Saturday, December 18, 2010

First Chevy Volt PHEV Delivered to Retail Customer

This past week marked what may turn out to be an historic event. The video below documents the delivery of the first GM Volt to a dealership customer. This I believe is the first retail delivery of a production Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) in the US.

The Plug-in HEV is different from previously sold HEVs (Toyota/Ford/GM/Honda models) in that it presents the opportunity to drive a car virtually without using any petroleum at all for short range trips (GM says <40 miles), and also allows a fall-back to the use of petroleum gasoline if your trip exceeds this limited range for that day. I see this platform as ideal for an urban commuter who commutes to work each day (20 miles each way), and then perhaps may take a weekend trip that would exceed the 40 mile range of the electric mode. This vehicle can fill both roles.

Toyota has near term plans to deliver Plug-in versions of their current HEVs soon.

The mainstream media of course can't say it on their television channels so I'll say it for them here: UP YOURS OPEC!



26 comments:

Tom Hickey said...

Remind me why we are building electric vehicles when electricity is produced mostly by burning coal, and secondarily by nuclear energy, both of which have extreme externalities associated with them. Or are they shipping them with solar or wind recharging kits?

TomatoBasil said...
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TomatoBasil said...
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Matt Franko said...

Tom,

With coal if you are concerned with the CO2 electric utilities produce at a central location and the energy is then distributed to the users, you can sequester it at the combustion point if that is necessary.

Thorium cycle nuclear has much reduced externalities as opposed to weapons grade plutonium cycle that we have typically used here in the US to facilitate weapon systems.

(BTW ran into a PhD Nuke from one of the U of CAs this past summer and I brought up Thorium and he basically agreed with the hype: Mucho abundant and also we can use our and Russia's (now surplus) weapons grade plutonium to enrich the Thorium and kill two birds with one stone there.)

I envision a joint US/Japan/European/Chinese/India (oh notice I left out OPEC! F them! They may now have to work for a living!) governmental project to accelerate the use of peaceful Thorium for abundant electricity to power a bright future for the world.

This never got anywhere in the last 10 years here in the US because we had 2 oilmen in the Whitehouse...

The CO2 and Nuclear Waste situation can be mitigated.

Resp,

welfarewarfare state said...

Tom,

I was going to post something similar, but you beat me to it.

Matt Franko said...

Welfare/Tom,

With respect, youre response is too simplistic an assessment.

Petroleum politics/economics is a big problem. (Wars/External Deficit, etc) This is one we have to put behind us.

Even if you do nothing to mitigate the externalities, it still reuduces CO2 because electric utilities increase their efficiency due to being able charge the cars at night when much energy is wasted at the generators. And then the cars dont produce any.

And during the daytime: An acquaintance at the USNA engineering dept told me he read a study that showed how, if the US auto fleet, when when we got to work, plugged our empty cars batteries in, the utilty would top them off in the morning, then in the afternooon pull energy back out of them for a few hours of peak day load, and then top them back off just before you went home: with the efficiencies gained at the macro level, they could be able to provide your commuting energy for "free". Today, they have to crank up some on demand gas turbines to supply the temporary peak afternoon loads. Those systems could to a great extent be eliminated.

Nothing has to be invented for this to happen. This is the way the govt should be heading with energy/fiscal policy instead we have a few lousy bucks for solar hot water heaters that take 30 years for payback even with the measly tax credits....and still dont produce hot water if the sun isnt out. Resp,

Mario said...

I don't know jack$*& about the science of it all but I am just so proud of GM for doing this and I think it's TOTALLY GREAT and can only hope to high heaven that this trend takes off like wildfire in the US!!! Nice work GM!!! I do admit they are a dash bit pricey for me...I'd prefer seeing them in the 30's and/or high 20's if that isn't asking too much...but I'm cheap so what do I know!!

googleheim said...

Hi Matt and Mike :

Can you please re-iterate what Mike has blogged about before regarding the fairy-tale that Reagan outspent the Russians supposedly starting the collapse of the USSR as well as the fairy-tale about the Reagan voodoo economics ?

Joe said...

Tom,
who gives a damn about the CO2 emissions, man-made global warming is a proven hoax. I'm all for cleaner forms of production and nuke energy is the cleanest, safest, most efficient form of production the world will ever need.

If there's true demand for the volt, I hope GM sells a million units. But it's grotesque social engineering for the govt to subsidize and incentive the volt for mass consumption.

Matt Franko said...

Joe,

But consider we are up against a global cartel that every day gets up in the morning and goes to work to conspire to screw the US petroleum consumer with impunity. That is all they do 24/7/365. This type of operation is illegal in the US.

We need the assistance of fiscal policy to "even the playing field" here. Also, the military expenditures that we incur to protect "our interests" in the middle east oil regions have to be considered as fiscal support of the petroleum.

Without fiscal support of the US Treasury, the cartels will never let any competing technology get a foothold. Once something starts to catch on, they will run down the price of oil to bankrupt the competing source industry.

The CO2 can be sequestered from electric if that is leading to the global warming.

Resp,

Matt Franko said...

Joe,

The "free market" solutions of the right are the equivalent to the "deficit dove" position on the left.

Both positions self-sabotage any meaningful progress by either side.

Resp,

Joe said...

Matt,

I'm an MMT "true believer" and in no way a deficit dove. I agree with your sentiment regarding mideast oil, but to think we can remove them from the global energy equation is naive. Why not just slash federal fuel taxes? That's $0.2 right there. How about opening ANWR and reducing the barriers to drilling? Or a massive fiscal project to build dozens of new nuke plants? What about expanding our refining capacity?

