Skip to comments.Toyota and Nissan Shift From Electric Vehicles; Death Knell for Chevy Volt?
Posted on 02/05/2013 9:26:42 AM PST by jazusamo
According to Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, "Because of its shortcomings - driving range, cost and recharging time - the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars; we need something entirely new." Uchiyamada is considered the "father of the Prius."
An article by Reuter's exposes the limitations of EVs and focuses on Toyota's, along with Nissan's, change in strategy, which is now moving away from EVs. Even the most ideological and extreme green energy proponents and backers of the Chevy Volt will have to open their eyes to the sad truth uncovered by the latest report.
The truth is that the technology of lithium-ion based, pure electric vehicles is not the most efficient manner to power motor vehicles. This is something that has been said before by many credible sources. In fact, I previously reported that auto industry executives and engineers voiced similar concerns . Even General Motors' executive director of powertrain-engine engineering, Sam Winegarden, once presented evidence that lithium-ion batteries, used in electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and GM's plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, were ranked close to zero compared to gasoline and diesel fuels, which delivered the most energy for the least amount of weight and cost to the consumer. Now, Uchiyamada becomes the most credible source to weigh in and attention should be paid to his opinion.
The recent Reuter's article states the obvious, "The reality is that consumers continue to show little interest in electric vehicles, or EVs, which dominated U.S. streets in the first decade of the 20th century before being displaced by gasoline-powered cars." Also, "Despite the promise of 'green' transportation - and despite billions of dollars in investment, most recently by Nissan Motor Co - EVs continue to be plagued by many of the problems that eventually scuttled electrics in the 1910s and more recently in the 1990s. Those include high cost, short driving range and lack of charging stations." It is important to note that the criticisms are aimed at plug-in EVs and not hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
American taxpayers and voters should open their eyes to the insane waste of taxpayer money on a pursuit by the Obama Administration to electrify the US auto fleet before considering whether or not this is the most efficient manner in which to wean America off of fossil fuels. The criticisms (i.e. reality) are coming from non-biased sources, not from right wing extremists or oil proponents. Why is the truth so hard to see? Why aren't Republican representatives questioning the green farce? How many billions of dollars need to be wasted on the green folly before the truth is exposed? No one in government is fighting to end the madness, even though a recent congressional budget office report showed that EVs are costing taxpayers billions of dollars with little benefit.
January's dismal sales figures for the Chevy Volt confirm the lack of interest by consumers in costly plug-in vehicles and some Chevy dealers have pulled the plug on the car . General Motors has been dishonest regarding demand for the vehicle and has had to manufacture demand with incentivized leases. Taxpayers pay $7,500 in federal subsidies on each plug-in EV sold (or leased) and sales are still swooning. Nissan has thrown away almost $6,000 on incentives on its competing Leaf, and the car sells even less than the Volt! What is it going to take to get the picture?
The saddest part of the green boondoggle story is that our own government is responsible for the wasteful focus on plug-in vehicles. General Motors still has Obama-appointed management that will not back off on the plug-in EV technology. In fact, they are doubling down on the losing hand. But Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan executive vice president, sheds light on the true driving force behind the EV madness. Reuter's quotes Yamashita as he blames rising government fuel efficiency standards, "It is not possible to meet (future) regulations unless vehicles are electrified."
So, there you have it. Our government forces automakers to build cars that few want in a misguided strategy that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars backing a technology that was unproven and now admittedly not the best alternative to gas-powered vehicles. Auto manufacturers are not trying to make money selling the cars, nor are they even concerned with the low sales, with the exception of GM which has staked its reputation on the Volt and has had political motivations. The automakers don't have to sell a lot of these cars to meet rising government standards; they only have to offer them, which does nothing to actually help the environment or oil dependence. Now how stupid is that?
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.
Austin, the Leftist capital of TX, has installed numerous charging stations that are rarely used. What a boondoggle.
Just as long the GM is a subsidy of the Federal Government, no way in hell is the Volt going away..
Second article in two days and this one is just as wrong as the other. The Prius as well as the Volt are not pure electric vehicles. They are hybrids. They have a conventional gas engine as well as electric capability. You can drive just as far in either as a conventional car.
Cars and guns. Two things people who have no idea what they are talking about,having no problem sharing their ignorance.
