Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Is 230?

Two days ago coming out of the Metro, there was a lady handing out free green T-shirts.

"What is it?", I asked. "It's a new environmentally friendly product coming out tomorrow. Plus, it's a free T-shirt; just take it." Here's the logo:

On the back is a URL: On Monday, the URL resolved to a page linking to discussions on Twitter and Facebook with people guessing what it was. Viral marketing, I get it. Today it resolves to the new GM Chevy Volt 2010.

They are bragging about a possible 230 MPG from one gallon of gasoline. The trick is that the battery will give you up to 40 miles before the internal combustion engine kicks in (as long as you plug it in every day).
[GM] Under the new methodology being developed, EPA weights plug-in electric vehicles as traveling more city miles than highway miles on only electricity. The EPA methodology uses kilowatt hours per 100 miles traveled to define the electrical efficiency of plug-ins. Applying EPA's methodology, GM expects the Volt to consume as little as 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles in city driving. At the U.S. average cost of electricity (approximately 11 cents per kWh), a typical Volt driver would pay about $2.75 for electricity to travel 100 miles, or less than 3 cents per mile.
That sounds great, right? Look at the fabulous mileage and cheap fuel; and so green, too. Except the price of the car is about $40K.

The uber-popular Prius is only about $21K. Even the Honda Accord, possibly the most popular commuter car ever, averages about $20K. That leaves a delta of about $20K to make up.

If we assume a $3 per gallon cost of gas on a 15 gallon tank for our (now clunker) Honda that only gets 30 MPG, this yields a weekly cost of $45. Multiply by 52 weeks in a year = $2,340. Therefore it would take approximately 8.5 years to recoup the cost of buying the super-efficient electric Volt. I'm thinking you might be looking at a trade-in by then, or at least significant repairs as other parts wear out.

No sale.

The government has spent billions and billions (trillions?) on bailouts for the auto industry, cash for clunkers, bank bailouts, and so-called stimulus plans -- and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.


Polska said...

You forget that ecologically friendly does not always mean economically friendly. Some ecologically friendly practices do save money, but ecologically friendly things? That's where it's valuable to look at the fine print.

LarryD said...

Great last line!

The other thing about the Volt is that it requires a daily charge. The estimated draw on the power grid, even with modest sales, could cause brown outs, and would require an increase in power supply - which is mostly provided for via coal.

So much for "saving the environment".

If the desire to reduce dependency on foreign oil was honest, then we'd be drilling - right here, right now!

FamilyMan said...

Ah, the whole post was great...the perfect set-up for the punchline. You must have laughed yourself silly constructing it back from the ending!

Nod said...

Thanks. A friend of mine told me, "Hey, you got a free t-shirt from auto in chief Obama!"


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