Is it FIAF yet? No? Bummer.

Is the government wrong in backing electric cars? Yes. Completely.

Despite these significant flaws, the government is determined to jump-start sales for plug-ins by putting taxpayers on the hook. The $7,500 federal tax credit per PEV is nothing more than a federal subsidy that will add to the deficit. There are also federal tax credits for installing charging stations in homes and businesses and for building battery factories and upgrading the electric grid. The administration’s goal—one million PEVs on the road by 2015— could cost taxpayers $7.5 billion. Outlays for recharging infrastructure will add billions more.

What flaws? The “Motortrend’s Car of The Year” doesn’t make sense:

“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,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

During winter, the Dolt Volt only gets 25 to 27 miles on it’s electric charge.

Not to mention that it doesn’t do what they claimed it did.

Sitting in a Volt that would not start at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a GM engineer swore to me that the internal combustion engine in the machine only served as a generator, kicking in when the overnight-charged lithium-ion batteries began to run down. GM has continually revised downward its estimates of how far the machine would go before the gas engine fired, and now says 25 to 50 miles.

It turns out that the premium-fuel fired engine does drive the wheels–when the battery is very low or when the vehicle is at most freeway speeds. So the Volt really isn’t a pure electric car after all. I’m sure that the people who designed the car knew how it ran, and so did their managers.

Why then the need to keep this so quiet? It’s doubtful that GM would have gotten such a subsidy if it had been revealed that the car would do much of its freeway cruising with a gas engine powering the wheels. While the Volt is more complicated than the Prius, and has a longer battery-only range, a hybrid is a hybrid, and the Prius no longer qualifies for a tax credit.

And, when running on gas, it get’s an unimpressive 27 mpg. Then there’s the price tag:

It had hoped to lure more if buyers subtracted the $7,500 from the $41,000 sticker price. Instead, as Consumer Reports found out, the car was very pricey. The version they tested cost $43,700 plus a $5,000 dealer markup (“Don’t worry,” I can hear the salesperson saying, “you’ll get more than that back in your tax credit!”), or a whopping $48,700 minus the credit.

Still Obamamotors/GM presses on:

But GM has noted that most Americans can avoid using gasoline for most regular commuting with the Volt, while its gasoline engine can allow the freedom to travel farther, if needed.

GM is pushing a bit of propaganda right there. “Most” Americans only travel 30 miles to and from work? I travel almost that much running to the store.

They are expensive and inefficient; cars for those who want to make a statement not commute to work:

For the most part, they have become playthings for the rich who indulge in conspicuous consumption — helped by our tax dollars and subsidies for purchasing electric cars. But for the rest of us living in the real world (where cold weather kills the batteries that “power” these cars) they are just souped-up Edsels. He is driving the car and the rest of us are in the back seat paying for the ride; and it is a ride that will not end well, probably (to mix Obama’s own oft-used metaphor) in the ditch.

Yesterday, we bought a hybrid. It cost (out the door) under $19,000 – with the taxpayers picking up NONE of that tab – and it gets between 40 and 59 mpg. It doesn’t need to be recharged, and our house doesn’t need to be rewired. Replacement batteries don’t cost a mint, and we don’t need the government works project to start building recharging stations on every corner for my benefit.

I’m not advocating that people should buy a hybrid, unless you’re concerned about the money you burn in your gas tank. But, Honda has created a car – without government mandates – that people can choose to buy or not. It’s reasonably priced, and has entered the market with very little fanfare.

Even though it’s not Friday, I’ve got a video for you. Because I’m a giver.

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5 Comments on “Is it FIAF yet? No? Bummer.”

  1. Hotspur Says:

    I would enjoy seeing a study of the fossil fuels burned to create the electricity to charge those batteries. And a study of the expected life cycle of the batteries and the cost to replace.

    Here’s something:

    $40,000 Cost of Volt
    (19,000) Cost of Carin car
    $21,000 Difference
    ÷ $4.75 Current cost of premium fuel
    = 4,421 gallons of gas
    x 40mpg average fuel economy of Carin car
    = 176,840 miles

    I bet the Volt would be lucky to last 100,000 miles before needing batteries and major mechanical repairs.

    Fuck Obama and his crappy ass car company. Why should I subsidize anyone’s auto purchase?

    The government can’t do anything right.

    I’m sick of it.

    😀

  2. Car in Says:

    I would enjoy seeing a study of the fossil fuels burned to create the electricity to charge those batteries. And a study of the expected life cycle of the batteries and the cost to replace.

    THAT is a question my husband and brother have discussed. He’s an electrical engineer, and my husband is in the battery business, so they know a bit. We don’t have an answer-

    But a full charge of a volt – only drives (maybe) 25 miles? Husband estimates it’s only a few bucks for a charge, but you’re basically only driving about what a gallon of gas could carry you.

    Not to mention that the price of gas includes taxes intended to maintain the roads. If everyone is using electric vehicles, what happens to the roads? That cost would, at some point, need to be incorporated into the system.

    In addition – for NOW, the electric car owners are having the purchase of the car subsidize by us … and in addition they are using the roads “for free.”

    … ut oh. I need to update this … just found more stuff that pisses me off.

  3. Hotspur Says:

    the price of gas includes taxes intended to maintain the roads. If everyone is using electric vehicles, what happens to the roads? That cost would, at some point, need to be incorporated into the system.

    I suppose the government would just raise the tax on gas, making sure that the rest of us schmucks further subsidize these bags of douche with their smug little superior attitudes.

  4. PCachu Says:

    In all fairness, our power infrastructure has been past due for an overhaul for decades. The next epic multi-state blackout is more a matter of “when” than “if”.

    Of course, that does not a thing to change the facts that the Volt makes no damned sense, pure-electric cars still aren’t “there” yet as a viable consumer product, and subsidizing them is an act of brazen (and sadly predictable) stupidity from a government that spends first and asks questions later.

  5. PCachu Says:

    Also, the degree to which I am convinced that any government revenues slated to go toward “updating the power infrastructure” will actually end up in real, tangible work updating our power infrastructure is vanishingly small. What can I say? I have complete and unshakable confidence in our overseers to screw up anything and everything they touch beyond belief.


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