The Volt may be an overpriced car that nobody wants, but it is not a pure plug-in electric car. That is what the article is talking about.
The Volt runs on gasoline if it is out of charge. The Leaf does not.
It is important to note that the criticisms are aimed at plug-in EVs and not hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
The government will use our money to prop up a failing system. Only government can do this. Government just raises taxes when its policies fail, as they always do.
Agreed...GM can afford to lose money on the sale or lease of every Volt as long as taxpayers subsidize GM sales and their finance company Ally Financial.
Last time I went to Logan airport in Boston they had charging stations for electric cars with parking spots right next to the elevator in the parking garage. There were about 6 spots all empty. Each one had a sign: parking for electric vehicle only. The rest of the garage was full.
The Green Police ain’t gonna like this one...
Sorry the Federal Government should not be in the Auto business..
I would love a good electric car.
However, I - as pretty much all of the science community - know that 1) we just don’t have suitable batteries yet, and 2) had we the batteries, we don’t have the power grid capacity.
I really wish that politicians would attack problems about which they had adequate intellect...such as.....er....uh.....
Time for BO to issue an Executive Order, mandating that people buy electric cars. /sarc
Well said, agree on all points.
I would add...Do away with the taxpayer subsidies and tax credits.
—I would add...Do away with the taxpayer subsidies and tax credits.—
There is nothing I hate more than duping people into buying something with Government “tax credits”. Government shouldn’t pick and choose winners and losers (they mostly pick losers). Anything not good enough to make it without subsidies isn’t good enough to begin with.
They can’t come up with a battery that’ll get my Galexy S III cellphone through the day without needing a charge. I’m supposed to believe they can manufacture a battery with enough oomph to power a car for any reasonable distance?
NISSAN needs to forget about the Leaf and do something about their trannies and radiators that are causing so much angst among owners. Already and NHSTA investigation. (DP 12004).
“Second article in two days and this one is just as wrong as the other. The Prius as well as the Volt are not pure electric vehicles. They are hybrids. They have a conventional gas engine as well as electric capability. You can drive just as far in either as a conventional car.”
Not quite true.
The Prius has a conventional engine as its main powerplant, and it uses plug in electricity and recaptured waste energy to supplement this.
The Volt uses the plug in energy as the main power source, with the conventional engine as back-up.
To put this into perspective, the Volt’s electric motor is 149 hp, while its engine is 80 hp....while the Prius uses a 80 hp electric motor and 98 hp engine. See how they are reversed? (also keep in mind that the Volt weighs 600 lb more than the Prius plug in, because it is primarily an electric vehicle).
What difference does it make? Ask GM. Specifically ask them about ‘mountain mode’. What mountain mode does is allow you to plan for a big hill. If you know you’ve got to go through a mountain pass on the way to work for example, you have to plan ahead. While you’re on the flats, you put it in ‘mountain mode’ which turns on the conventional engine, and preserves the electric charge. That way, when you get to the mountain, you can use the much more powerful electric motor to get up the hill. And yes I know that the combustion engine really powers a generator...etc....but at the end of the day, an 80 hp engine is not going to power a 149 hp electric motor.
Could you get up the hill on the gas engine alone? Yes, but you’ll be on the shoulder letting everybody else pass you, with a power to weight ratio of around 1 hp per 45 lb.
But no, the trip will not at all be normal, or ‘conventional’.
There are some other non-convential aspects of taking a trip in the Volt. Keep in mind that battery longevity relies on keeping the batteries in a specific temperature range...at all times. So, the batteries have on board cooling...and the manual requires that the car be plugged in, if parked in direct sunlight. Think about that. Say you take a ‘conventional’ trip to a baseball game, in the middle of the summer, and the parking lot is one big frying pan. According to the manual, you better find a garage to park, and hop a bus to the stadium.
There are many other problems. The Volt cannot give a ‘conventional’ driving experience. I know you still think I’m ignorant, because I just don’t understand. But trust me, I do....and so do the millions of car buyers who have chosen to not buy the Volt.
I wasn’t calling you ignorant. I was just pointing out that the article talking about pure electric cars makes the jump to hybrids and that’s just not the case. Toyota will still be making hybrids. So will every other car co. that’s currently making hybrids.
