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Whoah! America's most-powerful sports car and Chrysler's halo car will be going electric in its next incarnation. This will transform the 600+ horsepower, single-digit-mpg muscle car into a 200kW (268 horsepower), 480 pound-foot torque green machine. Wow, talk about personality change!

Click the image to see the story.

Chrysler's target is the Tesla sports car.

In other electric-car news (and more relevant to regular folks), the Chevy Volt will be out next year. Chevrolet finally unveiled the Volt, their plug-in electric car. It doesn't look exactly the same as the concept, due to aerodynamics necessary for it to go 40 miles on electricity alone, but it is still perhaps the most important car to come from Chevrolet in many decades... maybe ever. I believe this is the car that can not only save the company, but perhaps blow the Priuses of the world out of the market.

Click the image to see the story.

Imagine: This car uses no gasoline for 40 miles, but still has a small gasoline engine to keep the batteries topped off. You have the freedom drive cross-country like a normal car or around town with zero emissions. Because we have many options for making electricity - including solar and other non-polluting renewables - this car could also be truly emissions-free.

Wowee, whatta time for car enthusiasts! This turns out to have been just the right time for the newest oil crisis. Last time, we got craptastic, 100-horsepower sedans that were ugly as sin. This time, we get sexy electrics.

Gas shortages? Bring 'em on!

Chris

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
clevermanka
Sep. 24th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I knew there was a reason that VW and I weren't meant to be together. Forget that Snore-worthy Volt. I'm saving my pennies for the electric Viper. Maybe if I don't spend a dime between now and 2010...
skaldic
Sep. 24th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
unfortunately, the Volt is going to cost $30-40K. sigh.
mckitterick
Sep. 24th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
Doesn't the gov't have a tax-break deal for such cars?
skaldic
Sep. 24th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure they do, but frankly, I don't pay anywhere close to enough taxes to make it realistic. (Thankfully).
mckitterick
Sep. 25th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
That's one of the "nice" things about home-ownership and still paying off my student loans: I get to deduct lots of things from my taxes. Ahem. A car like this would mean free money to help with the down-payment.
jjschwabach
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)

Also, unfortunately, GM is very closed-mouthed about the mileage the Volt will get once it switches to gas. One article I read had apparently gotten fed up with being told in response to this question, "It will cost 12 cents a mile to operate," so printed the quote, following it with, "GM issued this when the national average was $3.62 a gallon," and figured their readership could do the math. At 30mpg, once we get out on the open road, I'd still be driving circles around it.

Also, alas, GM, in their haste to beat Toyota to the plug-in punch, failed to study, for example, existing hybrids. The battery is so ginormous that it actually costs the car a seat. And spell-check apparently thinks ginormous is a word.

The tax-break, (no longer available on the Prius, which spell-check does not think is a word) was limited by your favorite "president" both in number of each make and model of hybrid, and in duration. The Prius had the highest rebate, and it was $2600. I got that, and it brought it down to what comparable non-hybrids cost. The fuel savings otoh, really push it over the top. I've now driven the car 27,600 miles, averaging 62.5mpg in the summer, and about 54.5 in the winter. (Cold weather makes batteries sad, and the same will be true of the Volt.) If I still had my Chevy Corsica, I'd have spent twice as much on gas in the past two and a half years.

But, back on the Volt -- the problem, as Skaldic points out, is that any tax rebate would not be enough to offset the price differential between the Volt and a comparable, non-hybrid Chevy. I'm afraid this is another case of GM planning to fail.

Meanwhile, the base price of an '08 Prius is $22,000...

Is it any wonder this country's economy is tanking?
mckitterick
Sep. 25th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I would love it if GM could subsidize the Volt as much as Toyota subsidizes the Prius!
jjschwabach
Sep. 24th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Here, this is the best site for hybrid information. I did a lot of research -- a lot -- before buying my hybrid, and this site helped me out quite a bit. They're non-biased, look at every hybrid on its own merits.
Here's what they say about the Volt.
http://www.hybridcars.com/concept-hybrids/chevy-volt-concept.html
(Deleted comment)
jjschwabach
Sep. 25th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
The annoying thing is, GM already had an all-electric car, and everyone who had them loved them. But GM leaseth and GM taketh away, and no one knows why.

