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Presenting the Obama Volt

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Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:28 | 2227669 Mr. Fix
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Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:30 | 2227673 LedMizer
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Drive it like you stole it!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:31 | 2227680 markmotive
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The car that was conceived during the 'feel good' days of the auto bailouts. Too bad it was nothing more than a PR stunt.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:39 | 2227722 idea_hamster
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Like Dukakis in the tank.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:42 | 2227735 LongSoupLine
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yep, as in Kitty...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:02 | 2227839 redpill
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The Volt at its heart is just one big design fail.  The point of electric cars is that you plug them in when you get home instead of having to go to the gas station.  With the Volt now you have to plug it in when you get home AND go to the gas station.  Who thought that was a good idea?

From a maintenance standpoint it is further fail.  With a pure electric car at least you get the advantage of not having to take care of various lubricants, rubber hoses, belts, spark plugs, etc., all associated with an internal combustion engine.  But with the Volt, not only do you have to worry about maintaining the electric motor and battery system, but also everything that goes into a regular internal combustion engine.  This is also true of all hybrids to some extent, but it didn't help that GM decided to continue this approach in a car that was supposed to be futuristic.

GM also lied early on about the fact that the car was going to be solely driven by the electric motor and that the internal combustion engine was only there to charge the battery, which at least would have had some engineering efficiency to it.  Turns out that's not the case at all, which means additional complication of having the internal combustion engine also hooked up to the drive train.

In the end it's just a bad product.  It's not that there wouldn't potentially be consumers for an electric vehicle, which I think Tesla will prove with the Model S, and Nissan with the Leaf, it's that the Volt went down the old hybrid path, and really offers nothing over a Prius except a higher price tag, undoubtedly worse reliability, and having to drive a stigma on wheels that screams "bailout." 

With this much FAIL inherent in its corporate structure, GM will undoubtedly go bankrupt again, it's only a matter of time.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:07 | 2227867 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

YOU STOP WITH YOUR FUCKING FACTS ALREADY!!!!  I am going green and you can't stop me. Smell the smug -

Not only is the Volt saving American jobs, but it's not destroying the environment.  Nahhh

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:31 | 2228071 Mr Lennon Hendrix
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Soylent green

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:17 | 2228861 trav7777
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yeah, nevermind that the reVolt costs substantially more than a Prius or Insight or even Leaf.

I can see electric cars for short trips; dunno why DCFusor bought a reVolt instead of a Leaf.  It would make more sense to have an APU in the Leaf with a small gas tank to provide backup capability, or have constant-velocity diesel motors on hybrid drivetrains (like how they power ships and tanks and trains and whatnot). 

The whole thing with the gas motor is to provide capability to drive at real highway speeds...the batteries simply lack the punch to do that.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:14 | 2229513 DCFusor
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Wrong, Trav, you gotta just go drive one. I made it back from the dealer on Rt 81 at 80 mph and up hills, pure electric.  The gas engine *can* be clutched in, but needn't be.  GM was smart enough to realize that under certain conditions, a straight drive is more efficient than going through a generator and an electric motor.

Now, over 80, if the battery is getting low, the gas engine will auto start and clutch in (and provide some net charge to the batteries while doing it).

Makes sense - the electric motors are 150kw total, the IC engine less than 100...It's just a glorified generator that happens to be much higher tech than a generac and a ton lighter as well.

I didn't get a leaf, partly because it's a peice of shit datsun, and partly because I indeed do need to make the odd road trip and a pure electric is just utter fail for that.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 17:18 | 2229829 redpill
redpill's picture

For the price of a Volt you could have gotten a leaf and a diesel and been more efficient all around.  Instead you have just 1 mediocre overpriced Chevy.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:49 | 2228177 Sudden Debt
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Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:15 | 2228321 HardlyZero
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Hire Foxconn employees to push the car around when the battery gets low.

It would be like returning to very old days, or pre-3rd world.

Its a job center !   Brilliant !

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:47 | 2228482 ShankyS
ShankyS's picture

MUST SEE if you have nnever seen it - 


GM killed the first electric car in the 70's - it appears they are at it again. Big oil bitchez!



Who Killed The Electric Car?


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:24 | 2228369 NewAmericaNow
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Yes let's not let facts get in the way. If you really want to go green buy a horse.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:45 | 2228477 Arthor Bearing
Arthor Bearing's picture

In all seriousness, you should all own a bike. It's as simple as trasnportation machines get, minimal maintenance, costs less than 1% the price of your shitty Nissan, and is a symbol of self-reliance. Plus you don't have to worry about parking or train schedules or any other complications of mass transit.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 13:28 | 2228658 X86BSD
X86BSD's picture

Felt Z-35 bitches!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:52 | 2228511 Bolweevil
Bolweevil's picture

Thank you Dr. Head,

I was going to shove MY head through my monitor (laptop) this morning out of frustration (and maybe a little pathological manic depression) until I read your post. :)

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:13 | 2227912 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


I've heard this bricking problem is one common to all electric cars.

theunderstatement by MICHAEL DEGUSTA February 21, 2012 73 notes “It’s A Brick” – Tesla Motors’ Devastating Design Problem

Tesla Motors’ lineup of all-electric vehicles — its existing Roadster, almost certainly its impending Model S, and possibly its future Model X — apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a “brick”: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Unlike practically every other modern car problem, neither Tesla’s warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss.

Despite this “brick” scenario having occurred several times already, Tesla has publicly downplayed the severity of battery depletion risk to both existing owners and future buyers. Privately though, Tesla has gone to great lengths to prevent this potentially brand-destroying incident from happening more often, including possibly engaging in GPS tracking of a vehicle without the owner’s knowledge.

How To Brick An Electric Car

A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a “brick”. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn’t receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.

The amount of time it takes an unplugged Tesla to die varies. Tesla’s Roadster Owners Manual [Full Zipped PDF] states that the battery should take approximately 11 weeks of inactivity to completely discharge [Page 5-2, Column 3: PDF]. However, that is from a full 100% charge. If the car has been driven first, say to be parked at an airport for a long trip, that time can be substantially reduced. If the car is driven to nearly its maximum range and then left unplugged, it could potentially “brick” in about one week.1 Many other scenarios are possible: for example, the car becomes unplugged by accident, or is unwittingly plugged into an extension cord that is defective or too long.

When a Tesla battery does reach total discharge, it cannot be recovered and must be entirely replaced. Unlike a normal car battery, the best-case replacement cost of the Tesla battery is currently at least $32,000, not including labor and taxes that can add thousands more to the cost.

Five Examples And Counting

Of the approximately 2,200 Roadsters sold to date, a regional service manager for Tesla stated he was personally aware of at least five cases of Tesla Roadsters being “bricked” due to battery depletion. It is unknown if there are additional cases in other regions or countries.

The 340th Tesla Roadster produced went to a customer in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011, he took his Roadster out for a drive and then parked it in a temporary garage while his home was being renovated. Lacking a built-in Tesla charger or a convenient power outlet, he left the car unplugged. Six weeks later his car was dead. It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck so that it could be shipped to Tesla’s Los Angeles area service center, all at the owner’s expense. A service manager then informed him that “it’s a brick” and that the battery would cost approximately $40,000 to replace. He was further told that this was a special “friends and family” price, strongly implying that Tesla generally charges more.

As a second Roadster owner discovered, the Tesla battery system can completely discharge even when the vehicle is plugged in. This owner’s car was plugged into a 100-foot long extension cord for an extended period. The length of this extension cord evidently reduced the electric current to a level insufficient to charge the Tesla, resulting in another “bricked” Roadster.

A third bricked Tesla Roadster apparently sits in its owner’s garage in Newport Beach, California. That owner allegedly had a similar prior incident with a BMW-produced electric vehicle. He claimed BMW replaced that vehicle, but Tesla refuses to do the same. The owner either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to pay Tesla the $40,000 (or more) to fix his car.

A fourth customer shipped his Tesla Roadster to Japan, reportedly only to discover the voltages there were incompatible. By then, it was too late, the car was bricked, and he had to ship it back to the US for repairs.

The whereabouts and circumstances of the fifth bricked Roadster the Tesla service manager expressed knowledge of are unknown.

