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Archive for the ‘Chevy Volt’ Category

Demand Shrinking for Subsidized Electric Cars

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 25, 2012

This story was sent in by reader Left-Coast Henry, who happens to be on the Right side of Conservative/Libertarian politics.

Aol Autos posted the ongoing saga of the US government’s failed intervention into the automobile market.  Here are some related occurrences of this week published in the article:

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the governmental rebates (including for example $7,500 for each Chevy Volt sold) and other subsidies of electric cars were wasted since those who purchase electric vehicles would have done so without the subsidies.  According to the CBO, by the year 2019 these costs will exceed $7.5 billion.
  • Toyota announced it has eliminated plan plans to market an all-electric car because of lack of demand.
  • Tesla decreased this year’s revenue projections because of production problems with its Model S.
  • Consumer Reports just reported that the Fisker Karma is “plagued with flaws.”
  • 2012 Nissan Leaf sales are down over 31% compared to the same period in 2011.

Politicians on both sides of the political aisle, but especially those on the Left, use redistribution of the People’s assets through taxation to further their pet projects.  This grotesque abomination of the Constitution includes crony capitalism such as the green energy field.  The only way to put an end to this corruptive practice is to limit the amount of money going to Washington and eliminate Washington’s ability to deficit spend.

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Chevy Volt Name Car the Year in Europe

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 11, 2012

Chevy Volt and its European sister, the Opel Ampera, have recently been named the car the year in Europe.  A panel of 59 members journalists of the European Car of the Year jury gave this award saying: “The Ampera and Volt won in a field of strong competitors, particularly on account of the outstanding technical progress they reflectWith its range extender, the Ampera presents a very sound new concept on our way to e-mobility.  By solving the problem of range anxiety, it is a remarkable step into the future of electrification.”

The Volt’s European award comes about a year after it earned the Car of the Year award in the United States.  These awards are curious given the cars total failure in the marketplace with General Motors last week announcing it would stop production for five weeks for lack of demand.  The disconnect between the product’s acceptance by the public and these awards at best indicates a disdain that the elitist press has for the public.  A more troubling explanation is the that Progressive governments are interfering with the suppoased free press.

Posted in Chevy Volt, Mainstream Media | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chevy Volt Production Again Halted

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 3, 2012

The New York Times reported that General Motors halted production for the Chevy Volt for the third time in less than one and a half years.  This time production will be stopped for four weeks with 1, 300 workers being laid off at the Volt Detroit factory.

During the month of February, General Motors managed to sell only 1, 023 of the plug-in Volts.  These low sales indicate that the Chevy Volt is a failure in the marketplace, especially when compared to the Toyota Prius that sold 20,589 vehicles during the same month.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine why the Volt has failed.  Forgetting for a moment any aesthetic or mechanical issues that buyers might have, the numbers just don’t add up.  The Volt cost $41,000, approximately double the price of the least expensive Prius.  In addition, its overall fuel economy is at best marginally better, and under some conditions worse than that of the Pirus.

The Chevy Volt is subsidized by the US government, its largest shareholder, who gives buyers a whopping $7,500 tax credit.  In addition, with gas prices over four dollars a gallon in many states it is evident that the Chevy Volt is a modern-day Edsel.  However, GM will not admit failure even with this indisputable evidence.  In making the announcement of the plant closing, a GM PR executive said “Sales for the Volt in February were significantly better than January, and we anticipate that to continue.  We see good things in the future, but right now we had to make this adjustment.”  This gentleman not only works for the President, but offers the same type of political doubletalk.

Once again, President Obama who has been an ardent supporter of the Chevy Volt, has proved inept in picking winners and losers in the marketplace.  More to the point, the President’s vision for green energy is totally out of sync with economic realities.  However, that will not stop this President from continuing to waste the people’s money on his pet projects.   Like the PR puppet that works for General Motors, the President seems to believe that if he says it, it becomes reality.  Yikes.

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NHTSA Shows Bias in Chevy Volt Safety Comments

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 22, 2012

Less than a month ago General Motors informed all Chevy Volt owners to take their cars to their dealers to have repairs done.  This action was taken after the vehicles proved prone to fires.

In May, 2011, MGA Research was testing a Volt.  After a side-impact crash, the Volt was stored in a garage and caught fire a few days, destroying other cars parked near it.  It was determined that the fire was caused by the car’s leaking coolant damaging a circuit board that controlled its lithium-ion batteries.  The government’s NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) was able to duplicate the fire condition that occurred at MGA Research, prompting the recall by GM.

