Episode 1080 – Chinese EVs Stuck in Park, Formula E on Fast Track, Velvet is the new Matte

February 27th, 2013 at 11:45am

Runtime: 8:08

In one of the fastest growing markets in the world, EVs are going nowhere fast. Meanwhile, the future for EVs on the racing circuit could be looking bright as Formula E kicks into gear. The automotive equivalent of the “little black dress” is here and the secret is velvet. All that and more, plus John McElroy answers your questions and comments in this week’s edition of You Said It!

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Wow, there are a whole lot of developments going on in the world of electric cars, some of it very exciting, some of it bad. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Electric vehicles aren’t only selling poorly in the U.S., they’re going nowhere in China. Despite very generous government subsidies, the China Association of Auto Manufacturers reports that EV sales are next to zero in Beijing and Changchun. It blames poor sales on a lack of an infrastructure because there aren’t that many public charging stations, especially in cities. I would add that if China really goes heavy into EVs its pollution problem is going to get a lot worse than it is today. Almost 70 percent of China’s electricity comes from coal and a couple of studies show that a high number of electrics in China will cause a lot more pollution than gasoline cars.

OK, now let’s get to the good news involving electric cars. Nissan announced it will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, but it will not be with the DeltaWing. Instead Nissan is going to field a new design that will feature electric technology. It’s not releasing any more information at this point, except to say that they will be back in Garage 56, which is reserved for race cars pioneering the use of new technology. Nissan says it will share the telemetry from the car with the ACO and FIA sanctioning bodies so they can evaluate this breakthrough technology, whatever it is. They’re promising more details in the near future, and I for one cannot wait to see what it involves.

Speaking of interesting developments with electric technology in the racing world, there’s a new racing series starting up called Formula E, which is for electric racing cars. With FIA sanctioning, Formula E is scheduled to launch in 2014, with Rome, Italy as the site of the first race. McLaren is going to design and build the powertrain while Dallara will build the cars. The goal is to have ten races, all in major cities, with ten teams and 20 drivers. Now they just have to line up major sponsors and big name drivers, but so far it looks like Formula E is starting to attract some serious partners for its effort.

While Danica and the crash in the Nationwide Series dominated the headlines at Daytona, there was another piece of news at the race. The United States Postal Service, along with Richard and Kyle Petty introduced new stamps that feature five classic muscle cars. The limited edition set includes the 1966 Pontiac GTO, the 1967 Shelby GT500, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda and the 1970 Chevelle SS. The artwork was done by Tom Fritz, who my After Hours cohort Peter De Lorenzo says is one of the preeminent artists working in automotive fine art today. They make me want to go out and mail a letter.

George Costanza once said “I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable.” Well I think we may have found the car of his dreams. This is obviously a Fisker Karma, but that’s not paint on the exterior, it is the next generation of car wrapping — velvet. And no worries, the material can be washed with regular soap and water. If you would like to try and wrap your car yourself, you can buy different lengths of rolls in 15 different colors. Or, the company that sells the wrapping, Velvet Cars, can point you in the direction of the nearest certified applicator. Kinda cool looking, if you ask me.

But who’s asking me? Coming up next, it’s your turn to vent. We’ll be back in just a jiffy.

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Doug Teal liked our ranking of the top car companies but points out, “You didn’t mention where Nissan-Renault ranked in net profit!” Dang, he’s right. I left that out. Nissan-Renault is in fourth place globally, behind the Hyundai Group and ahead of Ford. Thanks for pointing that out, Doug.

XA351GT weighs in to say, “Well for 2 companies that say they aren’t worried about being number 1 in luxury sales, BMW and M-B sure do a lot of hollering about what each other is doing trying to be number 1.” XA, they used to say they don’t worry about who is Number One. I think they care a lot because now their bonuses, their promotions and their careers depend on keeping in front of the other guys.

Erme Trebor takes issue with me saying that Mazda was the first automaker to put a solar panel on the roof of a car. “John come on, Mazda, no it was the Toyota Prius that came out first with solar panel on top of the roof of the car to keep the car not so hot inside in high temperatures.” Erme, go look it up. The 1992 Mazda 929 offered a solar panel as an option. And that was almost 20 years before Toyota did it.

Rick liked our poll about what you would give up in your car. He took issue with me saying that I could live without air conditioning. “John that’s because you live in Michigan. Try giving up air conditioning in the south.” I hear what you’re saying Rick, but it gets hot and humid up here in the summer too. Living without A/C is uncomfortable, but living without heat is unbearable.