No Warranty, No Insurance, No Payment Plan

Tesla has a “bumper to bumper” warranty [Page 3: PDF], but the warranty text allows Tesla to hold the owner responsible for any damage related to “Failure to maintain the Battery at a proper charge level at all times” — the meaning of “proper charge” doesn’t appear to be specifically defined. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Vice President of Sales & Ownership Experience George Blankenship, and Vice President of Worldwide Service J. Joost de Vries all became directly involved in at least one “brick” situation, with de Vries stating in writing that since Tesla’s documentation and warranty “identify in clear language to keep the Roadster on external power when parked” the decision to decline any warranty or financial relief was “correct and justified”.2

Unfortunately for current and future Tesla owners who encounter this problem, it’s also not covered by normal automobile insurance policies. This makes the situation almost unique in modern car-ownership: a $40,000 or more exposure that cannot be insured. After all, car insurance is designed to protect owners and drivers even when they are neglectful or at fault. The affected customers probably would have been in a better financial situation if they’d accidentally rolled their Teslas off a cliff, as insurance would generally cover much of those costs.

Due to Tesla batteries naturally decaying over time, Tesla offered Roadster customers a $12,000 “battery replacement program”. This program is intended to replace a Roadster battery with a new one seven years after purchase. When asked, the Tesla service manager said even if owners had paid in advance for this replacement battery program, they would not be allowed to use it to replace an accidentally discharged battery — they would have to pay the full $40,000-plus cost.3

The Santa Barbara owner was also informed that no other financing or payment plan would be made available to pay for the replacement battery, and that he needed to either pay in full or remove his dead vehicle from the Tesla service center as soon as possible.

Understated Warnings to Owners

With such a large price tag for a bricked vehicle, it would be reasonable to expect Tesla to go to great lengths to ensure their customers were fully aware of the severity of battery discharge. Instead it seems that Tesla, while working to make it clear their vehicles should always be left plugged in, also appears to have focused on trying not to spook their current and future customers about the potentially severe ramifications of complete battery discharge.

The Tesla Roadster Owners Manual begins with several “Important Notes About Your Vehicle” [Page 1-2: PDF], none of which make any mention of battery discharge. In Chapter 5 of the manual, where vehicle charging is addressed, Tesla states that the vehicle is “designed to be plugged in” and that allowing the charge level to fall to 0% “can permanently damage the Battery.” [Page 5-2: PDF] It does not specify that a completely discharged battery may need to be replaced, entirely at the owner’s expense, at a cost that could be the majority of the value of the vehicle.

Tesla did begin handing out a “Battery Reminder Card” [PDF] when a Roadster was brought in for servicing. However, the card gently and cheerfully prods owners to “Remember — a connected Roadster is a happy Roadster!” with no mention of the possible consequences of a complete discharge.

There is no warning regarding battery discharge on the actual power port of the vehicle itself, where a gas-powered car often contains warnings about issues like the use of leaded gasoline in an unleaded vehicle. There is also no warning on the power port or in the Roadster Owner’s manual regarding the use of extension cords.

What About The Model S?

It’s not just the Roadster — Tesla’s service manager stated the upcoming Model S definitely shares the Roadster’s discharge problem, describing it as fundamental to the battery technology. Another Tesla employee concurred, saying it would be “neglect” to leave the vehicle unplugged when it’s parked. This fits with statements by Kurt Kelty, Tesla’s Director of Battery Technology, that the Model S uses the same battery technology as the Roadster. Yet on Tesla’s Model S “Facts” page under “Charging”, potential buyers are presented with only the lenient guideline that “Tesla recommends plugging your Model S in each night or when convenient.”

Assuming the Model S has the same battery vulnerability as the Roadster, Tesla’s Model S FAQ is woefully incomplete at best. In the FAQ, Tesla explicitly addresses the question of what happens when their car is parked and not charging:

If Model S is parked and not charging, will the battery lose its charge?
Loss of charge at rest is minimal. For example, Model S owners can park at the airport for extended vacations without plugging in.

That’s the answer in its entirety — nothing at all about the eventual, inevitable, catastrophic battery failure that the Tesla service manager seemed certain of.

Even the minimal loss of charge statement is highly suspect. The Roadster’s owner manual [Page 5-2, Column 3: PDF] states that a fully charged car can be expected to lose 50% of its charge in just 7 days, clearly not a “minimal” amount. As far as leaving the car for an “extended vacation”, the manual [Page 5-3, Column 1: PDF] actually states that vehicles left for more than two weeks should not only be plugged in, but plugged into a special $1,950 (plus installation) Tesla High Power Connector that is not generally available at airports or elsewhere at present. Additionally, leaving a Tesla Roadster at the airport for an extended vacation would seemingly invalidate the warranty which says the battery “should never remain continuously unplugged for an extended period of time, regardless of the state of charge” [Page 5, Column 2: PDF] — practically the exact opposite of Tesla’s Model S FAQ answer.

The Model S battery could be very different from that of the Roadster. If so, however, this would mean not only that the Tesla employees are wrong, but that Tesla has made radical improvements in these areas but has decided not to actively promote them or even mention them prominently on their website. Barring that improbable scenario, Tesla’s marketing appears to be less than entirely forthcoming on this key issue.

Tesla’s Unorthodox Prevention Measures

While customer and marketing communication about charging are focused on gentle reminders, behind the scenes Tesla has seemingly been scrambling to try to ensure existing owners don’t “brick” their cars.

After the first 500 Roadsters, Tesla added a remote monitoring system to the vehicles, connecting through AT&T’s GSM-based cellular network. Tesla uses this system to monitor various vehicle metrics including the battery charge levels, as long as the vehicle has the GSM connection activated4 and is within range of AT&T’s network. According to the Tesla service manager, Tesla has used this information on multiple occasions to proactively telephone customers to warn them when their Roadster’s battery was dangerously low.

In at least one case, Tesla went even further. The Tesla service manager admitted that, unable to contact an owner by phone, Tesla remotely activated a dying vehicle’s GPS to determine its location and then dispatched Tesla staff to go there. It is not clear if Tesla had obtained this owner’s consent to allow this tracking5, or if the owner is even aware that his vehicle had been tracked. Further, the service manager acknowledged that this use of tracking was not something they generally tell customers about.

Going to these lengths could be seen as customer service, but it would also seem to fit with an internal awareness at Tesla of the gravity of the “bricking” problem, and the potentially disastrous public relations and sales fallout that could result from it becoming more broadly known.

Coming Soon: More Customers, More Problems

Tesla produced 2,500 Roadsters, but it plans to make 25,000 Model S vehicles by the end of 2013. This vastly increases the possible number of accidental “bricking” incidents. At the same time, the Model S pricing starts at $49,900 (after US tax incentives), broadening the market to households of far more modest means than the owners of the $109,000 and up Roadster. This in turn makes it even less likely that Tesla buyers will have the necessary tens of thousands of dollars to spare if they ever allow their battery to fully discharge.

Tesla has officially stated that “it is impossible to accurately forecast the cost of future battery replacements”, but the Tesla service manager said he expected the Model S battery to cost even more than the Roadster’s. If true, it would mean that a Model S battery failure could essentially render the car valueless.

Tesla is actively targeting the mass market, with CEO Elon Musk recently touting the Model X as “the killer app for families.” But as things stand today, families who fail to keep their car charged could end up unexpectedly forced to continue making payments on an inoperable and worthless vehicle. That would be a killer.

The Bottom Line

Tesla Motors is a public company that’s valued at over $3.5 billion and has received $465 million in US government loans, all on the back of the promise that it can deliver a real world, all-electric car to the mainstream market. Yet today, in my opinion, Tesla seems to be knowingly selling cars that can turn into bricks without any financial protection for the customer.

Until there’s a fundamental change in Tesla’s technology, it would seem the only other option for Tesla is to help its customers insure against this problem. As consumers become aware that a Tesla is possibly just a long trip, a bad extension cord, or an accidental unplugging away from disaster, how many will choose to gamble $40,000 on that not happening? Would you?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:24 | 2228005 redpill
redpill's picture

In my opinion that's a non-issue.  You can do plenty of things to an internal combustion engine that will cause catastrophic failure as well, probably many more than an electric car, honestly.  No one says the internal combustion engine is doomed because you might accidentally run it without engine oil.  It's really just a matter of becoming used to the nature of electric vehicles as opposed to internal combustion engine.  The good thing about this issue is all you have to do to avoid it is PLUG IN YOUR ELECTRIC CAR.  If you can't handle that responsbility, then well, caveat emptor.