Curiously, the NHTSC issued a statement supporting the Volt last week indicating: “Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.”  The Chevy Volt has been a failure in the market before the fire hazard was announced.  As a result, NHTSA’s statement will have little effect on its already dismal sales figures.  However, the fact that President Obama has been a Volt advocate and the government owns 32% of GM brings into question NHTSA’s motivations in watering down the Volt’s current safety problems.

Posted in Chevy Volt | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chevy Volt Becomes Another Green Energy Boondoggle

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 2, 2011

General Motors’ Chevy Volt has proven to be a product blunder and yet another example of the results that come from crony capitalism.  The Volt cannot be justified for consumers based on any cost benefit analysis, as outline in this Blog’s December 8, 2010 posting, Chevy Volt: Car or Boondoggle of the Year.  For example, the Volt can only go about 35 miles on battery power before requiring a small gasoline generator to keep the car running.  Even with a $7,500 federal tax subsidy for each vehicle sold, the demand for the Volt has been puny with only about 6,000 in total units sold to date since product introduction December 2010.  As it turns out, this marketing flop may turnout saving General Motors during a growing cleaning now required.

This week the news got worse for General Motors and the Volt when it was announced that the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has opened an investigation into fires that have started in the cars’ lithium-ion batteries.  This is the result of some Volts catching on fire including one that happened a few weeks to a car after be crash tested by the NHTSA.  It seems that some trauma to the Volt’s batteries may make them prone to spontaneous fires.

General Motors in now in scramble mode, offering to buy Volts back from owners fearful that the cars will catch fire.  Also, the Company has set up the Volt’s OnStar safety to notify GM of Volt crashes so that it can dispatch teams within two days to drain the battery and prevent additional fires.

The other all electric car is the Nissan Leaf that has not had fire issues after crash tests or real-world crashes.  However, a major technical difference is that the Leaf’s battery is air-cooled and the Volt’s water cooled.  There is some speculation that this difference may be related to the problem.

The Chevy Volt was a car that was not ready for prime time and the market did not want.  It would not exist today if not for the illegal interventions of the U.S. government.  These interventions included setting up fuel efficiency standards that favor certain builders over others, union protectionist measures that do not allow some cars to be counted in a company’s fleet fuel economy number, the bailout of GM, and a $7,500 tax rebate to incentivize people to buy Volts.  The Volt costly mistake is now added to the Solyndra debacle.  The government’s reckless and precipitous pursuit to go “green” will cost society much more than any ultimate benefit it might receive.

Progressives often show an infantile response to wants and needs.  When a young boy sees the cookie jar on top of the stove, he rarely considers the consequence of getting burnt when reaching for that jar.  Similarly, when Presidente Obama visited the Solyndra factory or drove an early Volt off of the assembly line, he only saw his want and could not conceive of the inevitable negative consequences.  However, unlike the boy who burned himself in the reckless behavior and learned to avoid the stove in the future, Progressives in government burn the People and therefore are all too willing to keep up with the dangerous behavior.  They also use causes like “green energy” as vehicles to funnel taxpayers money to political associates.


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Consumer Reports Pans the Chevy Volt-II

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 8, 2011

On March second we posted Consumer Reports Pans the Chevy Volt that reviewed Consumer reports negative view of GM’s electric car.  The posting concluded that: “Had GM survived without the U.S. government’s bailout, the Chevy Volt would have be put out of it misery long ago.  The fact that it survived helps prove the inefficacy of governmental intervention into business ventures.  If private capital won’t risk a product’s development cost, it is not worth developing.”

Blog reader Will disagreed with the negative conclusion about GM and the Chevy Volt, which resulted in a worthwhile exchange included below.

****

What you don’t seem to understand is that this country can no longer depend on its enemies for our future energy supplies. GM is gambling that in a few years, the costs can be driven down to surpass gas fuel efficiency. If US companies don’t take risks like this, where are we going to lead. The US has got to be energy self-sufficient. We have to stop being sucker to the ARABS and transferring US wealth to people that hate us. I love the USA…it’s about time we started making moves that protect this country’s future. More nuclear power plants, finding alternatives to petroleum-based products and electric cars makes more sense than allowing the current state of affairs to continue.

This is not about short term profits, but long term viability for GM and the rest of the country as a whole.

Will

Will,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this Blog’s Chevy Volt posting.  I will reciprocate by making additional comments based on the issues you raise.

1. “What you don’t seem to understand is that this country can no longer depend on its enemies for our future energy supplies.”