1doesntlikeapplepie is another viewer who doesn’t trust autonomous technology. “We can’t teach cars to read! With all of this autonomous technology going around! They might become sentient! Then rise up against us and then we will have to go to war with them! Riding on horseback and bikes we won’t stand a chance as they run us over kamikaze style! We’ll be doomed!” 1doesntlikeapplepie, thank you for making my day. I laughed out loud when I read your letter, and laughing is good for the soul.

You know we truly do appreciate reading all your letters and comments. But we want to make sure that our comment section is fun for all. We do not welcome personal attacks or the berating your fellow commenters. That means you’re really not good at defending your own position. So have fun with the comment section, or we will move to keep you out.

Hey, before we go, we’ve got Pietro Gorlier, the head of Mopar coming on After Hours tomorrow night and he’s bringing the Mopar 13 with him, so don’t miss it.

But for now I bid you adieu and please join us again here tomorrow.

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85 Comments to “Episode 1080 – Chinese EVs Stuck in Park, Formula E on Fast Track, Velvet is the new Matte”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect EV’s have the same problem in Chinese cities that they have in US cities, no place to plug them in. Urbanites who drive only short distances would be the most likely candidates for EV’s, but those urbanites often live in apartments with no power where they park their cars.

    Of course, in a lot of cities, like New York, there is no reason to have any kind of car. I suspect Beijing, and probably Shanghai are that way too.

  2. Bradley Says:

    I am pretty sure all the EV headlines aren’t too different from the horseless carriage headlines of the late 1800s.

    In other words, EVs are the future (maybe not tomorrow, but the future). It doesn’t matter what challenges they have.

    Once the car becomes autonomous (at least from city to city), a lot of the EV usability issues go away. Plus, the added relaibility of EVs combined with improved safety from autonomous driving – buying a car every 20 years may become the norm.

    They will eventually be affordable, just like the horseless carriage.

  3. HtG Says:

    start-stop, turbo diesels with capacitors. Also, america goes on a low carb diet.

    Now we know

  4. Lex Says:

    John and Crew great show!

    Velvet Car Skins? I would rather have a vehicle with polymer panels that resists dents, dings and chips the way Saturn once produced their vehicles.

  5. Feldman Says:

    I did not think of the Velvet thing,

    I remembered George wanted to have the Chrysler Le Baron allegedly owned by actor Jon Voight,

    which proved to be instead the one of dentist JoHn Voight,

    with bitemarks on a pencil found in the glove compartment as forensic proof…LOL

  6. Feldman Says:

    2. EVs were the ones that replaced the Horse and Buggy in the 1900s and lost the war to the far superior and far more efficient and far more AFFORDABLE as engines.

    You need to study your history a bit more carefully.. and I hope John does not interpret this comment as “berating” you.

  7. Feldman Says:

    6 above gas(oline), not.. “as” engines.

  8. Feldman Says:

    2 autonomous vehicles are a TERRIBLE Idea, an accident (and a big-ass lawsuit) waiting to happen, AND a very wasteful one. If you don’t want to drive, TAKE THE BUS.

  9. Bradley Says:

    #6 you are correct. However, that wasn’t the point. The point is, the NEW technology never shows up and immediately makes economic sense, etc.

    Things take time. Autonomous vehicles will also greatly benefit hybrids and internal combustion engines.

  10. John McElroy Says:

    Feldman (and others), please try and consolidate your posts. Sometimes there is a need to post several times in a row, but it is preferred that you write fewer larger posts instead of many smaller posts. It may not make sense to you, but “comment spam” makes this forum look like it’s dominated by a small number of outspoken members. We want others to feel open to joining in the discussion, so please help us out.

    Also, some of you are using fake e-mails to register your comments. This prevents us from contacting you privately to smooth things over. If we can’t contact you privately to rectify a problem, our only recourse is to ban your account. Just a word to the wise. Thanks.

  11. Bradley Says:

    #8 Lawyers do control so much of our lives.

    However, autonomous vehicles change the playing field drastically. So nearly all concerns of “human error” are removed. Humans should always be in the loop, just like commercial flight.

  12. ColoradoKid Says:

    Actually ….. err…. in Hot Rod lingo ….. Matte is in fact the new Suede .

    And errrr ….. if memory serves me correct ( and it does ) There was a ‘ Velvet ‘ car finish way back in the 70′s

    Ewwwww ! Memories of those flocking covered cars , vans and M/C’s coming to the fore . Objectionable being the understatement of the year .

    Oh well . Everything that goes around … comes around …. unfortunately . Errr …. crushed velvet bell bottoms and Nehru jackets anyone ?


  13. ColoradoKid Says:

    ALD & John

    The email I’m using I just recently canceled and the system won’t let me update to the new one ( keeps losing the post to the netherworld )

    Solution please ?