From an ownership standpoint, a pure electric makes a lot of sense, electric motors are very straight forward and much simpler to operate from a maintenance perspective.  For my part I'm a bit of a gear head and like loud engines, manual transmissions, and tire smoke so it's hard to convert, but the advantages are hard to ignore.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:35 | 2228089 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

They could put a tiny solar collector on the car just to keep a minor charge. I agree it's like saying running out of gas turns your car into a brick; although that is temporary it's not fun when the gas station is uphill from you.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:57 | 2228216 redpill
redpill's picture

That only works if it's outside, of course, but it would help.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:26 | 2229230 bloostar
bloostar's picture

Can't see why they can't just shut down the system when it reches danger level.. Could rejig the radio with 'danger danger Will Robinson' at 3% battery.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 17:32 | 2233618 mkkby
mkkby's picture

Correct.  I shut down my computer and the LiOn battery stays charged for months.  Why can't they make it easy to fully shut down or disconnect the battery for extended breaks?  Stupid.

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 23:08 | 2249469 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

The volt has been a massive flop.


Charms and beads

Mon, 03/12/2012 - 23:18 | 2249495 xela2200
xela2200's picture

The revenge of the EV1. They could have had the technology down packed by now. That is OK. I am sure spending in lobbying to kill the project was a better investment. Ahhh Detroit you will be missed.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:41 | 2228135 Strut
Strut's picture

I see your point, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. If the supply of gas runs out, or becomes too expensive, or otherwise unavailable, a gasoline car isn't disabled permanently when you fail to fill your tank. The flip side of this is that you can't make gasoline in your back yard from renewable sources like solar or wind. I wouldn't own one unless I owned a way to generate my own power, off-grid.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:52 | 2228194 redpill
redpill's picture

What if your supply of engine oil runs out?  Or blow a rod?  Lose your timing belt at highway speeds?  Catastrophic automatic transmission failure anyone?  There's a reason AAMCO exists!

Last time I had the M3 in the shop there was another customer there who had brought in his Bentley Continential GT; he had managed to blow the W12 engine in it.  It was all custom fit in there since it was a hand-built W12 for Bentley, nothing was standard, total nightmare.  It will be an $80k job, half the price of the car itself.

This is an issue of paradigm more than it is engineering.

On your subject of making your own power, old Burt Rutan of Spaceship 1 fame used to do that very thing in the 1990s, he purchased a GM EV1 (far more visionary vehicle than the Volt), and kept it charged with a solar array on his property in the desert.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 13:55 | 2228759 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

If your supply of engine oil runs out (probably because the car burns oil and is worn out), you buy another.  New ones can be purchased for as little as $10K, a lot less than a battery pack for the Tesla.  There's also plenty of used ones available for even less.

If you can buy a W12 Bentley, you should be able to pay the $80K for an engine and maybe next time you're baby it  more.  Or you could just throw the Bentley away, buy the $10K econobox and have $70K left over for fuel, oil, and engine replacements.   Maybe someone will come up with a way to install a GM crate motor in the Bentley.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:12 | 2228822 redpill
redpill's picture

That's silly, quoting GM crate motor prices.  What about installing it?  You think replacing the motor on a $50k caddy is going to cost $10k?  Besides, if electric cars were as commonplace as internal combustion engines, there would probably be "crate batteries" you could get at a discount as well.

Besides, by your logic, if one should be "able to afford" $80,000 to replace the motor in a $160,000 vehicle, the equivalent to "afford" to replace an engine or a battery pack in a $50k car would be $25,000, which is a much more realistic cost estimate either for a full engine replacement or a full battery replacement.  And instead of worrying about having to "baby it," with an electric all you have to do to avoid the issue is plug it in.  It's an electric car for god sakes, why wouldn't you?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:19 | 2229544 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Of course, where I live, people would laugh their asses off at some paper pushing fucknut who would actually buy a new crate engine and then pay someone else to install it. They'd just rip the sucker down, fix what was broken, and be back on the road for a few hundred tops in a few hours - even if they had to srouncge some junkyard parts to hit budget (so there was enough left over for the beer and whiskey, we don't do hookers and blow so much here).  What losers people have become!  Can't even maintain the stuff you depend on to stay alive?  Wow, now that's a manly man.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:57 | 2229744 redpill
redpill's picture

Well shit, you have to BUY the crate engine?  You pussy, depending on other people to make engines for you.  Why not mine the ore yourself, cast the block and cylinders and all the parts, make the hoses, hell go drill the fuckin oil for all the plastic parts.  What a vagina you are, depending on others.  I bet you didn't even build your own goddamn house did you?  You SLAVE!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 20:47 | 2230543 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Did I quote GM crate motor prices or are you making that up?

A sane person would expect that it costs more to fix a Bentley than a $10,000 econobox.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:24 | 2228908 trav7777
trav7777's picture

the W12 isn't hand built for fkin Bentley; that car and its engine source from the VW Phaeton.  Same car, different panels and interior and the Bent gets 2 turbos.

$80k is ridic bc the Bent is only a $180k car or so.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:10 | 2229159 redpill
redpill's picture

$80k was the CHEAP way to do it with a donor engine from a Phaeton.  Even so, you realize what is required to take the W12 from a Phaeton, revamp the internals to handle forced induction, add the twin turbos, fit it into the engine bay of a Continental GT with all the unique Bentley bits, and then actually get it to run reliably?  Stop and think about that for a minute!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:31 | 2228952 Esso
Esso's picture

The EV1 was visionary because it was designed by AeroVironment, not the turds at GM. The EV1 was the most efficient car ever in production. It was truly amazing, and the powertrain could've been put in any GM vehicle, not just the 2-seater. They did make some EV1-based S-10 PUs.

The MFers at GM have been trying to drive a stake through the heart of EVs since the early 70s.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:11 | 2229163 redpill
redpill's picture

Correct sir!  Please try to talk some sense into DCFusor below.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:21 | 2229559 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

The reason the EV1 died is because it was so hugely expensive it wasn't funny.  GM wouldn't sell one, because no one would have paid the couple hundred K they really did cost - not an inflated number that includes NRE like the one people toss around for the Volt, either.  No, it wouldn't have driven a "Real" car, not enough HP or range in a heavy modern, quiet car.


Further, they were noisy, whiney, unsafe cars - too many trade-offs had to be made to do it at all then.  Now we can do it right, and the Volt is that result.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:42 | 2229672 redpill
redpill's picture

Funny, because no one is buying the Volt, either. Other than the taxpayers of course, who didn't have a choice. The Volt is still too expensive for what it is.

The EV1 didn't die, it was killed. It was a limited production run that WAS a leapfrog in technology, a model for future electric vehicles that GM foolishly decided not to pursue (they could have gotten the jump on Honda and Toyota if they had). You should expect to see drawbacks in leapfrog technology. The reason the Volt is not leapfrog technology is precisely because it didn't stretch the boundaries, it doesn't offer anything truly new to the marketplace. It's a hybrid with slightly more emphasis on a low range pure electric mode than a Prius. The Volt drawbacks are not because of daring new technology, but because of stupid design. The prohibitively small pure-electric range and speed limitations means most drivers are going to use gas in the thing and wind up having to go to the gas station AND plug it in. It's the worst of both worlds instead of the best. It's not visionary, it's not game-changing, it's not boundary expanding, it's not anything except a poorly conceived product that only made it to production because the greenies in the federal government demanded it in exchange for saving a company that had been poorly run for decades.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:54 | 2228202 battle axe
battle axe's picture

redpill: What about battery life? You charge it and charge it, doesn't the battery lose it's ability to hold a charge over time like say 5 yrs-10yrs? Then how do you sell it? Doesn't replacing the battery cost a lot of money? I ask this because I do not know, not to be a pain in the ass, but have heard various stories about the battery life problem.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:01 | 2228235 redpill
redpill's picture

You can buy an extended warranty on the battery to prevent premature failure, and no they aren't cheap.  But keep in mind that over the course of the decade you do save a lot of money on not having to do nearly the amount of maintenance required for an internal combustion engine.  Electric motors require very little in the way of maintenance, it's a far simpler affair from a mechanical standpoint than the suck-squeeze-bang-blow of an ICE.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:00 | 2228787 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Modern ICE autos don't require much maintenance for the first 200K miles. My Honda has only needed tires and $20 oil changes every 7,500 miles for the last 100K miles. Tires are also needed on the electric cars. Oh, there's also wiper blades and the occasional wash.

In the last 100 years, ICE powered cars have been pretty well perfected, electric cars, not so much.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:18 | 2228864 redpill
redpill's picture

That's nonsense, I've owned Hondas and they have a maintenance schedule like any other car.  Only oil changes for 200k miles?  Why you making shit up?  Besides, there are enough unavoidable boring aspects of existence already without driving a Honda your whole life.  Obviously we could all drive shit cans and eat Taco Bell and have a very small cost footprint, but it misses the point.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 20:41 | 2230528 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

You have a reading comprehension problem.  I'm not making anything up.  I didn't say "only oil changes for 200k miles".  I said my Honda (a purchased new, 2001 S2000 that has not been especially boring FWIW) has only had oil changes (with filter), tire and wiper blade replacement for 100K miles.  It still has the original brake pads and spark plugs and runs great.   I've had Hondas previously and had similar results.

