scale that will be needed for viable production and greater development.

You know, this gets a little old. "Until someone makes an electric SUV that can approach light speed and travel 15,000 miles without recharging, there's no way anyone's gonna buy an electric car." The market is clearly there for one of these things, first of all. Second of all, anyone environmentally-minded enough to go electric is already familiar with the concept of curtailing small luxuries in exchange for a greater good. Convincing the sort of people who engage in wasteful consumerism as it is isn't very likely. But those who do want to do more might feel quite comfortable making this choice.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:05 PM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I married the girl with hairy legs and no make-up, and I'm extremely happy.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:06 PM on September 21, 2008 [15 favorites]


I hope they make a version/upgrade without an internal combustion engine and use the extra space for more batteries. They need to go all in on electric, none of this half-ass borderline hybrid shit. If they do that, it'd be the first time I would consider buying an American car.

Let's say they do that. The weight goes up another 500lbs or so, and you can drive another 50 miles. Oh, and the cost goes up another $5k. Are you ready to pay $53k for a tiny econobox that takes 8 hrs to charge on a special 220V jack you had installed in your garage and you can't even take it out of the city? Why not ride the bus? I think the point of the Volt was to balance the energy density of fossil fuels with the efficiency of electronic motors.
posted by polyhedron at 1:07 PM on September 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm quite optimistic about pure electric cars, like the Testla roadster. A car with 100 miles per charge should satisfy all but those with the worst commutes. If such limited range vehicles become popular, then we can establish some high speed standard for ground-level power supply, like the Tramway de Bordeaux, and gradually start installing the system into highways. Pure electric cars could eventually reduce their battery sizes once more roads were electrified.

Bordeaux has essentially solved all the major safety issues. So you're issues are merely the higher speeds and cars being short. Of course, you don't need beyond the fastest speed limit, say 130 kph (80 mph). As a bonus, the system naturally penalizes excessive speed and frequent lane changes. I suppose you might develop an accounting system, but it seems easier to make all electrified roads into toll roads for everyone, and just give the electricity for free.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:09 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


This car. It's electric?
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:12 PM on September 21, 2008


Alvy, I get it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:12 PM on September 21, 2008


Just watched Who Killed The Electric Car? last night. It's unquestionably rabble-rousing and a bit selective, but it makes many good points. Yet it's relatively quiet on what reason the auto companies would have for not only abandoning electrics but even destroying the ones they had made.

The most likely thing I can come up with is that auto companies make a pile of money on parts and maintenance, and that electrics are intrinsically more reliable. Not really sure of my facts there, though.
posted by JHarris at 1:12 PM on September 21, 2008


The nice thing about it is that when better batteries are available, they can use them and get better electric range without changing anything else in the car besides software.

I don't understand Brockle's 30 years too late comment either - GM is the only major car company to do an electric car in the last 30 years or more.

When you factor in the price differential between gas and diesel, the diesels aren't quite as efficient.

Disclaimer : I work for GM, and am looking forward to taking a Volt development car for a spin as soon as I can !
posted by rfs at 1:16 PM on September 21, 2008


> Diesels emit huge amounts of sulfur dioxide, NOx, carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulates. We should NOT consider them green alternatives.

Diesels powered by petroleum products yes. Biodiesel burns much cleaner. But really, we should be investing in multiple technologies, instead of trying to find the one size fits all energy solution.

I want a plug in electric hybrid biodiesel, that I charge at night at my house with electricity from micro hydro, and top it's tank up with biodiesel pulled from algae used to process the waste water at the sewage plant. When I take it out on the weekends (because my commute to work is over a solid light rail and mass transit infrastructure) to run out to go backpacking, or errands, if it is within 20 miles, the whole thing happens on electric. If I decide that I don't want to take the rail system to the connecting town, or maybe want to get out to a more remote area, then my car switches over to biodiesel (or other non petroleum based fuels).
posted by mrzarquon at 1:17 PM on September 21, 2008


Brockles writes "I don't think the market is there - people need to be much, much more eager to have electric transportation to be able to ratify the necessary compromises, as the idea of pushing the heavy, luxury laden cars that are around at present with just swapping petrol/diesel engines for electric motors is unrealistic. The idea that people will suddenly accept tiny performance and small range between charges/refills is even more unrealistic. The technology of electric motors and batteries at this stage only really suits lighter, slimmed down vehicles (40 mile range? That's rubbish!) and the market is simply not there for enough people to tolerate the drop in comfort to create the economies of scale that will be needed for viable production and greater development."

Well $5 or $6 buck gas will provide plenty of eagerness. The Volt will cost very little to drive if you, like huge swathes of the population, live and shop within 40 miles of home. And even if you live 80 miles away the Volt will cut your gas costs by ~50%. And on the weekend you can go visit gramma two (western) states over.

And while not in 300C hemi territory 150 horsepower and 100mph top speed is respectable. Especially since the car isn't designed to be an across the board segment killer.
posted by Mitheral at 1:20 PM on September 21, 2008


Anal Volt.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:23 PM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd like to ammend my previous comment by adding that it's not entirely environmental to buy a new car - driving less, walking/biking/masstransiting more is still a cleaner option.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:25 PM on September 21, 2008


Diesels emit huge amounts of sulfur dioxide, NOx, carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulates. We should NOT consider them green alternatives.

Are we talking American diesels, or European? Up until quite recently, American diesel fuel was much higher in sulfur content than European, which meant both that sulfur emissions from diesel cars were higher and that manufacturers couldn't use more advanced emissions-control technology.
posted by asterix at 1:26 PM on September 21, 2008


> As a bonus, the system naturally penalizes excessive speed and frequent lane changes. I suppose you might develop an accounting system, but it seems easier to make all electrified roads into toll roads for everyone, and just give the electricity for free.

Really, if you are going to go to all the trouble to create a system that allows users to slot into a central power grid, you might as well switch the premise to individually routed rail cars. create HOVesque lanes that you enter only after programming your car with the proper end destination coordinates. Then you rely on a packet switching infrastructure to provide optimum routing for the cars to each of their destinations, minimizing congestion and maximizing safety. Granted you might want to update the packet switching protocol from network switches and routers to ensure that packet collisions are not acceptable. Drivers can then handle their own end point routing once they get to their off ramp. Of course, in case of emergency, you can easily pull the car out at any time, or just flag to be moved to the nearest hospital/exit/mcdonalds.

In short: "Asimov did it"
posted by mrzarquon at 1:27 PM on September 21, 2008


Pepsi Green
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 1:27 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what you're talking about troy, but electric vehicles are far far less expensive to operate, aside from battery replacement costs.

Well, the Tesla Roadster is a solid sports car offering. The Eliica is an incredible luxury car offering. Sounds like the Chevy Volt is basically a "normal" luxury car too. There are also several electric motorcycles.

To me, the two big remaining questions are : How long will the batteries last? What does it take to make a pure electric econobox or mini? And when will people realized you can electrify the roads?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:29 PM on September 21, 2008


Just watched Who Killed The Electric Car? last night. It's unquestionably rabble-rousing and a bit selective, but it makes many good points. Yet it's relatively quiet on what reason the auto companies would have for not only abandoning electrics but even destroying the ones they had made.

The most likely thing I can come up with is that auto companies make a pile of money on parts and maintenance, and that electrics are intrinsically more reliable. Not really sure of my facts there, though.
posted by JHarris at 1:29 PM on September 21, 2008


I know a guy who keeps dismissively, uh, dismissing hybrids and such because he says the disposal of their batteries more than cancels out any environmental benefits that the cars bring.

I know little about this, but I suspect that the guy is probably (at least) overstating the case, because he has a tendency to accept the first thing that he reads on any given topic as gospel, especially if it's in some way contrarian.

Anybody have any information on this theory?
posted by Flunkie at 1:34 PM on September 21, 2008



Another badly-made, badly thought-out, irrelevant car from one of the three worst auto manufacturers on the planet.


The new VW diesel hybrids are what you should be looking at if you are considering this pos.
posted by Zambrano at 1:36 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


(and my comment is not meant to be snark, I am all for such a system, it is just funny in the scifi picks another winner way)

The APS system from Bordeaux is really cool. In short, it uses ground contact plates (not conduit) instead of overhead wires, and only activates them when a lightrail car is directly overhead, so you don't have to worry about people stepping on the 3rd rail, etc.