I fully understand and appreciate this crucial issue.  I am, however, unwilling to entrust the correction to this problem to a government that has proven incapable of doing so.  Over 30 years ago when the Country imported about 30% of its oil, our government created the Department of Energy (DE) to reverse this trend.  Now we import about 70% of our oil, but the DE still exists, employing thousands and has a multi-billion dollar budget.  Did the DE (government) actually make our dependence on foreign oil worse or are they merely incompetent?  Either answer the government is not the solution.

2. “GM is gambling that in a few years, the costs can be driven down to surpass gas fuel efficiency.  If US companies don’t take risks like this, where are we going to lead.

Risk is good and important in capitalism.  But so is failure, the price capitalists are supposed to pay for imprudent ventures.  Here the government is taking on a “risk” with taxpayer funds, since no private venture would fund it because the numbers just don’t add up, as per my initial posting.  The government repeatable takes on imprudent risks since they are playing with OPM (Other Peoples’ Money)

3. “The US has got to be energy self-sufficient.  We have to stop being sucker to the ARABS and transferring US wealth to people that hate us.  I love the USA…it’s about time we started making moves that protect this country’s future.”

I agree with you completely!

4. “More nuclear power plants, finding alternatives to petroleum-based products and electric cars makes more sense than allowing the current state of affairs to continue.”

Here, I agree with your goal, put not the suggested methodology.  Forgetting the fact that the Chevy Volt’s numbers don’t work, when you plug a car into the grid for charging it is burning fossil fuel.  Once again this is the result of the DE not allowing nuke plants to be built, bending to the same special interst groups that now are against drilling for oil in t the United States.  In the short run we need to drill in the U.S. quickly.  In the medium term, we need more nuke plants.  Only in the long term will new technologies be able to make a significant dent in our dependence on fossil fuels.

5. “This is not about short term profits, but long term viability for GM and the rest of the country as a whole.”

While it is not about the short term for you and me, it is for GM.  They promoted the Volt before the bailout to get short term government backing.  Since the bailout they promote it to keep their largest shareholder, the goventment, happy.

*******

If we continue to allow the knuckleheads in Washington to run what passes for an energy policy the same way they have for the last four decades, we should expect no better results.  The government’s backing of the Chevy Volt is but another manifestation of their failed policies.

Steve

Posted in Chevy Volt, Energy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Consumer Reports Pans the Chevy Volt

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 2, 2011

This Blog has posted several articles on the Chevrolet Volt produced by General Motors (GM), listed below:

August 12, 2009 – Chevy Volt- It Just Doesn’t Add Up

July 27, 2010 – Chevy Volt- The Numbers Don’t Add Up

October 22, 2010 – The Chevy Volt Con

December 8, 2010 – Chevy Volt: Car or Boondoggle of the Year?

February 10, 2011 – GM’s Chevy Volt PR (Propaganda) Push

Today well-respected Consumer Reports made official what this Blog has been proffering for over a year and a half: the Chevy Volt is a lemon!  In coming to this conclusion, CR offers the following comments:

  • When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.  The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy.”
  • In CR’s testing the car traveled only 25 to 27 miles on a single charge when running on electric power alone and on winter roads.  GM says the car regularly achieves up to 33 miles.  Hmmmmm.
  • The Volt loses 30% of its electric efficiency when the heater is turned on.
  • CR called the fact the Volt takes five hours to charge “annoying“.
  • The Volt is “a tough sell to the average consumer” as it cost twice as much as Toyota’s hybrid, the Prius, which is more fuel efficient over long distances.

CR has confirmed what amateurs knew even before the car was introduced: the Volt was a bad idea that will fail in the market.  So who would be dumb enough to fund the development of this loser;  Only the federal government who took on a majority stake in GM in return for the bailout.

GM knew years ago that the Volt would be a failure.  Prior to the bankruptcy and bailout they perused its development only to attract government funds.  After the government became majority owner, GM pursued the completion of the Volt boondoggle because of the pressure placed on it by the Progressives in Washington that for all practical purposes control GM.

Had GM survived without the U.S. government’s bailout, the Chevy Volt would have be put out of it misery long ago.  The fact that it survived helps prove the inefficacy of governmental intervention into business ventures.  If private capital won’t risk a product’s development cost, it is not worth developing.

Posted in Bailouts, Chevy Volt, General Motors | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

GM’s Chevy Volt PR (Propaganda) Push

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 10, 2011

This Blog has posted articles previously about the Chevy Volt and its problem economics.  The most recent one, Chevy Volt: Car or Boondoggle of the Year, was posted on December 8 ,2010.  GM’s recent propaganda on the Volt helps show the flaws with this GM product.