Solar and wind simply isn't an adequate substitute for petroleum and nuclear energy.

welfarewarfare state said...

OPEC is a paper tiger. They do control about 40% of the world's oil supply, but their own members frequently don't adhere to production quotas. A lot of oil gets sold on the black market when some OPEC members want to go around production quotas. They are having the same problems that many poltical capitalists in 19th century America had with cartel member discipline. Just look at the wild swings in oil over the last 35 years. Does the oil price chart over that period look like the work of a cartel that has an iron grip on prices?

Matt Franko said...

joe,

I probably agree with you 99.9%. Oil will always be there (I dont see a substitute for jetfuel for instance). But we dont have to eliminate it, we just have to get sonsumption down to where they lose their price setting control, that is a few Mbpd...then they have to work for a living.

But for vehicles we have GOT to get some choice established in this country. Boone Pickens (FWIW) said the other day that $4 nat gas is equivalent to $22 oil! We're getting screwed.

Welfare,
They dont have control at all times, but right now they do. Oil prices always go down to reasonable levels when they lose their control. We in US need to get our petro consumption down.

Resp,

Joe said...

Matt,

Yeah, I like your posts and can't really think of anything I disagree with you about. Just venting at another manufactured problem by our ignorant elected govt.

Laura said...

Electric vehicles waste less energy than combustion engines and are quieter and cleaner. I like having choice and look forward to being able to afford a Chevy Volt or a Nissan Leaf.

bubbleRefuge said...

Good Stuff Matt. I want to buy an electric car once prices come down. It seems to me that electric motors are simpler and cheaper to produce so electric should ultimately cost less than gasoline equivalents. Once economies of scale kick in for electric are production, does anyone see cars going in the 10K range?

Tom Hickey said...

Battery technology and materials are the hurdle at present.

Tom Hickey said...

The Ghost of Climate Yet to Come — Irreversible does not mean unstoppable

"Delay is very risky and expensive.  In releasing its 2009 Energy Outloook, the executive director of the  International Energy Agency said last year, 'The message is simple and stark: if the world continues on the basis of today’s energy and climate policies, the consequences of climate change will be severe.'  They explain, 'we need to act urgently and now. Every year of delay adds an extra USD 500 billion to the investment needed between 2010 and 2030 in the energy sector'."

Tom Hickey said...

Matt,

There are significant environmental problems with petroleum recovery now that the easy stuff to tap is largely tapped out, as well as with natural gas recovery and CO2 sequestration. Thorium nuclear looks promising.

What the world needs is a Manhattan project to develop safe, clean, and sustainable alternatives. This needs to be funded by governments that are monetarily sovereign and can commit the funding necessary by currency issuance and debt guarantees. The advantage of government getting involved big time is that its cost of capital is zero and the amount available is unlimited.

Government would not be competing with the private sector where the private sector is either unwilling or unable to undertake projects on this scale. Private entities willing to participate with government assistance could be integrated in the project, e.g., with government guarantees.

But a lot of what governments would do is funding private contractors anyway, both nonprofit, e.g., universities and research centers, and for profit, e.g., the large energy corps, most of which are already exploring alternatives, as well as innovative startups.

This would result in the building of an entirely new industry and put the world on a new ecological and sustainable energy footing. The economic benefits would be enormous, as would the social benefits too.

Matt Franko said...

JC,
The electric "low speed" vehicles (glorified golf carts) are in that price range already, some are on the road in my area (Maryland) already but veeerrrry few. They are big I understand in "The Villages" in Florida, a newer retirement community that has special lanes/roads/tunnels for them (35 mph). But even the Leaf (Nissan) as I understand it does not have and engine or transmission...a lot of cost taken out and weight so that plug in gets reported 90 Mi. with full charge.

Tom,
Amen. We need fiscal support for these energy inititatives and like you say globally to get this done in any reasonable time frame.

Tom,
related My take on the 'millenials' and some GenXers (referencing Neil Howe's book) is that they are not into big muscle cars and all that like it was back in the 'golden age of horsepower', etc ( they look at a 'Hummer' in horror) ...... these younger folks are not into the inefficiency and prospective environmental damage. I often think perhaps this is part of why vehicle sales remain very soft as these younger folks want something new that makes a real difference environmentally before they would commit to a big purchase like a car is... therefore they just keep driving their older cars hoping for something truly "new" next model year then they will sign up for a new car... maybe...

I understand and respect these folks positions but I have to admit I am mostly interested in busting the cartel and increasing/fixing our real terms of trade with the OPEC nations for right now... the industry may also do better under these conditions by being able to sell more cars to the rising generations.... win/win.

Resp,

Tom Hickey said...

Tesla Does Cars the Silicon Valley Way

TomatoBasil said...

Hopefully this time we have the insight to develop companies, resources and support governments where they aren't hell bent on our destruction and the oppression of their people. I couldn't agree more with your sentiment on OPEC, the new resources demanded by a diversely fueled & manufactured fleet of vehicles should/ could better distribute wealth to more friendly nations.

RogueAmerikan said...

Perhaps it's just me, but the Volt has a gas tank. There's a reason it has a gas tank. I'll leave it to the Einstein's who have wet themselves over this car to explain it to the rest of you.

Laura said...

The Leaf doesn't have a gas tank or an internal combustion engine. The Volt is a hybrid, as stated in the OP. The range of the Volt in electric mode is sufficient for most daily commutes to work and back.

Matt Franko said...

Rogue,

As Laura points out, the gas tank is only there to extend the daily range, so you dont have to buy and insure 2 cars.

with the 30-40 mile range from grid electricity, it should eliminate most petroleum use for daily drivers.

I cant wait! I wish the govt would help.