It does appear to have issues with areas that don't have proper drainage, so large puddles on the tracks would be a problem. But I would love to see something like that in Seattle for the neighborhoods where people would complain about the overhead wires for the lightrail (and just as an excuse to run more lightrail).
posted by mrzarquon at 1:38 PM on September 21, 2008


The last Volkswagen TDI sold in the US got 42 MPG on the Highway yes, but also recieved the EPA's LOWEST AIR POLLUTION SCORE.

Er, yes. That is now old diesel technology. It was also using the hideous quality of fuel that the US was stuck with until recently and that is a major factor on emissions results. These cars pass California emissions requirements with flying colours in Europe...

The PD version (direct injection/common rail) was significantly cleaner and efficient than most engines US people are aware of when the word diesel is mentioned, and this technology wasn't being sold here until it was already 7 years in production - the US is at least one product cycle behind for these cars, so its no wonder you don't know what they are capable of (how could you?). The newer versions are even better, and now the standard of diesel in the US is of a reasonable quality, the better diesel engines will be available here, too.

We should NOT consider them green alternatives.

That's not what I was suggesting. You should not, however, dismiss them as a stop gap when the US and Canada are way behind on the technology available through no faulty of their own. Diesels would, however, be less costly and difficult development items to work on to allow the general level of vehicle economy to rise and give the industry time to come up with a proper electric car. I just think this is a stupid time to try and make a jump, and it is wasting time, resources and potential public support for the concept.

But those who do want to do more might feel quite comfortable making this choice.

Which is completely missing the point. The sort of people that would buy this car just for the environmental element aren't the problem. Unfortunately, neither are they a significant percentage of the buying public. They need to come up with a car that will appeal to most people as a viable alternative to any other car - at the moment, electric cars are a light year from that. Unless the expectations from a car are realistic (who needs to go 140 mph on the road?) then electric cars have an awful lot of unnecessary weight to push around and the technology won't allow them to do it in any sort of way that could be described as impressive. Making a car that keeps green minded people sleeping easy at night while 'saving the planet' driving to work is achieving precisely nothing. It's the people driving around in those god-awful pickups and ridiculous SUV's that are the issue. THEY are the ones that need convincing.

Making a $48K car that is so limited is crazy. I think pursuing a light, electric, cost effective commuting car at a price break that allows people to have another, less efficient car for their other activities makes more sense. Trying to persuade people to not buy a car that takes $5 a gallon fuel would be much easier if it wasn't twice the price of a car that would be not far off it in terms of efficiency over longer distances.

Have they released any figures for expected MPG on the generators? I bet its hideously bad.

I don't understand Brockle's 30 years too late comment either

That is possibly because you can't read. It wasn't me.
posted by Brockles at 1:38 PM on September 21, 2008


40 miles is perfect for me. I commute 16-20 miles (round trip). That range is more than enough for my daily commute plus two or three errands. All in the same day. And in my town (Gainesville, FL) I live on the outskirts. Most of my colleagues and friends live way closer to work than I do.
posted by oddman at 1:38 PM on September 21, 2008


mrzarquon, Yes all that sounds cool but quite a bit more complex than "this rail turns live when a passing wheel says". But your point sounds like "it's worth building a billing protocol into the system, but supply way more bandwidth than necessary, thus enabling some future automatic driving technology."

Anyway, the environmentally cleanest option remains buying a small used car with a good mpg, or ideally using a motorcycle, bicycle, walking, etc. But electrics provide the best long term solution because nobody else can get their power from the road.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:40 PM on September 21, 2008


Anybody have any information on this theory?

Depends on whether they're recycled or thrown away, like many things.
posted by smackfu at 1:41 PM on September 21, 2008


I'm stoked to see another player enter the electronic car game. Seems the auto producers have finally figured out that whoever cracks this one cannot help but get filthy fucking rich. The unprecedented challenge we face in the energy crisis presents an unprecedented opportunity. The market for fuel-efficient, low-emissions vehicles will only expand - the more troublesome oil and carbon become, the more lucrative and prudent it will become to take oil out of the equation. There's billions and billions of dollars to be made here, and the car companies know it. Can you remember the last auto ad you saw that didn't throw out a miles-per-gallon figure?

The Volt's not perfect. Neither is the Prius. I bless them both, however, as important stops along a road that auto engineering must take if we hope to hand a world that we recognize to our descendants. Hybrids are a good start. Plug-in hybrids are better. Full-electric would be better than both and one of these companies is gonna pull it off because, no matter how the world changes, auto manufacturers will never lose their taste for huge piles of money. Building the car that saves civilization as we know it is bound to be profitable.

Now, I really would have preferred a production Volt a bit closer to the concept. I'm glad auto companies are at last pursuing fuel-efficiency, but I think they've got the marketing backwards. I'm convinced that a crucial step in unraveling this tension between the energy crisis and U.S. car culture is the production of a vehicle that A) uses energy according to 21st century realities and B) looks so slick that even people who don't care about the energy crisis will want one.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:44 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hopefully, the price tag will come down in time. $48k puts it out of reach of most people, especially those who would benefit the most from reduced gas useage (e.g. the poor).

At that price point, it doesn't make any sense at all for me, and I could probably afford one if it was available now at that price and I made it a (very) high priority. We just bought a brand new Camry with 4-cylinder gas engine, reasonably well-outfitted, for around $19.5k. And we drive about 5,000 miles per year. So, even if we got one of these and *never* drove enough to use *any* gas (which would probably be the case), it still wouldn't be even close to cost effective. They have to close the price gap some more. I'm not paying an extra $28.5k in order to save $5k in gas costs over five years.
posted by jamstigator at 1:45 PM on September 21, 2008


Depends on whether they're recycled or thrown away, like many things.
So you're saying that if you recycle your battery, the car was a net environmental positive over a comparable "normal" car, but if you throw your battery away, the car was a net environmental negative?
posted by Flunkie at 1:45 PM on September 21, 2008


Wow, JHarris, that dupe made me think I'd had a stroke.
posted by sdodd at 1:47 PM on September 21, 2008


Commence hobbyist buffoonery.
posted by luckypozzo at 1:49 PM on September 21, 2008


Bordeaux's system is considerably more expensive than overhead rails currently, but many touristic French cities are considering the system because it looks nicer. Oh, well, it seems the mafia infested shit hole that is Marseille is considering the system too for some reason. I'd say the only reason to use APS over overhead wires for cars is that cars are short and trucks are tall.

Yes, drainage is a major issue for the ancient streets of Bordeaux, but U.S. highways have needed very good drainage regardless.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:52 PM on September 21, 2008


Here's an awesome EconTalk podcast/mp3 about the economics of the Chevy Volt, and how GM is betting the farm on a loss-leader. From the site:
Jonathan Rauch, of the Brookings Institution and the Atlantic Monthly, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolution of the Chevy Volt, GM's planned electric car. Due to the transparency of GM's effort, Rauch was able to spend a great deal of time on site at GM writing a piece for the Atlantic Monthly on GM's plans and hopes. Rauch discusses the huge risks, GM's past failures, and GM's hopes that the Volt might change the company's culture. The conversation closes with a discussion of competitors and the implications for energy policy.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:54 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


mrzarquon: Diesels powered by petroleum products yes. Biodiesel burns much cleaner. But really, we should be investing in multiple technologies, instead of trying to find the one size fits all energy solution.

I wholeheartedly agree with investing in multiple approaches. For instance, biodiesel isn't widely available, would cost way more than diesel if it were, and freezes below temperatures you would find on a mild fall day in temperate climates.

asterix: Are we talking American diesels, or European? Up until quite recently, American diesel fuel was much higher in sulfur content than European, which meant both that sulfur emissions from diesel cars were higher and that manufacturers couldn't use more advanced emissions-control technology.

Both. Sulfur dioxide is a powerful contributor to smog and and acid rain, but it isn't the only pollutant caused by diesel engines. I'm more worried about PAH carcinogens, which aren't easily oxidized by catalytic converters, or trapped by particulate filters.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:55 PM on September 21, 2008


Coal is still making much of our electricity, right?

Diesel? In the States? NO. I demand, absolutely demand to go 0 - 60 in less than 8 seconds and must, absolutely must; drive 80+ mph on the highway. Because my car is safe; and immune from the laws of physics. Especially those pesky ones concerning mass. And I don't want to have to wait a single moment after turning my key for my car to start.
posted by buzzman at 2:04 PM on September 21, 2008


> But your point sounds like "it's worth building a billing protocol into the system, but supply way more bandwidth than necessary, thus enabling some future automatic driving technology."