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hmm,black velvet cars,where’s Elvis,on the hood or the doors….

  15. Feldman Says:

    Bradley Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    #6 you are correct. However, that wasn’t the point. The point is, the NEW technology never shows up and immediately makes economic sense, etc.

    I believe it is you that are missing my point instead. What you still erroneously call a “new” technology is even older than gas and diesel, it waas tried and failed in 1900-1910, and it will be tried and fail just as badly today,

    because, battery tech sucks as much today as it did 100 years ago.

    You also missed so many of my other points, I really don’t h ave the time to explain them to you again.

    I bet you would be much happier in such forums as “Autoblog Green”.

  16. ColoradoKid Says:

    testing ( updated email address )

  17. Feldman Says:

    10 John, since you referred to me by name, I must admit that it is easier to read a brief post that has one main point or idea per post. I will try to comply with your request, though. If somebody writes a long post, I hope they will use short paragraphs with one idea per paragraph, and, ideally, number each paragraph for easy reference.

  18. T. Bejma Says:

    EV’s not selling in China makes a lot of sense. Due to the large population in the cities and the number of people living in apartments and condos, without a charging infrastructure in parking garages or on the street, it would be difficult to find a place to plug in.

    I just noticed today on my way into work that we have installed more EV charging stations in our parking garage (probably due to all of the EV Sparks roaming around here).

    Really got me thinking about getting a Volt for my next car so I could take advantage of free charging at work along with the stations popping up at the malls around here.

  19. Feldman Says:

    #17 In Shanghai, where I was for more than one month in May-July 2006, there were literally thousands of small electric scooters, at a time where there was none to be seen in the US (most likely even now very few are used here). I thought they were a very efficient idea, probably burned a pittance of electricity, and invariably had two people on each one.

    And even tho it is true that the vast majority of electricity in China is coal derived, it makes a huge difference if the pollution is in the middle of nowhere the plant) and not in the middle of the 20 million + people living in Shanghai alone.

    In addition, China has a real “all of the above” energy policy, and has eno\ugh $ surplus to invest in all kinds of green energy luxuries,

    so it makes much more sense for THEM to subsidize every electric vehicle by $7,500 or more of $ they DO HAVE, than US to do it to subsidize the stupid, stupid Dolt, and BORROW the money FROM CHINA to do it!

  20. ColoradoKid Says:

    So am i back ? ( with the updated address ?

  21. ColoradoKid Says:

    Thanks ALD staff !!!

  22. John McElroy Says:

    @ColoradoKid We’ve gone in and approved your updated e-mail. It will work now. Changing your e-mail is like leaving a comment for the first time. Just be patient and our folks will get it approved. We get HUNDREDS of new comments per day, most of which are spam, so it takes some time to comb through them all.

    @Feldman Thanks for your effort. I see your point, but I think it would be best if you do as you’ve suggested.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Interesting about the electric scooters. When I was in Shanghai, much earlier (1994), there were zillions of 2-stroke gas scooters and mopeds, not good for air quality in a huge city, but few, if any electric ones. There must now be a lot of “low power” charging stations for the electric scooters.

    I see a few electric scooters in the U.S., but they have limited usefulness in most areas, because of the low top speed, 15-20 mph for the ones I’m familiar with.

  24. HtG Says:

    Feldman, if you’re going to make a series of comments, try using Notepad in your PC to write out your comments over time, and then cut/paste onto the ALD site. When I have a long comment that’s how edit and avoid losing what I’ve written.

  25. Tman Says:

    That Nissan Le Mans EV sounds like the GreenGT H2. link here http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1078764_greengt-to-run-hydrogen-fuel-cell-car-at-le-mans-in-2013

    If it does turn out to be this car. Then Nissan is beginning to show a pattern of bank rolling out-of-the-box racing ideas and benefitting from the free advertising just like they did with the Deltawing.

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    One more if I may ( had to get the email update thing resolved )

    Formula E

    IMO its a pipe dream at best regardless of who’s claiming to get involved ( take note : McLaren’s involvement is minimal )

    Why ? Several reasons of which I’ll express a few here ;

    1) Sponsorship ( or the lack thereof ) Even F1 is having a hard time attracting new sponsors .. there’s too many series begging at the door and in this economy too little funds to go around . The sad fact is racing needs a ‘ new ‘ series ( of any kind ) like it needs another hole in its shallower by the minute pockets .

    2 ) Lack of long term commitment for EV’s from most manufactures ; BMW – Mercedes – Audi- Toyota et al have stated point blank EV’s have no long term future …. even Ghosn despite the semi pretentious LeMans EV thing is backing way down on Nissan/Renaults EV commitment . EV’s are a Dead Man Walking technology

    3) Noise – Seriously . Who wants to pay to see what would amount to human steered Slot Cars ? The amount of computer aids etc has already diminished the sport enough – take away the sound and whats left ?

