Despite hype, Chevrolet Volt has limited appeal
For the second time this year, GM idles the plant that manufactures the plug-in hybrid.
Though Volt sales are up 272% since last year amid largely positive press, many consumers remain reluctant to buy it because it carries a high list price of around $40,000. Even with federal and state tax breaks, owning the Volt is expensive for most consumers. Further, those who buy the vehicle should probably also buy charging equipment, which can cost as much as $2,000.
"If you just want long range, good fuel economy and low emissions, a VW Golf TDI or Toyota Prius is cheaper and more readily available," according to Kelley Blue Book, which, like most reviewers, was complimentary about the Volt.
Shares of GM, which have gained 4% this year, were down slightly Tuesday.
The Volt, which has been heavily promoted, is a tough sell for GM. Sales last year fell short of the company's 2011 targets. The fact that GM has had to idle the Volt plant twice this year indicates the automaker may again have difficulty meeting its goals.
GM has a huge potential market for the Volt. Government data show more than two-thirds of commuters travel 15 miles or less to work, while 11% travel more than 30 miles each way. The Volt is a good fit for car-sharing services such as Zipcar (ZIP). But the economics of the vehicle are just so-so. For example, someone with a 60-mile commute, who would fuel up regularly, averaged 31.4 mpg, according to Edmunds.com.
"This isn't a bad mileage figure compared to regular gas vehicles, but it is seriously subpar when compared to the mid-40s mpg that a standard hybrid typically provides," the website says.
People who own Volts should hold on to them, because in coming years they are sure to be collectors' items. For now, though, the Volt's appeal will be limited to people like Ed Begley Jr., the actor and environmental activist, who wants to do right by the environment regardless of cost. Most people will take a pass on the Volt until it becomes far more economical.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.
All of these hybid and all electric cars are a waste. Of course, the public eats this stuff up. Do some research and find out what it takes to recycle these batteries. Oh, and by the way, you can't recycle an entire battery so the hazardous waste has to be disposed of properly. The rest will end up in land fills. Just wait until you have to replace those thousands of dollars worth of batteries. Oh, who would have thought? They don't last forever.
How much has your electric bill gone up since you bought one of these cars? Electricity doesn't just show up meraculously. It takes a lot to produce electricity and then get it to our homes. These cars aren't helping the planet. Not in the context they are promoted they are not.
All of the resources needed to build these products far outweigh the results they are supposed to provide.
I'll just spend my money at the pump.
The day will come when we have no choice but to capitulate and drive these abominations but that day is not upon us. There is plenty of oil available but the administration has put the kibosh on any new drilling in this country and insists on making us more dependent upon foreign sources while telling us we must drive fuel efficient auto's in order to circumvent foreign sources. This is all a scam and I see no reason to ruin our economy any further to please the Chicken Little's.
Gee maybe Obama has to pay the entire sticker price to get some more propoganda and justification from stealing the company . Close the plant forever people don t want Obamamobiles PERIOD
Asked a stranger at the local post office how he liked his Volt. He was a sharp guy and said he sat down with his calculator. $40/month to charge - 250 MPG - $17 in gas over 4 months - $.05 per mile to operate - true cost of car $25,000 based on his driving habits which were lots of shorter trips - in summer over 50 miles per charge versus 38 in winter It was literally like the commercial. He said it was the first car he and his wife absolutely loved and was a blast to drive. Quick and quiet. He invited me to sit inside and I was surprised how nice the car appeared inside and out. He said the online users groups all voice his exact thoughts.
How the blazes is Edmunds coming up with those numbers. I am a very proud Volt owner the car rides as well as the BMW 530i I previously owned. Plain and simple I have gotten from 35-45 miles on a single charge. (35 in the very hot weather we had this summer and I needed more airconditioning). After that we get about 38mpg on gas. Our current avg MPG is at about 150mpg. Yes you can go directly through the dealer and spend close to $2000 on a charger in the house, but that is like having the dealer apply fabric protection to the seats. We spend $500 for the charger and $200 for a local electrician to install.
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Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
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