As for the Volt. I sell them. My sister store does anyway. I’ve driven one and they drive pretty dang well. We had one in Demo service and it was driven many times 70 miles one way and back, 140 miles total without being recharged and it did just fine. Drove fine on just gas also.
The 41,000 price is another thing tho. I read somewhere that GM is losing somewhere north of 7,000 bucks for every one they sell.
Oh, I also work at a Toyota dealership. Have been for 20 years. So I have some experience with the Prius also.
I understand that some hybrids are plug ins and some are not?
That’s right. Prius never made a pulg in until this year and I have yet to see one. Volt is a plug in hybrid
“We had one in Demo service and it was driven many times 70 miles one way and back, 140 miles total without being recharged and it did just fine.”
This is simply not true.
“This is simply not true.”
Of course it is. It is a gas/electric hybrid. It can and does run on gas only. What part of this do you people not understand?
“Of course it is. It is a gas/electric hybrid. It can and does run on gas only. What part of this do you people not understand?”
The part where you said:
We had one in Demo service and it was driven many times 70 miles one way and back, 140 miles total without being recharged and it did just fine.
Your plaid jacket is looking nice today, by the way.
“I was just pointing out that the article talking about pure electric cars makes the jump to hybrids and thats just not the case”
I think this is a case of the headline not matching the actual quote in the article.
And, I think the Volt crowd has been very quick to confuse feeble minded media types, by claiming that the Prius is ‘copying’ them, by adding a plug in option.
You distinguish between pure electric and hybrids. I break it down further:
Electric with ICE backup
ICE with electric capture of waste energy.
And, there is a huge difference - and I hope I was able to explain it clearly. The Prius technology is actually very clever, and captures energy that would otherwise be wasted. The addition of the plug in allows the owner to buy his first few miles at $0.03 a mile vs $0.08 a mile....but without all the drawbacks of the vault. Again, pretty clever.
The Volt technology is not clever...and its capabilities are not fundamentally better than those of ‘curiosity’ electric cars built half a century ago.
I understand you have driven the Volt; and, I’m glad you liked it. But I hope I was able to illustrate the lack of power it would have in steep terrain. Assuming the 80 HP ICE transmits power to the electric motor with perfect efficiency, that’s 1 hp per 45 lb. In my youth I remember that the Ford Pinto could not make it up hills easily, with 3 people in the car (I see you are from Alabama - I grew up in the Birmingham area, at the tip of the Appalachain chain. These aren’t the Rocky mountains, but it is hilly). A wikipedia search of the Pinto shows varying engines, etc....but the absolute worst version I could find had 1 hp per 42 lb of car - still better than the Volt running on the engine (with a perfect eneergy conversion to the electric motor). So we are talking 1972 Pinto performance levels on the conventional engine - really not good at all.
The last time I went to Birmingham, I went to see Vulcan (kinda like people in NYC who never go to the Statue of Liberty...I’d never been). I remember the road up there is a very long sustained grade - very challenging. If you ever get to drive a Volt again, I would invite you to take a 35 mile joy-ride, and then go see Vulcan.
They have a nice museum there, and a new elevator up to the statue. We spent around 3 hours there....now if its summer, you won’t be able to stay as long in the Volt (due to battery cooling requirements to be under cover or plugged in). So, only buy the statue tour, and forget about the museum. Anyway, I would be very surprised if you were to report back that the Volt drove ‘fine’ on a day trip like that.
Now the Prius that you sell - although it has low HP, it weighs less, and has a power to weight ratio 29% better than the Volt in ICE mode. Another way of looking at it - if the Prius ever seems underpowered going up a highway ramp or steep hill, just imagine 29% less power. That would be what a Volt in ICE mode feels like.
And, that is true. Maybe I don't understand the question. Or maybe your don't know what you are talking about. Or maybe you are just acting ignorant. Or maybe you are ignorant. Or maybe you are just being augmentative. Whatever.
But I can assure you that a Volt can drive 140 miles in a day without being recharged. I'm not making this up. It is really, really true.
Perhaps you could point me to an on-line review of the Volt by known auto testers wherein the Volt got 140 miles on one charge?