Thanks to the book and documentary about that, GM can't pull the same move so soon to "prove" electric vehicles can't work, so they have, as I said, done their best to plan the Volt for failure. Fortunately, Toyota fully intends to go ahead with plans for a plug-in Prius. They've already agreed not to void the warranttees of people who upgrade their existing Prii through an "approved outlet," such as Cal-Cars.

GM has already lost this race. They need to bring back the EV1 if they're even going to survive, let alone get a stake in the alternative fuels market. (And their Flex-Fuel line is a joke...)
mckitterick
Sep. 25th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
I didn't want to get into this with you before (can't change the minds of the converted!), just as I've given up arguing with those devoted to the cult of Macintosh. Doesn't mean I feel okay just standing by, listening to nonsense.

Sure, it's possible that part of GM tried to kill the electric car back in the day of the EV1, though they couldn't have sold those for a reasonable price, and batteries back then really limited range.

Now, however, it's GM that's taking the lead with plug-ins, with the jerry-rigged Japanese hybrid manufacturers playing catch-up. I mean, not to diss your car, but it's a dumb idea to have dual drive systems. Honda made cars in the 1980s that got just as good of mileage as does the Prius now, because they were light, aerodynamic, and used small engines. Dual-drive systems as in the Prius require not only added weight for batteries and motors like an electric car, but also an entire gas-driven driveline as in most other cars. On the highway, they get crap gas mileage compared to what they could get if they ditched the electric system, and in town they're carrying around a gasoline engine, a multi-gear transmission, a fuel system, a cooling system, and so on.

The Volt, on the other hand, only carries a little generator. I applaud GM for taking the lead rather than jumping onto the gas-electric hybrid bandwagon to be first to market regardless of the sense of doing so. Here is a true city car whose design could get even better mileage on the highway than the much-vaunted Prius.

(PS: My dad has a Flex-Fuel SUV, and he loves E85 - almost the same gas mileage, surprisingly, plus it's much cheaper to buy. As soon as our country gears up to produce non-corn-based ethanol, I predict more cars will run on alcohol than gas or electric.)
mckitterick
Sep. 25th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Plus, I'm excited that an American company is starting to change its ways and might just have a product that'll keep it in business. If you've been paying attention to the economy lately, it's vital that American businesses stay alive. If we lose GM, our economy is even more fucked than it is now.

If ever there was a time to say, "Buy American," it's now.
mckitterick
Sep. 25th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think cars designed to be economical in the first place are the smartest way to go right now. And, y'know, motorcycles already out-gas-mileage any car on the road.
jjschwabach
Sep. 26th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC)
Most hybrids are jerry-rigged. The Volt, I'm afraid, is hardly "taking the lead," but falls well short of what Toyota (Toyota specifically, not Japanese car companies in general) is doing already. the Prius, unlike any hybrid on the market (and the Volt is not yet on the market) was in fact designed from the ground up to *be* a hybrid. That's the reason it has consistantly out-performed other hybrids.

The real issue is not who can build a better hybrid. The real issue is who can build a car that doesn't need gasoline at all.
Not Chevy. The Volt doesn't pass that test. It does, indeed, have a dual drive system. And there are apparently questions about GM's claim that it can go 40 miles without using any gas at all. I can usually drive home from work (8.5 miles) without using any gas, or very, very little. Driving to work is slightly up-hill, so I can only go partially gas-free.

Motorcycles do get better gas mileage than any car. Some of us, however, can't ride them. I would need a three-wheeler, which negates the mileage advantage completely. (I've known several people who design bikes, and they all agree on that count.) Also, some of us live places that get 8 months of winter.

I wish that it really was an American company taking the lead on changing ways. But a wise man once said, "You can never go wrong betting against General Motors." The fact is, this is the company that is soley responsible for the death (or at least severe illness) of the American railroad, much of our public transportation, the building of the interstate highways -- which in turn killed off many small towns by bypassing them....
the recent stunt with the EV1 was just another example. I don't trust General Motors. I've owned two Chevrolets, and they were both good cars, but as a corporation, they play a lot of games. The fact that they've been avoiding answering the mileage question is a case in point. The fact that they can't seem to bring in home for under $40,000... well, that's why I said they're planning for failure.

The base price on the Prius, $22,000
the Civic Hybrid, $23,000
If you want to buy American (and the Prius will be American-made next year) you could get a Ford Escape Hybrid for $29,000 base price.

It's the price that will kill the Volt. The tax rebate will not be enough to offset the price difference.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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