    Honestly when it comes to EV’s we need to take a lesson from the automobiles past and shelve the idea once and for all . They didn’t work then . They sure as ____ don’t work now . And with all thats on the horizon for ICE’s – Hydrogen – etc why throw good money after bad ?

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree with those who don’t think the Volt should receive federal subsidies, but the car itself is a very good first effort for a plug-in hybrid that has meaningful range on battery power only, but “unlimited” range if you put gas in it.

    Yes, it gets only so-so mpg on road trips, but that is not the car’s primary goal. It is intended for people who will do nearly all their driving on battery power, but have the capability for longer trips, and be completely immune from “range anxiety.”

    …and yes, the Volt is clearly a “niche car” for people who like something different. Back to the subsidies, I doubt that they even have much to do with the number of Volts sold. I suspect the two Volt owners I know would have bought them without the subsidies, just because they like the car.

  28. ColoradoKid Says:

    Heres an article on the Nissan LeMans EV for those so interested ;


    Also TTAC has an insiders look into the NISMO facilities complete w/photos …. a few of the LM EV as well .

    But in light of how quickly Nissan dumped the Delta Wing ( after a raft of bad publicity I might add ) I wouldn’t go counting on this EV LeMans Nissan effort going long term either …especially considering Ghosn’s about face on road going EV’s

  29. HtG Says:

    E racing

    Maybe the locating of the races in big cities where the people are will be the trick. Berlin, Rome, London, Shanghai. They’ve already got the cars according to the link in today’s show. Plus there’s lots of driving talent looking for a seat, and Jean Todt’s FIA is focused on sustainability. Imagine the starts with all that torque instantly available.

    And no ear plugs!

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    Ooops !

    Kit’s gonna be a very unhappy camper ( just kidding Kit )


    Like I’ve said before . The more we try and be like them ( EU’s UK’s /smaller efficient cars / diesels etc ) The more in fact they want to be just like us ( US )


  31. Feldman Says:

    #24, thanks, good tip, I didn’t use Notepads before, but I’ll try to get used to it.

    #18 a few days ago I was driving and the car in front of me was a Canary Yellow (or similar color) Cobalt SS. I made sure it was the SS and not the regular Cobalt. The back of it was non-descript and inoffensive, but what was strange is that whoever drove it (maybe the spouse or mother of the owner?) drove it as slow as molasses, and really tested my patience until we reached a two-lane parkway when I could leave it behind. I didn’t see the point of them driving the SS, they should get the smallest engine and HP option possible if they were going to go at such a snail’s pace.

    #23 I may have said it before,but when I saw these electric scooters I asked how much they cost and I believe they gave me a number roughly translating to $1,000 US. I thought that was dirt-cheap, because while one can get 50 cc gas scooters from China for $1,000 or so in Europe and probably at Walmart here, electrics, even electric bicycles with a tiny motor, cost an arm and a leg outside China.

    #27 if you can find a driving profile of any driver for whom it makes econ sense to buy the VOlt over the non-plug-in prius, the Plug-in prius or the Passat-Jetta Diesels, I’d like to see proof of it. I bet it never makes econ sense, and VOlt owners continually miss the point by bragging about how much they save on gas, while in reality their cost per mile, even if you don’t include the generous $7500 taxpayer handout, is much higher.

    I wish they would just admit it, they buy it because of their Green Beliefs, and/or because they view it as a game/toy they enjoy regardless of the higher overall cost per mile.

    Paying $41k or more for a glorified Cavalier-Cobalt-Cruze where I can have an excellent base Cruze or Cruze eco for half the price (it even looks better than the VOlt), makes little sense, and sure zero economic sense.

    The Only EV I would love to drive and even own under certain conditions would be the Tesla S (even the cheaper base $60k version). It should be very interesting to see what happens to Tesla and the Model S. You can call Musk all kinds of names, and some may be true, but he sure is not stupid or incompetent, as many former (and one current!) Big 3 CEOs I can think of.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I agree that, at today’s prices of gas, electricity, and Volts, a Volt wouldn’t make economic sense for anyone. Then again, neither would a Corvette, an S-Class, or a Cayenne when you can get much less expensive vehicles which will serve the transportation needs of the people who buy the expensive cars.

    You can get electric scooters at low prices in the U.S. See:


    I’m sure that one is from China, and, I suspect, is one of many sold in the Chinese home market.