I think the rail system they are using is already much more complicated than just "this rail turns live when a passing wheel says so." Also, they are using a fairly static set of information, the trains will never leave the rail, they operate on set schedules, and even then I am sure each car transmits it's location and other information to a central dispatch to monitor the safety of the system.

So to be able to get to your point of providing a safe electrical system on the roadways for high speed vehicle traffic, we will already need to design a smarter network and backbone to manage the damn thing. How we will move power from the outbound lanes to the inbound lanes to match commuter traffic? Will someone have to know when a football game is going on to anticipate the massive influx of cars and draw to certain parts of the highway grid? I think by the time you solve those problems, getting the car to handle the driving (it is now tapped into a realtime network of the highway, getting updates on every vehicle on the road, traffic patterns, etc) will be the easy part. Hell, people have already designed self driving vehicles to work with *dumb* highways, if what we are building is a smart highway, making a few adjustments and snapping those things in place will be significantly easier than any work required to get a massive hybrid rail system installed on our nations highways.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:06 PM on September 21, 2008


> freezes below temperatures you would find on a mild fall day in temperate climates.

I drive bio year round up here in seattle, while we do have temperate winters, I have never had a gelling issue (it doesn't freeze, it just gels). And there are additives to lower the gelling point, but then again one isn't running B100 at that point.

As for cost, well again, depending on how it is made, and who pays for it, it would vary. Current biofuel incentives are really just pork paid to the current agro businesses to get more money growing the same things. For biofuels to be feasible, we would have to reconsider how we get them made (corn for example is stupid, and only touted in the US because the corn lobbyists push for it. cane sugar is great, and brazil has been using it for a while).

As for carcinogens, B100 produces 80% PAH's less than petro diesel, and B20 (20% bio/80% petro) cuts it by 13%. The only emission it produces more of is NOx, but considering that B100 has no sulphur in it, we can use approaches that weren't possible when having to deal with sulphur at the same time.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:17 PM on September 21, 2008


Making a car that keeps green minded people sleeping easy at night while 'saving the planet' driving to work is achieving precisely nothing. It's the people driving around in those god-awful pickups and ridiculous SUV's that are the issue. THEY are the ones that need convincing.

Again, that's going to mean convincing them to care about the ideology behind the electric car to begin with. People who enjoy those "god-awful pickups and SUVs" certainly are the issue, but convincing them to buy an electric car isn't going to happen. It's a lot like saying we need to convince some rabid creationist anti-choice Freeper to vote Obama before he'll be a viable candidate. We can raise minimum mileage requirements on car manufacturers in dealing with those who just love their muscle vehicles. Those who already go green are either going to buy one or continue to biking to work. It's those who are developing an emerging concern for environmental issues that are the target group for this vehicle, and that group is growing.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:18 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Uhm, wasn't that release done to coincide with their request for billions of dollars from the federal government, holding the Volt as ransom if the money isn't coughed up?
posted by furtive at 2:25 PM on September 21, 2008


I'm not sure if I've ever seen another production car that looks so unlike the concept car it is based on. The concept was a head-turner; this production model looks blander than unflavored gelatin. The Prius is positively sexy in comparison. It's like GM has no clue that a car's appearance is very important for most American drivers.
posted by Robin Kestrel at 2:28 PM on September 21, 2008


@ rfs

Any idea of what type of CiD for this, and is Chevy still going to pursue their flexi-fuel program?
posted by quintessencesluglord at 2:35 PM on September 21, 2008


Cool, the new Autobot!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:41 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are you ready to pay $53k for a tiny econobox that takes 8 hrs to charge on a special 220V jack you had installed in your garage and you can't even take it out of the city?

Last I heard, the Volt was supposed to charge off a standard 120V/15A circuit.

I want a plug in electric hybrid biodiesel

Screw biodiesel. Turboshaft.

Like regular Shaft, but with TURBO! Now he'll really be a sex machine to all the chicks.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:41 PM on September 21, 2008


Again, that's going to mean convincing them to care about the ideology behind the electric car to begin with.

I don't necessarily agree with that. I think the cost saving/ideology will eventually come into play, but making an electric car something of a 'lust item' (the Tesla Roadster is an excellent project in that regard) is a much better way of selling the idea that electric cars aren't just frumpy boxes of shit for hippies.

A frumpy looking box of shit from GM that looks like it was styled by removing any feature that may, possibly, offend anyone is not going to do that. Especially a frumpy box of shit priced to match against a decently fancy BMW. It's pricing ideology against a hefty part of the luxury car market - they need to try and do one thing at a time. You don't get stupid people to care about ideology by giving them boring solutions that cost twice as much as the equivalent, you need to do it by sparking their interest. The stupid/poorly educated people are main market that buy enough cars that is in the biggest need of convincing. They couldn't give a crap about ideology.
posted by Brockles at 2:47 PM on September 21, 2008


ROU_Xenophobe writes "Last I heard, the Volt was supposed to charge off a standard 120V/15A circuit."

It's either. And the max charge time of 8 hours is for a fully deleted battery at 120V. It's supposed to be under 4 for 240V and of course partial discharges are even less.
posted by Mitheral at 3:06 PM on September 21, 2008


buzzman: "Coal is still making much of our electricity, right?"

News Scientist had a study out this week showing that, even using 100% coal-fired electricity, an electric car produces less CO2 than a car would running on gasoline (all other factors being equal). And most electricity is some mixture of coal, gas, nuclear and renewable. The reason is, gasoline produces CO2 not only in the burning phase, but also in the production phase, which is not insignificant. Of course as electric cars get electricity from renewables the numbers get dramatically better, although never zero.
posted by stbalbach at 3:12 PM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I see your point. At the end of the day, I just don't see why we need to bend over backwards for a demographic who comprised one-fifth of the car owning market in 2004 and have already been crossing over to smaller, more effecient cars. It's a shrinking demographic, especially as fuel prices climb. The Volt certainly stands to look better - sorta reminds me of a polished AMC Eagle - and the price is prohibitive at the moment. There's work yet to be done. But as people buy this car, the price is likely to drop, while the price of gas? Not so sure. I agree wholeheartedly that it needs more power, and more features - hopefully that will come with time. But there's a definite market for this vehicle, and unless gas prices suddenly drop, that market is likely to grow.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:14 PM on September 21, 2008


Huh.. well I think it looks great. Way better than the snout-nosed concept. But who can account for tastes.
posted by Popular Ethics at 3:20 PM on September 21, 2008


> Coal is still making much of our electricity, right?

Not mine
posted by mrzarquon at 3:23 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the record, I am one of those "godless SUV driving heathens." My small suv is almost 10 years old, and has less than 30,000 miles on it. I regularly need as much hauling space as my SUV provides. I have massive dogs, kids, bikes, recreational equipment, work supplies, show supplies, and all kinds of other things that I need to be able to haul around.

Would I rather drive a Tesla? Well...duh. But ya know what? I can't strap a car seat and two 90 pound dogs in one. A Prius? They're adorable...but good lord, the back is barely big enough for a purse, much less a grocery trip.

People like me don't drive SUVs because they're a status symbol, or because we're trying deliberately to annoy the granola set. I spend a lot of time compensating for my footprint in a whole lot of ways, but when it comes to vehicles, I need a utilitarian hauling tool.

This GM offering is boring, useless to anyone who needs to move stuff, and insanely overpriced. If car companies want to attract the demographic that drives SUVs and trucks, then they need to create an actual replacement for those vehicles.
posted by dejah420 at 3:30 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


News Scientist had a study out this week showing that, even using 100% coal-fired electricity, an electric car produces less CO2 than a car would running on gasoline (all other factors being equal).

Yes. Coal plants are bad, but you're doing all the combustion in one place, so that's where you focus the emission control. It's basically impossible to keep 10,000,000 cars in peak tune, but 100 coal plants? Vastly easier -- so much so that redundant systems become easier. You don't have the haul the mass of the pollution controls systems around when they're bolted to the plant. You don't have to wedge those systems under the hood of the car. You can continuously monitor a few hundred fixed smokestacks, it's basically impossible to monitor the tailpipes of every car in the US.

So -- centralize the pollution, trap it. Ideally, stop burning coal (the carbon problems are horrific) but we don't have a way to instantly flip to other power systems, and if the US starts using large fractions of the power generation system for transportation, you're going to need to add capacity first, then replace. Trying to do both the add and the replace is very much harder -- and under today's tech, impossible if you rule out nuclear.
posted by eriko at 3:31 PM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


People like me don't drive SUVs because they're a status symbol, or because we're trying deliberately to annoy the granola set. I spend a lot of time compensating for my footprint in a whole lot of ways, but when it comes to vehicles, I need a utilitarian hauling tool.

