Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Volt and the Leaf

So what of the Volt?

It suffered a pretty rough smear campaign but sales appear to be on the mend.  March 2012 according to Bob Lutz is headed for a record month - hopefully that will end the temporary closure of the plant as sales catch up.  I note also the Volt in stock inventory has eased.

The fact that one unit suffered a fire three weeks after a crash doesn't trouble me.  Why is that?

Here are some GAS vehicle fire statistics:

· According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one
out of five reported fires is a car fire. In fact, 18 percent of all
fires takes place on a highway or other road and involves a motor

· Also according to the NFPA, 33 car fires are reported every hour
across the country, with one person per day dying in a car fire
accident in the years between 2002 and 2005.

· According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were
258,000 vehicle fires in 2007 and 385 deaths. There were 1,675

So the sad thing is someone may die in a gas fire because they listened to hype.  However the Volt does still have a gas engine and internal combustion components.  So typical gas risk may apply.

As a solution for someone that wants to drive long distances and do short electric commutes the Volt excels.  The slightly higher Volt cost over the Leaf is a factor but 3-5 thousand would probably be worth the ability to drive extended distance when needed.  Assuming Chevy wants to sell down the Volt inventory even more it sounds like deals are to be had. Leafs are tough on the East Coast to get below MSRP.

The key is can you live with 35-40 miles vs 75-85 miles electric range.  A one way 13 mile commute like mine - optimal and I could still visit Grandma 200 miles away on the weekend.  So the Volt could be a good choice.  I seriously urge you to consider the Volt as a possible way to reduce emissions and gas cost.

However for me, my 2003 Honda HCH with 160,000 miles already needs a second Catalytic converter - the first was $1500.  I'm no longer interested in maintaining a muffler, spark plugs, fuel injector, gas tank, emissions system, gas lines, filter, oil pump, oil filters - you get the idea.  I believe cost comparisons show these maintenance costs will cancel out the eventual battery replacement in 8-10 years.  Electric motors are extremely reliable for amazingly long lifespans and my experience with regenerative brakes only requiring pads at 80k miles in the Hybrid lead me to think those will be better to maintain then gas cars too.

So its a Leaf for me.

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