  33. M360 Says:

    John – Do you remember the days long before GM went bankrupt and Chevrolet was the brand that was leading Ford, Chrysler and the imports? Looking at Consumer reports, you would never know that ever happened. Cadillac was number 14 in Consumer Reports and there was no car in the top 10 from the Detroit 3. GM seems to be emphasizing Cadillac to the point that, maybe one day, Chevrolet will be irrelevant as a brand in the US, except for cars that bring back the good old days like the SS and the Camaro.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Feldman says:
    “Paying $41k or more for a glorified Cavalier-Cobalt-Cruze where I can have an excellent base Cruze or Cruze eco for half the price (it even looks better than the VOlt), makes little sense, and sure zero economic sense.”

    Even if you don’t want the Volt powertrain, the Volt has a huge advantage over the Cruze sold in the U.S. The Volt is a hatchback.

  35. Feldman Says:


    Do you really believe the buyer of the Volt is getting anything remotely similar to the experience of owning an.,.,. S Class or a Cayenne, or even a Corvette? That’s utterly laughable. Not even remotely close.

    Thanks for the info on scooters, I may check them out

    #34 The VOlt is not a real hatch, it is not sure what it wants to be, it looks a bit hatch-y but I bet it does not have even a fraction of the cargo room even a regular Prius (let alone the \huge Prius V) has.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Elon Musk is in fact the 21st century version of John Z DeLorean : with the DeLorean analogy applying to Elons TESLA cars as well ( they don’t work …. as advertised or otherwise ) And as with JZD I wouldn’t call Musk ‘ stupid ‘ either .

    Deluded beyond all comprehension .. a major league Snake Oil Salesman /Grifter and an even bigger liar than Marchionne … not to mention being an individual who suffers from deep paranoia , delusions of grandeur and a major case of ‘ Victim ‘ complex … excuse maker and a huge vaporware wimp when push comes to shove ….. yes .

    But stupid ? Like a fox in waiting ready to raid the henhouse maybe ;-)

  37. T. Bejma Says:


    Cruze Eco – $380/month lease, $396/60 month purchase
    My round trip to work = 34 miles
    Cruze Eco combined mpg = 34 mpg (40 highway, 29 city – my commute is mostly highway)
    Cost per day M-F – 20 days per month (drive the Cobalt, Equinox or ’69 Cutlass Convertible on the weekends) including lease and $3.80/gal gas = $22.80

    Chevy Volt – $249/month lease (no reason to buy)
    Cost per day electricity = $0.00 – charge at work – $1.50 – charge at home
    Cost per day gas = $0.00 – under 40 mile roundtrip
    Cost per day M-F = $12.45 to $13.95

    Daily savings for me to drive the Volt = $8.85
    Yearly savings compared to Cruze Eco = $2,124

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I am obviously not saying a Volt is like an S-Class. As I’m sure you realize, I am saying that a Volt is one of many cars that costs more than other cars that would serve their owner’s purposes. Like the S, Cayenne, and many other vehicles, a Volt is not a “cost effective” purchase. What I said is “laughable” only to those who don’t consider the context of what I’m saying.

    No, the Volt doesn’t have nearly as much room as my Prius, but it has a lot more than my MINI. When buying a car, “enough” room is all you need, and a Volt has plenty of room for the people I know who bought them, and the hatch makes it easy to use the available space. …and yes, a Prius V has even more room, but I wouldn’t buy one, because the regular Prius has all the room I need, it costs less, and gets better mpg, especially at higher speed.

  39. Tony Gray Says:

    When I saw the 66 GTO stamp I smiled from ear to ear! As an owner of one the most popular of the muscle cars (66 GTOs set a sales record for the genre..mine is a Tri-Power Hardtop) I can now emblazon all my written correspondence with a lovely vision of my favorite American Super Car.

  40. HtG Says:

    27 Kit, do you have a sense for how the people you know went about weighing the numbers for their Volt purchase? Did the numbers just have to be good enough to fell alright buying something they already wanted?

  41. HtG Says:

    ‘…to feel alright…’ sorry

  42. XA351GT Says:

    John, that last letter you red was great. I to laughed out loud as you read it. That was funny as heck.

  43. XA351GT Says:

    darn read not red, grr.I need a edit button please.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To my knowledge, both bought Volts, “just because they like them.”

    One buyer has always been a tinkerer with both electrical and mechanical things, and, when I saw him last summer, planned to assemble a solar array and inverter that would, on sunny days, provide some, or most of the power to charge the car. I don’t think he expects the project to be cost-effective, even if he can find some of the stuff he needs at very good prices. He just likes doing such things.

    The other buyer just plans to plug it in at home using a 120 volt outlet, and will be able to do nearly all of his driving on the electric range.

