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Thanks to electric vehicles, you'll be seeing more of these, not fewer! Is that "green"?
A few weeks ago I told you about the sheer lunacy of the soon-to-be-released Chevrolet Volt debacle-on-wheels vehicle.
Back then I told you how that $41,000 all-electric vehicle is not all it is cracked up to be. The price once released may in fact be as much as $20,000 over the suggested retail price of $41,000. And, now, your possible driving experience won't be as "green" as they once hyped to us last year.
They told you that you could get over 600 miles on a combination of battery storage and the gas engine thanks to the 12 gallon gas tank. Actually, you'll only get around 300 miles thanks to its now less-than 8 gallon tank.
Which means, your $50,000 you forked over for an average car only gets you about 37.5mpg. Oh, but they told you it was going to get 230 miles per each gallon didn't they. Ooooohhh, so sorry 'bout that!
Chevy uses that same 1.4L engine to drive their Volt-brother, the Chevy Cruze, which is near the same car without the battery pack. If it's good enough as a power source, why put an expensive toxic battery between the engine and the wheels? To me that is a waste of energy.
Don't forget the side expenses of modifying your driving and garage. Remember, you need to have a 240-volt powerstation installed in to your garage. With that nifty not-cheap piece of professionally installed equipment, your car can be fully charged in as little as 4 hours. With regular 120-volt current, it will only take a juice-sucking rate of 10-12 hours!!! Thus, you really want to add that 240-volt recharging station. Imagine the expense of running your electric dryer for 4 hours every single day for as long as you own this car!
Yeah.. I can hear you screaming for joy on that note about how your electric rates will necessarily ......... skyrocket.
Oh sure, you will use no gas for 30 miles of battery usage, but you've now spent $30 on your electric bill to get that 30 miles.
Wait, you're telling me that the battery gets 40 miles?!? Oh, so sorry 'bout that. They now say that due to differences in driving conditions and the environment and road conditions, the battery may only get anywhere from 25 to 50 miles before the engine has to kick in.
And don't forget that nice quiet noiseless car you just bought. Just you and the wind, going down the road with no other sounds to ..... oooohhh so sorry 'bout that. The feds want to throw in nice fake scifi noises so it isn't quiet after all.
Thinking of loading up the family for a vacation? Pop open that trunk and throw in.... oooohhh. So sorry 'bout that. Actually, the Volt's trunk only holds 10.6 cubic feet of storage.
Rear passenger space is adequate for two adults, though some families may miss the middle seat. The Volt's hatchback design is convenient for loading cargo, but maximum capacity (10.6 cubic feet) is limited by the swooping rear roof line and the 396-pound T-shaped battery pack that resides in the trunk and between the rear seats. A Prius is indeed far more functional.
The bigger smarter brother, Cruze, has a 15 cubic foot trunk.
Here's a bigger question. Say you are rich enough to buy a Chevy Volt and install a charging station in your garage. And you are fortunate to live in one of the cities that will be getting the Federally subsidized electric charging stations by the end of 2011. You charge your car up the night before and drive the 30 miles to work.
It is a hotcold day outside so you turn on your ACheater. Thus, before you reach your destination, your engine comes on to help keep the battery charged.
You pull in to work and you realize that you are once again one of the fortunate souls that has a charging station installed at their office complex thanks to those poor farmers who lost their land because they had to sell their land to pay for the taxes that installed that charging station just for you.
Here's where my quandry starts. How does one charge the vehicle. Oh, I know the semantics of plugging in a power cord, but, I really don't see this going off smoothly.
According to their video introducing the charging station, there are two ways to charge the car. They call it Level-1 and Level-2. For Level-1, the user has to swipe a RFID credit chip in front of the station in order to open a door so that the user, in a down-pour and wearing high-heels, can grab their own extension cord. She will then have to plug one end in to the car and the other end of the cord in to the now-open charging port. When done, that mighty-finely dressed woman has to then drag that wet muddy cord back to her car and throw it in to the trunk or in the back seat.
For Level-2 charging, the user again swipes their RFID credit chip to activate the charging station. The user then grabs on to the 240-volt powered charging cord and plugs it in to their car. Of course, Level-2 charging rates will necessarily be more expensive.
My quandry is this, who is to stop someone driving up next to your car and hijacking your charging station? All they need to do is unplug your car and plug the cords in to theirs. And now, they also have a free extension cord.
And, DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HANDLE EXTENSION CORDS AND 240-VOLT CABLES WHILE PRECIPITATION IS FALLING FROM THE SKY AND YOUR HANDS AND CAR ARE WET?
~What happens when water gets in to those charging sockets?
~What happens when a driver pulls to close to the curb and slams in to one of those charging stations?
~What happens when someone gets electrocuted because the last user left the cord laying on the wet pavement?
~What happens when there is a short in the well worn 240-volt cord's handle?
~What happens when the charging station has a glitch and over-charges your battery causing an explosion?
~What happens when a driver drives off with the power cord still attached to their car?
Come on people. Use your brains on this. This is stupid. This is a stupid waste of your own personal money in addition to a stupid waste of everyone's tax dollars to pay for all of these cars and infrastructure.
Pay $50,000 plus the daily extra cost for electricity or get the exact same performance and gas-usage, more storage, and only pay $17,000!??!?!
It's time to wake up and smell the real "green". It's called GANGREEN.
[UPDATE] For some reason I could not think of the car's name at the time, but it finally came to me last night. When buttressing my theory that the price of the Volt will necessarily skyrocket, I point you to what happened when the FORD PROBE car was introduced in 1989. It came out in limited numbers and was of such demand, that the prices in some areas doubled. I also point you to recent history with the launch of the PS3. Some people paying 5 times the retail price.