What point does this miss?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 23:49 | 2230991 redpill
redpill's picture

That you're not following the Honda maintenance schedule?  Maybe you shouldn't get a car you have to plug in, afterall.

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 18:57 | 2237597 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

I never did have any plan of getting a car that had to be plugged in.

You appear to admit that maintainance on electric cars is less forgiving than that on ICE powered cars.

FYI, spark plugs on the Honda are the platinum variety that are designed to last more than 100K miles.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:07 | 2228270 DosZap
DosZap's picture

battle axe

I heard batteriy life(sans Fires) was around 5yrs, and cost $5k-$10k to replace.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:58 | 2229099 I did it by Occident
I did it by Occident's picture

I would think they would design it to be readily modular swappable batteries, sort of like the propane tank paradigm.  I have a propane tank for my grill and when I go to the gas station they just swap it out for a refilled one.  So it would be like your cordless drill at home, you can take out the battery no problem and swap it.  So as far as business and liability issue, tesla or the EV industry should come up with an interface standard for the size, voltage, and interface of the battery to the EV vehicle.  Thus it frees up innovation within an envelope of constraints.  New battery materials and technologies can be developed and dropped into the fleet of batteries floating around as the technologies mature.  As far as ownership, the "batteries" wouldn't be "owned" by the buyer of the vehicle, but by Tesla or some other company might "own" the batteries or leases it out to the owner for relatively cheap or what have you.  That way this fleet of batteries, the discharge risks, etc. would be spread across the fleet sort of like insurance, but also the batteries would be easily swappable so from the owner's point of view it is seemless to get another one it one is bricked.  The battery fleet owner would recycle the bricked battery to manufacture new batteries, that way the costs for swapping and liability can be lowered.  So let's say the design can be easily swapped in less than 20minutes, that brings down that cost.  The battery maybe $10000 over 5 year life=$2k per year for the battery, but then maybe half that can be salvage value if recycled back into the system on large volume scale, so maybe the cost to the consumer is roughly 100/month rolled into the cost of ownership.  With some other tweaks maybe lower.  Not "too bad" for a part of the system which is a large part of the overall system costs. 

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 17:52 | 2229973 Matt
Matt's picture

1) Please use paragraphs

2) There is/was a company trying out something like this in Israel, maybe using Nissans? The batteries are swapped out at the gas station for a new one with full charge. Basically keeps the gas station model intact, with the advantage to owners being that you don't own batteries.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:29 | 2228051 carguym14
carguym14's picture

"At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means"


The above is BS,unless they don't count tow trucks as "traditional means".


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:32 | 2228074 redpill
redpill's picture

They can definitely transport a vehicle even with "locked" wheels.  But really, it's just easier to plug it in.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:36 | 2228432 5880
5880's picture

Everytime I see a Tesla pulled over from overheating I stop....

and say "Wanna race?",

then pull away

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 19:15 | 2230252 Barmaher
Barmaher's picture


1. electric engines don't overheat

2. every time I see you in a gas station I give you the finger

Leaf owner bitches!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:36 | 2228106 Matt
Matt's picture

Thanks for the info. Going forward, if you could just post a summary and a link rather than copy-pasting entire articles, that would be great. Thanks!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:49 | 2228498 QEsucks
QEsucks's picture

@Gully Foyle: Thanks for the info, wasn't aware of the design flaw.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:22 | 2227990 prains
prains's picture

How much electricity in the states is produced from coal fired plants? I don't know the numbers but it seems to me the amount would be quite high.

Meaning everytime you plug in your electric car more coal is dumped into the fire to turn the turbine. Ergo the same/more amount of pollution is being produced by the "green" vehicle

but just in a different place in the life cycle of the vehicle.


Just like geothermal energy is usually the transference of power generation from natural gas to coal fired electricity. No net savings.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:29 | 2228053 redpill
redpill's picture

Absolutely, and frankly I try to approach these things from the standpoint of a discerning consumer, not from a national or global perspective of energy production.  People shouldn't buy an electric car until it makes sense for them, not because of some green image or urging from a failed central planning politician.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:38 | 2228442 exi1ed0ne
exi1ed0ne's picture

Coal plants don't start producing power at the flick of a switch. Those boilers take time to ramp up enough stored thermal energy to push a turbine. By plugging in a car at night when you get home from work we might see daytime electricity demands generally, but not any time soon.

It's why electric rates vary between night and daytime. It's also why stuff like this is economically viable, while using more energy:

Geothermal saves electricity because the heat load is from the ground, rather than fossil fuel. The only energy expended from "the grid" is what the circulation pump draws, and that can easily be converted to solar/wind/etc.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:26 | 2228925 trav7777
trav7777's picture

in 2009, 18.3 quads out of 38 total

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:22 | 2229570 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Coal electricity is about 40% of all of it currently.  This sucks.  But all of mine is Solar, so I don't give a shit about that.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 00:38 | 2231071 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

From Wikipedia (I know, I know)

The majority of this energy is derived from fossil fuels: in 2009, EIA data showed 37% of the nation's energy came from petroleum, 21% from coal, and 25% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 9% and renewable energy supplied 8%, which was mainly from hydroelectric dams although other renewables are included such as wind power, geothermal and solar energy.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:34 | 2228083 vened
vened's picture
Energy Density (per kilogram)
Gasoline - 47.2 megajoules
Lithium-ion battery - 720 kilojoules

Therefore, gasoline packs about 66 times more energy per unit of volume. Gasoline engines are much cheaper to produce. Every 4-5 years batteries have to be replaced in electric/hybrid vehicles. Also, every engineer knows that engine's conversion coefficient is about 75% or less (the rest is wasted on heat, friction, etc.)  So 2 motors - electric and gasoline - will have total useful energy conversion of only about 50%.  Additional complexity and weight of breaking energy capturing device is a time bomb as well.

Electric cars built with existing technology are scam - even Toyota admits it.

The best electric transportation are light rail and subway since energy density is irrelevant.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:43 | 2228141 redpill
redpill's picture

Yes but you use a very small fraction of the energy in gasoline when you burn it.  Electric motors are far more efficient, the problem is just the battery technology, although it's come a long way in recent years.  You can compare the ownership stats of a Nissan Leaf with a comparable small gas car and see it clearly.  Electrics still have a ways to go obviously, and lithium ion batteries leave much to be desired, but for short trips around town they win the battle from a cost standpoint.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:27 | 2228385 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

The idea that electric powered cars are more efficient than MODERN ICE powered cars is nonsense. After generation, distribution and charging losses are included, electric cars have no advantage in overall efficiency. As an example, my 4,000 lb newer 535i gets over 30 mpg on gasoline normally. The new 3,300 lb 328i reportedly gets about 40 mpg. Huge advances in efficiency have been obtained with modern fuel injection systems over the ICE powered autos of the past.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:43 | 2228453 redpill
redpill's picture

"The idea that electric powered cars are more efficient than MODERN ICE powered cars is nonsense."

Nah, just science.  If you're burning the gas in an ICE you only use a tiny fraction of the potential energy there, that's just the way things are.  Batteries don't have as much energy density, but the electric motor is far more efficient at using the energy stored.  Even at 30 or 40mpg, with current gas prices the cost of recharging an electric car battery is going to be a fraction.  The primary remaining obstacles for electrics are range, charge time and battery weight.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:13 | 2228820 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:10 | 2228821 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

If you're burning the gas in an ICE to generate electricity for your electric car, you only use a tiny fraction of the potential energy there, that's just the way things are.  The carnot cycle applies to generating electriciy from coal, natgas or diesel just like it does in an ICE directly powered automobile.  There's also transmission losses.

Electric cars have tax subsidies, including a uncharged gas tax, that need to be backed out of any efficiency/dollar computation.  How would you propose to pay for roads, etc. in a place that had only electric cars?

How do you define "tiny fraction"?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:26 | 2228919 redpill
redpill's picture

Obviously it does not address broader energy production issues.  And transmission losses are nothing compared to transport costs for liquid fuels which have substantial mass.  Regardless, for the time being, and likely for the forseeable future, it will be cheaper to recharge a car than fill a gas tank.  Sorry if that pisses you off.  Like I said above, I'm a sports car type person so it's not my favorite either.