I don't think anyone would begrudge you the necessity of a utilitarian hauling tool. Just in case my comments might have given that impression. I know more than a few people who do need a large vehicle for the work they do. I just find the dismissal and nay-saying a little confusing in light of rising fuel costs and rising interest in stepping up efficiency.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:43 PM on September 21, 2008


dejah42: Fine, check out Saturn's Vue, Chevy's Tahoe, Chrysler's Aspen or Ford's Escape Hybrids. These were all made for the "taking a baby, two dogs, and four people to the grocery store around the corner" market you belong to. Putting a hybrid powertrain in an SUV is arguably more effective than in a compact anyway, since the extra weight isn't so noticeable, and there's lots of momentum to recapture. Unfortunately, all the technology in the world will only bring these behemoths to 30mpg. If you want better, you'll need to downsize.
posted by Popular Ethics at 3:43 PM on September 21, 2008


What's different about the Volt compared to the other hybrids out now is that the gasoline engine only serves as a generator. It does not power the car directly. In that way, the gas engine (when needed) can always run at its most optimum efficiency. The gas engine will power the electric motor and charge the batteries only if the batteries don't have enough power themselves.
posted by ShooBoo at 3:43 PM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


dejah420 writes "This GM offering is boring, useless to anyone who needs to move stuff, and insanely overpriced. If car companies want to attract the demographic that drives SUVs and trucks, then they need to create an actual replacement for those vehicles."

dejah420 none of the stuff you are hauling needs more than a minivan to haul around and minivans are essentially reconfigured cars. It's not hard to anticipate the Volt's platform expanding into other niches much in the way the K-Car underpinned everything (including the original MiniVan, convertibles, limos, small pickups and near-luxury cars) but full size pickups for Dodge in the 80s. However if GM tried to bring out a new platform in a dozen different forms they'd never actually do it. Plus they'd probably waste a bunch of money as lessons learned on the volt couldn't be implemented in first generation design of other vehicles.
posted by Mitheral at 3:49 PM on September 21, 2008


It's typical self-centeredness, where "not good for me" somehow turns into "not good for anyone".
posted by smackfu at 4:11 PM on September 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


People like me don't drive SUVs because they're a status symbol, or because we're trying deliberately to annoy the granola set. I spend a lot of time compensating for my footprint in a whole lot of ways, but when it comes to vehicles, I need a utilitarian hauling tool.

Curious: minivans haul just as much, arguably more, and they're generally safer for the occupants and for other drivers/pedestrians than SUVs, and get slightly better gas mileage as well. However, they are decidedly uncool. So why not a minivan?
posted by davejay at 4:39 PM on September 21, 2008


This is a very pretty car.

But the interior is ugly as sin. Touch sensitive buttons? Really? In a moving car? People have a hard enough time trying to change the song with real buttons. Sorry to play the web designer card, but the on-screen UI is terribly ugly and looks like something from 1998.

*Sigh* ... I want to design car interiors/interfaces. They could be so much better.
posted by patr1ck at 4:47 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


then they need to create an actual replacement for those vehicles.

What, like hybrid people movers and 4WDs?
posted by rodgerd at 5:08 PM on September 21, 2008


If car companies want to attract the demographic that drives SUVs and trucks, then they need to create an actual replacement for those vehicles.

Why would they want to do that? People who drive SUVs and trucks have obviously already evaluated the tradeoff in operating costs and made their decision about the matter.

Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of people all over the world drive sedans, and it should be expected that GM is going to create a high-mileage car that caters to that demographic. Besides, you hardly ever drive at all, so what do you care about a car's operating costs? You save much more money by simply not replacing your car than you would be buying a new SUV that got 50 mpg.

At $48k, we're going to see car payments of something like $900/month. Would anyone be willing to pay that much? That sounds crazy! You could buy a $30,000 car with decent mpg, and the monthly carrying costs would be lower, even with a long commute.
posted by deanc at 5:22 PM on September 21, 2008


More of you should be making fun of the "touch-sensitive infotainment center with integrated shifter". That phrase alone gives us just cause to ridicule GM for the next ten years, if they survive that long.

However, this car looks hideously over-weight to me

That's because GM's crack team of designers spent hours in the wind tunnel, starting with an aerodynamically efficient shape and then carefully crafting every surface to make it look hideously over-weight.

Something seems a bit wrong with one of the few details they give about its performance: "The equivalent of 150 horsepower," in a car with a good low-drag aerodynamic shape should not add up to a top speed of 100mph. I had a car that was built in the 1970's, not exactly up to the aerodynamic design standards of today, not much more than 150hp, and it'd go 140 at least. Perhaps it is not so "equivalent"? Or is that just their design spec and they haven't actually got any idea yet what it will actually deliver? Or perhaps to keep things simple, the infotainment-based shifter gives it only one forward gear and the electric motor can't spin any faster? My curiosity is piqued.

why are they saying $48k is the likely price?

Who is saying that? I thought it was rumoured to be $35-40k.
posted by sfenders at 5:23 PM on September 21, 2008


Good looking car. I'm told it's going to cost $45000 out the door. That is not going to be palatable to its target market - the savings on gas is not going to make up for the fact that it is a car designed to compete with conventional cars that are selling at the $30K pricepoint.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:24 PM on September 21, 2008


If car companies want to attract the demographic that drives SUVs and trucks, then they need to create an actual replacement for those vehicles.

When it comes to the volt, who says they do? Millions of people drive ordinary cars.

Anyway, if you get to drive 80 miles a day "for free" compared to a car that gets that would take, say 3 gallons of gas to do that (about 26 MPG). It would take 48,000/(3*x*365) years to recoup the cost where x is the price of gas. That works out to 8 years or so. Wow.

On the other hand, if you were going to buy a new car anyway, you could consider the base value of the car without the electronics to be something like $30k, assuming it's really nice inside, then you recoup your investment in three years with $5 gas, not so terrible.

I think they made a terrible mistake not making this a Cadillac, though. People do pay $30k for Cadillac coups, but who is going to pay that for a Chevy, no matter how nice it is?
posted by delmoi at 5:44 PM on September 21, 2008


Alluded to above, the Colbert interview with Bob Lutz, vice chairman of GM and designer of the volt, is worth a watch (I'm in Canada, so here's a link to a link and a "commented" transcript - preamble discussion follows from the full thread)

I understand it's (primarily) a comedy show,
but it's still remarkable how he took the opportunity to
- deny global warming
- enthusiastically characterize the performance of the Volt as "adequate"
- paint those who might be impressed by his company's new offering as "nice, no-makeup environmentalists"
- laugh heartily about "you'd be using a pile of gasoline by doing that" in regards to charging the Volt off of a running Hummer

pretty action packed for 6 1/2 minutes

Again, it may just be an old guy trying to be funny, but it was striking to me how denigrating towards the project his overall attitude seemed

anyway, here is Bob Lutz on the experience
posted by sloe at 5:49 PM on September 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Holy crap what is wrong with Bob Lutz?
(crosstalk global warming)
Colbert: {making fun of him} "It's just sunspots."
Lutz: "In the opinions of about 32,000 of the world's leading scientists, yes"
--------------
Colbert: "(how fast does it go?) Let's talk 0-60 here "
Lutz: {very reluctant} "Adequately... "
Colbert: {taken aback that Lutz would dis GM's new car on national television} "Adequately?"
Lutz: (dismissive comment)
--------------
Colbert: "Will it get me laid?"
Lutz: "Well, I think so, (but not the same kind of woman)"
Colbert: (not the same kind)?
Lutz: "Yeah, less makeup, a lot more body hair..."
?, ? and ? - was he drunk or something?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:59 PM on September 21, 2008


From the LA Times, Chevy Volt's unveiling sparks questions about financing:
...company executives faced a barrage of questions about whether some of the $25 billion in low-interest loans the industry is urging Congress to fund would be used to subsidize the Volt's development and production.

At the same time, GM executives called for federal and local incentives to boost the Volt program.

The loans "certainly would help us finance the vehicle," said Frederick Henderson, president of GM. "This is exactly the kind of vehicle that was contemplated when the money was put into the bill," he added, referring to last year's Energy Security and Independence Act.