    Actually, I don’t know if either of them bought, or leased the car. From TB’s post 37, it sounds like leasing is the way to go if someone wants a Volt.

  45. Lex Says:

    I believe Formula E competition may bring innovation and improvement to the EV and battery technologies.

  46. ColoradoKid Says:


    i think we’d both need to admit that without the ‘ Wow ‘ factor as well as the incentives given ( to purchase both the VOLT which is a bloody hybrid …. and any other hybrid ) at least 60% of those that bought into the technology never would of done so

    As far as the incentives that one was well proven when temporarily the Hybrid incentives expired and Prius sales plummeted simultaneously .

    As to the ‘ Wow ‘ factor … chalk that up to ‘Early Adapter Syndrome ‘ and the ” Look at me in my VOLT etc I’m so morally superior to you cause I’m so green ” factor

    Now to be clear …. I’m not saying ~ All ~ and I’m not accusing you ….. but lets be honest and face the facts . An awful were and still are motivated by those two key factors … Take away the financial incentives … reveal the realities about how ‘ Green ‘ both are not and I’d place odds sales would tank . Not that the VOLT sales have ever been anything to brag about to begin with ( sorry T )


    T Bejma – Nice bit of math … but Im afraid reality and your mathematical conclusions do not line up … unless of course we’re doing Obama/GM ‘ New ‘ math that is .

  47. T. Bejma Says:


    I assure you CK, these numbers were taken directly from our internal GM website where employees can price vehicles for ourselves. I didn’t even include the incentive. What do you think is not right?

    Hybrids are not eligible for an incentive anymore, they were phased out in early 2010.


    PHEV’s like the Volt and Fisker Karma get the $7,500. PiP, CMAX Energi, Fusion Energi get less.

    Pure EV’s also get the full $7,500.

    Check out the link, I am not making this stuff up ;-)

  48. cwolf Says:

    If I remember correctly, you have Apple stock, so this may tickle your fancy. Apple was fined in China…..for polluting!

    I think we all are between a rock and a hard place. EV’s just have no chance of catching on and diesel fuel costs kills any advantage for most people. I,at 280 mi./work day, can benifit, but the remaining costs could put a damper on any true advantage.

  49. cwolf Says:

    Sorry, I lied. My work commute is only 180 mi./day.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Prius is one hybrid which is cost-effective for a lot of people, at least those who want room to seat 5 people reasonably comfortably, and want a wagon or hatchback. The only comparable car in the US market that will come close to challenging Prius for fuel costs, is Golf and Jetta TDI, and those don’t really challenge, even in mpg on expensive fuel, except for highway driving. A zero option manual transmission Golf TDI is about the same MSRP as a base Prius.

    The other semi-challenger is the Focus hatchback. If you want a 5-speed manual and steel wheels, the MSRP of the Focus is ~$3500 less than a Prius, but if you want the Focus really comparably equipped, the price increases rapidly. Prius and VW TDI both hold their value well. Focus, less well, and I suspect a Focus with the manual doesn’t hold its value well at all. I’m just guessing on that, though.

    Prius sales haven’t “plummeted” since the hybrid incentives went away. They actually had an uptick the year the incentives ended, but that was probably because the gen 3 came out that year for 2010. Sales have been down a little, but not a lot for the 2011-2012 model years.

    Camry and Fusion hybrids should be cost-effective for people who do a lot of city driving, but, unlike with Prius-size hatchbacks, there is a lot of lower price competition in mid-size sedans.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Don’t you get really tired of spending ~4 hours/day commuting? I sure would have, and sometimes thought about moving closer to work, when my commute was only ~25 minutes.

  52. cwolf Says:

    It gets tiring once in a while. Actually, I can comfortably make the 86 mile leg in 1hr.20min. Don’t tell, but my fastest time was 64 min. We are looking for a house in the area of our home town which I work. For as much as we desire a home on the lake,seeing the neighbor thru a window will be hard to adjust to. I mean…how many people can say they can fetch the mail in your underwear?…and not hear anyone gagging?

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, I guess if you get used to living in a certain area, it can be hard to adjust to something else.

    I probably shouldn’t get my mail in my underwear when at my condo in Florida, but it would normally be ok at my place in Indiana, at night.

  54. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ cwolf: Or a speedy retirement? No move,no more long ass drive…

  55. C-Tech Says:

    John, I do imagine EV racing being like really big, modern slot cars

    Velvet cars are not new. I remember seeing a 1965 Cadillac DeVille covered in velvet in 1970. Perhaps not a trend which should be brought back.

    @ #40 HtG the Volt owners from the Chevy dealer I used to work with basically bought them because they wanted them. The only exception were 2-3 which were sold as company cars.