The gasoline tax structure is entirely irrelevant.  If there's one thing that the government never has any trouble with it's finding new ways to tax people.  And often times local gasoline tax revenues don't even go toward infrastructure anyway.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:27 | 2228933 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Gasoline Fuel Cell...for the love of god, that instead of a war

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:45 | 2228971 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

The most efficient modern ICEs have energy conversion rates from chemical to mechanical of around 25-28%, notwithstanding the increasingly ineffective EROEI of acquirement/refinement/distribution logistics of oil in the first place.

On the other hand, a worst case situation for a decent quality electrical car is 97% efficiency on battery charge, 92% on motor efficiency and 40% for a run-of-the-mill thermal plant. This combines into a more or less worst case efficiency of 35%, which does ignore transmission loss (not that major and could be reduced to insignificance with an overhaul of the electrical transmission system.

This is still 25% more efficient than the best ICEs, and let us not forget that this centralizes production in large-scale plants, which make efficiency and air-pollution overhaul much easier. Upgrade the powerplant, migrate to a new power source, install air scrubbers in 1 location or some such, and bang, you've boosted the efficiency/lowered the pollution factor of your entire regional car pool. And you don't need the insane redundancy of air filters, catalysers, exhaust system complexity and so on and so forth for every single car that carries its own miniaturized, inefficient and polluting powerplant.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 18:17 | 2230049 Matt
Matt's picture

Coal power plants are more like 33 percent efficient (unless you have a better source than wiki?). Tranmission losses (power grid, not automobile) average 7 percent. So for every 1000 watts of coal you put in, you get 1000 * .33 = 330 * .93 = 307 to the house.

Let's be optimistic and say the battery and motor are both 90 percent efficient. so that's 307 *0.9 = 276 watts going to the motor, and 276 * 0.9 = 249 watts going to the transmission.

So from stored coal energy to energy actually being put to work, the electric vehicle, using a coal power plant, is 25 percent efficient at best case. Pretty much in-line with gasoline ICE.

Could these numbers be improved? sure. Could the numbers be improved for ICEs? sure. But going with existing technology, it's a wash.

A huge part of the problem is that cars must weigh 3000 - 4000 pounds because people crash them so frequently. If you took that out of the equation, the cars could weigh 400 pounds and be vastly more efficient. The safer and better performing you make cars, the harder and more carelessly people drive them.

If you took out people's aesthetic tastes and built vehicles for pure efficiency, you could probably add much more, especially for the highspeed highway mileage.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 13:48 | 2228723 malek
malek's picture

 you use a very small fraction of the energy in gasoline when you burn it. Electric motors are far more efficient

Oh, and what about the efficiency of the electricity generating plant? Shall we just sweep that under the rug?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:29 | 2228944 redpill
redpill's picture

No, as I said previously, this doesn't address the overall energy issue.  But current costs are current costs.  It's currently cheaper to generate electricity in a central location and distribute it across the grid into an electric car than it is to fill your gas tank with liquid fuel from decentralized gas stations.  The primary constraints on electrics are range and recharge time, both of which are related to the battery.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:41 | 2229003 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

see my post above for total systemic efficiency. Still much better than ICEs, and has lots of logistical advantages when your the efficiency of the car modules is already near-perfect. Maximize efficiency of power transmission (always useful - the US' powergrid is an embarassing relic of the past) and continuously migrate power generation to most modern methods and you get the advantage of your entire car pool adopting the efficiency and pollution factor of your generation method.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:46 | 2229036 Esso
Esso's picture

Electrical generation & transmission is what it is. Maybe we should outlaw electricity altogether because it's so inefficient, or is it only bad when used in cars, rather than energy gulping McMansions.

If you don't want an electric car, then don't buy one. 

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:26 | 2229232 redpill
redpill's picture

And actually it would be a bad thing if everyone tried to buy one at once.  The power grid certainly can't take it.  The last thing we want is for these things to happen suddenly.   That's why I think it's important that people should only buy a plug-in electric if it works for their lifestyle and given the current state of the technology, and not try to artificially stretch it just to be "part of the club" - it would cause more harm than good to have a stampede of people going toward electric vehicles all at once.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 03:15 | 2231326 malek
malek's picture

 Maybe we should outlaw electricity altogether because it's so inefficient

Are you really that stupid?
Electricity is the highest quality form of energy - you can do pretty much everything with it, except store large amounts over longer time at good cost and efficieny.

That is the reason anything mobile with larger energy needs is a lost cause trying to run it with electricity.
The only worse thing is using electricity for large scale heating, for example of whole houses, as we can turn even the lowest quality form of energy (wood, coal) into heat at >90% efficiency.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:50 | 2228181 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Yep... oil is a wonderful fuel source...

The efficiency of an ICE is about ~25%... 75% is way too high...

You do realize that electric cars are not a scam... in an oil depleted world, there are the only game in town and the technology will take years to mature.... and even at maturity they will be a shadow of oil powered ICE vehicles...

And since we agree that current electrics are deficient, what does that tell you about the long term outlook of and for the car manufacturers??


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:34 | 2228428 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

"in an oil depleted world, there are the only game in town . . ."

Nonsense -- they are not the "only game in town". There's natural gas powered ICE like what are being used in So. America and Iran. In the next couple decades there's the possibility of LENR powered cars.

And furthermore there has been no definitive proof that an "oil depleted world" will exist very soon. Not unlike drugs, imaginary shortages of oil are making some countries, companies, and people very wealthy at the expense of those that are addicted to it.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 13:00 | 2228494 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Ok... pop quiz

1) Does the US currently import or export NG (net basis)?

2) Current US production of NG corresponds to how barrels of oil per day (BTU basis)?

3) How long does a "100 year supply" of NG last if ramp up production and you replace 10% of US oil use?

Did you see the latest USGS reports on the Marcellus?

That 100 year supply claim is becoming chimeric..

Wow, LENR cars, yep, I'm betting the farm on that....

I strongly suggest you put the hopium pipe down....

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:29 | 2228942 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

"1) Does the US currently import or export NG (net basis)?"

It doesn't matter.  Natgas is currently being used to generate a lot of electricity in the U.S.  A less non-sequitur question would be "Does Planet Earth currently import or export NG?"

"2) Current US production of NG corresponds to how barrels of oil per day (BTU basis)?"

It doesn't matter.  A less non-sequitur question would be "How much does natgas cost per BTU compared to oil?"

"3) How long does a "100 year supply" of NG last if ramp up production and you replace 10% of US oil use?" 

Figures don't lie, but liars figure.  There's a lot of natgas as hydrates that hasn't been counted.

"Wow, LENR cars, yep, I'm betting the farm on that...."

Your farm must not be worth much considering how much has been spent so far on LENR since it's been proven that excess energy is produced by it.  There does seem to be a real $$$ media and shill investment in seeing that research is not done though.

Cars that don't have fuel and people walking will have the effect of all sorts of new technologies.  Maybe people will even start riding mopeds.   People can pay more for fuel too.  Most Earthlings do pay much more for fuel than Americans do in fact.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:42 | 2229010 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Wow.... you really are thick....

So if the US currently imports NG, then replacing imported oil with NG will result in the importing of more NG...

What does Asia pay for LNG? Per BTU how does that compare with the price of oil??

It certainly does matter.... current US NG production is about 12 mmbpd..... what do you think happens to the price of NG if you use 10% of it to replace oil? Another way to put is that the entire NG production is roughly the daily imports of oil....

Well, if you had enough smarts, you could construct a simple spreadsheet model and find that "100 year supply" ain't gonna last as long as you think....

Could you point to any research that demonstrates we can extract NG from hydrates? Do you think that some really smart people might be working on this and don't have a clue???

You clearly know more about LENR than I do...  afterall I only fucking worked with this guy when I was younger

Finally some sense, yes, a lot more people will be riding mopeds...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 18:30 | 2230099 Matt
Matt's picture

And, rather humoursly, if you believe in AGW, higher fuel prices are bad as mopeds make more GHG than driving a Hummer -

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 20:17 | 2230448 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

I worked at the same place -- and the same time too -- that Dr. Edward Teller worked.  We were not close.  So the fuck what?  Just because you took out Jones' garbage does not mean you know anything about LENR.  I didn't know Dr. Jones was an expert in electro-chemistry.  Since you're pals, maybe you can quiz him like you quiz us here.  Let us know what you find out.

This may help:

Word is that Dr. Jones is  more interested in 9-11 building collapses.  He may be more qualified in that endeavor.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:51 | 2228508 Arthor Bearing
Arthor Bearing's picture

Cars are absurdly inefficient, in a post-oil world I don't think there will be much of a place for them. You know how much embeded energy there is in an advanced battery? How do you manufacture batteries, or ship them, withou oil? Should we go nuclear?