That law called for higher fuel economy standards and federally guaranteed loans to help offset the cost of complying with the mandate. The loan guarantees were never appropriated, however, and gained attention this summer only when financially beleaguered automakers began pressing lawmakers to fund the guarantees.

Executives at GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler have said the loans are vital to delivering on the new fuel-economy standards, which require a fleetwide average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner made the case for the loans before a Senate committee last week.

Critics of the loans have dubbed them a bailout that favors domestic automakers over foreign ones and that puts regulatory burdens faced by private industry on the shoulders of the American public.
Rumor has it that Dwell's January 2009 issue will feature a new automotive section...
posted by cenoxo at 6:02 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks cenexo, that's exactly what I was talking about.
posted by furtive at 6:17 PM on September 21, 2008


to be fair, it was Colbert who brought up the hair issue - running with the general thrust of Lutz's no-makeup environmentalist characterization

it was more along these lines:

Colbert: (trying to give him another shot) "How about this. Is it sexy? Will it get me laid?"
Lutz: (hesitant) "Um. I, I, I think so. You might... uh... uh..." (hesitates)
Colbert: "It might change the type of woman I'm attracting?"
Lutz: "You're... you're going to get a lot of, um, nice, no-makeup environmentalists."
Colbert: "A little (crushier?) A little (crushier?)" (can't make out that word -- sounds like crushier or crunchier)
Lutz: "Right." (smiles and laughs a lot; audience laughs)
Colbert: "Maybe a little hair on the legs down here." (Colbert lifts his leg up and gestures at his leg hair. Lutz laughs and nods) "Very much.

but, as is clear, this transcript is suspect as well (eg, they were unable to pick between "crushier" or "crunchier" when the context is stereotyping hippies)
posted by sloe at 6:21 PM on September 21, 2008


Colbert: "A little (crushier?) A little (crushier?)" (can't make out that word -- sounds like crushier or crunchier)

Maybe "cruncher", à la Crunchy Con.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:27 PM on September 21, 2008


ARGH sorry about the dupe, I'm on crappy dialup and I can't tell when it's failing to post or succeeding.
posted by JHarris at 6:33 PM on September 21, 2008


I heard it as crunchier.
posted by delmoi at 6:36 PM on September 21, 2008


Why exactly is this car going to cost twice as much as a Prius? Because batteries are too expensive?

If so, doesn't that make the talk of an all-electric car with no motor kind of silly?
posted by smackfu at 6:40 PM on September 21, 2008


If you wish to view commentary about the Volt from a decidedly "we aren't buying it" point of view, visit thetruthaboutcars.com . It's kind of an odd site; they, on the surface, are hugely against electric vehicles, but if you read more closely, they're hugely against vaporware.

They're convinced the Volt will not come close to achieving its stated goals--namely, the 40 miles will be carefully defined, and will be perhaps more like 20 miles in the real world.

The biggest problem with the Volt is that it's too much fucking money. But the time it rolls out, the Prius will be on yet another generation, Honda will be building their hybrid in this country, etc.

The Volt is a tool for GM to use to try and stay alive after squandering their insane truck and SUV profits from the 90's.
posted by maxwelton at 6:46 PM on September 21, 2008


Holy crap what is wrong with Bob Lutz?

The hybrids are politically divisive:

Violence Against Prius Hybrids Hits All-Time High
LOS ANGELES — The gut-deep disdain some people have toward Toyota Prius drivers has reached new depths, with violence against the fuel-efficient hybrids more vicious than ever.

Toyota spokesman John Hanson believes people perturbed by the whole environmental movement might feel justified in beating up a car that has become an icon for it.
disclaimer: I don't know how real the article is.
posted by stbalbach at 7:20 PM on September 21, 2008


> If so, doesn't that [battery cost] make the talk of an all-electric car with no motor kind of silly?

You can buy a Tesla Roadster at your friendly local Tesla dealership today. It's all-electric. It'll only cost you $100,000. A friend has already seen them on the road in Los Angeles. The interview blue_beetle linked is in fact awesome, as advertised.
posted by sdodd at 7:27 PM on September 21, 2008


quintessencesluglord :

I believe that it is a 1.4 L, and it will be flex fuel capable.

And on another subject, everybody I know at work was cringing the next morning over Lutz's global warming comments.
posted by rfs at 7:43 PM on September 21, 2008


They need to come up with a car that will appeal to most people as a viable alternative to any other car

Gremlin, Sprint, Firefly, Beetle, Pinto. There have been many crappy cars that went on to sell big because they were cheap to run and cheap to buy. A car that costs me pennies on the dollar for fuel and maintenance is several thousand dollars a year cheaper for me; and if there's a government or energy-provider incentive to get me more heavily on the grid, I save even more.

I agree that $45k for a shitbox ain't gonna sell to the masses. A $20k Colt/Pony/Civic/Sentra-class vehicle, sell like hotcakes.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on September 21, 2008


Because batteries are too expensive? If so, doesn't that make the talk of an all-electric car with no motor kind of silly?

Yes. Talk of a cheap, long-range all-electric sedan with no (gas) motor is very silly (and I wish environmentalists and conspiracy theorists would stop proposing it). The Prius battery is one tenth the capacity (1300 Whr) of the Volt's (16000 Whr), and costs $4k.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:24 PM on September 21, 2008


Interestingly, the nearest thing I have heard to the Volts claimed performance - the Hymotion Prius conversion now supported by A123 has a $10K battery pack and produces similar figures - 100mpg for 30-40 miles then standard Prius after that (it doesn't recover power through brake generation and needs plugging in). It sounds like a much more honest and predictable solution to me. It is scary how little fuel the thing uses, and this is a development pack for (what is now) an older generation hybrid.

Also, why don't they use diesel engines? Beats me.

Disclaimer: I know the people that designed and made the prototypes, but despite my inherent dislike of electric/hybrid cars, it is an impressive tool for the fuel economy, and I have seen the claimed 100 odd mpg. Doesn't float my boat (Prius are ugly cars for starters) but it certainly does exactly what it says on the tin. And this is all 2 years before the Volt is produced and I'd wager (in fact I'd be bloody sure) the development costs of that project were a tiny, tiny fraction of the sums being mentioned above. In fact, I reckon you'd be able to fund the entire project off a couple of pieces of tooling from the Volt production line...

Well done GM. And you claim to be leading the way.

/slow hand clap
posted by Brockles at 8:36 PM on September 21, 2008


40 mile range? That's rubbish!

That'll get me to wok and back for approximately $3.20 less than I spend on gas for my Jetta every day. If I can plug it into the solar array my commute becomes free! I'm going to go test drive one for sure. Of course then I'll find out it isn't available in a stick and I won't want it.

I'd buy a Prius but I hate them. And the cops around here ticket them at a much higher rate which sort of cuts into your gas savings.
posted by fshgrl at 9:09 PM on September 21, 2008


fshgrl: That'll get me to wok and back for approximately $3.20 less than I spend on gas for my Jetta every day.

Jesus, how big is your kitchen?
posted by emelenjr at 9:33 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brockles writes "Also, why don't they use diesel engines? Beats me."

GM has the 1.4 already developed, they don't have a tennsy diesel available. Besides the 1.4 is a known entity, it would suck if the Volt was a failure because of problems with a brand new engine even though all the electric stuff worked a-ok. One of the beauty things about the design is they could swap in another engine, even radically different without messing with anything else if they choose. Usually packaging problems interfere but the engine not being mechanically connected to the wheels eliminates a lot of the constraints.
posted by Mitheral at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2008


mrzarquon : I don't buy your claims about self driving cars. I can easily imagine a smart road relaying information about the location of other users, but not about legacy vehicles. So the first self driving cars must either navigate around uncooperative obstructions or all vehicles must cooperate. I'd say the only way #2 occurs is by first offering people power via the roads.

fshgrl : Electric cars don't need transmissions like gas cars because electric motors preform at peak efficiency over an amazingly wide range of rpms. A high performance electric sports car like the Testla roadster may have a two gear transmission for switching between "acceleration" and "speed" modes, but "ordinary" electric cars have only one gear. A hybrid like the Volt or Pirus will have no gears either because they preform a fairly delicate balancing act to extract mechanical energy from multiple sources.