    Cwolf I have a longer (not as long as yours) commute. Do you listen to books on CD’s ?

  56. Earl Says:

    My advice to everyone that lives in the White Christmas states….forget about EV. The cold weather alone will give you a real bad case of range anxiety.
    I would like to hear from someone down in the Texas pan handle or in Kansas that owns a Volt and was out on the roads these past few days.

  57. C-Tech Says:

    @ #53 Kit, not sure we are in the same complex, but please don’t. I won’t if you won’t.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I won’t.

  59. Dave Foley Says:

    Is it just me, or does the voice-over guy just seem to be that little bit happier about telling us that Borg Warner is sponsoring the show? I’m happy they are onboard too, but the ‘voice’ is REALLY happy! ;)

  60. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM is really losing touch with reality this week .

    First their little miss sunshine comes out with the deluded claim that she’ll have Cadillac sales up in the EU ( where in fact no one gives a rats pituty about modern Cadillacs and btw the market there is down .

    Then miss sunshine compounds her delusions by claiming the reason Cadillac and Chevy sales are so bad is due to uninformed customers ( sorry dearie … but its you thats sadly uninformed )

    And then today . The ever son brilliant minds at GM are saying they’re going to UP production of the VOLT despite the fact that they can’t give them away ( in any version worldwide ) they’ve had what ….. three shut downs at the plants in just the last 12 months …. because production was exceeding sales .

    Seriously . I wonder who or what is really running the ship at GM . Cause in all honesty ( and all the financials are in agreement ) GM is about 300 yards from running ‘ Aground ‘

    ( Sources ; Bloomberg TTAC WSJ )

  61. ColoradoKid Says:


    This’ll really tickle your fancy . Sold those stocks at $701 . Got them in lew of payment back in the early 90′s when they were at $18

    Now THAT’s tickling ;-)

    btw its not Apple that got fined … but rather the Chinese manufacturing company that builds Apple products … along with just about every other computer made . Apple owns bupkiss in China and simply contracts out their production

  62. ColoradoKid Says:


    Sorry good sir but I remember all too well how even the Prius sales went down when the incentives were pulled back . And as far as being financially beneficial … might i remind you that CR AARP AAA etc have all had extensive articles that show the average driver would have to own their Prius ( or any other Hybrid ) for a minimum of 7 years ( though most say 10 ) before they would recoup any real financial benefit

    Like a Harley Davidson . Fact is the only real and viable reason for buying a Hybrid is because you want one . Which …. is fine


    HtG – Vas ist das mit der BBC und F1 mein freund ?

    I thought SKY had the exclusives as of 2010 and everything was going Pay for View in the UK this year

  63. T. Bejma Says:


    Apparently, a frequent host at ALD disagrees with you CK and thinks the 6,000 vehicle increase is on track…

    “The 36,000 target is “probably a doable number,” Jim Hall, principal of consultancy 2953 Analytics, said. “It will have a full calendar year in Europe” and GM will probably sell more this year now that the Volt is eligible for the car-pool lane in California, he said.”

  64. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    Its not me anyone needs to disagree with when it comes to increasing VOLT production . Its each and every financial pundit that needs to be proven wrong . btw T there is rumor amongst the money men that GM’s stock is about to be downgraded …. once again . Just rumor at the moment mind you . But worth mentioning

    But what about this little miss deluded sunshine there T ?

    And on a seriously curious note … What ever happened to the ” Skateboard ” platform ( which was a brilliant concept crying out to be produced ) that the VOLT was supposed to be before GM went and pulled the wool over the consumers eyes .. releasing the VOLT as the re-badged Cruze extended range hybrid that it is : rather than the ‘ Game Changer ‘ it could of been ?

  65. HtG Says:

    BBC and SKY split the live coverage. BBC does most of the races live, SKY some, but BBC always does an hour long summary show. The coverage is two day, with quali and the race going up to three hours if it’s live. Coulthard and Jordan go around the paddock talking to most of the players; it makes you weep to see the pig’s breakfast the Speed crew has made of it from their Fortress of Easy Chairs in the North Carolina studio. Sadly, there may be no way break through your household security perimeter over there in Infinite Loop East.

  66. T. Bejma Says:


    The skateboard was a Hydrogen Fuel Cell design, not an EV CK, and we all know the limitations with that at this time…


  67. T. Bejma Says:

    Looks like GM is making some progress in Europe…


  68. HtG Says:

    F1 news

    Adrian Sutil got the ride


  69. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 66

    I know that T . The question being …. what is GM doing with it at present ( the ‘ Skateboard ‘ not the fuel cell bit )

    And once again T . According to the SAE etc … the VOLT is an extended range plug in hybrid …. NOT an EV . By definition if the ICE in any way connects to the drivetrain at any time ( and it does fairly frequently in the VOLT ) it is NOT an EV


    HtG – So what was the ‘ tease ‘ of you having the keys to the kingdom ( BBC F1 coverage ) you could share with me ?