Buy a bike.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:32 | 2229266 Think for yourself
Think for yourself's picture

ICE vehicles are already a shadow of pure electrics. The sheer mecanical simplicity is astounding. Combined conversion efficiency factor of stored energy to mechanical power is upwards of 90%, before figuring in regenerative braking. There's a reason we can still get 200+ miles out of a car whose energy storage is about 50 times less dense than gasoline.

The sticker is energy storage density. There have been lots of repressed advancements in battery technology, and there are still many promising and/or proven technologies making their way to the market, from supercapacitors to nanotech chemical batteries. This will improve storage density but can't improve on conversion efficiency which is already near-maximal, compared to an ICE's pathetic efficiency limited by the law of thermodynamics that apply to the respective cycles used.

So ICEs are already close to peak theoritical efficiency - there's not much we can improve about them, and they still suck. They require complex chemical/mechanical systems made of thousands of moving parts, carry the inherent inefficiency and pollution factor of miniaturized, individualized power plants, have shitty torque curves (0 torque at 0 rpm? Seriously, how counterintuitive and sucky is that? A motor that can't start itself...) and, most of all, depend massively on the externality of fossil fuels, whose EROEI is constantly lowering while all other sources of energy - renewables - have constantly improving EROEI. ICEs are obsolete - I'm thankful they were along for the ride to get us this far, but it's time to drop the past and move on.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 18:38 | 2230122 Matt
Matt's picture

Fuel Cells, not batteries, will likely be the way of the future:

Methanol cell; 1/3 the weight of batteries:

Besides, even an Ethanol ICE can break the 2000 Km / L limit:

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:31 | 2229615 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Except for one thing.  I own a Volt, and in the 3k miles I've driven it (and it's a heavy car), it has gotten 98 mpg total.  I don't care that much how energy dense the battery is as long as it's enough.  Gasoline gives you the deal of not having to carry 15/16th of the weight around - the oxidizer, so yea, it's always going to be a better deal for portable things - as long as it is cheap and available  that is.


The thing is, burning gas in an IC engine has issues with total efficiency.  You're lucky to get 30% at just the right rpm and WOT.  The reason a hybrid can do better is that it can only run the IC engine at just this level (though Prius has a long way to go on that one, since their batteries won't take the best case of efficient gas engine).  Thus, as a gas engine designer (I am an old racer...) you're fucked.  You want all this peak horsepower - 100's at least, for the fun aspect, but actually need around 20 most of the time - so you have a choice - make it efficient at one or the other of those extremes, and you can't have both.  Throttle down, you get pumping losses and thermodynamic losses due to effectively reduced compression ratio - so it's crap when lightly loaded, most of the time.  That's how all cars used to be, because no one new another way.


These days, IC engines are made "too small" then turbo or supercharged to get that peak demand.  They can now be made with higher compression ratios and still use pump gas, as solutions to CA's issues with NOx are around, and we know how to do variable cam timing to reduce the compression ratio at low rpms where pinging and detonation would otherwise happen.  We also can tune for a narrower peak - and just use more gears, modern auto trannies have 6 or more.  That makes driving something like a Cruze kind of interesting - as after a "I'm going to die before I get across traffic" lag, it takes off like a rocket, sounding like a jap rice burner as the tranny keeps it between 5.5 and 7k rpm the whole time.  Of course, it's fun sounding unless you're an engineer like me, then it sounds like "this ain't going to live too long" revving like this".


The electric stuff solves a lot of this, at the cost of the extra weight - it gains more out of the IC than the extra weight takes away, and the simple proof is that a Cruze, which has the same engine and weighs almost 1k pounds less than the Volt - doesn't get quite as good a gas mileage, both on gas-only.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:38 | 2228122 HarryM
HarryM's picture

I thought the concept was great but the execution poor and too costly.

The sell was if you do a lot of short runs with the car , you run exclusively on electric, but your range is not limited.

Why the F can't we build something affordable like the prius - at 55 mpg who cares about the price of gas?


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:32 | 2229624 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Because prius already owns the market for ugly, noisy, cheapo junk and it's  a hard market to break into?  Why not do something new and move on, rather than just refine that old crap, leave that to them, they're doing ok with it for what their design goals were for it - which included cheap.  The Volt's design goals included "best" and you know the story - good cheap fast - take any two.  I got good and fast, myself.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:55 | 2229726 redpill
redpill's picture

I've called a Prius many things, but noisy cheapo junk?  They might be ugly, and they are, but typically Toyota ranks quite a bit above Chevrolet in initial quality and dependability, so the fact that you're raising a Chevy as a model of quality is really quite amusing.  I'm beginning to think you really do work for GM.  Toyota took a loss on the Prius for a long time to build up marketshare and eventually profit through economy of scale, you know why?  Because they weren't clueless idiots who thought they could sell a new hybrid under an economy brand for $40 grand.  Picture getting clearer yet?


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:45 | 2228159 Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

Why don't we all just drive 55+ mpg diesels?

Oh right, government will not let them sell within the country :(

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:07 | 2228269 redpill
redpill's picture

There are some diesels available these days, but it's a bit of an infrastructure problem as well, getting diesel fuel is not as convenient, not every station has it, etc.  If infrastructure wasn't a problem we could all be driving hydrogen vehicles and getting hydrogen at the filling station instead of gasoline, but alas there isn't the infrastructure, and it becomes a chicken and the egg scenario: you can't justify building the infrastructure without more hydrogen vehicles on the road, and you aren't going to get more hydrogen vehicles on the road without the infrastructure.  That's an extreme example compared to diesel, but you get the idea.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:43 | 2228465 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

There's plenty of diesel infrastructure in the U.S.  I have never had a problem finding diesel when I had a diesel truck.  The issue is a marketing one in the U.S.  Americans need to operate cars that are not very fuel efficient so the oil companies can sell more fuel, especially gasoline.  Diesel has become more scarce due to its increased use to move freight and the incentives for Europeans to use it in their cars due to the high CO2 taxation.

Transport fuel is the way TPTB maintain their control over sheeple americanus.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:49 | 2228499 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You don't really believe this nonsense do you?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 13:56 | 2228764 malek
malek's picture

You might want to explain where it's nonsense?

He is wrong that Europe has not introduced CO2 taxation (yet), but the rest is correct.
Anyone who has driven a modern turbo-diesel car for a while, can only shake his head in disbelief about the ignorance on or even active blocking of such cars by US politics.

In every situation except stop-and-go traffic a good turbo-diesel car beats all existing (gasoline) hybrids on mileage.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:20 | 2228884 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Europe was predominately diesel a long time ago...

You act as if it was some conspiracy... it's not...when the US was driving world oil demand, gasoline was at a premium, now that Chindian is in the drivers seat, diesel is at a premium. Diesel is the fuel of economic activity, gasoline is the fuel of joy rides so to speak...

And if you want to see the price of oil increase, then increase diesel demand even further...

BTW, I have driven turbo-diesels on a number of occasions and they are awesome, a little crotchety in the cold though...

And the TD's of the early 80's were pretty dirty and grungy....

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 20:03 | 2230406 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

You're full of shit.    Europe was not "predominately diesel a long time ago", except for trucks and busses like the U.S.  The 240D MBz, London taxis and a Peugeot was about it.  Only in the last 15 years have Europeans, except for commercial operators, bought a significant number of them.  And even now it's just about 50% of new purchases.

I think the current CO2 tax is on new car registrations.  There is an advantage to <100 gms/km.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 03:29 | 2231336 malek
malek's picture

Yes, in Europe the boom started in the early 90's. That was after Audi perfected the TD by using direct injection in the mid to late 80's, so anything before that is not comparable.

My last info was a bit over 40% of new car sales are diesel powered. However the gov't have often elminiated the savings on fuel consumption by taxing diesel higher.
But from an energy use point of view nothing a modern TD car.

FS, I cannot take the tax advantage to <100 gms/km seriously, as almost nothing that you can still call a "car" stays below that limit and the advantage is not too big and expires after a few years - so way before end of car life.

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 18:47 | 2237569 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

I thought VW had a real car that got down in the <100 gms/km territory.  There's a surprising large number of them here (and the following pages):

CO2 emmisions are, of course, just another way of measuring how much fuel is burned, since they are, along with water, necessary combution products from burning hydrocarbons.  One could just tax fuel if one wanted to tax CO2,  unless someone thinks it needs to be a graduated tax.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:36 | 2229644 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Well, if diesel wasn't taxed so high to get road money from the truckers, if we had sweet crude with low sulfur, like Europe (remember NAtO/Libya?  There was your reason), and if they didn't sound like they were gargling rocks, maybe diesel would take off, but till those things, I kind of doubt it.