One more damn time. It is a gas/electric hybrid! It can and does run on gas only! WTF? Where did I ever say it can run 140 miles on one charge? I said it ran 140 miles per day without being recharged. Because it runs on gas also! I can’t make it any clearer. If ya’ll are too damn dumb to read then I can’t help you.
And Thank you
“But I can assure you that a Volt can drive 140 miles in a day without being recharged. I’m not making this up. It is really, really true.”
Why would you even bring up the fact that a car with a gas engine can drive 140 miles, a singularly unimpressive feat even at the end of the 19th century.
What an opportunity: Park a 1959 Cadillac in one of those spots, then run an extension cord (connected to nothing) from under the hood into one of those charging thingies.
You said it went 140 miles without a recharge and then you said “It ran fine on just gas also”
I love razzing people who can’t admit they are wrong.
You’re more fun than most - especially with your feigned indignance at being others not understanding plain English.
Come on, now.....what’s it going to take to get you to drive this baby home today?
see, you got me laughing so hard I can’t talk no good and stuff
“We had one in Demo service and it was driven many times 70 miles one way and back, 140 miles total without being recharged and it did just fine.
Post #31. Re read and get back to me.
From your post:
“We had one in Demo service and it was driven many times 70 miles one way and back, 140 miles total without being recharged and it did just fine. Drove fine on just gas also.”
LOL.....”Drove fine on just gas also”
Come on, man. quit digging.
“Why would you even bring up the fact that a car with a gas engine can drive 140 miles, a singularly unimpressive feat even at the end of the 19th century”
Because apparently many people don’t know the difference between an electric vehicle and a hybrid. Even the folks who wrote the article.
Only 140 miles?
Chevy Volt has a 9.3 gallon gas tank, which should give 350 miles on the 1.4 liter gas engine alone.
Funny how GM guys claim the Volt is all electric and not a hybrid until it is no longer convenient. How about the claims that the gas engine only is a generator and never kicks in to give power to the drive train. That’s not true either, is it?
You know what the article is talking about, plug-in vehicles that qualify for the $7,500 tax credit because of the size of the battery. If it walks like a lame duck and quacks like a lame duck...
Only 140 miles?
Chevy Volt has a 9.3 gallon gas tank, which should give 350 miles on the 1.4 liter gas engine alone.
And, you are so right. As a matter of fact if you just fill the gas tank up it has unlimited miles to a charge Without recharge. Just keep filling it up. You and your buddy are the ones that said it’s impossible to go 140 miles without recharge.
Actually I’m wearing a golf shirt and blue pants and a sweater if it’s any of your business.
“Come on, now.....whats it going to take to get you to drive this baby home today?”
So, here come the car salesmen jokes then?
You know, i’ve been on this news site for several years. And I believe this is the first time I have ever seen someone here belittle someone else’s legitimate job. But that’s ok. I pay taxes pay my bills and support my family. So, you can kiss my ass.
My dad’s a pediatrician. Class president and top of his graduating class. My uncle was president of his class. Bobby Bowden (long time coach of Fl. State) was Vice president. My brother is a PHD. My other brother works with AT&T. Used to fly to Atlanta once a week on the company jet, now he flies to Dallas once a month to trouble shoot their network. My mother decided later in life that she wanted to learn French and did and in her fifties started teaching French in High School. Oh BTW she was also Valedictorian of her high school. Her mentor was a French lady who married one of General Pattons aids and moved to the United States after the war. And, I can out fish, out hunt, out shoot and out sell any of them. And I can also beat any of them in Trivial Prusuit. Not to brag but the truth is the truth.
So anyway, your little Engineer tag doesn’t intimidate me in the least. Hell, everybody’s got to do something for a living.
You continue to divert, friend.
You said the Volt will go 140 miles without needing a recharge and works great on gas only too......
That’s where you’re being teased, because of your hard-headed refusal to admit you were full of it on the Volt.
You’re still going strong with that. Tell you what, I’ll stop teasing you - that’s my final offer - now go check with your sales manager and see if we can work this out - and I’m not paying for the undercoating.
this is baloney...auto dealerships and makers are web financially to the oil companies. Also, dealerships makes tons of profit off of maintenance, which is greatly reduced with electric cars. We have batteries almost ready that will far exceed the 100 miles per charge now and it is far cheaper than gasoline. This article is full of holes. Probably written by an oil company person.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.