  70. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 67

    Not according to TTAC !


  71. T. Bejma Says:


    I never said Volt was an EV. The government calls it a Plug In Hybrid or a PREV based on the site I posted earlier. Not arguing with you there. It is NOT a “HYBRID” (the word by itself – it is a form of Hybrid)

    We recently moved the Hydrogen Lab from New York to Pontiac, MI. It is still functioning and has about 500 employees working on it everyday.

  72. T. Bejma Says:


    My information is the latest (from TTAC)


    Now, unions are “just about to reach an agreement,” says Reuters. IG Metall expects to strike a deal this week.”

  73. HtG Says:

    I’m reticent to blab about this, CK. If you’d like more info about VPNs, ask me in the evening after you check with Security Girl.


  74. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    Looks like that OPEL/Unions thing is rather ‘ fluid ‘ to say the least … changing by the minute

    But on the Skateboard you’re still not understanding the question

    Its not the ‘ fuel cell ‘ bit that I’n curious as to what GM has done with it

    Its the ‘ Skateboard ‘ platform itself I’m wondering about

  75. T. Bejma Says:


    Yes definitely “fluid”, especially with the unions ;-)

    I do not know anything about the skateboard platform. I do know at this time, at least for regular production vehicles (might be different for alternative propulsion) we have our platforms pretty much set (except for maybe some growing and shrinking).

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ll post Prius sales numbers later when I can use a computer where it’s easier than from this phone. In summary, 2010 sales were up slightly over 2009 with opposing forces. The 2010 was the new model, but the subsidies ended. Sales went down for 2011, mainly because of lost production due to the tsunami. Then, sales were flat for 2012, which is impressive all the new “internal” competition from Prius C and V, which aren’t included in the numbers I’m talking about.

    As far as payback time, most people who “run the numbers” find it to be fairly short, like 2-3 years for a Prius, assuming an ownership period of 5 years or so. The payback time for most, or all other hybrids would be longer, given big price differentials, and smaller mpg gains. Of course, it is impossible to make a real comparison for Prius, since there is no non-hybrid version.

  77. ColoradoKid Says:

    So hopefully the question for discussion on todays episode will be ;

    Assuming we’re going into ‘ Sequester ‘ ( and we probably are in light of the nimrods running the show at present – from both sides ) how will that effect the automotive industry ?

    If anyone’s concerned or curious btw ‘ Security Girl ‘ ( girl ?? ) agency/job is immune to the sequester .

  78. HtG Says:

    superheroine sobriquet,CK. No diss intended

  79. Kit Gerhart Says:

    U.S. Prius liftback sales by model year:
    2009 139.7K
    2010 140.9K
    2011 128.1K
    2012 126.0K

    For 2012 model year, there were also ~35K Prius V, and ~29K Prius C sold in the U.S.

  80. T. Bejma Says:


    In case you were keeping score ;-)

    Did Prius sales drop after government incentives were discontinued in April 2010?

    Kit = No
    CK = Yes

    And the DATA says = NO

    Won/Loss record:
    Kit = 1-0
    CK = 0-1

    Just having a little fun on a Thursday ;-)

  81. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – No ‘ diss ‘ taken :o

    I was cracking one back at you ( she is my age you know ) On the BBC thing … all is fine ( security girl does no business on the home computer ) but lets wait and see how the NBCSports coverage compares to SPEED’s previous attempts before heading that route

    Security Girl . LoL . Even she liked it !

  82. ColoradoKid Says:

    Errrrrr …. fraid not there Mr Bejma . Kits and your numbers were for the year . The ‘ drops’ came about during the specific Quarterly reports after the incentives were dropped . ALD NYTimes TTAC etc all reported it … if you remember correctly .

    btw T …. just how much money is GM losing now on every VOLT sale with them promoting a lease payment that barely covers the cost of processing ?

  83. ColoradoKid Says:

    So rather

    Kit & CK …. a bit of a tie depending on which ‘ DATA’ you’re looking at .

  84. T. Bejma Says:


    Looks like the rumor on the stock downgrade not holding much water…



  85. Bob Neisen Says:

    John, My neighbor had a velvet Karmann Ghia 30 years ago! He was a painter by trade and a company came out with a product that you sprayed on I think. It was definitely the coolest car in the neighborhood when I was 13 years old!