Around here, seems everyone with a diesel never turns the damn thing off at the store - they let that sucker idle and stink bigtime around the convenience/general stores, and that gargling rocks sound on top of the smell they emit - no way most people would be that ignorant.


My pals in UK say it's better there because they get the good fuel, they don't more for diesel, and the cars are more advanced.  Evidently this thing of leaving your car on as though you couldn't start it again is peculiarly American - hey good buddy, got us a convoy?


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:20 | 2228348 HarryM
HarryM's picture

$8.00 gas in Europe - what's on the road ? - all diesels with incredible fuel consumption.

Don't get me started - 

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:12 | 2228832 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

I'm an engineer, and became a multi millionaire not because I suck at it, frankly.  This is the best engineered car out there now, nothing at all like the POS Prius (a crap econobox by any other name).

I live in a rural area.  I generally get 45 miles on a charge I get off my solar panels.  That's enough to do my errand loop (like just going to vote and pay the phone bill) and use no gas at all.  In fact, I got back in time such that it'll be charged and ready to go out again this afternoon at about 3 pm for some other errands in a different town.

You may, but need not, use gas.  I'm sure you'd think a Tesla or Fiskar is better engineered because you *can't* use gas.  Good luck with finding a tow truck with a 20kw generator on board if your run out - that's just stupid.  People like to have unlimited range, and this gives it to you at around 37 mpg on pure gasoline if you like that.

Yes, due to the good engineering, you can have any combo of the two electric motor-generators, and the IC enginge clutched into the CVS transmission, with perfect rev matching - you never feel a shift, the clutches should last forever or nearly.


Due to your point about having to maintain a gasoline engine (doesn't your car have one?) - GM, years ahead of your ass, thought of this and forces it to run once in awhile to keep it oiled and maintained internally, and pressurizes the gas tank so you don't lose any to evaporation, like in *your* piece of shit car.  Further, since many are going 10k miles and still have the dealer gas in the tank - they force you to burn some before it gets stale, all of which keep the engine in good running order, and automaticaly tested *before you need it* again, unlike your underengineered piece of shit car.

The car was in development and demo years before any bailout was under consideration - that's just an ourtight lie.  Good for you, you suck up the oil company propagada like a good little sheep.  The car was championed and sheperded by Bob Lutz, a hot rodder at heart, who is in fact a global warming denier - doesn't matter, he's into hot cars and knows how to get them done right.

Yes, Bob has lots bad to say about GM management, and I'd have to agree with most of it.  So?  I'm not driving GM managemet, or inviting them to my home.  I'm driving this killer-cool hotrod spaceship that leaves your eurotrash in the dust off the line and in the corners, silently.

That IC engine is quite a marvel.  4 valves/cylinder, dual overhead variable timing cams, 11.5/1 compression (which couldn't run pump gas without the cam timing), full computer control, and it is optimized for the best brake specific fuel consumption over the broadest band of any IC engine out there - it totally blows the Japs off in that regard, and is almost doulbe the efficiency as a generator as your hardware store generac junk.

But just keep sucking up that GM hate, that oil company astroturf, and driving a peice of shit that keeps you a wage slave forever, enjoy your deal with those devils.  I opted out and I'm having a blast, myself.  I'll spend the tax break on hookers and blow if I think of it - you're just too dumb to get what you paid for anyway, that's not smart, that's being a sucker.

Isn't it kind of hypocritical to whine that the government gets everythign wrong, because that hurts people here, and then cheer them on and try to make it come true even if it seems like it might have worked this time?  This place is full of utter hypocrisy - you wail about QE devaluing the dollar, but then cheer it on because you are so stupid you think it makes the purchasing power of gold go up, when all it's doing is making the dollar go down and misery for all via the stealth inflation tax.

My car was made in America by Americans.  It's far ahead of anything else you can get out there now - it's a leapfrog tech.  For once, we Americans got something right - it's also the car of the year in Europe.  And here all you can do is try to put Americans out of jobs, and tear it down.  Fuck you very much.  I'm going out and driving it some more, nothing like hard regenerative braking from 80 down into a hairpin, then blasting back out of the apex with instant torque even my 2010 Camaro SS couldn't muster that quick.

Go drive one, then mouth off.  Base your crap on facts, instead of being a ditto head.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:00 | 2228990 redpill
redpill's picture

No need to get defensive just because you bought one.  Or maybe you're a dealer?  Or god forbid actually part of the GM design team? I'm sorry but it's not leapfrog technology.  The GM EV1 was leapfrog technology.  And you know what?  GM realized it and destroyed every last one of them.  So cut the shit.  And which of my facts is incorrect?  GM lied early on about the ICE only recharging the batteries.  The car requires both plugging in and refueling.  The ICE requires normal ICE maintenance.  These are not disputed issues.

BTW the Fisker is a hybrid too, so it takes gas.  And it won't sell either.  I guess even a multi-millionaire engineer can't know everything.

And please don't try to pretend continuing production of the Volt wasn't a non-negotiable term of the bankruptcy package.  Had they gone into normal bankruptcy it likely would have gotten cancelled, and should have been, instead of now, where your fellow taxpayers are essentially subsidizing every Volt built, so multi-millionaire engineers can buy them and talk shit on the internet.  Well congratulations, you're such a fuckin' patriot.

As for my "underengineered piece of shit car" I can only laugh.  I actually drive an absurdly over-engineered German sports car that isn't cheap to maintain, but it's fast and great fun.  Let's just say I don't have any concerns that I'm missing out on any "Chevy Volt driving excitement" or that any insecure multi-millionare engineers will be blowing my doors off in their "leapfrog technology" Volt - your nerdrage amuses me.  A top of the line Tesla Model S would smoke us both, however.  They are "built in America by Americans" too, btw.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:45 | 2229026 trav7777
trav7777's picture

if you're an engineer and became a multimillionaire, you did so via having lived during a time of fall in a hole and get rich stock markets, like all the rest of the self-important snobs

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:10 | 2229160 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

When trav's right, he's just so deliciously right.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:41 | 2229671 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Nope, didn't even trade then.  I designed and implemented the protocols and baseband codecs all you suckers pay to use in your cell phones every day.

And quite a number of other interesting things. I ran a consulting firm that worked for the bigs - cash on the table, no royalties, which they are loath to pay, and we made them pay, because no one else could do what we could to.

Some of my customer list is here:


I'm the real deal, no I don't work for GM (not a friggin chance, this is like the one thing they got right, and that out of desparation) and no I don't sell cars, or much of anything else anymore.  I'm just a guy out here pokin and strokin it and having fun being indpendent and free.  This irrational hate for the Volt, I'm sorry, I don't get it - and as traders you should know that you win by leaving your emotions at the door so as to take better advantage of the emotions of others making their decisions for them.  Which is how I'm making money now trading.  Some people here who don't seem rational at all must be the suckers on the other side of my trades lately....


Wed, 03/07/2012 - 03:43 | 2231349 malek
malek's picture

Sorry, you can pick the facts as they fit you, but that doesn't mean others have to agree.

If you have driven 3000 mls and got 98 mpg, with 1 gallon having about 40 kWh energy equivalent, you have used 1225 kWh of electricity (or less because you used the ICE somewhat).
So what did you pay to get the solar panels and accessoires to produce that charge?
You know if I had almost limitless initial investment, I could also reduce my monthly costs for living comfortable to $100.

And if the Volt's IC engine is such a marvel, what do you think it's mileage would be if it needn't drag around the batteries all the time?

I'm not bashing the Volt all around, but it's limitations in relation to it's price don't sound like a good deal to me.
And yes, the Prius is definitely a joke, unless you line up in stop-and-go every day - and then you might be better off changing your commuting habits instead.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:43 | 2227740 Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

In the spirit of President "I'll Bomb Ya", the Volt bombs!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:59 | 2227819 francis_sawyer
Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:11 | 2227823 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture



"230 mpg, bitchez!"


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:18 | 2227952 aerojet
aerojet's picture

They built it to shut up the hippies.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 16:41 | 2229673 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Makes this one talk more.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:30 | 2227675 Manthong
Manthong's picture

"The car America had to build"

Whether anybody wanted it or not.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:46 | 2227737 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

"President Barack Obama, in his weekly radio and Web address on Sunday, April 25, 2010, said bailouts of the auto industry funded with taxpayer dollars have clearly refuted the conservative position against such government assistance efforts."

Bailing out Detroit to delay the inevitable - "

General Motors Co. will suspend production of the Chevrolet Volt at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant for five weeks, temporarily laying off 1,300 employees.

According to the Detroit-based automaker, the idling from March 19 to April 23 is to match production with demand.

“We’re matching our production levels with demand and building to market,” GM spokesman Chris Lee told

After starting 2012 with lackluster sales of 603 units in January, GM sold 1,023 Volts last month."

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:18 | 2227960 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Soviet-level resource misallocation.  Nothing bad could happen because of this!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:52 | 2228195 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

And you don't think that building ~25 millions SUVs was not a massive misallocation of resources????

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:26 | 2228373 Zero Debt
Zero Debt's picture

Most items financed by debt expansion for the last decades have been misallocations: housing, education, autos, welfare, warfare, ...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:46 | 2228481 Silver Dreamer
Silver Dreamer's picture

The SUV's and trucks I've owned were very practical and well worth the resources spent to make and purchase them.  If I'm in a car accident too, I'd much rather be in a SUV or truck.  My commute is less than a mile as well.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:55 | 2228529 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You do realize there is a difference between micro and macro...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:36 | 2228969 Silver Dreamer
Silver Dreamer's picture

Your point is what exactly?  Should the market determine the products offered in it, or should the government do it instead?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:55 | 2229085 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

My point is that the market thought Suburbia with SUVs was the way to go....Turns out the market was completely wrong and we blew a good chunk of our hydrocarbon endowment on it...

In otherwords, the "freemarket" is quite capable of missallocating resources, it all has to do with how things are discounted....

So, damned if you do and damned if you dont.....

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:42 | 2229308 redpill
redpill's picture

You need to think more broadly.  The reason why the market thought Suburbia with SUVS was the way to go was because oil was cheap.  And oil was cheap because the global US military empire made sure it stayed that way either through direct action or through bribing OPEC.  In return, the feds have agreed to keep importing oil and keeping us addicted to it.  So really, even Suburbia and SUVs were in part a result of centralized government action to ensure oil prices remained low.  Believe me, had we started truly planning in the 70s during that oil shock, we could have 80% of Americans driving electric cars powered by 80% nuclear power.  But that was NEVER the plan.

Wed, 03/07/2012 - 18:03 | 2233748 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

 Believe me, had we started truly planning in the 70s during that oil shock, we could have 80% of Americans driving electric cars powered by 80% nuclear power.

Well.. there were a few people that thought it out and one of them even made to the Presidency...

Only to be turfed out.... but you know the story...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:48 | 2229345 Silver Dreamer
Silver Dreamer's picture

First, I didn't junk you.  Second, I completely agree.  However, I would rather have the market make the mistakes than have government make them.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 21:26 | 2230637 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


History/Economics has shown us that the social democratic governments tend to get the little things wrong and the big things right,  whereas the market gets the little things right and the big things wrong...

You do realize that French/German oil imports are flat since the '70s.... why? and do you not think that the US would be envious of such a claim? 


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:48 | 2228175 DosZap
DosZap's picture


"The car America had to build"

Whether anybody wanted it or not.


Ain't it the truth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they have had decades of wasting billions of building shit we do not want, need or were doomed to failure from the start.

WHO in their right mind is going to pay 41,000 dollars for a vehicle that must be parked outside away from dwellings to make sure your family and home does not die in its sleep?.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:33 | 2227688 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture




Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:46 | 2227755 4realmoney
4realmoney's picture


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:12 | 2227903 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

great interview... wasted on stupid Americans.  His point about inflation not impacting all things equally is missed by most.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:48 | 2227765 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

I'm still loving mine, charging it off my solar system, and going to drive it in a few minutes to vote for Ron Paul in the VA primary.  The flame decals I got for it add a little flare, too.  What do you do with an IC engine when the warranty runs out on it?  Drive the thing, stupid.  Get your history right, this car got started in development long before the bailouts were in question, it's maybe the one thing GM has gotten right in quite some time.  Which I suppose is why all the negative press and astroturfing - sour grapes, bitchez.

Y'all just come here to be told what to think, being too lazy to learn how to think.  And when something goes against your oversimplifcation of the world, and wakes up your lazy brains, the reflex response is always negative.  As Marvin says "it amazes me how you can live in anything so small".

Enjoy your $5 gas.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:55 | 2227805 jcaz
jcaz's picture

Funny-  the guy who bought the last Edsel said the exact same things you did........

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:03 | 2227843 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

charging it off my solar system, and going to drive it in a few minutes to vote for Ron Paul in the VA primary.

Sadly, my friends... It looks like we just lost another vote for Ron Paul... Our friend here may never make it to the polling station...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:13 | 2228835 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Back now, Vote and Volt registered fine.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:24 | 2229204 Esso
Esso's picture

I'm curious, DCF. Had you been given the choice between your Volt and an identical car, but purely electric with the engine, fuel system, cooling system, etc. replaced with additional battery capacity, would you have still opted for the hybrid?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:56 | 2227808 sabra1
sabra1's picture

why waste money on flame decals? just a matter of time 'till you get the real thing!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:01 | 2227830 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

now THAT's funny!

Unless he's using them as a fire RETARD-ant... Now that would be even funnier...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:22 | 2227988 Kayman
Kayman's picture

The only lasting thing GM ever made was the 57 Chevy and perhaps the 58 Caddy.  Down hill ever since.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:48 | 2228491 Silver Dreamer
Silver Dreamer's picture

He's fighting fire with fire!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 14:15 | 2228844 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

The ratio between people burned in all other cars to any burned in Volts is infinte.  The one that caught fire took three weeks to do it, after a crash most wouldn't have survived.  Yet there are about 10 fatal fires a day in gasoline cars.

Here's a vid of that test for anyone who wants the actual facts.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 15:43 | 2229319 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:04 | 2227845 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

The same people who complain about the status quo have an irrational hatred of this vehicle.  And they also seem to love Hummers which were developed by and for the military, the most socialist organization in favor of the status quo in the history of the planet.  

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:14 | 2227930 Argonaught
Argonaught's picture

I don't understand this statement.  Can you clarify?

...the military, the most socialist organization in favor of the status quo in the history of the planet

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:21 | 2227964 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

The military is funded entirely by productive taxpayers.  It has a vested interest in the status quo of marching around the world and keeping the oil supply flowing.  The military industrial complex benefits the oligarchs because 1) they build the war machines and pass the inflated bill to the taxpayer, and 2) they do not have to factor in the cost of worldwide military presence into each gallon of gas, because that cost is passed on to every taxpayer.    If the actual cost of keeping the oil flowing were priced into every gallon of gas, gasoline would become multiples more expensive and would force consumers to consider other options.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:44 | 2228152 Argonaught
Argonaught's picture

You drifted a bit.  I don't think I asked anything about the price of oil (by the way, you are off on that argument as well since oil would be significantly cheaper if there was peace rather than all the conflicts of the past 100 years).  First of all, the military has no vested interest in the status quo; the status quo has a vested interest in the military.  You then wander into the military-industrial complex where you are closer to correct, but that is still irrelevant to your original statement calling the military a socialist organization.  So back to the original statement and question.  Your definition of the military as socialist is because it is tax-payer funded?  That would make every government program socialist.  Even in communist countries.  The members of the military pay their "taxes" in blood...and those taxes are disproportionally paid by the rank-and-file.  I guess you could say the military is Reverse Socialist, but since that is exactly the opposite of what you said, you probably want to use a different term.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:58 | 2228219 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Umm.... not that I agree with LTER, but define cheap oil... 

Is not the oil that we pay for with fiatcos cheap? Buying something with what has been called "Jew Confetti" here at ZH is a pretty good deal, n'est ce pas??

The military keeps oil cheap by maintaining the petro-dollar link...when that goes, you will see what expensive oil is... 

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:11 | 2228293 Argonaught
Argonaught's picture

A further drift off topic, but your point is valid.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:28 | 2228050 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Which people are you talking about?  I am against both.  The military should only be based in US possessions and should only be used for defense of the nation and defense against piracy/aggression on the high seas.

The Volt was designed by committee.  Just fucking awful.  If we didn't have all these crushing regulations with regard to vehicles, Aptera might have just made one of the finest vehicles ever, and it would have kicked the crap out of the Volt:

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:32 | 2228411 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Why did it go out of business then???

Are you saying that they should have had gubbmint grants/loan guarentees to keep them going??

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:05 | 2227856 Blythes Master
Blythes Master's picture

I'm curious if you have stopped drinking purple kool- aid long enough to discover how much replacement batteries cost for your beloved dolt, dolt?

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