Posted at gm-volt.com is a rather incredible article titled “As Volt Sales Outpace the LEAF, GM Works on Lowering Price.  The headline indicates tremendous sales success for
the Chevy Volt, GM’s part-time plug-in automobile.  However, the figures included in that same article tell a different story.

Only 321 Chevy Volts were sold in January out of a total of 178,897 cars sold by GM during the month.  Wow, about 0.2% of GM’s total vehicle sales for the month.  But, the Volt did at least outsell the Nissan LEAF’s 106 cars for January.  However, Nissan has taken deposits for 20,000 LEAFs.

GM calls the Volt’s sales “red hot” and said “right now we’re selling every one we can make.”  That’s little surprise given its low production rate.  In addition, some of the sales went to the U.S. government, who happens to own a majority stake in the Company.  And those that went to real consumers required a $7,500 taxpayer funded subsidy.

General Motors made a different announcement today, unveiling a 550 horsepower version of its Chevy Camaro.  This Camaro will include a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine , not exactly a green machine.  However, with GM selling about 9,000 Camaros a month, it is clear that the buying public thinks more highly of it than the Volt.

Only a Company control by the government would have the gall to call the Chevy Volt a success.  Only a company owned by the government would think that a car with a battery that cost $10,000 has a chance to succeed in the market.

Posted in Chevy Volt, General Motors, Governmental Intervention, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Chevy Volt: Car or Boondoggle of the Year?

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 8, 2010

Motor Trend magazine named the Chevy Volt its Car of the Year.  This is a rather dubious call given the numbers that include:

  • Selling price – $41,000
  • Travel distance on battery per charge – 30 to 50 miles
  • Government rebate per car – $7,500
  • Breakeven years compared to Toyota Prius – About 10 Years

In addition, the U.S. taxpayers are buying the first 100 Chevy Volts built.  So the government is subsidizing each Chevy Volt sold with a $7,500 tax incentive to the consumers and will also purchase the first 100 built.  That sounds like a car that consumers don’t want, not the Car of the Year.  You could only find this story in the bizarre world of government meddling bailouts.

 

Posted in Bailouts, Chevy Volt, Government Ineptness | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Chevy Volt Con

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 22, 2010

This Blog has previously posted articles on the ill-advised governmental bailout of failed auto manufacturer General Motors.  The most recent posting dated August 12, 2010 was, Auto Companies Bailouts Squandered Taxpayer Money.  This bailout allowed a failed company to continue at the expense of more successful companies and rewarded union workers that helped bring the company down.

Earlier this week, Investors.com, added insult to injury when it reported that the much ballyhooed Chevy Volt is at best much less than it was purported to be and at worst, part of a con on the American people.

The Chevy Volt was promoted from the beginning as an all-electric car.  The car would plug in, charge up, and then run completely on its battery-powered motor.  GM stated that a small gasoline-powered motor would charge the Volt’s batteries should they be depleted before the next charging. , The car was purported would achieve up 230 miles per gallon in the city.  Now that GM’s has our bailout money and the car’s release is imminent, the actual facts are coming out.

Some time ago GM let it leak out that the Volt would only be able to go for about 50 miles on its lithium battery before requiring charging would be required.  That didn’t sit well with consumers to no one’s surprise but GMs’?  So GM morphed the project changing the role of the gasoline motor.  GM now admits that the car’s gas-powered engine will directly drive the wheels in conjunction with its electric motors.  That means the car is basically a hybrid like those already offered by other manufacturers.  This change significantly lowered the Volt’s fuel economy and promotional pizzazz.  The Volt now purported to achieve only 37.5 mpg in city driving, is a far cry from GM’s initial promise.

But perhaps the worst news for the Volt is the economics.  Unlike the Toyota Prius that cost about $26,000 and is rated at 50 MPG, the Chevy Volt will be priced and $41,000.  The government knew this was a looser from the beginning so they are forcing taxpayers that do not buy this Edsel to subsidies each Volt buyer to the tune of $7,500.  But even at the subsidized $33,500 price, the Volt promises to be a looser right out of the gate.

OK, so first the taxpayers bailed out a failed company.  Then GM, which the taxpayers own 60% of, cons us into believing they have some marvelous green technology that never existed.  Now, we are forced to give buyers $7,500 rebates to entice them into purchasing our company’s cars.  Few fiction writers could make this one up.  Want to bet Barack Obama blames this one also on George Bush?

Posted in Bailouts, Chevy Volt | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »