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The Spaminator
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And the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year is...

The Chevy Volt



2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Chevrolet Volt
A Car of the Future You Can Drive Today
By Angus MacKenzie
January, 2011 issue
Motor Trend


"I expected a science fair experiment. But this is a moonshot."

Chris Theodore is a wily veteran of the auto business, a seasoned development engineer whose impressive resume includes vehicles as thoughtfully executed as the Chrysler minivan and as tightly focused as the Ford GT.

As one of the consultant judges on this year's COTY panel, Chris brought the deep insight and professional skepticism you'd expect of someone who's spent his entire working life making cars. But our 2011 Car of the Year, Chevrolet's ground-breaking Volt, has blown him away.

"This is a fully developed vehicle with seamlessly integrated systems and software, a real car that provides a unique driving experience. And commuters may never need to buy gas!"

Like all of us on the staff at Motor Trend, Chris is an enthusiast, a man who'll keep a thundering high-performance V-8 in his garage no matter how high gas prices go. But he nailed the Volt's place in automotive history: "If this is the brave new world, then it's an acceptable definition."

In the 61-year history of the Car of the Year award, there have been few contenders as hyped -- or as controversial -- as the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt started life an Old GM project, then arrived fully formed as a symbol of New GM, carrying all the emotional and political baggage of that profound and painful transition. As a result, a lot of the sound and fury that has surrounded the Volt's launchhas tended to obscure a simple truth: This automobile is a game-changer.

Full text at the link
 

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Re: And the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year is...

Good! I'm shocked MT got it right, but they sure as **** did! Congrats GM! The Volt is a vehicle every American should be proud of.

I would have puked if they gave it to the Fiesta or Sonata over an engineering masterpiece like the Volt...
 

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Completely deserved! Lets hope the gurus at GM marketing doesn't butch this launch.

Wasn't the Aura also a Motor trend COTY at some point?
 

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From an engineering standpoint, I feel it's completely deserved. However, I do feel a little uneasy about the Volt getting the award given the low volumes, specific markets for the first year. But if the Ford Transit Connect (MT or NAIAS TOTY ?) was eligible under largely the same circumstances, than the Volt should be as well. I'd just rather see these kind of awards go to more mainstream vehicles in general. It's like seeing the American League rookie of the year award going to a relief pitcher...
 

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From an engineering standpoint, I feel it's completely deserved. However, I do feel a little uneasy about the Volt getting the award given the low volumes, specific markets for the first year. But if the Ford Transit Connect (MT or NAIAS TOTY ?) was eligible under largely the same circumstances, than the Volt should be as well. I'd just rather see these kind of awards go to more mainstream vehicles in general. It's like seeing the American League rookie of the year award going to a relief pitcher...
I have no problems with the Volt wining the award, it more than deserves it. It may not be a high volume seller but it sure as heck is a game changer and is an American engineering triumph despite GM's marketing repeated efforts to screw it over.
 

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This is absolutely deserved. They were called on it by Toyota's last CEO who said it was a waste of time. It was indeed a moon shot and it speaks volumes to American Eugenius spirit. Job well done.
 

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Im so happy MT had the foresight too look past this "GM lied" bull**** and see the Volt for how amazing of a car it really is!

where are all the Vapor Volt people now?
 

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Im so happy MT had the foresight too look past this "GM lied" bull**** and see the Volt for how amazing of a car it really is!

where are all the Vapor Volt people now?
Don't get over your head, this is more like winning Miss America contest.

The Motor Trend award does not neutralize the horrible marketing or GM lies, and the fact that the car is NOT a pure EV. The criticism never meant that the Volt was a bad car, only that GM doesn't know how to market it. Maybe this award and Motor trend's sister publication Automobile Magazine's Automobile of the Year award which is going to be announced any time now for the Volt too, will give GM the confidence it needs not to screw up the Volt.
 

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Don't get over your head, this is more like winning Miss America contest. The Motor Trend award does not neutralize the horrible marketing or GM lies, and the fact that the car is NOT a pure EV. The criticism never meant that the Volt was a bad car, only that GM doesn't know how to market it. Maybe this award and Motor trend's sister publication Automobile Magazine's Automobile of the Year award which is going to be announced any time now for the Volt too, will give GM the confidence it needs not to screw up the Volt.
Hmmm, you didn't seem to think this way a year ago when the Fusion Hybrid and TC won....
 

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Hmmm, you didn't seem to think this way a year ago when the Fusion Hybrid and TC won....
Care to post a quote?

Anyway, you don't even know what you are talking about (for a change) It wasn't Motor Trend who awarded those two, that was the way more prestigious North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awarded by the press during NAIAS in Detroit.

Actually I don't even remember who won Motor Trend's Truck of the Year last year, I know it wasn't the TC. And it wasn't the Fusion Hybrid the one that won MT's COTY last year but the entire Fusion line (same for NACOTY).

I think though that the Volt has a strong change and all the credential to go home with the NACOTY award, it would only be fair . . . . despite GM's lies.
 

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The vehicle is not even for sale. It should not even qualify.

Now let's look at this VaporVolt with clear eyes, instead of heads up the arses.

Purchase price - minimum of $41k. You don't get the $7,500 until taxes are filed. So all of your costs will be based on the full sticker price - sales taxes paid - annual personal property taxes paid on the value over the years that won't ever deduct $7,500 off the value of the vehicle.

Best tests using the VaporVolt as people would use it gives you a real world range of 25 miles in stop and go driving, with heater or AC on - radio on. Average commute is 16 miles one way - so the VaporVolt doesn't have enough electrical range to go all electric. No electric charging at most commuter locations, so the VaporVolt will need gasoline assist. Best mileage has been 35 mpgs for the gasoline portion, but this is rush hour - expect much less mileage. So you'll travel a minimum of seven miles on gasoline during the least efficient time of the engine's output.

Vehicle B is a Ford Fiesta 4-door hatchback. Purchase price around $18k. Worst case case mileage around 30 mpgs. Difference in PURCHASE cost is $23k against the VaporVolt. VaporVolt consumers are still paying interest on the full $41k sticker price - and that is without any options being added.

For the sake of argument, let's say cost of gasoline is $4 per gallon - the higher the cost, the better the comparison for the VaporVolt. A lower cost gives advantage to the Fiesta. $23k buys 5,750 gallons of gasoline at $4 per gallon.

VaporVolt and Fiesta will achieve nearly the same miles per gallon on gasoline used in stop and go driving when the Vapor Volt is using gasoline assist. However, it will use .23 gallons on a 32 mile trip because of its electric battery 25 mile range. (32-25=7. 7 miles/.23 gallons = 139 miles/gallon) The "effective" miles per gallon would be 139 miles per gallon. The Fiesta would use 1.06 gallons (32 miles/30 mpgs =1.06 gallons used) Vapor Volt would cost for gasoline (at $4 per gallon)... .92 cents PLUS cost of electricity. Fiesta would cost $4.24 for the trip). Based upon what I've read it would cost $1 to charge the VaporVolt battery. So the cost for the VaporVolt will be $1.92 versus $4.24 for the Fiesta. You would "save" $2.32 per day you drove the Vapor Volt to work.in

Mind you, this is the best scenario for the VaporVolt since once you expend the battery, you go on gasoline power and the Fiesta gets better gas mileage from that point (35 mpgs v. 40 mpgs).

Let's see how many work days you'd have to use your VaporVolt to just break even with the Fiesta!

Cost difference between VaporVolt and Fiesta in this case is $23,000. Cost savings per work day depleted battery with recharge is $2.32 advantage for the VaporVolt. 5 work days in a week. Taking out two weeks for vacations, that is 50 work weeks in a year or 250 days per year that the VaporVolt is used in its best case scenario. Dividing the roughly 10,000 trips you could get out of the VaporVolt in the operating savings over the Fiesta, it would take over 39 years to break even! ($23,000/$2.32 = 9913 trips that could be made in the cost savings over the Fiesta compared to the difference in PURCHASE price. There are 250 trips per year to commute to work (noted from above). 9913 trips/250 trips/year = 39.65 years it would take to break even with the VaporVolt against the Fiesta just to buy a VaporVolt as a commuter car for work only!

Let's now discuss the $7,500 tax credit. The tax credit will be financed as deficit spending - typical rates right now on treasuries are 3.00% per year give or take a few .10%. Cost per year to carry that tax credit is $225. If the government were operating at a surplus, that money would be coming from the surplus; however, that credit must be borrowed to give to the consumer so it is financed through deficit spending and incurs annual costs of interest for as long as it is borrowed. It is noted that we are not in surplus and deficits are being rolled over and refinanced so the cost of the $7,500 will increase each year with the interest cost rolled over into the principle infinitely. Therefore, we cannot consider deducting the credit from the sticker price because the costs of the tax credit are in perpetuity until the budget is balanced and we have a plan to pay down the debt. Regardless of when the $7,500 plus interest is repaid to the treasury, someone will have to pay for this - and just because the owner gets the money as a tax credit against taxes owed during that calendar year, that doesn't mean someone doesn't have to pay for that tax credit somewhere. This is not free money and ultimately must be repaid by all taxpayers, so the cost that is deferred by one taxpayer causes increased operating costs for the rest of the taxpayers.

ONE DAY 400 MILE ROAD TRIP.- 1 CHARGE TO START/NO RECHARGING ON TRIP

Let's look at a trip in the VaporVolt now against the Fiesta. One day trip of 400 miles in one day on one battery charge. Like a weekend trip to the mountains or to the beach. VaporVolt has best case range of 40 miles assuming 65 miles per hour rate. VaporVolt best case mileage on the trip is 35 miles per gallon. Ford Fiesta best case mileage is 40 miles per gallon. Both might get better in the real world on this trip, but people have gotten these mileage figures consistently with the two vehicles in tests so we'll go with these round numbers.

VaporVolt uses its engine for 360 miles (400 miles traveled - 40 mile battery range) VaporVolt uses 10.28 gallons of gasoline. 360 miles traveled/35 mpgs =10.28 gallons used.

Ford Fiesta uses engine for the entire 400 miles traveled. Fiesta uses 10 gallons to travel the same distance. 400 miles traveled/40 mpgs = 10 gallons used.

Thus the Fiesta is the more efficient of the two vehicles. This would increase the payback time of the VaporVolt over the Fiesta.

50 MILE ONE DAY TRIP - SHOPPING - STOP AND GO - 1 CHARGE TO START/NO RECHARGING DURING DAY

VaporVolt range is still 25 miles in stop and go traveling. 50 mile trip - 25 mile range = 25 miles on gasoline at 30 mpgs. This means the VaporVolt uses .83 gallons (25 miles/30 mpgs= .833 gallons).
Trip cost is $4.00 x .833 or $3.32 PLUS RECHARGE COST OF $1.00 or $4.32 for the trip.

Ford Fiesta uses gasoline for full 50 mile trip. The Fiesta gets 30 mpgs as well. 50 miles traveled/30 mpgs = 1.67 gallons used. Trip cost is $4.00 x 1.67 = $6.67. VaporVolt saves you $2.35 for that trip. That is roughly the savings you'd have on the commute. So see savings comparisons above.


THE NET - NET

From this comparison, there is very little economic rationale to purchase a VaporVolt over a Ford Fiesta vehicle (or similar priced vehicle with the same mileage); In fact, if you could buy a $10k used car with the same advantage, you totally eliminate the application of the tax credit to offset (see notations on why this shouldn't happen) VaporVolt acquisition cost.

If you bought the VaporVolt as a commuter car, it would take 39 years of usage to just break even with the Fiesta!

If you took a day trip with the VaporVolt, it is cheaper to use the Fiesta!

If you ran errands on your commute and extended the trip, you'd be still in a situation where it would take roughly 39 years to break even.

ONLY IF YOU WERE ABLE TO GET A SECOND COMPLETE CHARGE OF THE BATTERIES IN THE SAME DAY WOULD YOU BE AHEAD WITH THE VAPOR VOLT IN LESS THAN 39 YEARS!

Again, gasoline prices are not $4 per gallon right now and that favors the Fiesta because it uses more gasoline and its cost would be lower and the VaporVolts' cost wouldn't lower as much. So currently the breakeven scenario would take longer with the VaporVolt than in the scenarios used.

THE MORE YOU DRIVE THE VAPOR VOLT ON GASOLINE, THE LONGER IT WILL TAKE TO BREAKEVEN WITH THE FIESTA - THE FIESTA GETS BETTER GAS MILEAGE - PARTICULARLY ON THE HIGHWAY. AND IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO UPGRADE TO BASE 2012 FOCUS AND STILL HAVE THE SAME RESULTS! Base Focus is $16,995 and should get 40 mpgs as well on the highway.

The analysis above takes a real world look at how people would use the VaporVolt and does not fall into the trap of measuring gallons used in a tank of gasoline while not factoring in the cost of the recharges like many of the enthusiast rags have calculated. And while the MPGS of the VaporVolt look impressive, it is the COST PER TRIP that is the most important consideration when comparing a hybrid like VaporVolt to a non-hybrid vehicle.
 

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laserwizard said:
blah, blah, blah
Because clearly, the only difference between the Fiesta and the Volt is the price and fuel economy...

I really hope you copied and pasted that from somewhere else and didn't write all that up yourself.
 

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The vehicle is not even for sale. It should not even qualify.

Now let's look at this VaporVolt with clear eyes, instead of heads up the arses...
Laserwizard, I appreciate your detailed post
&
also have qualms about the Volt qualifying for inclusion THIS year.

My main differences I guess are that I don't look for cost/savings being a main reason for considering a hybrid - that'd be
- wanting to buy less gas - esp from foreign oil
- wanting to have & support this developing technology
+
hybrids areN'T for everyone...

...in my previous living situation the Volt would have been PERFECT tho
7 miles each way commute, all surface streets
plus the ability to use my One Car for occasional 1000 mile roundtrip road trips
 

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No big surprise here to me at all. It was a no brainer. Its a neat idea for sure. However, I cant get past the price and the scenario lazerwizard gave. There is no business case to be made for the Volt. It will sell Im sure to those who can afford one who want to make a statement. I just dont think its for the masses when the Cruze, Corolla, Focus and others are now getting good mileage and they are relatively cheap compared to the Volt. Good job to GM though for pushing it through. Its certainly thinking outside the box and they deserve credit.
 
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