I think even the Eliica has only one gear because they have seperate engines for all 8 wheels They view their acceleration vehicle (190 kmh, 120 mph, can pull 0.8g) as the normal version, with the speed model (400 kmh 250 mph) being meant only to break records.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:54 PM on September 21, 2008


As I mentioned up thread, Popular Ethics, one can retroactively grant electric vehicles long range once there's enough interest, even without improvements in battery technology.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:05 PM on September 21, 2008


Like we'll be able to care about something like this in three years anyway. The one's who will still be able to afford this car won't be concerned with the 'green' benefits. The rest of us, well, best of luck.
posted by ws at 11:20 PM on September 21, 2008


Didn't go through the whole thread, so forgive me if some of this has already been posted. Even so, it might be worth repeating.

I've been following the Volt for awhile and have gotten most of my information from this unofficial Volt fan website. Here are some reasons why Chevy's aggressive development of the Volt is a prudent move.

1) The obvious, rising oil prices. Due to lax regulations in the US compared to other parts of the world, there's been no incentive for American car manufacturers to develop cars with high gas mileage. GM and Ford have gotten shafted lately, shutting down SUV and truck factories. The market for high MPG cars is only going to increase, and the competition has already successfully positioned themselves as high MPG.

2) Toyota and Honda got a head start on feasible EV technology with hybrids. What's better than high MPG? How about no MPG. If GM wants to remain competitive, they realized that they have to gamble big, and get a "pure" EV car out before Toyota and Honda due. The problem with the EV-1 was that it was only serving a niche market. There was simply no way to mass market a car that doesn't take gas and leaves you stranded after 40 miles. "Who Killed the Electric Car" gave the impression that ditching the line was a confluence of unspoken market-driven conspiracies.

While there may be some truth to that, the fact is that the market for 40 mile cars that leave you stranded until you can push your car to a special outlet to recharge your battery overnight is very small. As soon as the California regulations changed, there really wasn't a reason to pursue a product that very few people would want to buy. Still not clear why they repo'd all the cars, though.

That's why the Volt concept was so slick. By adding on a small gasoline generator to the car, the range gets extended dramatically, and you don't have to worry about getting stranded - just buy more gas. It's sorta one those "duh!" moments when you first hear it. Plus, this puts GM back in the game with Toyota and Honda.

3) The biggest stumbling block in development was the batteries. GM had two different distributors that were competing to develop the battery technology required. On top of that, before any cars go into production, GM has to verify that the batteries will have a life of 150,000 miles. Just testing that alone takes 2 years, and GM was forced to basically start testing battery prototypes in parallel before committing to a battery manufacturer.

4) The reason why the Volt is priced so high is because the business felt they HAD to get a product out the door ASAP to remain competitive. The plan was add a bunch of bells and whistles to the first round of cars so they could price it in the 40K range to help recoup the loads of up-front investment in the project. By 2012-2014, they plan on selling versions in the low 30K range.

5) The MAIN reason why the Volt kick's ass (IMO)? Even if oil isn't finite (peak oil) the worldwide demand for oil is going to continue to skyrocket, making gasoline powered internal combustion engines prohibitively expensive. So you have two choices, either replace the fuel for the combustion engine, or replace the combustion engine. We're decades away from global biofuel market that can replace our oil consumption. So the choice is clear.

Sure the performance isn't as great as other cars, but that's not the point. GM will be the first car company to mass produce what will be for most commuters be a purely electric car. In 5-10 years when demand drives oil up past $2-300, and strict carbon emission laws start to go into effect further driving up the cost of fuel, GM is going to be one step ahead of every other car manufacturer that had their head up their ass and didn't transition to electric.
posted by Nquire at 2:10 AM on September 22, 2008


Something seems a bit wrong with one of the few details they give about its performance: "The equivalent of 150 horsepower," in a car with a good low-drag aerodynamic shape should not add up to a top speed of 100mph. I had a car that was built in the 1970's, not exactly up to the aerodynamic design standards of today, not much more than 150hp, and it'd go 140 at least. Perhaps it is not so "equivalent"? Or is that just their design spec and they haven't actually got any idea yet what it will actually deliver?

It could be many things. For example, perhaps the electric car does away with the expensive high-maintenance kludge that is a clutch and gearbox, but the trade-off is that the top speed isn't as high, because it's effectively driving in first gear always.
If so, on the flip side, a firmware hack might be the only thing stopping you from being about to do 100mph in reverse :-)

The electric drive train is so fundamentally different from internal combustion that you seriously cannot expect horse-power to have any meaningful relationship to top speed. If your 1970's car lost it's top gear, it wouldn't make 140mph either, but would still be a 150hp car.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:19 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Charging the Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home's refrigerator and freezer units".

Wow! I found that a pretty startling claim. Exactly how much energy does an average fridge/freezer use in the US?
posted by rongorongo at 2:22 AM on September 22, 2008


I don't really understand the negativity about the volt (Brockles, etc), if GM delivers the volt and it does what they say, it will be a flat-out amazing car, a massive leap forward, a highly practical car, and very convenient.

For me, it would pretty much mean never having to buy gas again.
The monthly power bill wouldn't take much of a hit either.

Even if I went on a road trip and needed the extra non-electric range, the on-board diesel generator runs at maximum efficiency because it's not a motor driving the wheels, but simply an on-board generator. The design is wonderful. Thinking of this thing as a hybrid is like thinking of a multi-gigabyte mp3 player as a cassette walkman. Yes it does the same thing, but it's fundamentally more advanced.

My plan: Buy a gas-guzzling over-powered sports-car now, and do my part to burn our way to peak oil as fast as possible. Briefly join the orgy of fossil fuels while the party is still going. This should tide me over the 3 years until the volt is released, maybe a year or two more so the early(ier) adopters can iron out the worst of the teething troubles, then I'll buy one, and with luck, never look back.

I also consider myself pretty picky about how a car looks, and looking at the unveiled production model, I will happily buy it. It is nowhere near as pretty as the aforemententioned fossil-fuels-orgy sports car, but it looks decent.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:34 AM on September 22, 2008


Another boring offering from American car makers...
posted by thrakintosh at 4:36 AM on September 22, 2008


Due to lax regulations in the US compared to other parts of the world, there's been no incentive for American car manufacturers to develop cars with high gas mileage.

Nup. GM and Ford at least already make high-mileage cars for the Euro and Asian markets. They're just too fucking dumb to import them or build those designs in the US.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:04 AM on September 22, 2008


I don't really understand the negativity about the volt (Brockles, etc), if GM delivers the volt and it does what they say, it will be a flat-out amazing car, a massive leap forward, a highly practical car, and very convenient.

It is certainly being touted as a 'massive step forward and highly practical' but a lot of the negativity stems from this car being neither a massive step forward (there are cars with conversion packs doing this same performance right now, and hybrids will be much better by the time the volt is released) nor, I suspect, will it be practical. It is a very, very big car to claim 40miles between charges.

Also, where did this 'the petrol engine will therefore be incredibly efficient' theory come from? Instead of internal combustion being converted to rotary motion, we now have IC-rotary-DC generation-storage-DC to rotary motion. Yes, the engine will be running in a more efficient range, but I have yet to see any figures for the mpg on the electric motor. The losses from all the extra conversions will be relatively high. My guess is it will be distinctly average outside its nominal '40' mile range, not some magically efficient petrol running car.
posted by Brockles at 5:07 AM on September 22, 2008


Even if the Volt "only" costs $40k - let's say I'm in the target demographic range, I'm a short-distance commuter looking to save the planet. Why the hell would I spend $40k for this car, when I could buy 3 (45 mpg city / 60 mpg highway) Smart coupes for the same price?

Let's say I wait until more efficient, full-electric engines are available: For the car companies, what's going to be easier to retrofit: The Volt, or a wee tiny Smart car that already weighs next to nothing and only has one engine in it to start with? My money says that when full electrics are more mainstream, Smart will be eating GM's lunch.

Yes, the Volt might help push electrics to the mainstream - but it won't happen if the vast majority of the target consumer audience can't afford to buy one.

$12000 - $16000 for a Smart though? A very big percentage of drivers in the US could afford one of those, even with the economy as shitty as it is now. Just moving to more efficient vehicles would make a huge dent in oil consumption. It's a damn shame no US auto company has pushed for higher mileage.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:56 AM on September 22, 2008


I'm a short-distance commuter looking to save the planet.

Than money for you is not the primary reason for buying the Volt.
posted by stbalbach at 7:43 AM on September 22, 2008


GM and Ford at least already make high-mileage cars for the Euro and Asian markets. They're just too fucking dumb to import them or build those designs in the US.

