Chevrolet Volt

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2012 Chevy Volt.jpg

The Chevy Volt is a hybrid car produced by GM. Unlike the Prius it uses lithium-ion batteries and can run on only the electric motor for an extended period.[1] The 149 HP electric motor can propel the vehicle to 101 mph and after the 16 kWh battery is depleted the gasoline engine switches on to provide energy for the motor and can couple itself to the wheels directly when above 70 mph.[2] The Volt, like any automobile with a 16 kWh battery or larger, is eligible for a $7,500 tax rebate when purchased.[3] One study claims that the car costs taxpayers the equivalent of $250,000 per vehicle.[4]

Contents

Ownership Satisfaction

Volt owners have the highest rate of owner satisfaction of any new car in 2011 and 2012. 93% of Volt owners would purchase the car again.[5][6]

Popularity

From a list of the top best-selling vehicles sold during the 2012 model year, the Volt was ranked 133 out of 262.[7] GM says the Volt is a niche car but will serve as a technological test bed for future advanced technology.[8]

While current owners appear most satisfied, the general public has little interest in electric vehicles. Of the 15 million cars sold in 2012, only 100,000 were electric. A grand total of just one tenth of one percent of all cars. [9] For environmentalists, electric automobiles appear to be the car of choice. In reality, it's not a game changer for the environment as liberals would have you believe.[10] A reliance on electric automobiles, electricity commonly generated by coal power,[11] does not offset emissions. Even if half the auto market was comprised of electric vehicles, emissions would not be affected.[12]

Sales

The Volt has sold a mere 58,158 units since it first went on sale just over three years ago. Despite price cuts, cash-back deals, and heavy promotion from President Obama and environmentalists, sales have been anemic.
[13]

Volt sales started slow with only 326 sold in 2010. 2011 saw a modest increase in monthly sales with a yearly total of 7671. An increase happened in 2012 with 23,461 sold though 2013 sales have leveled off at 23,094.[14][15] Sales were strongest in California, approximately 50% of all sales.[16]

Given the weak sales, GM may never recoup the car's $1.2 billion development costs,[17] a claim GM vehemently denies.[18]

Safety

General Motors collaborated with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Illinois Professional Firefighters’ Association (IFPA), National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to train first responders in handling the peculiarities of electric vehicle accidents. GM also created an emergency response guide for emergency professionals and public use.[19]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded the Chevy Volt does not constitute a fire safety risk and is quoted as saying, ‘no discernible defect trend exists’ after investigating a battery compartment fire that started two weeks after a Volt was destroyed in a crash test. GM has responded further by modifying existing and future Volts to better withstand crashes in the future.[20]

Mechanical Issues

Batteries on several Chevrolet Volt cars caught fire. A coolant leak was the reason given by GM. [21].

Battery degradation is seriously flawed, dropping as much as 57% in very cold weather and by 33% in extreme heat. This affects all electric vehicles, not just the Volt. [22]

Further reading

References

  1. "2014 Volt Models & Specs"
  2. "First Test: 2011 Chevrolet Volt", Motor Trend, Dec. 2010.
  3. http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Plug-In-Electric-Vehicle-Credit-(IRC-30-and-IRC-30D)
  4. "Each Chevy Volt Costs Taxpayers $250,000", New American, 22 December 2011
  5. http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/12/01/survey-finds-chevrolet-volt-owners-most-satisfied/
  6. http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2012/1129/Chevy-Volt-tops-customer-satisfaction-survey-again
  7. http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/09/august-2012-ytd-all-vehicle-rankings.html
  8. http://gm-volt.com/2014/01/17/what-is-gm-doing-about-automotive-electrification/
  9. Year of the electric car blows a fuse, CNN Money, October 19, 2012
  10. "Why more electric cars won't save the world from climate change," SmartPlanet.com, January 23, 2014
  11. How is coal used to power cars?, Discovery.com
  12. "Mass Acceptance Of Electric Cars Would Have Little Impact On US Emissions", Science20.com, January 21st 2014
  13. GM HAS SOLD ONLY 58,000 CHEVY VOLTS IN THREE YEARS, Brietbart.com, April 9, 2014
  14. http://www.hybridcars.com/gm-sells-50000th-chevy-volt-in-october/
  15. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/05/chevy-volt-sales-inch-nissan-leaf-sales-2013/
  16. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082121_predicting-chevy-volt-sales-is-california-inventory-the-key
  17. "GM's losses up to $49,000 on each Volt", Reuters, 10 Sep 2012.
  18. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/gm-fights-report-chevy-volts-rolling-away-49-173205445.html
  19. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/08/gmfr-20100827.html
  20. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/business/us-finds-no-defect-in-volt.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&ref=automobiles&adxnnlx=1365182169-63HN9ZydY/7fcl60xagalA
  21. Probe of GM's Volt Fires May Be Lengthy, WSJ.com, December 12, 2011
  22. AAA: Range of electric cars cut in cold, hot weather, USAToday, March 20, 2014
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