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This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry

Plug-In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance is currently small but growing...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Volt and Leaf comparison questions

Volt and Leaf comparison questions:
1. Which one is more fun to drive?
Fun is very subjective. The Leaf is a little faster off the line and gets my vote. 

2. Which one has a better value/price ratio ?
This depends on your needs. I still have a gas SUV for camping and skiing, so this works for me whenever the Leaf's range won't cut it. The Volt costs more than the Leaf and in my case, the range extender would not do much for me, so is not worth the extra cost. 

3. For those that own both cars , If you had to give up one, which would it be ?
I don't own both, but if I were forced to own only one vehicle, I would want a plug-in hybrid SUV with 4WD and towing capability, which does not exist (yet). 

4. Which car needs the most improvement ? 
They are both 1st gen (in 2011) and improvements are trickling in.

More thoughts on value/price ratio: I think the real question is which one fits your needs best. Up leveling from the Volt and the Leaf specifically, I think it is really about what drivetrain (plug-in hybrid or BEV) fits your personal needs best. 

If you have a reliable, consistent commute/driving schedule that is within a BEVs range AND access to a gas powered vehicle when you need it (friends/car sharing/rent/own/taxi…), then a BEV can be a fit for you. However, if you have unpredictable driving needs, or no access to a backup, then a plug-in hybrid is likely a better fit.

Given the specs of most BEVs today, I think more people fall into the plug-in hybrid bucket. As BEVs improve (range, charge time…), this line will slowly shift. To be clear, I drive a Nissan Leaf and I love it, but if you have doubts or concerns about a BEV, then I think a PHV is the way to go. It allows you to move some (possibly a large majority) of your driving to be grid powered, while still giving you the safety net of the gas station infrastructure that already exists. 
There have been many Volt vs Leaf articles, threads, discussions… To me they are very different cars, with very different capabilities. Just as there is no “moving trucks vs sports cars” debate there should not be a PHV vs BEV debate. You pick the one that meets your needs. If you are trying to move furniture with a sports car, you will be disappointed. If you are trying to use that moving van at the track, you will again be disappointed. The Volt and the Leaf were the first high volume plug-in cars of this generation, so there is a natural tendency to compare them. I find them to be serving different market needs, so the comparison seems overblown to me."

Friday, August 17, 2012

Advanced Vehicle Technologies | Union of Concerned Scientists

Advanced Vehicle Technologies | Union of Concerned Scientists: "Electric Cars: The Future Starts Now
"The future is starting now for electric vehicles, with advanced electrified drivetrain technology entering the market. These electric-drive vehicles—battery, fuel cell, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid electric cars—could be the start of a revolution that will change the face of transportation in the years to come. UCS has demonstrated the potential of this technology with its Model E electric vehicle plans, which utilize existing technology to show the feasibility of a low-carbon vehicle future."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

History is bunk

History is bunk: "Henry Ford (1863 - 1947) was the founder of the Ford Motor Company, the father of the assembly line and of mass-production, and one of the wealthiest and most famous people who ever lived. However, history is bunk is probably one of the two things that most of us can recall that he ever said. The other being "People can have the Model T in any colour - so long as it's black".

What he actually said about history was:

"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today." (Chicago Tribune, 1916)."