Do you have examples that I could pass on to my father? He prefers Fords, but he's kinda having to juggle his Windstar with the glorified golf cart that is the Chrystler GEM to keep the gas bills down.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 8:41 AM on September 22, 2008


this isn't the car you'd get the hot girl with, but probably the girl with hairy legs and no make-up?

God, I'm sold. I'll take six.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:53 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw that episode of the Colbert Report, and my reaction was "hey, that's a pretty cool car, even if this guy is a dumbshit... wait. I'm not wearing any makeup, and I haven't shaved my legs in two days. BOB LUTZ JUST CALLED ME UGLY. ASSHOLE." And the only compelling reason for me to ever buy any GM vehicle ever vanished instantaneously in a puff of misogyny.

I betcha Bob's in some hot soup for that interview. What a great way to market a car - denying that the problem it addresses even exists, and then painting its potential market with the ancient outdated hippie stereotype brush.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:00 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kudos to GM for undertaking the Volt. I feel it's kind of another half-step (like hybrids), but any progress in this direction is good IMHO.

I have an electronics background so I've been getting quite interested in the technology as it evolves.

My top-line view is that yes it's hard to produce an all-electric car that's 100% equivalent of the current gas-powered auto (in size, speed, range), but this thinking is kind of missing the point. The current electrical technology is sufficient to produce cost-effective small (Smart-sized), short-range vehicles, and that's where more attention must be focussed.

Weaning ourselves off of the gas-powered vehicle is more than just replacing the power source; we also have to accept that the majority of current vehicles are just too big for the majority of trips we make. In our cities we also must make more intelligent use of public transit and alternatives.

Europe is years ahead of North America on most of these.

sundry points:
- Electric motors can push power back into the batteries when braking ("dynamic braking"). Try THAT with a gas engine.
- Electric motors have a much wider power-band than an IC engine. This means that an electric vehicle's transmission and driveline can be much simpler, or eliminated.
- Further to the above point, a drive system containing electric motors and an IC engine driving a generator can be more efficient than having just one IC engine alone. The IC motor running the generator can always run at it's most efficient speed in this case. Diesel locomotives have been built like this since the 1940's. Hopefully this will become more common as electric car components are mass-produced.

This fall, I'm experimenting with a cheap electric bike for commuting (sunny days only; I take transit when it's poor outside). So far, so good.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:43 AM on September 22, 2008


Brockles writes "there are cars with conversion packs doing this same performance right now"

However Toyota doesn't make that conversion pack. There is a big difference between limited conversions and full production models. The first stumbling block being emissions (at least some of the extended range conversion have higher emmisions when the engine does run because their cats have gone cold). Where can I go to buy a car with even half the claimed abilities of the volt and get nationwide support?
posted by Mitheral at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2008


"Charging the Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home's refrigerator and freezer units".

Wow! I found that a pretty startling claim. Exactly how much energy does an average fridge/freezer use in the US?
posted by rongorongo at 5:22 AM on September 22


It's exaggerated, more or less severely depending on your definition of "about once daily."

A 1986-era, ancient inefficient fridge uses about 1400 kWh per year. That is about the very worst anyone's likely to encounter nowadays. A modern fridge uses 500 kWh per year. Numerous energy star fridges get that down to ~350 kWh.

GM's press release says: At a cost of about 80 cents per day (10 cents per kWh) for a full charge that will deliver up to 40 miles of electric driving.... So 80 cents @ 10 cents per kWh. They're saying one charge will run you 8 kWh. 8 kWh/day times 365 days would be 2,920 kWh/year. That's not quite exactly the same as a fridge now, is it?

If your fridge was made between 1976 and 1986, and you charge your Volt once every other day, then your Volt will run you about 1460 kWh, which is comparable to your fridge.

Nobody has a fridge from 1986. Or so few that to say that's "the average home" is ludicrous. Similarly, "about once daily" is not the same as "50% of all days." Someone should give this press release writer "about one dollar" for every dollar of his salary owed (i.e. $0.50) and see how he likes that.

If you want to be accurate, it would be much more truthful to say: "Fully charging your Volt daily will use about as much electricity as running six average refrigerators all the time."

Note: I imply no judgement of the Volt itself here, its efficiency or wisdom or absurdly high price point*, I'm merely commenting on the truthfulness of the press release.

--

* Ok, I lied about that one. Judgement implied. $40k is crazy. That'll sell like cold cakes.
posted by rusty at 10:15 AM on September 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Depends on if you drive every day too. If it's a commuter vehicle, that's only 250 or so days a year.
posted by smackfu at 10:39 AM on September 22, 2008


On my pure-electric 'vespa-like' scooter (warning, embedded music player), up to 35 mph, I accelerate faster than 90% of the cars around me. Anything faster than that would be speeding on the roads I stick to.
posted by nomisxid at 11:13 AM on September 22, 2008


Is this the same car that the bigwig from Ford was describing on the Colbert Report recently, where he said this isn't the car you'd get the hot girl with, but probably the girl with hairy legs and no make-up?

That was Bob Lutz of GM, and yup.
posted by thbt at 11:41 AM on September 22, 2008


And as much as I like the idea of EV, I gotta say... man, this car is fugly.
posted by thbt at 11:42 AM on September 22, 2008


Various people said things like: Curious: minivans haul just as much, arguably more, and they're generally safer for the occupants and for other drivers/pedestrians than SUVs, and get slightly better gas mileage as well. However, they are decidedly uncool. So why not a minivan?

If I wanted cool, I'd pull the 1963 Stingray out of storage. Seriously. I love my sports cars, and if I want cool, I'll drive one. What I want right now is cheap utility.

Didja miss the part where I said my SUV was 10 years old? I currently get about 17mpg. It was paid for 8 years ago, and my insurance is small even though I carry full coverage. I see no reason to pony up a $400- 1000 a month car payment and a raise in insurance to get (at max) 10mpg more. Most minivans get about 16 - 25mpg. The new hybrid SUVs are fabulous, and get between 21 - 30mpg, which isn't enough to put myself in debt when I've worked for years to be almost completely debt-free.

Study after study has shown that economy is not a good reason to buy a hybrid. Here's one from Edmunds that's not behind a firewall.

Cars lose about 50% of their value the second you drive them off the lot. From a financial standpoint, unless one is dramatically, --and I mean from a Lincoln Behemoth to a Prius--dramatically reducing your gas input, then mileage is a foolish measurement by which to put yourself $40k in debt.

And a minivan? Oh...but no. Sure, it hauls stuff, but it's not making it down a dirt road, or a gravel road, or a field, or following a fence line. Again, it's not a utility vehicle, it's a soccer mom transporter.

I'm just tired of people who live in urban areas complaining about those of us in rural areas driving vehicles that make sense for *our* life. Just as I get annoyed by anyone who presumes to tell other people what is best for them. You don't know. Just this morning, on my way to the library, I had to drive across a field to help a neighbor get their cows out of a rain gully.

I tell you what, I don't care how cute a Prius is, you're not gonna ever use that little beastie to convince a buncha cows to go up a hill.
posted by dejah420 at 12:26 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you've made it this far in the thread, please commit this fact to memory: The Volt does NOT require a charge after only 40 miles, despite the hysterical bleatings upthread. The Volt has an on-board gas engine that constantly tops off the (massive) battery, which extends the car's away-from-home range to around 400 miles. (This limit is due to the capacity of the gas tank, not the battery.) This fact also moots all the crazy-talk about refrigerators.

Please continue your discussion.
posted by turducken at 12:53 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


dejah420: I'm with you. My little truck just died, so I bought a big ol' fuck-off '91 V8 Ram 250 for $500. Sure it gets about 12 gallons to the mile, but it's an island truck and I drive it maybe two miles a week. This weekend I used it to haul about 1500 lbs of reeking sand-flea infested half-rotten seaweed home for the garden.

Good times.

What was this thread suposed to be about again?
posted by rusty at 1:17 PM on September 22, 2008


> This fact also moots all the crazy-talk about refrigerators.

No, the refrigerator talk is about the cost of plugging it in, which is perfectly valid. Commuters want to know how much their electric bill will go up. More state-of-charge details in this article.
posted by sdodd at 1:17 PM on September 22, 2008


rusty writes "A modern fridge uses 500 kWh per year. Numerous energy star fridges get that down to ~350 kWh. "

rusty the quote says fridge and freezer so double all your figuring for consumption for those appliances. 500 kWh is probably about right, if maybe a bit low for an average new installed fridge. My 18 cu, frost free, no ice maker fridge that I bought last year claims 480 kWh per year. The energuide label says this is on the large end of a 391-484 kWh/year range. 28+ cube SxS often push over 650 kWh/year. I wonder what sells more, energy sipping 350s or monsterous SxS? I wonder what sells more in the market that can buy new $48K cars?

Still it was hyperbole, but not _completely_ out of line. At least it was within the same order of magnitude. Might have been better to use the phrase "same electricity as the average washer and dryer" which would put you at ~1500 which coupled with 250 odd commuter days puts you right in the neighbourhood.

As an aside I find the idea of an average commute being 40 miles, even though it appears to be very common in the states, a little shocking. My whole town is less than 40 kms across. And while we certainly have people who travel farther than that daily to work I'm sure they are in the minority. 96% of Calgarians, 91% or Torontoians, 95% of Vancouverites and 93% of Edmontoians commute within the 40 mile pure electric range of the Volt. Approximately a third across the board live within 5 kilometres of work (IE: 6 mile round trip).

dejah420 writes "And a minivan? Oh...but no. Sure, it hauls stuff, but it's not making it down a dirt road, or a gravel road, or a field, or following a fence line. Again, it's not a utility vehicle, it's a soccer mom transporter. "

Well I've done all those things in my minivan (even my big ol' sedan on occasion). It's an awfully poorly maintained dirt/gravel road that can't be navigated regularly by the majority of cars on the road. However I'll grant you ground clearance has it's place and when I needed it I drove a 4X4 pickup. I'm not trying to convert you away from your vehicle of choice. My garage is like a swiss army knife of appropriate vehicle tools starting with a little two seat commuter, ending with a LWB dually stake and hitting several points in between. My point was that just because the Volt may not be all things to all people today, the design has the potential to expand to additional roles just like the K-Car. And that I think it would have been a mistake to initially develop the Volt as a SUV alternative. Many of the initial trade offs would have been to crippling (and truck owners, IMO, tend towards the conservative when it comes to vehicle selection). And cows can be herded by a guy on a 50cc dirt bike, I've done it. A car of any stature would have no problem.
posted by Mitheral at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2008


Hm. I read that as "the average refrigerator/freezer unit." I.e. the ordinary sort of combo fridge freezer that people generally have. Does the "average" home have a fridge and a separate freezer? I know a few people who do, but not most. But then there's the word "average," there -- perhaps they don't mean "the average home" but instead "the average units." I.e. the units that you'd have if you had both. That still leaves them stuck with the sort of awkward "less than" claim. I'll buy your same order of magnitude, but not their "less than." It is pretty demonstrably not "less than" unless "about every day" actually means "every third day."

All of which is kind of retarded in the first place, considering no one is buying this to replace their fridge. They're selling a car here. Just say "Look, gas costs $0.11 a mile, even with a fairly decent 30 mpg car. Electricity for this thing costs $0.02 a mile. You do the math, Poindexter."
posted by rusty at 2:19 PM on September 22, 2008


I find the idea of a 40 mile commute shocking too. As one of my high school teachers once memorably put it, when asked why he bought a house within walking distance of the school: "What, am I gonna spend two hours a day driving? Do these people think they're going to live forever?"
posted by rusty at 2:21 PM on September 22, 2008


Isn't it 40 miles total, so 20 minutes each way? That's no big deal.
posted by smackfu at 2:31 PM on September 22, 2008


smackfu, if you can make your commute at 60 mph the whole way, you must not live in Seattle.
posted by nomisxid at 2:53 PM on September 22, 2008


Here's another cost estimate from Mark DuVall of the Electric Power Research Institute:
If one takes peak charging rates of 80 cents/day, to drive [the Volt] 15,000 miles/year will work out to around $292 in total fuel costs. At off peak rates from ¼ to ½ of that it is possible to drive 15,000 miles per year for $73.
You're looking at something like a 25% increase to your electric bill. For those with a shorter commute, it seems like a good deal.
posted by sdodd at 2:55 PM on September 22, 2008


Since we already have the 220volt supply in place in Europe I was interested to see that GM plan to sell the Volt in the UK as the "Vauxhall Volt" (and under the Opel brand in the rest of Europe). Their major competitor over here may well be Renault Nissan who look set to be teaming up with the previously mentioned "better place" project for their re-charging infrasctucture.
posted by rongorongo at 4:02 PM on September 22, 2008


If you've made it this far in the thread, please commit this fact to memory: The Volt does NOT require a charge after only 40 miles, despite the hysterical bleatings upthread.

If you'd read the thread that far, you'd know that no-one is saying it has a total range of 40 miles. It just has a (nominal, claimed etc) purely electrical range of 40 miles - after which as a purely electrical vehicle, it will require a charge. The point behind the 'hysterical bleating' is that it is less than impressive and unlikely to make electric cars sound fancy - this is a pretty impractical car as an electric car and only becomes usable if you do very short commutes or use it as a hybrid. Especially as figures for the speed you need to maintain to get the full 40 miles have not been released - I'll bet it's less than spectacular, and I wonder how well it'll get on with stop start traffic with aircon running (for instance). In other words, I wonder just how usable that 40 miles actually is.
posted by Brockles at 4:40 PM on September 22, 2008


I was just reading the other day that the Honda Civic, which has been the best selling car in Canada for the past 10 years, recently (June of this year) became the best selling car in the U.S. for the first time ever. That might help explain my reaction to the Volt. Cause I think it's frickin huge for a green machine.

But then, given my usual rentals when needed, I passed a Civic in the parking lot the other day and thought that was a tad too large for us, too. (granted, it has grown from a subcompact to a compact, but still)

Bring on the Smart For Four. We can't strap the dog into a nonexistent back seat, but I don't need anything half as large as this. (leaving aside the price issue entirely, which is also way too freakin big)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:07 PM on September 22, 2008


rongorongo writes "Since we already have the 220volt supply in place in Europe"

We've got 220/240V in practically every house in Canada/USA too, just not at regular wall outlets.

Brockles writes "this is a pretty impractical car as an electric car and only becomes usable if you do very short commutes or use it as a hybrid. "

Anyone got any numbers on average commutes in the US? Are they really much longer than that in Canada. I know there are some pretty long commutes in southern California and NY but what is the average like? IE: I know of people commuting between some of the gulf islands and Vancouver but the aren't the norm. Like I posted above in Canada 90+% of commutes would be handled in pure electric mode with the Volt IE: not only very short commutes. For a 1/3 of Canadians (in major centres anyways) a single charge would get them back and forth to work for a week plus a trip to the mall or church on the weekend.
posted by Mitheral at 5:26 PM on September 22, 2008


Why has nobody investigated a modular car principle. On the basis that people often don't need anything like the capacity that they have (single person commutes etc, with the occasional desire to carry all their crap) why has there been no attempt to update the trailer/extra carrying capacity as a serious venture?

Why carry all that space/weight around for when you do need it, just to pay extra for fuel when you don't?

I know I'm an extremely bad example of that kind of thinking, but why has no-one investigated (in the same style of hard tops) an extension piece that sits on (for example) the rear of a Smart car and allows an extra 50% luggage space? Something that bolts clips onto the rear hatch and extends it out, while hooding additional lights to keep the vehicle legal? Why not some kind of more intelligent trailer design? Why has the extra carrying capacity market utterly failed to evolve?

I'm convinced that - once you destroy the stigma - a configurable, light and easy to hitch/un-hitch trailer would be the best solution to occasional extra capacity requirements. You'd be able to carry dogs in it, extra shopping, extra passengers even (with some legislation changes). But industry momentum seems to completely ignore anything other than an all in one solution. Weird.
posted by Brockles at 6:24 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brockles: I saw a modular concept being displayed somewhere -- ah, it was the Museum of Civilization's branch in Quebec City. Thing is, modular vehicles require uniformity. And if there's anything people seem dead set against, it's having what your neighbour has. Expressing your individuality through what you purchase, and all that shite.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:36 PM on September 22, 2008


I admit I don't know much about how the car industry keiretsu works, and for one, it's possible that Lutz was playing his audience up, but he seemed pretty supportive of the Volt in a Wait Wait, Don't Tell me segment, calling it his "perfect" car, bringing a "revolution" by making US independent of foreign oil.
On second thoughts, I'll change that; not only do I not know much, I also do not care much. (Goes off cycling to the nearest MRT station for his daily commute)
posted by the cydonian at 7:39 PM on September 22, 2008


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